Never heard of a 35 lb #cat?


Meet Symba, a really really – really – fat cat.

Weighing in at 35 pounds, this feline is at the Humane Rescue Alliance in D.C. and is need of a home.

Staffers of the humane rescue group posed with the 6-year-old fat cat and posted the pictures on social media.

In their post, they wrote, staff “has seen a lot – but we’ve never seen a 35 pound cat!” The cat is available for adoption at its New York Avenue location in Washington, D.C.

The Humane Rescue Alliance told Symba’s story:

The fat feline came last week to the facility. Officials said his owner moved to an assisted living center and couldn’t bring Symba with him.

The cat’s owner told the staff over the phone that Symba weighed nearly 40 pounds. The staff was surprised to hear that weight and “thought surely he must be overestimating,” they said in a blog that now tracks Symba’s life and new weight loss program.

But when Symba came to the humane rescue site, he hit the scales and weighed in at 35 pounds. (The humane rescue staff put an ! after announcing his weight.)

Staff described Symba as a “handsome fellow, with his sweet face and mellow disposition.”

Because of his obesity, Symba was given a detailed checkup, including a blood glucose test. It came back normal. But he’s about 15 pounds overweight so the alliance’s medical team said he is at an “increased risk of health complications.”

The average domestic house cat should ideally weigh between eight and 10 pounds, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

Once he got settled at the shelter, the staff at the alliance got Symba on basically the cat version of “The Biggest Loser,” a TV show that tracks people’s weight loss in a contest.

“It’s difficult for him to walk at the moment, so staff are focusing on improving his diet and starting his physical activity slowly,” the staff said in its blog. read more…

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What is #Cat Tail Trying to Tell You


Picture of black and white house cat
Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark
By Liz Langley




Cat owners are keenly tuned in to their pets’ body language, but once in a while the felines will throw a curve. Sometimes it’s in their tails.

While watching our cat snooze, we noticed his tail was tapping away like he was enjoying a disco medley we couldn’t hear, sending quite a mixed signal.

So how do you decode a cat’s tail? (Read “Surprising Things You Never Knew About Your Cat.”) Tail Tips

You have to take the whole body into account when reading tail signals, says Carlo Siracusa, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

The napping cat with the tapping tail, for example, is “relaxed overall but paying attention to something happening around him, a sound or movement,” so he’s peaceful but hardly asleep on the job.


If he really is sleeping, Siracusa adds, a moving tail could mean he’s dreaming. (Related: “Do Animals Dream?”)

A whipping tale on an alert cat can mean nervousness, potential aggression, and “Do not touch!” says Siracusa.

On a calm cat a straight-up tail with a hooked tip is a friendly greeting, while an aggressive cat may just have its tail straight up. A fearful “Halloween” cat will have an arched back and “its tail up and puffed.” read more…

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National Hug Your Cat Day

To hug or not to hug your cat8749912331_d0b6ceff1f_k_custom-e06482aab29a064abb1cc9b480a4306141858d7d-s800-c85

Happy National Hug Your Cat Day. May this be your best National Hug Your Cat Day yet.

Didn’t know it was National Hug Your Cat Day? That’s OK, neither did I until I looked it up, and I am a cat person.

This sounds like one of those made up holidays, like National Cheese Day, National Cognac Day and National Old Maid’s Day, which also are celebrated today.

Somehow I can’t shake the mental image of an old maid spending today hugging her cat as she nibbles on cheese and sips cognac, but that’s neither here nor there.

Back to National Hug Your Cat Day. Actually the act of hugging your cat should come with a warning label: May cause cat to turn into a howling, yowling, scratching, spitting demon, thus leading to one of you shedding blood, and rest assured it won’t be the cat.

Our cats are not huggers. They much prefer a scratch behind the ear or a good belly rub. I fear they associate the act of hugging with being unceremoniously thrust into a cat carrier and toted off to the vet.

Our tabby howls piteously and squirms when you try to embrace him, while the black butterball whirls and spins like a dervish in his attempt to break free. And we won’t even mention the claws.

The first is to brush his/her teeth. Nope. I’m staying far away from those choppers. That’s what the hard food is for.

They recommend keeping your cat active with the right toys. We have, to quote an old Steve Martin comedy routine, “$3,000 worth of cat toys,” in our home, with which they will play from time to time as they see fit. If I throw a toy and try to get one of them to chase it, however, they normally fix me with a baleful stare and a look that seems to convey naught but pity.

The No. 3 tip is to brush your cat regularly. This is almost, but not quite, as unpopular a cat activity as hugging. As far as they are concerned the only thing the brush is good for is chewing. read more…

Love traveling with Pets


What better place to drive than beautiful California. Up the coast, the wine country, the mountains. Which pretty much means my significant other Cookie and our dog Guillermo get dragged along for weekend getaways.

Just as you should be driving defensively, watching out for bad drivers, road hazards and so forth, you should practice defensive pet traveling.

The first thing to watch out for this time of year is the dreaded Foxtail grass. The grass puts out a stalk with seeds that resemble a stalk of wheat, especially when they dry and turn from green to straw color. What make them dangerous for our pets are the seeds. They have a tiny barb on the end that loves to embed into the skin or enter the nose, ear or eye.

Pets that inhale a foxtail up their nose often sneeze violently and may paw at their face. We often see foxtails enter the feet of dogs at the webbing between the middle two toes. This weedy grass is all over the place and it only takes a second for your pet to pick up one of these things when you stop for a potty break. Google an image of the foxtail grass and avoid them.

Bees and bugs. The flowers really bloomed this year and the bees are loving them too. Bees tend to hang out on the clover in the grass and your pets can easily step on them. If you can find the stinger, remove it by scraping it with a credit card or your fingernail. Don’t grab and pinch it with your fingers because you may squeeze the sac attached to the stinger and inject more venom into your pet.

Just as in people, pets may have mild or severe allergic reactions to bee stings. An anaphylactic reaction is the most severe and your pet may vomit or collapse. Owners may mistake this for a seizure. This is a true emergency and you need to get to an animal hospital as soon as possible for supportive care.

Overheating. Not every place you come across on your travels will be pet friendly. Do not leave your pet in the car unattended, even if it’s just to run in to get a sandwich to go. Cars become virtual ovens in minutes and unlike humans, dogs and cats can’t sweat and take advantage of the breeze from a half rolled down window. Even if you don’t think the temperature in the car feels too hot to you, your pet simply can’t tolerate heat the way a person can.

Bring extra water, pet food, medicine that your pet may be taking — and a bowl. This should be obvious, but with all the hustling to get out of town it’s often overlooked. read more…

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Adopting your first cat


Have you thought about it for a long time—adopting a cat? Is it something you’ve told yourself for years you’d do, once you were m

ore stable financially, when you’d moved into a safe space? Or were you highjacked by a whim when you went with a friend to an animal shelter? Did you suddenly say to yourself, “Why not?” Did you fall in love at first sight with a cat that was looking for a home?

It doesn’t matter how or why. You’ve decided. You’re going to adopt a cat.

I asked cat experts what advice they’d give to a first-time cat adopter.

Your first cat—what do you need to consider, what do you need to know?

Alison Taub

(1) Think about the indoor/outdoor issue. If you’re committed to an indoor-only cat, don’t get one that has been let outside in the past. All the kittens I’ve adopted that were found outside were frantic to go out again, and ended up as indoor/outdoor cats.

(2) If you’re getting a kitten and specifically want a male or female, make sure the person sexing the kitten knows what they’re doing. Mistakes are common.

(3) If you don’t like the idea of a litter box in the house, just stop now.

(4) If you have children and the idea of the cat scratching the child sounds like a “get rid of the cat” situation, don’t get a cat.

(5) If you’re going to let your cat outside, expect fleas.

(6) My personal opinion is that you should get a cat that is already friendly and purring when it meets you. Walk away from the “he’s shy, but he’ll warm up to you in a few . . . hours, days, weeks” cats. Because maybe they will, and maybe they won’t. And it’s a first cat.

read more…

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Play is the indoor cat’s way to hunt!


Even though it may seem like your cat sleeps most of the day, most cat parents will bet that you have been woken up by a loud noise at least once at 2 a.m. that was caused by your furry family member running around the house and getting into “trouble”.  Well the “trouble” that they are getting into could actually be their way of exercising their hunting instinct.

Cats sleep most of the day, about 16 hours, but when they are awake they need to move around and exercise. In the wild, cats get their physical exercise from hunting. Inside cats receive their exercise from playing with toys that simulate prey that would normally be found in the wild. Play provides more than just exercise because it also relieves anxiety, stress, and boredom.  When indoor cats do not have toys to play with, that is when they supplement their playful instincts with anything they can find around the house; curtains, toes, shoe laces, etc.  So when your cat is attacking everything they can get their paws on, they may just be looking for an outlet for their natural hunting instincts.

This is why play is so important.  Physical activity from play acts as a workout, keeping cats physically fit and enriches the pet’s quality of life and fosters a healthy relationship between the pet and their parents by alleviating what can be described as destructive behavior.

There are many types of toys for different types of play, each appealing to a different styles and preferences that cats have.  There are toys that replicate the sound of wild prey like mice, toys that look like prey, toys that have appealing textures that cats love, as well as toys that have a scent that encourages cats to play like catnip.  Movement of the toy is also very important for cats.  Cats can see much quicker movement than humans can, so toys that have erratic movement can really entice your cat.  Random movement is also very important for cats.  This makes play fun and unpredictable, keeping cats engaged in play and preventing boredom. read more…


A #cat catch-up

tracy chavez and maine coon cat

Dog shows can be formal, cutthroat affairs, but cat shows tend to be social occasions where feline fanciers gather to indulge their passion for “all things cat.” Since nonpedigreed cats compete in a separate “Household Pet” class, the rules are a little different from dog shows.

Judging takes place in rings, with one judge per ring. “Every ring is its own complete show,” says Fisher. “Every cat will end up in every ring and every judge will see every cat.”

Each judge makes a separate decision, so a cat could place first in one ring and last in another. Cats win points for placing, which they accumulate over the year.

Nonpedigreed cats are judged primarily on three criteria: condition, beauty and show presence, or as Fisher translates it, “health, beauty and personality.” Since these are highly subjective criteria, judges may give the same cat very different scores.

For cat fanciers, that’s all part of the fun. It also makes the show an all-weekend affair.

“You’re basically there for the duration,” says Fisher. “It’s a huge social occasion and educational opportunity to talk about the value of cats as companion animals, and encourage good care.”

And since cats and rescue go hand in hand, it’s also a chance to advocate for homeless cats. The Enchanted Cat Club will have cats available for adoption at the Feline Fiesta, and all proceeds from the show are donated to the Albuquerque rescue groups F.A.T. Katz and New Mexico Animal Friends. Read more…

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