Monday, December 3, 2007

Cats & Diabetes

From today's Chicago Tribune:

Cat diabetes growing problem

By Jennifer Mann

McClatchy Newspapers

8:21 AM CST, December 3, 2007


We're all aware of the alarm sounding and hand-wringing over the ever-increasing numbers of children and adults diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

But we are not alone. The epidemic of diabetes is increasingly afflicting the kitties curled up on our overlarge laps as we have allowed our tabbies to get tubby.

While there is not full agreement as to the causes, in general experts say the soaring rates of diabetes in the pet population -- and cats in particular -- mimic the reasons that it has become epidemic in the people population: increasingly sedentary lifestyles coupled with copious consumption of highly refined foods.

Francis Kallfelz, a professor of veterinary nutrition at Cornell University, confirms that obesity in the pet population is burgeoning.

"The literature shows that there is a huge incidence of overweightness in our pet population that's getting to be a bigger and bigger problem," Kallfelz said. "Just like it is in the case of human beings."

While there is a debate on the cause of the rising numbers of cats with diabetes, one theory gaining traction is that much of the dry cat food is too high in carbohydrates and too low in protein.

University of Missouri-Kansas City biology professor Karen Bame was shocked when she found out her beloved black cat, Rachel, was diabetic.

Her cat's veterinarian, Eliza Sundahl, sat her down and explained that cats, as carnivores, need diets high in protein. "It sort of blew me away because I teach biochemistry, and I had just gotten through with a lecture with my students about diabetes in people and how they should stay away from proteins," Bame said.

But people and cats have vastly different physiologies. People (and dogs) are omnivores -- they'll eat animals and plants. Cats are carnivores, and, left to their own devices, eat other animals.

Bame switched Rachel from a high-carbohydrate kibble food to high-protein canned food. Four months after the switch, 15-pound Rachel went from 3 units of insulin a day to 1 1/2. And while not exactly svelte, she is a much healthier 11 pounds.

"When we first changed her food, she was not terribly happy," Bame said. "Now I buy organic food at Wild Oats that smells horrible. Rachel loves it."

Elizabeth Hodgkins, a vet in Yorba Linda, Calif., falls firmly in the camp of diet as the key to preventing and treating cat diabetes. She administers the Web site and is the author of the recently published book, "Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life."

Hodgkins, who worked eight years in the pet food industry, thinks feeding cats dry kibbles is analogous to filling children's cereal bowls with sugarfrosted flakes.

She is trying to change attitudes among her colleagues, who she thinks are compassionate pet lovers but fall prey to habits. She contends that treating diabetic cats without making a switch in diets defeats the purpose.

"It's akin to treating a child for lead poisoning while continuing to feed them paint chips," Hodgkins said.

Hodgkins changed her outlook on pet food 10 years ago after her cat, Punkin, became diabetic and she took a close look at what she had been feeding him. Shortly after switching her kitty to a high-protein canned food, her cat was cured of diabetes, she said.

"How in the world did intelligent people miss this?" she asked. "I don't have a good answer for that, because I was part of that group of intelligent people."

Some in the $11 billion U.S. pet food industry have taken notice of the trend.

Deborah Greco, a senior research scientist for Purina, started researching the diabetic diet connection in the late 1990s, eventually helping create a food with a nutritional makeup that mimicked cats eating mice.

The food, which was introduced in 2001 and dubbed "Catkins" by many, is 3 percent carbohydrate, 55 to 60 percent protein and the rest fat.

"All I can say is I keep an individual file of people who have called and e-mailed me thanking me for saving their cats," Greco said.

Kallfelz "wholeheartedly and respectfully" disagrees with the premise that high-carb dry food is the culprit.

"I have seen no published evidence to the effect that feeding cats dry foods is a risk factor for diabetes. To make the leap of faith ... that dry food is causing the problem is not a rational leap of faith," said Kallfelz, a member of the National Pet Food Commission. The commission was formed this year by the trade association, the Pet Food Institute, after the widespread recall of pet food thought to be tainted by ingredients imported from China.

Kallfelz pointed to a recent study from Utrecht University's Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals in the Netherlands, concluding that indoor confinement and inactivity were the biggest contributors to cat diabetes.

Bame's veterinarian Sundahl thinks both viewpoints have validity. She thinks cats need to follow the same medical advice often given their owners -- watch their diet and get more exercise. She is a proponent of getting our fat, lazy cats off the couch.

Our cats would be better served, she said, if we got them up and about, advice she had for her receptionist, Pat Landwehr, whose tuxedo kitty Sparkle is overweight and has diabetes.

Sundahl recommends pet owners move their cat's food bowl every two or three days. Make it hunt in the house. More important, she said, understand and control portions.

Before society turned cats into house-bound pets to protect them from the dangers of the outdoors, they roamed neighborhoods in the cover of dark. Sundahl said that for every 30 to 40 attempts at catching prey, cats scored four or five times. Not only did that supplement their diet, it gave them exercise.

"That's a lot of activity," Sundahl said. "Now, our cats lay on the couch, know where the food bowl is, saunter over, eat and saunter back."

Friday, November 16, 2007



The Merck/Merial Manual For Pet Health, Home Edition is the Complete Health Resource for Your Dog, Cat,Horse and Other Pets – Written in Plain Language

Media Contact:
Michael Burke, Morris Animal Foundation

Denver, Nov. 14, 2007: Here is the perfect gift idea that will not only be invaluable to the pet owner/animal lover on your gift list but also will directly benefit the health of companion animals and wildlife. Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) is offering the new Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health on its Web site: For a minimum $100 donation, MAF will send a complimentary copy of this complete new pet health guide, written in everyday language, to you or the person you identify. This complete pet health resource covers dogs, cats, horses and many other pets. Place your holiday gift order for the pet health manual at as soon as possible for receipt by Christmas. Shipping will take a minimum of seven to 10 days from date of order.


About Morris Animal Foundation: Morris Animal Foundation, established in 1948, is dedicated to funding research that protects, treats and cures companion animals and wildlife. MAF has been at the forefront of funding breakthrough research studies benefiting animals in some 100 countries, spanning all seven continents on earth. MAF has its headquarters in Denver, Colorado. The Foundation has funded nearly 1,400 humane animal health studies with funds totaling more than $51 million. One hundred percent of annual donations go to fund health study programs. For more information, call (800) 243-2345, or visit

Friday, September 7, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

The Friday Ark is up at the Modulator. Remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and the 180th edition, 9/3, is up at This Blog Is Full of Crap . The 181st edition will be hosted on 9/9 by Mind of Mog. There are more weekly cats at Weekend Cat Blogging #118 hosted on 9/8-9 by What Did You Eat?


Have a great weekend, all!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tummy Tuesdays

More big cat tummy from Turpentine Creek!

For more feline tummy goodness (a lot more than you'll see here!), go visit Lisa Violet's place.

Feline Health News

New Study Reveals Pathology of Feline

Heartworm Disease; Proves Existence of HARD

Auburn, Ala., August 6, 2007 – A landmark study that shows conclusively that heartworms do not need to reach maturity to cause pathology in cats has answered many of the questions surrounding feline heartworm and greatly extended scientific knowledge about the long-misunderstood disease.

Recent efforts by researchers at Auburn University bear out a hypothesis developed through earlier research and confirm fundamental differences in the way heartworms affect cats and dogs. In so doing, these reinforce an emerging consensus that feline heartworm is more insidious than previously thought and underscore the importance of prevention...To read more, visit

(A tip of the cap to Good News For Pets!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tummy Tuesdays

This happy cougar from Turpentine Creek exposes his lovely tummy for maximum sun worship. I hope he's one of the ones who recently got a new habitat!

For more kitty tummy goodness, head on over to LisaViolet's joint.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tummy Tuesdays

Benjamin's brother Raleigh is showing his stuff for Tummy Tuesday! For more yummy tummy goodness, head on over to Lisa Violet's joint and see who else has joined in the fun!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tummy Tuesdays

Benjamin also provided this week's photo for Tummy Tuesday:

That's one impressive fluffy tummy!

For more feline tummy goodness, head on over to LisaViolet's joint.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Take the LOLcat Test!

The Divine Miss Marilyn (a/k/a GRC Galidorn's Marilyn Monrex of Woodsprite) took this test:

Your Score: Cheezburger cat

54% Affectionate, 53% Excitable, 75% Hungry

Sure, you deserve one. You helped popularized lolcats from a running gag to an online sensation. Now mainstream media writes asinine columns on this 'phenomenon', students write theses on the topic, programming languages adopt the grammar, and losers write tests about them on dating sites. Now take your cheezburger and never touch the internets again.

To see all possible results, checka dis.

Link: The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by GumOtaku on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
She waives politely to SFP at Pages Turned.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

Friend of Lincoln State Cat Club Dana Glock sent this photo of Benjamin, the household pet she showed for the first time last February, lounging around at home. Gorgeous boy, isn't he?

Are you an exhibitor or a guest at our annual show and want to show off your beautiful cats? Send photos to catministrator-at-gmail-dot-com. We'd love to showcase them for you!

In the meantime, don't forget to visit the Friday Ark. Carnival of the Cats goes up every Sunday and the 173rd edition, 7/15, is up at 100 Word Stories Podcast . The 174th edition will be hosted on 7/22 by This Blog Is Full of Crap. There are more weekly cats at Weekend Cat Blogging #111 hosted on 7/21-7/22 by Paulchen's FoodBlog?!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Morris Animal Foundation

Lincoln State Cat Club proudly supports Morris Animal Foundation. In the latest news from MAF:


Advancing animal medicine tomorrow depends upon the students in veterinary school today. In 2006 Morris Animal Foundation launched the Veterinary Student Scholars Program. By giving students the opportunity to work on research projects early in their careers, we hope to encourage them to consider a career in research. At our annual meeting in June 2007, 23 student scholars presented their projects. Though originally two prizes of $5,000 were to be given, the projects were so outstanding that an anonymous donor came forward to allow MAF to give out six prizes. Prizes of $500, $1,000 and $5,000 were given to the top three students in the companion animal and wildlife categories.

Congratulations to our 2006 Winners:
The top prize in companion animals, The Ballard Award, went to Steven Friedenberg, a student at Cornell University. Under the mentorship of Dr. Rory Todhunter, Steven studied canine hip dysplasia and identified a potential genetic marker that may be linked to this disease.

The top prize in wildlife, The Ballard Award, went to Sophie E. Knafo, a student at Tufts University who was mentored by Dr. Gretchen Kaufman. Gretchen spent the summer in northern Kenya studying disease transmission from domestic livestock to the endangered Grevy’s zebra.

Second place in companion animals went to Cherlene Delgado at the University of Missouri for her work on treating feline asthma. Third place for companion animals went to Ashley Hill at Mississippi State University for her project on hyperelastosis cutis, a genetic disease of quarter horses.

Larry JB Minter at North Carolina State University received second place in wildlife for his project on cryopreserving (freezing) genetic material for use in assisted reproduction of wild species. Third place went to Laura Stokes-Greene at the Ohio State University for her work in studying infectious disease risks to the highly endangered Sumatran rhinoceros.

Morris Animal Foundation applauds each of the students who participated in the Veterinary Student Scholars program. Their commitment and passion will surely make the world a better place for all animals.

Please follow the link below to the Morris Animal Foundation 2006 Veterinary Student Scholars page on our website.

More information about the Morris Animal Foundation Veterinary Student Scholars program is available on our website,
Applications for next year’s awards will be due February 2008.

Join Morris Animal Foundation's online community forum for animal lovers at

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tootin' the Horn

The first time I clapped eyes on Kenny and Willie (yes, Willie is the tiger equivalent of a person with Down Syndrome) at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, there were living in a cage with not a lot more than concrete and steel mesh.

Not anymore.

If this video of them taking their first steps into their new habitat doesn't bring a tear to your eye or a lump to your throat, nothing will.

Kudos to the all the folks at Turpentine Creek. Job well done.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tummy Tuesdays

Bev Frenzel sends photos of the latest batch of Injoi Oriental Shorthair kittens:

Whaddaya mean we don't all fit in here?

Well, heck -- if you'd have told me Tummy Tuesday was coming, I might have shown a little more belly!

Hey! No peeking at my tummy through the mesh!

It's Tummy Tuesday over at Lisa Violet's place.

Also, don't forget to check out the Friday Ark at the Modulator, and Carnival of the Cats at Mind of Mog. If that doesn't fill your weekly quota of feline bloggy goodness, I don't know what will!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Feline Roots

Member Bev Frenzel of Injoi Orientals sent this interesting article on the derivation of today's domestic cats:
Cats' ancestry was traced to five types of wild cats, but that doesn't mean they were domesticated five times, Driscoll said. Rather, these five types managed to interbreed at various times, with the result being Felis silvestris lybica, which appears to be the ancestor of modern house cats.
Go read the whole thing.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Public Service Announcement

Rachel Lucas has a post up about why all cats should be indoor cats. Admittedly the language is a little colorful -- but she's absolutely right. In fact, the only way your cat should be an outdoor cat is if you live in the country and it is a working animal such as a barn cat... OR... if you do something like this.

There are any number of cat fencing options:
Google's got tons more. Check it out.

Please -- if you love your cat (and you wouldn't be here if you didn't), keep 'em indoors or fence 'em in.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Tummy Tuesdays

Judge Wain Harding shows off some lovely tortie tummy as he judges this gorgeous household pet!

The Chicago Tribune is holding a "Petpalooza!" Have you entered your favorite animal?

Don't forget to mark your calendar for the week of May 13th. Voting starts then!

LisaViolet hosts Tummy Tuesday here.

And if you forgot to check out this week's Carnival of the Cats, it's right here at Catymology.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

More scenes from the cat show:

A pampered Sphynx and his adoring mom.

My friend Dana couldn't resist this plush jacket. (I warned her she'd have fun spending her income tax refund and, by crikey, she did!)

A Japanese Bobtail kitten and an Ocicat kitten prove that cats can have fun in the show ring.

Don't forget to stop by the Friday Ark at the Modulator.

The Carnival of the Cats will be hosted by our Aloysius at Catymology this Sunday evening.

Can't wait till then? Go visit this week's Carnival at The Scratching Post.

That's not enough?

How about Weekend Cat Blogging at s'kat and the food and the Cat Blogosphere?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tummy Tuesdays

A little something different for Tummy Tuesday!

Naissurblu's Mr. E and Miss Chiff, Russian Blue kittens bred and owned by LSCC Vice President Dayle Marsh and daughter Dana Marsh. Lovely!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

More scenes from the cat show:

My shy friend Margie hides behind Lexi, her fabulous Norwegian Forest Cat. I just love that big guy! He's a real love bunny.

The wonderful Barb Wanders of Aunt "B's" B&B. Aunt "B's" is a private, no-kill shelter which adopts only geriatric cats.

Barb depends on the profits from sales of all sorts of cool stuff like this, and from donations of food and litter. She's been a dear friend of Lincoln State Cat Club for years.

Don't forget to stop by the Friday Ark at the Modulator.

The Carnival of the Cats will be hosted by our Maximum Leader over at the Scratching Post this Sunday evening.

Can't wait till then? Go visit this week's Carnival at Nina's Books 4 Israel Project.

That's not enough?

How about Weekend Cat Blogging at Pet's Garden Blog and the Cat Blogosphere?

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Are we going to have to feed our cats nothing but homemade food to be safe??? Now that rice is also in play in the tainted food mess, we're running out of ingredients they can eat!

Pet's got more on the melamine/tainted food problem here. This is not a good thing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tummy Tuesdays

A different kind of cat tummy for Tummy Tuesday. Also go visit Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, where I took this photo!

Meet Macavity

His story is right here. Who says cats aren't intelligent?

Friday, April 13, 2007


There's more news on the recent pet food recall that sets out numbers of pets dead that is simply appalling, both here and here.

Makes me glad that I feed only the best for the Divine Miss Marilyn.

Friday Cat Blogging

Cool things you'll see at a cat show that you may not find anywhere else:

A gorgeous calico Oriental Shorthair.

Abyssinians that come in "pastel" colors like blue and fawn (above), too!

Vendors with cool cat stuff like artwork and caligraphy...

... cat trees as far as the eye can see...

... and all the kitty cat kitsch you could ever hope for!

Don't forget to stop by the Friday Ark at the Modulator.

The Carnival of the Cats will be hosted at Nina's Books 4 Israel Project this Sunday evening.

Can't wait till then? Go visit this week's Carnival at Bad Kitty Cats.

That's not enough?

How about Weekend Cat Blogging at A Byootaful Life and the Cat Blogosphere?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pet Food Recall

Yep. That about sums it up.

(A tip of the cap to my friend Elizabeth.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tummy Tuesdays

Judge Larry Adkison gives a brief peek at this Lynx point Birman kitten's lovely tummy!

Go visit Lisa Violet for more links to fuzzy feline tummies.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

More scenes from the cat show:

Judge Liz Watson and this silver tabby American Shorthair are poetry in motion, aren't they?

CFA Midwest Region Director Kay Janosik and Russian Blue companion.

This lucky, lucky dilute calico Cornish Rex shows off for her brand new fur-ever mom!

Don't forget to stop by the Friday Ark at the Modulator.

The Carnival of the Cats will be hosted by Bad Kitty Cats this Sunday evening.

That's not enough?

How about Weekend Cat Blogging at What Did You Eat and the Cat Blogosphere?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Tummy Tuesdays

Maine Coon. Loooooooooooong tummy.

Don't forget to stop by Lisa Violet's joint for more links to fuzzy tummies!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tummy Tuesdays

A bit of red Somali kitten tummy for Tummy Tuesday! How cute is that?

If you haven't already stopped by, go visit this week's Carnival of the Cats at Scriblings.


Was your pet affected by the Menu Foods tainted pet foods? If so, you may want to join in the class action suit filed against Menu Foods.

P.S. -- Whatever you do, don't do this. That's disgusting. Stupid, too.


The Chicago Tribune has a piece on an Italian tour for cat lovers:
Going astray in Italy on a tour for cat lovers

By Mim Swartz
Universal Press Syndicate
Published March 25, 2007

Marco, a large brown tabby cat, stately sits on his haunches outside Venice's Ospedale Civile, welcoming all who come to visit loved ones at this hospital. Is that a smirk on his face, or do I imagine a smug smile when I notice a sign on the door showing a dog in a circle with the slash symbol through it?

Marco is the hospital's official greeter. "It gives people hope when they see him," says Gabriella Sanna, secretary of Dingo, a non-profit organization that helps care for some 500 stray cats in Venice and its islands.

Venice is but one Italian city where numerous gattare (cat ladies) take care of homeless felines and is the first stop on our 12-day "Cats and Culture" tour from Venice to Rome in October's perfect weather.

Venetians' affection for cats dates back centuries because of the feline affinity for rodents. Special Venetian cats even were bred in the 13th Century to go after rats carrying the black plague.

About 40 cats -- gatti, in Italian -- live at Venice's main hospital, which dates from the 15th Century. "The hospital has many mice, so the cats are welcome here," Sanna says.

We start to go inside and I hear a "meow." It's not Marco. I look around. "Oh, that's my camera," says Tammy Greer of Denver, who had just switched on her Pentax. "I bought a new digital camera for this trip, and that sound was one of the options. I thought it would be fun to set it on meow."

How weird is that? And how weird are we? Most of our friends think we are slightly nuts: 10 American women and one spouse, each shelling out $4,000 or more to travel thousands of miles to look at abandoned and stray cats in Italy. Some participants left behind husbands and boyfriends because this wasn't their kind of trip.

We are "ailurophiles," people who are fond of cats. We own almost 50 cats among us, including the 19 cats Donna Stanley has at her Hayward, Calif., home. Even our Italian tour guide, Silvana Sirotic, is a cat person. She has nine cats and has helped neuter 40 strays in the town outside Rome where she lives.

Halfway through the trip, Stanley makes a profound observation: "It's funny. We're 3,000 miles from home, but it seems like we're with family."

Holly Wilson Greene of San Leandro, Calif., is here because she wants to see more of Italy and says if cats are involved, "all the better."

"Besides, I thought maybe I could find a young 'broken' Italian cat, one I could adopt. Two years ago I brought a young blind cat to California from Madrid. I thought another European cat might understand my Spanish guy better than my other broken American cats," says Greene, who has worked in sports medicine and now is studying to become an animal massage therapist.

Greer -- the one with the meow camera -- had never been to Italy.

"Friends laughed and said there probably would be a bunch of crazy cat people on the tour," Greer says. "I wouldn't want to go on a normal tour, with couples and a big bus. I thought this would have a whole different aspect and that I would see things you normally wouldn't see."

Perhaps we are crazy cat people, some of us wearing cat socks, cat earrings and cat nightshirts and carrying luggage with cat I.D. tags. We bring toys and holistic antibiotics for the cats we visit. Of course, we have cat T-shirts: "Books. Cats. Life is good" and "If you can't talk to your cat about catnip, who will?"

And along the way, we buy even more cat stuff: ceramic wall plaques that facetiously warn, "Attenti al Gatto" ("Beware of the Cat"), and a large, can't-live-without tapestry handbag with the face of a cat complete with beaded whiskers.

True, most people don't go to Italy for cats. They go for food, wine, art history and churches. Not that we don't like food (or wine). We set out on a search for the best Italian ice cream and, by the third day, someone suggests the tour's name be changed to "Giatti, Gelato and Culture."

Plus, we do see lots of art and churches along the way -- in magical Venice, with its canals and gondolas; in Padua, home of Europe's second-oldest university; in Florence, the picturesque jewel of Tuscany; in medieval Arezzo, with its Etruscan ruins; in cliff-top Orvieto, reached by elevator, an Italian version of Greece's Santorini without the sea; and in Rome, where some of us catch a glimpse of Pope Benedict XVI celebrating mass in St. Peter's Basilica for a cardinal who had died.

But back to cats. It's not that we can't find strays in our own cities. However, Italy's attitude toward cats is intriguing, with its 1991 law making it illegal to kill healthy stray cats and dogs. Feral and stray cats have the right to remain "free living" and they cannot be removed from the places they have chosen to live.

Elsewhere, sanctuaries have been set up to care for abandoned cats, sometimes dumped when their owners go on vacation, or when a competing baby is born into the family, or when the owners die or become too old to look after their pets.

So, whose idea is this crazy cat tour? Susan Wheeler of San Francisco organized the first tour in 2004 and plans another this October. Wheeler became involved with the respected Torre Argentina cat sanctuary when she lived in Rome in the 1990s and later formed Friends of Roman Cats in San Francisco, of which she is president.

The organization provides money to help spay and neuter homeless Italian cats and sends humane cat traps to Italy that are used to catch homeless cats for spay/neuter. The group also hopes to promote in the United States the no-kill policy and Italy's acceptance of cats.

Acceptance is what we find at the cat places we visit.

"It is wonderful to see people who love cats," says 82-year-old Adela Petrucci, who takes care of the dozen or so cats that live among the tombstones in the cemetery behind the Church of San Miniato a Monte in Florence. "Everyone loves dogs, but it takes a special person to love a cat."

While the cemetery cats roam freely, those in the sanctuaries are more restricted, although they have varying degrees of spaciousness. Some facilities are better than others, but each has caring volunteers, although not enough to give the cats the attention they demand. The most modern is Cinni Rifugio Per Gatti outside Arezzo, where Anglo-Italian vet Dr. Malcolm Holliday spent 14 years and about $500,000 of his own money building this sanctuary.

We get teary-eyed at places like the Dingo sanctuary on Venice's Lido island, where a black-and-white cat plays -- and wants to stay -- inside a carrying case that is being readied for another cat a couple is adopting, and at the Bagno a Ripoli sanctuary in the Tuscan countryside outside Florence, where the entrance sign reads, in Italian, "In memory of Titta and all other cats with no names and with no love."

We have laughs in the Boboli Gardens behind Pitti Palace in Florence, when we follow Tea Vianllo on her cat-feeding rounds, which she has done since 1985. She knows where each cat hides.

She lugs backpacks filled with various food for the 70 stray cats, sometimes cooking special dishes to cater to their whims. She pours them bottled water, of course. Our final cat sanctuary in Rome, Torre Argentina, gives preference to cats that are sick, old or disabled when accepting new animals or promoting adoptions.

Some 250 cats have found refuge from Rome's chaos and traffic below street level among the ruins of four temples, dating from the 4th to 1st Centuries B.C. This also is the site where it is believed Julius Caesar was stabbed to death in 44 B.C.

The shelter is in a cavelike building next to the ruins. It is here where Holly Greene finds Belfagor, a blind cat -- one of several -- and a potential companion for her "Spanish guy."

"I hope to go back to Rome this spring and get him," she says. "The tour turned out to be better than all my expectations. I would do it again, regardless of the cost."

- - -



Friends of Roman Cats plans another "Cats and Culture" tour in October. The date and price are not yet set.

Our tour, last Oct. 5-17, cost $2,825 each, not including airfare, plus a $110-per-person tax-deductible donation to Friends of Roman Cats, which was distributed to the cat sanctuaries we visited. (The sanctuaries get little, if any, funding from government entities.) The hotels were three-star and very nice. Some meals are included; gratuities to the Italian guide, bus driver and local guides in various cities are not included.

Contact Susan Wheeler, president of Friends of Roman Cats, Box 12571, San Francisco, CA 94112; 415-334- 8036.

To see the 2006 itinerary, go to www.friendsofromancats .org.

Some of the cat organizations in Italy have Web sites:

Torre Argentina cat sanctuary in Rome: www.romancats .com.

Pyramid cat shelter in Rome:

-- M.S.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Tempting! Very tempting.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

Top 10 finalists getting their rosettes signed by Judge Mary Auth.

Cat-tested and approved cat trees for sale!

Breathtakingly beautiful!

Don't forget to stop by...


Aloysious reports that seventy-two more pets have died from tainted pet food.

The cause is poison. There's more info here.

If you feed a sliced food in gravy to your cat or dog and you haven't already gone to the Menu Foods website to make sure the stuff on your shelf is not affected, do it right now.

Here's more info, received in an email from the CEO of PetSmart:

Dear Valued PetSmart customer:

As you have probably heard, Menu Foods, a national manufacturer of pet foods, issued a voluntary recall of canned and pouched wet dog and cat food manufactured in two of its facilities between December 2006 and March 2007. Again, this is a recall of a specific type of wet pet food made by Menu Foods. Other wet pet foods and all dry pet food and treats are not impacted by this recall.

Menu Foods initiated the recall after receiving reports that some of its foods may be the cause of reported illnesses and kidney failure in dogs and cats. Menu Foods distributes these products to supermarkets, mass merchandisers and pet specialty stores, including PetSmart®, under a variety of brand names.

Click here to see a complete list of PetSmart products that are part of the recall, as well as their respective UPCs (also referred to as the bar code). The bar code can be found on the product label; the UPC is under the series of bars. As a reminder, the items listed are the only items that PetSmart carries that have been affected by the recall.

In the meantime, we have pulled all recalled products from our store shelves and have a process in place to help ensure they're not restocked or distributed in any way. The brands and products currently on our shelves are considered safe.

If you have purchased any of the recalled items, you should discontinue use immediately. We recommend you contact your vet if you have any concerns that your pet may have been affected. Symptoms may include:

  1. Vomiting (this is usually the first sign)
  2. Refusal to eat
  3. Fatigue
  4. Abnormal increase in water consumption
  5. Abnormal increase in urination

If you're interested in finding out more about what kinds of tests vets recommend to make a diagnosis, click here.

Additionally, if you are looking for a recommendation for your unique pet food needs, please visit our Smart Nutrition Selector on our website. Or, if you need additional assistance while in the store, feel free to ask an associate. If you know of any other pet parents that are in search of more information, please share this with them.

If you have food that is a part of the recall, you can bring it back to PetSmart for a complete refund. Or, we'll exchange your items with any dry food or alternative canned or foiled pouched wet foods that we have in stock.

Please remember, this recall affects only specific wet pet food items. All dry pet food and treats are not impacted by this recall.

We also encourage customers with concerns or questions to contact any of the companies listed below:

Authority – 1-866-738-7375
Award – 1-866-738-7375
Eukanuba – 1-800-882-1591 (
Grreat Choice – 1-866-738-7375
Hills/Science Diet – 1-800-445-5777 (
Iams – 1-800-882-1591 (
Menu Foods – 1-866-463-6738 (
Mighty Dog – 1-800-778-7462 (
Mixables – 1-303-768-8400 (
Nutro – 1-800-833-5330 (
Sophisticat – 1-866-738-7375

At PetSmart, we're very concerned pet parents too, and we will do everything in our power to help. Please visit for the most up-to-date information. If you have any additional questions about the Menu Foods recall, please call our Customer Service line at 1-866-738-7375.


Philip L. Francis
Chairman & CEO, PetSmart, Inc.

What a mess.

Monday, March 19, 2007


If you are a dog or cat owner, please stop and read this important dog food/cat food recall announcement.

Dogs and cats are dying from this. Don't let this happen to your animal because you didn't take a few seconds to read on!

Here's the AP article that came out Saturday:

Dog, Cat Food Recalled After Pet Deaths

Saturday March 17, 7:32 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — A major manufacturer of pet foods sold throughout North America under dozens of store names is recalling millions of containers of its products while working to determine what caused kidney failure and some deaths of cats and dogs.

Menu Foods said Saturday it is recalling dog food sold under 46 brands and cat food sold under 37 brands and distributed throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. The pet foods were sold by major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Kroger and Safeway.

A complete list of the recalled products along with product codes, descriptions and production dates is available from the Menu Foods website, . Consumers with questions can also call (866) 895-2708.

"At this juncture, we're not 100 percent sure what's happened," said Paul Henderson, the company's president and chief executive officer. However, the recalled products were made using wheat gluten purchased from a new supplier, since dropped for another source, spokeswoman Sarah Tuite said. Wheat gluten is a source of protein.

An unknown number of cats and dogs suffered kidney failure and about 10 died after eating the affected pet food, Menu Foods said in announcing the North American recall. Product testing has not revealed a link explaining the reported cases of illness and death, the company said.

The recall covers the company's "cuts and gravy" style food, which consists of chunks of meat in gravy, sold in cans and small foil pouches between Dec. 3 and March 6.

The pet food was sold by stores operated by the Kroger Co., Safeway Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and PetSmart Inc., among others, Henderson said.

The company said it makes pet food for 17 of the top 20 North American retailers. It is also a contract manufacturer for the top branded pet food companies, including Procter & Gamble Co.

P&G announced Friday the recall of specific 3 oz., 5.5 oz., 6 oz. and 13.2 oz. canned and 3 oz. and 5.3 oz. foil pouch cat and dog wet food products made by Menu Foods but sold under the Iams and Eukanuba brands. The recalled products bear the code dates of 6339 through 7073 followed by the plant code 4197, P&G said.

Menu Foods' three U.S. and one Canadian factory produce more than 1 billion containers of wet pet food a year. The recall covers pet food made at company plants in Emporia, Kan., and Pennsauken, N.J., Henderson said.

Henderson said the company received an undisclosed number of owner complaints of vomiting and kidney failure in dogs and cats after they had been fed its products. It has tested its products but not found a cause for the sickness.

"To date, the tests have not indicated any problems with the product," Henderson said.

The company alerted the Food and Drug Administration, which already has inspectors in one of the two plants, Henderson said.

Menu Foods is majority owned by the Menu Foods Income Fund, based in Ontario, Canada.

Henderson said the recall would cost the company the Canadian equivalent of $26 million to $34 million.


Friday, March 9, 2007

Breed Booths

One of my favorite parts of this show is that there are breed booths where you can get lots of information on a wide variety of breeds. Here are just a few from the 2007 show:

Cornish Rex

I think the coolest part of the breed booths is that you can actually touch the cats -- not necessarily true of other cats in the show. And you can ask any dumb question you want. People who opt to do a breed booth really do want to educate you!

Friday, March 2, 2007

More Exhibitors

We looooooove our exhibitors!

Yep. That's a Turkish Angora. Nope. They're not always white. Surprise!

One of the hardest working fund raisers in CFA's Midwest Region, Beth Cassely, and a couple of her lovely Tonkinese.

Club member and entry clerk, Stan, with his beautiful Russian Blue.

Why is this woman smiling? Because her Havana Brown boy just became a Grand Champion!

Here's the usual good stuff:

Thursday, March 1, 2007

We Get Publicity!

This article just appeared in The Reporter, with the following text:
The Lincoln State Cat Club attracted many a feline lover to its cat show held last weekend at the Community Pavilion, 9401 Oak Park Avenue in Oak Lawn. Vendors sold pet items, pet shelters provided information, cat enthusiasts showcased specific breeds and cat owners entered their felines in judged competitions during the event.

Elle Harper, 3, of Chicago's Mount Greenwood community, gets close and comfy with Doofus, a friendly 3-year-old hairless Majikmoon Sphynx, top.

Barbara Klesman, of Orland Park, shows off 3-year-old Sophie, one of three Seal Point Siamese cats she brought to the show, above left.

Norm Auspitz examines 5-month-old Yanni, a golden Aussie, before awarding prizes to a field of competing cats, above right.
Sometimes the reporters don't know a lot about the subject they're writing about (not at all uncommon when they have to cover a cat show). That "golden Aussie"? It's really an Ocicat, and from the looks of him, the color is actually "tawny," not golden.

That's okay. It's the pictures that get the attention, after all. A big, big "Thank You!" to the Maura Vizza and the rest good folks at The Reporter.

(News content published by The Reporter. Copyright 2007)

Monday, February 26, 2007


A brown patched tabby and white American Shorthair and her owner. (Patched tabbies are always girls!)

How can you not fall in love with this gorgeous longhaired Scottish Fold?

Yes -- Maine Coons are immense... and so is their popularity!

Don't forget to visit this week's Carnival of the Cats at Scribblings!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Coming Events!

Here's some really good stuff:
Just go there!

There's More Than Just Judging...

Our education ring had tons of speakers, including one by this club member, an attorney, who spoke about the laws regarding pets and their owners in the State of Illinois.

Our vendors have the coolest toys...

... and other goodies for cats and for their human pets, too!

Want to learn more about the different breeds recognized by CFA? Stop and visit our breed booths. These folks are here because they really do want to answer your questions!

The newest and most fun event at the show? Feline agility. It's fun to watch... and it's even more fun to do. (I know. I tried it with my friend's HHP. You wouldn't believe how fast that cat picked it up!) Yes, it's just like agility for dogs... only on a much smaller scale.