Friday, 28 March 2008

Hurricane Cats

Copyright 2005, Michael LaRocca

You like cats, don't you?

Some people don't like cats.

Daddy doesn't like cats. Daddy's best friend, Bill Ball, loves his cats. Their names are Clipper and Keebles.

Clipper and Keebles are large cats, longhaired blurs of gray, ginger, white, brown, and maybe something else. Whenever Daddy visits Bill Ball, they sit on the porch and drink beer. (The humans, not the cats.) A cat always sits on Daddy's lap, purring, and Daddy rubs him.

But remember, Daddy doesn't like cats.

Daddy is 6'4" and around 280 pounds. Bill Ball is 5'9" and 180 pounds, I'd guess. He's about ten years younger than Daddy, and his beard is maybe a foot long. He raises cows. If you saw Daddy and Bill Ball together, you'd never guess you were looking at two millionaires. They like it that way.

When they went to their first Wild Turkey Federation Auction, together of course, Daddy wondered about the dress code. Suit and tie? He sure didn't want to wear a suit and tie.

"I tell ya, Jim," said Bill. "The last time I wore a tie was in 1964. It was about a foot wide, and it said George Wallace For President."

They wore jeans and T-shirts. They were correct to do so.

But remember, Bill loves his cats.

These cats are rather large, slug-like creatures. But one of them, probably Clipper, is quicker than he looks. The cat (Clipper?) once caught a hummingbird in his mouth. Bill yelled and ran over to Clipper and slapped him on the back. Clipper coughed up a single feather, just like in an old cartoon.

One evening, Daddy was patrolling his property. He saw two Mexicans on foot, trespassing. He grabbed his gun and fired at them, then chased them around in his truck shooting and cussing like only he can. They finally escaped through the woods where a truck can't follow.

The next day, Daddy was visiting Bill Ball. One of the cats purred peacefully on Daddy's lap.

"Jim," Bill drawled, "A funny thing happened last night. I was settin' out here on the porch, and these two Mexicans come runnin' outta the woods. They were scared to death, I tell ya, like they'd seen a ghost. I asked ‘em what was wrong, and they slowed down just long enough to yell at me, ‘El Diablo is after us. El Diablo is comin' to get us.'"

El Diablo is Spanish for "the devil."

Daddy smiled. "Was it around nine o'clock?"

"Well yeah, Jim, I believe it was."

Daddy laughed. "You're lookin' at El Diablo. I chased those Mexicans off my land."

"Well hell, Jim, if I'd a known they was yours I'd a sent ‘em back."

But remember, Bill Ball loves his cats.

Hurricane Floyd, the fifth and final one I saw in Watha (North Carolina), was the worst. It came on the heels of Hurricane Dennis, a rather weak one that hit us twice. The land was already flooded and the river was seeping over the banks. Then came Floyd. Not only was it destructive, but it hovered a while, raining and raining.

Bill Ball lives half a mile from the river, which was higher than anyone remembered it being before. When the road was under water, he crossed it to get his cats. He left them on the porch, where they stayed for a while. Then they went under the house, a favorite spot, and he forgot about them.

Hours passed, and the river kept rising. Nobody in the area had power at this point, and there was quite a bit of property damage. Meanwhile, the rains kept coming. Bill and his wife were sitting in the house, waiting it out by candlelight, when they heard an awful howling. It wasn't the wind. It sounded terrible. It was coming from beneath the floor.

"The cats!"

Bill ran outside. The water came up to his waist, maybe higher. He waded over to a place where a pipe led from somewhere outside to beneath the house. He pulled aside the plastic and insulation that blocked the hole, but both cats were too large to fit through it. He rescued a third cat, whose name I don't know.

Bill rushed into the house, now thoroughly soaked. The screaming was terrible. Clipper and Keebles had maybe an inch of air, and the water was still rising. These were the screams of two cats who were drowning.

"Oh God, Bill, do something quick! Do something!"

Bill looked at his floor. His gorgeous, polished hardwood floor. It had his initials burned into it with a circle around them, I think. I never saw it myself, but I heard that it was a real work of art. He was so proud of that floor.

"Well," he decided, "It's probably ruined anyway."

Bill got his chainsaw and cut a hole in the floor to save his drowning cats.

I told you, Bill Ball loves his cats.

About the Author

Michael publishes a free weekly newsletter, WHO MOVED MY RICE?, which is dedicated to proving that you can't eat grits with chopsticks.

"How to Teach YOUR Cat to Use a Litter Box - Secrets to Litt

Even the most dedicated cat lover has little patience with a cat that doesn't use its litter box. Yet, patience is the key to creating litter box success. A positive introduction when young, and simple housekeeping on your part will solve most problems.

Most cats instinctively use the litter box. However if you see your kitten crouching or sniffing in a corner lift her and place her in a litter tray - this is a sign of oncoming urination. If your kitten is not using the litter box you should place her in the box every morning.

It is important for your cat to be able to easily access the litter box. If you have a large home, put litter boxes in more than one place. If your house has many levels, make sure each floor is equipped with a litter box. As in real estate, location is crucial to your cat successfully using the litter box. The best spot offers your cat a certain amount of privacy, but not so out of the way that you forget to clean it. Some people put the litter box in a seldom-used closet. Be sure, however, to use a hard-rubber stop to keep the door, or install a pet door so your cat can go in and out whenever she wants.

If you need to move a litter tray you should move it by only a few feet at a time. If the cat stops using it you have probably moved it too far.

If your cat doesn't use her litter box study the situation carefully for the reason(s) why.

Some cats will avoid a "dirty" litter box. Scoop out feces and wet litter daily. Completely empty and replace the litter at least once a week. Don't be too generous with the litter; most cats prefer a shallow layer of about two inches.

If you have more than one cat, you need more than one litter box. Cats are very particular and won't eliminate in a "used" litter box. The general rule of thumb is to have one litter box per cat.

Location, location, location; sudden noises, or lack of privacy can scare a cat from using a litter box. Try moving it to a different spot.

Never punish your cat for having an accident. She won't make the connection unless you catch her in the act. Even then, punishment only creates fear of you, not a desire to change behavior. Use an enzyme-based cleaner to remove the smell of the accident. This will help prevent future soiling in that spot as the smell of urine will make the cat think its OK to go there.

If you notice that accidents happen in the same place over and over, try putting a litter box there. Perhaps your cat prefers this spot for reasons you'll never understand. If accidents tend to happen when your cat has free run of the house or while you are away, keep her confined to one room until you can watch her. Be sure to provide food, water, and that all-important litter box in whatever room you place her in. If your cat uses the litter box successfully for several years, then begins to have accidents, have your veterinarian examine her for a possible urinary tract or kidney infection.

About the Author

Pet Medication Supplies can help you get the best possible supplies for your pet. Advantix, Arthramine, Cosequin, Frontline, Heartgard - find the best deals in pet medication for flea and tick control, arthritis and lyme disease. Upto 50% discount everyday on brand names.

How To Stop Your Cat Spraying

The cat backs up to the door, lifts the tail and releases a fine spray of urine. Yes, your cat is spraying. You have a problem. But one you can solve.

Figures from the British Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors say that aggression in dogs and marking behavior in cats are the biggest behavior problems in the UK pet population.

Spraying is marking behavior, not a litter box problem. Sprayed cat urine contains pheromones, a substance that animals use to communicate. Combinations of pheromones work like fingerprints: they identify the cat.

A spraying cat marks his or her territory with cat urine. It simply says: ‘This is mine’. You may not like it, but getting angry doesn’t help. It may even have an opposite effect: more spraying.

Cats in heat are attracted by the odor of cat urine. For them, spraying is something like an invitation to love. The results may be there in 65 days: a nest of cute little kittens.

Cats do not only spray during sexual encounters. Some also do it during conflicts with other felines, or when they are stressed.

For people the scent is far from pleasant. Thankfully most cats spray outside. But what if you have a cat spraying inside? Do something about it! And yes, that is possible.

The most radical and effective thing you can do is neutering or spaying your cat. Most castrated toms stopped spraying from the day they were operated.

But maybe you have a reason not to neuter your cat. In that case try to find out why your cat sprays.

Maybe it sprays only when it sees another cat. Solution: block the view. Or it sprays because of a conflict with another pet. Keep them separated and problems might be over.

If you don’t know why your cat sprays, discuss it with your veterinarian. Chances are he will advice you to spay or neuter. But your vet can also check if there is a medical problem.

Anyway, do not leave this problem unsolved. Cat urine odor and stains can make your home a very uncomfortable place, and your cat will still remain a cat even when it doesn’t spray anymore.

About the Author

Journalist, web site builder and cat lover Marc de Jong is the owner and editor of, a site about cat pregnancy, kitten care, cat health and other cat related subjects.

"How To Know What Your Cat Wants When It Talks To You - Cat

Many people think cats are asocial, but in fact they are very social animals. They bond with other cats in their house or neighborhood, their owners, even other pets like dogs and birds. They communicate to each other and us a variety of ways.

A keen sense of smell is important in cat communication. When her human returns home, a cat carefully sniffs then proceeds to rub her face against the owner's legs. She is placing her scent on you, marking you as her territory. As you have gone through your day, scent molecules have attached to your clothing. Your cat must mark you again to cover up those other smells.

Cats also communicate through body language. Your cat's posture, gestures, facial expressions, tail, ear and whisker position can all be aan indication of how your cat is feeling.

A bristling tail held straight up, or one that thrashes back and forth are warnings. If a cat is feeling defensive, the tail is usually arched. Hissing and backing away with ears flat against the head are other defensive poses. You can tell a lot about a cat's state of being from its eyes. Wide, dilated eyes communicate anger or fear. A contented cat slowly blinks its eyes, or keeps them half-closed.

There are probably many more movements that send signals, but they are so subtle, only another cat can notice and interpret them. This explains why cats seem to "read one another's minds." Two cats might gaze at each other without moving for a very long time, then suddenly erupt into action. What was the signal? A twitch of lip, lift of a lip, tilt of the head? Only the cats know.

Did You know there are at least nineteen different types of "miaow"?

When it comes to sound, cats say more than meow. Their vocalizations fall into three groups, murmurs, open/closed mouth and intensity sounds. Murmured sounds include the low sound cats make when treats are coming, as well as the famous purr. Purring is usually interpreted as a sound of contentment, but it is really more a vocalization of intense emotion. In fact, an injured cat, or one being handled by a stranger - like a vet - often purr.

Open/closed mouth vocalizations include all the variations and intonations of "meow" that a cat uses to greet you, or ask for food, or otherwise demand attention. Intensity vocalizations are created when the cat holds her mouth open the entire time she is making sound. These are the highly emotional vocalization of fear, anger, and extreme pain.

Some cats are more talkative than others. Many owners notice a difference in the types of noises their cats make for them as opposed to strangers or other cats. A few owners believe their cats have learned to mimic the syntax and pitch of some human words. Whether that is true or not, it is certain that the more time you spend with your cat, the more she'll communicate with you.

About the Author

Pet Medication Supplies can help you get the best possible pet health supplies. Advantix, Arthramine, Cosequin, Frontline, Heartgard - find the best deals in pet medication for flea and tick control, arthritis and lyme disease. Upto 50% discount everyday on brand names.

Flea Control For Cats And Dogs

As a pet owner I'm sure you'd be frustrated at the sight of your pet scratching and suffering from fleas. If you look into the veterinary arsenal you will see that there are a number of products that help you fight the war against fleas. Of all these products, nothing kills fleas faster than Advantage which is a topical solution containing imidacloprid. As in the popular commercials with the singing pets, Advantage keeps your dog or cat flea free and therefore happy. In fact, because Advantage kills fleas so well, it has been referred to as the flea specialist.

Advantage should be THE weapon of choice for all pet owners in the battle against fleas. Veterinarians and pet owners alike trust Advantage, and in turn have made it the most preferred flea control product in the United States, for one reason and one reason only, it kills fleas fast.

Advantage has the label claim that it kills 98-100 percent of fleas within 12 hours. Advantage also kills 100 per cent of re-infesting fleas within two hours. Advantage destroys the nerves and muscles of the flea within 10 to 25 minutes and within the hour all the fleas will be dead. Advantage is a topical solution which localizes the lipid layer of skin on the animal where it remains effective even after bathing or repeated water exposure.

Fleas only need to come into contact with Advantage to receive a lethal dose of the product, it does not have to bite your pet. Advantage may also help to reduce hypersensitivity skin disorders, also known as flea allergy dermatitis.

Advantage is used worldwide totalling more than 150 million doses. Advantage is the most proven flea control product available. Advantage is also a gentle product and can therefore be used on puppies as young as seven weeks and kittens as young as eight weeks.

Advantage is the number one flea control product and is recommended by veterinarians, pet owners recommend to family and friends. Given all these benefits, Advantage is the most recognized flea control product available on the market today. Advantage is manufactured by Bayer, a name known to consumers for some 100 years.

About the Author

If you have a pet related web site and you wish to reproduce the above article you are welcome to do so, provided the article is reproduced in its entirety, including this live link to: 1 Flea Control

Five Cat Food Factors That Discourage Feline UTD

One of the most common causes of Feline Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is what your cat eats. A feline diet that is too high in carbohydrates and magnesium, and low in protein can lead to FLUTD. When their cat is initially diagnosed with FLUTD, feline owners will usually first try to get their kitty to eat the prescription food recommended by their vet.

But what if the cat rejects their offering? As an alternative, there are specific, non-prescription cat foods available to maintain your cat's urine pH balance at 6.6. A high urine pH value indicates struvite crystal formation in your cat's urinary tract. The challenge is to find the right cat food that appeals to kitty, contains the proper amount of protein and magnesium, and has few or no by-products.

If you turn out to be one of those owners who has to find an alternative cat food, then here's five things to evaluate when selecting cat food to prevent future FLUTD occurrences in your kitty:

1. What's the Most Common Ingredient?

The first and most common ingredient that should be listed is protein - meat or fish. Read the label carefully - here's some variations you could see:

Canned cat food:

Chicken Liver
Deboned Chicken
Beef Broth

Dry cat food:

Organic Chicken
Herring Meal
Chicken Meal

Some other good ingredients that will help your kitty maintain good urinary tract health are blueberries and cranberries. Vegetables such as carrots are good, and rice is a good grain
for your kitty to consume.

2. Are There Any By-Products?

Are by-products listed as one of the ingredients? If so, put that food back on the shelf and keep looking. By-products are filler material, and have limited nutritional value for your kitty. By-products are typically carbohydrates, and since cats are carnivores, they need protein, not carbs, for proper nutrition.

Here are some examples of by-products:

Canned cat food:

Corn gluten meal
Ground yellow corn
Soybean meal
Beef By-Products
Meat By-Products

Dry cat food:

Ground Yellow Corn
Chicken By-Product Meal
Corn Gluten Meal
Wheat flour
Corn Meal
Soy flour

3. How Much Moisture Is In the Cat Food?

What's the percentage of moisture in the cat food you're evaluating? The higher the number, the better for your kitty. More moisture means your cat will urinate more. Increased urination will flush out any crystals that may be trying to form in your cat's urinary tract. Canned cat food has a higher moisture content than dry.

4. How Much Magnesium Does the Cat Food Contain?

An excess of magnesium will contribute to struvite crystal formation (FLUTD). Some magnesium is necessary, but generally look for cat food that has a maximum of 0.025% magnesium to prevent struvite crystals.

5. Does the Cat Food Contain DL-Methionine?

DL-Methionine is an amino acid with sulfur, which helps regulate ammonia formation in urine. This amino acid helps maintain your cat's urine pH balance around 6.6, which is normal and does not encourage crystal formation.

And...since cats are cats (which means they are in charge!), be aware that what you select for them may not be what they want to eat, if they don't like the taste. If this happens, you'll need to start over again until you find a wholesome, nutritious cat food that merits two paws up from your feline!

Keep these five factors in mind when shopping for cat food to maintain your kitty's urinary tract and prevent FLUTD.

And remember, when you're considering changing your cat's diet, consult with your vet. She or he will give you expert guidance and information to make the transition easier for you and your kitty.

Copyright © 2005 Nancy E. Wigal

About Nancy: Nancy has successfully eliminated cat urine odor from her home, and kept the kitty that caused it. The Cat Urine Odor Advisor helps you save money and stop the damage in your household by offering solutions that work together to eliminate cat urine odor from your home. Subscribe to the Cat Urine Odor Solutions newsletter, and I'll send you my free report "Four Important Litter Box Basics For Your New Kitten." Start your new addition to the family off right, and never have a cat urine odor problem! Web site:; Blog:; RSS feed:

Does the world need more cats?

Aren’t they cute? Yes, they are! A nest of meowing and crawling little kittens leaves only the fiercest cat hater indifferent. But does the world need more cats?

A cat is the second most popular pet in the world. People love them for all kinds of reasons. Cats are social, but still have a will of their own. They have sweet faces and love to be hugged, but at the same time they are predators that don’t mind about killing a bird.

In short, cats are fascinating animals. The world would be a boring place without them.

Fact: the world needs cats. But how many?

According to recent figures, in the US alone over two million cats are being put to death each year in animal shelters because there are no homes for them.

That’s shocking. And you can’t blame the animal shelters for that. They do their best, within the limits of their budget. There are just not enough people that want to take care of these cats.

So if you have a pet cat, there is no need for you to breed. Don’t worry, cats will never become scarce. Professional breeders will always be happy to meet the needs of real cat lovers.

Fact: the world does not need MORE cats. But how can you prevent new litters?

Simple. Get your cat castrated or spayed.

The answer may seem obvious, but still many people don’t have their pet neutered. Some believe it is too expensive, or they think it will harm their cat. Or people just don’t know how easy cats make babies.

But neutering is not as expensive as raising kittens. And although it may change your cat’s behavior a little, there is no real harm done. Cats will only become more loving.

Fact: neutering is the solution. But what if your cat gets pregnant before getting spayed?

It happens. You left the door open for a minute, Molly went out, met Tom and returned with 65 days of cat gestation ahead.

Now you have a responsible task. Take care of your pregnant queen as good as you can. Get the right advice about what to expect the coming months.

Love your kittens. Make sure they get a good home once they are old enough. Because a nest of meowing and crawling little kittens leaves only the fiercest cat hater indifferent.

About the Author

Journalist and long-time cat lover Marc de Jong runs an acclaimed web site on cats and is the author of the book How To Take Care Of Your Pregnant Cat, available through The book is filled with insider tips and tells you how your cat can deliver and raise a healthy litter.