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Archive for December, 2010

Who invented kitty litter?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-pee1There are lots of types of kitty litter,crystal, clumping, scented or unscented. There are so many choices that are available today, that it takes a little while to choose.  In the old days, cats used wooden boxes filled with sand, sawdust or ashes.  This was the case until 1947 when a man whose family sold industrial absorbents gave a batch of clay pellets to a woman in Michigan. The women was tired of her cat tracking her sooty paw prints around and wanted a cleaner alternative. She and her cat loved the clay pellets and kept coming back for more.  The man, Ed Low kept bagging the stuff and kept on selling it.  In 1964, Mr. Low founded the Tidy Cats brand. That’s the history of kitty litter. Now who invented litter liners and all of the other cat accessories? A story for another time.

Wow, what a cat nap!

Monday, December 6, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cats-in-bedSometimes I wonder why my cats sleep sooooo much. When I’m at home, they spent most of the day curled up in their favorite spot fast asleep. I ask myself, is it the company? Am I that boring??

The amount of time a cat sleeps depends on it’s age and personality. Cats spend an average of 13 to 16 hours sleeping daily.  Did you know that only the Opossum and the Bat sleeps more? They nap nearly 20 hours a day!  Nobody is really sure why cats sleep so much. They’ve evolved from a long line of hunters and predators. Their sleep patterns reflect that. Cats are crepuscular which means that they are most active at dusk and dawn.

So don’t worry if your cat spends most of his day snuggled up in his cat bed.  Don’t you wish you had the opportunity to sleep even half as much?

dog-australianIf you are familiar with the Australian Cattle dog, then this dog is very familiar.  The Australian Stumpy Tailed Cattle dog was recognized as a breed about 50 years before the regular Australian Cattle dog .  The Stumpy tailed was originally used for herding cattle and helping ranchers.  These dogs don’t have long nails and they are born with very short tails. They don’t have the tan points on the legs,  face and belly  that are found on the Australian Cattle Dog. They don’t have a blotch on their forehead that is also found on the regular Australian Cattle Dog.

These dogs are energetic,  free spirited, obedient and alert.  This dog becomes bored easily which could lead to serious behavior problems.  They are not the type of dog that can sit around the house or chained to a tree in the back yard. They need a firm and consistent pack leader who will give them rules to follow and limitations on what they could and could not do.

These dogs are not recommended for apartments. They should have a very large yard to run around in.  Exercise is the most important.  If they don’t get enough exercise, they will become destructive.  Give them lots of dog toys to play with and play with them very often!

Keeping your christmas tree pet safe

Saturday, December 4, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-treeWell, today’s the day that I’m putting up my Christmas tree. I have two cats who are used to the tree by now but there are still some precautions that I need to take. I have an artificial tree so I don’t have to worry about my cats chewing on the branches. I’ve written about a very bad experience that I had many years ago when I used to put tinsel on the tree. My cat at the time ate the tinsel and almost died. First rule of thumb, if you have a cat or dog, do not use tinsel. They will chew on it and it will get stuck in their intestines. Instead,  use garland.  Second, place glass and expensive ornaments in the middle or top of the tree. My cats like to swat the ornaments. This could be dangerous if they knock them off the tree and break. The glass could harm but you and your pet. I put the inexpensive plastic ornaments near the bottom of the tree.

If you have a live tree, try to lure your pets away from it by having cat or dog treats on hand to distract them from chewing on the needles. The needles could get lodged in your pets throat.  Place decorations such as holly,  poinsettias and mistletoe in high sections.  The berries from mistletoe could cause your pets blood pressure to drop.

Remove strings and ribbons from presents under the tree. Your pets may think that they are toys. These items can cause your pet to choke.

Never use chocolate ornaments!

If you pet is a chewer, tape the electrical cords.

Happy tree trimming and enjoy the holiday!

Presidential Pets

Friday, December 3, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

boThere are many anecdotes about all of the famous first pets in our nations history.  Hundreds of animals have called the White House home.  The first Siamese cat to come to the United States was actually a gift that was given to President Rutherford B. Hayes.  Caroline Kennedy had a mixed breed dog named Pushinka that was given to her by the head of the Soviet Union.  Can you remember the picture of President Reagan being dragged across the White House lawn by a large Bouvier?  Dogs have always been very popular with first families.  There were some presidents that had a more obscure taste in pets.  Thomas Jefferson had mockingbirds.  Calvin Coolidge kept a hippo and Teddy Roosevelt had a hyena, a squirrel and a parrot.  Dogs of course were always the favorite. I wonder how much they spent on all of their dog toys, treats and accessories!

Fussing of our cats

Thursday, December 2, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-with-green-frog-headDid you know that cats have been people’s companions for over 4000 years?  Cats were revered by the early Egyptians.  Legend has it that the death penalty was imposed on anyone that killed them. Before cats became pets, they were used to chase rodents that threatened the food supply. Cats came with the colonists to the new world to keep the mice away from their grain. Today, we keep cats for their companionship. Many of us are happy adopting a kitten from a local shelter but some people will pay thousands of dollars for a special breed of cat. So we pamper our cats with treats and toys and in return, they will give us lots of love and companionship for many years.

Famous cat lovers and haters

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cute-cats-in-bedMany people feel very strongly about cats.  Did you know that William Shakespeare referred to cats about 40 times in his plays?  He was not particularly nice.  In fact, he even called cats “vile.” Unfortunately, his audience agreed.  Back in the days of Shakespeare, people linked cats to witches.  President Eisenhower disliked cats also and stayed away from them as much as possible.

Abraham Lincoln and the Italian dictator Mussolini loved and cherished cats as did author Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway like cats so much that he had 34 of them!  You can still find descendants of these cats at his former home. These cats are unique in that they have an extra toe.

This author is a cat lover and I have two of them. I pamper them with cat treats and cat toys and always give mine lots of love.