Weekend Chores

Pierre: There are weekend chores ahead, I just know it, and I’m warming up so that I can help with all of them.

This is how I help make the bed.

pierre interferes with the fitted sheet

Do you help with chores at your house, too?

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Help Overweight Cats with Healthy Dieting

No one likes hearing their cat is fat. One of the things I learned recently while in a room full of veterinarians is that they dread having to tell you that your cat is overweight, too. But cat obesity is on the rise. A 1970s study found 6.5 – 12% of cats were overweight, while more recent studies report 40 to as many as 67% of cats are tipping the scales farther than they should. No wonder vets dread having to tell you your cat is overweight. They’ve had to deliver that news far too often recently.

Cats are considered overweight when they are more than 10-20% over their ideal body weight. In a cat who should ideally be 8 lbs, anything over 9.6 lbs is overweight. We’re looking at you, Ashton!

Being overweight brings health hazards you want to avoid for your cat, such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Some abdominal cancers

Any human who has decided to diet knows that the principle of weight loss is simple: more exercise, less calories. Anyone who has tried their own diet also knows it’s never that simple.

First of all, see your vet before putting your cat on a diet on your own accord. Cats who do not eat, or who eat extremely little, can develop hepatic lipidosis, which is life-threatening. You need to be sure that you’re not restricting their calories too much, and your vet can help you figure out what a good goal weight. For obesee cats, this might be a weight higher than an ideal cat for a cat their size and frame. From that, you and your vet can agree on the daily calories for your cat.

The basic daily calories are calculated by determining the cat’s resting calorie requirement at their ideal weight.  The resting energy requirement formula is:

[70 x (ideal weight in kg)]3/4

This formula is an estimate of how many calories your cat needs to hang out around the house all day but doesn’t include any exercise. Your vet will help you calculate how many less calories than this are necessary for safe weight loss for your kitty.

Avoiding the Things that Make Cat Diets Fail

Ashton and the cheez ballYou may have fallen off of the diet wagon in the past, so you know that diets can fail to produce the hoped-for results. Did you hope that the chocolate cupcake after midnight didn’t count? Unfortunately, it did. For your kitty, cat treats count. So do whatever they mooch from you while you’re eating your dinner. so does that cheez doodle your cat grabbed while you were packing your lunch. With a much smaller calorie intake necessary than ours, your cat’s cheating on their diet can cause it to fail without your realizing they are eating very much extra food.

Hungry cats can be whiny cats. If your cat learns you will shake “just a little” extra kibble into their bag when they give you that forlorn expression and meow, your kitty has won, and the diet has lost. Using an automated feeder may help cut down on the begging between feeding times because you aren’t seen as the bringer of the food.

Pierre_Ashton_gonna_eat_that_xswmLHaving multiple cats in the house hold can present special challenges. The cat with a higher metabolism who isn’t prone to obesity may take longer to eat their larger portion and be bullied away from their bowl by the dieting cat, who seems to spend all of their time asking, “Are you gonna finish that?” Feeding in separate rooms or putting the non-dieting cat’s food in an inaccessible location can help. You can put the food up high in a location that the heavy cat can’t reach by jumping but the skinny cat can. You can even set up a cat door between rooms in your house that recognizes individual cats either by a collar tag or their microchip to only allow access to the non-dieting cat.

Finally, some cats are just couch potatoes. (Looking at you again, Ashton!) It’s time for your cat to get a little more exercise! As little as ten minutes of play a day chasing the laser pointer, a feather wand, or other favorite toy can make a big difference in your cat’s weight loss.

Talk to Your Vet

Every cat is unique, and their metabolisms aren’t all the same, either. The diet that your friend’s cat’s vet recommended for his cat isn’t necessarily the right thing for yours.  Calculating the resting energy requirement for a given weight is no substitute for a visit to your vet to discuss healthy diet options for your cat. So pay your vet a visit and be ready to have a chat about your cat being overweight. Your vet will appreciate how proactive you are, and your cat can be healthier and happier.


International Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine, Prevalence and Risk factors for Obesity in Adult Cats from Private US Veterinary Practices
Preventative Veterinary Medicine,  A cross-sectional study to compare changes in the prevalence and risk factors for feline obesity between 1993 and 2007 in New Zealand

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Whose Chicken Emporium?

Ashton: There’s so much I am going to need to pay for my chicken emporium: There’s rent, chicken, chicken, and chicken! Good thing I found some coins under the sofa cushions. I’m not sure if it’s going to be enough for very much chicken, though.

Ashton counts coinsNewton: Don’t worry, Ash. I’m here to help you achieve your dream. I’m a venture cat-italist. 

Newton_money_wmAshton: What’s a venture cat-italist? I’ve never heard of that before.

Newton: It’s  someone who invests in promising new companies like yours when they are small and just getting started.

Ashton: Oh! That sounds like what I need.

Newton: I understand you are just starting out and can’t repay me immediately. So instead, why don’t you give me a percentage of the chicken emporium? Let’s say 51%? *wink*

Newton_money_wink_wmAshton: Let me think about it, Newton. This is a really big decision.

Ashton thinks about Newton's name on her businessAshton: What do you think? Should I let Newton have own part of my chicken emporium?

If you missed them, catch up on all of Ashton’s chicken capers.

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A Big Surprise in the Mail

Newton: An unexpected surprise came in the mail for us the other day… a lovely thank-you gift from our friends at Chewy.com in the form of a set of amazing  portraits of us. Of course, mine is the handsomest of the portraits, by far.

Painting thank-you gift from chewy.comAshton: Well, mine isn’t handsome because I’m a girl and I’m beautiful, not handsome. But look at this! It’s amazing. Lauren Hammack from Off the Wall Paintings did a fabulous job of capturing my wink.

chewy_paintings_ashton_wmPierre: This painting is actually of the head peep’s favorite photo of me. We’re sure that neither Chewy nor Miss Lauren could have known that, but it’s extra-special that the image of me was made from that photo of me inside the paper bag.

Chewy_paintings_pierre02_wmA big thank you to Chewy.com for the big surprise, and to Lauren Hammack for taking their commission and doing such a beautiful job with the portraits. We absolutely love them!

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Pierre: Just like wild cats, little cats like me have coat patterns for camouflage. Big cats who live in dense habitats like trees that cast fragmented shadows on them are likely to have irregular or complex patterns that blend in with the shadows of the branches moving above them.

And little cats like me who live where the light and shadows are more likely to be elongated… well, I blend right in, don’t I?

Pierre's stripes correspond to the sunbeams falling across him

I hope so. I would hate for Newton to find me and interrupt my nap.

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We’re Interviewed on Mousebreath!

Pierre: Check it out! We’re a featured interview on Mousebreath!

Pierre reads Mousebreath on tablet

This was really exciting because no one has ever interviewed us before, and the Funny Farmer Felines, had such great questions. We really enjoyed getting to share a little more about ourselves than you might have known before.

FeaturedThanks so much to  Cyndi, Percy, Cameron, Rusty, and Micah from Jan’s Funny Farm for asking us for the interview and for sharing our answers with all of you!

Hop on over to Mousebreath to check out our interview.

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NAVC Conference Highlights

You know that your veterinarian trained when he or she was getting a degree, but what happens after that? How does your vet learn what is new in medicine for your cat? Continuing education is required for vets in most states, though the hours vary from state to state. One of the ways that vets get their continuing education is by going to veterinary conferences and attending seminars, such as the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) conference that just wrapped up in Orlando yesterday.


At the NAVC conference, the 16,000 attending vets had the chance to take classes about a dizzying range of topics, from risk assessment and treatment of feline cardiac patients to the role of anxiety in feline house soiling. There are plenty of courses about other animals, too, from dogs to chinchillas to dolphins to horses. If your vet was one of the 16,000 who attended, they are returning with lots of information they can put to use right away.

Veterinary Products

expo2_wmLike most conferences, NAVC has an accompanying expo. It featured the vast array of products you would imagine, like pharmaceuticals, prescription foods, and medical supplies. It also featured some unexpected things like big trucks converted to create mobile veterinary practices.

Among the thousands of products featured at the expo were not one but two new FeLV/FIV rapid tests, Witness from Zoestis and the Abaxis VetScan. Neither of them require refrigeration, unlike the commonly used SNAP tests, so these could prove to be useful, especially with veterinarians who do outreach work for rescue organizations in locations without ready refrigeration.

Watson for Veterinarians

navc_standup_bear_xswmLIt’s literally impossible for your vet to read every study published in every journal. But a computer can sift through that information, if it’s programmed intelligently. Do you remember IBM Watson, the computer who won on Jeopardy?  IBM has teamed up with the new NAVC/AAHA joint VetFolio site to make Watson’s skill at answering questions work for veterinarians as well as game show audiences.

LifeLearn Sofie is an intelligent treatment support tool that uses Watson’s cognitive computing to assess and interpret vast amounts of data and perform research on demand. When a veterinarian asks it a question in natural language, Sofie will provide focused, evidence-based treatment options. With a tool like this, vets have a lot more resources at their fingertips than they can keep in their heads, just by asking a question. That’s an innovative way to use technology to help meet your cat’s health care needs.

Why This Matters to You

Your vet relies on the latest in knowledge and techniques to help make the best treatment decisions and have the best outcomes for your cat. Continuing education helps your vet be ready to provide better treatment options for your cat and more peace of mind for you.

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Chicken Preparation Rules

Ashton: I’ve got to get working on my chicken emporium. Newton, stop taking up all of my time with the tablet. I need to look up information about chicken.

Ashton thinks about chicken emporiumNewton: Hang on! I’m doing research for you right now.

Ashton: What are you reading about?

Newton: Rules.

Ashton: I’m a cat. I don’t follow rules. I also don’t take turns. Give me the tablet!

Newton researches onlineNewton: It says here that there’s a law that you have to wear a hair net over all of your hair when you work in a foodservice or food preparation area.

Ashton: Over all of my hair?!

Ashton's mouth is open in protest

If you didn’t see them before, you can catch up on all of Ashton’s chicken capers.

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Pierre Catches Air

Pierre: The wand toy teases me to new heights.


I can aaaaaallllmost reach it!


Watch the springs in my paws go. I’m a flying tabby!


*CHOMP* The feather-like taste of success!


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Best Buddy

Newton: Oh, cat tree, you’re my very best friend.

Newton rubs against his beloved cat treeBest friends don’t mind if you drool on them, do they?

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