Cold Snap

The weather this past weekend was in the 40s here. While those of you who have been under a blanket of snow may be laughing that we find it remarkable, Pierre wasn’t laughing at all.

Pierre: Where did the warm days go? The sunbeams? I want the endless summer back.

Pierre under kozy kitty sackPierre: I’m staying right here, under my plush kitty cuddler, until this ice age ends.

Pierre under kozy kitty sack

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What Naughty Lurks

Ashton: He’s back there, isn’t he? He likes to lurk back there and make me nervous.

Ashton with Newton in backgroundNot that having a naughty, orange cat behind me where I can’t see what he’s doing would put me on edge. No, not at all.

Newton with Ashton in foregroundHey you, with the camera, if you would please move to the side, I think I’m going to need to go that direction any moment now, and I need a clear path of escape.

Ashton in foreground, considering retreat

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Outtakes Day

Since Topical Thursday happened on Tuesday this week, we thought it would be fun to share some outtakes today from the photo shoot for yesterday’s blog post.

The whole sequence was going to be shot in our sunroom, but Newton had other ideas and made off with the guest star.

Newton steals pink chickAfter a journey behind and under the sofa, Newton brought his now-dirty prey back out into the open and tried playing with him, only to discover that his new friend was a bit clingy, especially after Newton had drooled on him.

Newton plays with the dirty, pink chickThe result was not a camera-ready chick. (The head peep should thank Newton for cleaning that hair out from under the sofa.)

The remains of the pink chickAnother pink chick was brought out, and the photos that appeared on yesterday’s blog were shot, where Ashton discovered that there are actually human foods she doesn’t like.

While Ashton was having this moment of truth, Newton was having a different kind of moment with the remaining chicks.

Final pink chick victimThe moral of this story is apparently not to leave marshmallow chicks unattended in our house if Newton is awake.

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Ashton’s First Chicks

Ashton: My first chicks arrived in the mail for my chicken emporium, but I think something isn’t right about them. They don’t smell like any other chicken I have eaten before. Do you think it’s because they’re still chicks and not full grown yet?

sniffing the pink chick

I even tried tasting them, and they don’t taste like the chicken I’ve had before. * PTUH * Yuck.

tasting pink chick

They aren’t even any fun to play with. I expected they would at least run. We can’t even get a good game of chase going on here.

pawing the pink chick

Don’t tell Sage, since she was so thoughtful to send these, but having chicks isn’t exactly what I expected. What do you think I should do with them?

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

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Feline Tuberculosis

Every year on March 24th, the world marks World TB Day. While many people are fortunate to only know of tuberculosis only through their required Charles Dickens reading in high school, it’s a disease that impacts humans around the world today… and it infects cats, too.

cats with cattleTuberculosis describes disease where there is a formation of inflammatory nodules, called granulonomas, in the body. Cats are naturally resistant to the organism that causes most tuberculosis in humans, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. However, cats can become infected with tuberculosis with other bacteria, including Mycobacterium microti, which is primarily found in rodents but can be transmitted to cats who hunt them. Cats are also susceptible to another strain of bacteria, Mycobacterium bovis. This infection usually comes from consuming unpasteurized cow’s milk, or from infected animals such as deer, badgers, ferrets, dogs, and other cats.

Most tuberculosis infections of cats have been reported in the UK, but the disease has been seen in cats other places, too.

cat and mouseSymptoms of TB in cats include coughing, wheezing, and/or weight loss. TB can also cause lumps or abscesses in cats, or bite wounds may fail to heal. These clinical signs of infection may look like other infections, so it requires laboratory testing to identify the cause as TB.

Just after last year’s World Tuberculosis Day, Public Health England and Animal Health and Veterinary Agency announced the first documented case of cat-to-human transmission of tuberculosis. Two people in England developed tuberculosis after contact with a cat infected with M. bovis, and two more people were diagnosed with latent tuberculosis, meaning they were exposed to TB at some point but did not have active disease. Although there were infected cattle in the area, there were signs that the cats had been infected by bites from local wildlife or by other cats.

In the US, M. bovis is uncommon in cattle, but it is found in white-tailed deer in northeastern Michigan and northern Minnesota, which has infected cattle herds in the same range. Raccoons and opossums in the area have also tested positive for tuberculosis as a result. Outdoor cats in the area could come into contact with wildlife exposed to TB, so be safe and be sure not to feed cats unpasteurized milk from herds which may be infected.


International Cat Care, Mycobacterial diseases in cats – tuberculosis
Veterinary Record, Feline tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium bovis
The Veterinary Record, Unusual cluster of Mycobacterium bovis infection in cats
Journal of Wildlife Diseases, Epizootiloogic Survey of Mycobacterium Bovis in Wildlife and Farm Environments in Northern Michigan
Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency/Public Health England, Bovine Tuberculosis in domestic pets

Image credits:

Barn cats – depositphotos/modfos
Cat and mouse – depositphotos/AGorohov

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High Paw!

Newton: Hey, Pierre, give me a high paw!

Pierre: Whoa, watch where you’re waving that thing.

Newton offers Pierre a high paw

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Pierre: Look what I found. This drawer just happened to be open. (Not that I would have had anything to do with it opening.) It’s time to go shopping!

Pierre noses into the open drawerAshton: Does he seriously think I can’t see him shopping in that drawer?

Ashton watches Pierre raid the drawerPierre: Oh, hey, Ash! What’s happening?

Ashton: You shopping in the drawer is happening. And I know you aren’t supposed to be in there. That stuff isn’t yours.

Pierre: I wasn’t shopping. You didn’t see anything.

Pierre sees Ashton watching his raid on the drawerAshton: Maybe I did, and maybe I didn’t. But I think they might have.

Pierre: Oh, ummm…. Hello, everybody!   * whispering *  You could have warned me.

Ashton: You could have stayed out of the drawer. You are so busted!

Pierre realizes he is busted

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Q & A with Jackson Galaxy

I was fortunate to have the chance to talk to Jackson Galaxy during his visit to Global Pet Expo. Jackson is a cat behaviorist best known for his hit Animal Planet television show My Cat from Hell. He is also author of two books, Cat Daddy and Catification.

Q: What was missing from the market that you wanted to create with your product line, the Jackson Galaxy Collection by Petmate?

Jackson Galaxy at Global Pet ExpoJG: Well everything’s missing. Honestly, cats have been so underserved, and all I’ve been doing for twenty years is collecting information and talking about what is missing in people’s homes. Working with their cats saying, “Why don’t we have this and why don’t we have that?” and really all I was waiting for was the right partner.

Petmate not only jumped on board but gave me free rein. Not only are we putting out what I think are really quality products and innovative products but I get to test them out and take them on my show and revise them. I’m working on new versions of everything at all times. The great thing is that Petmate provides the malleability for me to continually reinvent what I do, because the cats give me the information and I want to give you that information. So that’s really all I was waiting for. And you know, I’m really proud of what we’re doing.

Q: So are those toys what fill up your guitar case? What’s in that guitar case, anyhow?

JG: The guitar case is toys, is food, it’s black lights, it’s, cleansers. What else is in there? My lunch… Tons of stuff. You know, everything but a guitar.

Q: So that’s what you do in your spare time?

JG: That’s funny. Spare time!

The funny thing is that all I did for thirty years was play music and then work with cats. Now I work with cats and then play music. But free time  has been not quite forthcoming.

Q: Have you been finding time for your music?

JG: No. We just wrapped the sixth season a couple days ago and now it’s about time to make that music so people don’t think I’m a charlatan.

Q: So when are we doing to see an album?

JG: It’ll probably come more in the form of songs you can download from iTunes. I don’t have the time to record ten songs, but I definitely have time to record two or three.

Q: You have a new foundation. Can you tell me a little bit about it?

Jackson GalaxyJG: The Jackson Galaxy Foundation just got our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status which I’m more than psyched about. The objective is to take all of the years of shelter work I’ve done and apply it to the shelters that need help. And it’s not just about shelters, it’s about everybody who works for sheltered animals. But that could also mean feral cats, it could mean rescued farm animals. It’s an equal task we have here.

We can reach our no-kill objective. We’re in the home stretch, I think. When I started in this world twenty years ago, we were killing in the neighborhood of thirteen million animals a year in animal shelters. We’re down to about 3 or 4 million. We’re still in the millions, but we’re in the home stretch, and I believe that my foundation can help shelters adopt more cats first and foremost. I can help shelters get their cats into good homes, and get them adopted in a way they will stay in those homes. The work that they’re doing, that’s really the important thing.

Nobody gets how hard it is to work in an animal shelter or in a rescue or be a feral trapper. Nobody gets it. I want to be able to recognize these guys and reward out of the box thinking. Listen, I wouldn’t be here if my boss in my shelter didn’t say, You want to go to people’s homes and make it so those cats don’t come in here? Go for it!” If that wasn’t the case, I wouldn’t have this career.

I want to pay that back and I want those folks to be able to make a living — a good living — out of doing what’s best for animals. There’s a misconception that just because you want to give your live to animals you have to life to animals you have to take a pledge of poverty. You don’t have to make that choice. You just have to take action, and we want to reward that.

Q: So what’s next for you?

JG: We’ve got a bunch of stuff. Right now, the foundation takes center stage. Getting that off the ground, staffing it, making sure that’s ready to go. I’m writing my next book right now. I’m writing my next book, and the followup to Catification will be coming out for the holidays this year. It’s called Catify to Satisfy. That’ll be fun!

I’m working on a one-man show. Not really a speaking tour as much as it is a theatrical event around cats, and that should be fun, hopefully again that will be coming up.

I’m always doing shelter visits, so chances are that’s where you’ll see me. And who knows, maybe we’ll be filming more Cat from Hell, maybe not. But there’s more TV projects in the works.

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Surprise Package

Ashton: My friend Sage told me she was sending me a surprise package, but she wouldn’t tell me what was in it. I have had to wait for DAYS for it to travel in the mail, but it’s here!

Box addressed to AshtonAshton: OMC, it’s chicks! Except…. what happened to them? They aren’t moving. Did they get motion sickness from being in the mail?

Ashton checks out the box contentsNewton: That doesn’t look too good. Are you sure Sage sent you live chicks?

Ashton: These don’t smell right. I know what chicken smells like, and this isn’t it.

Newton: Are you sure? You’ve never smelled chickens this small. Maybe they smell different when they’re small.

Ashton. No. My chicks have been catnapped!

Newton watches Ashton examine her chicks

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

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St. Catrick’s Day Cupcake

We told you last year about the St. Catrick’s Day traditional licking of the icing. It’s time to celebrate again!

Ashton: Whoa, you’re starting without me?

Newton and PIerre get a head start on the licking of the icingNewton: Well you didn’t expect us to wait, did you? If we wanted for you, we would never get a turn.

Ashton: You would so! Maybe.

Ashton moves in on cupcakeAshton: But now it’s my turn!

Ashton wrinkles her nose as she eats cupcake icingAshton: Hey, it dumped over.

Newton: And your teeth wouldn’t have anything to do with that?

Pierre: Use your tongue for the icing, not your teeth, Ash. We’ve been over this before.

The cupcake is dumped over from all of the attentionNewton: Your tongue, like this.  * SLURP *

Ashton: Easy with the cooties there, Newt!

Three cats and one cupcake, what could go wrong?Newton: You’re hardly one to tell anycat to go easy. That isn’t exactly a dainty, ladycatlike bite you’re taking.

Ashton: Who said anything about being ladylike? I have to get my share while I can.

Not a ladylike nibble at allAshton: If I can just get it out of this paper stuff… there it goes. 

Ashton removes cupcake from linerAshton: Now I can really get my teeth into it! 

Ashton takes big bites of cupcakeAshton: Where’d it all go? Isn’t there any more? 

Ashton eyes the crumbsAshton: If you’ll excuse me, I need a nap now.

Ashton eats a grain-free, low-calorie diet, and this is an unusual treat because of the holiday. She was supposed to share it with Newton and Pierre, not eat the whole cupcake herself. We do not recommend feeding your cat cupcakes.

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