Blood glucose readings higher in clinic than home. Familiarity decreases stress.

House call veterinary service or veterinary clinic? Small study supports house call veterinary services as better choice, even when veterinary clinic offers low-stress handling and cat-friendly practice.

Comparison of stress exhibited by cats examined in a clinic versus a home setting

Published in Applied Animal Behavior Science (Journal) 2014

Take home message of the study:

“In the context of this study, where low stress handling techniques were employed throughout both environments, familiarity with the veterinary examiner and procedure were associated with decreased stress experienced by the cat. Higher blood glucose and more hiding behavior in the clinic support the hypothesis that the clinic is more stressful than the home.”

Click to read full study.

Exercise class for cats? How to get your cat moving and grooving!

“Cats like to nap.” Wouldn’t you sleep if there was nothing else to do?  Cats were designed for hunting.  They possess athletic and tracking skills galore.  Those skills are going to waste. It’s sad.

Why not try an experiment? For one month, hire a neighbor or a cat sitter to actively play with your cat for at least half an hour several times a week. If you don’t want to hire someone, then actively play with your cat when you are home.

Don’t know where to start? You can learn from Jackson Galaxy, star of “My Cat from Hell” and author of a book about cat behavior. He offers practical, down-to-earth suggestions based on years of visits to the homes of cats. (Ignore his belief in spirit essences sold by the bottle. We’ve all got our quirks. That’s his quirk).

To buy his book:

Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Cl ean

Toys he suggests using:

Petmate Jackson Galaxy Mojo Maker Air Wand with 1 Toy

Petmate Jackson Galaxy Mojo Maker Air Prey Toy

Petmate Jackson Galaxy Go Fish Cat Toy

To watch his show:

He Hates My Boyfriend

Having a cat improves your physical and mental health?

Truth, based on measurable results? Or well-intentioned marketing?

Based on what I see during my visits, cat ownership relaxes some owners and seems to improve their life. For other owners, a cat can become a source of anxiety. If the owner doesn’t have the time, the money or the patience to care for their cat, how can having a cat improve their owner’s health?

From Health News Review — A health news watchdog site.

Unsupportable ‘cat therapy’ stories score high on cuteness but low on quality, even though many of us probably don’t care….(and have never heard of the word zoonoses)

Key point:

“Even though Cat People like me are totally predisposed to believe the hypotheses, these stories do very little to scientifically underpin the cat-owning health claims, tease out the conflicts of interests at stake, or critically examine the evidence.”

“Can cat hair get into my lungs?”

How would cat fur bypass the body’s protective mechanisms?



Various tubes of decreasing size

“The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. EPA is concerned about particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.”

Particulate Matter/Air &Radiation US EPA

Is fur 10 micrometers or less? No. If fur is pulverized into dust, then perhaps it could enter the lungs. Groomers inhale particles, but are the particles small enough and in high enough volume to cause lung problems later in life? That I don’t know. Since high-velocity dryers are currently a standard grooming salon tool, I would guess that more particles are being blown around nowadays. In earlier years, a “stand dryer” or a human-style blow dryer was used to dry pets.

What I do know is that you will not see a furry lung if you autopsy a groomer.

“Since the late 1970’s, we only monitored particulate matter pollution that was 10 microns in diameter or less, called PM 10. A micron (or micrometer) is a millionth of a meter. To give you an idea of how small PM 10 is, the dot above the letter “i” in a typical newspaper measures about 400 microns!”  From Hamilton County Environmental Services website. Good site!

Note: Micron = micrometer = millionth part of a meter.  A meter is 39.37 inches. PM = Particulate Matter.

“PM is the term used for solid or liquid particles emitted to the air. Some particles are large enough to be seen, and others are so small they can only be detected with an electron microscope.”

Relevant article from NAILS Magazine: “If You Can’t See It, You Can’t Inhale It.” Take home message: “Particles that are small enough to remain airborne and possibly be inhaled are not visible to the naked eye. In other words, says Will Forest, associate toxicologist for the Hazard Evaluation System Information Service of the California Department of Health Services, “If you can see it, you can’t inhale it.”


“My cat has greasy, oily skin!”

For do-it-yourself cat bathers.

If you give your cat a bath, but the skin and fur stays greasy, I recommend this shampoo.

Also useful if your cat won’t tolerate being shampooed twice. Using Grimeinator, you can get the results of two shampooings with just one shampooing. I know I sound like an infomercial, but it’s a darn fine product.

* Buy a 16 oz bottle, not the gallon size. You dilute it 32:1, so one bottle will last a long, long time.

** Great shampoo for shelter/rescue pets, but not kitten/puppies under 6 weeks.

Groomers Edge Grimeinator Deep Cleaning Dog and Cat Shampoo, 16-Ounce

Using a plastic comb or brush on cats?

A comb is doing the job if –> plenty of fur on the comb. Little or no fur on the comb –> not working.

Metal is better for combs.

What about a plastic brush? Among other tools, I use a plastic brush for long-haired cats when I’m blow-drying them. I also use it on my hair. Double duty.

For your cat-bathing tool kit: The Wet Brush 2 Pack! Blue & Pink, Value Pack!

For your daily grooming tool kit: Andis Pet 7-1/2-Inch Steel Comb (65730)

Food (specifically hay) for thought. Try not to assume. Do research when it comes to animals.

Was the study biased? Selective choice of horses? Maybe, maybe not, but food for thought. Human assumptions about what animals are feeling have a track record of being wrong. We’re not good at guessing what our friends are feeling, let alone what another species is feeling.

Study Finds No Evidence of Stress in NYC Carriage Horses.
A study conducted by a team from Western University of Health Sciences deemed New York City carriage horses are less stressed than those in pastures.


New York City carriage horses are not as stressed from trotting the city streets as some may think, according to a new study led by Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif.

The horses studied were quartered at Clinton Park Stables from Aug. 3-5, 2014, to gauge what levels of stress the animals might have as a result of their work.

“I wanted to identify the effect this situation has on these horses,” said Joseph Bertone, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, professor of equine medicine at Western University College of Veterinary Medicine. “Ultimately, I’m concerned about equine welfare. On the other hand, I’m also concerned over claims that could dismantle, or likely end, the lives of these grand horses. The same claims could see the loss of an iconic New York City institution, the loss of the important human-animal bond the drivers have with these spectacular animals, as well as have a profound negative economic impact on the people whose lives this would touch.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a ban on horse-drawn carriages in December 2014. His proposed code amendment, which requires a majority vote of the New York City Council, would go into effect June 1, 2016. The mayor has suggested replacing the carriages with electrically-powered antique cars.

Mayor de Blasio, according to WesternU, is politically and financially backed by animal-rights advocates. Prior to taking office, the mayor announced that he planned to get rid of horse-drawn carriages in support of those who believe the horses are treated inhumanely, the university noted.

“So it’s important we collect the research and analyze the results objectively. In other words, let’s deal with the facts,” Dr. Bertone said.

Bertone and second-year veterinary student Sarah Mercer-Bowyer tested 13 of the more than 70 horses at Clinton Park. Five mares and eight geldings were selected at random.

The researchers measured saliva cortisol from the animals at multiple time points in the workday. They also measured medial canthus temperature using a FLIR thermal imaging camera (IRT), and collected feces samples for fecal cortisol. Kersey and Mercer-Bowyer analyzed samples at Kersey’s lab at WesternU.

Four time points were used during testing:

Time point 1: feces, saliva and IRT tests were collected an hour before horses went to work.
Time point 2: saliva and IRT were collected after the horses were harnessed and as the horses walked were hitched to their carriages.
Time point 3: saliva and IRT were collected as the horses returned from working.
Time point 4: saliva and IRT were collected an hour after they worked, as they rested in their stalls.
“We found no evidence of stress in these horses,” Bertone said. “The conclusion made by the many experts in equine veterinary care who have visited the facility, and spent time in observation, is matched by the physiologic data we collected. Although not part of our study, we also observed for behavior associated with equine gastric ulcer syndrome. Ulcers result from stress. None of the behaviors were seen. We found the horses rested comfortably at night as well. That is another important feature of horses in a safe, comfortable environment.”

What I like about the horse project above is that animals weren’t harmed.

Scientists can mess up, just like everyone else. Not all research is research. See below.

Animal Lives Wasted in Poorly Designed Experiments

from The Guardian

So your long-haired cat needs to be groomed. Here’s what you need to buy.

I groom these two sweet-natured beauties once a month. (Jump to the middle of this post for links to grooming tools.) Even if your long-haired cat is another breed or a mix, you can use similar tools. If you are going to be grooming your cat monthly, it’s worth buying the tools and products. Grooming is a recurring part of the life of a long-haired cat. (If it’s not, it should be, because ungroomed cats lug around a lot of shedded fur and are coated with too much body oil.)

Chirp & Bambi’s owner is a responsible person who makes sure that her cats get the care they need to stay healthy, comfortable and happy. She combs them frequently, so that when I visit, I don’t have to subject them to intense de-matting. Lucky cats!

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Tools and products:
Four Paws Tearless Cat Grooming Shampoo, 12oz

Groomers Goop Creme For Oily Coats

Four Paws Cat Grooming Claw Clipper

Wahl 41870-0423 Bravura Lithium Purple Professional Cord/Cordless Pet Clipper Kit by Wahl Professional Animal

TINY TRIM ball tipped small pet grooming scissor 4.5″ EAR NOSE FACE PAW

Andis Pet 7-1/2-Inch Steel Comb (65730)

Li’l Pals Slicker Purple and Green Brush for Dogs, Extra Small

Safari Cat Shedding Comb, Wood Handle

The Wet Hair Brush, Metallic Purple

Oster Hi-Velocity Adjustable Table and Cage Dryer

The set up for home grooming
The set up for home grooming

My cat is shedding too much. Solutions for shedding.

Some short-haired cats release a large amount of hair in the spring.

I removed this fur using the soft Love Glove.  The cat purred during the grooming. This same cat is brushed four times a week, but look how much fur comes off!  Now she won’t have to cough up hair balls or walk around with a coat that is twice as heavy as it needs to be in the warm weather.

To buy: Four Paws Purple Love Glove Cat Grooming Mitt

After two minutes of brushing with the Love Glove!
After 2 minutes of brushing with the Love Glove!


Good news for pain relief in cats

Good news for cat owners who are concerned about pain after surgery! Post-op pain not only is painful *duh*, it may slow down recovery time. Anyone who has ever felt sick and hurting after surgery can relate. The right meds can make a difference for animals, human or feline. With more and more cats going to vet clinics *though still far fewer than dogs* post-op  relief is a hot topic.

Newly approved pain drug for cats

September, 2014

Abbott Animal Health announced in July that it has received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for Simbadol (buprenorphine), an injectable pain control medication for use in controlling post-operative pain in cats. This provides veterinarians with the first FDA-approved, single-dose opioid analgesic for the control of pain in cats recovering from surgery.

The concept of a single dose drug for pain control in postoperative cats is an attractive one, as this minimizes the discomfort and inconvenience associated with management of these patients, who may be stressed and may recover more quickly and favorably when minimally manipulated.

A number of studies suggest that buprenorphine provides good pain relief and that it is safe to use in cats recovering from surgery. The Simbadol approval is great news for those concerned about the care and well being of cats undergoing surgical procedures.