Cat Fancy Magazine – June 2009

Bow Tie, Inc. has released the June 2009 issue of Cat Fancy! Featured subjects in this months articles are a design for a new scratching post, Jenna Fischer, Matthew Sweet, keeping your cat safe in a natural disaster, Turkish Van breed, Egyptian Maus, combatting heartworm, soothing your cat’s dry skin naturally, and can cats predict earthquakes?

Home Life
While searching for the perfect scratcher, Sandy Robins gets the opportunity to design one.

Scratching is normal feline behavior. Apart from sharpening their claws, cats also scratch to mark their territory, exercise and reduce stress.

When shopping for scratching posts for my cats, I don’t quite get down on my hands and knees to scratch for myself, but I do try to view the scratchers from the feline perspective. I have no complaints about horizontal scratchers. In fact, there’s a plethora of wonderful shapes and sizes out there. It’s the upright posts that are a problem for my cats, because most of them are too short.

Like many of their furry relatives, My cats like to stand up, stretch and scratch vertically. When they stand on there hind legs and puts her paws up, she reaches nearly 3 feet long. And she isn’t even a big breed! So what is a bigger cat such as a Maine Coon supposed to do apart from attack furniture in its quest for something tall to get its claws into?

Cat Lady Goes Hollywood
Actress Jenna Fischer dishes on rising to stardom with her cat in tow.

Actress Jenna Fischer has become a new America’s Sweetheart of sorts playing Pam, a lovably ordinary receptionist on the hit NBC television show “The Office.” But when the director yells cut and the cast goes home, it’s life as usual for Fischer and her best friend, Andy.

“There’s an aspect of Hollywood that can be a little superficial. I try not to partake in that too much. As actors, we get invited to parties and cocktail events and movie premieres all the time. I could be doing something like that every night of the week,” Fischer says, adding that she prefers to spend her free time at home with Andy. “I love to sit and watch TV. In the winter, I love to sit by the fire and watch a movie with him on my lap all covered up. I love just anything that’s sleeping and cuddling and relaxing.”

“Andy is my first and only cat that I’ve ever had,” says the actress who has also fostered more than a dozen cats in need of help. “And you know, he’s just been my best friend now for 16 years.”

When Disaster Strikes
Prepare now to keep both yourself and your cat safe.

Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and fires wreak havoc in the lives of all in their paths. While some disasters provide time to evacuate, others take victims by surprise. Prepare yourself and your cats now to give you the best possible chance for survival regardless of the type of disaster you face.

During a disaster, your cat normally is safest when you are together, but some disasters strike when you aren’t home or are unable to take your cat with you. Make sure your neighbors know how many cats you have so they can help if needed. Also keep a current rescue alert sticker (available for free from the ASPCA) on your doors. The sticker tells first responders how many and what types of pets you have in your house.

Breed Snapshot: Turkish Delight
The distinctive Turkish Van can trace its roots back thousands of years.

When the knobs on her entertainment center mysteriously came loose, Linda Gorsuch, secretary of the Cat Fanciers’ Association’s (CFA) Turkish Van breed council, knew one of her sweet Turkish Vans had discovered a new way to make mischief.

“One of my kittens was unscrewing the hardware on the knobs,” she explains, noting the breed’s intelligence and uncanny ability to find new ways to play. “This breed can think up things to do that most other cats wouldn’t.”

That innocent ingenuity led Pat Chapman, a Turkish Van breeder in Texas, to install childproof latches on her kitchen cabinets.

That problem-solving ability — and a general zest for life — attract more and more fans every year. Combined with the cat’s devotion to its owner, the traits make the Turkish Van an ideal pet, Chapman says. “They are friendly, affectionate and loyal.”

Looking Good for Their Age
Thousands of years old, Egyptian Maus remain as beautiful as they ever were.

The ancient Egyptians knew what they were doing. And for that, we owe them a debt of gratitude. How did they figure out that whole mummification thing? And it’s hard to think of engineering feats more impressive than the Pyramids. Certainly the Sphinx, with its majestic feline body, gives outsiders a look into yet another facet of this fascinating culture — its love of cats.

Thank you, ancient Egypt, for the gift of domesticated cat companions. Because of the Egyptians, the wild spotted cats that roamed the streets hunting vermin were tamed and, eventually, admired and revered as sacred.

Health & Care

Combat Heartworm
Prevent this mosquito-borne parasite from wreaking havoc on your cat’s health.

Heartworm, long considered a dog’s disease, now is recognized as a deadly threat to cats, too. Fortunately, this mosquito-borne disease is entirely preventable.

“It’s so easy for owners to prevent, but compliance is pretty low,” says Tom Nelson, DVM, of the Animal Medical Center in Anniston, Ala., past president of the American Heartworm Society (AHS) and board member of the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC). People should understand that the four drugs approved for cats “all work extremely well when given every month [and] are all very safe,” he adds.

“It’s much more effective to prevent than to try to remedy heartworm disease,” agrees Jane Brunt, DVM, of the Cat Hospital at Towson in Baltimore, a past president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP). She urges using preventives year-round — not just during mosquito season — and says that broad-spectrum topicals “can take care of mosquitoes, as well as fleas, roundworms, hookworms, ear mites and other parasites.”

Natural Cat
Soothe your cat’s dry skin naturally.

Figgy scratched her red, itchy bumps until she developed bloody sores. Jasper clawed constantly at his irritated face, neck and ears. Maya fretted and scratched her dry, flaky skin. While all of these cats were plagued with itchiness, each one probably had a vastly different illness.

“Whether using conventional or alternative treatments, it’s best to start with a diagnosis,” says Pam Truman, DVM, a holistic veterinarian based in Overland Park, Kan. “That way, you can formulate a methodical treatment plan.”

Common causes of itchy feline skin include allergies to food, inhaled materials (such as pollens and airborne particles) or things that touched the skin (such as carpet); fungal infections (such as ringworm); parasites (including fleas, ticks and mites); autoimmune diseases; matted, poorly groomed fur; and a shoddy diet.

Training & Behavior

Can Cats Predict Earthquakes?
Science says no, but many owners disagree.

Earthquake. The word elicits visions of great cracks in the ground, canyons leading to the center of the earth, buildings crumbling and major bridges swinging vehicles from their grasp. These are film versions of this natural phenomenon that occurs 500,000 times a year according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). In reality, humans don’t even feel 80 percent of all earthquakes. Only 100 earthquakes a year cause any damage. And yet we are fearful. Are our pets fearful as well? Can animals predict earthquakes even before scientists? Scientific studies and anecdotal evidence raise an interesting debate.

Cats Rock
Singer-songwriter Matthew Sweet turns his love for cats into an art form.

You probably know Matthew Sweet best as a singer/songwriter and creator of tuneful pop melodies. His albums “Girlfriend” and “100% Fun” both have gone platinum. But did you know that this guy also is cat-crazy? Sweet and his wife own four cats that this L.A.-based rocker dotes on and talks about with as much affection as he does about rock and roll. Meet Matthew Sweet: cat lover.

“My love of cats goes as far back as I can remember,” says the 40-something guitarist, bassist and producer, who’s so pleasant, you’d think his last name was actually an adjective.


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