Saturday, April 3, 2010

Muffin pt 5 - Muffin loves Mario


So Mario has a tendency to (sorry Mario, but it's true) be a little too friendly with kitties and forces his affection upon them usually 'til they hate him. He has been doing this to Muffin every time he sees her, and calling her "Cookie" (though I think he might actually genuinely believe that's her name).


When he approaches her at first, she does her usual hiss hiss rigidbody thing and backs herself into the wall as much as she can and flattens her ears and all that other regular madkitty stuff, but then he starts scratching her back. And she starts kneading. And then her eyes close, and her ears come back up... and tonight she even PURRED! Only for about 3 seconds, but she still did it, and she was kneading for a good 2 minutes while he scratched her back. She was loving it. She was still a little pissed, but definitely loving it.

So day 7's big progress - purring. Only 3 seconds of it, but purring nonetheless! AWESOME! Thanks for being so persistently loving, Mario :) I love you!!!!!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Muffin pt 4 - Days 4-6


So here's a photographic summary of Muffin's first 4 days in my studio:

She was barely detectable on day 1...

She was still barely detectable on day 2, but she made friends with a LADYBUG!

And then she ATE and DRANK!

And then I started finding kitty debris all over the place... so she must have been around cleaning herself and lying on things!! I imagine she started rolling at some point on the carpeted scratch post... I bet it felt WONDERFUL for a kitty who's been semi-matted from lack of personal hygiene for the last... well, who knows how long she's been that way?!

In the last two days, Muffin has really been doing well! She now realizes that when I go into the studio I'm not going to touch her or pick her up or hurt her - I just say good morning/afternoon/evening and then walk around, tending to the gradual completion of the reno I'm doing in there (re-assembling cabinets, clean-up, etc). I try not to stay too long... no more than 10 minutes at a time. The last three times I've gone in she has been comfortably sleeping either on the bed or on top of the scratch post, and has opened her eyes to let me know she sees me, yawned, stretched, and put her head back down and gone back to sleep in her favourite sunbeams! AWESOME! She trusts me enough to keep her eyes shut out in the open of the room :) I also sometimes see her in the window when I leave for work in the morning, sunbathing, as usual! I'm so happy to see her enjoying the sun like a regular kitty... something she hasn't seen in a while!!

I don't mean to make it sound like she's been receiving secondary care at the Humane Society - she absolutely has NOT. She has been allowed to come out of her cage here and there, but she's generally been terrified and wanted to just bolt back into her cage as soon as she was put on the floor. She also is NOT okay with being brushed, combed, or trimmed, so helping her with her hygiene pretty much only gives her mild heart attacks. She still had the occasional significant mat cut out, but generally she'd much rather live a little on the grimy side than be touched. I think she'll come around though - she has, after all, recently decided that it is possible to be safe out of a cage!!!

All that being said, when I went in 15 minutes ago to get a picture of her on her scratch post, she ran... lol. Bitch. I LOVE YOU MUFFIN.


But Sara, I feed my dog ULTRA PREMIUM PurinAWFUL/BeneFULLOCRAP! And my cat gets complete and balanced WhiskASS!


So I'm taking some time this afternoon/evening to do just a LITTLE more reading on a topic I never seem to get bored 0f: pet food. I know, I know - boring, boring stuff. And it is, in a sense, but it's also IMPORTANT if you have pets!!!!

First things first: the AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials, and is the group that deems pet foods "nutritionally complete and balanced", which truly means nothing, 'cause they don't seem to actually know anything about pet nutrition whatsoever.

Let's start with some common ingredients found in commercial cat and dog foods (taken from

"Meat is the clean flesh derived from slaughtered mammals and is limited to that part of the striate muscle which is skeletal or that which is found in the tongue, in the diaphragm, in the heart, or in the esophagus; with or without the accompanying and overlying fat and the portions of the skin, sinew, nerve, and blood vessels which normally accompany the flesh. It shall be suitable for use in animal food. If it bears a name descriptive of its kind, it must correspond thereto.".

Pretty standard, right? Meat means meat. That being said, if there's no animal name in front of it, it's mystery meat, which could be terrifying anyway. Next: Meat Meal.

"Meat meal is the rendered product from mammal tissues, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices. It shall not contain added extraneous materials not provided for by this definition.The Calcium (Ca) level shall not exceed the actual level of Phosphorus (P) by more than 2.2 times. It shall not contain more than 12% Pepsin indigestible residue and not more than 9% of the crude protein in the product shall be pepsin indigestible. The label shall include guarantees for minimum crude protein, minimum crude fat, maximum crude fiber, minimum Phosphorus (P) and minimum and maximum Calcium (Ca). If the product bears a name descriptive of its kind, composition or origin, it must correspond thereto."

GROSS. That being said, it's not always necessary to avoid, however "meal" is in no case ever created for human consumption, which is a potential flag. Here's an interesting "rule" on labels:

"If the name of a food includes the phrase "with [ingredient]" (e.g. "with beef"), the named ingredient must not be less than 3% of the total weight."

But that also means that it doesn't have to be MORE than 3% of the total weight either!! So the "Complete and balanced formula with real beef" might be only 3% beef, and could be 97% ANYTHING ELSE!!!!

"if a name only includes the word "flavor" or "flavored", no specific percentage is required at all, but a product must contain an amount sufficient to be able to be detected."

Sneaky. Just plain sneaky. Other label claims (IMPORTANT ONES):

"Many pet foods are labeled as "premium," and some now are "super premium" and even "ultra premium." Other products are touted as "gourmet" items. Products labeled as premium or gourmet are not required to contain any different or higher quality ingredients, nor are they held up to any higher nutritional standards than are any other complete and balanced products.

The term "natural" is often used on pet food labels, although that term does not have an official definition either. For the most part, "natural" can be construed as equivalent to a lack of artificial flavors, artificial colors, or artificial preservatives in the product. [...]

"Natural" is not the same as "organic." The latter term refers to the conditions under which the plants were grown or animals were raised. There are no official rules governing the labeling of organic foods (for humans or pets) at this time, but the United States Department of Agriculture is developing regulations dictating what types of pesticides, fertilizers and other substances can be used in organic farming."

Here is a long-ass list of ingredients to avoid, and they're disgustingly common in commercial pet foods:

Here's a summary of the most common, typically easiest to remember and surely easiest to identify: Corn, Wheat, Corn Gluten, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat Gluten, Wheat Gluten meal, Grape Pomace, Vegetable Oil, Animal Fat, Lard, Flavor, Digest (or animal digest), Hulls of any kind, Soy, ByProduct, Fish Meal, Fructose, Sugar, Corn Syrup... or Corn anything, really.


Animal Digest

A cooked-down broth made from unspecified parts of unspecified animals. The animals used can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Any kind of animal can be included: "4-D animals" (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter), goats, pigs, horses, rats, misc. roadkill, animals euthanized at shelters, restaurant and supermarket refuse and so on.

Let me just highlight this one again - "animals euthanized at shelters" ... IN THE PET FOOD.
IN. THE. PET. FOOD. Remember that kitten you bought who started peeing on everything when it turned 6 months old and you didn't have it spayed/neutered, so you took it to a shelter? Yeah, well, they killed it, AND NOW YOUR DOG IS EATING IT. Plus the poison that killed it. Rover is ALSO eating that raccoon you squashed with your rear tire while coming home from poker/cocktail night at your buddy's a few months ago.

So hopefully now you're all like, "what? this food I feed my pet is about as nutritious as cardboard [potentially a little worse than cardboard]? damn." Hopefully this will be followed by, "I'd best get my ass to the pet store or grocery meat aisle now and buy something better, 'cause like... ew. No wonder the poops are always so big and squishy!"

Need help choosing? Anything from the following pages is great!:

Even better is a raw diet or a mixture of canned foods in with the dry - canned foods are important to choose wisely as well!:


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Muffin Pt 3 - Days 3 and 4 - SHE MOVES!


Both yesterday morning AND this morning, when I went over to check on Miss Muffin, she had eaten, drank, used the litter box, and was out in the open in the middle of the room lying in a sunbeam on one of the beds I set out for her on a table. AMAZING! She still cringes like crazy when I go over to touch her, but her first instinct is not to run from me - it's just to look at me. And not even hatefully! She just looks at me when I open the door and walk in, and when I go over to her dishes to replenish them, she goes back to sunbathing and pays no attention. I think this is fantastic. After only three days she's already semi-comfortable in her new place and not terrified of me, and that's great for a freaky kitty like herself. I will take and post some pictures of her in her new place ASAP, and hopefully be able to touch her without her hating me for it within the next month or so. I may also attempt some video for my dear friend Wendy, who thinks I should surveillance kitty so I know what she gets up to in the night. But for now, YAY MUFFIN!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Muffin Pt2 - Day 2 update.


Not much of an update, sadly... Muffin still has not eaten, peed, pooped, drank any water, or moved on her own account. She found a new hiding spot that I found her in lastnight when I went to feed her, and was still in it this morning when I went again to attempt the food thing. I moved her to the litter box to see if she'd hide in it for a while or something similar... no dice! Totally reluctant to go in it at all and DEFINITELY not interested in staying in it - she bolted out of it as soon as I stepped away and hid under a table for a while. Later I found her in her 'spot' again. Poor Miss Muffin. I hope she decides life isn't so terrifying soon!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Muffin Pt1 - Foster Season 2010 has officially started in my zoo.


So, every year (starting a couple years ago, that is) I seem to find myself with a few foster cats from where I work over the late winter-spring seasons, and sometimes into the summer and beyond. Normally these only include tiny orphaned kitties, ranging from 1 day to 5 weeks old or so, perhaps with a mother in tow. It works for me 'cause my 3 kitties will accept tiny kittens as a minor annoyance, whereas other adult cats in their home are, to them, 100% intolerable. They let me know about this by hiding, growling and hissing for days on end, or until said kitties have disappeared from their home.

This year, however, is DIFFERENT.

Now I have a studio that my daddy graciously gave to me, which is completely detached from my apartment, so I can foster BIG kitties!!! My first target this year is Muffin. Muffin came from a gross situation where there were too many dogs, too many cats, too many... well, in my opinion, people lacking common sense. She had several babykitties that were only a few days old, and when another litter of babykitties around that age came in a couple of days later, Muffin took them on as well. WHAT A GOOD NATURED KITTY!!!! This is one of the many reasons I think Muffin deserves a stint in foster care.

Muffin is, simply put, a witch with a capital B. I can't tell whether it's that she truly dislikes people or just thinks confusing/hitting them is funny, but either way I want her to have a chance to live in a home by herself where she's not constantly being harrassed by... well... anybody. She's set up in my studio which is SUPER sunny during the day, and I even bought her her own AWESOME HUGE scratching post with a really nice large round bed on top, and a covered litter box she can hide in, and lots of delicious canned food to help her digestive system get all lubed up and working again. She has, after all, not really moved more than an inch or so in the last year. Oh, did I not mention that? Yeah, SHE DOESN'T MOVE. EVER. Except to hit. She likes hitting.

Muffin has, to my knowledge, minus a few runs around the cat room, been lying on the same shelf of the same cage for nearly a year (oh, also minus the 1-foot-distance daily trip or 2 to the food, water, and litter box). She just like... sleeps. Like... all day. every day. She's not an old cat, so this is NOT normal. You open her cage door to clean the cage, and she sits up... but she doesn't move otherwise, except to swat at you if you either try to touch her or as soon as you get the cloth in her cage to wipe it out. Personally I think she thinks it's funny... but there's also part of me that is certain she just hates me. But whatever. The point is, THIS KITTY NEEDS TO FREAKIN' MOVE. So the other day, when I went into the cat room and looked at her, I frowned, cocked my head, and thought, "man... I should take this bitch home for a while."

I went to work this morning with the intention of bringing Muffin home with me. It totally happened. She's been in my studio for approximately 11 hours... and she hasn't moved yet.


Stay tuned for the MuffinProgress. Oh, and I'm calling her Victoria to her face from now on - I think part of the reason she's such a bitch is 'cause she thinks we're totally mocking her by calling her MUFFIN all the time. Poor thing. I will still refer to her here as Muffin until she starts acting like a non-bitch... you won't tell her, right??

And just to get an idea of what she looks like, here's her faux-toe, in which she is pretending to not be totally evil ---->

but it's a lie.

Ok, she's not evil. But she DOES need work... or someone who finds humor in hitting and good company in a cat who doesn't move or want attention.

and her bio on the shelter's website (she's still up for adoption, folks!!) can be found somewhere on this page:

P.S. I say mean things about her, like for instance that she's a b-i-t-c-h, 'cause I think it's funny - not 'cause it's true. She's actually a really fun cat who just has some 'people issues' that I'm hoping we can work through together. If it works, she'll be a perfect pet - quiet, beautiful and not at all needy!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Buying Puppies and Kittens (and how I despise this world we live in!)


You hear it all the time - even OPRAH's saying it - NO PUPPY MILLS NO PUPPY MILLS NO PUPPY MILLS NO PUPPY MILLS!! But does it actually MEAN anything to you? Do you know what a puppy mill IS? If so, do you know how puppy mills make their money? I'll tell you this - it's not from having families come to their properties and buying their pups on site!

Ever seen puppies and kittens at flea markets? In pet stores? Ads in the paper and on popular internet trading sites (ebay, craigslist, kijiji...)? Chances are, if you have, the faces behind those ads were puppymillmasters and backyard breeders. These are people or associations with NO business producing more animals when so many are wasting away in shelters and being euthanized - in essence, being punished for being alive.

There are many FANTASTIC articles about puppy mills, but they take forever to read and most don't have the time or desire to go through the entire things. That being said, here are some quick facts about homeless pets, and buying from pet stores/mills/internet/newspaper ads:

+Only the public can stop the cruel cycle of puppy mills by refusing to buy the puppies that keep these kinds of breeders in business.
from -
Puppy mills are nothing new. These mass dog-breeding operations have been around for decades. They continue to thrive because they prey on unwitting consumers who are smitten by too-cute-for-words puppies in pet store windows and on fancy websites."

+ puppy mill "breeding stock," -
dogs who live their entire lives in cages and are continually bred for years without human companionship and with little hope of ever becoming part of a family - receive little or no veterinary care and never see a bed, a treat or a toy. After their fertility wanes, breeding animals are commonly killed, abandoned or sold to another mill. The annual result of all this breeding is hundreds of thousands of puppies, many with behavior and/or health problems.

Several hundred thousand puppies are shipped cross-country to be sold in pet shops, but many are sold via newspaper classifieds or Internet sites and are often accompanied by false claims such as, "We'd never sell puppies from a puppy mill" or promises that the puppies are "home raised," farm raised," or "raised with kids/grandkids." The ploys of the puppy mill are designed to dupe a well-intentioned family into buying a puppy and keeping the engine of cruelty working overtime.

Pet stores say: "Our puppies come from breeders, not puppy mills."
Understand that the word "breeder" is not an exclusive term. Anyone who puts two dogs together and produces puppies is, technically, a breeder. So don't assume that a puppy from a "breeder" did not come from a puppy mill. A responsible breeder would not sell her puppies to a pet store; she would want to meet you in person.

Pet stores say: "We know our breeders are not puppy mills because we only deal with breeders we know." If a pet store manager tells you this, ask to see documentation that shows exactly where their breeders are located. In most cases, you will find out that the breeders they "know" are in distant places. The store manager's definition of "knowing" a breeder often just means that he or she has been receiving shipments of puppies from the same place repeatedly. In most cases, the owner or manager has never visited the breeder's facility or inspected their records.

They say: "Our store's puppies are healthy—they come with a health certificate from a licensed veterinarian." A health certificate only means that the puppy has had a very brief "wellness" examination by a veterinarian. This examination does not include testing the puppy or his or her parents for genetic disorders, or testing for diseases such as Giardia and Brucellosis, both of which are contagious to humans and are frequently seen in puppy mill puppies.

They say: "Our puppies come with a health guarantee."
Read "health guarantees" very carefully. They are often designed to protect the store's interests more than yours. They can be full of exclusions and loopholes, and often require you to return a sick puppy to the store in order to get a refund. Furthermore, the store management will often use the puppy's "health certificate" as "proof" that the animal was healthy when he or she left the store, leaving the buyer helpless if the puppy becomes sick just a few days after purchase.

They say: "Consumers know our puppies are from good breeders because they are registered and come with papers." "Purebred" registration papers (from one of many "kennel clubs" or other dog registries) are only a record of a puppy's parents (and sometimes earlier generations). Puppy mills routinely sell puppies with papers from prestigious sounding "kennel clubs." Registration papers do nothing to ensure that an individual puppy (or his or her parents) is healthy or free of genetic defects, or that they were raised in a humane and sanitary environment.

They say: "We know this is a good breeder. We've never had a problem with any of their puppies." Keep in mind that even facilities with mostly healthy puppies and problem-free inspection reports are keeping dozens or even hundreds of breeding dogs in cages for their entire lives. These parent dogs live behind bars from birth until death, without ever feeling grass under their feet, enjoying a treat or toy, or having loving human contact or proper veterinary care. They are bred repeatedly until they can no longer reproduce, and then they are discarded.

Avoid the temptation to "rescue" a puppy mill puppy by buying him. Even though your intentions may be good, don't buy a puppy with the idea that you are "rescuing" him or her. Your "rescue" opens up space for another poor puppy mill puppy and puts money into the pockets of the puppy mill. Pet stores won't leave their cages empty and websites won't leave their pages blank. The money you spend on your puppy goes right back to the puppy mill operator and ensures they can continue breeding and treating dogs inhumanely. If you see someone keeping puppies in poor conditions, alert your local animal control authorities instead of buying.

+Just because a website says the animals are "home raised" or "family raised" doesn't make it true. Many puppy mill operators pose as small family breeders online and in newspaper and magazine ads.

Have you read enough yet? No?
Mkay, go here now.