(martyb) Fri 25 Jan 08 17:26
Hmmm - I have never heard the phrase 'obligate omnivore' and I would dispute it if it implies that dogs require an omnivorous diet. I am more familiar with dogs and wolves being called opportunistic or facultative carnivores. (And I am familiar with Remillard - have a copy of a book she co-edited.) I'm going to leave the conversation for now so that I won't sidetrack it. maybe at the end of the week there will be time for dog talk. I do cook for my dog, so that is a fascinating subject to me, but not on topic.
Angie (coiro) Fri 25 Jan 08 17:46
Thanks, Marty. Arden, does the book have a website where the correct urls might reside? You wade into some controversial waters in the book. One of those is the debate on declawing. Six reasons not to declaw; three points of rebuttal; and five reasons to declaw. Only one of these did I find puzzling. The first rebuttal point, in favor of declawing, denies that the phalanx bone (the last bone in a cat's paw) is amputated in the procedure. That strikes me as something that's cut and dried - the bone is amputated, or it's not. Can you explain further? What's your own point of view on declawing? (I have learned with cats to never say "never"; but so far, and with so many cats over the years, I haven't declawed any of them, and it does seem cruel to me.)
streaming irreverent commentary (pauli) Fri 25 Jan 08 21:40
So I was chatting with a friend and I was talking about your book which led my friend to wonder why her cat doesn't like catnip. And I said I can answer that question and picked up the book and went to the index. On p. 222 you say "It's a genetic thing." But on p. 299 in the sidebar on catnip you say "Genetics don't play a factor. Two cats from the same litter can have different responses to catnip." But, of course, two cats from the same litter can have different fathers. Looks like something you might want to correct if you got to a second printing or edition. I'm presuming the correct answer is that it is genetic but I thought I should ask - is it genetic?
Lisa Everitt (lisa) Sat 26 Jan 08 13:23
Our vet has a cat-only practice, and she sends catnip in her Christmas card. We've learned to watch for that card carefully, and put it in the fridge right away, because the cats will find it and chew/lick/love on everything else in that stack of mail. Somehow "the cat ate my light bill" doesn't sound right.
Arden Moore (arden-moore) Sat 26 Jan 08 18:33
I'm back from the top of the mountain. No, I didn't change identities and become Moses. This rookie skier managed to remain vertical after skiing all day on Heavenly Mountain in Tahoe area. Whew! Skiing can clear one's mind, so I am now ready to respond to your curious-as-cats queries: First: Top experts BELIEVE that there is a genetic link to cats who like catnip and cats who don't. And Pauli is right - a momma cat can have a litter of kittens from more than one male suitor. That explains why there can be a calico and a black-and-white as litter mates. Cats not jazzed about catnip may like honeysuckle - but it must be moistened to activate its ingredients to be the cat's meow. Lisa -- you must have a wonderful vet to send your cats catnip-filled holiday cards. Talk about making it the "howl-i-days" and find you humming, "wreck the halls with balls of folly." :) Now, as for a much more serious topic: declawing. I do not believe in it. I find it cruel. And, I'm not alone. As editor of Catnip, the newsletter is affiliated with Tufts' Vet School that has a policy against declawing. There are suitable options. And, part of it is training and providing the cat with suitable - and sturdy - scratching posts to hone their claws. Scratching is a natural action by cats. I appreciate all of you for pawing through the pages of Planet Cat and bringing up great topics. Keep them coming!
Arden Moore (arden-moore) Sun 27 Jan 08 09:50
For those wishing to have the URLS for the two websites operated by top veterinary nutritionists, they are: www.petdiets.com www.balanceit.com
Angie (coiro) Sun 27 Jan 08 10:08
What about the SoftPaws, Arden? I see you mentioned them in the book. I've considered them, but cat's claws grow so fast, I feel like I'd be putting new ones on all the time. Plus, the angst of getting them on. One of mine will barely endure a trim, let alone sit still while I guide her nail into a little sleeve. For anyone unfamiliar: <http://www.softpaws.com/> (I confess, I do love the ones that come in colors.) Speaking of topics controversial: I wonder, Arden, how familiar you are with the work of Nathan Winograd. His No Kill philosophy takes on the traditional SPCA model of euthanizing unadopted animals. I suspect he loses support when he goes further, to oppose mandatory spay/neuter laws, and claims there is in fact a home for every pet that comes through an animal shelter. Your book does a great job of outlining why cats need to be fixed; you take on the arguments against it one by one. And of course Winograd would agree with you on the individual's choice to spay/neuter. Have you any opinion of his take on spay/neuter laws, and his claim that homes for all shelter animals are out there somewhere?
Angie (coiro) Sun 27 Jan 08 10:10
I'm hiding below an excerpt from Winograd's blog, where he clarifies his opinion.
Angie (coiro) Sun 27 Jan 08 10:10
Arden Moore (arden-moore) Sun 27 Jan 08 13:21
Thanks Angie to bringing up two controversial topics in the world of cats: declawing and mandatory spay/neuter. In our book, Planet Cat, we did our best to present the reader with a wide range of viewpoints. After all, the book's subtitle described our intention: "a cat-alog." What I can do is share with our Well participants my views on these two areas. First, I am not a fan of declawing. Never have been and never will be. I think there are far more humane options. You mentioned SoftPaws. Yes, they work - when applied correctly and in a timely manner. And, yes, they can be quite fashion-making statements (more for the owner than the cat who could care less if her claws are blue or lavender). Problems surface from misuse and human inpatience or downright panic. Not everyone rejoices in being their cat's personal "paw-i-curist." Option: make friends with your vet or your local groomer and have them trim your cat's nails on a regular basis (4-6 weeks on average). Train kittens when young that touching toes, gently squeezing the foot pads (to expose the claws) and trimming nails (start one at a time and build up to all four paws) is calm, no-big-deal ritual. I do this with my cats, Callie and Murphy, both plucked as strays from the street when they were youngsters. One tip: pick a small room you can close to do nail trimming. Like the bathroom to eliminate Houdini episodes. Wrap your cat in a towel, if necessary, to avoid being scratched. Be calm. Never attempt to trim a cat's claws when you feel rushed, stressed or angry. Doesn't work. Always open the door after the trim and let your cat walk or run out. Wait a few seconds and calmly exit, ideally in the opposite direction. The idea is for your cat to regard your action as no big deal. Or, offer a small treat after the peticure. Bottom line: cats need suitable options to scratch. There are many products out there that can blend with any home decor. Next: spay/neuter. Yes, there are a lot of people with good intentions who want to do what they can to eliminate overpopulation of cats and overcrowding at shelters (and euthanizing cats due to lack of space). Personally, my heart goes out to those people assigned these tasks of putting down otherwise healthy cats at shelters. I do believe in spaying and neutering pets - for health reasons and to help control surplus supply of pets, but I don't believe in mandatory laws. There are some responsible breeders who are working with veterinary geneticists to try to unlock some clues to help cure many cat (and dog) diseases like kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and diabetes. Issuing a law won't automatically stop backyard breeders from producing more litters. Who's going to enforce these laws? But as pet owners (or pet parents - you pick the term you like best), we can do our part to spay/neuter our pets. I don't buy the argument that children need to witness the "miracle of birth" to have them grow up to be kind to animals. There are lots of other practical ways to do this - from getting the kids involved in day-to-day responsibilities in caring for the pets, to enrolling in pet classes and to encouraging them to participate in pet causes.
Lisa Everitt (lisa) Sun 27 Jan 08 13:38
I don't see how the numbers work out in Nathan Winograd's argument, unless we all turn into Crazy Cat Ladies with a dozen animals to care for. The ability of cats to reproduce will always outstrip the number of homes, I fear. I'm quite happy with two, both fixed -- although Moon does attempt to jump Emily every once in a while. He climbs on her and bites the back of her neck, then stands there awaiting further instructions. If one of us happens to be passing through, we say DON'T HUMP YOUR SISTER! and hope the neighbors don't hear.
Angie (coiro) Sun 27 Jan 08 14:28
Ha! That's part of what I was asking you about Winograd's stance, Arden. With your research and knowledge of cats, cat population, shelters - is it practical to say that, by shifting logistics of placement, there is indeed a home for every cat with willing owners?
Arden Moore (arden-moore) Sun 27 Jan 08 16:05
Hi Angie: Based on my continuous contact and research with the top people in the field of companion animals, I do not believe there is a home for every adoptable cat - or dog in the United States. It's a sad, but true reality.
Idea Hamster On Speed (randomize27) Sun 27 Jan 08 17:51
I think there's more homes than there are homes that allow pets. Rented homes, allergies, phobias and other matters probably cut way down on the number of homes available. But, even if everyone who wanted a cat could have one, there wouldn't be enough homes.
Arden Moore (arden-moore) Sun 27 Jan 08 18:16
Hi Angie: I am not qualified - nor feel comfortable to go beyond what I stated regarding pet population at shelters and the spay/neuter issue. Unfortunately, there is no real one main clearinghouse that tabulates all the number of dogs and cats seeking homes at shelters.
Angie (coiro) Mon 28 Jan 08 18:51
No problem, Arden - your answer in post #38 covered it nicely. Back to the book itself: there are countless stories of individual cats - bad cats, store cats, book cats. Any favorites among the bunch? Any that took you by surprise? And: any of your own cats (or cat stories) sprinkled into the mix?
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Tue 29 Jan 08 11:15
Hello Arden, I have a question based on something I found on your web site. I was looking <http://www.ardenmoore.com/audio-video.html#tour-avspots> and I clicked on the video clip of you being interviewed on Fox News in Dallas (fun clip, by the way, I'll have to check out the rest of them). You mentioned something about "a new sport called feline agility." I realize the news show gave you only 2 minutes to get your info out there, but here we're not restricted by clock-watching. So I'm hoping you can expand on that. I never heard of a sport for cats at all. What's "feline agility?" Is it something I can do with my two cats? Do I need special equipment for them? Are there tournaments? Do they have teams? Do I have to buy them uniforms? (OK, probably not uniforms...)
Lisa Everitt (lisa) Tue 29 Jan 08 12:37
Oh my God, my client would totally sponsor that. Email sent!
Arden Moore (arden-moore) Tue 29 Jan 08 17:15
Hey Rover, get over yourself! Cats are cool - and agile jocks, too. Yes, I am not making this up - feline agility is a sanctioned sport. Just check out these links: http://www.cfainc.org/shows/agility.html = hosted by Cat Fanciers Association, the world's largest breed registry and http://www.cfa-iams-cat-championship.org/agility.html = where you will note that not only does the sport exist, but it has a corporate sponsor - Iams and a grand stage - Madison Square Garden Who would have thunk that cats could actually be motivated, even enjoy taking on obstacles (like climbing ramps, jumping through hoops, weaving through poles) on a timed course - in front of - yikes - people - and score titles and acclaim! Some feline agility is being performed inside homes using furniture and creativity for cats who perfer to demonstrate their skills to their families inside their homes. Maybe these are agrophobic feline athletes! Just goes to show us all to never underestimate the power and talents of felines. I've witness feline agility events (seems like Abbys and Bengals fare far better than the quiet, shy breeds like Persians but there are always surprises in any cat breed or mixed breed). As for uniforms, no cool cat would be caught wearing one - takes away from their sleek, athletic bods. Cynthia, thanks for tooling around my website and finding my many mini-talks about cat behavior. For the rest of you, head to my site: www.ardenmoore.com and go to Audio/Videos OR just zip over to: www.videojug.com and click on cat behavior and viola! My face appears and I give you 45-second to 1-minute videos that explain why cats do what they do. As for attempting to pick my "purr-sonal" favorites from Planet Cat, it is tough. We had so much fun researching and plucking strange-but-true tales from the headlines in the making of this book. I must confess, however, that I have a sweet spot for the tale of the library cat named Dewey (pp. 155-156) who offers 6 "Deweyisms" to help two- and four-leggers in life. Turns out the Dewey story (he passed away in 2006) is now coming to book form penned by a savvy librarian who scored a seven-figure advance (because the book is being tagged as the feline version of Marley & Me). Makes me wish I had been a regular patron to that library and thought of the idea myself. Oh well.
Angie (coiro) Tue 29 Jan 08 21:59
Heh! At least he'll be properly immortalized. Let's do that here for your first cat, Arden. Who was it, how old were you? And how did it come about that cats and your career became entangled?
Arden Moore (arden-moore) Wed 30 Jan 08 14:16
My first cat, Corky was a Siamese who loved to swim, do a little "paw fishing" for bluegills and who walked on a leash in my neighborhood in Crown Point, Indiana. For you history buffs, CP is the place where John Dillinger escaped from the "inescapable" Lake County Jail by taking a bar of soap, blackening it with shoe polish and carving it into the shape of a gun. Corky had no criminal background for the 15 years he lived - as least not to my knowledge - :) - but he was dare I say, very dog-like in action and attitude despite being a feline pedigree. My parents divorced when I was 6 and my siblings and I lived on a small lake in Crown Point with my dad. My mom lived in the "big city" of Hammond, nearby. When her cat, Luv (again, I can't make this up), had a litter, she gave me the first born -- Loud Mouth (her name) who I quickly changed to Corky. Why, I don't recall. But it sounds better than Loud Mouth. Corky joined our splintered family that included two dogs, Crackers (an overweight beagle) and Peppy (a Border collie mix) and an occasional duck named Quack Quack who stopped by for free food every spring and fall. I can't remember a time in my life when there hasn't been a pet or two sharing my home. I didn't grow up saying that one day I would be a famous pet author. Or be named "Cat Writer of the Year" as I did in 2007. But, I've always enjoyed writing, learning and conveying helpful advice to people. After 20 years as a reporter/editor at major daily newspapers, I hopped over to the publishing size to focus on writing about human health, fitness and pets. I spent a few years at Rodale Press before venturing on my own in 1999. Best decision I've ever made. Today, my cats, Callie and Murphy share my large home office with my feline-respecting dogs, Chipper and Cleo. My "furry fab four" are there with me night and day to give me comfort and to engage me in play when I've been battering the keyboard for too long. Like many of us, this career path just evolved and I am happy being able to help people - and pets - better understand one another. Being "poor and famous" isn't so bad when your workplace contains great and supportive critters.
Eric Gower (gower) Wed 30 Jan 08 15:31
I love how vocal Siamese are. And thanks for the tips on how to keep Quincy, who could use a little shot of Prozac, from murdering Minna! I will definitely pick up your book. What were you doing at Rodale Press? Editor?
Arden Moore (arden-moore) Wed 30 Jan 08 19:24
Hey Eric - I was a senior writer inhouse for three years at Rodale and helped launch Pets: Part of the Family magazine. Rodale, as you may know, no longer staffs in-house writers, so I consider myself fortunate to break into the publishing world with W-2 and paid vacations - a short, but welcomed opportunity. Glad you will be picking up a copy of Planet Cat and hope you consider my other "new" cat book - The Cat Behavior Answer Book which earned top prize as the best training/behavior book at the Cat Writers Association's annual communications contest and helped land me as "Writer of the Year" - talk about me-WOW! Best to you with Quincy and give sweet under-the-chin scratches to poor Minna!
Carol (carolw) Thu 31 Jan 08 03:51
Arden, do you have an opinion on indoor vs. indoor/outdoor cats? And do you get feedback from people about THEIR opinions on the subject? Also, what percentage of cats do you think cannot be converted to indoor-only status?
Arden Moore (arden-moore) Thu 31 Jan 08 08:15
When it comes to cats, "in" is in for me. I advocate cats being indoors - with the rare exception of barn cats and cats too wild or feral to be converted to living indoors safely - and sanely for all. That said, I emphasize the need to provide an indoor environment that is both mentally and physically stimulated so cats don't look or behave like furry knickknacks. There are so many cool ways these days (thanks to the $40 billion pet industry that continues to grow) to provide toys, furniture and other indoor items to make the indoor life most cats would enjoy. In addition, you can also provide safe outdoor exposure to cats through the use of window enclosures, safe outdoor playpens or be creative. My neighbor helped me build for a low amount ($300 in materials and a few free grilled dinners) a "critter condo" that runs the length of the side of my house that is accessible for my two dogs and two cats through a doggy door. The floor is pavers (with a drainage pipe underneath) and the sides are chain link fence with wood trim to match the house and the roof is chain link topped with a tinted hard plastic cover pitched slightly to allow any rain to drain off. This condo is safe, allows air inside and includes a dirt area for the pets to make "deposits." In the inclement weather, my dogs scoot through the doggy door to relieve themselves and come back in without a drop on their coats. More people are starting to support cats living indoors. Check out the Indoor Cat Initiative site created by Ohio State's vets: http://vet.osu.edu/indoorcat.htm Sadly, the life of the outdoor cat is far shorter and more dangerous due to coyotes, cars and other challenges. As mentioned earlier, not all cats are able to make the transition to life indoors. I don't have any hard numbers or percentages to offer you, Carol. But it is low. Typically, these are cats who grew up without any human contact and live in feral colonies. Years ago, I bought a home in Emmaus, PA that included an outdoor cat as part of the sale. Fritz had a big, thick coat and would let me pet him (and feed him, of course) outside and would get as close as my back porch, but he refused to go inside or even in my garage during cold weather. He slept deep inside the fir trees. I used a humane trap to get him in for his annual vet visits, but he absolutely wanted no part of being inside. Fortunately, when I sold the house a few years later, the new buyers also agreed to continue carrying for Fritz.
Members: Enter the conference to participate