Halitosis Means You Have Bad Breath, Slider


“Really Slider, I need to get you a breath mint!” moaned my owner. What she calls bad-breath,  I prefer to think of as aromatic exhalation. After I eat tuna, fish, or other pungent scrap, my breath mimics that lovely smell!  If she only knew the bad breath our neighbor’s senior cat has. His is caused by tartar and serious gum disease. A lot of older cats get this because they don’t brush their teeth. Me, I prefer GREENIES, a crunchy treat that scrapes off some of the tartar that contributes to halitosis.

Bad breath can also be the result of a mouth ulcer, mouth sores or even cancer. This is why owners should take their kitties to the vet to rule out any major issues. I was just at the vet earlier today, being tested for: Feline leukemia and feline aids. These both cause bad breath and my owner wanted to rule out any possible culprits!

As we sat in the examination room, my gaze fell upon the pamphlet my owner was reading:

“The following symptoms will require veterinary attention:

•    Excessive brownish tartar on your cat’s teeth, especially when accompanied by drooling, difficulty eating and red, inflamed gums, could indicate serious dental or gum disease.
•    Unusually sweet or fruity breath could indicate diabetes, particularly if your cat has been drinking and urinating more frequently than usual.
•    Breath that smells like urine can be a sign of kidney disease.
•    An unusually foul odor accompanied by vomiting, lack of appetite, and yellow-tinged corneas and/or gums could signal a liver problem.
•     Pawing at the mouth
•    Loss of appetite, runny nose or eyes, lethargy, oral disease, and bad breath may indicate Feline Leukemia”

Now I am petrified that I have that weird word “gingivitis” or even Leukemia! My eyes widen when the vet tech comes in to examine me. The worst is when she pries open  my mouth open, causing me to gag as she pokes and prods. Possibly, she is looking for the scrap of tuna I wedged behind my back teeth for later. “Good job Slider. No tartar on those teeth!”

They take some blood and stool samples, both highly unpleasant. Another long wait, then the vet comes back and states “Everything looks good to me.  I checked the blood work and Slider is a very healthy cat!” My owner thanks the her and we head out to the car, me stuffed in a stupid cat carrier.

“Well my dear, my dear, looks like you will be sipping on some Parsley tea to freshen that breath!” Fine by me, I growl, just don’t try to brush my teeth because  I will attack anything that comes near my mouth.

Recipe for Parsley Tea Breath-Freshener:

Pick up some Parsley from the organic section of your grocery store. Pinch off several sprigs and place in hot water. Remove the parsley after 5 minutes, and let the tea cool. If your pet will drink this, that’s great. If not, put it in a spray bottle and spritz that dog or cat in the mouth.

Another odor reducer involves putting 2 drops of lemon juice in the water bowl. This will neutralize odor-causing bacteria in the cats mouth.

Hot Diggity Dog!

Warning Of Leaving A Dog In Parked Cars

Many pet owners take their dogs with them to the gas station or fast food joints and leave them in the car  for “just 10 minutes.” In the summer, this mistake in judgment can be fatal. Even on a cloudy day, the temperature can rise drastically in mere minutes.

“On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes” -RedRover.

Contrary to popular belief, keeping the windows cracked open barely slows the rapid rise in temperature! The lack of shade and added heat coming off parking lot pavement speeds up the heating process in a car.

This summer when you’re out shopping, if you notice a panting dog in a car “take down the car’s color, model, make, and license plate number. Have the owner paged in the nearest buildings, or call local humane authorities or police. Have someone keep an eye on the dog and be your witness if you need to break the car window to save the animals life. Stay with the animal until authorities arrive.” – PETA.

Signs of heatstroke:
Excessive thirst, thick saliva, heavy panting,  lack of coordination. lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and loss of consciousness.

At particular risk: Long-haired dogs in warmer climates should be trimmed short. Bulldogs and pugs often have small tracheas and long soft palates, which decrease their ability to cool themselves. Senior dogs and young pups are even more susceptible to heatstroke.

As a responsible pet owner, try to leave pets at home or with a pet-sitter when you travel. Don’t be like the tourist parked at the Washington DC Holocaust memorial. He was arrested on animal cruelty charges after pedestrians got police to open his minivan. His two dogs had been inside the vehicle for an hour, barking to get out, and suffered severe heatstroke. The smaller chihuahua died.

Ways to bring down the animals temperature:    Forlorn

1. Applying cool, wet towels on the stomach, chest, groin and paws but do not to use ice
2. Get the pet to an air-conditioned car
3. Place dog in front of fan
4. Immerse in a tub of cool but not cold water
5. Help them drink small amounts of cool water

Just this month, a Wake Forrest woman left her two dogs in the car while she went shopping at Walmart. It was 84 degrees outside and she cracked her windows. Two hours later, pedestrians noticed the barking, panting dogs locked inside and called police. By the time they arrived, both dogs were dead.  Their owner had been shopping for three hours. When she came out, she was charged with Animal Cruelty. Last year, it was a Carrborro woman that left a service dog in the car on a stormy day for two hours. It died when interior temperature reached 124 degrees!

Remember, no matter the weather, never leave your dog unattended in a car for more than 10 minutes. You don’t want a hot dog, so be cool and leave them at home!

Cat Scratch Fever

Cute Cat With Closed Eyes Scratching A Scratching Post

Does your cat scratch things you don’t want it to, like the new sofa? Or the curtains?  You are not alone in this vexing problem. Many cat owners seek a way to curb this “bad” cat habit!!

“The goal in resolving scratching problems is to redirect the behavior onto acceptable objects” Suzanne Hechts, Ph.D. Strategically placing a scratching post, an old rug, or a cardboard box can redirect your cat’s scratching area. You may be wondering “W hy do they do it in the first place?”

There are several reasons why a cat scratches:

1. To stretch their kitty limbs and flex their feet!
2. To mark an area (cats have scent glands on their feet that deposit a smell on the scratched object)
3. To get the dead outer layer of skin off their claws
4. To show dominance in front of another cat

And the reason they choose to claw your favorite chair, the one you spend the most time in?
Simply, kitty is marking you as his or her human and since that chair smells like you (or bed, or sofa).

So now we know why they scratch, let’s go over how we can get them to do it only in specific, acceptable places.

1. Cover objects you don’t’ want scratched with something kitty won’t like:
a. Double-sided sticky tape
b.  aluminum foil
c. sheets of sandpaper
You will need to leave these up for several weeks until kitty develops the new habit.

2. Buy a vertical scratching surface, one tall enough for kitty to fully stretch out while scratching
The post ideally should  be similar to tree bark, and many have sisal fiber rope wound around, that is coarse and perfect for kitty claws

3. Have more than one scratching post. Especially if you have more than one cat! Ideally, you should place one near where they sleep so that when they wake up and stretch, they have a place to flex their muscles. “Placing a scratching post in a prominent location in the most used room in the house, even directly in front of the piece of furniture the cat has shown a preference for, will often encourage the cat to scratch the post to mark his territory”-Petfinder.

Some recommended scratching posts include:
•    Carpeted board/ Tree perch (you can make this yourself by wrapping scrap carpet on a 4 by 4
•     Sisal Cat Scratching Post
•    Horizontal Super Scratcher made from cardboard

Every Rose Has It’s Thorn

Rose Closeup

The doorbell rang this morning and a delivery man brought something exciting into my house – a new plant!  How I do love all things green and leafy – can’t wait to destroy this one. Closing the door,  my owner cradled the plant like a baby and exclaimed “A dozen roses, oh honey you shouldn’t have!”

“The flowers are for mother’s day,  my sweetheart. Of course I should, and probably much more often ” he replied. After they were set on the table, I jumped up to investigate. My nose twitched with excitement, they smelled really good – like honey. I tried to get some of that heavenly scent on my fur and rubbed-up against them. OUCH! The deceptive rose has nasty pointy objects hidden on its stem. Those evil spikes impaled my beautiful fur and I wailed until mom came over.

“Oh Slider, what now!” Seeing the red drops of blood blooming in my fur, she brought over tweezers and told me I had just gotten a thorn in my side. I informed her that this new plant had to go, taking a swat at it a few moments later. “No Slider, look how you’ve knocked the Peach Petals off! Shoo!”

Later, as I lay glaring over at the new plant, my owner brought over a magazine FULL OF ROSES!  She tried to interest me in the horrid plant, and spoke about getting a bunch for the garden. I opened my mouth real wide, a giant yawn, to demonstrate my level of interest. “Now Slider, I know how you love learning. See, here is a diagram about  the meaning behind each color of rose. I was given the Peach plant variety.  Please try and find what out what this color means for me.” She continued to look at me expectantly, so I finally scanned the page. Eight different colors of roses, each with a description after it – curiously interesting:

Dark Pink: Appreciation and Gratitude
Light Pink: Admiration, Sympathy and Sweetness
Yellow: Friendship, New Beginnings, HappinessSlippity
Red: Love, Courage, Respect
White: Purity, Innocence
Peach: Appreciation and Sincerity
Lavender: Enchantment, Love at First Sight
Orange: Fascination, Desire

I weighed in on her Peach roses and the appreciation/sincerity they signified with a heartfelt “Meoooow.”

“Good old Slider. ” She smiled as if she understood.

MYTHBUSTERS: Flea Facts and Myths

Striped Pussycat Scratching Fleas

Take this quick quiz to find out just how much you DON’T know about fleas and your pets!

1. There is one species of flea.
One of the many Wonders of the Bug World, the flea has  2,000 species worldwide  and 300 species in North America.

2. The domestic cat flea species is also found on dogs.
The scientific name for this species is Ctenocephalides felis. This species of flea selects dogs, cats, and humans as its preferred hosts.

3. Fleas are becoming immune to our Flea collars and treatments.

Dr. Mike Dryden, of Kansas State Veterinary Medicine, did a study on apparent failure of flea products. He visited 1,000 homes in the Tampa, Florida area, all of whom said that they were using preventative appropriately. In all of those homes he found no real evidence of flea resistance, and in all but one or two found that the client had the wrong understanding of fleas and how the products work or weren’t using them properly. There is little to no evidence of any sort that fleas have developed any resistance to products released in the last few years, and these products are actually very effective.

4. Fleas lay 100’s or 1,000’s of eggs each day
Fleas lay between 30-40 eggs each day.Flea

5. Fleas infest, grow,  and live on your pets.
Fleas enter the house on one of your furry-footed pets, but then they make a home in the carpets, bedding, pet beds, and upholstered furniture. There the flea eggs grow to larvae, then adults and hop on your pet again

6. In winter, pet owners don’t need to worry about fleas.
Although you may not see them in the winter in cold climates, fleas can live quite comfortably in your house, as well as on wildlife. If your pet or your house had fleas during the warm months, you’re likely to have fleas during the winter months as well. If your pet goes outdoors and may have contact with squirrels, birds, or other wildlife, they can still get fleas. And, of course, fleas live happily in warm climates all year long, so flea control is a year-round battle.

7. Fleas hatch from eggs, then still have to go through a larval stage, before they are adults and bite your pet.
Adult fleas are only 5% of the flea population. If you’re not treating your house and yard, you’re missing the eggs, larvae, and cocoons, which account for the other 95 percent.

Don’t underestimate this external parasite, the common flea reigns supreme during North Carolina summers!

Rawhide: Good or Bad?

Puppy & ChewySo just what is rawhide, anyway?

The name explains it rather well: Rawhide is the inner layer of horse/cow/buffalo hides. Hair is removed off this skin by an Ash-Lye solution or a Lime solution. “The Lime solution is the quickest and most often utilized by manufacturers. This process is highly caustic but the most efficient for mass production.” Afterward, the rawhide is cut up and pressed into chewable dog treats. Flavor/color  may be added, such as chicken or liver or even peanut butter.

Researching the positives I found only three:
1. The natural instinct to chew is satisfied by a rawhide
2. Dental health usually benefits from chewing, cleaning the tartar and plaque off teeth
3. Better breath (due to less teeth decay and less plaque)

Now, the long list of negatives:
1. Can cause tooth damage
Pressed rawhide is harder to chew, and sometimes fractures/breaks teeth. Sometimes a slab or tip fracture is fine, but painful initially, and some abscess, getting grossly infected and painful. Bones, hard solid-colored nylabones, and other objects harder than teeth can also cause fractures.

2. Trace amounts of toxic chemicals
The more dogs lick, chew and swallow the material, the greater their exposure to any contaminants it contains. Manufacturers don’t have to follow FDA rules because “under FDA law, as long as the label contains no reference to nutritional value (such as “high protein”), the agency advises that manufacturers “may not have to follow the AAFCO pet food regulations.”-FDA.

3.The biggest problem is choking/blockage from breaking off a piece that is too big. Rawhide can swell up to four times its original size! “The rawhide can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. Depending on its size and where it is located, a vet may be able to remove these pieces fairly easily through the throat. But sometimes, abdominal surgery is needed to remove them from the stomach or intestines. If it isn’t resolved, a blockage can lead to death.” – Webmd.

4. Diarrhea due to a sensitive digestive system

5. Salmonella poisoning

6. Some products from China have been causing the death of hundreds of dogs over the last decade. China does not have an FDA for animal products. The recommendation from the veterinary community is to AVOID FEEDING TREATS made in china.

If your puppy or dog needs to chew, here are a few alternatives to rawhide: Naturally shed deer/elk antlers. Greenies, Bully Sticks, Nylabones that specifically say “Made in the USA,” bones from the butcher (make sure to roast them first to kill off any bacteria).

Happy chewing!

Slider’s Night Out


There he is – my Romeo!

Romeo is a big white tomcat, twice my size, and his eyes glow something fierce in the moonlight. He can climb a cherry tree with just his front claws. His ability to balance way above my head is dizzying – little tiny branches that my weight wouldn’t allow.

He showed up in my neighborhood last week, unannounced, and seems to be getting on just fine catching birds at the feeder.  I watch him out the window, amazed that he has no place to be, no owner locking him inside on a beautiful day.

This evening he comes to my front porch, caterwauling until the porch light goes. My owner opens the door to yell at him and I bolt out! FREEDOM! We race down the driveway, across the road and into the empty lot full of climbing trees. Thank goodness I still have my claws or else I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I follow his lead, crashing through the bushes and leaping over sprinkler systems. Tonight I will learn all about wild-cat fun, roaming the streets with my tomcat.

Our first stop is the garbage bin, turns out Romeo needs more than an occasional bird to keep his energy up. The smell alone overwhelms me, and I hang back, skeptically eyeing the rotten chicken wing he brings over. There are bugs all around me, sharing in the feast, and my stomach does a flip-flop.

Romeo leads the way through a hedge and over to the sand volleyball court. It turns out THIS is his kitty box. Out in the open, where anyone could see!

Next, we will romp in the park, but a fierce possum forces us off the path and we detour through the swampy area. My beautiful paws become covered in gook! I also feel something crawling along my back. Fleas? It itches! I want to scratch them off but the muck will get in my topcoat. This is not what I envisioned!

Romeo has raced up ahead again and my little legs are getting tired. I trudge forward, scanning the grass for dog deposits. Finally reaching the park center, I panic when a loud siren goes off. Where did he go? Romeo? Where art thou Romeo?

I am all alone in the dark, my skin is crawling with vermin, my paws are ruined – the reality is that being a wildcat is not fun. It’s work.

I turn around, one thing on my mind: home. Oh to be in my clean house with a soft bed and fresh food. I drag my ragged, worn out legs all the way back to the porch and meow. Pitifully. After what seems like an eternity, my owner opens the door. “Oh Slider, what happened?”

She scoops me up, towels me off, and sets me down with a fancy feast liver pate. Heaven!
Just call me a house-cat, I don’t mind.


“Satisfies Your Cats Natural Craving For Grass.” – Cat Grass

Cat eat grass

Hmm, that’s what the plastic bag says.

I clawed open the top and saw what looked like rice puffs inside. Meowing in disdain, my mom  heard the racket and came over to see what I’d gotten into.
“Oh, for once it is something you CAN eat, the Cat Grass.”

She explained the seeds are hidden inside the granules and she needed to add water before the grass would sprout.

How long do I have to wait? I wondered. Patience is not this cat’s virtue.

“It looks like 3 days until sprouts and then a week until the grass is edible”, she continued to read.

Drat! I can’t wait that long. My furballs are due to come up soon and my tummy hurts.

Each  morning I water the grass with my mom, just like you would a flower.

If we had any left -they are so tasty – I believe the last bloom was munched by me yesterday.

The bag of sprouts sits on my window ledge.

I brush against the curtain, creating a little less direct sunlight.

Maybe if I just stare at the bag long enough, it will encourage the sprouts to shoot up.

You know, love makes things grow. I do so looooove to eat plants. Grass.

Anything green in the house is mine for the munching.

Finally, on day eight a full 2 inches of lush cat grass is growing!

Mom transplants it to a big pot sitting on the floor and I now have my own houseplant.

I went on-line to see when to harvest the leaves and it said:
“When the plant reaches eight inches.

You can take leaves throughout the summer and dry them in the oven or a dehydrator.

Pinch back flowers as they appear to stimulate leaf growth.” – the herb gardener.

Then, dry them out in an airtight bag and dole out to your cat liberally!

I learned that the toy-grade catnip in my mouse is leftover after the best leaves go to the medicinal and tea market.

So, I am  now a gardener of my own quality catnip- and it tastes so much better fresh!

Restrain Thy Pet!


Picture this: a dog hanging out the car window, ears flapping in the wind, a silly grin on his face as his tongue shivers with excitement. We have all seen this joyous picture – yet the reality is that unrestrained dogs are not safe!

Accidents happen. Your pet could be launched from the vehicle like a projectile missile. “A 10-pound dog that’s not restrained can generate 500 pounds of force in a 50-mph crash.” – AAA. He could also collide with the kids in the car or tumble into the front seat and interfere with the drivers control of the vehicle!

AAA did a study in 2011  that listed “Pets moving around in the car as the 3rd worst car distraction”.  Other distracting behaviors that drivers have admitted to include: reaching in the back to entertain their pet, letting their dog ride up front on their lap, and taking a hand off the steering wheel to restrain their pet.

To prevent accidents due to pets in vehicles, North Carolina now strongly urges pet owners to invest in a safety harness for their dog. Below is a comparison of five different safety harness styles and their features.

Some of the seat belts have an extension you can purchase for more range of motion. Of course, you have to follow the installation instructions carefully. In the end, you could be saving the life of “Man’s best friend”.

I. The Company of Animals Clix Car Safe
Price: $13-$27
Sizes: X-small 14-25 inch chest, Small 21-25.5 inch,  Medium 23-29.5 inch,  Large 29.5-37 inch

1. Soft neoprene padding and “X-Cross” design for comfort and protection
2. Doubles as a walking harness
3. clicks directly into the seat-belt socket or by sliding the seat-belt through the harness
4. Uses double-sided adjustable buckles that clip together without needing to manipulate your dog’s legs

II. Solvit Pet Car Safety Harness
Price: $25 to $33 for large dogs
Sizes: Small 6-25 lbs., Medium  20-55 lbs., Large 45-85 lbs., X-tra Large 60-120 lbs.

1. Heavy-duty straps attach to a fully-padded vest, with a breathable inner layer for optimal pet comfort.
2. Only FULL METAL connectors are used at all load-bearing points.
3. integrates with the vehicle’s seat belt tensioning device, thus providing range of motion while traveling, but in the case of a sudden stop it locks in place to keep pets secure
4. Washable yet plastic buckles not as sturdy as metal would be
*One Year Warranty

III.  Pet Vehicle Safety Harness
Price: $29
Size: one size adjustable

1. Fully-padded chest piece, extremely comfortable per 100 reviews from pet owners
2. Made of high quality automotive materials such as seat belt webbing for extra durability.
3. Five adjustment points for a perfect fit on all shapes and sizes.
4. Integrates with vehicle’s seat belt tensioning device to provide range of motion while traveling, but locks during sudden stops.
5. Easiest to use harness available today.

IV. Guardian Pet Specialties Pet Safe-T-Belt
Price: $29-$49 for large dogs
Sizes: X-small 3-7 lbs.,  Small 7-19 lbs. ,  Medium 20-50 lbs.,  Large 51-100 lbs.

1. High end, quality product with very durable material – strong, soft nylon, with stitching and fasteners on the outside
2. High level of restraint keeps pet secure
3. Adjustable safety strap allows pets to sit, lie down or stand comfortably
4. Compatibility: Universal seat belt clip fits most vehicles (Does not fit SAABS or Ford Explorers)
*One year warranty

V. Four Paws Pet SafetySitter
Price: $12

1. Affordable, well made, with strong, soft, double-stitched nylon and sturdy hardware
2. Instructions are clear and well-illustrated
3. An added feature is the sturdy metal ring stitched into the back of the harness that you can clip a leash to so it doubles as a walking harness

The Crazy Cat Lady

Cats in bedroom.

Rarely do you hear of a male “crazy cat” person that hoards cats.

Why is it usually women that hoard the cats? “It may be a sign of mental illness, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, dementia, or anxiety, or a mental illness itself”. – ASPCA.

Many women fall victim to good intentions and “end up emotionally overwhelmed, socially isolated, and ultimately alienated from family and friends. This behavior frequently begins after an illness, disability or death of a significant other, or another difficult life event such as a trauma during their youth.” -ASPCA.  Since men tend to pass on average five years earlier than women, this leaves a lot more single widows with a need for affection and attachment.

The term “animal hoarding” refers to the compulsive need to collect and own animals for the sake of caring for them that results in accidental or unintentional neglect or abuse. Many times the cats are acquired passively, as word gets out that there is a no-kill place that will accept cats.

Compared to dogs, “cats are certainly very easy to acquire, and… they’re much easier to keep and hide.” – Dr. Patronek, founder of  Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium. In a study of 54 US  hoarding cases, “Patronek found that about two-thirds of hoarders are solitary women and nearly half are 60 or older”.

One recent example was the president of a Cary, NC  501(c)3 animal rescue called “Calvin’s Paws.” She was arrested  with approx. 100 cats in her home. To paint a picture of what caring for 100 cats would look like:

50 cat food dishes (where would you put them all)?
35 cat boxes (where would you put them all)? No more than 3 cats to a litter box
25 water bowls
100 beds (each cat needs its own “territory”even if that is just a place to rest its head)

A second woman arrested last week had 150 cats in a 1200 square ft row house. That means there were only 8 square feet per cat. That does not allow for furniture, bathroom and kitchen appliances, counter space or walls.

If a bag of cat food on sale costs $12 and feeds 12 cats, you would need 13 bags of food per day to feed all of these furry creatures at a total cost of: $156. That’s $1,092 per week, or $4,368 per month just on food. This doesn’t include  the cost of cat litter, or the water bill.

What about getting the cats fixed? One un-neutered male could impregnate all the unspayed females, and with an average litter size of 5 kittens, there could be 20-50 more cats within the year.

The third recent case in North Carolina involved yet another woman:  “A 51-year-old Mount Airy woman was found guilty of 46 counts of animal neglect Tuesday after 119 living cats, and at least 100 more dead ones, were found in her squalid home.” – Fox News.

They also reported the following disturbing facts:

•    Every year 3,500 animal hoarders come to the attention of authorities
•    At least 250,000 animals are affected each year
•    Seventy percent of animal hoarders who come to the attention of authorities are females who are single, widowed, or divorced; although community-sampling studies find an equal ratio of males to females
•     Eighty percent of animal hoarders have diseased, dying, or dead animals on the premises.

Unfortunately, the crazy cat woman is more common than we want to believe. If you know of a neighbor or family member that has a large number of cats in their care, here is an organization that can help:

1. The OCD Foundation (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) website-

2. The ADAA Foundation (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) website –