Meowvelous Mondays With Merlin

Many lament Mondays but to old cats like me, every day is a gift. And, guess what, it’s my 18th birthday next week! My mom, Layla hasn’t wanted to say anything sooner because she wasn’t sure I’d make it. Well, knock me over with a feather but I’m hanging in there. I had to show her we can’t predict life or death. To celebrate we have some special things planned, so be sure to stop by next Monday. Until then, smile at strangers, open doors, help someone who needs a leg up, say thank-you and be thankful for every little thing you have, especially if they’re furry. Have a meowvelous week!

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A Street Cat Named Bob – Book Review & Giveaway

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Merlin (pictured above) gives his Four Paw Rating and thinks some angels have purrs instead of wings. That was my conclusion after reading A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man And His Cat Found Hope On The Streets by James Bowen. You may have seen the popular YouTube video of busker James Bowen playing guitar on the streets of London with his faithful sidekick, a ginger cat named Bob. This unlikely duo found each other when both were down on their luck and could have easily slipped through the cracks to a tragic end.

Everything changed in 2007, when Bowen, a recovering heroin addict and life-long cat lover decided to nurse back to health an injured cat in his ramshackle apartment. This proved to be no ordinary cat but Bob, a gregarious and streetwise cat who charmed passers-by (often on Bowen’s shoulder) as Bowen busked or sold magazines on street corners. Bob not only helped increase Bowen’s income but the two bonded in a relationship short of miraculous. The brilliant Bob taught Bowen that unconditional love can heal the deepest and darkest wounds. Gradually Bowen’s self-esteem soared and he began making healthier life choices. You might say Bob saved both their lives.

The famous duo still ply their trade on the streets of London and fans from all over the world often tweet their pics of Bob and Bowen at @streetcatbob. Visit and “like” them at their Facebook page to see all the latest pics!

The memoir, a #1 hit in the U.K. will in published in the U.S. by Thomas Dunne Books in 2013. A copy was sent to me from the publisher and in no way influenced this review.

The self-effacing Bowen gives writer Garry Jenkins credit for helping him write the book. The simplistic style captures Bowen’s matter-a-fact and yet beguiling voice.

If you’d like to win a copy of A Street Cat Named Bob, simply leave a comment a this post anytime before 11:59 PM EST September 29, 2012. Good luck! The winner will be announced next Sunday.

The winner of last week’s giveaway of Pawprints in the Moonlight is Eve F. Congrats! Look for an email from Layla. Don’t miss any of our reviews, interviews and giveaways. Subscribe today via email (top right corner) and we’d love you to like our Facebook page!

Soft Claws Review & Giveaway

The winner of our NVR Miss Cat Litter Giveaway is CMSouthern. Congratulations! Look for an email from Layla and Cat Wisdom 101.

We pride ourselves at Cat Wisdom 101 on giving honest reviews. Every product we review or give away is thoroughly checked out and tested by me and/or our official feline testers. When I received a package for Soft Claws, I had some reservations. Who in our kitty crew would be willing to test them? None of our cats have scratching issues. Gris Gris, shown here with the package said no. He hates having his claws trimmed. Odin is always game, but he was wrestling with Domino, so that left Merlin.

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Soft Claws are vinyl tips designed to prevent cats from harming furniture or  humans when they scratch. In an ideal world, cats that have scratching issues can be trained to use a scratching post and not draw blood like a cat from hell. But not everyone has access to a behaviorist or the inclination to train their cat. Soft Claws are a safe alternative to de-clawing which in any humane world would not exist. De-clawing cats is illegal in these countries

Soft Claws come in a rainbow of color choices and I thought, let’s go for something very James Bond like Goldfinger and chose the gold sparkle caps. The first step is to have your cat’s claws trimmed. Merlin was due to have his claws trimmed anyway and volunteered. There are good instructions plus a video for trimming claws safely.

The Soft Claws caps easily snapped on Merlin’s claws. Since were just testing, we didn’t use the adhesive which is non-toxic but strong enough to keep the caps on for 4-6 weeks. They fit well and Merlin didn’t mind my fussing except for one claw that needed an extra trim. They look fun in gold but if were actually using them, I would opt of the clear caps so I could see the claw better and suggest checking them regularly to see if they are attached properly, not dangling, or if one claw growing faster than another.

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I strongly suggest anyone thinking of using Soft Claws to determine the underlining cause or reason for “problem” scratching. It’s normal behavior for cats to scratch. It’s how they mark territory, exercise and have fun. Most cats can be trained to use a scratching post or other appropriate scratching surface.

Indoor/outdoor should not use Soft Claws. Never use force to attach the caps. Make it as relaxed a time as possible and reward them with a treat after the caps are on. If your cat does not like or adjust to wearing them after a few days, remove them according to the instruction on the website.

If the reason for using Soft Claws is aggressive behavior or a fear that your cat will scratch a child or adult, please rule out a medical cause first. Cats, humans and babies have peacefully co-existed for thousands of years. However, if you feel you’re at your wits end, please use Soft Claws and never de-claw.

If you’d like to win a package of Soft Claws in a color of your choice, simply, leave a comment at this post anytime before 11:59 PM September 27, 2012. Good luck!

Vet 101: Feline Fun Facts

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We’re taking a break from our usual Vet 101 to share some fun with feline facts. Today’s lesson is about a cat’s nose. The nose pad is also called nose leather and comes in a wide variety of colors. White or light colored fur near the nose will usually result in pink to beige nose. Darker fur near the nose pad will result in shades of brown, gray to black. And yes, the pattern of cat’s nose is as unique as a fingerprint. Your homework: examine your cat’s nose closely in bright bright light. Note the color and shape. Is is cool and moist? Is there any discharge or anything out of the ordinary?

Our Odin loves snorfling in the dirt like a truffle hound. For the longest time, I thought the dark inside edge of his nostril was pigmented until I took a closer look. It turned out to be dirt! As Merlin is aging, I’ve noticed his blue/gray nose has worn edges but still a distinctive heart shape. When Domino arrived years ago on our porch, I wondered if the pigmented black spot on his pink nose could be cancer. It wasn’t but I keep a close eye on to see if the spot changes size, shape or color as pink noses are more susceptible to skin cancer.

As our cats’ parent or guardian, it’s up to us to observe any changes and as Gris Gris points out to…

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Red Carpet Pawty With Big Prizes & You’re Invited!

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You’re invited to join us and other fun pet bloggers and pet lovers for a Red Carpet Pawty to celebrate the upcoming Emmy Awards.

Who: This pawty is hosted by Gracey the Tiniest Tiger, a blogger and advocate for cats big and small and Event Barkers The event is sponsored by ASPCA, Bissell, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Iams and World’s Best Cat Litter.

When: Wednesday, September 19, 5:30 -7PM Pacific

Where: On Twitter, use the Hashtag #RedCarpetCat

Why: Fun & oodles of fab prizes. Talk about swag! Prizes will be given out every 10 minutes! Last year The Tiniest Tiger Hipster bag was a big hit at the Oscar event. This year, The Tiniest Tiger Tote bag will be debuting on the red carpet! Both cat and dog versions filled with swag will be given away. Some other prizes include 5 Barkworld passes, up for grabs early in the party (entries will require answering a question correctly.),books, KittyBlock, Fling-Ama-Strings, TipsyNip, Cat Power Tower, SturdiProducts and a whole lot more!

For more details and to RSVP click here When entering the RSVP list use your Twitter handle. Look for us tweeting as @BOOMERM– — — USE. If you follow us, you can dm (direct message) us. We’re still figuring out Twitter so help us out! See you there!

If you are not a fan of Twitter or can’t make it, don’t despair. If you leave a comment at this post, I’ll include you for an extra chance to win at our next giveaway.

Adopting Cats: When Less is More With Petfinders

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Pets usually considered less adoptable are celebrated during Petfinder’s Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet campaign this week. Did you know 24% of older pets in shelters have a hard time finding homes? Or 14% of shy pets are overlooked? For over a year our Gris Gris languished in a shelter. Barely socialized, no one wanted the shy 12-year-old senior. cat-gris gris-gray-alert-ears

Two years later, I can’t begin to say how much joy he’s given us. He’s blossomed into a sleek, exuberant and wise cat enjoying his second kittenhood. He’s our poster child for the joys of adopting a “less” adoptable cat. We believe less is more when it comes to adopting the less adoptable.

Special needs are simply special. Look at our Odin, who only has one eye but what an eye!

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He was one of six cats nominated in the Cat Ruler of the World Contest, and the only one with special needs. He didn’t win first prize but head over to see the awards party at Zee & Zoey. to find out who did plus whether you won any prizes.

If you click on Petfinders link and enter your Zip Code, you can find what special cats (or dogs) are in your neighborhood. Many older cats are eligible for a permanent foster program, meaning the shelter will help with food and medical costs. If you can’t adopt or foster, perhaps you can volunteer. Every shelter has a wish list of items they need donated right now. Check with your local shelter for their latest news and fundraising events.

Our pick for a senior cat in dire need of a home is Whitney. Look at this face!

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This what his profile says: He’s a handsome boy who is a bit shy but loves people. As soon as you give him that first bit of attention, he’ll melt right before your eyes. He has been at shelter way too long and deserves a home to call his own. He is eligible for our permanent foster program. For more about him and other info click here There just might be a special cat in your future!

Feline Ships That Pass in the Night

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It’s a different kind of Mondays with Merlin with just a quote. Merlin isn’t feeling chatty. While walking with Merlin in the garden yesterday, he passed in one direction while Odin passed him in the other. My husband and I looked at each other and said at the same time, “Like ships that pass in the night.” The moment felt loaded with meaning. We never know who is leaving or passing or when.

Every evening, Merlin presses hard into my body all night, shifting sands of memories. There is an increased urgency from him as if he know he’s running out of time. I go about my business reading, writing, pausing to watch him, coo and chat. Night after night, the same as ever and yet one night will be the last.

The days blur with a relentless pace, the night slows in reverence and surrender. Life is good.

For our readers who are celebrating Rosh Hashanah, we wish you a sweet and happy new year!

Paw Prints In the Moonlight: Book Review & Giveaway

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It’s been a long while since a nonfiction book about a cat captivated me as much as Paw Prints in the Moonlight: The Heartwarming True Story of One Man and his Cat by Denis O’Connor. The author, a retired psychologist recounts his life as single, young professor living in a charming, stone cottage in rural Northumberland, England. The only thing missing from his idyllic country life is a cat. Originally published in 2009 as Paw Tracks in the Moonlight: The Story of Toby Jug, a Very Fine Cat (a best seller in the U.K.), the book is being re-issued in the U.S. as Paw Prints in the Moonlight and slated to be published in October, 2012 by Thomas Dunne Books with a new cover.

Cats have a way of finding us and one snowy winter day Denis O’Connor rescues a bedraggled cat caught in a leg-hold trap. He tracks the bleeding cat across snowy fields to an abandoned barn and her two dying three-week-old kittens. In a heroic effort, he manages to drag all of them to a vet. It’s not a happy ending and against the vet’s advice, Denis places the mewling and ill survivor in his pocket to begin the adventures of one cat lover and his extraordinary cat he names Toby Jug.

With no place to keep the kitten safe and warm, the inventive author keeps the kitten in a large, glass pitcher filled with cotton balls. That’s only the beginning of this quirky tale. Cat and owner are inseparable from day one with Toby Jug riding on the author’s shoulders wherever he goes.

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Cats often come into our lives as teachers and Toby Jug changed the author’s life forever. The riveting story of surviving against all odds, profound love of a human-animal bond reads like the best page-turning fiction. The dozen full-color illustrations by Richard Morris brings the story fully alive. I was so mesmerized by the charismatic Toby Jug and his escapades and misadventures, I was unprepared for the ending with a supernatural twist that left me teary-eyed and yet hopeless This heart-warming, wry and wise book is destined to become classic in any cat lover’s library.

If we could give it a 5 Paw Rating we would but we have a max of 4 Paws. If you’d like to win a copy, simply leave a comment anytime at this post until 11:59PM EST Sept. 22, 2012. Good luck!

The publisher sent me a copy and in no way influenced my review.

In a remarkable aside, the author sold Owl Cottage and twenty years later, married and with two new cats, finds his old cottage for sale and buys it. Not surprisingly, the author wrote a sequel titled Paw Tracks at Owl Cottage which I’m eager to get my paws on.

The winner of last week’s fun book giveaway We’re All Different But We’re All Kitty Cats is Melinda England. Congratulations! Look for an email from Layla and Cat Wisdom 101.

Paws Crossed Caturday

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Thank Cod the Campaign for a Cause is over! Paws crossed for happy news on Tuesday. Until then, we’re chilling chez Cat Wisdom 101. Odin, always my muse agreed to pose for some art but said no to testing a new product. Uh oh, we’ll have to wait until next week to announce our next product giveaway. Before you know it, he’ll asking to be paid!

Cat Wisdom 101 subscribers. A few Gmail subscribers have not received our blog post notifications recently. If this has happened to you, please email info@catwisdom101.com and we’ll re-subscribe you. Thank-you!

We do have a fab book giveaway tomorrow and we have a winner for last week’s big swag bag of goodies from the A.S.P.C.A Cats Against Puppy Mills Campaign. Congratulations Katt Brooks, you are are winner! Look for an email from Layla and Cat Wisdom 101. Check the A.S.P.C.A interactive MAP and see if there are pet stores who support puppy mills in your neighborhood.

With last pleasant day of summers, the human and feline Cat Wisdom 101 members are spending their afternoons on the porch working or not.

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How are you enjoying the last days of summer?

Flashback Friday: Cute Kitten Odin

cute-kitten-odin-quote-prizeHow soon they grow up! This was Odin at six months. Even then, he kept his one eye on the prize. Now he’s up for the biggest prize: Cat Ruler of the World. If you haven’t voted yet, today is the last day to VOTE at Zee & Zoey

By leaving a comment, you are automatically entered to win a huge prize pack. By voting for Odin, the 200 sanctuary cats at Brigid’s Crossing will purr their thanks. They have room for kitties of all kinds: kittens, young cats, old cats, blind cats, ferals, FIV+, all are provided for. The winners will be announced on Tuesday, September 17, 2012.

Thank-you for voting and for loving CATS

 

Vet 101- Video: Give Your Cat a Wellness Exam in 5 Minutes


We have a special treat today courtesy of our vet, Dr. Rich Goldstein. This is an easy to follow exam he suggests doing monthly on your cats. The intro is by Layla Morgan Wilde with an impromptu cameo appearance by Odin.

Cats are masters of hiding pain and symptoms but they don’t need to suffer in silence. In five minutes, this video will give you a “leg up” on what physical signs to look out for. By regularly examining your cat, you’ll be better equipped to know when something is amiss and see your vet sooner. Five minutes just might save a life.

Always respect your cat and their limitations. This can be a fun way to bond but for cats that don’t enjoy being touched or held, reduce the time and reward them with a treat. Never force a cat against their will or you may be bitten or scratched. Our model in the video is Gris Gris who normally hates being held. He’d had most of his teeth removed by a previous owner and still resists being examined in his mouth. Resistance to being examined or touchiness in certain areas may point to an underlying condition and warrants a visit to a vet for a full examination.