Friday, July 1, 2016

10 Ways to Keep Your Cat Calm On July 4th (Because They Can't Wear Ear Plugs!)

A couple weeks ago Mudpie was napping in her KatKabin during a thunderstorm. When a particularly strong rumble of thunder rolled through she shot out of her cozy spot like an atomic bomb had gone off. It was a good reminder that she wasn't with me for the majority of last summer so I have no idea how she'll react to other loud noises like fireworks, and here we are at the beginning of a long holiday weekend filled with Independence Day festivities. (And if your neighborhood kids are anything like mine, celebrate early and often seems to be their motto.)

Statistics show that more pets go missing during the July 4th holiday than any other time of year, and July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animals shelters nationwide. Sadly, fewer than 2% of  lost cats are ever reunited with their families.

Holidays are supposed to be fun, not scary, so we've put together a few tips to help ensure that both you and your cat enjoy a safe and relaxing holiday together:

1. Distractions are key: Play music, run a fan or AC, turn on the TV or radio.

2. Playtime! A rousing play session before events begin can help kitty relax and might even tire them out! This would be a good occasion to break out a brand new toy too.

3. Keep your cat inside. (Of course, this goes without saying any day of the year.)

4. Stay home with them if possible; they will feel safer with you around.

5. Keep calm and quiet yourself to ensure your cat that all is well and normal in their little world.

6. Make sure they have a safe place in your home to hide away stockpiled with their favorite bedding, toys and treats. Don't forget the litter box!

7. Lower the blinds and close the windows (make sure they're secure!) to limit the amount of light and sound they're exposed to.

8. Be prepared for the worst-case scenario by making sure your cat's microchip and/or ID tags are up to date. Current photos are a good idea too.

9. If you have friends over, make sure they know you have pets in the house and ask that they help keep them safe.

10. Consider a calming remedy: Thundershirts, Feliway plug-ins, flower esssences such as Stress Stopper or Storm Soother, even something as simple as calming treats can be very effective.

How do you plan to protect your pet this weekend?

Do you have any July 4th horror stories to share?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Book Review/Giveaway: To Catch a Cat by Heather Green

From the publisher: A heartfelt, funny memoir about how a kitten rescue project changed one cynic’s life…

Journalist Heather Green was finally putting down roots: in shiny, buzzing Manhattan. She loved her work and threw herself into sixty-hour weeks—once walking into a subway pole, getting a concussion, and still going to the office. Her new boyfriend Matt lived across the river in a New Jersey town that had none of the glamour of New York. She liked Matt—a lot—yet she wasn’t sure what to make of weekends in gritty, dilapidated Union City.

But things changed the summer morning Heather discovered a beautiful stray cat and her three black-and-white kittens in Matt’s neighbor’s backyard. When she made eye contact with one of the kittens, she felt something she’d never felt before. She and Matt had to save the little animals. Because if they didn’t, who would?

The crazy world of cat rescue soon drew Heather in. As she and Matt worked together to figure out how to trap, tame, and find homes for their foundlings, she began to question the life she had back in Manhattan. This is the story of how three furry beings taught one woman about love, community, and what truly matters in life.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for animal rescuers who work "in the field". Those who put their hearts on the line each and every day for little to no thanks. As Nelson Mandela said, "There can be no greater gift than that of giving one's time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return." That's the definition of a hero in my eyes, and cats forced to survive on the streets need all the heroes they can find.

Journalist Heather Green's life is changed forever when she finds a stray mama cat and her three kittens in the backyard of her boyfriend's New Jersey home. At the time she's a typical Manhattanite, focused solely on her career with any time left over going into her social life. Still, she knows she has to save this precious little family, and with the help of her wonderfully supportive boyfriend Matt she does just that. They don't enter this commitment lightly; Matt even goes so far as to take a class to learn more about working with ferals. They pick just the right time to trap the wild kittens and begin the slow and steady process of socializing them.

The only problem left is when the time comes to let them go, how is anyone ever going to be "good enough" to adopt their little charges? While this isn't a sad book, it's actually very uplifting, tears were flowing when Heather and Matt left the kittens in their forever homes. There's a happy ending for mom Oona too, now a former feral living the good life with Heather's family (see photo below).

As much as this book is about the world of cat rescue, it's also a love story. As Heather and Matt take on their greatest challenge as a couple, they realize that they make a pretty great team and learn much about themselves and relationship building along the way. Subsequently they've married, had a daughter, and gone on to save 65 cats while also creating a strong foundation for change in how their community responds to urban cats.

If you love cats and care about their well-being, you owe it to yourself (and them) to pick up a copy of this book. It will inspire you and make you so grateful that there are people out there making a difference and being a voice for the most innocent among us.

To Catch a Cat is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, July 5th, and can be pre-ordered today.


About the Author: Heather Green is a freelance writer and former journalist. For twelve years, she covered the Internet and digital media for BusinessWeek, winning awards including the New York Press Club Crystal Gavel and the Front Page Award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York. She wrote numerous cover stories on subjects from social media to e-commerce, pioneered using blogs, podcasts, and Twitter at BusinessWeek, and appeared on national TV stations, including CNN, CNBC, and the BBC. Prior to BusinessWeek, she worked for Bloomberg where she launched their Internet beat and at the International Herald Tribune in Paris. She has a BA from the University of Virginia and a graduate degree from the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris. To Catch a Cat is her first book.

Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Friday, July 8th for your chance to win a copy of To Catch a Cat. (Per the publisher's request, US entries only, please.)

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Taste America's Goodness with Whole Earth Farms #ChewyInfluencer

Meows from Mudpie!

Do any of you kitties have a Mommy as weird as mine? The first time she saw Whole Earth Farms products on the store shelves, she hoped I'd like the food because she loved the artwork on the packaging so much. She says it looks just like the Vermont countryside.

Strange, right? Like anything matters more to a cat than how the food tastes!

Whole Earth Farms is a part of the Merrick Pet Care family, offering a wholesome line of naturally nutritious pet food that offers all the goodness from the earth at a great value. They have a full line of recipes that provide grain-free nutrition with healthy protein sources and vegetables for a delicious daily meal. It's Cooked in the USA meeting the highest quality standards and contains no ingredients from China.

A few months ago I tried one of the pate varieties and found it too dry for my taste, so we asked to try the Grain-Free Morsels in Gravy Chicken Recipe. When we opened the can we saw very little gravy, and the consistency of the food is more of the chunky variety.

We had our doubts but Mommy whipped out her trusty fork and mashed it up, then added a bit of water for good measure. She brought it to me in my favorite window so I could dine al fresco.

Guess what? I liked it! We took a little video as proof...and because there's not nearly enough video of me here on the blog :)

All varieties of Whole Earth Farms canned cat food are currently on sale for $25.88 for a case of 24, so ask your mom or dad to add some to your next order. They offer FREE 1-2 day shipping for orders over $49, and with over 500 brands in stock they have something sure to make every cat or dog happy.

Disclaimer: This food was sent to us for free by as part of their Blogger Outreach Program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are our own and we never recommend a product we don’t fully believe in.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Tortie Shorties on Mystery Monday

Welcome to this week's edition of Tortie Shorties on Mystery Monday!

We hope you enjoy our choices.

The Black Cat Knocks on Wood (A Bad Luck Cat Mystery) by Kay Finch

From the publisher: Sabrina finds it difficult to work on her latest suspense novel when her Aunt Rowe’s antics keep tying up her thoughts. This time Rowe and her fun-loving friends have decided to compete in the upcoming Texas Hill Country Senior Pro Rodeo. The problem is these women have little to no experience with lassos, bulls, or even horseback riding. 

Before Sabrina can keep the stubborn seniors from mounting their steeds, she’s sidetracked by a bigger problem. An uppity local business owner is found dead in an accident—right after a black cat was seen in her office. While the townsfolk think the bad luck cat has struck again, Sabrina suspects there might be something more murderous afoot. With a twisted killer on the loose, she’ll have to round up clues quickly before she or her aunt are steered straight into the path of danger...

Tortie Shorties Review: Hitchcock is back for his second adventure, and that little cutie is anything but a Bad Luck Cat!!!

Sabrina is horrified when her Aunt Rowe and her lady friends plan to compete in the Texas Hill Country Senior Pro Rodeo...not exactly a wise decision for a group of septuagenarian with no experience. Hilarity is certain to ensue. One of Rowe's friends, Pearl, is planning to buy the property next door to expand her store and feels that she's been cheated realtor Crystal Devlin. She asks to "borrow" sweet little Hitchcock to bring Crystal a little bad luck. Sabrina is horrified and refuses, but bad luck finds Crystal anyways when she's crushed under a pile of bricks in the aforementioned storefront. Everyone knows Pearl and the victim were feuding, which makes her the prime suspect.

As much as I loved the first book in this series, I enjoyed this one even more. Sabrina's writing career is really taking off...if only she had the time to write! Along with her crime solving duties, she's planning an event with veterinarian Magnolia Jensen called Love-a-Black-Cat adoption weekend. The rodeo scenes are a lot of fun, and Sabrina winds up finding herself in more than one dangerous situation. Thank goodness Hitchcock has taken it upon himself to be her chief protector! He's a total scene stealer and a purr-fect ambassador for black cats everywhere.

From the publisher: With her rent rising faster than her pie crust, bakery owner Winnie Johnson had hoped to be rescued by an inheritance from her wealthy friend and neighbor Gertrude Redenbacher. Instead all she inherits is the widow’s hostile hissing tabby, Lovey, and a vintage ambulance, restored by Gertrude’s late husband. As her dream crumbles, Winnie makes her final delivery—a peach pie to an elderly widower. But she finds Bart Wagner lying on his kitchen floor, smothered by a pillow.

To comfort her frightened and grieving neighbors, Winnie comes to the rescue with her baked goods—and an idea is born: dessert delivery via her ambulance and a new business called the Emergency Dessert Squad. When she’s not speeding to the scenes of dessert emergencies, Winnie is also racing to track down Bart’s killer—before she needs to call a real ambulance for the next victim...

Tortie Shorties Review: This is one of the most clever concepts for a cozy series that I've seen yet!

Winnie Johnson is on the brink of losing her beloved bakery and her only hope is an inheritance from her dearly departed friend Gertrude. She doesn't inherit the money she so desperately needs though. She returns home with a hissy tabby named Lovey and an old ambulance. Attempting to turn lemons into lemonade she decides to turn the ambulance into a dessert delivery service with an "emergency" theme: the Emergency Dessert Squad. It's hard to keep her mind solely on growing her new business though, with the murder of her elderly neighbor Bart weighing on her and the feelings she's developing for her very first customer, handsome business professor Jay.

This first book in the series is a pure delight. Our protagonist Winnie is a character I immediately was drawn to: more comfortable with the older generation than her own, and focused on pursing her passion for baking. Her elderly friends and neighbors are such a delight, especially busybody Bridget and hard of hearing Mr. Nelson. Those two had me in stitches on more than one occasion. The mystery flows seamlessly and although I had a few suspicions I didn't piece everything together until Winnie revealed the truth.

Even though this isn't technically a cat mystery, Lovey plays a huge role throughout the book. I love how she rides shotgun on the ambulance and look forward to watching her develop a relationship with Winnie. Just what makes Lovey so grumpy, anyways???

Disclaimer: I received free copies of these books from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sleep Deprived #SundaySelfie

Meows from Mudpie!

Picture it: Burlington. Late Friday night/early Saturday morning. (Do we watch too much Golden Girls or what?)

Mommy had eyes and ears on the ground at the Cat Writers Association banquet in Phoenix and absolutely refused to turn the lights out and go to sleep until she got a full report.

Then at 1:15 AM she received Facebook messages from her dear friends Lisa and Janiss that we WON the Muse Medallion in the Blog/Any Other Topic category!!!

Of course you know what happened next...we couldn't sleep! Mommy even woke up this morning with an "excitement hangover" headache!

Now tonight (Saturday) is the BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Awards and we'll be watching the live stream. Hopefully we'll get to bed at a decent hour this time!

Do I look sleep deprived? (If I do, Mommy looks worse!)

We're joining out friends at The Cat on My Head for the Sunday Selfies blog hop.