Hello Cat Lover!

Today let's cover these topics:

Puppy and Kitten Mills
Cats can get depressed
Cool web sites!

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CATS IN THE NEWS
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Although this was mostly about dogs, the recent television
show, Oprah, spotlighted the plight of animals suffering
at thousands of breeding operations, such as puppy mills
and kitten mills. It was difficult to watch the video
footage of the animals surviving (or not) in horrendous
conditions, forced to live their entire lives in wire
mesh cages, usually without protection from all kinds of
weather.

They certainly also never got any veterinary attention,
and often did not have enough to eat.

Only the cute puppies (and kittens) make it out of
these places alive, generally, as they are the "crop"
these people are selling. The breeding males may
be released when they are used up, but the females are kept
as long as possible, often producing hundreds of
babies during their miserable lives. Then they die, or
are killed.

What can we do? As ordinary citizens living in ordinary
towns and cities all over the world, we can send a message
to these people by not spending our money in ways that
they will profit.

What does that mean?

1. NEVER buy a pet from a pet store. At least 99% of
those animals come from these mass breeding facilities.
You can be sure the cute youngsters' moms are still
back at the mill, churning out more babies, suffering
horrible conditions.

2. If you do buy from a breeder, find one who is
reputable. How can you tell? Well, good ones have
nothing to hide and are proud to show you where their
animals live. Also, such breeders usually will not breed
their animals until they have buyers already lined up.
You call, make an appointment, examine the situation,
then reserve a pet.

Another tip-off is that good breeders don't keep
hundreds of animals on their property.

Responsible breeders also keep track of you and the
pet, and are always willing to take the pet back if you
can't keep it. They also never sell their animals to
pet stores.

3. Always look first at a shelter when you are ready for a
new pet. As many as 30-40% of pets at shelters are pure
breeds, so don't let anyone argue that they don't want a
"mutt" or some old alley cat. (Although, one of my very
best cats is just some old alley cat... he's just about
the best cat I've ever had! You can read about him here:
http://loveablecat.blogspot.com)

4. If someone is intent on a specific breed, they should check
with the many "breed rescue groups" that rescue only that breed.

5. Be sure your own pets are spayed and neutered, then get your
friends and family in on it, too. (A friend of mine gives an unusual
Christmas present to her town every year: she gets one
animal fixed, usually a cat, whether it's a stray or a neighbor's
who can't afford the fees.)

Warning:
It's quite easy to find various outlets for pets
on the Internet, but please be wary of puppy and kitten
mills showing up there, too. Many unscrupulous breeders
know how to present a nice front, especially on the
Internet, where it is so easy to place beautiful photographs
of happy pets and pleasant, clean surroundings. All of that
can be faked... and often is.

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HEALTH ISSUES
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Is Your Cat Depressed?

Just like humans, cats can have their good days and their
bad days. They also have some of the same emotions, such
as fear, anger, happiness, and sometimes, depression.

If your kitty doesn't seem to be himself, it could be a
number of things, including illness (time for a vet check),
or some event in your life or theirs. While many people
don't lend much weight to it, cats do notice when you're
not feeling tops and may mirror your mood, or perhaps
they have lost someone who means a lot to them, such as
a companion pet, or another member of the family.

At my shelter, we have taken in more cats than dogs when
families had to move, as they didn't feel as strong a
connection to them as they did with their dogs. Sadly, since
cats can have feelings that run more deeply than a dog's,
some of those cats pined away and died, no matter how hard
we tried to help them.

So, if your kitty isn't interested in his usual routine,
such as eating or playing, or allowing you to cuddle or
groom him, try offering some catnip, more play time,
more loving attention, and if nothing helps, do a basic
home health check.

If you can't quickly see anything on your own, it's time for
a checkup at the vet's office.

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WEB SITES
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A very handy resource to keep at-the-ready:
http://www.animalemergencycenter.com/pet_alert.html
(Thanks to Lee for sending that one in!)

If your cat is bored, visit the Kitty Kindergarten:
http://www.stevedalepetworld.com/content/view/26/63/
(Thanks to Judy for sending this one in!)

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Feral Cat Database
http://www.neighborhoodcats.org

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A SMILE FOR YOU ;-)
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Seeing eye cats:
http://www.thedailymews.com/catchat/seeingeyecat.htm

Libby the cat and Cashew the blind dog:
http://tinyurl.com/ytobjj

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Glass blower, making a cat:
http://www.fastclips.com/videos/8jw8Q9SuP85f

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Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back
and realize they were the big things.

-- Robert Brault

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Do you have any interesting stories to share about your
cats? Send them in and I'll put them here in
this newsletter. (Include your name and website
if you have one, and I'll give you a "plug" for
your website. Or, anonymous is OK, too. It's
up to you.)

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