Well, here it is October - and fall - already! Time to start getting ready for Christmas! But I think I'll concentrate on Halloween first, then Thanksgiving, and then it will be just like every other year - I'll be way behind on my Christmas shopping. So, congratulations to anyone who is preparing already.

For this issue, I found some interesting information (#1), and I also got a wonderful suggestion from a reader (#2).
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(1) This actually has been making the rounds on the Internet and seems to be a real concern rather than a hoax. I'll just quote it the way it came in:

"For those of you with animals......
I recently had a neighbor who had their 5-year old German shepherd dog put down due to liver failure. The dog was completely healthy until a few weeks ago. They had a necropsy done to see what the cause was. The liver levels were unbelievable, as if the dog had ingested poison of some kind. The dog is kept inside, and when he's outside, someone's with him, so the idea of him getting into something unknown was hard to believe. My neighbor started going through all the items in the house. When he got to the Swiffer Wetjet, he noticed, in very tiny print, a warning which stated, "may be harmful to small children and animals." He called the company to ask what the contents of the cleaning agent are and was astounded to find out that antifreeze is one of the ingredients. (Actually he was told it's a compound which is one molecule away from antifreeze). Therefore, just by the dog walking on the floor cleaned with the solution, then licking its own paws, it ingested enough of the solution to destroy its liver. Soon after his dog's death, his housekeeper's two cats also died of liver failure. They both used the Swiffer Wetjet for quick cleanups on their floors.
Necropsies weren't done on the cats, so they couldn't file a lawsuit, but he asked that we spread the word to as many people as possible."

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(2) And now for a terrific idea from a favorite reader, Gina, who rescued a mother cat:

"A few days ago, I moved the kittens into a 55 gallon fish tank (it's about 4 feet long). I figured that'd be the only way I could keep an eye on how "Mom" is treating them and it'd be harder for her to try to move them to unsafe places (like under my chair wheels as she's done). Due to the height/depth of the tank, mother cat can get in and out easily but the kittens can't. They're so tiny, I'm afraid they'll roam around the room and get stepped on or get caught someplace. I put their cat bed in on one end, a cookie sheet pan on the other end as a shallow litter box, a towel in the middle for warmth on the floor (like carpeting) and some small cat toys and a shoebox (with holes in the bottom and sides) to play with.

"I have a lid that isn't solid (it looks like wire fencing, no sharp edges or anything) on top; this way plenty of air can get in but I can keep the kids out and mother cat in when she gets in her moods. I keep the lid off when the babies need/want "Mom" but I keep it on when they're sleeping. When it's off, I make sure I'm in the room so I can keep an eye on everyone and watch how mother cat handles them. I put some fabric on top of one end of the tank (so there's still plenty of space for air to get through) and that's where she sleeps now so she can be near the babies (she still also sleeps at the foot of my bed, as always)."

Note from me: I think this is a wonderful idea, as the sides are slick so the kittens can't climb out, but they can be watched and attended to if anything urgent comes up. It also allows light in, and as Gina pointed out, air can enter from the top. If the weather is very hot, as it might be in different locations around the world, a fan blowing across the top would help the circulation inside the enclosure, too, without blowing directly on the babies.

Great idea, Gina, and thanks for sharing it!

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A couple of issues ago I asked if anyone had any stories about their cats watching TV. I haven't heard anything yet, but I had to share this one about one of my own cats:

Twister is a black and white tuxedo cat. She's 11 now, and not as playful as she used to be. But she likes to watch TV. Not just any program, though. It has to be about animals. She prefers anything featuring prey critters, mostly, like birds, squirrels, mice, etc. She twitches her whiskers and makes that gurgling noise in her throat. I think she thinks the TV is just a window to the great outdoors. You can also find videos for cats. I have one called Video Catnip that is nothing but footage of birds and squirrels. Twister loves it!

Well, thanks for reading another issue. Watch for my next Kitty Times toward the end of the month. And as always, your comments, questions and stories are always welcome!
And if you ever want to read, or re-read, any of the previous issues, they can be found at
http://www.ymlp.com/pubarchive.php?catsgalore

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