Here are some gifts for cats and cat lovers that capture the true spirit of Christmas through charitable contribution, and eliminate Christmas commercialism with a focus on arts, crafts, and construction to create inexpensive home-made presents.

Shop at the Humane Domain to Support Animal Welfare

Shop at the Humane Society’s online Humane Domain (Hsus.org) for feel-good gifts that support animal welfare initiatives and programs. The Humane Domain offers great gift ideas for cats and dogs, as well as holiday decorations and clothing and accessories for animal lovers. See “For Kitty” for feline playthings, treats, and furniture. The navigation bar to the left links to other collections, including Christmas gifts for cat lovers, Christmas cards and decorations, and gifts for other occasions including Valentine’s Day. Click on “For Your Home” for links to household items such as pillows, mats, ornaments, and decorative accessories.

Browse the Cat-alog and Purchase Gifts from an Ethical Business

The Cat-alog.com Kitty Kingdom is a BC-based online catalog that offers a broad array of gifts for cats and cat lovers. Gifts for cats include organic catnip treats and toys, cat dishes, cat carriers, DVDs for cats, cat furniture, interactive cat toys, cat grass, cat collars, cat harnesses and leashes, dental health products for cats, grooming supplies, hairball remedies, litter boxes, scratch posts, and cat activity centers. Gifts for cat lovers include bathroom accessories, books, clothing, collectibles, housewares, jewelery and jewelery boxes, ornaments, stationary supplies, picture frames, stuffed animals, games and puzzles, scrapbooking supplies, yard and garden accessories, and more. Gift baskets can also be purchased.

Cat-alog founder Davena Tarkanen volunteers for the Langley no-kill Canadian Animal Rescue and Extended Shelter (CARES) in her spare time and donates part of the sale proceeds on selected merchandise to animals in need. Cat-alog products can be shipped internationally, and a money-back guarantee is offered. Be sure to click on the “SALE! Items” link for great deals, and those considering adopting a cat should check out the “Adoptable Cats” page for cats and kittens in need of loving homes.

Taking an incredible, breathtaking picture of your cat isn’t nearly as easy at it seems! Cats have a mind of their own and are constantly on the move unless they happen to be asleep (which is a great time to take their picture, by the way). If only they would learn to sit like a puppy!

Great pictures aren’t impossible, though, as evidenced by all the cat photographers sharing stunning photos of their cats and kittens on Flickr. It may take a bit more patience and a little extra practice, but all that practice time with your darling posing kitty will be good quality time together!

  • Take a few deep breaths and relax! If you get stressed trying to get the perfect picture of your kitty, then you’re no longer having fun and neither is your cat.
  • Start out by taking pictures of your kitty just being a kitty. Natural, playful photos are just as enjoyable as posed shots, and you’ll appreciate that you’ve captured these moments as your cat ages.
  • Take lots of pictures! Lots and lots! The more you play with your camera and your precious feline friend, the better your pictures will be, and your cat will get used to having that funny little box pointed at them.
  • Use toys to focus your cat’s attention. This is a great way to start getting them to pose!
  • Natural lighting is a good thing – take advantage of your cat’s love for windows.
  • Work on close-up practice when your cat is asleep.
  • Look at other people’s kitty pictures for inspiration.
  • If you’d like to get a professional looking photo, plan your shot out ahead of time. Plan out your lighting, get your props, and groom your kitty.
  • Try to tell a story with your picture.
  • Crop your picture using thirds – make your cat either 1/3, 2/3, or the entire photo.

Most importantly, just have fun! This can be a great bonding experience and extra play time with your cat. You don’t have to have the most expensive camera to take good shots. Kodak has free Kodak software for editing, and Serif makes a simple and inexpensive program called Serif PhotoPlus (Serif also has several free downloads and trial versions). Irfanview is a freeware program called that is great for cropping and changing the size of your picture. You might also enjoy Google’s Picasa!

Choosing the right brand of cat food can be really confusing. There are so many different brands to choose from. There are many factors involved in choosing the right cat food. Cat owners want the best quality of food they can afford to buy, but it’s got to be tasty, too. It’s important to understand the items on ingredients lists, but when it comes down to it, no matter how nutritious a food may be, if Kitty doesn’t want to eat it, there’s no sense buying it.

Free Cat Food Samples From Manufacturers

The good news is, cat food manufacturers are willing to offer free samples to cat owners. Ordering free samples means cat owners can have a good look at the ingredients list, learn more about the company and let Kitty do a taste test without spending any money up front.

Listing of Manufacturers’ Sites

The Yahoo Canada Directory lists cat food manufacturers in Canada and internationally. Cat owners can go to manufacturer’s sites to learn about each company. Some companies offer freebies on their home page. Cat owners can also email a company they like to request a free sample of cat food or treats.

Internet Freebies: Cat Food Coupons and Samples Online

There are also a number of sites that compile lists of free stuff and coupons. One of these is the Free ‘N’ Clear website. Pet owners can sign up for free newsletters from the site and link to manufacturer’s sites to request samples and information.

Free Cat Food Samples from Veterinarians

Cat owners should also request free samples from their veterinarians. Keep in mind, though, that vets may be biased about the brand they carry because they are retailing it and want your additional business as a cat food buyer. Nevertheless, veterinarians are experts on animal health and make careful, well-informed choices about the brands they carry.

Request Free Samples at Feed Supply Stores

Feed supply stores are also a good place to look for free cat food samples and discount coupons. Feed supply stores often have a reputation for carrying brands of high quality cat food. Read the ingredients and ask the retailer if manufacturers have left any sample packages for customers to try with their cats. Also request any brochures that provide information about the cat food manufacturers whose brands the feed store carries.

Restoring Consumer Confidence After the Melamine Pet Food Crisis

Considering the severe blow to consumer confidence that followed the melamine-containing pet food crisis, cat owners should learn as much as they can about manufacturers before settling on a brand of cat food. Consumers concerned about manufacturers’ use of imported ingredients should ask whether the manufacturer uses all locally produced ingredients or not, for instance.

Let Your Cat Pick Which Cat Food to Buy

Having the opportunity to try cat food samples for free takes the expensive guess work out of the process of choosing the best brand. Take advantage of free sample and coupon offers through freebie sites on the web, request a sample from the vet or a nearby feed supply store. This way, cat owners and their pets can work together to choose the right brand of cat food.

If you have a cat and want to be a responsible owner, it’s essential that you take care of all health related issues that come in the way. A cat or kitten does not fall sick that often if you regulate where he goes and what he eats. A cat which likes to stay inside your house is less likely to fall sick due to less exposure to parasites. If your cat is big and needs to go outdoors for exercise then he gets exposed to other animals that may carry fleas, ticks and other parasites. It’s your job as the owner to make sure nothing is wrong with him. Try to observe your cat’s habits and find any irregularities in his behavior.

If the cat gets parasites like ticks from other street cats, some symptoms could be easily seen. He catches what is known as Lyme disease and becomes clumsy. He will get not want to move around a lot and may limp sometimes too. There would be clear loss of appetite and reluctance to play around. All cats are covered with fur unless they are of a specific kind which does not. They may gather some hairs while eating and swallow them. After a few days of swallowing the hairs become shaped as balls inside them and cause breathing problems or choking. They are used to it and after some discomfort they normally manage to get the hairball out. If they don’t, then take them to the nearest vet. Cats are prone to worms. When they get infected by tapeworms or roundworms from any food which they may have had, you’ll notice weakness and loss of weight. Spots on their stools may also be seen, which a clear sign of worms is. Medication for worms is easily available and must be kept at hand for these situations.

If you get a new cat then it’s important to check up his history. Certificates will probably be available on which feline diseases he is free from. You should get him vaccinated for some common diseases if you find that they have not been given before. One of the primary ones is the FIP vaccine which stands for Feline Infectious Peritonitis and shields him from enteritis. Another important vaccine is for protection against Feline Leukemia Virus and is named FELV. If you want to really take care of your cat, it’s recommended that you get some pet insurance for those situations when things get out of hand and costs shoot up. Make sure to have a vaccination certificate made to show anyone in the future, whom you may want to give custody of cat for a few days.

Eight Signs of Tapeworms in Cats

When Alley first came into my life, I became a first time cat owner. I never thought about a cat having tapeworms. But apparently they can, as I came to realize about a year ago. There are both visible and non-visible signs of tapeworms in cats, which I’ll cover later. But if, like me, you find signs of tapeworms you will probably wonder just where they came from, so let’s cover that first.

Tapeworms are a part of a life cycle. One possible sign of tapeworms in your cat would be a large flea problem. This is because the fleas have tapeworm eggs inside of them. When an animal eats a flea, the eggs are ingested into the animal. When the eggs pass from flea to animal, the tapeworm now has a warm body to grow in. When the animal either passes the tapeworm out of its system, or dies from it, the tapeworm is out in the open; when the tapeworm dies, its eggs are ingested by fleas, which then hop onto the next passing animal. And then the cycle repeats.

So now that you know how tapeworms get into cats, lets look at how to tell if you have a problem. The first visible sign, as I said above, is a large flea infestation. This is especially true if your cat, like my Alley did, loves to go outside. The way the flea gets to the cat is simple, and to some – gross. Outside cats hunt. Alley used to hunt squirrels. Squirrels are known for fleas. When a cat kills the prey, they will eat some of it; this is how the flea gets into the cat. If your outdoor cat has fleas, more than likely it ate one or two. This could be the first sign to watch for tapeworms in your cat.

Another sign of tapeworms in cats is the little rice-looking pieces you find everywhere. When Alley would come in, I’d find them on the floor, the table, and the desk. At first I wondered where she was getting rice. Then I saw one move, then another. These “grains” are parts of the tapeworm which came out of the anus of the cat. If you spot these white grains in number, check the litterbox. If you spot them in the litterbox you need to look under the cats tail to see how bad the infestation is. You will see these same white “grains” around the anus; and most likely they will be moving.

Another visible sign of tapeworms in cats is blood in their urine or stool. It will be a shiny red with little white specs. The specs are the remains of tapeworms. If you spot blood, this means the tapeworm has entered the bloodstream. This is a potentially dangerous sign of tapeworms in cats because this means that the tapeworm can work itself into the heart, causing heart problems.

There are also non-visual signs of tapeworm problems in cats. Alley had the first sign listed above, and this next sign. Overeating or odd eating patterns. Cats with tapeworms tend to eat more than usual or in greater amounts. It will seem as if the cat thinks she is starving or may not get another meal. If, when you give your cat his food, he dives into it like he hasn’t eaten since last week, check for the little white “grains”. Cats, unlike dogs, do not gobble up everything in sight.

If your cat takes on a potbellied appearance, this could be another sign of tapeworms. In cats, fatty tissue doesn’t show in just one area like humans or dogs. If a cat is getting fat, it gets round all over. If a cat has a potbellied look, it is sick. This is a similar thing to humans who do not have enough nutrition in their diet. Tapeworms in cats take most of the nutrients out of the food, leaving the cat with an empty feeling. This causes the body to react and the bloated stomach. The more you feed the cat, the less nutrition they will get.

Another sign which Alley showed was frequent and difficulty with urination. She seemed to be using the litterbox twice as much, and taking longer to urinate. She would scratch her cat scratcher uncontrollably.  Also, if your cats stool appears to be constantly runny, this is another issue. Other signs along with this include a frequent licking of the genital area to get rid of the tapeworm, fever and persistent coughing. Which brings up another sign of tapeworms in cats.

We all know cats cough up hairballs. If a tapeworm works its way into your cats stomach, the cat will have an involuntary reaction to it. Like hairballs, a cats stomach will force out the tapeworm. So if she starts gagging and coughs up a whitish glob, that’s a tapeworm. Your cat will vomit until the tapeworm is out of his system. If your cat does this more than once in a short time period, he has a serious tapeworm problem and needs to see a vet.

There are more serious signs of tapeworms in cats as well. A loss of apatite and listlessness can signal a larger infestation of tapeworm and will require immediate care. If you notice these signs, along with the signs listed above, the problem is more progressed than it appears. Tapeworms in cats, while not a major problem most times, can become a serious issue if it gets to this point.

Once you have spotted the signs of tapeworms in your cat, you need to see a veterinarian. They will be able to provide medication to help alleviate the problem. This will often require a pill which your cat will need to take via mouth. It will not be fun, as your cats gag reflex will kick in. Once the cat has taken the medication, she will need to remain indoors for about two days. This ensures the tapeworms which are already there are killed; as well as no new tapeworm eggs are ingested.

A lot of times we are forced to think on the lines that if we are in a civilized society like how we claim we are how people can still be moronic and even barbaric most days. In light of molestation cases, cases of fraudulent activities and cheats, there is a general resentment for the human in the air. It has become all the more difficult for one person to trust the other and honestly, it is easier to love pets more than people these days.

A pet is more selfless. In a dog eats dog world, the irony of the phrase is that human eat each other figuratively in pursuit of success/fame / money/power. A pet on the other hand only craves your company and nothing else. This selflessness in their nature is what defines them.

A pet is more loyal. Speaking of loyalty, it is a trait absent in most humans these days. In fact, it is said even today that one must learn loyalty from a dog.

A pet is more loving. Unconditional love is what sets the pets apart. They love their family without any demands and their love is not bound by any compulsions of the society. They are just inherently bottomless pits of love.

A pet is more playful. Today, humans have forgotten to laugh and play! Even kids have designated play time so that they can connect to their inner playful self. Pets, on the other hand, are inherently playful by nature. You just cannot resist playing ball with your furry buddy!

A pet is your family. Humans are unreliable, cynical and just generally very wary of other humans. A pet, on the other hand, becomes your family almost instantly and he remains so for the rest of their lives.