Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fun YouTube Video - Cats Flush Toilets

My 7 month old Abyssinian kitten Dancer loves to watch the toilet flush! So does her littermate Smoky. Smoky likes it so much he has dunked himself twice when we accidentally left the toilet lid up (lots of warm water and soap bathing ensued! LOL!). So we keep the lid down here in our bedroom master suite where we keep our cats and kittens and check on it often. I can only hope they don't see this video!!

I found it through Steve Dale's Pet Blog:

Flush It: Cats Know How to Entertain Themselves

Steve Dale on 09.28.09

"Before the days of You Tube, for my print column, I received an email from a reader going on and on about how her water bill had skyrocketed. I thought she was writing to the wrong columnist - what she described at the end was this. . ..and apparently she's not alone..."

Come Say Hello in Hickory, NC Next Weekend (Oct 10-11)

We are showing Dancer again, who is now a veteran of three large shows - the 2009 Southeast Regional in Raleigh, NC, the International Annual in Orlando, FL, and the most recent one, Cattyshack, an unexpectedly large show with a lot of stiff competition (180+ cats and kittens) in N. Augusta, SC (across the river from Augusta, GA). Dancer will officially be an adult cat capable of winning Championship titles at her next show, so we are taking one more opportunity while she is still a kitten for her to get points for a possible Regional Win like her mother Candy did as a kitten.

Hickory, NC is a very nice place to visit for the weekend, and October is the perfect time of year in the beautiful North Carolina mountains. My husband and I have visited there many times on vacation in the last 20 years. Come see the gorgeous fall color in the mountains and enjoy seeing beautiful cats while you're there.

All of our Abys are friendly happy cats and we would all love for you to come by and say hello! The show is Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 9am to 4pm and is at the Park Inn Hickory, 909 Hwy 70 SW, Hickory, NC 28602, about 4 hrs drive from Atlanta, 3.5 hrs from Athens, GA, 2.75 hrs from Raleigh, NC and 1 hr west of Charlotte, NC. See you there!

-Susan Graham
Aksum Abyssinians

UPDATE: Unfortunately the show didn't get enough entries and was canceled.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stress Causes Problems for Pets

Never Underestimate the Effects of Stress
Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM

"Stress is a bad thing. My poor pal Buster found this out the hard way two weeks ago. We moved. ...I hate moving. And apparently so does Buster.

"Buster developed diarrhea two days before the move. It lasted until three days after, when I finally gave up on a mild protocol of easily digestible food and resorted to antidiarrheal medications...

"Although Buster didn’t show any obvious outward signs of stress during the move, rehousing is famously and predictably stressful in dogs, cats, and humans."

(read entire article)

Aksum Notes: The most common cause of diarrhea is stress, especially a move or a food change.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cat Vet Talks About Feline Care

York veterinarian writes cat care guidelines
Vet helps write guidelines

September 23, 2009

"Editor's note: Business writer Rob Levey recently interviewed veterinarian Dr. Gerry Beekman.

"The York Weekly: What is the name of your business?

"Gerry Beekman: Coastal Cats Feline Health Care.

"YW: How long have you been in operation?

"GB: I was The Cat Clinic from about 1989 to 2003 or 2004 when I took a hiatus and worked for the University of New England. I came back in 2007 and found a different location more conducive to what we're doing...Cats are not small dogs. They have specific needs of their own — and because they're unique I wanted to focus on that.

"YW: In what ways are they unique?

"GB: In a number of ways, but they are certainly unique in their biology and they differ in their nutritional needs, too. A lot of people feed them like they're small dogs and that can lead to a lot of problems such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes. Unlike dogs, they are not omnivores, they are obligate carnivores. That means they are meant to eat meat. Like I always say, 'mice not rice.'

"Cats are also fairly solitary in the wild, so to be surrounded by other cats and dogs, one of their two predators along with hominids, and there can be an emotional toll on them, too. There are aspects to their psychological and emotional needs that may or may not have been addressed properly until recently. When I was in vet school, the section on cats was about five minutes long at the end of a 55-minute lecture. Feline medicine has expanded geometrically in the past 15 years..."

(read more)

Aksum Notes: Cats need calcium, taurine and Vitamin A in their food, among other things. They cannot metabolize beta carotene into Vitamin A like people and dogs can. In the foods we feed here at Aksum Abyssinians, we look for 40% or more protein (dry weight, which is about 10% in wet canned food) and no grains, like the quintessential cat food, a mouse. Our favorite dry food that has stood the test of time is Taste of the Wild, found here in Atlanta at feed stores and pet specialty stores such as Red Bandanna.

Free Boarding for Pets of SE Flood Victims

Hospital group offers free boarding for pets affected by Southeast floods
Sep 26, 2009

"...VCA says its hospitals in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and North Carolina will board animals free of charge for families who were forced from their homes because of recent flooding. The Atlanta area has been particularly hard-hit, with rainfall totals in some areas reaching 20 inches. Georgia's flood-related human death toll reached nine, six of them occurring in Douglas County west of Atlanta.

"The pet-boarding assistance is on a space-available basis at participating VCA hospitals, both in the Southeast and in California. Owners can call local VCA hospitals in advance to ensure that the facility has space available. A list of all VCA Animal Hospitals can be found here."

(read entire article)

Aksum Notes: My heart goes out to the people here in Atlanta affected by the flood. I hope this helps some of them. Three Pets Are People Too veterinary hospitals are part of this animal hospital group. Go to the link and put in your zip code, or go to your state listing. Amazingly, it is raining hard AGAIN here!

Why Can't I Let My Cat Outside?

Why is it Fair for Dogs, but not Cats, to go Outside?
By Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM

"My pal Buster, a dog, goes outside every day. But I would never dream of allowing a cat to go outside.

"When Buster goes outside he is accompanied by a human. For his safety he is kept on a leash whenever he is not playing fetch in a secure area...

"I would never, ever consider opening the front door for Buster to spend the afternoon outside unattended. I doubt he would make it 10 minutes on the streets of San Francisco without suffering serious trauma.

"But unattended outdoor activity is standard operating procedure for many cats...

"Cats and dogs are not equipped with the wherewithal to thrive outdoors in human society. It is our responsibility to look out for them."

(read entire article)

Aksum Notes: Even when you are in a rural area, there are many dangers to cats roaming outside. There are other cats, dogs, foxes, coyotes (which have been known to kill and eat cats), rabid animals, poisonous plants, cars (it only takes one car and one cat on the road in the way to create a disastrous situation), and even other cats which are often territorial. The average life expectancy of a cat let outdoors unattended drops from 15 years to 2.

Canine Influenza Virus Vaccine

Canine Influenza Virus: Is Fido at Risk?

"Lately dog owners are hearing more about the canine influenza virus or CIV...

"'Symptoms are very similar to an upper respiratory infection you or I might get, a runny nose, (and a) cough,' said Dr. Kristi Oldham of the Bees Ferry Veterinary Hospital...

"According to Oldham the symptoms last between seven to ten days. In very rare cases CIV can lead to other complications that can kill a dog, such as pneumonia.

"'If it's already immune compromised with something else, maybe its got poor nutrition for one reason or another, or has some other immune problem of sorts,' said Oldham.

"Humans cannot get CIV. ...According to Oldham, at this point, only owners of social dogs traveling outside the state should even consider the annual vaccine which costs about $20."

(read entire article)

Aksum Notes: Yes, this blog is primarily about cats, but many cat owners are also dog owners. This is a much misunderstood canine virus among the public. If you are concerned about your dog getting an upper respiratory virus that lasts 7-10 days, talk to your vet about your dog and whether the vaccine is needed. But please do understand that too many vaccinations are bad, too, especially if they are not necessary. If your dog is in good health and does not come into contact with other dogs outside of the household, then the vaccine is probably not necessary. As always, your veterinarian is the expert, not me, so let your veterinarian be your guide in this decision.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

National Hunting and Fishing Day

I first heard about this from Terrierman's Blog. I really appreciate what is being said here and hope you enjoy reading it too.
-Aksum Abys





From atop Pikes Peak to the shores of the James River, Americans celebrate the great abundance and utility of our natural resources. Since our Nation's founding, hunters and anglers have cherished these unparalleled natural gifts and marveled at their untamed beauty. National Hunting and Fishing Day recognizes the contributions of millions of Americans who continue to engage in these ageless pursuits.

Following in the centuries-old footsteps of the pioneers who walked before them, hunters and anglers have played a key role in the conservation and restoration of numerous species and their natural habitats. They not only understand their pivotal role as stewards of the land, but also seek to pass on this honored tradition to future generations.

As our citizens continue to enjoy our Nation's natural resources, we must remember that this privilege brings great responsibility. Not long ago, hunting threatened the extinction of the American Bison, an enduring symbol of the American West. Today, their population has recovered because of the cooperative efforts of conservationists and hunters. Many species, however, still require our protection. We can no longer look to our wilderness, as some once did, as land full of unlimited bounty and surplus. Recognizing the need for conservation, our hunters and anglers have worked hard to manage local ecosystems where wildlife remain, as well as to protect those areas where they are slowly re-establishing viable populations.

Our national character, always evolving, finds its foundation in those timeless American ideals of freedom, fairness, and self-sustainability. Today's hunters and anglers bring this spirit to life in the forests and streams they visit. If not for America's great hunters and anglers, like President Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold, our Nation would not enjoy sound game management; a system of ethical, science-based game laws; and an extensive public lands estate on which to pursue the sports. On National Hunting and Fishing Day, we celebrate their contributions to our natural environment and our national heritage.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 26, 2009, as National Hunting and Fishing Day. I call upon the people of the United States to recognize this day with appropriate programs and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


Augusta, GA Cattyshack Cat Show Pictures

Picasa Public Albums now include pictures from the Cattyshack show this past weekend. Dancer got five finals ribbons, and Temur got his first one!

I was mentoring a new TICA member and Bengal breeder so there are also pictures of Bengal kittens and some videos. Princess got 2nd Best Bengal Kitten and then got Best Bengal Kitten with a Finals Ribbon for 4th Best Allbreed Kitten!

Tinker is available as a retired breeder to anyone interested in a show Bengal (she is a Champion) with an impeccable pedigree who enjoys attention and was raised with her sister in first the breeder's bedroom, then my oldest son's bedroom and never caged. Her father is Fudge Ripple, best Bengal in the world in 2005!

Aksum Abyssinians
Atlanta, GA

Why do Cats Suffer from Chronic Diarrhea?

September 18, 2009

Catster VetBlog
Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM

"What do you do with a cat with chronic diarrhea who has been on repeated courses of Albon and has a clear stool sample?

"Chronic diarrhea is a common complaint in multi-cat households. Especially in rescue situations, a new bogeyman has emerged as a leading cause of the problem.

"A relatively-new-to-the-scene (in cats) parasite called Tritrichomonas appears to be a common cause of refractory, chronic diarrhea in households in which multiple cats reside.

"The parasite is not detected by standard fecal tests." read more...

Aksum Notes: The most common cause of diarrhea is stress including a food change and the second most common is coccidia. These can go hand in hand. Albon is a very safe inexpensive way to treat coccidia, but it does not kill coccidia (which includes toxoplasmosis). Instead, it weakens the coccidia so the cat's immune system can kill or suppress it. If a cat fecal test comes back positive for coccidia and you want to kill it, ask the vet for a prescription for Ponazuril (which is also known as Bayer Marquis Paste for horses) and send it to Roadrunner Pharmacy in Phoenix, Arizona. They are experts on compounding ponazuril for cats. If you buy the Marquis paste, you will have way too much of it since it is made for horses and cats are much smaller. Also, it's very expensive, over $200. It's much better to let an experienced compounding pharmacy prepare it for you. Coccidia is extremely common in cats, so even if you get rid of it in your cat, they can be re-infected. Fortunately it doesn't usually cause much of a problem and is easily treated. As always, you should listen first and foremost to your veterinarian.

New Universal Microchip Lookup Tool

Sep 23, 2009

DVM Newsmagazine

"Lakewood, Colo. -- For the first time, a new Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool is available to help veterinary hospitals and shelters reunite lost pets with owners by checking participating pet-recovery services’ registries." read more...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Good Homes Need Not Apply

Please read this all the way through. Nathan Winograd shows us how arbitrary and unfair some shelter adoption guidelines can be to the potential adopters and the animals.

Good Homes Need Not Apply

September 10, 2009 by Nathan J. Winograd

"I’ve devoted the last 17 years of my life trying to reform animal shelters in the United States (far longer doing rescue work). I’ve worked at two shelters in the country that have the highest rates of lifesaving in the nation: one as its Director of Operations and the other as the Executive Director. I’ve also worked and consulted with dozens of shelters nationwide. Currently, I run the national No Kill Advocacy Center, which is dedicated to ending the systematic killing of animals in shelters.

"I often face traditional sheltering dogma that is a roadblock to lifesaving innovation. Too many shelters operate under regressive assumptions without analyzing them to see if they are true. Too often, the dogmas are false, and so I offer a No Kill alternative, one oriented toward preserving life. If shelters reevaluated, rather than hid behind conventional wisdom, they would more effectively perform a shelter’s most fundamental job: saving lives.

"One of the most enduring of these traditional dogmas is that animal shelters must kill because the public can’t be trusted with animals..." read more

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Is Canned Food Dangerous for Your Cat?

In the long run, it might be dangerous to feed canned food to your cat. Canned food has consistently been proven to be linked with hypothyroidism in cats. This is an older cat's disease, but who wants to cause a problem for their beloved cat as they grow older?

The Winn Feline Foundation published a third study on this, which showed the same results in the UK as have been found in New Zealand and in the U.S.

From the U.S.-related PubMed link above: "CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: These findings suggest that the increasing prevalence of feline hyperthyroidism is not solely the result of aging of the cat population and that canned foods may play a role."

Aksum Notes: Wow, now I'm going to have to rethink what and how to feed my cats the wet food I know they need. I'm sticking with Taste of the Wild dry food, though. It's been great for them and they still like it a lot.

So far I have verified that Instinctive Choice Premium Canned Cat Food by Trilogy International is free of bisphenol A-diglycidyl ether, which is the product that is in the inner lining of the cans that are linked to hyperthyroidism in cats in three recent studies.

-Susan Graham
Aksum Abyssinians

Come Say Hello in Augusta, GA This Weekend (Sept 19-20)

We are showing our newest chocolate Abyssinian female kitten this weekend, Dancer, who is already a veteran of two large shows - the TICA Southeast Regional in Raleigh, NC and the International Annual in Orlando, FL.

We also will have Dancer's intended mate, Temur Khan, a chocolate male kitten who was also at both shows but only entered in the Southeast Regional.

And last but not least, Alexy Hot Rod Lincoln of Aksum (aka Linc or Hot Rod) will be showing his stuff as a New Traits Abyssinian. Linc is a sex-linked red male Abyssinian. We know he is also chocolate and carries cinnamon and dilute thanks to UC Davis DNA testing. UC Davis also tests for genetic diseases such as PKDef (causes kidney failure) and PRA (causes blindness) and he is genetically free of those as well.

All of our Abys are friendly happy cats and we would all love for you to come by and say hello! The show is Saturday 10am to 4pm and Sunday from 9am to 3:30pm and is at the North Augusta Activities Center, 100 Riverview Park Drive, North Augusta, South Carolina 29841. See you there!

-Susan Graham
Aksum Abyssinians

UPDATE: Dancer had a good show, ending up with five finals ribbons. Temur Khan got his first ribbon in the very last ring of the show! It seems he is finally growing into those BIG ears! We enjoyed talking to old friends at the show and got to meet the owners of Sky's littermate in person. We introduced the Abyssinians to people who had never seen them before, always a pleasure! Dancer happily went to strangers to be held and petted, as is typical with the Abys. Linc was happy to be held by a couple of people who came by to admire his color, strong athletic body and sweet, good nature. All in all, a good show.

Mandatory Spay/Neuter - Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid!

As I've said before, I'm a huge fan of Steve Dale and really appreciate what he and Nathan Winograd have done for cats and dogs in shelters. Their advice also helps our own pets.

Steve Dale discusses why you should be afraid of MSN laws even though he strongly supports spay/neuter programs (as do I), in his blog entitled Mandatory Spay/Neuter (you should be very afraid). Watch Steve speak in depth about mandatory spay/neuter on “Political Update” with Dr. Humphrey Roberts and Dr. Sheldon Rubin, hosted by Paul Lisnek.

Please at least read it and think about it.

If you don't have your pets spayed or neutered because it's too expensive, there are several resources for you. Here's my favorite one:

Low Cost Neuter and Spay -

My favorite low cost neuter/spay in Atlanta, where I live, is CatSnip. They charge $40 for neutering a male cat and $60 for spaying a female cat. I have used them six times now with wonderful results. They travel all over the Atlanta area in a mobile van with a generator and an operating table inside, basically a mobile vet clinic. And best of all, they do pediatric spay/neuter, which were four out of the six spay/neuters I have done with them. It's actually easier on the cat to have it done at a young age. They heal more quickly because it is a smaller incision and smaller surgery and it is less painful. They must be at least 8 weeks old and 2 lbs or 1 kg. They also help out with feral spay/neuter programs all over Atlanta. They have performed over 45,000 spay/neuters. That's an amazing amount and so very helpful to our beloved pets. Kudos to CatSnip!!

-Susan Graham
Aksum Abyssinians

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Candy is in Kittens USA Magazine!

Helmi Flick chose Candy for Kittens USA Magazine

First Posted September 1, 2009
Helmi Flick, who I admire greatly, chose my cat Candy (co-owned with and bred by Bruce Alexy of Alexy Abyssinians) as the example of an Abyssinian for the annual 2009-2010 issue of the Kittens USA Magazine!

RW QGC Alexy Braeside Candytuft of Aksum is a chocolate Abyssinian who is 2009 TICA's International Best Chocolate Abyssinian and 2009 TICA SE Region's Best Abyssinian. She is the 4th Best Abyssinian in the U.S. and the 2nd Best Female Abyssinian in the U.S. All of that was while only being shown for half of the show year.

I posted this on where a lot of Helmi's amazing photos are featured. The owner of the website rated it 5 stars and said,

"Susan, thanks a lot for sharing this. This is one of the best visitor submissions we have had and we have had over 500!

"Candy is pure class. She looks so perfect; beautifully proportioned. I am thrilled that you have shown her picture to all our visitors."

Thank you, Michael, for allowing me to post her photo and story. To see more photos of Candy and hear more of her story, go to the Aksum website.

Adorable Aby Kittens - YouTube Video

Adorable Aby Kittens - YouTube Video

Helmi Flick, cat photographer extraordinaire and her cat wrangler husband Ken, photograph some cute Abyssinian kittens. Before and during the photo shoot - video. Photos by Helmi. Please respect the copyright.

2009 TICA Annual Intl Show

The Annual International show is being held in my region (Southeast U.S.) this year so I'm happy to be able to go to it more easily than last year's in Texas. It's in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center this Saturday and Sunday, Labor Day weekend, September 5-6, 2009.

I've entered my chocolate Abyssinian kitten Dancer and will be bringing her future mate Temur (a chocolate male Abyssinian), and any of the three month old brown Bengal kittens that haven't sold yet.

I have one main goal -- to talk to the Abyssinian Breed Committee Chair about two things. First, I would like to find out more about how to get the sex-linked red Abyssinian colors approved for championship. And second, I would like to have her help in finding or starting a forum where all of the TICA Abyssinian breeders can communicate easily with each other. She agreed to talk to me at the Annual, so I really hope we do indeed get to talk and move forward on both of these.

I'll update the blog with photos from the Annual show on the Picasa Photostream on the righthand side. Hope you enjoy them!

UPDATE: I had a very agreeable conversation with the Aby Breed Committee Chair on the New Traits colors and on ideas for better communication among Aby breeders. She did not think the new colors would be approved any time soon, but did not discourage me from showing them. I respect that. She also has a great sense of humor! :-))

Dancer did much better than expected at the Annual, where 350 of the best of the best cats and kittens in the world were shown, and even got a compliment from Bobbie Tullo, one of the judges there and the current Vice President of TICA. Photos of the Abyssinian kitten class and some of the show hall are on the public Picasa Photostream (preview & link at right).

I sold three of the four Bengal kittens I had brought there to find good homes for. I ended up compromising on the price, but they all have wonderful loving homes now (I followed up, like I always do), which was my first priority by far.

Cat Parasite May Help Cure Malaria

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cats may hold the key to a Malaria vaccine

A very common type of parasite in cats is coccidia, which includes the dreaded toxoplasmosis. Part of the life cycle of these types of parasites is an egg, also called a cyst because of its ability to withstand all types of environments for up to two years. It turns out that malaria is also in this general type of parasite and coccidia cysts might be able to be used to make a vaccine that can help prevent malaria. "The mosquito-borne malaria, on the other hand, kills one to three million people each year. Most victims are young children in Africa." In order to work with the coccidia parasite, which usually causes very mild symptoms if any, microbiologist Laura Knoll digs through a lot of cat litter boxes. Who knew scooping litter boxes could be a beneficial thing to so many people??

Posted using ShareThis

Two Survivors Show Why You Should Get a Microchip for Your Cat

First posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009
From Steve Dale's Blog:

Tissue Required for this inspirational (cat) story

August 20th, 2009 by Steve Dale

"They have both survived - and thanks to a microchip, and a miracle, reunited."

Note: ""Pet Expert Steve Dale is the author of the twice weekly syndicated newspaper column “My Pet World” (Tribune Media Services). He’s also the host of nationally syndicated radio programs Steve Dale’s Pet World, The Pet Minute with Steve Dale; and Steve Dale’s Pet World on WLS Radio, Chicago. He’s also a contributing editor at USA Weekend. Touted as reaching more pet owners than any other pet journalists, as a pet expert and holding passionate views, Steve’s a frequent guest on local and national radio shows... Steve also helps communities to fight breed specific bans, and advises on animal assisted therapy... His dog and cat writing colleagues have awarded Steve many times for Best Newspaper Column, Best Newspaper Feature, Best Radio Broadcast and Best Website."

Aksum Notes:
Steve Dale is also one of my heroes. He has spoken out on many important pet issues whether it was popular to do so or not. He has directly and indirectly contributed to pet welfare and research over many years. I am particularly impressed with and appreciate his efforts against mandatory spay/neuter (MSN) laws. This article is a moving true story about how a microchip helped to recover a beloved pet. Many low cost spay/neuter organizations also vaccinate, worm and microchip inexpensively. Some Petco and PetSmart stores also have inexpensive vaccinations and microchipping. So even if your cat is 100% indoors, go microchip your pet NOW!

How and Why No-Kill Shelters Work

From Nathan J. Winograd's Blog:

Revisiting the No Kill Equation

August 24, 2009 by Nathan J. Winograd

"Two decades ago, the concept of a No Kill community was little more than a dream. Today, it is a reality in many cities and counties nationwide and the numbers continue to grow... Washoe County Animal Services in Reno, Nevada, for example, returned seven percent of lost cats and 60 percent of lost dogs to their homes in 2007... These efforts in Washoe County, combined with an over 50 percent increase in the adoption rate in the community thanks to the Nevada Humane Society, has resulted in a 93 percent communitywide rate of shelter lifesaving for dogs and almost 90 percent for cats year-to-date in 2009. The difference between the average community and Washoe County is striking, but even more so because this latter community is still only scratching the surface of what can be accomplished in terms of redemption rates. Some communities in the United States have achieved a nearly 65 percent reclaim rate for stray dogs... The reclaim rate for cats can—and should—match these, rather than remain at deplorably low national averages... This not only shows how the achievement of a No Kill community is well within our reach, it demonstrates how modernization of shelter practices by bringing them in line with the No Kill Equation can yield dramatic declines in killing virtually overnight..."

Note: "Nathan J. Winograd is a graduate of Stanford Law School, a former criminal prosecutor and corporate attorney, has spoken nationally and internationally on animal sheltering issues, has written animal protection legislation at the state and national level, has created successful No Kill programs in both urban and rural communities, and has consulted with a wide range of animal protection groups including some of the largest and best known in the nation."

Aksum Notes:
Nathan Winograd is one of my heroes. He has helped the fate of shelter animals both firsthand and also by teaching and through example nationwide. He is the number one No Kill Shelter advocate in the country. In this article, he again advocates a very detailed plan for shelters to change over to No Kill methods.

Vaccines Effective 1 Wk After Vaccination

From Winn Feline Foundation Blog:

Response of Kittens to Vaccination

Jas, D., C. Aeberle, et al. (2009).

Onset of immunity in kittens after vaccination with a non-adjuvanted vaccine against feline panleukopenia, feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus. Vet J 182(1): 86-93.

"Feline panleukopenia, calicivirus and herpesvirus are all significant and common pathogens of cats, and are highly contagious in susceptible populations... Kittens appeared to be protected from severe disease by one week post-vaccination... While a single vaccination with FPV induced rapid antibody production, two vaccinations with FCV and FHV were required for a similar response. While maternal antibodies will interfere with vaccinal response if present, this study shows that without maternal antibodies, vaccinal response occurs rapidly."

Note: Maternal antibodies are passed to the kitten during the first 48 hours after birth by nursing the mother, and are mostly in the colostrum, which the mother produces first. The kitten is able to absorb these antibodies easily during this time, and the maternal antibodies are known to last 16 weeks in the kitten, protecting them to some degree from diseases that the mother already has gained protection for. The effect of the maternal antibodies diminishes over time, however, so there is a period of time during which the maternal antibodies need to be supplemented with vaccinations. The maternal antibodies interfere with the vaccinations given before 16 weeks old so that the vaccinations given between four and 16 weeks old only last 3-4 weeks at a time.

Aksum Notes:
This is the latest in a series of medical studies of when and how many vaccinations should be given to kittens for the best protection against disease. Indoor kittens should be given at least two 3-in-1 modified live virus (MLV) vaccinations with the first vaccination no earlier than four weeks old and the last kitten vaccination at 16 weeks old or a little older. Ideally the 3-in-1 MLV vaccinations should be given at 8, 12, and 16 weeks old. I personally prefer the Merial 3-in-1 MLV vaccines. This study also shows that the vaccinations given at 16 weeks old or older are fully effective a week after the vaccination.

Cat Owners Have 1/3 Less Risk of Heart Attack

First posted Sunday, August 23, 2009

From Medical News Today:

Cat Owners Have Lower Heart Attack Risk, Study

Article Date: 25 Feb 2008

Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD

"Owning a cat could reduce your risk of a heart attack by nearly one third... The finding was the main result of a 10 year study of more than 4,000 Americans by researchers at the University of Minnesota's Stroke Institute in Minneapolis... The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates there are about... 82 million pet cats in the US."

Aksum Note:
Get a cat to have less stress in your life and reduce the risk of dying of a heart attack. Love those purrs! :-)

Monitor Your Older Cat for Kidney Disease

From the Winn Feline Foundation Blog:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Predictors of Feline Kidney Disease

Jepson, R. E., D. Brodbelt, et al. (2009). "Evaluation of predictors of the development of azotemia in cats." J Vet Intern Med 23(4): 806-13.

"Chronic kidney disease (CKD) often afflicts geriatric cats, with prevalence rates of 15% reported. ... The authors concluded that measurement of protein in the urine is an inexpensive and easy way to monitor aging cats for development of CKD."

Aksum Notes:
If you want to catch the onset of kidney disease early and be able to control it possibly with diet alone, the cheapest and most reliable way to do that is to have your cat tested for the amount of protein in their urine once or twice a year, starting at about eight to ten years old. It's just as reliable and a whole lot less expensive than the full blood and urine panels that are usually suggested.

Potential Treatment for 'dry' FIP

Three Case Studies Show Promising Results for FIP Treatment

From the Winn Feline Foundation Blog:

Friday, August 14, 2009

Potential Treatment for FIP

Legendre, A.M. and J.W. Bartges, Effect of polyprenyl immunostimulant on the survival times of three cats with the dry form of feline infectious peritonitis. Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery, 2009. 11(8): p. 624-626.

"... There are no individual tests that are reliable for the diagnosis of FIP... and there is no known effective treatment. Polyprenyl immunostimulant (PI) is an investigational veterinary biologic manufactured by Sass & Sass, Inc... This case series from the University of Tennessee describes three cats with the dry (non-effusive) form of FIP treated with PI... Two of the three cats were still on treatment and were alive and well 2 years after diagnosis. The third cat survived 14 months but was treated for only 4.5 months. The investigators conclude that further studies to assess the therapeutic efficacy of PI for the treatment of FIP are warranted."

Note: One of the cats is an Abyssinian who is still alive despite test results that usually mean the cat is about to die. This drug is intended to and does indeed seem to support the cat's own immune system in its fight to control the disease.

Aksum Notes:
FIP is a very frustrating and hard to understand disease that happens mostly in young cats. It is NOT contagious and has no known cause (although genetic and environmental causes are suspected, they have not been proven yet), but it has always been a fast death sentence, especially with wet FIP. (It is diagnosed improperly very often, by the way. Vets have been known to diagnose cats with FIP when they really have something else that is treatable.) However, there might be a way to prolong the life and health of a cat diagnosed with the "dry" form of FIP, with a new experimental drug that boosts the cat's immune system to help control the disease. This new series of case studies gives us hope.