Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4th: Happy 7th Birthday Ivan and Boo!

The birthday boys
Ivan and Boo were born high up in an old oak tree seven years ago.  Yes, their mother was a feral cat (albeit beautiful, and, according to the vet who handled the N part of her TNR*, was once owned by someone) that we were never able to touch, but she was a wise and calm animal, and for the most part she imparted those qualities to her offspring, who were amazingly unafraid of humans when we first took them in.  Ivan is the genius, and Boo is the gentle giant.  They are both shy of strangers (their feral heritage) but warm up to folks fairly quickly.  They are also great test subjects for toys, food, and other cat products, as they are quite different: Boo is difficult to motivate into action, while Ivan will chase just about anything.  So a toy that gets Boo moving is a good toy, indeed.

Since these boys were born on the Fourth of July (Independence Day in the U.S.), it's a good time to remind you to take extra special care of your pets on this day, especially tonight when the fireworks will be popping and exploding and frightening pets everywhere.  Keep your pets indoors - shelters across the country receive more pets on and after July 4th than any other day, due to all of the cats and dogs who run away, frightened by loud firecrackers.  I have to wonder if the same problem happens in the U.K. on Guy Fawkes' Day (Nov. 5), another very popular day for fireworks.

1 oz. tub
Since this is a product review blog, we can't close without reviewing something!  We kept hearing about "bonito flakes".  Bonito, called katsuobushi in Japanese, is a dried, fermented and smoked form of skipjack tuna.  It is cut in very thin shavings called "flakes".  While the Japanese use this as a seasoning and addition to foods, it is sold in the U.S. as a high protein cat treat.  Ivan and Boo LOVE the stuff.  Because it is shaved thinly, the cats can get a big pinch of the stuff and not get a lot of calories, which is important for indoor-only cats.  The best price for the largest quantity that we've found comes from Pet Product Advisor, whom we have recommended in the past.  They are somehow affiliated with VPI (Veterinary Pet Insurance), which we also recommend.  The 1 oz tub of bonito flakes is $7.95, but they also sell a 4 oz bag for $23.99, a savings of $8.00. There have been connections made between smoked and fermented foods and stomach cancer, however (in humans), so I would not feed your cats a lot of this.  We feed a pinch a day after the cats eat their dinner.

*TNR=Trap Neuter Release, performed on feral cats to reduce feral populations