Sunday, October 16, 2016

National Feral Cat Day 2016

Happy National Feral Cat Day!  For the last five years, every October 16 I write about NFCD for Alley Cat Allies. It is a great event that brings recognition to the feral cats that we share our neighborhoods with.

This year's theme, "All Cats All Communities" reflects Alley Cat Allies' belief that every cat's life in every community around the world is important. 

Alley Cat Allies' has even provided a fun NFCD 2016 coloring page that you can print out here.

Feral or stray cats have many names. They are also known as community cats, outdoor cats, alley cats, street cats, barn cats and even tomcats. Outdoor community cats and pet cats are the same species, Felis catus, the domestic cat.

Studies show that outdoor cats are as healthy as pet cats and can have the same life span. "Feral" describes behavior, feral cats are wary of people and live on their own outdoors. Community cats are not adoptable because they are not socialized to humans.

An eartip is the universal symbol to identify a neutered and vaccinated cat. The top 3/8 inch of the cat's left ear is removed during surgery. More than 40% of Americans have cared for an outdoor cat!

Cats live everywhere. Cats have lived outdoors alongside humans since before the pyramids. Outdoor cats live in family groups called colonies. Cats are bonded to their environments and colonies. 

More than 70% of all cats who go to a shelter are killed there. For community cats, that rises to virtually 100%. Removing community cats doesn't work. Catching and killing is ineffective, outdated and cruel. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the only humane, effective approach to care for community cats.

Community cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped and then returned to their outdoor home. To learn more about community cats, visit here.

Read last year's post 2015 & previous years: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.

Information was provided by Alley Cat Allies. Sandpiper Cat Blog was not monetarily compensated for this post but did receive free promotional and informative items. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Purrfect Together: Celebrate the Bond Between You and Your Kitty This October

Autumn covers both National Pet Wellness Month and October's Black Cat Awareness Month. There's never been a better time to show our cats some extra love. Recently, the cat lovers at Meow Mix ran the Purrfect Together Survey, which asked cat parents around the country about their special bond with their four-legged friends. Here are some of their meow-nificent results:

83% of cats take naps with their owners. Piper loves to keep me company when I take the rare nap. Recently I had a bad head cold and Piper was constantly by my side, my little kitty nurse. I think it's her way of thanking me for nursing her back to health after her miscarriage in 2011. We have to wonder about the 17% who don't get to experience the joy of napping with their cats!

80% of cat parents believe they can interpret their kitty's meows. Piper has this very distinct tonal meow, that says, "Let me into the laundry room!" She loves to hide in there after she was given treats by mom (who learned her lesson that giving treats to cats in rooms they shouldn't be, is not a good idea). Piper loves to hang out in the laundry room and also has a different meow for "Let me back out! How dare you lock me in here!"

72% of cat parents love to surprise their kitties with a treat! Like I said, Piper got treats in the laundry room one time but you may as well call it the treat room, because that's what she thinks it should be called. Our cats LOVE their bonito fish flakes, especially three of my black cats - PHolly, Charlie and Bobby.
Our three black kitties enjoying their nightly fish flakes. Photo by Harry Shubin.

Piper and I are purrfect for each other! We both anticipate each other's needs and she never ceases to make me smile. Piper was a true gift to me, because she comforted me in the difficult period of high school, graduation and then my transition to college. And now, I move from post college graduation to finding a full time job! My Pups has always been there for me.

My girl! <3
Visit Meow Mix's Perfect Together Website here. Just like Piper and I, you and your cat can enjoy the unique experience of converting your photo into a true meowsterpiece - a digital "oil" painting that helps express and immortalize your cat-love on canvas. 

This blog post is sponsored by MeowMix and some text and graphics were provided. Sandpiper Cat Blog was not  monetarily compensated for this post but may have received free promotional items.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

September is Happy Healthy Cat Month

 September is Happy Healthy Cat Month. There are many simple tasks pet owners can do to keep their pets happy and healthy. 

Happy, Healthy Cat Month Tips
Featured post by Dr. Danielle Bernal, Veterinarian with Wellness® Natural Pet Food
     Instinctively, felines are natural hunters. Help your cat or kitten stay on top of their skills with plenty of play time together. Not only does this keep your cat active to support a healthy weight, it also keeps stress levels down and encourages bonding for a happy, purring kitty. Just be sure that you keep any laser pointers away from your cat’s eyes!

·         Cats don’t always like to drink water. While they may not have the same thirst drive as dogs, that doesn’t make hydration any less important. 

·         Due to their sedentary lifestyles, indoor cats are especially prone to weight gain, which can lead to a wide variety of health issues. It's best to pick cat food with wholesome ingredients, to make sure your cat gets the proper nutrition.

·         Cats experience boredom, too, and they can express it in ways you may not be so fond of, such as chasing other pets or shredding household items like curtains and furniture. Excite your feline friend by bringing a taste of the wild indoors, with perches by a sunny window or potted plants that are cat friendly. A few to avoid are tulips, lilies and English ivy–these are all toxic for pets!

·         Hairballs are unpleasant for cats and pet parents alike, but they can be managed with some extra grooming time and a proper diet.  Hairballs happen when stray hairs get stuck in the digestive tract as a result of self-grooming, and cats spend nearly 20% of their waking hours grooming. However, a few minutes of daily brushing can help catch those loose hairs before your cat does. 

·         Many pet parents love to treat their dogs with healthful snacks, but cats like treats too, and treating helps reinforce the bond between pet and pet parent. Look for recipes that are low in calories so you can treat them without feeling guilty. 

What do you do to keep your cat happy and healthy? Share your tips with us in the comment section!

This post was sponsored by Wellness, text and were graphic provided. Sandpiper Cat Blog was not compensated for this post. Consult with your veterinarian for your pet's health needs.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Giveaway: Morris the Cat's Well Groomed Kitty-Kit

With spring now arriving and after that, the dreaded bathing suit season (eek!), I know everyone's searching for ways to look their best. And Sandpiper Cat Blog's readers have a 'paw up' on the competition because we're about to get some style and wellness tips from someone who knows a thing or two about looking awesome... I'm talking, of course, about Morris the Cat. 

In case you're not familiar with this illustrious feline, Morris is the original celebricat, starring in over 50 9Lives cat food commercials from the 1970s up through today. He's even been called "the Clark Gable of cats," and that's about as debonair as it gets! In his "Dear Morris" column, he'll be answering some readers' burning questions about good grooming, and he's also giving away a well groomed kitty-kit, scroll down to the bottom to enter!

Dear Morris,

I love my cat, Baxter, but man, does he shed! Every time I leave the house I'm covered in cat hair. It's getting to the point where we can't even cuddle together without me looking like the sticky side of a lint roller! Unleash your wisdom, Morris... there must be something I can do.

Hairy Harry

Dear Hairy Harry,

If your cat is shedding on you, the thing you should tell him is... "thank you!" Being covered in cat fur means you get to look like a cat, which means you get to look more awesome. However, if this isn't your desired effect (although I can't imagine why it wouldn't be), try wearing clothes the same color as your cat to camouflage the fur. Kind of like a cat camouflages himself in clean laundry--hey, come to think of it, that could be why you're always covered in fur! You can also try brushing Baxter a couple times a week to remove excess fur and redistribute the natural oils on his skin--now, that's what I call a win-win!

Dear Morris,

My teenage daughter spends 45 minutes in front of the mirror every day primping and brushing her hair. I think this is excessive but she tells me it's what makes her happy. Morris, since you always look fabulous, I thought you could give me some advice--what's the best way to get her to spend less time in front of the mirror?

Fur-ustrated Mamma

Dear Fur-ustrated Mamma,

I know it may seem like I just wake up looking this good, but believe it or not, I put in lots of long hours licking my fur. In fact, as a cat, I groom up to 50% of the time I'm awake. Grooming not only makes you look good, it can be used for meditation--kind of like focusing really hard on a red laser dot. So I say, take the time you need to feel your best--whether it's 5 minutes or 45. It's a very purrsonal choice. 

Dear Morris,

Lately I've been looking slightly less than my best, which is unfortunate because I just started a new job and I wanted to make a good first impression. But instead, my eyes are all puffy and I just haven't been my chipper self. I'm not sure how to get out of this style rut. Morris, can you help me get my grooming groove back?

Fashion Faux-Paw

Dear Fashion Faux-Paw,

Let me shed some light (and some fur) on this situation. The main thing I took away from your question is that you're STRESSED! Starting a new job can be stressful and can lead to falling out of typical routines and lack of sleep. I should know because every time I start shooting a new commercial, I only sleep 15 hours a day instead of 16. But don't despair! There's one failsafe way to calm those nerves and give you back your glow. I'm talking about a massage, specifically a kitty massage. We kitties LOVE to give massages--well, we think of it more as kneading but you humans don't seem to know the difference. A kitty massage will help you relax, and in turn, feel and look better. Plus, it's purr-ty much impossible to feel stressed when you have the love of a cat.

There you have it! Thank you, Morris the Cat, for sharing this invaluable grooming advice. Readers, how many of you have a good-looking, well-groomed feline at home? If you need a little help, enter our giveaway below for a chance to win a well groomed kitty-kit!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is sponsored by 9Lives, text and pictures were provided. We were not monetarily compensated for this post but may have received free promotional items. Giveaway void where prohibited. Open to US residents only. Winner's response needed with 48 hours or prize will be forfeited. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Spotlight: The Kitten Lady

Animal advocate Hannah Shaw is a warrior for orphaned kittens.

"I got into rescuing because I found a kitten in a tree, I had no plans to start,” Shaw said.  Shaw is an animal advocate working with Photographers for Animals, a nonprofit organization.

Shaw is pictured feeding Bruno, in the correct position.
Shaw gave a neonatal kitten workshop 101 on Saturday, March 19, at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter to a group of potential kitten fosters. Shaw started her brand, the Kitten Lady, as a small project that became a big deal. Eight years of kitten rescue under her belt, Shaw now helps inform others about the care of neonatal kittens.

"Everyone here is in a great position here to plan ahead of time,” Shaw said. She noted that even daily planning is essential to fostering kittens that are orphaned or without their mother.
Shaw went into detail about creating plans for the foster kittens. She suggested putting them in a place that is “cozy, private and easy to sanitize.”          

“Bathroom kittens are the hallmark of fostering. Everyone’s got a bathroom, so they end up keeping the kittens there,” Shaw said.

The audience was engaged and involved, asking questions during her presentation. Shaw brought organic baby wipes and kitten milk replacer to show what brands she prefers.

Image from @fairfaxcountyanimalshelter Instagram account.

“I almost drank a can of kitten milk replacer the other day, it looks just like a can of soda!” Shaw said. The crowd laughed, as Shaw explained the different types of nipples used in bottles for neonatal kittens.
Shaw stressed that feeding the kittens is often done incorrectly because people assume they know what they are doing.

“The feeding position is really important; the kitten must be belly down. It’s an art form and you’ll get really good at it,” said Shaw.

Another shot of Shaw feeding Bruno.
Shaw discussed serious issues and made recommendations for fosters, urging them to contact their vet if any urgent issues arrive. She said that neonatal kittens are similar to human babies; they need their faces cleaned after eating and they can burp. Unlike human babies, neonatal kittens need to be stimulated to pee and poop. Shaw explains that mother cats stimulate the kittens to pee and poop by licking them.
Shaw had two of her neonatal foster kittens with her, Bruno and Boop. Shaw used Bruno in a demonstration to show the audience how to feed him, stimulate him to pee and cleaning him afterwards.

Shaw stressed to the crowd that learning everything for neonatal kitten care can be stressful. Health situations that arise may seem like emergencies, because it is easy to panic. Shaw recommended that fosters consult with a veterinarian, if they are worried. She emphasized having a helper who can wake up in the early weeks of kittenhood to help with the feedings every two hours.  A support system is essential for both the foster and the kitten’s health. It is important to keep foster parents from burning out from the mental and emotional strain that fostering takes. The reward, according to Shaw, is being able to place a foster with a loving family.

Image from (yes that is me in the bun & scarf on right). There was an ASL interpreter at the event.

The crowd asked Shaw how she felt about saying goodbye to her foster kittens. Often fosters “fail” by adopting their kittens because they have grown very close.

“Being able to say goodbye is an indicator of success. All I want to do is say goodbye to them, that’s the point,” Shaw said. Shaw told the crowd that each kitten out the door is room to save more. 

“You are amazing. You’re saving lives. You’re literally a life saver,” Shaw said.

Image from @kittenxlady Instagram account.

You can see the Kitten Lady, Hannah Shaw, teach her neonatal kitten workshop 101 at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Northern Virginia on May 28, 2016 at 11 am. Sign up here!

Find Hannah, the Kitten Lady on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Review: Yogi Cats by Paige Hodges

I like to read books that make me feel good after I finish reading them. This happy feeling might not even come straight from the content, but from the physical book, the colors and the entire aesthetic. Yogi Cats by Paige Hodges, is one of those feel happy books.

Hodges wrote Yogi Cats to combine both her love of yoga and cats. Hodges, as a young adult, got her first cat after finding a mouse in her New York City apartment. She eventually moved with three cats to L.A., California – where she took a yoga class. Hodges has practices yoga for over twenty years and credits her patience and balance to yoga.

Hodges founded Feline Yogi, a company that makes yoga mats just for cats. These two special areas of her life have led her to write Yogi Cats, which contains yoga poses for the beginner all the way to an expert level.

Each chapter of the book has two beautiful full color pages, with an adorable little cat doing yoga poses. Within each chapter are Instructions for yoga poses and quotes that are yoga inspired and reminiscent of relaxation. The cute little cat doodles on each page relate to what the chapter is covering.

One of my favorite passages is on page 24, which discusses why yoga and meditation can be helpful for stress and anxiety. As someone who is prone to stress and suffers from anxiety, I found this chapter on meditation to be very helpful.

My favorite quote in Yogi Cats is on page 52, “Even if things don’t unfold the way you expected, don’t be disheartened or give up. One who continues to advance will win in the end.” –Daisaku Ikeda.

The pose that I felt relaxed me the most was on page 82, the Mountain Pose.

The end of the book has a 30-day yoga challenge, with intentions to help the reader form a yoga habit by commitment, intention and following through. Hodges’ feline yogini, her cat Pippy, writes the challenge.

If anything was going to get me to try to take a mental break and use yoga as a relaxation method – it would be this quote from Pippy, “Be aware of excuses. You humans love excuses. ‘My Netflix queue is full and I must catch up; I am too tired!; I can’t find my yoga pants! blah blah blah.’ The list goes on and on. You are responsible for setting your priorities. That may mean watching less TV or prying yourself away from Facebook, but it’s up to you and you only to make sure to find the time.”

Nothing rings more true to me, that spending too much time on the computer. I am a blogger and full time student after all! But Pippy’s reminder to me to be responsible and disconnect (and find my yoga pants, which I do know where they are), is much needed.

Available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.

Receiving a complimentary copy of Yogi Cats did not influence my review whatsoever. All my opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

2016 Cat Oscars: Meow Mix Announces the Year's Best Internet Cat Moments

Award show season is here and while there are certainly some human actors worthy of purr-aise, I think it's about time we acknowledge those creatures who know the best way to work a red carpet... is to shed on it!

Sandpiper Cat Blog has partnered with Meow Mix cat food to recognize the year's top four-legged performances in The 2016 Cat's Meow Awards.

That's right – this year's most anticipated awards show honors a flurry of furry faces. 

Meow Mix brand received more than 25,000 submissions from all over the country for the Cat's Meow Awards, which was established to celebrate the best cat moments of the year and the one-of-a-kind bond that only cats and humans share.

View clips from The 2016 Cat's Meow Awards show below:

Con-cat-ulations to the all of the 2016 Cat's Meow Awards finalists and winners! 

But let's face it, cats couldn't care less about glory or fame... that's why Meow Mix brand created a new line of Irresistibles treats so that you can give them the award they're really looking for. With real meat, a wide variety of flavors, and both soft and crunchy textures, your cat will be sure to thank you in his acceptance speech.

Go to and share your cat's irresistible moment to get a FREE bag and see tons of other cool cat content.

This post is sponsored by MeowMix The Acatemy. Text and videos used with permission of MeowMix. We were not monetarily compensated for this post, but may have received free promotion items for our consideration.