Sunday Purrs: Random Acts of Kindness

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 My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. – The Dalai Lama 

Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness? Maybe someone let you go ahead in the grocery store line because you only had one item. The driver in the car ahead of you at the toll booth paid your toll. A friend you haven’t talked to in a while called for no reason at all. If you’ve been on the receiving end of such an act of kindess, you know how wonderful it feels.

Research suggests that positive emotions help contribute to better physical and emotional health. Kindness is a beautiful way to supercharge your health. Kindness is a quality that I look for in almost every person I form any kind of relationship with – it matters that much to me. Kindness to cats, and all animals, is the most important to me, but kindness to other human beings is a close second. One of my pet peeves: people who are unkind to waiters or other service personnel.

I found myself thinking a lot about kindness this past week, as I was watching all the coverage about Hurricane SandyContinue Reading

Sunday Purrs: a few more words about Hurricane Sandy

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Last Sunday night, we told you we were ready for the approaching storm. We had stocked up on emergency supplies, including canned food for Allegra and Ruby in case their raw food went bad in the event of a power outage, and chocolate for me in case – well, because you need chocolate when life gets stressful. We had Storm Soother and Stress Stopper on hand. We were as ready as you can ever be for something like this.

By the time we woke up Monday morning, it was raining heavily. The forecast was for the rain and wind to increase steadily throughout the day, with the worst to come in the afternoon and into the night. I decided to venture out for my weekly Pilates session in the morning, followed by lunch with a friend. I needed the distraction from worrying, not to mention the exercise. The roads were already deserted, and many businesses were either already shut down, or closing early. By the time I got home a couple of hours later, the wind had started to pick up in earnest.

I expected to find Allegra downstairs, in or near her safe spaceContinue Reading

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A word about Hurricane Sandy

Allegra, Ruby and the maple tree

What a difference a few days make. This photo shows Allegra and Ruby relaxing in our sunny bedroom last Wednesday. This evening, we’re preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. Right now, it’s just raining a little, but we’re supposed to get high winds and heavy rain starting Monday morning, and lasting into Tuesday evening. Other areas to the east and north of us are expecting even worse conditions.

We’re as ready as you can ever be for an event like this. I only just returned from Atlanta last night, where I spent a fun-filled three days at Barkworld 2012, a social networking conference for pet businesses. I was a little nervous about not being able to prepare for the storm, especially after I saw numerous photos of bare store shelves on Twitter. When I arrived home, I found that a dear friend had stopped by and dropped off a large case of bottled water and batteries for me. I think it was quite possibly the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me! This morning, I brought in all my deck furniture, cleaned up the leaves so they wouldn’t clog up the drains, and went in search of ice and non-perishable food.

Since Allegra and Ruby are raw-fed kitties, I stocked up on grain-free canned food in case we loose power and the frozen raw food goes bad.Continue Reading

Sunday Purrs: The Benefits of Stretching

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Stretching is an important part of healthy living: benefits range from increased flexibility and mobility to better athletic performance and decreased risk of injury. A regular stretching program has been part of my daily routine for more than 30 years. I’ve had minor back problems ever since I was a young adult, and twice daily stretching exercises have most likely helped save my back again and again.

And who better to teach us the importance of stretching than our cats? Have you ever seen a cat get up from a nap without thoroughly stretching first?

Stretching is actually an instinctive activity: most people stretch without having to be reminded before they get out of bed. It appears that our bodies naturally protect us from injuring ourselves by moving too fast after a period of inactivity. Depending on your age, and what kind of physical condition you’re in, you may find that even getting up from being seated at your desk for a long period of time will result in aches and pains unless you stretch first.Continue Reading

Allegra’s World: new window perch

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If you’ve read our blog for a while or follow us on Facebook, you’ve seen lots of pictures of me and Ruby on our window perch. It’s one of my favorite places to hang out, whether it’s for watching the world go by outside the window, or for a nice long snooze.

Last week, something bad happened to my window perch: Mom found a hole in it! It started out as a tiny little hole, and neither Mom nor I worried much about it, but it got a little bigger every day, and pretty soon, I could stick my hole paw through it. That’s when Mom decided we needed to get a new perch.

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I wasn’t all that sure I wanted a new one. After all, I, and all the kitties who came before me, had molded it into a perfect hammock shape, as you can see in this photo. But Mom said that the hole could turn into a hazard. I guess that’s one of those big words humans like to use when they’re worried that something bad might happen to us kitties. Like we’d be silly enough to get our head stuck in that hole. Mom really worries too much.Continue Reading

Sunday Purrs: Silence

Allegra in the sun

Guest post by Angie Bailey

Have you ever met someone who veers toward the verbose side when a few words — or even silence — will do the trick? If you’ve met me, then you certainly have. I think my loquacious leanings are partly because I’m an extrovert, but also because I sometimes feel nervous and need to stuff empty space with words, no matter how trivial. When I find myself jabbering in circles, I’m typically met with either blank stares or polite smiles. And then I continue jabbering, because it feels safe to fill the gaps.

Cats are completely comfortable with silence; they even walk silently. What’s more peaceful than the calm quiet of a cat? Their eye and tail movements speak volumes without even once muttering a meow. I’ve certainly met some chatty cats; in fact, my Phoebe is one who isn’t afraid to speak. The difference is that when she speaks, it’s purposeful: she has a message to convey. I also have messages, but sometimes they could be communicated in fewer, more thoughtful, wordsContinue Reading

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Sunday Purrs: Zoobiquity presents a vision of One Health

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I recently reviewed Dr. Michael Fox’s book Healing Animals and The Vision of One Health: Earth Care and Human Care, a fascinating vision of a world where the healing of animals, care for the earth, and a revolution of our food and health care systems all work together to create One Health, driven by an integrative and holistic approach. I have since become very interested in this concept of One Health, and as a result, I was intrigued when I came across Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing by Barbara Hatterson-Horowitz, M.D. and Katherine Bowers.

Zoobiquity is a simple idea—animals and humans get the same diseases, yet physicians and veterinarians almost never talk to each other.  Zoobiquity is a new approach to medicine that brings together human doctors and animal doctors to treat the diseases shared by patients of many species.Continue Reading

Sunday Purrs: The Colors of Autumn

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Fall has definitely arrived in my part of the world. While I enjoy the beautiful colors of autumn all around me, it’s not my favorite season – mostly because of what comes after. I don’t like cold weather, and I definitely don’t like snow. But this year, I’m determined to embrace autumn and enjoy the season for what it is, rather than viewing it just as a precursor to winter. After all, that’s what living in the moment is all about. I’m making a point this year to really notice the gradual changing of the leaves, and to appreciate nature’s beauty, rather than anticipate the inevitable journey toward falling leaves and winter.

Autum is a season of harvest and a celebration of abundance. It’s a good time to take stock of all you’ve accomplished this year, and take some time to really appreciate your own growth. It’s a season of contradictions: warm, almost summer like days alternate with chilly days and nights. It’s a reflection that our lives aren’t always predictable, that life can be messy, and that joy and sorrow are both part of life.

Ultimately, autum is about the inevitability of change.Continue Reading

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Meeting Gwen Cooper, New York Times bestselling author of Homer’s Odyssey

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As a writer, I love connecting with other writers, especially when they write about cats. But it’s not every day that I get to meet the writer of cat book that made the New York Times bestseller list less than two weeks after its publication. Homer’s Odyssey – A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wondercat debuted at number 14 in September of 2009.

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I first connected with Gwen Cooper online three years ago, and subsequently interviewed her for The Conscious Cat two weeks after her book made the NYT list. This past Saturday, I finally got to meet her in person. Gwen appeared at a local pet store Continue Reading