Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hormones, diet and epilepsy

Sparky has epilepsy. When she was a little kitten, she had big seizures, and as a result she suffered brain damage. You can tell when she walks...she falls down often, and sometimes she jumps into walls and windows. But otherwise she seems fine.

From observing Sparky, I think there is a connection between diet, seizures and hormones. I've mentioned this connection to our Vet's but they don't THINK there is a connection, but agree that there MAY be a connection.

This is what I found: January 2008...Sparky goes in heat. You can't miss it - she changes into a totally different cat. She WANTS everyone to pat and touch her. She is nice to the dog and other cats. Before she goes in heat (every few weeks for 2 years), her appetite increases. She goes from 3 cans a day to 6 or 7. This increased eating usually lasts for 5 to 7 days. So, in January, I begin to wonder what would happen if she does not get that extra food. Will she still go in heat? What would happen? Would she lose weight?

So, I put her on a tighter eating schedule. 3 cans a day only... no more eating on demand.

A few weeks pass, and she is asking for more food (follows me around, and is always under my feet.) She survives the new diet...sometimes she gets a few bites of the other cats food, but not too much. And she doesn't go into heat. Not in February...not in March. She also does not lose weight. She also has NO siezures, none at all.

I take her to the Vet in April to get weighed and get her phenobarb blood levels checked. She lost a tiny bit of weight..a few ounces. And her phenobarb levels are perfect.

It is now September and she hasn't been in heat since January. She has had a few seizures in July, when we traveled across country in the car and slept in hotels. She stayed at a kennel in Niagra Falls Ontario and they messed up her eating routine and missed a pill. It took a month to get her stabilized again, but she has been great ever since.

So, is there a connection betwwen hormones, diet and epilepsy?

Friday, September 5, 2008


Nepeta is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. The members of this group are known as catnip or catmint because of their famed effect on cats—nepeta pleasantly stimulates cats' pheromonic receptors, typically resulting in the animal temporarily exhibiting behaviors indicative of being in an induced, euphorically giddy sort of state.

The genus is native to Europe, Asia and Africa, with the highest species diversity in the Mediterranean region east to mainland China. It is now also common in North America.[1] Most of the species are herbaceous perennial plants, but some are annuals. They have sturdy stems with opposite heart-shaped, green to grayish-green leaves. The flowers are white, blue, pink or lilac and occur in several clusters toward the tip of the stems. The flowers are tubular and spotted with tiny purple dots. The scent of the plant has a stimulating effect on cats.

Oil isolated from catnip by steam distillation is a repellent against insects, in particular mosquitoes, cockroaches and termites.[2][3] Research suggests that in a test tube, distilled nepetalactone, the active ingredient in catnip, repels mosquitoes ten times more effectively than DEET, the active ingredient in most insect repellents,[4][5] but that it is not as effective as a repellent on skin.[6] Additionally, catnip and catnip-laced products designed for use with domesticated cats are available to consumers.

Both true catnip and Faassen's catnip have a sharp, biting taste, while the taste of giant catmint is bland.

Catnip and catmints are mainly known for the behavioral effects they have on cats, particularly domestic cats.[7] When cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip, they may roll over it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about and purr, often salivating copiously. Some cats will also growl and meow. This reaction only lasts for a few minutes before the cat loses interest. It takes up to two hours for the cat to "reset" after which it can come back to the catnip and have the same response as before.[8] Young kittens and older cats are less likely to react to catnip.

Approximately two thirds of cats are susceptible to the behavioral effects of catnip. The phenomenon is hereditary; for example, most cats in Australia are not susceptible to catnip, since Australian cats are drawn from a relatively closed genetic pool.[9] It elicits such a response in only some cats, because a genetic element is involved that is enriched in domesticated breeds. There is some disagreement about the susceptibility of lions and tigers to catnip. Some claim that the way lions and domestic cats react to catnip suggest further evidence of the genetic existence of a susceptibility to catnip outside of domestic felines.[9]

Catnip contains nepetalactone, a terpene. Nepetalactone can be extracted from catnip using steam distillation.[10] Cats detect it through their olfactory epithelium and not through their vomeronasal organ.[11] At the olfactory epithelium, the nepetalactone is hypothesized to bind to one or more olfactory receptors where it probably mimics a cat pheromone, such as the hypothetical feline facial pheromone or the cat urine odorant MMB.

Other plants that also have this effect on cats include valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and plants that contain actinidine or dihydroactinidiolide


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dogs and Cat toys

I've always considered myself very lucky when it comes to my dog. Mind you, he is a bit simple minded, and can't do much more than sit...but he's never chewed any shoes or furniture. Even when we first got him, he was soooo easy to train. I think we had one little accident on the floor, amybe 2, but no more.

A few month agao I bought a really cool homemade cat toy from the flea market. It was a 2 foot long wooden stick with a 6 foot long, one inch thick pink strip on flannel on the end. You wave the stick and the cats go crazy...great toy.

It was a great toy until the dog ate it. Almost all of the 6 feet of flannel. He left about 4 inches, making the toy unusable. And the dog did vomit the flannel.

But it could've been much worse. I think we came out very lucky. I now make sure all cat toys are put out of the dogs reach. For a good dog that doesn't chew on anything, I've never had a problem before this, but I will do my best to make sure it doesn't happen again!

Travelling with pets

We are getting ready to travel across Canada with the animals! Well from Nova Scotia to Manitoba, in a mini van!! It should be quite an adventure. I've been taking the cats in the car for small trips trying to get them used to it.

When we have an open house (usually every sunday) we bring the dog and Sparky with us. The dog barks non-stop at anyone he doesn't know and Sparky will bite and possible scratch anyone who touches her. I did make up a nice big sign explaining not to touch the small grey cay, but I haven't had to use it yet. She is just so cute I know at least one person will try to pat her.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Cat Towers

It sure must be nice to be a cat! I was looking for a new cat tower... mine is getting a bit of a lean to it ;), and I am amazed at the variety out there! Cats can play and live in luxury!
Take the cat tower on the left for example. It has a hammock! I think my adult male cats would be a bit too big for it, but Bits would lay in it anyway! I'm not sure it would be Sparky's thing though. You can purchase this cat tower at
Cozy Cat, for only $159.95 - trust me it's worth every penny!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

cute cat toy

I totally love this cat toy idea! The bag moves like there is something in it and that is very interesting to a cat! My cats are not kittens, but love bags, and things in bags! Of course, be careful not to let your pet play with a plastic bag.

You can make this toy at home very easily with a paper bag and a small wind up toy(can be bought at walmart, or Toys R Us for about $1). Wind up the toy and stick it in the bag! A new cat toy for everyones enjoyment!