Hurricane Irma’s Cat Heroes will be many

Hurricane Irma’s Cat Heroes will be many, as many humans are going above and beyond to stand by and save cats, even before the massive Hurricane hit Florida. The devastation from this now Category 4 hurricane  was expected to be massive.

Hurricane Irma Cat Heros

Feral cats are at risk during Hurricane Irma


Here, we want to look at 3 stories that show how far we’ve come since Hurricane Katrina some 12 years ago, leaving thousands of pets in peril and estranged from their humans.

Lessons learned from that catastrophic event have lead shelters throughout Florida moving the shelter pets to other shelters throughout the country in advance of the storm. The idea is to move the animals, making room for the pets that need to be rescued. Those rescued pets will be closer to home, making it easier for them to be reunited with their owners.

With Katrina, it was opposite. The rescued pets were sent to shelters far away, making it difficult for their humans to find them.

According to news reports, cats, dogs and other companion animals were being flown to California, Illinois, and a host of other states, clearing the Florida shelters for what’s to come. They are being proactive rather than reactive. These pets join the many cats and dogs still being flown out of Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, ravaging the Houston area with record breaking flooding.

The ASPCA, American Humane Society and many others have stepped up to the plate for these pre-evacuation plans from Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, making it a bit better for the animals.

Another huge change from the days of Katrina is public officials have stated, ‘Don’t leave your pets behind when you evacuate’.



Ten things I learned from reading The Cat Whisperer

Ten things I learned from reading The Cat Whisperer, The Secret of How to Talk to Your Cat. Written by Claire Bessant, chief executive of International Cat Care (formerly known as Feline Advisory Bureau), the book is full of tidbits about understanding your cat and what kitty may be telling us.

10 Things I learned from The Cat Whisperer

The Cat Whisperer tells how to understand your cat.

The Paws household is amazed at how much we can learn from reading cat books, newsletters, and online articles. We just didn’t realize how little we knew, until we start reading. Then, we realize just how much there is to know.

Rather than doing a book review on this book we purchased at Tractor Supply a while ago, we thought we would share some of the great nuggets we learned about cats. Published by Barron’s, The Cat Whisperer is available at many online outlets including One of the first things we need to understand is that cats are not little humans, nor are they little dogs. They are cats. Here’s what we learned.



Category: Book Review, Cats

Status of cats in 2017 in America

While the status of cats in 2017 is increasing, cats still cats remain second class citizens.

Paws for Reflection reached out to renowned pet columnist and member of the Winn Feline Foundation’s Board of Directors, Steve Dale to talk about the status of cats in the United States. When Paws heard him speak some six years ago at BlogPaws, he had said cats were in trouble. It’s a statement Paws has never forgotten.

Steve Dale advises status of cats improving

Status of Cats

Steve Dale, host of two nationally syndicated radio shows, and member of Winn Feline Foundation Board of Directors talks about the status of cats. Here he is pictured with Paws for Reflection author BJ Bangs.

He advised the status of cats in 2017 is improving. Some shelters home from 90 to 100 percent of all their cats. Others have far less impressive numbers.

Not all is well with cats, and Paws found that according to the ASPCA (American Association of the Protection of Cruelty Against Animals) 860,000 cats are euthanized every year.

People seem to either love cats or hate them, Dale advised. There’s little in-between. While cats rock the Internet, the Catalyst Council cites a Morris Animal Foundation 2009 Cat Perception Study Survey which shows:

  • 53% of non-owners had a negative perception about cats
  • 43% said they “just didn’t like cats” as the reason for not owning a cat

Cats are the Rodney Dangerfield of pets

While more cats are owned than dogs, Dale pointed out they remain second class citizens. ‘I consider them The Rodney Dangerfield (the comedian who always said he got no respect) of pets. Despite cats being more popular than dogs, still in many ways, we live in dog-nation. There is Genetic evidence that cites people are hard wired to like dogs, unless they’ve had a bad experience with one or are allergic to them. Most people smile when they see a dog. With cats, you either love cats or you don’t.’

The status of cats

The status of cats in 2017 shows it’s better than it was 10 years ago.

The changing demographics of the Millennial Generation is a big plus for cats. More people that have a blended dog/cat household. Because of our lifestyle changes, melded families are coming together. Bringing all these families together is also combining various pets together in the same household. About a quarter of pet owners, have mixed cats and dogs’ homes…. The old expression, cats and dogs can’t live together is absurd, and it’s a positive change to cats.

Millenials resulting in blended pet families

For more about the Millennial Generation and cats, check out Paws’ blog post, Millenials now outnumber Baby Boomers as owning most pets.

Our lifestyles make it more conducive to adopt a cat. Gone are the days when Mom stays home while Dad is at work. Millennials are not going right back home to walk the dogs… they are going to the kid’s sporting events. They are incredibly busy. Cats don’t need people to be on a fixed schedule.

Cat Cafés a real boost for cats

Another real plus for cats are Cat Cafés. Ten years ago, cat cafés didn’t exist, and today there are at least 81 in America alone, if not more. Many work with an adoption partner and adopt cats out. It’s another place where cats can find forever homes. These cafés are not like a shelter…. People are sipping on coffee or tea in a comfortable atmosphere. People get to see cats in a relaxed way, and these same people might not walk into a shelter. These cafés enhance a sense of community. People start talking about the cat that just walked by to a total stranger. It’s good for the cats, and good for the people.

Additional pluses for cats include:

  • Many cats are inside-only.
  • Spay/neuter education has reduced the number of cats

‘While cat overpopulation is still an issue, it’s better than I would have predicted. In some places in America, ‘it’s way better. In some places, it’s great. In other places, it’s not so great. There is some good news out there.’

That lends itself to shelters being able to move cats to places where they can find homes. In New York City, it might be moving cats to a shelter in another bureau or to a near-by state. Certain areas desire more of a particular breed than others, and moving the cats or dogs to that area enhances adoption rates.

Lots of negatives for cats

There’s no doubt dogs fare better than cats; however, cats are catching up. There are still lots of negatives, including:

  • You don’t have stray dogs, but you do have stray cats.
  • More cats are given up to shelters than dogs.
  • More cats are abused than dogs.
  • Cats see the vet less often than dogs.
  • TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) is still controversial.
  • Feral cats, also called community cats, are not well respected by the community at large.
  • People who lose their cats don’t go looking for them and they end up in shelters. According to the ASPCA, about 710,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 620,000 are dogs and only 90,000 are cats.

The Catalyst Council and AAFP doing wonders for cats

However, there’s been progress in all these areas. Another huge factor in improving the status of cats has been the formation of:

About eight years ago, Dale was instrumental in pulling together the team that put together The Catalyst Council. At that time, shelters were doing a much better job with dogs than cats. Experts from all the organizations from all over the country came together with the original mission: elevate the status of cats. While the mission has changed, the organization has helped better cats’ welfare.

Cat Friendly Vet Practices

The formation of the American Association of Feline Practitioners: AAFP goal was to do a better job with cats. They understood you can’t treat cats like dogs. Years ago, that was the norm. They are responsible for getting cats into a veterinary clinic, without being totally stressed out. Cat Friendly Practices, do all kinds of things to make the feline be at more ease at the veterinarian’s office including, but not necessarily limited to:

  • Feliway and other pheromone sprays and diffusers
  • Handling
  • Medical procedures are cat friendlier

The AAFP created for people to learn more about their cat’s natural behaviors, the importance of routine veterinary care, how to take great care of your cats, and answer many questions with credible, valuable, and reliable educational information. There’s everything from parasite control, vaccine, aging cats, kittens and info on how to get cat to vet in the first place.  Paws checked out the website, and it is amazing.

Cats still remain second class citizens

Cats still remain second class citizens

Moving the needle to help cats

Both of these organizations are ‘moving the needle and are making an enormous difference for cats. ‘What The Catalyst Council did was say to the industry we need to pay attention to cats… AMFP is paying attention to cats.’

Behavioral issues, including clawing and litter box issues are among the top reasons people surrender their cats to shelters. There’s good news on this front, as well.

Feliway and other pheromone based products can be used to de-stress cats in multi-cat households.

FeliScratch coming to the US later this year

Great news for cats will be the release of FeliScratch in the United States later this year. Already available in the United Kingdom, this product is designed to attract your cat to the scratching post so he’ll scratch where you want him to, and not destroy the sofa. Catnip attracts the cat to the post which is covered with pheromones, making it a pleasant experience for the cat. This offers a real alternative to de-clawing, which is becoming more and more controversial. Dale points out that whole procedure can lead to a whole host of other behavioral issues due to phantom pain.

Great news for cats

Additionally, more varieties of cat litter are available with tips to prevent litter box issues, often the result of illness of a bully in a multi-cat family.

Tools like FeliScratch, organized cat medicine, and an entire program to benefit cats, combined with the shelters doing great job of education, are making things better for cats.

Ole Wives’ Tales getting beaten down

Some of ole wives’ tales about pets, have been beaten down.

  • It used to be if you were pregnant or had an auto immune disease or taking drugs to suppress the immune system, you gave up the cats. It’s taken decades, but the obstetrician no longer suggests getting rid of the cat. Medical doctors understand the bond with cats, people with cats, aids, cancer, or which immune suppressant, can benefit from keeping their feline companion.  We still hear about Toxoplasmosis is a disease that results from infection with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, one of the world’s most common parasites. Infection usually occurs by eating under-cooked contaminated meat, exposure from infected cat feces, or mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy.
  • In Mexico, there’s a wives’ tale that cats can make you infertile. We know that’s not true.
  • Twenty-one-years ago when I began broadcasting, I’d hear the wives’ tale that cats can suck the air out of a baby. everyone understands that just doesn’t happen. There’s not one recorded case of a cat suffocating a baby. There should always be adult supervision when a baby and is with any kind of pet… It’s not an issue today.

The Cat/Bird controversy, a huge negative

A huge negative for the cats is the cat/bird controversy, and many conservationists are citing erroneous information about how many birds are being killed by cats. There’s a whole divide that is very negative to cats, particularly community cats, and indoor-outdoor felines. That’s a whole other issue, and one that Paws will address in a future post.

National Hairball Day

Leave your Paw Prints here.

Do you think the status of cats has improved over the past 10 years? Why do you think cats remain second class citizens (to dogs) even though they rule the Internet? What do you think we can do to elevate the status of cats? Please weigh in on this important discussion, and share this post with your readers to help the cats!




Taking your cat to the vet can be easy – here’s how

Here’s 10 proven strategies to make taking your cat to the vet a cake walk. Today is National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, Aug. 22, 2017, and we wanted to share how to make taking a trip to the vet easy.

National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, Aug. 22

It’s easy to take your cat or cats to the vet if you follow some basic tips that will make the trip less stressful for both you and your cat. Today, we share our 10 proven strategies to make taking your cat to the vet a piece of cake.

  1. Leave the cat carrier out in the open, in your living room or other room where the cats frequent. Let them explore it, take a nap in it, play in it. That way they won’t see it as a threat, and it will be a lot easier for you when it comes to crate them. (This is a good strategy to use for preparing for an emergency exit, as well. If kitty is not afraid of the carrier, it will be much easier to get him into the carrier in a hurry, if needed.)
  2. Put some of your clothes in the carrier with your scent. A towel or shirt would work. Put it in the carrier when the carrier is left out, and leave it in the carrier when you take them to the vet.
  3. Spay Feliway or some other pheromone spay on the towel or piece of clothing a few moments before putting your cat into the carrier. This will help your cat stay calm.
  4. Once in the car, cover your cat carrier with a blanket or jacket. That way your cat won’t get spooked by the scenery that is quickly moving by.
  5. Play soothing music on the car trip to keep kitty calm.
  6. Once at the vet, put the carrier and cat on a chair, not on the floor. This is less threatening for the cat.
  7. Sit next to your cat(s) in the waiting room, and talk to them. Put your fingers through the front of the carrier, so they can reach out to them.
  8. Once in the exam room, have a piece of familiar clothing the cats can sit on, rather than the cold metal table.
  9. Offer assistance to the vet technician in taking your cat out of the carrier.
  10. Pet your cat during the visit, and offer calm, soothing words to your kitty. He’ll know everything is going to be ok, because his human is telling him so.


Pet remedy calmed my cats when going to the vet

Scaredy cat Clyde keeps calm going to vet thanks to pet remedy, a pheromone spray that helps keep him calm.

Taking your cat to the vet can be easy

These cats are at ease at the vet’s office.

Taking your cat to the vet can be easy

Nap time, these cats are totally at ease during their visit to the vet, proving it does not have to be stressful for the cat or their human.

Putting your coat or other piece of clothing on the examination table can help reduce stress when at the vet’s office.

National Hairball Day
Leave your Paw Prints here:

Do you have some tips you use to make taking your cat to the vet a piece of cake? Please share so we can let our readers know taking your cat to the vet can be easy.


Category: Cat Care, Cat News

Jackson Galaxy’s products define cat mojo

Jackson Galaxy’s Collection by Petmate is offering the building blocks that define cat mojo engaging ‘raw cat instinct to build confidence.

Jackson Galaxy’s products define cat mojo

Kitty Little Yellow plays with Marinator Photo Fish Toy, one of the many toys in Jackson Galaxy’s Collection at Petmate.

Jackson Galaxy’s products define cat mojo

Lenny is pretty excited about all the goodies Paws for Reflection received to review from Petmate.

Jackson Galaxy’s products define cat mojo

What’s in here? Lenny asks as he checks out all the swag from Petmate.

Paws for Reflection was happy to run into Ella Alkess, Account Coordinator at Southard Freeman Communications, representing Petmate at the 2017 BlogPaws Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC, and when she reached out to us to try some of Jackson’s products we were thrilled to be able to have them shipped to us so we could blog about them.

Jackson Galaxy’s products define cat mojo

Paws for Reflection received Jackson Galaxy’s Petmate’s giant litter pan, clamshell bed, and fish to try in exchange for a blog post reviewing the products. Our only compensation for this review was the free products.

National Hairball Day

The cats were quite curious. It seems they are thrilled by all boxes, but they were equally happy with the giant litter pan, comfy clamshell bed, and toy fish that were inside.

Once the toys were disconnected from their packaging, the cats couldn’t wait to bat them around the living room floor. They seemed quite pleased with a new toy, especially one filled with catnip.

Marinator Photo Fish Toy, one of the many toys that are part of Jackson Galaxy’s Collection at Petmate.

Kitty Little Yellow checks out the Marinator Photo Fish Toy, one of the toys in the Jackson Galaxy Collection at Petmate.

household was no exception.  This 2-pack of toys contains the optimal level of fresh, organic catnip to keep your cat’s level of interest and ensure kitty is always ready for play. Needless to say, our kitties had a blast batting around this toy that kinda looks like a real fish.

Jackson Galaxy’s products define cat mojo

As for the Petmate Giant Litter Pan, it holds a whopping 30 plus pounds of cat litter, accommodates larges cats, multiple cat households and small cogs, and has a deep wall design that reduces litter from scattering outside the box.

I’m not sure the cats really knew what to think of the giant litter pan. It will take some strategic thinking to figure out where to put it because when they say giant, they mean giant. It is 34.63 inches in length – that’s almost 3 feet – 10 inches high, and 19.75 inches wide.  It has a one-year limited warranty. We settled on the mud room next to our living room.

Litter Pan good for large cats

What makes this idea is that the Giant Litter Pan features patented Microban antimicrobial protection that helps prevent the growth of odor and stain causing bacteria on your litter box. With high sides will help prevent litter scatter and keep it contained, making for easier clean-up. With a 30+ lbs. large capacity, this pan is ideal for larger cats, multiple cats or even small dogs. Additionally, we’ve included unique side areas for storage of disposal bags, scoops, accessories and more.

Jackson Galaxy’s products define cat mojo

Little Yellow checks out the fish toy filled with catnip.



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Catpersonable BJ Bangs

At Paws for Reflection, we're serious about cats, writing about cat health, cat rescue and cat news. We delve into why cats are the absolute best soul mates. We spring in a little humor with lots of travel tips, photos and a few feline tales, making Paws for Reflection a must stop for cat information on the cat crazed Internet. BJ is an award-winning blogger/journalist, communications professional and photographer.

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CWA Certificate of Excellence: Best Health Blog 2016

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