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Understand the unique needs and behaviors of cats. Cats are highly intelligent, naturally curious, and active creatures. Cats need to feel independent and comfortable in their home domain! Learn how to be a better guardian!

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Holistic Pet Health

Cat or dog, you’ve come to the right place! Holistic veterinarian Dr. Jean Hofve and cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy are here to help!

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Pet Food & Nutrition

An official advisor to AAFCO, the organization that sets standards for pet food. She is a voice against the powerful pet food lobby. 

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Cat Behavior

The next time you interact with your cat, Dr. Jean challenges you to ask yourself who is really running the show. I know it is not me!

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Little Big Cat is your Award-Winning Website for Holistic Feline Health, Nutrition, and Behavior information!

If you’re looking for reliable information on holistic health, behavior, and nutrition for your cat, or dog, or both, you’ve come to the right place! Holistic veterinarian Dr. Jean Hofve and cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy are here to help!

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Keep up with important news about feline health, nutrition, and behavior, and other topics of interest to pet parents. Sign up for our newsletter and get updates right to your inbox!

NEWSLETTER
PURCHASE ON AMAZON

What Cats Should Eat – being updated for 2024!

  • What you can (and can’t) learn from a pet food label
  • Myths, deceptions, and hype that manufacturers use to trick you into buying their food
  • How and when to feed your cat (it’s not as obvious as it seems!)
  • What you need to know about pet food manufacturing, oversight, safety, and influence
  • Which ingredients may be dangerous for your cat, and why
  • How to convince your cat to eat better food
  • Ways to upgrade your cat’s diet without breaking the bank or your back
  • How to make nutritious food for your cat at home
  • How sustainability applies to pet food
  • Updated info on Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia
  • More than 350 references from real science
  • Nutrition tips for urinary issues, kidney disease, feline diabetes, and other common conditions
  • And much more!

You’ll also get a comprehensive list of Dr. Jean’s completely revised “approved brands” of canned; dry; frozen/freeze-dried, dehydrated and raw diets; treats, toppers, wholesome meat sources, and “just add meat” supplements. This list has been massively culled and updated based on NEW scientific information about the dangers of excessive phosphorus in regular cat food.

DECLAWING

Declawing is excruciatingly painful for the cat. Cat declawing has been legally declared to be animal cruelty in the U.S.A. It involves ten separate amputations of the cat’s toes at the third joint. In other words, this invasive surgery amputates functioning bones. Declawing severs not only the cat’s claws, but also the attached nerves, bones, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The surgery carries significant risks of lifetime physical, psychological, and behavioral consequences. Adult cats have an increased risk of medical and behavior complications; the older the cat, the worse the risk.

Anti-Declawing Handbook for Cat Lovers!  Updated for 2024! To help cat lovers and animal advocates understand the truth about declawing that so many veterinarians and organizations lie about, Dr. Jean has written a detailed, fully-referenced ebook that is 100% free to download and share!

Download Anti-Declawing Handbook for Cat Lovers!

DOGS

“The history of dogs is inextricably woven together with our human story, and our bonds have grown closer with each generation—from being wolves on the fringe to their relatively new status as our best friends (and even de facto children). Their love and companionship have impacted our society as well as our individual lives. Through their unconditional love and loyalty, they teach us to be more humane. We owe it to them to ensure they live a full and healthy life alongside us.”

Paleo Dog: Give Your Best Friend a Long Life, Healthy Weight, and Freedom  from Illness by Nurturing His Inner Wolf, is the newest book by award-winning  authors Jean Hofve, DVM and Celeste Yarnall, PhD. The Paleo Dog Program isn’t just about diet. It’s also about the dog’s whole lifestyle.

Give Your Best Friend a Long Life, Healthy Weight, and Freedom

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HOLISTIC PET HEALTH

Holistic Health Consulting – Standard Process Products

In my first job out of veterinary school, I quickly learned how to use high-quality, whole-food nutritional supplements to help my patients. The company we used was Standard Process. (Read more about them here.) They started out with supplements for humans, but so many veterinarians used them they also developed a line for pets. Their products are absolutely amazing, and...
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Please Don’t Give Pets as Gifts

Updated 12/14/23 Giving is a wonderful thing, and we all have good intentions when shopping for our loved ones. You may have visions of one you love opening a beautiful box with an adorable kitten inside, or of covering their eyes and leading them into a room where a puppy wearing a big bow is waiting. We aren't to blame—we...
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How to Use Moxxor Omega-3s

Discover Dr. Jean's favorite Omega-3 supplement for pets and people!
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Top 10 Cat Medical Conditions – And How to Prevent Them!

Veterinary Practice News publishes an annual "Top Medical Conditions in Cats," based on insurance claims made to pet health insurance companies. For 2017, the list includes:  1. Bladder or urinary tract problems (aka feline  cystitis, FIC, or FLUTD  2. Periodontitis/Dental disease  3. Chronic kidney disease  4. Vomiting        5. Hyperthyroidism   6. Diabetes  7. Diarrhea  8. Lymphoma  9. Upper respiratory...
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Cats, According to Two Holistic Veterinarians

Recently Dr. Jean did an interview with her pal, Dr. Judy Morgan, on Dr. Judy's radio program. They covered all sorts of cat topics, from nutrition to declawing. Listen here: http://dreamvisions7radio.com/are-you-raising-your-cats-to-optimize-health/#more-32978
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Vaccination Update

Recently I did an interview with Jenny of Floppycats.com on vaccines. We talked about the how, when and why, kittens, Ragdolls, titers, and whether and which vaccines are needed or not. You really want to know the new info about titers! Listen (or read the transcript) here: http://www.floppycats.com/vaccines-for-cats-an-interview-with-dr-jean-hofve.html For complete information on cat and dog vaccines, see our comprehensive article...
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The Most Important Supplement for Your Cat

The most important supplement I recommend for cats is Omega-3 fatty acids. They have deep and profound effects on every cell, organ, and tissue in your cat's body. Omega-3s are needed by every cell membrane, and they also have major anti-inflammatory effects. Helping your cat’s immune system keep inflammation in check is absolutely crucial to good health. I recommend MOXXOR...
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Dr. Becker’s Homemade Flea & Tick Repellent Spray

My good pal Dr. Karen Becker has homemade recipes for flea, tick, and mosquito repelling spray... you can mist them directly on the fur, or spritz it on your hands and stroke on the fur. Shake well before applying. Store in the refrigerator. Apply every four hours as needed. These are effective, but you should still hand-check for ticks just in case,...
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Lilies that Kill!

Lilies are beautiful, and lovely to see in the spring. They're especially common now, as Easter approaches. BUT... Lilies are extremely dangerous for cats. If your cat goes outside and brushes against a lily in your neighbor’s yard, the tiny amount of pollen that sticks to her fur, when she licks it off, is  enough to cause acute, fatal  kidney failure. Symptoms...
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Indoor Air Pollution

This might surprise you: it's very likely that the indoor air in your home is more polluted than the air outside! There are many factors, most of which are totally within your control. Some factors present a serious health hazard for your cat! Read on to find out more Air fresheners have become ever more varied and more popular over the...
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Cat Vision & Eyesight: Common Myths Debunked

With many thanks to our special guest author, Amber Kingsley! Cats have been our companions for many thousands of years, dating back to the days of ancient Egypt where they were worshipped and given elaborate burials. Soon they spread throughout Europe, first to Italy and later to England. In this distant past, they were always appreciated for their keen ability to...
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Clean Teeth for Good Health

This is such an important subject! We're proud to feature this guest post from our friend Lana Fraley Rich, Catsultant®, at www.Catsultant.com.  Here is an important question for you: Do you know if you have any dental diseases? You may not know for sure, unless you are having regular dental checkups or you are having some kind of discomfort or bleeding. It is...
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Epigenetics

Jean Hofve, DVM; Revised 3/7/21 Epigenetics is the study of changes in the way genes are expressed that do not involve DNA. It turns out that DNA isn’t in charge the way we once thought it was—it's the proteins around the DNA that really control gene expression. These proteins are influenced by the environment. This means that anything in the environment can have a...
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Toilet Training for Cats

Our good friend Jo Singer recently spotted an old idea being given a disturbing new life: toilet training a cat. And sorry, no... this is not a "how to" article, it's about "why not"! A 2001 book by Dr. Eric Brotman on the subject is once again the media. Brotman's doctorate is in clinical psychology, not veterinary medicine; that may explain his is utter ignorance...
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Homeopathic First Aid: The Ten Best Remedies to Keep at Home

What is Homeopathy? Homeopathy is a system of medicine developed more than 200 years ago by German chemist Samuel Hahnemann. It is a form of “holistic” medicine, in that it takes into account the “whole” organism—its physical, mental, emotional, historical, and environmental conditions. Homeopathy relies on two fundamental principles: “like cures like” and “the minimum dose.” The first principle, “like cures...
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FDA Finds Toxic Sludge Going Into Animal Food

Many thanks to our good friend Mollie Morrissette for her excellent reporting on this issue. This is one more reason for why it is so important to have consumer representatives at AAFCO meetings--we provide a layer of protection (and a warning to these guys that we are watching!) when feed suppliers want to use harmful or non-edible feed materials. A similar...
Read More

Euthanasia

When I was in practice, I noticed that we wouldn't have a death or euthanasia for weeks, then we'd get a rash of them all at once. But there was a reason, many other veterinarians have also seen it, and it turns out to be very simple....
Read More

Holiday Safety for Cats and Dogs

The holidays can be a stressful and even dangerous time for our cats. Normal routines are upset, visitors come and go, and overly tempting smells may be coming from the kitchen! The Christmas tree is the first item of great interest on your cat’s Santa list. Many cats find it irresistibly tempting to climb. First, make sure your tree is...
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Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Cats

Changing diets at least every 3-4 months, to a food with different protein and carbohydrate sources, may prevent your cat from becoming allergic or intolerant to a food in the first place.
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PET FOOD & NUTRITION

The Ideal Diet for Cats

Data suggest that diet is largely irrelevant in terms of extending longevity... On the other hand, there is plenty of research showing that the more prey-like the diet, the better for the cat. Certainly dry cat food has no place in the diet if longevity is the goal.
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Holistic Health Consulting – Standard Process Products

In my first job out of veterinary school, I quickly learned how to use high-quality, whole-food nutritional supplements to help my patients. The company we used was Standard Process. (Read more about them here.) They started out with supplements for humans, but so many veterinarians used them they also developed a line for pets. Their products are absolutely amazing, and...
Read More

What Cats Should Eat

How do you know which food is the best to feed your cat? The answer depends on many factors, including your cat's age and health... as well as the your wallet! However, whatever your budget, if you learn the basics about how to assess the quality of any given cat food, you’ll be able to find a few foods that...
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Grain-Free Dog (and Cat) Food, Taurine, and Heart Disease

FINAL UPDATE 12/27/22  The FDA has closed its investigation into this matter, saying there is "insufficient evidence" to establish a causal link between diet and DCM in dogs. They will not be providing any further updates.  NOTE: We now know that, as suspected all along, the purported link between grain-free pet foods and heart disease was entirely speculative. I can...
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Cat Feeding Myths

I admit, it really irks me when companies who know nothing about feline nutrition give bad advice to their customers. This is the case with Assisi Animal Health, which manufactures a device called the Assisi Loop. Now, the product is a good one and I've heard great reports about it. But they should stick to what they know! Here are a...
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Why Fish is Dangerous for Cats

The fish used in pet food may contain all kinds of toxins and drug residues, including persistent organic pollutants that actually stop the body from eliminating it and other toxins. Another common toxin, domoic acid, may be an unrecognized factor in chronic kidney disease.
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Pet Food: Processed to Death?

Many thanks to Susan Thixton at TruthAboutPetFood.com for letting us reprint her excellent article here, which applies 100% to cat food as well as dog food. The multiple rounds of heat processing that pet food undergoes causes many deleterious changes that can harm our pets. And it's worse than most people even imagine. How many times are Ingredients cooked in...
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Coconut Oil and Pets

Updated 5/17/20. Questions about coconut oil keep coming up, so I thought I'd explain in why I recommend not giving it to their cats and dogs. Humans have lived with coconut palms for millennia. Primates, including early humans, ate, and still eat, coconuts. Coconut is a natural food for us. The carnivore's natural diet is high in both protein and animal...
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Pet Food Contaminants

Updated 3/23/18  As part of my duties as an AAFCO advisor and member of several Working Groups, I attend numerous webinars and teleconferences. In one group, the discussion centered around the use of 4D meats and other rotten junk in pet food, and the consensus was that as long as these things are rendered (heat-processed) to kill pathogens, they're perfectly...
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FDA Finds Toxic Sludge Going Into Animal Food

Many thanks to our good friend Mollie Morrissette for her excellent reporting on this issue. This is one more reason for why it is so important to have consumer representatives at AAFCO meetings--we provide a layer of protection (and a warning to these guys that we are watching!) when feed suppliers want to use harmful or non-edible feed materials. A similar...
Read More

Yucca

Updated 6/6/20 There have been a few myths about the desert plant Yucca schidigera floating around the internet. In particular, some are suggesting that yucca is not safe as a daily supplement, even though it's present in many pet foods. So it's time to set the record straight! Yucca is an extremely versatile and useful plant, but in large doses...
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Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Cats

Changing diets at least every 3-4 months, to a food with different protein and carbohydrate sources, may prevent your cat from becoming allergic or intolerant to a food in the first place.
Read More

Pet Food Labels Don’t Match Ingredients (Part II)

Multiple studies have revealed that pet food manufacturers aren't careful about handling their ingredients; and some are deliberately fraudulent. This has serious implications for pets with food allergies.
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Pet Food Labels Don’t Match Ingredients (Part I)

Tests show that pet food labels aren't always truthful. One study found that, “Only in two pet foods... did the results of both analyses match the ingredients listed on the label.”
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Selecting a Good Commercial Pet Food

Updated March 2024 Holistic veterinarians agree that the very best diet for your animal companion is one that you make yourself. A homemade diet, carefully balanced nutritionally, and using raw and organic foods, is closest to what Mother Nature intended. However, many of us do not have the resources to make our pets’ food, especially for multiple animals or large...
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Carrageenan: a Controversial Pet Food Additive

Jean Hofve, DVM; Revised 5/10/22 Carrageenan is a seaweed derivative that is commonly used as a food additive in a wide variety of products. There has been a lot of controversy about this ingredient, so let’s take a look at it in more detail. Carragreenan is an  edible red seaweed. Sounds good, right? Many seaweeds contain lots of trace minerals and are...
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Choosing an Omega-3 Oil for Your Pet

You may already know how important Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is for dogs and cats. I consider it to be the #1 most important supplement you can give your pet. The anti-inflammatory effects of Omega-3s EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) have been thoroughly researched. Omega-3 supplementation has proven to be beneficial for dogs and cats for a wide variety...
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10 Reasons Why Dry Food Is Bad for Cats & Dogs

Strictly carnivorous cats preferentially use protein and fat for energy, and these pathways are mandatory. Felines can digest and absorb carbohydrates, but those carbs mostly turn quickly and directly into fat.
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Food Allergies in Cats

Cats often develop "food intolerances" or "food allergies" to ingredients found in commercial cat food. Currently, the most common allergies in cats are: chicken, dairy, fish, beef, lamb, and eggs. However, an allergy can develop to any protein to which the cat is repeatedly or constantly exposed. The symptoms of food allergy are typically skin-related and/or digestion-related. Skin symptoms include...
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Homemade vs. Commercial Food for Cats and Dogs!

By Jean Hofve, DVM Preparing a home-made diet for one's pets is a bit of a challenge. However, it is no more difficult than feeding one's children a balanced and nutritious diet. Most human beings seem to be able to do that, since we have survived as a species. As any parent knows, it is not essential to balance all...
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CAT BEHAVIOR

Anti-Declawing Handbook for Cat Lovers

Good news! We are getting closer every day to stopping declawing! To help cat lovers and animal advocates understand the truth about declawing that so many veterinarians lie about, Dr. Jean has written a detailed, fully-referenced e-book called the Cat Lover's Anti-Declawing Handbook, updated for 2024. Click here to download the free PDF  Please download freely, and send to anyone who...
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“New” Declaw Technique Shot Down by Facts

In January 2018, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a letter from Dr. Kerry Yoon of Hawaii, who claims to have invented a "new, painless" declaw procedure. He is so confident that his special technique is "painless" that he has NEVER given any pain meds to the hundreds of cats and kittens he has mutilated. I'm sure...
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Sleeping with Pets

Many thanks to Kellen Smith at Tuck.com for allowing us to reprint this excellent article, which is one of many helpful insights. Many of us allow our pets to sleep with us, but is it healthy? Are there health risks to letting your dog or cat share the bed with you? How does it affect your relationship with your pet?...
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How to Travel with Your Cat (The Ultimate Guide)

UPDATED 7/05/10 Many people travel with their cat, as can be seen by the YouTube videos that depict people taking their cats on hikes, boat trips or bike rides. While it can be fun, it requires a lot of careful planning and consideration of feline and human needs. This guide will help you travel with your cat successfully. Things you...
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Toilet Training for Cats

Our good friend Jo Singer recently spotted an old idea being given a disturbing new life: toilet training a cat. And sorry, no... this is not a "how to" article, it's about "why not"! A 2001 book by Dr. Eric Brotman on the subject is once again the media. Brotman's doctorate is in clinical psychology, not veterinary medicine; that may explain his is utter ignorance...
Read More

Euthanasia

When I was in practice, I noticed that we wouldn't have a death or euthanasia for weeks, then we'd get a rash of them all at once. But there was a reason, many other veterinarians have also seen it, and it turns out to be very simple....
Read More

Cats Aren’t Loners

For millennia, cats have been considered "loners" and "aloof." But it's absolutely not true. Recent research shows that cats can be just as affectionate and social as dogs; they just have different ways of showing it. One human behavior often provoked by the cat's theoretical loner-ness is leaving the cat alone for a weekend or holiday, with a big bowl...
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Restful Sleep

Restful sleep is a topic that most of us don't give enough attention to... unless it's to fret about not getting enough of it! And hardly anyone thinks about sleep as far as animal companions are concerned. But getting enough good quality sleep is essential to health. And this goes for our pets, too! Most wild members of the feline...
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Cat Scratchers – What Do Cats Like?

Updated 6/3/20. Having the right cat scratching "implements" is critical in preventing claw damage to carpets and furniture. Now, scientific research provides insight into where and why cats scratch. Scratching is a deeply embedded instinct in cats. It is used as a visual and scent marking technique; to stretch tight shoulder and back muscles; to condition the claws by removing...
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The Woman-Cat Bond

You may have heard of the "human-animal bond," but my colleague and friend Dr. Jane Bicks (who makes Life's Abundance pet food) just posted a great summary of research on the bond between humans and cats; and more particularly, the unique bond between women and their cats. Fascinating! One of the study's authors, Dorothy Gracey of the University of Vienna,...
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Are Cats Really Domesticated?

There is an ongoing debate in the science community about cats. That is, are they fully domestic, or are they still essentially wild? The premise is that unlike dogs, who are thoroughly domesticated in mind and body, it's unclear just how wild or domesticated our cats may truly be. As a veterinarian, I can tell you that individual cats run...
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Catnip Fiends?

Here's a gaggle of giggles to brighten up your day... some cats who've had a little too much of "the 'nip"! https://www.distractify.com/catnip-junkies-1238334409.html
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Animal Communication

Many thanks to our guest author, animal communicator Kate Solisti!  The art of listening to an animal and actually receiving something back from them is based on two things: (1) Love and (2) Intuition. I have been a professional interspecies communicator for over twenty years and in that time have helped many people rekindle their natural abilities to open and...
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Pets in Pain–Don’t let them Suffer

We are honored to have a wonderful guest blogger today, Dr. Shelley Brown of Harmony Veterinary Center, Arvada, CO. Dr. Brown practices integrative veterinary medicine, including acupuncture, cold laser, and homotoxicology. She is a member of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management.  I hear it all the time--“My pet’s limping, but she’s not in pain” or “Surely he’d cry out if...
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Cat Litter Roundup & Review

Updated 4/27/24 Every now and then, I go through a kind of “Litter Dance,” in which I try out a variety of kitty litters on my gang of four. Fortunately they’re amenable to the changes, which allows for a thorough evaluation of the different types of litter. I thought I’d share some of my most recent experimental results, as well...
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Aggression in Cats

Aggression in cats is not uncommon, but it's unusual for it to be serious enough for people to seek professional help. Just a decade ago, however, a study from Cornell University noted an upward trend in people-directed aggression. Those researchers thought it may be attributable to an increasing tendency to keep cats inside the home (and thus interacting more with people). Other possible explanations: cats...
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Play is Important for — Survival??

We have long advocated play therapy as a way to prevent--and solve--a host of feline behavior problems, as well as a part of indoor enrichment for your cat's mental and physical health. Now there's another reason--longevity! In a fascinating article, ABC News ponders the question: "How could play — defined as “apparently purposeless activity that’s fun to do and pleasurable”...
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Indoor Enrichment for Cats

Cats are smart, and they naturally know everything they need to know about being a cat. However, they do not know about things like cars, dogs, infectious diseases, and other outdoor hazards. Like young children, cats need to be protected from dangers they can't anticipate or handle. That's why Little Big Cat recommends that cats be kept indoors, and not...
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Double the Fun, Double the Territory!

By Jackson Galaxy Michael, Patty, their toddler Pandora, and most of all, their cat Tess, had a big problem*. As Pandora was becoming more and more mobile, Tess was getting increasingly irritated. The problem culminated a few days before they called me, when Tess took a swipe at Pandora and broke the skin near her eye. Michael was in a...
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Play Therapy

by Jackson Galaxy As you pass innocently by a doorway, your cat pounces fiercely on your ankle, gnawing and clawing until blood is drawn, and then bolting away under the bed...Two littermates, now six years old, suddenly start fighting and can’t be in the same room together anymore...Perhaps your cat is vocalizing so loudly at 4:00 A.M. that you seriously...
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