by Dr. Jean Hofve & Jackson Galaxy
Library of Congress ISSN #1550-0764
Volume 7, No. 7  – September 2009

In This Issue:

1. News Bites
2. Cats and Claws — Living Happily Ever After
3. Vaccination — The Never-Ending Story

Check out Jackson Galaxy (Little Big Cat’s fabulous behaviorist) at his new website,, for information on solving cat behavior problems.

1. News Bites

URGENT: California declaw debate heating up. Tonight the Santa Monica City Council meets to consider an ordinance banning declawing, similar to the ban in West Hollywood which stood up to all court challenges. A new law takes effect January 1, 2010, prohibiting similar ordinances, so right now Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are racing to get their laws in place. Of course, the California Veterinary Medical Association is fighting them tooth and nail (since nobody declawed them!). We have put up a web page with all contact information. Please at least make a call, or do more if you can! We will keep you updated as these bills progress.

Don’t forget to browse our 90+ articles on feline health, nutrition, and behavior!

2. Cats and Claws — Living Happily Ever After

Claws are a physically, socially, and emotionally vital part of every cat. Scratching, for a cat, is not only a natural act, but a necessary one as well. First, it removes the dead outer sheaths of nail, keeping it sharp and ready for action. Second, it is an essential exercise technique which serves to stretch and strengthen their upper bodies. Third, cats mark their territory visually, especially in multi-cat households, as a way of determining rank. And finally, between your cat’s toes are scent glands which leave her ‘signature’ when she scratches. Scratching is an essential element of feline communication, problem-solving, health, and security issues. We’re left then with a re-phrasing of the popular question, “How do I get my cat to stop scratching?” to “How can I get my cat to scratch somewhere else?” Read more….

3. Vaccination – the Never-Ending Story

Next Monday (September 28, 2009) is “World Rabies Day.” Rabies is still a serious threat in many countries, although here in the U.S. it has been mostly controlled in domestic animals and now exists primarily in wildlife (although many cats are diagnosed with rabies every year).

Rabies vaccination continues to be mandatory in most states for dogs and cats, which is appropriate for such a dangerous and fatal disease. Every state now requires rabies vaccines every 3 years, which is a great improvement from the annual requirement that existed in many states. Many states also provide for a medical exemption, for sick animals for whom vaccination would be too risky. The Rabies Challenge Fund is underway with studies to extend vaccination intervals even more. This is all good news, and great progress.

Nevertheless, new vaccines are still being introduced and heavily promoted–for both pets and people. In fact, some of the most dangerous products are on the human side. For example, the new Gardasil vaccine (for prevention of one type of cervical cancer) has already caused thousands of adverse reactions and at least 27 deaths.

This fall, the U.S. government and Big Pharma will be doing a big push for a swine flu vaccine that has yet to be finalized, much less tested. There are so many things wrong with this plan that we can’t get into it here, but suffice it to say that you and your family should avoid the swine flu vaccine at all costs. (If you want more information, Dr. Joseph Mercola has tons of information on his website.)

Because it may not always be possible to stop your pet (or your family) from being vaccinated, we have researched several sources and put together a list of steps to take to prevent such vaccines from causing serious or even fatal adverse effects. We have posted the article, “Preventing Vaccine Adverse Effects,” in our Library. Most of the suggestions apply to pets as well as people, and in particular, should be considered for cats receiving killed vaccines such as rabies, feline leukemia, or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) vaccines.

For more information on pet vaccines, including what they do, which ones are truly necessary, and what the risks are, please see our article on Vaccination.