Monthly Archives: October 2011

Cat Galaxy Radio, Programmed by Cats for Cats

By Linda Cole

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what your cat really wants. For some felines it’s a fresh batch of catnip or a cozy snooze in the sun. The more sophisticated kitty wants to keep up with what’s going on, and listening to tunes or their favorite talk radio program is the cat’s meow for them. Cat Galaxy Radio is celebrating their 10 year anniversary and it’s the only radio station that’s programmed by cats for the enjoyment of their cat listeners.

According to professional pet sitters, our feline friend’s favorite music is classical and country music. And their favorite talk radio station is National Public Radio. Nohl Rosen is a cat lover living in Arizona who was trying to figure out one day what his feline friend wanted. His cat Isis kept meowing insistently. She didn’t want food or water, and she didn’t want to play. Nohl was beside himself until he put on a CD. As soon as the music started to play, Isis settled down.

When Nohl saw how she reacted to the music, an idea began to grow and out of it came Cat Galaxy Radio. Nohl has his own computer company, which made it easy to set up a radio station specifically for cats. He already had two cats that could help him set up programs for discerning kitties, and it seemed like the obvious thing to do. After all, if music made his cats happy, why not make it accessible for other cats to enjoy?

He put Cat Galaxy Radio on the Internet which gave him a worldwide audience. Nohl handles the DJ duties since cats don’t have opposable thumbs. His two cats, Isis and her brother Icarus, are in charge of the musical selections. If they give a musical piece a “paws down” it doesn’t make it on the air. Icarus is the assistant station manager and he decides what kind of music is played. Isis is the station owner and her taste in music isn’t country or classical; she’s into Ozzy Osbourne, smooth jazz, funk and R&B.

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Why Do People Want Pets?

My childhood cat, Pepper

By Julia Williams

There are so many different reasons why people want pets. Like stars in the clear night sky, you can’t count them all, can’t even begin to try. Though many reasons seem to be the same on the surface, when you delve deeper into the “why” you begin to see a million shades of gray. Why do people like any one thing and not another? Why do I, for example, love caramel and the color pink but detest sauerkraut and khaki green? Because I’m me, a wholly unique human that brings a cornucopia of life experiences with me wherever I go. The things that have been written on the slate of our soul can’t be erased, and they change the fabric of our life in ways we can’t always comprehend.

I often wonder why my sister and I developed an intense love of cats despite being raised by a mom who was apathetic about all animals. This love of cats, of wanting to have one so much that to live without would be unthinkable and not worth the trouble it would take to breathe, is certainly not hereditary. In retrospect, I think I now want – no, need – cats in my life because at a very young age one saved my life. Not literally, as though he raced in and dragged me out of a burning building. That would be quite a feat for ANY cat!

No, my childhood cat Pepper was not capable of such a thing. But he was there to pick up the pieces of a young life shattered by unspeakable tragedy. He was there to convince me that despite the horrors of reality, I could still dream. He was there to keep me tethered to life even when everything around me was turning to dust. Little by little, day by day, Pepper helped me climb out of the rubble that had become my life. I’m convinced that my beloved Pepper’s “job” was one of healer, and he was very good at it. He, as well as every wonderful cat in my life since, helped to heal my wounds in a way that no human doctor ever could.

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Fostering: C’mon, You Know You Want To Try It!

By Sue Hayes

Have you considered it? Fostering makes an incalculable difference not just for the animals you provide with a temporary home thereby freeing up space at the shelter, but to your community at large by helping to decrease the number of unwanted pets through spaying and neutering. And I’ve heard tell that fostered animals make some of the best, well-socialized pets. 

What’s not to like? I mean really. In my case it’s orphaned, underage kittens. What warm-blooded person in their right mind wouldn’t want a continuous loop of the cutest babies ever to cuddle and care for while they grow into adoptable little muffins? And yes, every single one is the cutest one ever. Never fails. You’ll see. 

You might feel a connection with adult cats, puppies, dogs, bunnies, maybe even hamsters or guinea pigs! The need is out there. Go to your local shelter. Go ahead. Tell them you’d like to foster. I’m betting you’ll get a warm, grateful smile along with whatever guidance and training is required to start you on your way. You may never look back.

This vice of mine, this sweet tooth for sweeties was born the moment I decided to bring home my first foster family – a mama kitty with her 3 newborns. I had no earthly idea I’d be r-e-e-led in to the point of it being 5 years and 175+ kitties later with no end in sight. It’s become such a natural part of life for me; I have difficulty remembering life before fostering. As vices go, not a bad one to have, I’m thinkin’.

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How Lassie Became One of the World’s Most Popular Dogs

By Julia Williams

There’s hardly a man, woman or child alive today who doesn’t know who Lassie is, but do you know how she became one of the world’s most famous and beloved dogs? If you’re like me, you may vividly remember watching Lassie on TV or the big screen but not know a thing about the history of one of our most popular animal stars. I did a little digging on the origins of Lassie, and found it interesting. I hope you do too!

Lassie was the main character in a short story called Lassie Come Home, written by Eric Knight. It was published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1938. The touching tale was reportedly inspired by real life Depression-era events in Yorkshire, England. It told of a collie’s arduous journey to reunite with her family after they were forced to sell her for money. The story was so popular that in 1940 it was expanded and published as a book. The novel immediately became a best seller; the publisher released 5 printings in the first 6 months alone.

Because the book was so well received, MGM Studios released the first Lassie movie in 1943, also titled Lassie Come Home. The film received an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography and featured Roddy McDowall, Elizabeth Taylor and the canine actor Pal in the role of Lassie. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) reports that Pal earned $250 per week while the young Ms. Taylor – just 11 at the time – was paid $100 per week! After this first Lassie film debuted, scores of people wrote to the studio begging for another Lassie film, and in 1945 they got their wish. Son of Lassie was released, starring Peter Lawford and June Lockhart. To no one’s surprise, this film was also a huge success.

Five more Lassie films were released from 1946 to 1951. One of the more memorable Lassie movies was 1979’s The Magic of Lassie with Jimmy Stewart and a cast of interesting characters including Mickey Rooney. To date, there have been 11 Lassie films. The last one was a remake of the original Lassie movie; released in 2006, it was simply called Lassie and starred Peter O’Toole.

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Does Gender Matter When Adopting a Dog?

By Langley Cornwell

There are general differences between male and female dogs, but the honest answer to the question of whether gender matters when adopting a dog is: it depends. Maybe you’ve heard the saying, popular among dog breeders, trainers and veterinarians, which answers the gender question like this – If you want a good dog, get a male. If you want a great dog, get a female and cross your fingers. That common adage is not terribly helpful but completely true.

The Dog Pedigree Database, Your Dog magazine and other resources state that the breed, upbringing, personality, training, handling and parentage are more important considerations when choosing a canine companion than the sex of the dog. You should clearly asses your lifestyle, your current (and future) household conditions and your expectations of a pet before making any decisions. Once you’re sure of your desires, study different breeds to develop a list of appropriate dog types. Remember that shelters are full of dogs that will meet your criteria. Expand your search to include breed specific rescues as well. It’s true that you won’t know a shelter or rescue dog’s parentage, but you will be given an opportunity to assess their personality. The training and handling is completely up to you.

The only thing that dog experts seem to agree on is that personality differences between individual dogs makes a bigger difference than the gender of the dog. Because there are slight agreed upon differences, this overview will be helpful in guiding your final decision. Please remember, however, that these are general terms. While a male or female dog may exhibit a specific trait, this doesn’t mean that all males or all females act that particular way.

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Small Ways Kids Can Help Shelter Pets

By Linda Cole

The old saying, “Every little bit helps” is true when it comes to helping pets in shelters. Teaching kids about giving and sharing are lessons that will stay with them for a lifetime. If you have a child who wants to do something to help their local animal shelter, there are small things they can do that will make a big difference in the life of shelter pets, and help the shelter, too.

Working with the animals. Most shelters have a minimum age requirement for working around pets. Many cannot allow children under age 16 to volunteer, because of their insurance. However, some shelters will let children help with feeding and socializing if they are with a parent or guardian who volunteers at the shelter. Ask your shelter what their age restrictions are. If your child is too young to work with animals, they can still help in other areas. Volunteers are always needed to stuff envelopes, unload supplies or help with other chores around the shelter.

Make toys, beds and blankets. Simple homemade dog and cat toys are always welcome. Kids can talk with local vets to see if they would be willing to display the homemade items and sell them. Mom and Pop stores are good places to contact, too. The money from the sales could then be donated to a shelter. Pet beds can be easily made out of foam or bed pillows with a homemade cover. Pet blankets are quick and easy to make. Homemade toys, beds and blankets are simple things kids can do to help out their local shelter.

Bake sales are fun for kids and can bring in much needed cash for shelters. Bake sales can be done with the help of a parent, church group, school or any other organization your child is involved with. Help your child make up posters to advertise with the shelter’s name included so people know who the bake sale will benefit. Homemade toys, pet beds and blankets can be included with the baked goods to encourage more sales. If you have a farmer’s market or flea market in your area, both are good places to sell the homemade products.

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