Category Archives: Julia Williams

Can Dogs and Cats Be Best Friends?

By Julia Williams

I read a lot of pet blogs and online pet magazines, and whenever I see a photo of a dog and cat snuggling, I have mixed emotions. One the one hand, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I just love seeing these photos because they seem to support what many pet owners have said – that dogs and cats can be best friends.

On the other hand, seeing these heartwarming examples of interspecies friendships often makes me feel a little wistful. You see, I am a diehard cat fan but I also like dogs and have wanted to add a woofie to my furry family for some time. One of the things that stops me – not the only thing, mind you – is my fear that it will upset my three cats and damage the extremely close relationship I have with each of them.

I say this because I know that while many cats and dogs can be great friends, not all dogs and cats will get along, and some may even be arch enemies. It really depends on several factors, including the individual dog, the individual cat, their interaction, and your household dynamics.
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Judging a Cat By the Color of Its Coat

By Julia Williams

You’ve probably heard these stereotypes about our feline friends: black cats are bad luck; tortoiseshell cats have a feisty attitude (“tortitude”); tuxedo cats are very loving; calico cats are always crazy; ginger cats are super friendly; while white cats are aloof or shy.

People (and even some veterinarians) pre-judge cats by the color of their coat all the time, but is there any truth to the stereotypes? Can a cat’s coat color predict behavior and personality?

Plenty of people who share their home with a tortoiseshell will tell you their cat does indeed have that aforementioned tortitude, but I have to wonder how much of that is perception rather than reality. In other words, perhaps they heard about tortitude somewhere along the way, and projected that stereotype onto their cat. If someone has a preconceived notion that all tortoiseshell cats act a certain way, they may subconsciously look for things that substantiate this. Then too, it seems to me that every housecat could be perceived as having a spunky attitude, at least some of the time. That is the nature of a cat, more or less.

“Black cat syndrome” is a somewhat different story. Shelter workers say that black cats typically have a much harder time getting adopted than their more colorful counterparts. Some believe it’s because of the “bad luck” myth and purported association with witches, while others think it has more to do with the fact that darker colored cats are harder to see and observe in the shelter cages.

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Inside the Minds of Men Who Love Cats

By Julia Williams

Although I don’t currently have a special “Cat Guy” in my life, I love them all because a) they are fond of felines and b) they’re not afraid to admit it. Some men think it’s not cool or “macho” to love cats because they see felines as feminine creatures. I have many wonderful male friends who love cats, and they would all tell you there is zero truth to that stereotype.

Six of my favorite Cat Guys agreed to be interviewed for this article. They are: Dan Powers, the talented photographer for The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey; Fred, “Pop” to Stunning Cathy Keisha; John, “Dad-Guy” to the Island Cats; Kevin from Animal Shelter Volunteer Life; Scott from the Katnip Lounge; and Terry from Brian’s Home. Enjoy!

What’s the best gift your cat has ever given you?
Dan: We currently have seven cats in our home. The best gift is the absolute unconditional love they give to me and the comfort that comes from that love.
Fred: Her love and companionship when I was home recovering from back surgery.
John: Headbutts.  I love when the cats headbutt me.
Kevin: I’m always amazed at how well all of our cats, especially those with whom we have the closest bonds, are able to read human emotions. Unsolicited cat snuggles, purrs and unconditional love are the most wonderful gifts after a tough day.
Scott: Unconditional love.
Terry: Without a doubt, the best gift my cat Brian has given me is that of patience and acceptance. Brian has just the right personality for a multi-cat household. He understands that everyone is different and sometimes it takes a little time for others to find the good in you. He is quick to show kindness, and will give up his treats or playtime if one of his sisters seems more interested. So Brian has taught me how to be patient and has helped me understand that everyone has needs of their own and that helping others is the most important thing you can do.

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Meet Skye, Therapy Dog and Certified Crisis Response Canine

By Julia Williams

The sponsor of this blog, CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods, selects one reader every three months to receive a free six month supply of their premium quality pet food. The winner is chosen at random from every new reader who subscribed via email during the past quarter. The winner gets to pick any formula of CANIDAE dog food or cat food.

The latest lucky winner is De Cunningham of Florida, who chose to receive the CANIDAE Platinum formula for her Dachshund doggie family. De must really love Dachshunds, because she has five of them! The dogs range from 8 to 13 years of age, and De says that “All are healthy, happy little ones.”

De’s oldest dog, Skye, is a Certified Crisis Response Canine. Have you ever heard of that? I hadn’t, and after learning what is involved, I must say I am very impressed with Skye and De for doing this!

Crisis Response Canine Teams are specially trained in psychological first aid and certified to work in crisis environments. Their job is to help people who are experiencing fear, anxiety and hopelessness in the aftermath of a disaster or crisis.

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Today is K-9 Veteran’s Day

By Julia Williams

“They served to save, and they deserve to be remembered.”

Did you know that March 13th is K9 Veteran’s Day in many cities and states across the U.S.? It’s true. A movement was started by Joe White, a former military dog handler, to recognize the efforts and sacrifices of our canine heroes. The quote above is their motto.

During Joe’s time in Vietnam, he saw canine heroes perform many vital tasks that no human could. He witnessed firsthand just how valuable these dogs were to our troops and how much they contributed to keeping our soldiers safe.

Many of these courageous canines lost their lives to protect and serve, but their only place of remembrance, until now, was in the hearts of the soldiers. Joe’s home state of Florida was the first to proclaim March 13th as K9 Veteran’s Day.

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The Psychokitty Speaks Out: Diary of a Mad Housecat

By Julia Williams

I am addicted to cat books. No, not books about cats; books written by cats. I can’t get enough of them. Luckily, it’s easy to get a fix. There are so many cat authors now, that I wouldn’t be surprised if they outnumbered human writers one day. Amazon often has kindle versions of cat books for .99 to $1.99 (sometimes even free!), and like a good pusher they email me to let me know.

My latest cat author discovery is Max Thompson, who describes himself as “14 pounds of sleek black and white glory, with an attitude…and opinions… on everything.” That’s accurate, I think. Max the cat is quite a character. He’s got “catitude,” as they say.

Max first dipped his paws into the writing water in 2003, with a blog called The PsychoKitty Speaks Out. Spurred on by the appreciation of the masses for his witty quips, enlightened feline wisdom and snarky attitude, Max put his musings into book form. Diary of a Mad Housecat contains short daily entries about Max’s life as a “put-upon and under-appreciated feline.”

The book puts a humorous spin on common feline behaviors that every cat lover will identify with. Such as: “If you don’t want me to lick the chicken, don’t leave it on the counter. Simple as that.” The diary format makes it easy to read in snippets, as time permits. It’s a funny look at the day-to-day life of a sarcastic, smart-aleck cat.

Max is cool, but he does have a potty mouth. Yes, he swears. A LOT. If Max were human, I imagine him as a beer swilling, chest thumping macho man who cusses like a drunken sailor, but still has a soft spot for Mom even though he claims not to like or need anyone. The idea of a swearing feline is admittedly not everyone’s cup of tea. I didn’t hate that aspect of Max’s character, exactly, but also feel the bad language could have been toned down because it started to detract from the humor.

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