Monday, April 30, 2007

You THINK you are going to pet my kitten....

...but you'd be wrong! Lily is a good mom.

I should never drive anywhere on Saturdays... there are garage sales. Our house is furnished in 20th century garage sale. I got all the crap cleaned out from between the rivets (tacks?) but the bottoms need to be rewebbed and the wood refinished. If Mark doesn't like them, they will be cat facility chairs.

Chenango Valley Pet Food recall

More recall information can be found here, from last week. These are DRY dog and cat foods:

SHERBURNE, N.Y. (AP) -- Chenango Valley Pet Foods has begun voluntarily recalling pet foods manufactured with a certain shipment of rice protein concentrate, the company said Thursday.

The company, working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, was informed by Wilbur-Ellis that rice protein concentrate shipped to Chenango Valley Pet Foods may be contaminated with melamine. Melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastics and fertilizers, may lead to illness or fatalities in animals if consumed.

The pet foods were sold to customers in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, who in turn sold the products to their customers through catalog mail orders or retail outlets.

The following dry pet foods are involved in the recall:

--Doctors Foster & Smith Chicken & Brown Rice Formula Adult Lite Dog Food. It was sold in containers with net weights of 5, 12.5 and 25 lbs. with code dates best used by Jan. 24, 2009, Feb. 8, 2009, Feb. 26, 2009, April 10, 2009, and April 17, 2009.

--Doctors Foster & Smith Chicken & Brown Rice Formula Adult Lite Cat Food. It was sold in containers with net weights of 3 and 7 lbs. with a code date of best used by March 13, 2009.

--Lick Your Chops Lamb Meal, Rice & Egg Cat Food in packages with a net weight of 4 lbs. and a code date best used by April 29, 2008.

--Bulk Chicken & Brown Rice Formula Adult Lite Dog Food sold to one consignee, SmartPak, in a 2,000-pound tote with a ship date of Feb. 9, 2007.

Friday, April 27, 2007

More food recalls

A bunch of them. Please visit the links in the right column under my "Click to Give" button for more information. Sorry, no time to include them here now as I am at work. I will update tonight.

Kittens got eyes!

Looks like this little fellow is going to be a fluffy one.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

China yields to US inquiry on pet food.

The article is here.

In memory of James R. Richards, DVM

Dr. Richards was a mentor to many, a friend to feral cats, and served on the advisory board of Alley Cat Allies. The Cornell Feline Health Center has a tribute page here and here where those who knew him may leave their thoughts. NY Times article is here, added 4/27/07 . A lovely article from Good News For Pets can be found here.

Topher Sanders
Ithaca Journal Staff

ITHACA — Renowned cat veterinarian and beloved Cornell University professor James Richards died Tuesday from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident that occurred on Sunday.

Richards, the director of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine's Feline Health Center, was thrown from his motorcycle while traveling west along Route 221 in Willet, southeastern Cortland County, when he attempted to avoid a cat in the road, police records state.

A former president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and author of the “ASPCA Complete Guide to Cats,” Richards was an authority on vaccination protocols for cats.

Christine Bellezza, a feline consultant who worked with Richards since 1999, said Richards had a defining feature that many will miss.

“His smile,” said Bellezza while fighting back tears. “He was a very happy, easy-to-talk-to man that everybody loved. He was always full of advice, you know, he was the fatherly type.”

Richards not only enjoyed working with his colleagues and cats, but riding his bikes.

“He loved his motorcycles,” Bellezza said. “All you had to say was ‘it was a nice day for a ride' and he would get a big smile on his face.”

Richards joined the Cornell veterinary college in 1991 as assistant director of the Feline Health Center, and was named director in 1997.

“He was the most competent feline expert, perhaps in the country, but even more than that he was just a wonderful caring person and a very dear friend to many, many people,” said Donald Smith, dean of Cornell's vet school. “Dr. Richards has probably touched more lives of individuals in the College of Veterinary Medicine than we could ever imagine.”

In particular, Richards was concerned about the students he taught and mentored, Smith said.

“He was a student adviser in several areas that had a deep impact on veterinary students in all four years of our curriculum,” he said.

Paul Maza, a feline consultant who worked with Richards for five years, agreed with Smith.

“Dr. Richards was a very charismatic man,” Maza said. “He was very outgoing, and he was very giving of his time to students and colleagues. He always had a kind word for everybody, and he was very encouraging. I very much enjoyed working with him.”

Richards' colleagues weren't surprised that a man who dedicated a good portion of his life to improving the lives of cats put such effort into avoiding a cat in the road.

“That just goes to show his level of compassion and appreciation, not just for cats, but for all living animals,” Maza said.

Richards is survived by his wife, Anita Fox Richards of Dryden, and two sons, Jesse and Seth.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28 at the Bethel Grove Bible Church, 1763 Slaterville Road, Ithaca.

The Ithaca Journal article can be found here

The above photo is from the Cornell University website

Bloggers and news pages who have tributes to Dr. Richards:
Pet Connection

Cornell University photo

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A new contaminant in pet food.

Please remember who reported these issues VOLUNTARILY after this is all said and done. Buy from them, if they assure you they have fixed the problem. Please go here for more information.

Frankly, I am at a loss. I am looking for foods that A) assure me all ingredients are USA derived--although at least one manufacturer has assured this and then discovered their ingredients were NOT all USA derived and B) no filler. i.e. meat based, no grain-based fillers at all.

Help requested re: RSS Feed

My content is being used so someone can profit from Google ads at:

If you go there, PLEASE do not click on any Google ads.

Does anyone know how I can block my RSS feed from this particular blog, while permitting all others to access me via RSS? I turned off my RSS feed, but legitimate readers requested that I turn it back on. I specifically do not have Google ads on this blog because I want it to be clear that it is a content blog, not a traffic blog.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! I have emailed Google to log my concern and have attempted to reach the blog owner with no response. I have commented on *my own* posts at this site, but so far my comments do not appear (it has only been a few hours).

Sunny Sunday in Ithaca

Today was beautiful, so I ran into Ithaca today to feed the Fast Food Ferals. After banging the food can and the top of the feeding station loudly to signal the arrival of food, I waited quietly on the path to see if anyone would show up. After about five minutes I was rewarded with the sight of Vannie (who stopped and would come no closer once she noticed me).

Then I went down to the Earth Day celebration at the Farmer's Market. Mark was manning a compost booth from 11-5, and I try to stop by...I know from experience no one wants to spend a whole day volunteering and have a meager crowd! Not to worry. The lot was packed, and so was the pavilion. I was surprised, however, to find my earnest rebel husband had been transformed...

...into the Wizard of Compost.

The best part was that his wand was a thermometer for checking the temperature of your compost pile. (And yes, I will pay for blogging that photo, I'm sure).

I stopped at the Greenstar booth for a metal mug (reuseable) full of chili (spoon, compostable).

Mark (in mortal attire)found me while on his break, and we stopped by the booth for Greensprings Natural Cemetary. Mark spent many years in the cemetary business, and because he is also a composting professional (natural cemetary = compost), I could not resist buying him a t-shirt (plus I knew I would owe him for blogging him in Harry Potter attire). I could not find a photo of the t-shirt online, but it says "Save a Forest. Plant yourself."

On the way home I stopped by Earlybird Farm, which had opened for the season. YES, it IS spring!

(NOTE TO COMPOSTER: "Compostable plant markers." Is this available/in the works? I found plant markers from last year in front of the barn. Is there a market to make these from corn? Would they last three months, before degrading, in a six pack or plant pot?)

I bought three six packs of violas. Speaking of "sustainability," next year I need to start my own plants, and I do plan to start my own catnip again this year.

Once I got home, I added the plants to the cat facility window boxes, and re-painted the boxes. I didn't bother with the window frames, because I'm going to replace those windows with plexiglass as soon as possible, and will scrape and paint the window trim then.

I returned snow shovels to the barn (for the second time this year, and hopefully for good). Our two hens were yelling for attention, peeking over the edge of the wall from one of their nest boxes, so I went in to say "hi." They had presented us each with a gift:

I wish you all a beautiful Sunday as well.

No new kitten photos...

so go check out the kitten birthday at The Blogpound.

Friday night everyone was out...

...So I had to park on the roof of the parking garage when I went into Ithaca after work to meet Mark. I decided gawk. And if you are going to gawk...take pictures! (If you really care to look at common street pictures, you can click on them for a larger image).

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mark can fix our washer...

...because he found this site. Can you believe it? A website that tells you how to fix your appliance AND enables you to order parts. Incredible.

A criminal probe has been opened... the pet food contamination cases.

Silver checks in -- Caretaker photo

Valarie sent in this cute shot of eartipped Silver, a feral on their property that she arranged to get fixed last year---peeking in their window.

4:00 am cat food research

Yeah, yeah, I should be asleep. But I fell asleep on the couch, woke up at 3:00 am, went out the rotate the cats, discovered some minor bear damage (I hope Mark still had some film left in the remote camera, because he left it on and it was taking pictures of me looking at the garden this afternoon!), forgot to bring in food for the house cats, took Sadie out for a walk when I went back out to fetch food (Science Diet Senior 7+) and by then I was wide awake. So I got on line to figure out what the hell I'm going to feed my cats.

I came across this at SearchWarp:

When selecting the best dry food for your dog, why is it better to go with the chicken meal than the pure chicken?
Chicken meal is simply chicken that has been baked to remove bacteria and other toxins. Chicken is simply pure chicken.

What people dont know about chicken, is that it is made mostly of water. If a label on a bag of dog food says %60 whole chicken, that is quite misleading as that does not take into account how much of that %60 of chicken is left after baking it to remove unwanted substances!

When the label on the bag says %60 of chicken meal, your getting more of the chicken because the product has already been baked to remove unwanted affects such as bacteria.

Well, hey. Because I was just considering Felidae as a possible food for the house cats. They list chicken meal as the top ingredient, and I was concerned about that. Guess I should not be?

I'm sort of stuck on the facility cats. I have a stack of Science Diet dry, all of which contain glutens of some sort. I can't afford to feed 25 cats and kittens $35 dollar a bag food. If I don't feed the Science Diet (which I current receive at an affordable rate), I need to feed a grocery-grade food ($10 a bag range).

Reading over some of the bags of food I have, it looks like some may be manufactured in Mexico? (?????). Where are the fillers for those manufacturers coming from?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Day of mourning...

Please visit the Virginia Tech website.

I have removed the link I had to the MSN article because they added a link to the perpetrator's photos, etc. I will not help distribute that.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

80 pound of locally raised pork "in".....

...ten pounds of furry feline pork "out"...

(I'm sorry Billee, was that rude of me?)

As failed vegetarians, we try to purchase only meat from local farms (very local...six miles down the road). One purchase will last us a year and keeps us from purchasing commerically-raised meat at stores. Billee liked the boxes.

It figures the nicest picture I can get of Billee is in an old beat up box! Nicely posted shots like the one below are always fuzzy or dark.

Throw corn gluten in the mix...

More food contamination causing cat deaths in South Africa.

Also we are adding the Pet Food Tracker blog to our blogroll (above the other blogroll links).

Mom and child...

These kittens will be ready for a foster home in four weeks. Anyone want to play with kittens for awhile? There are three.

Pandora's box

One network was sent a package of images and audio...and one network had the ability to make it available only to family--to just provide a description to the public, instead of creating a posthumous forum for a dead murderer, perhaps creating future murderers out of angry desperate young people who will now see an opportunity for further glory following a heinous crime.

No, not "perhaps." It WILL happen.

NBC, you had a chance to do something no other network has had a chance to---to choose NOT to provide a criminal with a forum for glory. It was mailed only to you. You had an unprecedented power.

But you missed or turned away from that opportunity. Had you said "We have chosen to take a stand against violence and not distribute the imagery" you would have created history in media, and perhaps changed the course of our culture. Suppressing this one package would not have crippled the future of media, nor shackled freedom of speech. It might, however, have saved lives.

The true terrorism of this attack was not in the killings--which were heinous enough--but in the package sent. We released the true terrorism ourselves by distributing its contents. It was bad enough that someone might think: "People will talk about me after I die." Now we have assured them they can speak for THEMSELVES after they die, in their own words, with their own pictures, to an international audience. They no longer have to worry that their direct message may be corrupted through the interpretation of others. We have moved beyond the suicide note. We have taught future crippled, angry, lost youngsters how to become true American terrorists.

Opportunity...gone. I suppose it was too much to hope that any media outlet would make such a difficult decision.

And we wonder why the young, frustrated, and ill---kill.

We are a culture that not only slows down on the highway to view accidents, but stops dead in the roadway to watch, causing more accidents all around us.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Having a devil of a time posting photos tonight...

Nope. They keep disappearing. Drat it!

Ah, I see from Blogger Help that they were doing some Picassa maintenance. It says it should be done, but obviously it ain't. I'm sure it will be all better in the morning. Others have already posted the issue on the Help forum.

Morning note: there it is!

Natural Balance food recall...

Natural Balance Pet Foods,® Inc. Issues A Voluntary Nationwide Recall on Specific Venison Dog & Cat Food Products

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Pacoima, CA -- April 17, 2007-- Natural Balance, Pacoima, CA, is issuing a voluntary nationwide recall for all of its Venison dog products and the dry Venison cat food only, regardless of date codes. The recalled products include Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats, and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food. Recent laboratory results show that the products contain melamine. We believe the source of the melamine is a rice protein concentrate. Natural Balance has confirmed this morning that some production batches of these products may contain melamine.

The recall was prompted by consumer complaints received by Natural Balance involving a small number of cats and dogs that developed kidney failure after eating the affected product.

Dogs or cats who have consumed the suspect food and show signs of kidney failure (such as loss of appetite, lethargy and vomiting) should be seen by a veterinarian. We recommend our customers immediately stop feeding our recalled venison products regardless of date code and return unused product to their retailer for a full refund.

The products are packaged in bags, cans and zip lock treat bags and sold in pet specialty stores and PetCo nationally.
No other Natural Balance products are involved in this voluntary recall as none of our other formulas include the rice protein concentrate.

Although the problems seem to be focused on a particular production period of the venison products, over the last four days we have notified our distributors and retailers by phone and e-mail to immediately stop selling and return all recalled Venison dog foods and treats and the Venison dry cat food. Venison canned cat food is not involved.

The source of the melamine appears to be a rice protein concentrate, which was recently added to the dry venison formulas. Natural Balance does not use wheat gluten, which was associated with the previous melamine contamination.

None of Natural Balance’s other dry formulas, none of our other canned or roll products and none of our other treats are involved with this voluntary recall.

We continue to work closely with the FDA in their ongoing investigation.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-829-4493 or email

Happy Wednesday! Adopter photo: Gunsmoke and friends

Note: We have added a link to the PetSitUSA blog (which also links to other blogs covering the pet food recall, like Pet Connection) in the righthand column. Please check there for recall-related updates.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Still feelin' kinda lousy... will take a hint from the kitties and go to sleep...

(Just an excuse to post this cute shot!)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

More on Menu foods...

...from georg, and all I can do is shake my head and say "Wow."

We live in quite the world, huh?

One for the blog roll.

An average visitor in Bagdad

Here's an article on her.

Cats, kittens, and bears, oh my...

It is certainly spring.

Last week we caught Lily and Squeakie (Lily's kitten from last year). Cornerstone got me in for Tuesday, then was able to up the spay appointment for Lily and castration for Squeak to Friday. But Wednesday, Lily presented us with what I believe are three bouncing baby kittens, one black, one black/grey (which normally turns to black) and one black and white.

Squeakie (named by Joan at Cornerstone) went in for "his" castration. By the quotation marks you can guess that Squeak turned out to be a she, and pregnant. She was spayed, however, and we'll keep her a good seven days to recover (and for the foretold snow to melt) before taking her back.

Hey, Dawn and Nancy, here are your girls!:

Lily is shy, but quite sweet. She has a half-a-tail, which always draws the attention of people who are looking for an adult cat. She's taking good care of the kittens.

I was supposed to go do "family things" today, but I had some sort of hideous stomach bug that flattened me on Friday, and I am still feeling out of sorts, so I spent more time with the cats in the barn than normal.

I cleaned up after the bear today, and brought the garbage and birdseed in the lower barn. I added another latch to the cat facility lower door (not that it would stop a bear, but perhaps it would be less of an invitation). After finished up upstairs, I stopped to take some photos of Lily, Squeakie, and the kittens, and stepped out of the barn into the floodlight with a bottle of Clorox in my hand, which I planned to spray the cat-litter-garbage-cans (which were too heavy for me to move).

And Mr. Bear was standing right across the road in front of Mark's car.

I let out a yell and the bear sent gravel flying, ran to the gorge, and proceeded to crash up along the gorge behind our house. I continued to yell rather insane things ("You'd better be running!!!!" and other stupid calls of false bravado) to scare him as much as possible.

The porch light and barn floodlight had been on, and it was only 9:30 pm, so obviously normal people activity doesn't bother him/her. But an actual person sends him flying, which is VERY good to know.

Nick was still out, and after I was finally brave enough to leave the barn, spray the garbage can and the left over birdseed that had been spilled in the grass, and scoot into the house, I went out to call him. He was up on that porch in short order, fluffed right up.

I don't think Nick thinks much of bears, either.

Tiger Jack and The Leewit -- Adopter photos

Look! Our mom Mary got us each one of these cool cubes!

Hmmmmm....who needs two? If we share just one we have Central Heating.

Hey, this extra one makes a great playpen!

Looks like they are spoiled rotten, lucky cats. Especially when you remember they came from here last year.

Does a bear poop in the woods?

No, he poops in our front yard.

We had another visit by our buddy last night. This is the first time he's come by in the spring.

This is waaaaay too close to the cats for my comfort.

The downstairs cats (in quarentine) will get moved upstairs tonight, til there's enough food in the hills for the bears to decide we aren't worth the visit. I doubt even the most determined bear would think it make it through three doors, two locks, and a set of stairs. I hope.

Now, if you don't mind, I'm off to go pick up trash and scoop bear poop.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Don't you wonder....

...where else this wheat gluten has gone?

Thank you to Betsy, for that link.

Pet Food Hearing TODAY at 2 on CSPAN

Apols for the messy post, but I'm at work and ought not be blogging:

> U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today will hold an oversight hearing
> on the ongoing investigation and the regulatory mechanisms that
> govern the pet food industry as the widespread recall of
> contaminated pet food continues. Durbin, a member of the Senate
> Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, has worked with Senator
> Herb Kohl (D-WI), the Chairman of the Subcommittee, to schedule the
> hearing which will be held at 2:00 p.m. today in Room 192 of the
> Dirksen Senate Office Building.
> Witnesses will include FDA officials who will be questioned
> on the timeline of the investigation, the source of the
> contamination, and the agency’s regulatory and inspection
> responsibilities. The hearing will also include outside experts who
> will discuss the current state of the pet food industry, as well as
> regulatory or resource shortfalls that led to the widespread recall
> of tainted pet food.
> The hearing will be covered LIVE on CSPAN-1. Video will be
> available after the hearing on the website -

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Catchin' last year's batch

I had made promises to catch cats for some people in the Spencer area, and Nancy and Dawn were next of the list before cats started poppin' kittens this spring. Last night we caught both Lily here, and her last-year-kitten, a black male (I think). Lily has an appointment to be spayed at either the end of this week or the beginning of next.

Lily has been out there living the feral life for at least a year, but she's actually quite sweet. She was chirping at me today, and leaned in to be petted, but she swatted my hand when I pulled it away, so we'll see how she is once she's gotten used to people.

She's a pretty swirled tabby with a half a tail.

Her grown kitten, however, is completely feral....although he DOES meow. Maybe he learned it from his mom.

Some Nutro Max Cat food recalled...

See concerning Nutro foods that may NOT be on the recall list (as of yesterday) that may be at-risk foods.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


The washer died.

The washer died!

ANYTHING but the washer!

Cayuga Dog Rescue --- WOW.

Yup, WOW.
Did I say wow?
Okay, how about "Amazing?"

I can't believe I forgot my camera.

The fundraiser for Cayuga Dog Rescue at the Museum of the Earth last night was an incredible success. It was beyond a success. I would estimate over 400 people came. They ran out of auction paddles and started handing out 8x10 sheets of paper with numbers handwritten on them. The place was packed, and this was in a spacious museum! The food was excellent but ran out one seemed to mind. Red Newt Winery seemed to have brought along more than enough wine to last the evening...good foresight on their part!

We saw lots of people we know...CDR, Wildrun, and TCSPCA fosterers, quite a few vets and vet techs. With hundreds of people attending, it was a great venue for people watching. I normally hate crowded events, but for some reason this one was a blast.

Maybe just knowing that it was a fundraiser for CDR and seeing the incredible success made it all worth it. I have to imagine that the CDR organizers and volunteers are experiencing a wonderful glow this morning!

They had a large silent auction, set up in at least three different museum rooms, and an art auction with a great auctioneer (it was still going on when we left). If all the items were donated, whomever did their outreach is a wizard, and kudos to all the local businesses and artists who donated the MANY items.

They had goodbye gifts for both people and pets (Sadie has already eaten part of hers; the above photo is what is left this morning). Their tickets were lovely...I wish I could have kept mine.

And Mark may have scored home for one or two of our gregarious cats. He introduced me to a woman who manages a nonprofit venue (I won't mention the name here, in case they choose not to adopt) with a big building and lots of public contact. Afterward, I said to Mark "Do you suppose they would like a cat for their building to mush up to visitors?" Later Mark came wandering back and said "Guess what? She's interested!" So hopefully we'll have her out soon to see if any of our cats are a match!

The fact that the veterinary community was so well represented at the event speaks volumes for this group.

It was just a classy evening. I hope this enables Cayuga Dog Rescue to maintain or expand their good work, and that it inspires other animal organizations (yours truly, and our own TCSPCA) to similarly reach out to the community. It's clear that Greater Ithaca was searching for something fun to do this Saturday night, and they found it!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Carpeting the walls.

Last year Donna brought us some rolls of carpet remnants. I noticed that Paradise Gardens carpeted some of their walls and the light bulb went on. Many of our walls are still bare barn board, and I am not enough of a carpenter to do corners with tileboard. Carpet seemed like the perfect solution to a mess like this:

As you can see, Leo and Wings approve of the change.

No one ever said we actually taught our cats good habits, here.