does my cat scratch the family sofa rather than the
scratching post we bought especially for her?
Scratching serves at least two purposes for a cat.
First, it functions as a self-manicure, eliminating
the frayed pieces of nail, resulting in smooth,
sharp claws. Secondly, scratching satisfies a cat’s
instinctual drive to mark its territory, which she
does by visibly scarring the cloth. Additionally,
cats have scent glands on their feet, and scratching
releases secretions that let other cats know that
this is her spot. They tend to mark the places that
they enjoy the most, which are frequently the places
you commonly occupy when you are at home. That’s one
of the reasons why scratching posts don’t always
work – your cat has no emotional attachment to it
yet. Try playing with your cat, encouraging her to
scratch the post. You can also try rubbing catnip on
the post. If you want to discourage your cat from
scratching your couch, apply double-sided tape to
the commonly scratched areas. You can remove the
tape after your cat learns not to scratch there.
Companion Animals at Work
now, there is a battalion of peaceful warriors at
work in America. This force is engaging people in
need and affecting truly positive changes in the
lives of thousands of people. The battlegrounds are
hospitals, senior care facilities, mental health
wards and schools for special needs. Their arsenal –
fur, paws, dedication, respect, kindness and most of
Currently, there are over 15,000 dogs and
approximately 13,000 trained handlers registered
with Therapy Dogs International, the largest therapy
animal organization in America. These numbers do not
include working therapy cats, rabbits and birds,
which are growing in popularity.
To become a therapy dog, they must pass numerous
behavioral tests and be evaluated by a certified
evaluator. These tests help to ascertain whether the
dogs are equipped to handle sudden movements, loud
noises, the presence of canes and wheelchairs, and
the company of children, to name a few.
More and more, people – many of whom never had a pet
– are experiencing the love and attention of a
companion animal. And for those who, due to
diminished health, are no longer able to have a
companion animal of their own, these visits are
especially meaningful and welcome.
The aim of these therapeutic encounters is to bring
joy and comfort to those who need it most, including
people of all ages who are in mental health
counseling programs and institutions, undergoing
physical therapy, participating in reading and
speech programs, and living in senior care
To find out more about Therapy Dogs International,
visit www.tdi-dog.org today.
to a study conducted by researchers at Amersham
Hospital in England and reported in the British
Medical Journal, dogs with no special training were
able to detect the urine specimens that came from
bladder cancer patients when placed alongside
specimens from healthy patients.
Their combined success rate was calculated at more
than twice that of random selection. The dogs that
were most successful were three-and-a-half times
more likely to correctly identify samples from
bladder cancer subjects than random choice.
Perhaps the most astounding outcome of the study
involved a sample provided by a subject that tested
negative for cancer on multiple evaluations. All of
the dogs selected this person’s sample as positive
for cancer. As a result, doctors conducted further
tests and were able to locate a previously unnoticed
life-threatening kidney tumor.
The issue under investigation now is how to
implement a system that incorporates this amazing
Felines and Water
How much water does a cat need?
amount of water needed by cats will vary dependent
upon unique factors, such as age, diet, weight and
environment. However, we know that when cats hunt in
the wild, their prey contain anywhere from 40% to
80% water. This is part of the rationale behind
recipes for canned food, which typically has between
76% and 80% water content.
Although there is no true formula for feline water
intake, we do know that cats generally will not
consume enough water on their own to sustain optimal
organ functioning for a long and healthy life. This
is because cats evolved as desert animals, so their
sense of thirst is not nearly as acute as that of
other mammals. In fact, cats will only drink an
average of two milliliters of water for every gram
of dry food eaten. This is part of the reason why
when some cats eat a diet of only dry food, they can
form crystals in the urinary tract.
Based on the physiology and evolution of the cat, we
recommend that cats be fed canned food to ensure
that they get enough water. Water is not only
necessary for a healthy urinary tract – the body
requires water to metabolize food and for all other
chemical processes occurring on a cellular level.
Cats are incredibly proficient at using
the water they consume. According to a
study by Wolf in 1959, cats can
re-hydrate by drinking seawater!
The problem with eating
canned food alone is that cats require a great deal
of protein and nutrients. Since most canned food can
only have about 20% dry matter, it takes a number of
cans of food for the cat to get all its nutritional
needs met. In fact, in order to fulfill the
nutritional requirement of a 7-9 pound cat, the
majority of supermarket canned foods recommend
feeding three cans per day! As any cat owner knows,
very few cats are capable of consuming that much
food on a daily basis.
This is the fundamental question in formulating
canned cat food – how to balance the nutritional
content and the water necessary to fully hydrate the
body. To solve this, Dr. Jane formulated Instinctive
Choice. The nutrients in this recipe are almost
all-protein, as this is the true source of feline
nutrition. And the water in
is infused with nutrients from meat and fish
sources, mimicking the water found in prey – Dr.
Jane calls it “biological water”. Think of
biological water as a nutrient-dense broth that
delivers both the fluids necessary to sufficiently
hydrate the body and the additional nourishment to
support the functions of a healthy body.