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The car insurance monograph includes an appendix for each from the subjects of driving under the influence and auto issues of safety. Both of these chapters happen to be put in the appendix as opposed to however body from the monograph, not because they are less important than the other topics, but because the issues involved are clear-cut. Differences of opinion on appropriate solutions, where they exist, convey more regarding costs as well as the accessibility to resources compared to differences in political and philosophical viewpoints. Introduction to Auto MAGINE You’re a part of a state legislature and a few of one’s constituents are visiting you in your office. They have arrive at complain about auto insurance. It is said they cannot get the insurance they want, as well as when they can have it. it’s very costly. They want one to “do something” concerning the situation, pass laws that can make insurance cheaper and simpler to gel. The easiest way to save hundreds annually off your Florida Car Insurance bill is to get FREE quotes from www.cheapinsuranceflorida.org!

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Fun Facts About Black Cats You Never Knew

When you think about Halloween, you picture images of witches, bats, pumpkins and also, black cats. However, are you really familiar with them? Test your knowledge on these special type of felines with these 15 fun facts about them.

1. To ancient Egyptians, cats are sacred, lucky and helpful. They symbolize Bastet, the goddess of protection that has a head of a cat.

2. During the Middle Ages, people from Europe associated black cats with witchcraft. Single, elderly women who took care of stray little felines were mistaken for witches, while the cats were their accomplices.

3. A black feline that crosses your path is considered good luck in some parts of Ireland and England.

4. In English Midlands of Great Britain, it is considered good luck to give a cat to a bride.

5. Once a strange black feline arrives at your Scotland home, this means you may hit the jackpot – this signifies prosperity.

6. In Germany, when a cat crosses your path from left to right, it is a good sign but if it the other way around, this means bad luck.

7. It can be more complicated when you are a pirate. If a black cat approaches you, this means bad luck. If it walks away, you are lucky. When the little feline walks to the ship then changes its mind and leave, you better get off the ship since this means that it is going to sink.

8. To fishermen and their wives, black cats mean good luck. For this reason, they let them stay in their homes or ships. Many people could not afford to buy such felines because they are too expensive.

9. The Japanese, especially single women, see these animals as good luck. To them, owning one lets them attract prospective suitors.

10. All cats symbolize good luck in Russia.

11. Black cats have more than one breed. According to the directory of the Cat Fanciers Association, there are 19 different breeds of little felines with “black” as a color alternative.

12. Most black cats look striking with their golden eyes, which is an effect of high melanin pigment.

13. Black cats are either male or female, but most of them are boys.

14. August 17 is Black Cat Appreciation Day.

15. Black felines can mix with any décor and their fur can blend with your furniture.

Additional Info

When a black cat passes under a ladder, do not follow it because this is bad lack.

In case you plan on taking care of such a feline, remember that most rescues put off their adoption during Halloween. Some even advise you to bring your little pet inside your home as the Halloween holidays approach. It is actually safer for all pets to stay indoors during these days because they may be frightened by all the noises, costumes and foot traffic.

Miracle Mussi, the Cat, Survives Two Months Locked in a Basement Without Food!

Feb 11, 2013: Mussi, my beloved tabby from South Chicago, did not return from his nightly outing! At first, I thought he was just extending his nightly trip for a few hours, but Mussi remained gone until after midnight. I started searching the neighborhood over and over, calling his name. After hours of fruitless search activities, I gave up and went to bed. I tossed and turned restlessly until the following morning. Early in the morning, I got up and combed the neighborhood again. I extended the search area a few blocks, puzzled at the situation. I kept calling his name “Muuussssiiii!” Nothing! Where could he be?

On no occasion had Mussi ventured far from the house in the past. In seven years, he’d never disappeared like this. Our silent agreement entailed him checking in with me every 30 minutes or so. He had always been sticking to it. So, what happened all of a sudden? My mind played out the worst horror scenarios. Was he locked in some dark basement? Kidnapped? Run over? Chased away by other cats, or worse, dogs? I felt so desperate that I could not think straight. I was way too depressed and anxious.

I alarmed my family and friends, who were at a loss for words. Everyone loved Mussi and knew him as the most intuitive, smart, gentle tiger from Chicago. They felt sorry for me, as I was still reeling from pain due to another crisis and certainly had enough sorrows. After many more searches, I decided to get help. I asked my sister to contact a woman she calls “witch”, her intuitive friend, healer and animal communicator for advice. This woman tuned in and felt that Mussi was slightly injured and hiding in a basement somewhere. She did not feel that he was locked in, but simply hiding out. She said that she would send him energy and guide him home.

No cat appeared. I checked the basements I could get access to and informed the neighbors to do the same. My frustration grew with every passing hour. I scanned the entire area, again and again. Where could this cat be? A neighbor and I checked two buildings’ ground floors and garages for a cat sign, to no avail. Instead, she introduced me to her cats, who I greeted suspiciously. They looked guilty and could have been involved in chasing Mussi away. Everyone was a suspect at this point. Even the other two black cats from the neighbor straight across seemed to paw around shiftily. I clearly needed sleep!

I started tagging the entire district and beyond with “Desperately Seeking Mussi” posters. The initial batch I put up two days after Mussi’s disappearance, covering several blocks. The densely populated area did not make the choices for flyer placement and neighbor conversations any easier. There were simply too many places where Mussi could be hiding, it was making me dizzy. So, I put flyers on any suitable spot; on buildings, doors, lamp posts, garage doors, garbage bins, you name it – Mussi posters went up! Within days, everyone in the area knew my cat was missing.

As the desperation grew, I decided to talk to one of my friends in LA about an animal communicator she had used years back when her cat was missing. She could not remember the name of the lady in Seattle, so I googled on my own. I found her and sent an emergency request. I guess the animal psychic grasped the severity of the situation. She called me back the same day, after I transferred a bit over a hundred bucks to her PayPal. The information she apparently obtained from Mussi was that he went down an alley way, across a field and then crawled into a hole. He seemed to find the inside of the new territory interesting and decided to hang out for a while. This sounded totally unlike Mussi. She claimed that he wasn’t locked in and could potentially get out on his own. She further mentioned that the building was near my house and that we would be reunited one day.

I continued to put more posters up in the neighborhood and ask around. A guy called from a few blocks away, claiming that he had spotted Mussi in his yard. I drove down there instantly, but the cat, of course, was gone. I checked the area, but there was no hint of Mussi.

I expanded the poster and search area a few more blocks. I tagged the post office, the outside of stores, pretty much all lamp posts in the area, bus and train stations. It was cold out. Deep winter had arrived. It did not make Mussi’s survival or my search any easier. Many ol’ nights I froze my fingers off, posting flyers. I did not want to imagine what the cold spell meant for Mussi, wherever he was. I could not bear the thought of Mussi freezing to death somewhere out there in midwinter.

My phone really starting ringing now. I received calls from numerous people, claiming they spotted Mussi in the cemetery, close to a bus station and sitting on a trail and under a car. However, none was able to either snap a picture or catch the cat. As I was at work, it was not always feasible for me to drop everything and follow vague leads.

Then, one Saturday, I got a call from a French lady who found and held a grey tabby captive. She snapped a picture and sent it. I was on a horse when I got the call, about an hour away. I hurried back as the somewhat blurry picture could have been Mussi. An hour later, I found the French lady in the described area, with four children and a cat gathered around her. Deeply impressed at her determination and persistence, I thanked her immensely for trying to help. Unfortunately, the captured cat was not Mussi and could get released.

It had been way over a week now and still no cat. He was my precious baby, who moved from Chicago to Zurich with me, three and a half years ago. He loved Switzerland as he could venture outside, which was not feasible downtown Chicago. All my life I’ve had cats, but none as special as Mussi. I was deeply connected to him and loved him from the bottom of my heart. Mussi to me resembled a cat embodiment of Mother Teresa. I knew he was alive, but I simply was unable to fathom where. I missed his cuddling up to me every night, his comfort when I was not feeling well and the many different faces and sounds of Mussi.

Where was he? I knew he would have never left on his own. Increasingly, I started to suspect he was abducted. Or did he attempt to go back to his old house where we lived until a few months prior, and got lost on the way there? I had alerted the ex-neighbors and skimmed the area. Nobody had seen Mussi there. The old neighbors, who used to watch Mussi, were on constant lookout for him. I knew they’d do a great job, but I tagged the entire area with Mussi flyers.

I got a call from an energy healer who lived near my old house. She said she spotted my flyer and just a few minutes after spotted a cat that looked like a spitting image of Mussi. She swore it was him. Her intuition, she said, never lied. So, I drove down there to see if I could still see traces of my cat, but there was nothing.

Despite all the Mussi search activities that had been ongoing for two weeks, I decided to go snowboarding for a couple of days. I needed to get away. I was going insane. On my way home Sunday night from the mountains, I got a call from my cosmetologist who lived near my old house. Her voice was frantic as she screeched something about having caught my cat and that I should show up right away to pick him up. I drove down to her house, still dressed in snowboard pants. Indeed, she was sitting in front of a tabby, but it wasn’t Mussi. However, that cat was clearly lost and confused and looking for his home. A beautiful kitty this guy was and I felt sorry for him. Adrienne said, “Just take him instead or yours!” Sorry, but there was no quick replacement for Mussi! It broke my heart to see this cat hysterically searching for his home. So, I told Adrienne that if nobody else takes him in the coming days, I would, temporarily anyway! Luckily, a neighbor was kind enough to give him shelter a few days later.

I had also reported Mussi missing with petlink.com, the chip company, hoping that a finder would take him to a vet or hospital where he would get scanned and reported to me. Further, I advised animal clinics and vets in the area about the missing Mussi. Online, I had posted missing Mussi ads on various lost pet sites.

I started receiving emails from people who identified with my pain and tried to give advice. Some mentioned to intensify the search after midnight, others insisted I should not give up hope as they had lost their cats for up to a year and then got reunited. One person even offered to come help search at night or in the wee hours.

A lady from about five blocks away called saying “Don’t tell anyone, but I feed the foxes at night.” I said that I would not utter a word and that she should continue. It seems that the past few nights, a cat had shared the fox’s chicken leg she dropped outside her window. In fact, the cat was faster than the fox and got its share early on. The lady insisted that the fox food thief was my cat. I agreed to check up on it. She promised to call the same night right after dropping the chicken outside. She did. I immediately left my house to see the scene for myself. And really, a cat showed up just five minutes after the chicken was out to feast on it. But it wasn’t my kitty – again! But now I was an insider of the fox feeding conspiracy!

I contacted another animal communicator somewhere in Nevada. She tuned in and dowsed the map of my surrounding area. She claimed a neighbor was holding Mussi hostage and that I should launch an attack on that house. She was sure. I got binoculars, sat myself in a bush at night and ogled the area. No cat. I even put fliers in all mailboxes belonging to that building, rang a few doorbells and asked, but nothing.

More calls were coming my way. A clerk who worked in a nearby company reported “Oh, your tomcat has been visiting us here for weeks. I will send you a picture.” I did receive the photo. A nice, totally happy tabby stretched out on his desk. While he looked similar, it was not Mussi. I thanked him and felt he was glad that the long tiger wasn’t my cat. He seemed to love this tabby visiting him in the afternoon for playtime.

I decided to push my luck and contacted Joseph McMoneagle, a super famous remote viewer, who worked for the US Army for twenty years, remote viewing and finding top secret military buildings, equipment and people. After his stint in the Army, he became famous remote viewing for corporations or live on Japanese TV. Joe had written several bestsellers on the topic and was the rock star in the field of “psychic spy” work. I met Joe a few times in Virginia and decided to ask for help. A regular session with him usually cost thousands of dollars, but he was kind enough to supply a drawing with indications about the cat’s whereabouts. I surveyed the specified area, but could not find anything that looked like Mussi. I put up more flyers in the pointed out area, which led to a few calls of cat sightings, but nothing serious. A cat as a target appears a lot harder than a human or a machine.

The cat who stretched out on the clerk’s desk got reported to me again by a local football club member. He called and said “I found your cat and am holding him in our clubhouse.” I ran down there and saw the same tabby stretched out on the floor, watching football with the dudes. What a funny sight it was. This cat seriously got around. I thanked them for the effort and left, dejected. It had been almost four weeks now and I started to lose hope.

That famous tabby got reported a third time by a nice woman about a mile away from my house. He had invaded her balcony and gave sinister stares at her indoor kitty.

But where in the world was my tabby?

Then, I got a call from many blocks away in the middle of the night one Friday. A couple had captured a tabby, sent a blurry picture that left too much room for interpretation. So, again, I drove down there to check and of course, it wasn’t Mussi. But I had to follow these leads just to make sure.

Another neighbor, an old lady, called me twice to pledge allegiance and promised to turn over every rock in the neighborhood. She had spotted tabbies and just needed a color picture to confirm which one was mine. I happily supplied her with a picture. The lady was retired and had all day to skim the vicinity. Unfortunately, she never reported the “right” tabby.

By now, the entire neighborhood was involved in the search and people really got talking. The community became a real community again because of Mussi. Everyone was on a mission to recover the sweet little furry creature.

I hired another highly recommended animal communicator. What did I have to lose? His results left me unimpressed. He pointed out a tree-covered park-like area and insisted the cat was hiding there. The homes right behind that area appeared to be another target for him. Long ago, I had tagged flyers all over that area. However, I ventured down there again to check and found Mussi-like fur on a field. It looked like a cat-fox fight had taken place. My heart sank to the ground. I thought, of course, the fox took and devoured him. My mom agreed with my suspicion. But who really knew? Sure thing was – this animal communicator made another 175USD of me – for nothing.

Another “pet detective” from Los Angeles, who works on a donation basis, suggested Mussi to be near that same area. As she apparently combines her common cat search sense with psychic intuition, she recommended to sit near that area with a book, as cats supposedly come out when one is quiet and reading. While this may work for other cats, I knew Mussi would come immediately if he did spot me. She further recommended to put out “fish trails” from various directions to my house. Supposedly, a few of her clients got their missing cats back with this tactic. As I left no stone unturned, I mixed up cat food with fish sauce and trailed it from numerous directions to my deck. After a while, I spotted several confused cats sitting on or near the trail and enjoyed quite a few cat visitors on my deck. The perplexed cats stared at me in disbelief. They seemed to ask, “Are you insane?” Well, was I? I started to believe myself that I’d gone over the edge.

A young woman named Kerstin contacted me (she saw my posters) and insisted she’d help me in my search. So, one Sunday she came to my house and we once again, scanned the entire area. Once more, we came back empty-handed. She volunteered to print colored Mussi pictures and hand them out in the neighborhood (my flyers were black and white). She further offered to help me further in my quest and stayed in touch. I really appreciated the help and got more and more amazed about the community and the remarkable people in it.

Mussi had been missing for a month and a half now and my hope for successful recovery sank to rock-bottom levels. Which cat would survive for this long out there in the cold or locked in somewhere?

While I was still getting calls from people who spotted tigers under cars, crossing the road or invading their balconies, I knew none of these were Mussi. He was elsewhere. Perhaps, he was far away, locked in a prison or dead. I had a bleak picture in front of my eyes. Yet, somehow, I still felt him alive, but barely.

Beginning of April, I felt the need to get away from it all and joined a four-day Tibetan Buddhist meditation up in the Alps. The theme fittingly was “Purification” – just what the doctor ordered. I bathed in the marvelous energy and was able to get really deep into meditation and cleanse quite a few impurities out of my system. I felt like a load was lifted off my shoulders after four days and with renewed energy I went home. Before I left there, a friend mentioned “Now, Susanne, I would be surprised if your cat reappeared as your karma has completely changed.”

She was right. Before midnight, less than week after the meditation, on April 11, 2013, I received an email from petlink, reporting Mussi had been found. I thought it was a joke. I contacted them immediately and got information where and who to contact for further data. He got scanned by the animal hospital in Zurich! I was amazed at this outstanding service. At the same time, I got a call from a neighbor, very early on that infamous Friday morning, telling me about a half-dead cat she found that night.

The nice woman, named Nathalie, breathlessly told a story about how she found Mussi, who appeared to be paralyzed, totally starved and dropped in front of her garage. Someone must have put him there and set some milk in a bowl next to him. She said she did not know what to do at first, but immediately googled for options on cat rescue services. She called one of the numbers she found and within an hour, the animal rescue service “Tierrettungsdienst” showed up to take the seriously emaciated cat to the animal hospital. Before they came, Nathalie walked up to one of my flyers to get Mussi’s name. She then went back to him and called him “Mussi.” He responded with a weak, desperate “meow.” She had never seen an animal in such bad shape before, unable to coordinate his limbs, yet still alive. She stayed and talked to him for over an hour until the rescuers showed up to take him to the animal hospital in Zurich (Tierspital Zurich).

All I could do after I heard this story is cry and frantically make my way to the hospital. The grim description of my cat’s condition left me with little hope to find him alive. Tears gushed down my cheeks, I was unable to control any of it. I called my family to share the news. They could not grasp that Mussi was alive. They were in complete and utter shock. At the hospital, Mussi was reported as a “homeless cat”, but not for long. I both dreaded and longed to see him. I was expecting the worst. Then they brought him in. He had spent the night at the ICU and just got released. Here he was. Just a bag of bones, unable to coordinate any movements, totally emaciated, still panicked – a heart wrenching sight. My heart ached. I cried relentlessly. But Mussi recognized me. He meowed and tried to lift his head. The fact that he was released from the ICU meant that he would most likely live as an assistant “illegally” told me! The vets, however, were careful in giving me complete reassurance, but mentioned the chances for his survival were good. I could not believe it – he would live!

Thanks to a nice neighbor, petlink.com, the animal rescue service, my 200 flyers that I posted, and the animal hospital, Mussi was alive and we were reunited.

But immediately, questions creeped into my head. What would his future look like? And where had he been? Could he recover from this?

According to Nathalie, who found Mussi, a locked in, meowing cat would have been detected in her building. People passed the storage areas in the basement on their way up to the apartments. Frightened meows would have been heard. Was Mussi locked inside another building? Did he crawl to this garage with his last strength after finally having been released? Perhaps, we will never know.

Nevertheless, he must have got water from somewhere, as otherwise, survival would have been impossible. Perhaps, he licked dew or rainwater was able to enter his prison? For certain, he’d had no food for two months, judging by his gaunt state. Two months!!

His legs were bandaged up, an IV fed fluids and much needed vitamins into his veins. I sat there stunned, staring at not even half the cat Mussi used to be. I still could not believe he was back and alive. It took me a few days to grasp that. For quite a while I suffered from nightmares about the starvation camp he was locked in. Although, I was overjoyed about his return, the pictures of his prison took a while to fade.

The vets and staff at the university animal hospital in Zurich gave Mussi the best care! They were fantastic! Mussi even received daily physical therapy to get his muscles and nerves working again. And he wanted to live! That was the most important ingredient. And he was loved and received healings from many friends and family on a daily basis.

The worst problem was his severe deficiency in Thiamine, an essential B vitamin for cats. Depletion of such causes ataxia (loss or coordination), seizures, inability to raise the head and twitching. Mussi suffered from all the above. B1 or Thiamine is not stored in a cat’s body and is quickly depleted. Two months of starvation led to severe B1 deficiency. The drip would help, but it took time.

Vets and staff shook their heads in disbelief about Mussi’s survival. They were stunned at the strength and willpower of this cat. They had to admit that they had never seen a case like him before.

I visited the American patient every day in the hospital. For five days, he was too apathetic and exhausted to notice much around him. He just slept. Any efforts on his part to try and move resulted in seizure-like attacks, which left him frustrated.

Many, many friends, energy and Pranic healers, Reiki masters kept sending Mussi healing energy and in doing so sped up his recovery. These remarkable people had helped in the search for Mussi all along. Perhaps, it is these miracle workers who helped Mussi survive for two months in a dark basement? May be the Pranic energy kept him alive as we kept sending it all that time he was missing too. I am deeply grateful to everyone who helped and supported the search and recovery, in spirit, mentally, physically or energetically.

After one week, Mussi’s lethargy lifted a bit, and so did his head. He was able to bend the head from side to side and his eyes followed me slowly but curiously. Another day after, Mussi got up on his shaven (to insert the IV), skinny legs and pressed his behind against my scratching hand. “Wow!” I cried out in amazement. Mussi was back!

Mussi got up and walked around the entire room after only two weeks in the hospital! What an incredible cat. When he arrived on April 11, 2013, the vets thought him more in nirvana than here on Earth. And only two weeks later, the Chicago kitty was back on his paws!

Around the same time, I had a long discussion with one of the friendly vets at the hospital. He was recovering very quickly, he said, unusually quickly. The staff at the hospital knew Mussi as Miracle Mussi, a true hero. Although, he suffered a few setbacks, like inflamed, overworked pancreas or a low red blood cell count, nothing could stop Mussi now from a total comeback. He was determined to come home and get his old, sweet life back. And so he did, on May 3, 2013 – Mussi arrived at home.

Thank you Tierspital!

Thank you Tierrettungsdienst!

Thank you petlink

Thank you neighbor!

Thank you healers, family and friends!

Black Cats – Witches’ Friend Or Halloween Tale?

Today, images of witches and black cats are likely associated with Halloween decorations, but not too long ago, the scary duo was regarded with a mixture of fear and trepidation. Woe to anyone walking alone on a dark night if he spies one lying in wait on the path. And worse still, a witch may be lurking nearby, seeking to cast a hex on the unwary traveler!

Such concerns are the stuff of village tales, superstition and folklore, though it was considered gravely serious at the time. Since the middle ages, black cats have been regarded somewhat differently than the rest of their feline brethren. This is due to the folklore that surrounds them that still exists in some communities to this day.

Some European cultures considered a black cat to be a bad omen. The superstition of these cats crossing your path being bad luck is very well known throughout North America and other parts of the world. The Irish culture believed the appearance of one beneath the moonlight foretold great illness. Likewise, the Italians believed that a sick person visited by one would soon perish.

Alternatively, some cultures believe the exact opposite; a black cat walking towards you or the appearance of a one portends good luck. Other cultures, in particular the South African religion Hoodoo believes that a particular bone within a these cats can be used to impart someone with invisibility or other special powers.

The black cat suffered the most in areas of Europe that partook in the horrid practice of witch trials and witch burnings. It was considered to be a witch’s familiar, meaning an animal that shared a particular spiritual bond with a witch. Other animals were also considered familiars: frogs and toads, owls, ravens, and other animals considered mysterious or looked upon unfavorably. But it was the black cat that received the most attention, perhaps because cats possess a particular unique personality.

Through a familiar, a witch could spy upon others, and maybe even utilize the familiar to cast hexes and curses. It is also believed that a black cat may even be the witch herself, attempting to disguise herself as she roams through the dark night, instilling fear amongst all those who might be unfortunate to look upon her.

In 1233, Pope Gregory IX even went so far as to consider black cats evil, satanic creatures, leading to a widespread extermination of black cats. Subsequently, other animals considered to be a witch’s familiar were also burned or killed along with a captured witch.

Of course, today we know that most of the women considered to be witches were either falsely accused, or were simply women well-versed in herbal lore and other folk remedies, which was sometimes considered witchcraft by overly superstitious folk. Familiars have even been depicted in a much more positive light in the Harry Potter movies, where the owls and other animals paired with the young spellcasters form a special bond.

We also now know that modern witchcraft is not evil, and many witches operate in a professional capacity. Witchcraft has become a widespread movement throughout America and Europe, and is more commonly referred to as Wicca, though there are in fact several different traditions of witchcraft, and Wicca is only one classification.

Though witchcraft is still denounced by the Church, there is little harm in proclaiming oneself to be a witch, and thankfully black cats may walk freely without fear of being hunted and killed. Some modern witches also claim that their pets are more than just pets; they are in fact familiars in the true sense of the word, acting as attendants and helpers, and serving to protect a witch from harm. Familiars are no longer looked upon as inherently evil, but rather as a servant of good, and sharing a heightened awareness.

So the next time you spy a black cat that seems to be staring at you with a particular intensity, do not be alarmed. It will not spread an ill omen or bad luck in its wake. However, you never can be certain if it is merely a curious cat, or the familiar of a nearby witch!

What’s the Deal with Black Cats?

Halloween is the time of year when your child is inundated with visions of ghosts and goblins, witches and monsters. It’s easy to understand how all these creatures have have earned their scary reputations-they represent unknown forces with “evil” intent, or at least the intent to scare little children every October.

Last week, Lynn, a mother of three young children, was walking with her youngest, when a neighbor’s black cat wandered up, looking for some friendly attention. Lynn’s little boy screamed in fear, demanding that his mom rush him home, before the “bad” cat got him. They have three cats at home, incidentally, but none of them are black. Apparently, though, he’d seen enough images of black cats, cavorting with all the other Halloween spooks, that he was certain something bad was about to happen.

We humans have always viewed cats as mysterious creatures-they’re domesticated, like dogs, but independent and often aloof, frequently preferring to be alone, requiring only sporadic affection. Still, it’s easy to see how witches and ghosts became continuing characters in our spooky traditions, but how did the black cat win its icon status in the Scary Hall of Fame? It’s actually a status that seems to be peculiar to America.

In ancient times, as in many parts of the world today, the black cat reperesented a harbinger of good fortune, rather than danger. In ancient Egypt, well-to-do households held their pet black cats in high regard, granting them a place of honor in the home, in order to guarantee riches and prosperity.

Legend holds that, in the 17th century, King Charles I of England had a black cat which he believed was his good luck charm, and kept a round-the-clock guard on the prized pet. When the cat died (presumably of old age), the King lamented publicly that his luck was at an end. The very next day the king was arrested and charged with high treason, and was eventually executed.

In the past, in certain English fishing villages, the luck of the black cat-believed to bring fisherman safely home from the sea-was such an important tradition that fishermen’s wives paid a huge price to obtain such a pet.

Even today, in many parts of the world, a black cat crossing one’s path is considered good luck, the exact opposite of the American superstition.

Historians believe that the Pilgrims are responsible for the black cat’s evil reputation in American today. When they emigrated to these shores for religious reasons, the Pilgrims brought with them a deep distrust of any superstition, believing such traditions were evil and dark.

Since the Middle Ages, many in England believed that those who practiced witchcraft used black cats as “familiars”, or creatures who could commune with evil spirits, in order to carry out the witches’ spells. Such was the fear of black cats that, for many years, in America, it was believed among certain religious sects that the only way to stop an evil spell was to shoot a black cat with a silver bullet.

Even today, most pet centers and animal shelters refuse to sell black cats around Halloween, for fear that they may be harmed or killed.

The next time a beautiful black cat crosses your-or your child’s-path, wanting a little affection, try talking to it. If it rubs against your leg and purrs in approval, you be the judge of its intent. It has no idea that it’s an object of fear-just like your tabby at home, it just wants a little love.

Essential Guide: Understanding Your Cat’s Food Diet

The Essential Guide to Cat Food diets: What you need to know

When admiring our serenely sleeping cats curled up cosily at the end of the bed it’s hard to rationalise that these beautiful elegant creatures who have become affectionate companions and confidants over the years are in reality lean, mean killing machines when it comes to their eating habits.

For most cat owners, the fact that we are actually harbouring a skilled assassin is something we would rather turn a blind eye to. However, the impressive features of a natural born predator are hard to deny; strong agile bodies with lightning reflexes, stealthy silent gait, razor sharp claws, long canine teeth, excellent night vision, highly attuned hearing and a superior sense of smell.

Acknowledging the glaringly obvious truth about these unique creatures we share our lives with is fundamental to understanding all aspects of their healthcare. So why does this often get forgotten when it comes to the most essential of topics – cat food nutrition!

What are you feeding your cat?

Vet’s Klinic Clinical Director and veterinary practitioner, Jenny Philip BVMS MRCVS, knows the importance of giving your cat a science based natural balanced diet, which gives them the nutrients they need to thrive knows first-hand how deficient some commercially prepared cat food brands can be from a nutritional point of view.

Currently 70% of UK cat owners feed a commercially prepared diet to their cat, of which half feed a mix of wet and dry cat food; the other 30% of owners feed table scraps, raw meat based diets or allow their cats to eat live prey.

Raw and live prey animal cat food diets are potentially very biologically appropriate. However, at home prepared diets are notoriously difficult to balance correctly and can be time consuming and inconvenient for most. Worryingly, a recent study in the US found 84% of these home prepared diets are deficient in multiple nutrients.

Even so, some commercially prepared cat food diet recipes are just as inappropriate; they may well balance better on paper but it only takes a glance at the back of a packet of some of these commercial cat foods to highlight their inadequacies.

For example, take the two best market leading dry cat food brands; the analytical constituents (this is the ingredients in the cat food) read 30-32% protein, 10% fat and 7.5-8.5% ash. What the manufacturer doesn’t need to declare is the carbohydrate content. Most of these dry diets are over 40% carbohydrate and rely on the carbohydrate to create the kibble structure. So why is a high carbohydrate content in a cats diet a concern?

Are Cats Carnivore or Omnivore?

Cats do not need a high carbohydrate diet, in fact it goes against their biological makeup

Cats are biologically different to us; they are classified as obligate carnivores. If you are a ‘Carnivore’ you derive your energy and nutrients from a diet exclusively or mainly from animal tissue. If you are an ‘Obligate Carnivore’ you depend solely on animal tissue as opposed to a facultative carnivore that, in the absence of meat, can choose to use non-animal sources for their nutritional requirements. In contrast, humans are classed as omnivores, deriving their energy from a variety of food sources, and dogs are a topic of controversy and can be classified as either omnivore or facultative carnivores.

The domestic cat’s natural diet consists of small rodents and mammals. On average a prey item is 62% animal derived protein, 10% fat with 14% ash, which is mainly mineral content from bone (see the table below).

Prey Species – Crude Protein% – Fat% – Ash%

  • Mouse – 62 – 11 – 13
  • Rat – 63 – 9 – 14
  • Small Bird – 62 – 9 – 15

This protein rich diet has caused obligate carnivores to evolve with completely different biochemical pathways for processing food and metabolising nutrients when compared to other species we are familiar with such as dogs or ourselves.

Cats Need Protein for Energy, Not Carbohydrates!

The universal source of energy to all cells in any creature is glucose. For humans and dogs glucose is readily available from breaking down the carbohydrate in our diets. However, for carnivores their diet of fat and protein requires them to obtain glucose in a different way. Hence cats have well developed pathways to convert the building blocks of protein, amino acids, into a source of glucose. These pathways exist in humans and dogs but they are part of a collection of pathways to create energy that can be altered dependent on the type of food ingested. For cats, even when a cat has not consumed any protein, their body cells still demand a source of amino acids for energy and, in the absence of dietary protein, they have to start utilising existing body protein, i.e. muscle mass, to maintain normal cell function.

Cats naturally in the wild would consume a high amount of protein in their diet, 62% if they consume a mouse. Comparing this with the commercial diet at 30% it doesn’t take an expert nutritionist to identify a massive discrepancy within their diet!

Don’t All Commercial Cat Foods Contain Protein?

Technically, commercially prepared cat food products do contain protein, but not all protein is created equal. The other important question that needs to be considered is where the protein originates from. Protein in a diet can come from animal tissue but is also found in many vegetables and grains. The only way of determining the source of protein is by analysing the composition (ingredient) list on the back of the packet. The list is ordered by weight in descending order, so to satisfy a cat’s biological requirements, a source of meat-based protein should be first on the list. For the two diets in our example the first three ingredients read: cereals, animal and meat derivatives (10%), vegetable protein extracts. Therefore, the protein declared in these diets is largely derived from non-animal sources. Other than the obvious fact that we have never witnessed a cat with a desire to stalk vegetables, why does this matter?

Cats Need Animal Protein for Health Reasons.

It matters because, cats require specific amino acids and vitamins in their diet, which are essential for normal cell function; some of these can only be obtained naturally from animal tissue. Arginine, Taurine, Cysteine and Methionine are amino acids used in lots of important processes in mammals but cats have to rely on a dietary source making them essential; this is not the case in dogs and humans as they can synthesis these molecules from others. For cats this process is not efficient and their daily requirements are much higher, consequently they utilise them faster than they can be created. Deficiencies can cause serious disease, for example taurine deficiency can cause heart disease and blindness. Commercial diets have to follow strict guidelines to ensure that these molecules are present in adequate amounts and in cases where levels are inadequate, the cat will need to take an artificial supplement to ensure they receive the right level of thee important vitamins and minerals. Surely the more logical and natural approach is simply to feed what the cat naturally requires- meat based protein!

How many of us have seen a black cat that has a reddish brown tinge to their coat?

This is something that many of us may have observed in passing without realising but is a classic example of the effects that a diet deficient in meat can have. Tyrosine is an amino acid only found in animal tissue that cats can’t synthesise themselves. However, it is not a necessity for body function and therefore is not a regulated requirement to be supplemented in commercial diets. Tyrosine is a key component of the pathway that creates melanin, the black pigments responsible for their coat colour; so in a deficient state a black cat turns brown.

Where is your cat’s protein coming from?

Even when animal protein is included in a diet the majority comes from rendered sources. Rendered meat or more commonly named ‘meal’ comes from animal tissue that has been heated for a prolonged time at extreme temperatures and pressures to remove the fat. Rendered meat is on average only 75% digestible. This means that for every 10g of rendered meat consumed only 7.5g can be utilised by the body. When you compare this to some of the new technologies using fresh meat as an ingredient, with 96% digestibility, this protein source certainly looks to be a more favourable ingredient. Furthermore, the carbohydrate content in commercially prepared cat food diets affects digestibility; the higher the carbohydrate content the less digestible the protein. There are several factors contributing to this but predominately carbohydrates accelerate gut transit hence reducing the time available to digest protein in the diet.

More importantly on this topic, as illustrated by the figures above, a cats natural diet does not contain large amounts of carbohydrate, therefore cats have evolved with a reduced ability to process and utilise carbohydrates.

Too many carbohydrates in commercial cat food can cause obesity in cats.

Specific molecules called enzymes carry out the process of breaking down food. Different enzymes are responsible for breaking down different types of food. Amylase is an enzyme responsible for carbohydrate breakdown; this is present in saliva and is then also secreted by the pancreas gland in both dogs and humans. Cats possess no salivary amylase and have very limited levels of pancreatic amylase so have reduced capacity to deal with this type of food.

Cats can process carbohydrate to some extent and once broken down they can use simple sugars very efficiently, however, they have limited ability to store them for future use. In a dog or human excess sugar is stored in the liver as a large chain of sugars in a molecule called glycogen; this can be readily broken down if the animal suddenly needs a source of energy. A cat’s biochemical pathways are not efficient at storing sugars in this way, instead any excess sugars are stored by converting them directly to fat which in turn predisposes cats to weight gain. This process is slower and can lead to prolonged periods of hyperglycaemia after eating. Both obesity and prolonged hyperglycaemia are key factors thought to contribute to the development of cat diabetes. Obesity itself is one of the greatest and growing health issues we face with our domestic felines; it is now estimated to affect 30% of the cat population. We all have a responsibility to reduce this growing health concern and this starts with diet awareness.

Although feeding high carbohydrate and vegetable based diets is not going to cause cats any direct short term harm, it is hardly promoting better health and may well be predisposing them to problems long term. Nonetheless, commercially prepared dry cat food diets do provide a convenient way of feeding our cats and beneficially reduce tartar formation and the subsequent development of periodontal disease. Dental disease in cats is another key health problem in the feline population and one of the greatest risk factors of developing problems is feeding commercial wet food. Therefore dry diets should continue to play a role in feeding our feline companions.

Choosing the best diet for your cat.

Armed with the knowledge of a cat’s unique biochemistry we can select diets that are more aligned to their physiological needs by being savvy. Assessing food for its ingredients and nutritional break-down, rather than selecting one based on the most appealing cat on the pack, will help your cat’s long-term health and wellbeing. So when you’re next in the supermarket or pet store aisle considering what to buy, take the packet off the shelf and compare the backs of packs. Look for diets which have the first ingredient listed as a good animal based protein, ideally from a natural cat food that provides a fresh meat source, and compare the amount of protein, fat and ash.

We have focused here on dry diets as an example as they are easier to compare. Wet diets have large amounts of moisture in them, which varies between brands and makes comparison more challenging. The take home messages though are still the same; consider the quality of the ingredients and the sources of protein.

There are some great wheatfree cat food products available in the market and on online that provide a great source of protein and also ensure your cat has the essential nutrients they need to be healthy in the long-term.

We are in the process of launching our new natural cat food products. To mark this occasion we’re offering a free sample of this new range to the first 50 people that sign up to our pre-launch list. To sign up to be part of the new natural cat food revolution.

Cats and Their Nine Lives – What it Might Mean For You

According to a book titled “Beware the Cat,” written by English author William Baldwin during the Dark Ages: “It is permitted for a witch to take her cat’s body nine times.” Thus began the tradition that cats have nine lives. A black cat and pointy hat still symbolize witchcraft and Halloween, but do cats really have nine lives? And if they do, what might that mean for cat lovers?

I do a lot of animal communication sessions with cats, and they always amuse and inspire me with their kooky antics and deep commitment to healing their human friends. Often people contact me due to “bad behavior.” Their cat has become unfriendly, aggressive, territorial, or perhaps quite ill. When the veterinarian says, “I don’t know,” kitty lovers still want to help their feline friends. Typically, they ask me to ask if the cat wants a different kind of food. Given the quality of pet food these days, that answer usually comes back a resounding, “Yes!”

But opening the portals of communication frees other messages as well. Whether they present themselves as total divas or the household clown, most cats have a deeper soul purpose for selecting their human companions. As it turns out, associations with witchcraft and cats are not so far off: in many cases, cats have come to help their humans heal from past life issues of persecution.

One such cat hissed and prepared to attack anyone who got too close to her human–a most unfriendly feline! When the cat’s behavior became too difficult to ignore, her human asked me to tune in. Lo and behold, this kitty had acted as her familiar back in William Baldwin’s Dark Ages. The kitty felt guilty for failing to protect her unlucky witch from being burned at the stake. She overcompensated in this lifetime by attacking anyone and everyone who came too close–never knowing who was friend or foe. Since this former witch had been betrayed by a relative in the Dark Ages, the cat’s suspicion allowed us all to explore discernment, callings, protection and how the times have changed.

As her human family began to recognize this fiery kitty as a healer, her “bad behavior” began to change. She now cuddles, purrs and welcomes opportunities to help others embrace their gifts. Her homo sapien has likewise reclaimed more of her own intuition and ability to teach and support others on a spiritual path. They now view themselves on a mutual journey, but instead of tragedy or aggression, they can focus on love and soul-mate-like understanding.

In another instance, a writer’s cats kept eating her plants, nibbling her manuscript, swallowing and spitting up tape, and batting the papers off her desk. The writer initially viewed such actions as a major nuisance. When, “no!” obviously did not mean no, she consulted me to find out about possible dietary supplements or additional messages. These cats eat the highest quality food imaginable–far better than most humans–but they did offer a few supplement and treat requests. More than that, they shared that they wanted the writer to know how supported she really was. One of the cats shared multiple past lives with her in Egypt and encouraged the writer to tune into the spiritual process of regeneration.

The cat then offered specific suggestions on how to invoke more power and creativity in the writer’s life. He also helped her to see how with his help, she had already moved past some old issues and could safely move forward into more joyful territory. The other cat did not share a past life with the writer, but indicated that the writer should pay attention to the numbers on chewed manuscript pages. It turns out the page numbers and chewed words spelled out messages. Both cats explained why they kept eating and spitting up tape: they found it fun, but more importantly, this behavior illustrated a key factor in their human’s personal growth.

Many people assume that the nine lives rumor comes from cats’ uncanny ability to land on their feet–surviving falls that would kill most other species. Indeed, cats do offer us a model of resilience! But they usually want to offer more than that. Through play, diva-action, illness, attacks and falls, they deeply desire recognition. They select their humans carefully and create their behaviors deliberately. Take a moment to close your eyes and ask your cat what they really want to say to you. They may not speak English, but most will nudge you in some direction. They’re very, very smart, curious, and committed. Most of them would leap off a building, climb a tree, develop feline leukemia, or even stand down a dog for you–if they thought that would help you find your way.

A Brief History of Famous Cats

Chances are, at some point you have walked into a store, or other business establishment to be greeted by a locally famous cats. These elite, and yet unique mascots usually come with stories of being rescued from an animal shelter. Other owners will relate stories about how their famous cats simply decided to take up residence with them. Irregardless of how a cat comes to be a part of someone’s life, they often remind us of some of the most famous cats in history.

Recently, Oscar, the nursing home cat grabbed world headlines. This incredible cat not only knows when residents in the nursing home will pass on, he keeps vigil. While there are many stories about service dogs that make headlines on a daily basis, a famous cats with a job in the medical profession is often considered a rarity.

Oscar is yet another reminder of how these elegant animals seek to provide emotional support and friendship to humans. Frequently, family members have a difficult time coping with emotional impact of seeing a loved one experiencing the types of decline associated with old age. At the same time, a representative of one of the most “aloof” species of domesticated animals does not hesitate to keep people in nursing homes company during their final hours.

Few discussions of famous cats would be complete without mentioning Garfield. As infamous cartoon cats go, one must wonder how Garfield chooses between eating and sleeping. And of course, many love reading about the thoughts that go through his mind as he observes others doing things in non-cat optimized ways.

Historically, cats have been as revered as they have been hated. In the Middle Ages black cats endured a horrible tradition as famous cats. They were routinely tortured to death because of their color, and the association with witch craft. To this day, there are unsavory people that will try to adopt black cats to use all sorts of disgusting “ceremonies”. Still other people fear black cats, or will do anything they can to harm them. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that legitimate black cat owners will tell you these animals have some of the finest, and most intelligent natures amongst cat kind.

As you may be aware, cats were highly prized in ancient Egypt. Not only were they mummified with as much care as humans, it was against the law to kill a cat. In addition, a number of Egyptian deities were associated with cats. Bastet was keeper of hearth and home, while Sekhmet and Pakhet were often associated with medicine and warfare. Virtually all Egyptologists will acknowledge that famous cats played a key role in many aspects of ancient Egyptian culture.

Historically, many famous cats have cheered us up, and helped us to realize that our world would be a very sad place without their mischievous presence. Today, people all over the world keep cats as pets. While cats can be enigmatic and aloof, when they take a mind to be famous, they do it with skill and aplomb. One has only to observe famous cats like Oscar to realize that cats are capable of offering companionship to humans even when we cannot do it on our own.

Choosing Names for A Cat

If you have adopted a new kitten you are probably wondering what you should name him or her. Many people just choose a name they like and leave it at that. However, cat lovers like myself, often put a bit more thought into it.

When selecting a name for your cat, it is helpful to first look into what breed they are. Depending on the breed, you may want to look for Russian cat names or Japanese cat names.

Coat pattern and color are also of great importance. Many people like to name their cat based off of the color of the coat. For example, black cats often get names such as charcoal or nighthawk, whereas more appropriate names for white cats might be Eskimo, Frosty or Icy.

Some common black and white cat names are Oreo, Domino or Dice. Siamese cats, which is a breed that originates from Thailand, are sometimes given Thai names. If your cat is a Russian Blue, you might consider the name Boris or Svetlana.

Of course, you also want to consider the personality of the cat. Is your cat clumsy or poised, lazy or energetic? Is your cat friendly or shy? Naming a lazy cat Electricity, for example, just doesn’t quite fit, does it?

Another thing to consider is, are you looking for unisex cat names? Some people are partial to unisex names for their cat such as Lightning, Mocha and Pinwheel. Others prefer very feminine or masculine names such as Fiona, Bianca, Butch or Axel.

Some people like to name their cats after famous characters or animals. I have seen cats names Lassie and Snoopy as well as Garfield and Heathcliff. Choosing a famous character or animal is a great way to quickly and easily capture the essence of that character and transfer that same feeling to your cat.

Or perhaps you may be looking for unique cat names. Many people like to choose unique names for their children, and that practice is common among cat owners as well. Here is a list of some of the most unique cat names I have come across:

Butcher

Birkenstock

Vuitton

Maui

Johnny Walker

Bonaparte

Sacagawea

Pepsi

Qwerty

Wig Wag

Bacardi

Calypso

Blazer

And these are just a few examples. There are many sites where you can look for lists of cat names of random name generators. You can also try using sci-fi name generators if you want a truly unique name.

Many people also consider choosing a cat name from a different language, such as Japanese or French. For example, if your cat is white, you may be interested in naming him or her the Japanese or French word for white.

Another common practice is to choose ancient Egyptian cat names. Why do people do this? Because no culture in history revered and respected cats as much as the ancient Egyptians did. The Egyptians admired the cat’s poise and grace as well as its ability to keep vermin at bay.

Good luck in your search for the perfect name for your frisky feline!

Black Cats – Halloween Fear

Olaf, Fido, Rascal, and Jinxy live inside a cat shelter waiting for a new family to pick them up and take them in a real home, to then snuggle, sleep, scratch some firnuture, eat, and sleep some more. These are not the only things they share in common, these funny kittens attracts people’s attention with their same color: black.

Being associated with the darkness of night does not help their image because the color black has always been associated with evil due to our ancestor’s fear of the night. And the risk of getting more attraction happens during the celebrations of Halloween.

Why is it a risk? Simply, because, for years, there have been reports of satanic interpretations using the innocent animals as instruments of sacrifices or spells, hence ending with the life of our little four-leg black fellows. Meanwhile, and cruel too, there are high statistics of people adopting black cats just days before Halloween, to giving them back again to the shelters claiming “sorry, but the kitten didn’t adapted”.

But for my good surprise, I found this year that an Idaho shelter is taking what I call a “twelve steps back” to avoid the happening of these traumas to their black cats; an example the others shelters should follow around the globe. How? – Idaho’s Kootenai Humane Society in Coeur d’Alene is prohibiting black cat adoptions from October 29 to Nov. 2, fearing the animals could be mistreated in Halloween pranks–or worse, sacrificed in some satanic ritual.

According to a recent report from the Associated Press, there are organisms that feel this is not a healthy practice for the black cats, stating that it does more to hurt animals than protect them.

“Black cats already suffer a stigma because of their color,” said Gail Buchwald, vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter adoptions in New York City. “Why penalize them any more by limiting the times when they can be adopted?”

Black cats tend to be adopted less often than other felines, Buchwald said. He’s got a point, cause there is also the veil of urban legends around Halloween festivities and black cats. But anyhow, and citing cat friend Franny Syufy, “it is best to keep all cats indoors during the month of October, regardless of their color, but especially if they happen to be black.”

Some Black Cats Superstition & Myths:

* If a black cat crosses your path, you will have bad luck.

* If a black cat crosses your path, you will have GOOD luck. (England & Australia)

* In Japan the Maneki Neko (Beckoning Cat) is considered a symbol of good luck.

* In Russia, their Russian Blue breed of cats are supposed to be good luck as well.

* In Latvian tradition, black cats embody the spirit of Rungis, a god of harvests, which is good luck for farmers to have around.

* King Charles I of England owned a black cat and the day it died he was arrested. An old sailor’s legend said that meeting cats in the shipyard meant an unpleasant voyage of storms or other bad luck.

* In Babylonian folklore a curled up cat on the hearth is seen as similar to evil serpent.

* Thought to have nine lives, so aligned with the symbolism of nine, a lucky number.

* Some believe black cats are witches in disguise.

* During the witch-burning era of the 17th century, witches’ cats were put into baskets and burned alongside the witches.

* Many believe black cats are witches familiars. (Beings that aid witches in performing their craft.)

* A cat on a grave meant that the buried person’s soul was in the possession of the Devil, and if two cats were fighting on a grave, this signified the Devil and the defunct person’s Guardian Angel fighting for his/her soul.

* Fisherman’s wives kept black cats while their husbands went away to sea. They believed that the black cats would prevent danger from occurring to their husbands.

* Some believe that black cats carried demons.

* Some believe that black cats have special powers and abilities.

* To meet a black cat at midnight is to meet Satan.

* The Celts believed that cats were magically humans once. To kill a cat brings complete misfortune, while to tread upon its tail is also considerate unfortunate, but in a less degree.

* If a black cat suddenly abandons the house of its masters, there will be a great disaster in that house soon.

* Seeing a black cat in your dream could represents bad luck or a warming of something unfavorable may take place in your life.

* The Egyptian goddess Bast was both lion-headed and cat-headed and attended by cats and therefore cats were sacred and revered in Egypt.

* Killing a cat in Egypt was a heinous crime, punishable by death.

* When a household cat died mourning rites were performed for it.

* Cats were often found in temples and were ritually fed; stray cats were treated with honor and fed, and the household cat was allowed to share the family’s food.

* Cat amulets were produced and elaborate cat-sized sarcophagi crafted for cats who had died, who were often embalmed as humans were.