cat film festival New York City 2017

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Cat Film Festival at The School of Visual Arts 2017

Rejoice New York City cat lovers! Lucky for us, the first annual Cat Film Festival happens December 9, 2017 at The School of Visual Arts in New York City. But not to worry if you can’t attend the festival, here’s a peek into sharing our love for cats at the NY CFF. The festival is organized into two programs, screening documentaries, fiction, and fun quirky films.

WHERE: The School for Visual Arts Theatre – 333 West 23rd Street (Between 8th & 9th Avenues)
WHEN: Saturday, December 9th 2017 at 3:00 PM & 4:30 PM

  • 3:00 PM “Nobody Owns a Cat” (70 minutes)
  • 4:30 PM “Little Works of Art” (68 minutes)

    The two programs screen completely different films – each program a medley of films celebrating the cats we love so much, in varied environments and situations.  To have the full Cat Film Festival experience you’ll want to see both programs – which are appropriate for everyone in the family.

PROGRAM #1 “NOBODY OWNS A CAT”  (70 minutes)

Pure Fluff (5:00) Sean Skelton’s documentary sketch of a professional cat groomer, who shows how it’s done.
Winter Break
(5:00) Rick Hamilton
Enjoy this funny story of a preschool teacher who has only her cat for company during winter break.

Jetty Cats, Sheila O'Rourke

Jetty Cats,  Sheila O’Rourke

Jetty Cats (56:00) Sheila O’Rourke
A sweeping overview of cats throughout human history, while exploring the contemporary debate about Trap-Neuter-Return as the best management for community cats by looking at a long-surviving feral cat colony on a seaside jetty in Southern California. Here is a 3 minute 38 second trailer for Jetty Cats

Cat Film Festival Amulet by Jeff Malmberg

Amuleto by Jeff Malmberg

 

Amleto (2:00)
Jeff Malmberg’s visual “poem” to the morning ritual of a Tuscan cat.

 

 

 

 

PROGRAM #2 “LITTLE WORKS OF ART” (68 minutes)

Rescue (2:00) Lava Sheets

Cat Film Festival Rescue, Lava Sheets

Rescue,  Lava Sheets

 

Ms. Sheets self-portrait of the isolation and depression of being disabled, imagining the consoling thoughts of her devoted kitty, Apple Brown Betty.

 

 

 

Akamatsu the Cat (10:00) Ian Christopher Goodman

Akamatsu the Cat, Ian Christopher Goodman

Akamatsu the Cat by Ian Christopher Goodman
photo by Ian Christopher Goodm

Documentary about life with a disabled kitty cat,
Akamatsu, who was hit by a car and paralyzed
but went on to live another 4 vibrant years with the use of a wheelchair.

 

 

 

 

Portrait of a Cat Fighter (4:00) Graceann Dorse

Portrait of a Catfighter from Graceann Dorse on Vimeo.
Ms. Dorse’s mockumentary spoof gives a funny peek at what a New Jersey “cat fighting ring” run by mahjong-playing old ladies might look like. (who run their own non-profit cat rescue in Los Angeles) examined the community cats living in the iconic Buenos Aires Recoleta cemetery, and what became of the cats removed by well-meaning American rescuers.

Gus the Cat (5:00) Lisa Donato

Gus the Cat, Lisa Donato

Gus the Cat, Lisa Donato

Ms. Donato’s quirky film about Gus, who seems to think he is a cat and can hide his identity from others, although the people around him can see right through his mask.

Mittens from Kittens (4:00) Kim Best
This documentary showing how one woman’s nusiance cat fur is another woman’s inspriation to spin and knit it into useful items.

Scaredy, the Cat (8:00) Markie Hancock’s heartwarming documentary about a very shy cat who avoids everyone where she was adopted – at the tennis courts in NYC’s Riverside park- except for a few choice people whom she eagerly greets.

Little Works of Art (13:00) Also by Kim Best.
Ms. Best looks at  Harold “Cat Man” Sims’ and his self-styled American Museum of the House Cat in Sylva, NC, which houses over 10,000 cat-related objects and honors cats as “little works of art.”  In addition, it supports Sims’ own no-kill, open space cat shelter and adoption efforts.

NY Cat Film Festival™ was founded by Tracie Hotchner, a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate.

Tracie Hotchner, the NY Cat Film Festival Founder & Director

Tracie Hotchner, the NY Cat Film Festival Founder & Director

 

NY CFF is “an exploration through film of the fascinating felines who share our lives, creating a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tickets for the NY CFF are $15 for each program
The NY CFF will give back to the animal welfare groups that keep cats protected and healthy. In New York in particular, the NY CFF will be giving back to a program of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, the NYC Feral Cat Initiative.
NY Dog Film Festival happening the next day, December 10, at the same SVA Theatre, with showings of two films at 2:45 and 4:45 pm.

thanksgiving foods you can share with your cat

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sharing Thanksgivings dinner with my cat

I am thankful for many things, including my cats. So, while I partake in our family Thanksgiving feast, I’d love to share it with my cats.  But what is safe for them?

Foods that are definitely NOT safe for our cats are

  • Processed foods
  • disjes that have onions, garlic, chives or leeks
  • bread and bread products
  • butter
  • dishes with raisins and grapes
  • sugary foods, like yams with marshmallows
  • all desserts

So what’s left?Thanksgiving food for cats

  • roasted turkey: I rinse the meat to make sure there is nothing but plain turkey meat. Remove any bones. It provides high quality protein.
  • apples: provide fiber,  vitamin C. and antioxidants. However,  be very  CAREFUL that your cat never eats the core or apple seeds. The seeds contain cyanide, which is very BAD for your cat.
  • cooked carrots: high in fiber and vitamins. Raw carrots are hard for cats to digest.
  • Broccoli: contains healthy fiber, rich in beneficial nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and vitamin C; has anti-inflammatory properties; supports eye and heart health
  • sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene and antioxidants, and high in vitamins A and C. Sweet potatoes with purple flesh have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may lower the risk from heavy metals and oxygen radicals.
  • green beans are a source of vitamins A, C and K. They also provide calcium, copper, fiber, folic acid, iron, niacin, manganese, potassium, riboflavin and thiamin, as well as beta carotene.
  • spinach: anti-inflammatory properties and supports heart health.
  • pumpkin : a great source of fiber, vitamin A and antioxidants. Can help both diarrhea and constipation. Make sure to feed your pet either fresh pumpkin or 100 percent canned pumpkin — not pumpkin pie filling.

We suggest a small amount of safe human food mixed with your cat’s regular food; just make sure that it doesn’t contain sugar, spices, salt or butter. Finally, avoid offering food from your plate at the table, because even cats can become “beggars”.

happy Thanksgiving to all! 😺

Is a vegetarian diet good for cats?

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Is a vegetarian diet good for cats?

I’m a vegetarian (OK, I do eat seafood) for many reasons, health being one. And I want my cats to be healthy, so is a vegetarian diet good for cats? Turns out I’m not helping them by making them eat what may be healthy for me, but isn’t for them. In fact, a vegetarian diet for cats can be detrimental. Cats like meat, probably because their bodies are designed to digest meat and have nutrional needs requiring it. In fact, not only are cats carnivores they are obligate (biologically essential for survival) carnivores.

Sources of protein in a vegetarian diet

Legumes and beans often provide adequate protein in a typical vegetarian diet for humans. That’s because beans and legumes are high in fiber, folate, iron (when eaten with a source of vitamin C), and complex carbohydrates, plus they’re low in fat.

legumes in vegetarian diet

lentils are a legume
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

A legume

is a type of food that comes from a specific type of plant that is also called a legume. Legumes come from the family Leguminosae, and a trait all legumes share is that they grow in a type of pod. Lentils, soy, peanuts, split peas and clover are all legumes. Legumes are high in protein and not very fatty, so they are generally considered healthy.

is a vegetarian diet good for cats

can of beans
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

and beans

are a seed you can eat. You might love garbanzo beans but detest large, green lima beans. When you order rice and beans at a Mexican restaurant, you get a plate full of deliciously spiced, slightly mashed pinto or black beans. You might plant beans in your garden, vine-like climbing plants that grow pods with beans inside. Coffee and chocolate are both foods that start out as beans.

 

Phytates and lectins (lectins are sticky proteins) are naturally found in legumes. For cats, this is a problem because cats lack phytase, the necessary enzyme to process phytates. Phytates are also known to bind to minerals like zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, and therefore depletes them from your cat’s body. This occurs during a meal containing phytates, not subsequent meals that do not contain legumes. But if your cat is fed a steady diet that does use legumes for protein, you should expect health risks.

A large proportion of the total protein in most cheap processed cat food is from plants, not animals. These ingredients artificially boost the total percentage of protein in cat food by manufactures.

cat food labels

cat food labels
photo by shari smith dunaif ©2016

 

Although manufacturers are required to list ingredients in order of precooked weight, you must read the labels carefully, and learn: how to interpret cat food labels.

 

Another major problem caused by using plant proteins as the protein source for cat food is that taurine, an amino acid, is missing in plants. Taurine must be consumed by cats, since their bodies can not produce it, and taurine deficiency causes cardiovascular disease and blindness.

Some cat owners believe they can feed their pet a vegetarian or vegan diet, and add a taurine supplement. In my opinion, this is the equivalent of eating nothing but iceberg lettuce and taking a synthetic multivitamin. That vitamin can’t possibly make up for all the nutrients missing from an iceberg lettuce-only diet.

Dr. Becker, DVM

Taurine is the amino acid found in animal muscle meat, especially in heart and liver.

The biological value (BV) of a protein is an important measurement, since it measures the bioavailability of its amino acid content. Proteins from animal muscle meats typically have high BVs, because it’s easier for cats to digest, absorb and use properly. Whereas proteins from snouts, beaks, feet and tails have 0 biological value (BV) because they are basically indigestible.

cat eats animal protein

Toby eats animal protein
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

So my fellow vegetarians, respect that cats are by nature meat eaters, and are designed to hunt and consume animal meat and organs. Corn, soy, rice, beans and legumes benefit the profit of cat food manufacturers, to the detriment of your cat.

Love your cat and feed your cat what is referred to as a “species appropriate” diet.
That means animal protein.
Let’s keep our cats healthy!

Kids & allergies to cats

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Why some people are allergic to cats

I had been wondering about this, especially since I am quite allergic to cats. I didn’t find out until I was an adult that I was allergic to cats at all. Which, coincidently, was when the first of our cats entered my life. Turns out, it may not be a coincidence.

The journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy published a study about kids and allergies to cats, conducted in 2011. The study followed over 550 kids from birth to 18 years old, by regularly collecting data from the families of the kids about the presence of cats in the home. Once the data was gathered and the study ended, blood samples were taken from each kid to test for allergies to cats.

Kids who had a cat in the house during their first year of life were 50% less likely to be allergic to cats than the children not exposed from birth to one year. Therefore, It was exposure during infancy that is significant. In the study authors own words, they concluded,

“The first year of life is the critical period during childhood when indoor exposure to cats influences sensitization to these allergins.”

Researchers also discovered that exposure to cats for kids a few years older didn’t make much of a difference.

kids and allergies to cats

photo shari smith dunaif ©2015

 

 

So here we have yet another great reason for families to enjoy cats in their home ESPECIALLY if you’ve got a baby! Your infant’s exposure to cats will enable your child, once they’ve grown up and have their own home, to be able to choose if they want to have cats, rather than allergies preventing them from having the option.

So now I know at least one reason why I’m allergic to cats.

 

 

cat art the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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cat art at The Metropolitan Museum

Last week, my friend Jenny and I went to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, located in New York City,  Although we didn’t seek out cats in art, we happily found two excellent examples. The first one is a sculpture by Giacometti. I really like most of his work, but hadn’t seen this particular cat sculpture in bronze. Turns out the only other animal sculptures he did was one of a dog, two of horses.

Giacometti (1901-1966) cat bronze, 1954

Giacometti bronze cat

Giacometti cat
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2017

 

Giacometti remembered that his brother Diego’s cat “passed just like a ray of light,” squeezing it’s lithe and predatory form close to objects without ever touching them.

from The Metropolitan Museum

The other wonderful surprise was because Jenny wanted to track down an artist she likes: Balthus. Luckily for us, when asking for directions from a Met guard, he steered us to the painting Jenny wanted to see, then generously directed us to Balthus paintings scattered in other collections, around the museum. That’s how we came upon Thérèsa Dreaming, a 1938 painting by Balthus.

Balthus Thérèsa Dreaming

Thérèsa Dreaming
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2017

Being that Jenny is a cat person too, we were both delighted by the cat in the painting.

cat in Balthus painting Thérèsa Dreaming

the cat in Thérèsa Dreaming
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2017

 

Thérèsa Blanchard, who was about twelve or thirteen at the   time this picture was made, and her brother Hubert were neighbors of Balthus in Paris. She appears alone, with her cat, or with her brother in a series of  eleven painting between 1936 and 1939.

From The Metropolitan Museum

Jenny and I had a fabulous day. Can’t wait to return to The Met to discover more cats in art.