if you’re allergic to cats try this

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“I love cats but I’m allergic!”

My Kitty Care has heard this many times. In fact, I too am very allergic to cats, but I love my two cats. when my doctor said “OK, since you should get rid of your cats, but I know you never will, take allergy shots.” Which I did for five years, but stopped because it was awful.

So what to do?
if you’re allergic to cats try this:

  • First, and most importantly, make sure you are not so severely allergic to cats, that contact could trigger a life threatening reaction. If you are unfortunate enough to be that allergic, yes, you should not live with or have any contact with cats. But if your symptoms are mild, or even chronic and uncomfortable, like mine, here’s some suggestions about what to do if you’re allergic to cats but love them:

what about a Sphinx (hairless cat)?

Sphynx may be hairless, but they are not hypoallergenic because they still produce dander: dead skin cells. There is no scientific evidence that any breed or cross breed is more or less allergenic than any other cat.

hairless cats

In humans, it’s called dandruff, but with cats it’s called dander, also saliva, and even their urine may contain the proteins that people are allergic to. Sometimes people are able to build up a tolerance to their cats over time, at least enough so that they can live with them comfortably.

  • It’s always recommended to make your bedroom (or the bedroom of your allergic family member) a cat-free zone.
if your allergic to cats try this

Ludlow in bed
photo by shari smith dunaif©2016



I failed miserably trying this because I missed my cats nestled next to us, and so did they: they’d scratch at our door until we let them in to join our cozy bed. Good luck to those trying!




  • A high-quality air purifier does help rid the air of allergens.
  • Vacuum your home often and thoroughly, which means sofas, rugs and carpeting, pillows, upholstered furniture, etc.
  • Wash all cat bedding weekly in hot water.
  • Wash your hands after handling your cat.
  • Shower and shampoo before going to bed to minimize carrying dander to bed with you.
  • Reduce allergenics in your cat’s saliva by gradually eliminating genetically modified foods you may be feeding your cat.
  • Make sure your cat is getting plenty of essential fatty acids in her diet to reduce shedding and dander.
  • Bathe your cat regularly, taking care to use only a safe, non-drying herbal cat shampoo.

Some of these suggestions are immediately doable (like frequently vacuuming your home) while others will take time, like changing your cat’s diet or bathing your cat.

Next post: about bathing your cat.



Christmas cat sings Rocking ‘Round the Christmas Tree

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Sing and and dance with rocking Christmas kitty cat

Rocking ’round the Christmas tree with this singing Christmas cat! We keep playing with this fabulous Christmas card – Christmas cat sings, meows and dances – well, more like shaking than dancing, but Christmas cat moves!

A fun way to share a merry Christmas –

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, to all humans and kitty cats, oh OK, we love dogs too!

cat Christmas at Reminiscence, NYC

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Christmas at Reminiscence, NYC

A cat Christmas is always good, and a cat Christmas at Remoniscence, NYC is even better.

Reminiscence NYC Christmas and cat

Joan & Valentina Christmas at Reminiscence, NYC photo by shari smith dunaif ©2016








Joan, manager of Reminiscence, holds Valentina, the sweet cat she rescued from the building next door.  Valentina was a frightened, very shy little cat hiding behind boxes left in the basemen of the neighboring store, after it went out of business. Joan and her staff, especially along time employee Rodney, fed her, talked to her and gradually gained her trust.

She has grown into a healthy, beautiful, friendly cat – Joan and the staff love her, as do customers who come to Reminiscence to shop – actually, some people come to Reminiscence to visit with Valentina.

Christmas cat at Reminiscence

Joan & Valentina share a cat Christmas at Reminiscence NYC photo by shari smith dunaif ©2016


Happy Holidays Joan, Valentina, Rodney, Francisco, and Jules.

∧    ∧

Felix the cat balloon: Macy’s Thanksgiving parade

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Felix the cat balloon!

The annual 2016 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City celebrates it’s 90th anniversary. This year brings back the Felix the cat balloon, which was the first giant balloon to be part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 1927.

flex the cat Macy's Thanksgiving parade 1927

Felix the cat 1927

Felix the cat

The first-ever Macy’s Day Parade actually took place on Christmas of 1924. Macy’s employees dressed as clowns, cowboys, and other fun costumes, and traveled with Central Park zoo animals and creative floats a lengthy six miles from Herald Square to Harlem in Manhattan.
The parade was meant to draw attention to the Macy’s store in NYC, and the gimmick worked – more than 250,000 people attended the inaugural Macy’s Day Parade.It was decided that this NYC parade would become an annual NY event in Manhattan.

Macy's Thanksgiving parade, 1927

Felix the cat balloon, Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade, 1927

In 1927, Felix the Cat became the first giant balloon to ever take part in the Macy’s Day Parade. In 1928, Felix was inflated with helium, and without a plan to deflate this massive balloon, NYC parade organizers simply let Felix fly off into the sky. Unfortunately, he popped soon thereafter.

from nyctourist.com

Felix the cat balloon replica of the original 1927 balloon, made for this year’s 2016 parade

Felix the cat balloon 2016

photo by shari smith dunaif ©2016

Felix the cat balloon face 2016

photo by shari smith dunaif ©2016









Happy Thanksgiving to all

Indonesian short tail cat

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short tail cat

I had never seen a cat with a tail like this before, until going to Indonesia. That’s where I saw this black Indonesian short tail cat.

Indonesia curly tail cat

Indonesian short tail cat
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2015

Bali temple cat

Cat in Bali temple photo by shari smith dunaif © 2015

Seems like most cats I’ve seen in Indonesia
were typically mottled






But this cat was all black, and her tail is short, stubby and the tip is curled.

Such a pretty, sweet cat.

img_0323 She looked quite healthy, which is not always the case with cats living in Indonesia. img_0307 She was very friendly and affectionate; and like many cats, she loved to be petted behind her ears.

Indonesia black cat

sweet Indonesia cat
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

why is my cat sneezing?

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is your cat sneezing?

Marnie was, a lot. Although it was kind of cute, I thought – why is my cat sneezing? She’d sneeze four or five consecutive times, every few hours. She could have allergies, but this was sudden. Maybe she’s sick, maybe she has a cold. I did some research and most sites said cats can get colds, and like humans, colds will go away on their own. There’s not much you can do to make your cat feel better and get better faster. But then, she had clear discharge from her eye, although I only saw it twice. I wiped her eye with a cotton ball dampened with warm water to clean the discharge. However, we were going out of town, and that’s why, as a precaution, we decided to bring Marnie to the vet to make sure it was only a cold and nothing worse. By then, we discovered she was doing turkey body, something cats may do if they aren’t feeling well. Turkey body is when their tail and all their paws are tucked under them, as if conserving warmth and possibly energy.

turkey body in sick cat

Marnie turkey body
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

Our vet, Dr. Katz, from The Veterinary Clinic of East Hampton said that actually Marnie had a respiratory infection and required antibiotics. This is what she prescribed for Marnie:

antibiotic liquid box for cats

antibiotic liquid 
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

antibiotic liquid for cats in fridge

antibiotic in fridge
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016









antibiotic drops must be kept in the refrigerator.




She got 1 ml by mouth, twice a day.

liquid antibiotic for cats

antibiotic dose liquid form
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

The easiest way to administer the liquid is from the side of her mouth.







Colds in cats are highly infectious – so Toby got it within days.

cat not feeling well

Toby not feeling well
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

cat has cold

Toby has a cold
photo by Monika Klein © 2016

The first symptom Toby displayed was sneezing; then he too had a clear discharge from his eye.

According to Monika (our trusty cat sitter) and Bridget (our cat medical caregiver) he wasn’t eating or drinking water, plus his eye became very irritated from him scratching it, so they wisely decided to bring him to Dr. Katz. Good thing, because turns out Toby also required medication for his eye, appetite and respiratory infection.

Thanks to our caring cat sitter Monika, and Bridget (she took care of our sweet Bear) who works at our vet’s, and Dr. Katz, from The Veterinary Clinic of East Hampton.

eco kitty litter bags

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 eco kitty litter bags

I do try to be ecological about things, so how do I use eco kitty litter bags? I clean my cats kitty litter at least once a day, sometimes twice, so I need lots of bags for used kitty litter.

OK, I love guacamole and chips. Especially the chips part. So, we always have a stash of tortilla chips at my house.

tortilla chip bags

tortilla chip bags
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

Which means that there’s also plenty of empty tortilla chip bags to throw out. But why not recycle them? A great use is as eco kitty litter bags.

eco kitty litter bags

eco kitty litter bags
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

Tortilla chip bags are quite strong – definitely strong enough to hold kitty litter clumps.

for more suggestions on going green kitty litter bags

cat and dog in same house

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can a dog and cat in same house

coexist? Maybe even happily? Not always.
What about these guys?

Meet Sushi the cat

grey cat Sushi

Photo by Marisa

                 and Jezebel, a 100% pug.

pug dog Jezebel

photo by Marisa

Sushi lives in the same house as Jezebel.


cat wants to come in room

can I come in?
photo by Marisa





Sushi wants to know if Jez minds if she comes in









dog wonders let cat in?

Jez and Sushi
photo by Marisa











Jezebel ponders.


cat and dog same house

Jez and Sushi hang out photo by Marisa


Jez and Sushi chilling’ together.

Marisa says Jezebel is the sweetest, but she’s her mom, so of course she thinks that, but Marisa also says Sushi is very sweet too.

cat and pug together

Meet Sushi and Jezebel
photo by Marisa






So yes, cats and dogs can coexist, happily.

cat sitting up

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Cat sitting up

First of all, this is a cat sitting up.

Second, this cat has a fabulous and unusual name: Pokeweed.

So Pokeweed the cat likes and does sit up. What a suave guy.
Keep watching – a cat mate proves that Pokeweed really is a cat sitting up – he’s not leaning on anything (like a sofa).

Keep on chillin’ Pokeweed.

how to get rid of fleas

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My cat has fleas!

ughh, what should I do? Please tell me how to get rid of fleas.

Having cats in your house makes flea infestation possible: on your cat, and then in your home. And Fleas are annoying for both cat and human. A few fleas can quickly multiply very quickly – one female flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day, which can fall off your cat inside your home. The eggs develop into larvae, which then form cocoons.
The flea hatches when it senses heat, vibrations or exhaled carbon dioxide, signaling that an animal is nearby. Then they jump onto the host and the cycle continues.
Flea infestation is not inevitable, but here’s some suggestion to help avoid having them jump on your cat and be transported into your house.

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Ctenocephalides felis, cat flea

Chemical flea treatments like collars, powders and other products can be dangerous, because they may contain toxic pesticides, which is not good for your cat and especially kids and pregnant women who have contact with treated cats. Applying too much topical flea product to your cat, or mixing up a dog flea preventive can be deadly if used on your cat. Even when applied properly, serious side effects can occur: skin irritation, neurological problems, gastrointestinal disorders and organ failure.

But there are other alternatives, natural ones.
A safe option is apple cider vinegar: most households already have it, and it’s cheaper and non-toxic.

Apple cider vinegar

organic apple cider vinegar
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

Apple cider vinegar doesn’t kill fleas, but it may repel them because fleas dislike the smell and taste.

One of the simplest ways to use it is to make your own solution

  • equal parts apple cider vinegar and water.
  • Add the mixture to a spray bottle and spritz it on your pet before he heads outdoors
  • spray cat’s bedding.
  • Create a stronger anti-flea solution by adding aromatic oils that are safe for cats. Try:
    Geranium, lemongrass, lavender, neem and catnip oil
  • If you bathe your cat, use that opportunity to add diluted apple cider vinegar to pour over your cat (roughly 1 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water).

Fleas also dislike citrus, so you can use that instead of vinegar.

  • Sprinkle fresh-squeezed lemon, orange or grapefruit juice on your cat’s fur, being very careful to avoid her eyes (be aware, that lemon juice can lighten dark fur).
  • After bathing your cat, add 1 cup of lemon juice to 1 gallon of rinse water and pour over your clean kitty, carefully avoid head, massage into coat and towel dry.

Fleas are attracted to unhealthy cas, so keep your guy healthy – it will make him less of a target. Feed your cat a balanced, protein rich, cat appropriate diet. By the way,  tap water has fluoride and chlorine, chemicals that can have a negative affect your cat’s immune health. Some medications and vaccinations can compromise your cat’s immune system – talk to your vet.

For outdoor cats, be careful with environmental chemicals (like pesticides and lawn chemicals) because these can be detrimental to your cat. Tall grass, weeds and wood stacked against your house are inviting to both fleas and  frolicking cats.

cat comb

cat comb
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2015

Brushing your cat is a good way to check for fleas. If you do find them on your cat, don’t freak out, instead do the following:

  1. Put your cat on a light-colored towel, take a comb and dip it into soapy water and run it thru your cat’s fur
  2. repeat until the fleas stop dropping onto the towel (oh, so that’s why the towel should be light colored: – so you can see them!)
  3. it’s also a good time to add apple cider vinegar to the soapy water solution you’re dipping the comb in.

You may need to do this for several days.
In your house, frequent vacuuming of floors and furniture; plus washing your cat’s bedding, frequently, and your own sheets, linens, throw rugs and blankets will help make your home uninviting to fleas.

Fleas can transmit tapeworms, cause cat scratch disease and may even cause severe cases of anemia, especially in young animals.

white nose ARF cat

“Thank god I don’t have fleas!” photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

Keeping your home and cats free of fleas makes everyone in your family much happier.