Chronic Kidney Disease in cats and what NOT to do


Bear was the sweetest cat ever. No, really. I know most will say that about their cats, but she really was. When she died of CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) our hearts broke.

The fear of our other cats getting CKD has since haunted us.

This encouraged My Kitty Care to continuosly learn about Chronic Kidney Disease in cats and what NOT to do. The recent suggestions to help prevent CKD by cat-only veterinarian and nutrition expert Dr. Lisa Pierson, caught our attention. It fundamentally focused on two things:

• Diet
• Over vaccinating FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia)

Generally speaking, a good diet is desirable for maintaining a healthy cat. No different than us. But what is a healthy diet for a cat, particularly for helping prevent CKD?
The main thing is to Limit dry food.

The reason is this, dry food is…dry. Wild cats get their moisture from their prey, and our cats naturally get theirs from food, too. Which means wet food. More and more cat food companies make products in cans or pouches that either include gravy in the flavor, or as a stand alone gravy product. We just add fresh, filtered water and mix it with the wet food.

Another reason dry food is not the ideal primary food for your cat, is how protein is processed. Most manufactures render the protein. What does render mean?

As of April, 2021, the FDA defined rendering as:

“Any Firm Or Individual That Processes Slaughter Byproducts; Animals Unfit For Human Consumption, Including Carcasses Of Dead Cattle; Or Meat Scraps.”

Gross. So dry food taxes your cats kidneys by being hard-to-digest, rendered, poor quality protein, and lacking moisture. Even if your cat is sadly diagnosed with CKD, some vets will recommend products designed for cats with CKD, including dry food products. Be wary of these products: they are dry food.

Next on the list is over vaccinating your cat with FVRCP. This is particularly relevant if your cat is an indoor cat. Based on our research, all three of the diseases the FVRCP vaccination addresses are highly contagious, and passed by contact with infected cats, or fecal matter, food bowls, etc. These diseases are serious, and most cats should be vaccinated. Kittens are particularly susceptible to serious illness from these same three diseases, which is why a series of vaccinations are typically administrated by your vet for kittens.

But how often?
Dr, Lisa Pierson says, “It is very important to understand that the current guidelines state that the FVRCP combination vaccine should not be given more frequently than every 3 years.  That is not the same as stating “these vaccines should be administered every 3 years.”

Once a kitten has received two doses of FVRCP (rather than the typically recommended four) plus once as an adult, the question becomes, is repeated vaccinations of FVRPC a risk or beneficial? Dr. Pierson’s view that even three years may be too often for an adult cat is because the vaccination has been proven to cause kidney inflammation. The prevalence of CKD in cats, unlike wild cats, makes kidney inflammation a damaging consequence of over vaccinating. Dr. Pierson observes CKD as the most common threat to cats, especially older ones. Unless you board your cat, take your cat to cat shows, or to any place where your cat has contact with cats of unknown health, that may influence the frequency of your cat receiving the FVRCP vaccination, meaning every 3 years, as appropriate. Some vets, however, suggest annually. Regardless, it’s your call.

Why is over vaccinating the FVRCP a potential risk for CKD in our cats?Again referring to Dr. Lisa Pierson:
“The viruses used to make vaccines need to be grown in what is called a “cell culture.”  The cells used to make the FVRCP vaccine are feline (cat) kidney cells. When these kidney cells are injected into the cat (along with the vaccine), his immune systems views them as foreign and makes antibodies against them.  Unfortunately, those antibodies do not know the difference between the injected kidney cells and his own kidney tissue resulting in a potential autoimmune ‘attack’ on his kidneys. (‘Auto’ means ‘self.”)

Most people become veterinarians because they love animals and want to help them. But it is important, as a pet parent, to be informed about your cat’s health, and how to keep them healthy. That includes your cat’s diet, annual physicals, sufficient exercise, and vaccinations.

Thank you Dr. Pierson for great information.

my kitty care does not endorse any product discussed on The Scratching Post, nor does my kitty care receive payments, or any form of compensation from any company or product on my kitty care.

Recycling with My Kitty Care


Fortunately, recycling is a way of life. Here’s how we can participate when taking care of our cats.

Instead of throwing away all those plastic bags, look at them. Some of them make excellent bags when cleaning your cat’s kitty litter box.

This isn’t garbage!
There’s certain types of bags that are particularly good to use: the right size, with an opening big enough for your litter scooper, and a strong enough plastic.

My favorite bags include: bread bags; chip/pretzel bags; supermarket produce bags (although doubling them up is safer since they can rip) and liner bags inside cereal boxes.

Once we repurpose these bags for disposing used kitty litter — then they’re garbage.

Greek castle cat turned dog lover into cat lover


Dog lover or cat lover, or both? We’d say you’re an animal lover. Meet a Greek castle cat who turned a dog lover into a cat lover.

Claude-Alexander and castle cat photo by shari smith dunaif © 2022

Greece continues to be a favorite tourist destination. It’s a beautiful country with lovely beaches, dramatic mountains and charming villages. Greece is also home to western civilizations most famous achievements from the ancient world. Throughout the country are fortresses, churches and mosques, museums, archeological sites, convents and castles. In the village of Nafplio lies Akronafplia Castle, perched on a bluff.

In October, My Kitty Care traipsed up the hill to Akronafplia Castle, where the view of the town of Nafplio spread out below. And, that’s where we saw the small, black castle cat.

The castle cat
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2022

Before we opened a can of cat food (which we always travel with) we noticed an empty can on the rocks.

photo by shari smith dunaif © 2022

Sitting a few feet away was Claude-Alexander. He’s a dog lover and always travels with dog food and treats.
“It’s not that I don’t like cats,” he added, “I just don’t know much about them.”

Claude-Alexander watches castle cat
photo by shari smith dunaif ©2022

From his home in Germany, Claude-Alexander drove south. En route to Greece he stopped along the way to enjoy Croatia’s coastline and sometimes ventured inland to hike mountains and explore villages. He continued to Greece, enjoying the magnificent vistas and history.

While in Greece he encountered stray cats and offered them dog treats. Greece has stray cats everywhere and although they look relatively healthy, they always need another meal. Soon enough, Claude-Alexander added cans of cat food and cat treats to his charitable supplies.

The sweet castle cat endeared herself to Claude-Alexander. He pet her and smiled, she purred.

Petting castle cat photo by shari smith dunaif © 2022

He even considered adopting her and naming her Claudine or Claudette. But he had an itinerary and it didn’t include a cat.

Claude-Alexander pets castle cat
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2022

A week later, in an email sent to My Kitty Care, Claude-Alexander said he regretted not bringing the castle cat home. He clearly researched traveling in Europe with a cat and found the following requirements: a rabies vaccination, being microchipped and a pet passport. He also wanted advice about cats living in a small apartment, and other questions about cats — which My Kitty Care gladly addressed.

photo by shari smith dunaif © 2022

We think one day, dog lover and now also cat lover Claude-Alexander, will rescue a cat making him and the lucky cat very happy.

What to do when my cat scratches furniture


If your cat scratches furniture, curtains or anything you DON’T want your otherwise sweet fantastic kitty cat to ruin, it’s helpful to understand why they do it. They’re not deliberately trying to piss us off, they have a reason. Read why my cat scratches furniture to help you understand your cat’s behavior.

solutions for cats scratching furniture

Get scratchings posts and pads. Lots of them. The goal is to offer your cat as many options as possible. Get different styles, textures, and sizes.

Pet store scratching pads & posts

In nature, cats use trees to stretch and scratch, which is why it’s one of several materials used on scratching posts. Similar surfaces that have scratching appeal are sisal, hemp and carpeting.

Your cat might prefer one material over another, and letting them sample scratching posts with different textures is how to find out what your cat likes. Maybe all of them.

photo by shari smith dunaif © 2022
  • Take advantage of offering different scratching textures to your cat.
  • Place post or pad close to where your cat scratches as an alternative.
  • Your cat needs to know the scratching pads and posts are theirs.
Marnie likes her scratch pad. photo by shari smith dunaif © 2022

If your cat is reluctant to use your newly purchased post/pad, sprinkle catnip on it. Watch what happens. Catnip often works to entice your cat to using the pad/post. (Although not all cats respond to catnip.)

Marnie loves catnip, and now her scratching pad
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2022

Another technique is this: if you see your cat scratching your sofa, for example, gently pick them up and carry them to a scratching pad/post. Never yell at your cat, you’ll only upset and confuse them. They are, after all, doing what’s natural to them. This shouldn’t need to be said —NEVER hit your cat, unless you want them terrified and possibly never trust you again. Instead, after you bring your cat to their scratching pad/post, place them or their paws on it and with a soothing tone, pet them and tell them yes my most loved kitty, here it is okay to scratch. Maybe this sounds silly, and although cats can’t be trained in the manner dogs can, my kitty care believes cats can be guided. Suddenly, your cat is happily scratching away on their pad/post. Take this opportunity to reinforce and reward your cat with their favorite treat. Cats understand that good behavior gets them good stuff.

Scratching post & hemp door hanger awaits Marnie

Remember, your cat isn’t deliberately disobeying you or trying to be bad, they’re just drawn to places which appeal to them because of their instinctive need to scratch, groom and stretch. It’s our job to provide them with alternatives that work for them and protect our furniture. You don’t have to get rid of your cat to eliminate the scratching problem, you just need to understand why your cat scratches, and make the effort to provide solutions that work for you and your cat.

my kitty care does not endorse any product discussed on The Scratching Post, nor does my kitty care receive payments, or any form of compensation from any company or product on my kitty care.

Why does my cat scratch furniture?


For some people, my cat scratches furniture is why they bring or return their cat to a shelter. But are there other options?
Yes, if you’re willing to try different suggestions until you and your cat(s) find what works.

why cats like to scratch

In the natural world, wild cats instinctively scratch just like our cats we live with, because for all cats it’s equivalent to a manicure. By scratching (known as stropping) they shed the outer husk of their claws for the new claw beneath. It’s also how they keep their claws filed and clean. Plus they get a great full body stretch.

Cat using scratch post to stretch
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2018

Another reason cats scratch is as a means of claiming territory. If your house is their territory, it’s their house too and they mark it. That includes your favorite sofa or upholstered chair, cause it’s yours and by scratching, it becomes your cat’s. Consider it a gesture of trust: you’ve created an environment which enables your cat to feel secure enough to want to stake out your house and furniture as their turf.

Marnie on her sofa
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2022

Okay, we like our cats to feel safe. So how do we save our furniture?

  • Make your furniture unappealing to your cat
  • Provide alternate scratching options
  • Use scratching surfaces that attracts your cat
  • Guide their behavior towards where you want them to scratch

Cats supposedly are repelled by citrus, which is why there are several products on the market specifically for this purpose. You can find these products at pet stores/online.

Or try tape. Tape? You must use sticky double-sided tape and place it where your cat scratches. Some people may suggest aluminum foil or plastic covering and although effective, it’s also quite ugly. Instead, double-sided sticky tape is much less intrusive.

Peeling off covering of two-sided tape
(Example from one company)
photo shari smith dunaif © 2022

My kitty care can attest to this particular option. A chair our beloved (and missed) Toby had declared as his had begun to show the ravages of his scratching, from the top of the armrest to the floor. We used the double-sided tape and he stopped. After a few years the tape peeled off, but Toby had accepted that area as a NO SCRATCH zone. It did remain, however, as his throne.

Double-sided tape on corner of sofa
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2022

my kitty care does not endorse any product discussed on The Scratching Post, nor does my kitty care receive payments, or any form of compensation from any company or product on my kitty care.

Next: what to do if your cat scratches furniture

What a group of cats is called


A group of 3 or more cats is called a “clowder.” Where did that come from?

According to Wiktionary, clowder was noted as being used in the English language in 1801. But it’s origin is much older. It began with the Old English word, clott (contemporary spelling: clot). Clott became clutter during the Middle English (1100-1500) period, which began because of the Norman Conquest in 1066. By 1167, Oxford University was founded and Cambridge followed in 1209. Both these institutions increased literacy and an expansion of the English language. Clutter became clowder, although currently, it’s not in common use.

These are also acceptable references to a group of 3 or more cats:
Cluster of cats
Clutter of cats
Destruction of cats
Dout of cats
Glaring of cats
Nuisance of cats
Pounce of cats — my kitty care favorite

To My Kitty Care, whether it’s one, two or a clowder of cats, we love them.

My cat eats flowers


Some cats, but not all, love to eat houseplants. But Valentina is different. She lives with Rodney and his partner Raymond. When Valentina is in their garden, Rodney smiles and says, “My cat eats flowers.”

This is new to My Kitty Care. Why flowers? According to Dr. Karyn Bischoff, a board-certified veterinary toxicologist at the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center in Ithaca, cats sense of smell is so much superior to humans; they have 14 – 20 times the smell receptors than we have. And since flowers smell wonderful to us, we can imagine how inviting they must be to cats.

Valentina enjoys Rodney & Raymond’s garden

These lovely flowers are considered safe for cats to eat

  • Lilacs
  • Roses (it’s the thorns that make roses problematic)
  • Sunflowers
  • Petunias
  • Camellias
  • Snapdragons
  • Daisies

For cats who eat houseplants, it’s important to know which ones you MUST NOT have in your home because they are toxic to cats. What about flowers? Some flowers are so toxic, the cat only needs to chew and not even swallow the flower or leaves of the flower.

Although these flowers are pretty — keep cats away from them!

  • True lilies and daylilies 
  • Daffodils
  • Crocus
  • Hyacinths
  • Kalanchoe
  • Azalea
  • Hydrangeas
  • Tulips (are in the lily family)
  • Oleander 
  • Lily of the valley 
  • Chrysanthemums

The levels of toxicity of the above flowers range from a rash to death Lilies are particularly toxic — your cat only needs to eat a couple of leaves or just lick the pollen grains to ingest the poison.

Want to know how serious the consequences are?

If your cat eats the leaf or pollen grains of a lily: your cat will vomit for 2 to 4 hours. Within 12 – 24 hours your cat will urine frequently. If your cat stops urinating, he/she may have kidney failure. If you do nothing, your cat will die 4 – 7 days from nibbling on a lily.

About flower arrangements

Giving or getting a lovely flower arrangement is always welcomed. But what about we lucky households with cats — my cat (getting an arrangement) or your cat (receiving an arrangement)? The website 1st in flowers focuses on those flowers used in typical floral arrangements which are toxic to cats. The site categorizes flowers based on the symptomatic reaction cats have to them.

If you have any reason to suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24 hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.

state may ban declawing


Why is declawing a legal issue? Let’s start with what declawing is. Except for extreme situations, My Kitty Care considers it a cruel practice, and the desire to protect cats is why it’s become a legal debate. In the USA, New York was the first state to ban declawing with some cities fiollowing suit. In Canada, seven provinces have banned declawing. Hopefully, another state may ban declawing in the near future.

Marnie asks about declawing
Marnie says, “What is declawing?” photo by shari smith dunaif © 2021

Currently, seven states are considering the ban, but MARYLAND is actually awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives. Senate bill sponsor Cheryl C Kagan expects it to be on the governor’s desk soon, and if it’s signed, Maryland will be the 2nd state to ban declawing. Included in the bill is a fine of $5000 for any vet who performs the procedure.

But nothing is black and white. As abhorrent as My Kitty Care views declawing, absolute outlawing can be problematic. Case in point: elderly woman must move to assisted living but is denied bringing her two older cats due to management worry of damage to furniture,carpets, etc. If the cats are declawed, they can continue to be together, otherwise, the cats will be sent to a shelter and most likely be euthanized (older cats are especially difficult to find homes for). The source of this scenario is from the BBC. My Kitty Care advocates banning declawing, but allowing for severely limited flexibility.

Toby happily making muffins, another instinctive cat behavior requiring use of their claws

The following countries already banned or view the practice as extremely inhuman and performed only under extreme circumstances:

New Zealand
Northern Ireland

Time for the USA to take action. Best of all, create a federal law which would simplify things and most importantly, protect cats.

What do you think?

popular cat names in 2021


It’s time to check-out the most popular cat names for this year. Okay, let’s start with some popular Italian names from Daily Italian Words. This is lo svago — fun!

What are you going to name me?
photo by shari smith dunaif ©2019

Pallina (female) Pallino (male) means small ball, like a toy, in Italian

Luna, or moon in Italian. Like the moon, cats are mysterious, beautiful and nocturnal.

Birba is perfect for your mischievous kitten. Italian adults call mischievous or naughty children birba.

Trilly (also spelled Trilli) is the Italian name for Tinkerbell, the beloved character in Peter Pan. Oddly enough, it’s very popular in Italy. Guess Tinkerbell in any language is just so cute.

Bella, Italian for beautiful and popular in Italy and around the world.

My favorite is this one: Briciolina (female ) Bricionlino (male). They are affectionate derivatives from briciola, meaning crumb (usually said of bread or a cookie) or a small amount of something. Really cute.


Some more popular 2021 cat names

One of the sources for the list of the most popular cat names is from the Cat Fanciers Association, an organization with the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cats. Then there’s an actual site called, plus other random searches. But the consensus seems pretty consistent.

To conclude the Italian favorites, Rocky is a diminutive of the Italian name Rocco for your wise guy cat.

Oliver is on just about every list of the most popular cat names. And, Oliver just happens to be the #3 most popular male baby name in the United States.

Simba is Swahili for lion, made famous from The Lion King. Nala is another popular name from The Lion King, for a girl cat.

Chloe has been a popular female kitty name for several years. Cute yet sophisticated.

Max is a name that remains on the list year after year. Our friend and cat sitter of many many years had a beloved cat Max. Max continues to be a cool and favorite name.

Girl cat names like Lucy and Lily continue to be popular. They’re cute and sweet, and are perfect for cute, sweet kittens.

Sophia is really popular for both babies and cats. It’s a pretty and elegant name.

The 1986 Japanese film The Adventures of Milo and Otis introduced the world to the now popular name Milo. In the movie, Milo was an orange tabby, his pal Otis was a pug.

This is not a photograph of Milo, but he is an adorable orange tabby.
photo by shari smith dunaif ©2019

Tiger is obvious for your striped orange tabby. According to the CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) breed registry, Tiger is the 5th most popular cat name in China. I prefer Tigger, from Winnie-the-Pooh. It’s goofier — although no cat would ever admit to being goofy, some are endearingly so.

Coco is big in the USA, but even bigger in…China, where, according to the CFA, it is the third most popular name for cats registered with the CFA (Cat Fanciers Association.)

Charlie had been a very popular name in the United States for late 19th century human parents. Then it lost favor. However, Charlie has been revived as a popular cat name.

Smokey is used for grey cats, and that’s about it. Unless you’re a Highway Patrol guy.

It’s popular for some people to name their grey cat Shadow because he/she follows them around. I don’t get it — wouldn’t it be better for a black cat who follows you around?

Mia is like a little meow.

Jack is a name like Max: determined, confident, as if ready to pounce. People once used Jack as a diminutive of John, but eventually it gained ground on its own. Over the centuries (it’s an old name) it continually went in and out of favor. As for your cat, Jack is a name of choice for cat parents.

Those who have an inclination to baby talk to your cat may lapse into “precious Angel,” “sweet Angel” or something like that. Hence Angel is popular. Not a criticism, in fact, totally acceptable.

Oreo is popular with people who live with black & white cats. A delectable name. Another food related name popular for cats is Biscuit. Not really sure why.

Once, Felix was a popular name for boys. It’s Latin meaning lucky, happy, successful. The name isn’t common anymore, but for cats, it has been for over a century. Thanks to the cartoon character Felix the Cat, created by Pat Sullivan, Otto Messmer and Joe Oriolo. Felix the Cat was first seen in 1919, in Feline Follies. Since then, Felix is a popular and loved name full of fun, smarts and pizazz. My Kitty Care loves Felix!

Felix the Cat, the wonderful wonderful cat…

A relatively new popular name is Willow. If I had a Ragdoll cat, I’d consider naming him/her Willow — droopy, like a Willow tree.

Names like Molly, Sammy or Gracie are both popular and personable.

Gizmo is something undefinable, but has a presence. Possibly inspired from the 1980s movie, Gremlins. This name makes me think of a cat who runs around a lot — not for any particular reason, you just know your cat Gizmo is around.

What Is Jasper Stone Good For? - Beadnova

I like the name Jasper, and apparently so do many others. It has a friendly authority to it. Some cat parents may name their cat Jasper because the gemstone Jasper, is a spotted gemstone that might remind you of your cat’s coat or eyes.

Bailey is popular as a drink, and now as a cat name. If your cat is the color of the Irish cream beverage, Bailey may come to mind.

Loki is a rascally demigod from Norse mythology, known for making trouble. Absolutely applicable to many a cat.

Sasha is a Russian nickname for girls named Aleksandra, If your cat’s furry brow always looks Dostoevsky serious, perhaps Sasha is a good choice.

Simon and Toby aren’t as popular for people anymore, but are for cats. Toby is derived from the original Tobias, going back to the Old Testament. One of my cats is a Toby. He’s such a Toby. He just is.

photo by shari smith dunaif ©2020

Cloe is a classic reference to Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, a culture known to revere cats. Cleo is great for a dignified, royal cat. And just about any cat can be viewed as royal.

Peanut is popular but ought to be reserved for a small, so adorable you want-to-eat-them cats. Especially if they have a nutty personality.

Finally, there’s Leo. It’s Latin for lion, is the fifth sign of the Zodiac, and even has it’s own Leo the Lion constellation. It’s such a loaded name, of course it’s understandable that it’s popular, even in China.

Found this list from 2018. And guess what, it looks mighty familiar.

  1. Luna
  2. Oliver
  3. Bella
  4. Lucy
  5. Charlie
  6. Chloe
  7. Leo
  8. Max
  9. Lily
  10. Milo

And look at this one: popular cat names from 2016
All great names, but I think we need to add new fun ones…2022?

“Punk Rock Kitty Cat” fun punk rock song


At the end of February of this year, the band The Nearly Deads released, Punk Rock Kitty Cat. Like all things about cats, the title of this song Punk Rock Kitty Cat caught my eye.

I’d never heard of the band The Nearly Deads.

The Nashville rock band The Nearly Dead’s have been around nearly a decade. They are: vocalist Theresa Jeane, Steven Tobi (guitar), Javier Garza Jr. (guitar) and Josh Perrone (drums) and known for, in their own words

“…powerful pop vocals and aggressive alternative rock music combined with their love of all things geek and messages of positivity and empowerment…”

My musical taste are quite eclectic and does include punk rock. Of course I had to give it a listen: it’s got the simplicity of punk, a driving beat, it’s funny, and, oddly enough for a punk band, CUTE!

The Nearly Deads

lyrics for Punk Rock Kitty Cat

Look at mee-OW!
Cause I’m a punk rock kitty cat
Looking fierce and acting frisky
Punk Rock Kitty Cat
Taking naps and lapping whiskey
Punk Rock Kitty Cat
Gettin’ faded, catnip wasted

photo by Daniel Howell Photography

from guitar girl magazine, Theresa Jeane says about the song

Punk Rock Kitty Cat” is a fun song about being yourself and finding your place. I was very influenced by The Ramones and the Sex Pistols and wanted it to have that goofy lo-fi punk rock sound.

click on The Nearly Dead’s to find out more about the band and their music

my kitty care does not endorse any product discussed on The Scratching Post, nor does my kitty care receive payments, or any form of compensation from any company or product on my kitty care.