Amber Buttercup Says Good Morning

orange cat on windowsill

Amber Buttercup in the morning.

My ginger friend from around the corner was enjoying the early morning sun when this fool with the camera showed up again. I didn’t trouble her for too long, but she is too pretty to pass up.


All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.

Have You Seen Oscar?

oscar, missing from glendale, carnegie, near pittsburgh, pa

Photo of Oscar

“Oscar is 11 months old and has never been outside before. He has been missing since Sept 24 from Glendale, Scott Twp. near St Ignatius Church (Pittsburgh, PA area). If seen please email me: Thank you for your help. I have looked everywhere.”

If you live in this area, work in a shelter or veterinary clinic, or manage a stray/feral colony and see a new cat come in who looks like Oscar, please contact the e-mail in the post.

Finding a missing pet

While our first initiative is to panic and run around screaming their name, finding a missing pet includes taking a lot of other steps both in physically searching and in getting the word out the pet is missing to neighbors, local police and agencies and local shelters and veterinary clinics. It may be difficult to sit down and make phone calls and print out a flyer on your computer, but all that effort can only help you find your pet.

Especially pets who have always been indoors are out of their own territory and need to somehow set up new territory while they are frightened, usually hungry, and possibly injured.

In addition, the behavior of lost cats is different from lost dogs—aside from the most outgoing personalities, cats tend to find a spot they deem to be safe and stay there, often not moving except to find a “litter” spot. They’ll enter a garage through a broken window pane and stay in there, or crawl under a shed, for instance, and be impossible to see at all if you don’t specifically search these places, calmly, quietly, and with a flashlight.

Visit the website for the Missing Pet Partnership, founded by Kat Albrecht, author of the award-winning book, THE LOST PET CHRONICLES: Adventures of a K-9 Cop Turned Pet Detective (Bloomsbury, April 2004) for tips on searching and making contact as well as successful stories that may give you ideas on finding a pet who is lost. I was fortunate enough to attend a presentation by Kat at a conference a few years ago, and the information she gives is invaluable and truly fascinating in understanding how cats behave when lost.

This page gives specific information on searching for and successfully finding lost cats:

Good luck in finding Oscar—I’ll be sure to be on the lookout as I pass through Glendale. If anyone finds him, please let us know!

Help Your Pets to Stay Well

two cats on couch

Jasmine and Colby, courtesy Karen Sable

by Karen  Sable, Guest Columnist

October is recognized as National Pet Wellness Month, so what better time to think about what you are doing, or should be doing, to help your pet stay well and live a long, healthy life?

The nationwide campaign is sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the goal is to educate pet parents about the importance of twice-a-year wellness examinations for our furry family members, and the steps that we can take to help prevent disease in our pets, as well as increase the likelihood of early detection.

photo of two cats

Stanley and Moses, old friends

We all understand the importance of prevention and early detection for our own health, and the need for regular visits with our doctor and routine screening tests, especially as we get older. But it is also important that we take similar steps to help our furry family members maintain their good health.

Our pets age, on average, about seven times faster than we do, and so significant health changes can occur in a relatively short period of time. Taking your dog or cat to the veterinarian just once a year is essentially the same as you seeing your doctor or dentist just once every seven years!  That’s why the AVMA advocates that our pets get a wellness exam every six months, as this better enables the vet to detect, treat, and ideally prevent problems before they become serious or even life-threatening.

Cats in particular

cat under table

Namir under the table.

Educating cat owners about the importance of twice-a year wellness examinations is even more critical since, according to the AVMA, cats are brought to the veterinarian only about half as often as dogs. As those of us who have cats know all too well, our feline family members are very skilled at hiding signs of illness. That trait likely goes back to their big cat ancestors in the wild, who knew instinctively that any signs of weakness or illness made them easier targets for predators.  Unfortunately, this “big cat” trait means that we may not observe the signs of illness or disease in our cats until it is more advanced. By taking our cats for twice-a-year wellness exams and appropriate screening tests, we greatly increase the likelihood that any medical condition can be detected early, while there is a greater chance of a successful outcome.

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