Tag: cat rescue

Pet Swellness: How to get my cats and dog to fall in love



Unexpected animal friendships are some of my fave videos. Yes, I’m that person who always shares on Facebook the video of a goat and dog  frolicking, or of a pig snuggling with a mini cow. And let’s not forget the ol’ cat and dog combo — because not all of them fight.


I adopted Billie Jean recently and a big factor in my decision was how well she hangs out with the cats. She generally ignores them. If she walks into the path or gets in the face of one of the cats, the cat will usually hiss, and Billie Jean usually pauses and either finds another route or scurries by. One cat is more curious, and the other just goes about his own way and ignores BJ. But my dream would be for the cats and Billie Jean to be besties.


Last week, I had the chance to meet with ” the cat whisperer” aka cat behaviourist and author Mieshelle Nagelschneider at an event held by Arm & Hammer, so I took the chance to ask how I can help the cats learn to love Billie Jean. She wasn’t concerned about the hissing given I have only had Billie Jean about a month, the hiss is just the cats giving a warning, she said, and it’s still early days. The best way to help them all get along, she said, is to create a group scent. When you have multiple cats, they create a comfortable environment by creating a group scent — this is what they’re doing when they rub up against each other, furniture and you. I can help Billie Jean get welcomed into the household by creating a group scent by putting a pair of thin socks on my hands and rubbing the face of each animal in sequence, and repeating this ritual.

The other tactic she suggested I try is a counter conditioning exercise: play with the cats in near proximity to Billie Jean, and that way with their dopamine levels going up as they happily play, they’ll associate more of those feel-good feelings with the dog’s presence.

I haven’t yet had a chance to put these tactics to use for long but I can’t wait to see if this gets them all to love one another and snuggle, which is pretty much my life goal right now.

Arm & Hammer had hosted this meeting with Mieshelle as they’re promoting their new product Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Slide Cat Litter — and there were two soon-up-for-adoption kittens from the OSPCA at this event making it pretty much the best event ever! This litter has a new technology that allows the litter to just slide on right out of the litter box (so no more scraping or scrubbing) so the task is easy peasy — I haven’t had a chance to pick up a box of A&H Slide yet, so I can’t speak to how well it works. Mieshelle says it’s best to replace the entire litter once a month (to maintain optimal freshness and cleanliness, making it a litter box your cats want to use), so this new Slide will make that monthly task easier and faster (I’ve scrubbed the litter box in the past and it’s not a fun chore). Other litter box tips that I learned:

  • The litter box should be uncovered. Cats don’t seek privacy when doing their business; an open litter box allows them to feel safer as they can more easily able to escape quickly if need be (this goes back to their cat instincts and living in the wild).
  • You should have one litter box per cat, plus one more. (I get this in theory, but it won’t be happening in my downtown condo!)
  • Cats need some light to see (looks like I’ll be needing to get a nightlight for them!)
  • Scoop the litter box once or twice a day, or else your cats may stop covering their business in the litter box.

Stay tuned to my Instagram for updates on the progress I make with Billie Jean and the cat love!

Leave a Comment March 27, 2017

Healthy Swellness: The cats are taking the Nutram Optimum Transition Challenge!

Kobe and Mya

My two cats, Kobe and Mya, are finally earning their keep around here! Kobe’s been freeloading for 14 years and Mya nearly 8 years. So it’s high time they pitched in a little. Cuteness and cuddles doesn’t pay the bills! So when Nutram asked if they’d be up for the Nutram 30-Day Optimum Transition Challenge, I said hellz yeah.

The challenge involves transitioning these two furry troublemakers onto a holistic diet that’s been tailored to suit their needs. (You’re welcome to have your cat or dog join the challenge, too; get more info on the Nutram site about the challenge, and you’ll also be able to find out which food is recommended for your pet). Nutram, a Canadian company, makes 21 premium dry cat and dog foods; there’s a wide range of choices because cats and dogs need different diets depending on their size, life stage, activity level and specific animal needs.

So over the course of the next four weeks, I’ll be slowly transitioning them both onto the holistic Nutram diet…although now that I think about it, are these cats really contribution to the household? They’re getting to eat local, tasty and nutritious food, enjoy treats like the luxe cat caves they received from Nutram, while I have to still feed them, scoop their litter box, monitor their progress and write these posts?! How’d they pull a fast one on me yet again?!

All jokes aside, I’m keen to see how this little wellness challenge affects them. Their health and wellbeing means a lot to me; I think about it often, probably because Kobe just turned 15 years old this month, and, well, I want him and his feisty little sister to live long and healthy lives.

I’ll be posting both here on the blog and on Instagram and Twitter about their progress (follow along on social media with the hashtag #nutramOTC). Not familiar with Kobe and Mya? Check out their Tinder-esque profiles on the Nutram site.



Leave a Comment May 2, 2016

Healthy Swellness: My #STWM ScotiaChallenge fundraising for Annex Cat Rescue

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Who knew fundraising could be so motivating? My participation in this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Charity Challenge actually helped me shift my mindset from focusing on running 42.2 kilometres as fast as I could (and driving myself bananas in the process) to considering all of the incredible causes runners surrounding me had fundraised for.

When I decided to participate in the #ScotiaChallenge, I was a bit nervous. But, since I was planning to run the marathon regardless, it seemed like a great way to raise money for a worthy charity of my choice, Annex Cat Rescue, who received an $1,000 donation from Scotiabank.  

Feeling slightly sheepish leaving the donation up to Scotiabank without raising any funds myself, I used social media to ask my networks to support the cause. I also personally reached out to a handful of people who I know are animal lovers and/or are generally nice supportive folks.  I set my fundraising goal at $500, which I felt was quite lofty. But as the days went on, the donations came flooding in, from people I hadn’t realized were also passionate about cat rescues, and even a few friends I had never even met in person.

As time passed, I started to get more and more excited about fundraising for my race, knowing that I was getting to help cats in need. Cats, just like my cats Mya and Kobe, who if they hadn’t found homes, might have been put down. “I’m running for the cats!” I laughed in the days leading up to the race. It helped add a positive spin to what I was expecting to be a very physically draining marathon. It allowed me to distract myself from the fact I likely wasn’t going to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and focus on the good my racing was doing for a worthy cause.

To date, I’ve raised $1,155.00. I’m sponsoring $100 myself, which brings it up to $1,255.00. And I know I have a couple more donations coming through, which is much more than I’d ever dreamed of being able to raise. It gives me all of the feels, and I, along with the two cat rescues that live with me, would like to say a big THANK YOU to all who donated. This money will make a difference for some of the thousands of cats in need in the city. I’d also like to say thank you to Scotiabank for the generous donation to Annex Cat Rescue and for the chance to participate in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. This year alone, the Challenge raised over $3.1 million and counting for over 172 local charities, now that’s worth running for!

If you would still like to donate in support of Annex Cat Rescue, you still can! Just click here to do so and that’d be purrfect!


Leave a Comment October 26, 2015

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