Feeding Cats in Need, Honoring a Cat Writer and Recommending Cat Books

Steve Dale, CAT FANCY writer and syndicated newspaper pet columnist, provides a weekly cat news roundup.

Feeding People and Cats in Need
Talk about the holiday spirit, it seems there are more people in need today than there have been in a very long time.

In addition to providing meals for homebound seniors, Meals on Wheels also supplies dog and cat food to clients during the holiday season in partnership with Banfield Charitable Trust. The program, called Season of Suppers, has delivered more than 70,000 pounds of dog and cat food in five years. In addition, Banfield has raised nearly half a million dollars for Meals on Wheels.

“Thousands of our clients have truly celebrated because of the Banfield program,” says Enid Borden, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels. “They (Banfield) didn’t just do this for instant PR value and walk away. Of course, I’m not surprised that they understand the value of the human/animal bond.”

A surprising number of recipients share their Meals on Wheels food with their cats and dogs. “These people give up some of their own limited nutrition, and for many, that’s really a problem,” Borden says. Unfortunately, some dogs and cats who share their owner’s meals don’t get appropriate nutrition, or face obesity from eating too much table food. Obesity can lead to health problems for cats and dogs, which, tragically, most of these owners can’t afford to treat. This can even cause a beloved friend to be euthanized.

“It’s a vicious cycle, and our goal is to keep that from happening,” says Diane McGill, executive director and CEO of Banfield Charitable Trust.

Some people believe that dogs and cats are a luxury item, therefore low-income people should not get them. This notion infuriates Borden.

“I’ve seen firsthand how having a companion who loves you unconditionally makes such an enormous difference,” she comments, the emotion in her voice palpable. “It’s also someone else to care for, so you’re not always focused on yourself. I know people who I’m certain wouldn’t be alive and happy today if it wasn’t for their pet.”

McGill adds, “Whether you have lots of money or not has nothing to with the bond you share with your pet. In reality, however, financial resources do matter, and our goal is to help.”

While Season of Suppers is focused on supplying dog and cat food for Meals on Wheels recipients, the Banfield Charitable Trust also supports other programs that help people in need and their pets.

Banfield Charitable Trust accepts cash donations. You can also drop off pet food at any of the Banfield clinics across the country.

Another option is to simply click “like” on the Pedigree dog food Facebook page here or Royal Canin pet food Facebook page here. For each “like” clicked, the companies will donate a pound of pet food to Seasons of Suppers.

For those who seek help feeding their cats and dogs, contact your local Meals on Wheels location.

As the economy continues to stagnate, many shelters for people have created community pet food banks to feed hungry pets. To find out if a shelter in your area has a pet food bank, check this directory of shelters organized by state.

Many food banks for people also offer pet food. Also, some local animal shelters offer pet food pantries for owners who qualify.

Winn Media Award Announcement
Prolific pet book editor Beth Adelman is the 2011 recipient of the Winn Feline Foundation Media Award.

The Winn Feline Foundation Media award was created in 2005 to thank and honor journalists and editors who publicly support the mission of the Winn Feline Foundation to advance feline health studies, and to communicate facts about feline health.

Adelman has appeared many times as a volunteer at the Winn Feline Foundation booth at cat shows answering questions from the public; she has also written copy for and edited Winn promotional pieces. In her own writing, she continues to champion the furthering of cat health research, and also serves as one of the best interpreters of the results of Winn-funded studies to an eager cat-owning public.

Adelman, who is a cat behavior consultant, was for five years the author of “The Cat Lady” column for the Sunday New York Post. Adelman speaks at seminars throughout the country and is the author of “Every Cat’s Survival Guide to Living With a Neurotic Owner.”

Past recipients of Winn’s Media Award are Pam Johnson-Bennett, Amy Shojai, Kim Thornton and Kari Winters.  

A Pair of Holiday Book Ideas
“Think Like A Cat: How to Raise A Well Adjusted Cat Not A Sour Puss,” by Pam Johnson-Bennett (Penguin Books, New York, NY, 2011; $18). I’ve called Pam the Queen of Cat Behavior because, well, back in the day before certified cat behavior consultants, Pam made her living going from house to house helping cats through behavior. I suppose someone else would have thought about it, but Pam was the first.

Truly everything you want to know about cat care and behavior is found within the pages of “Think Like A Cat.” I am among many who have learned (and continue to learn) from Pam. She somehow intuitively understands the perspective of the cat. You read this sort of line every now and again – but in this case, it’s so true – If you must own only one book on cat care and behavior (and I suggest you have several books), this is it.

“Raising My Furry Children,” by Tracy Ahrens with guest story by Steve Dale (Weaving Dreams Publishing, Watseka, IL, 2011; $18.95).

A cardboard box found outside the front door of Kankakee County Animal Control with two cats inside. “My owner is dying, can’t take care of us anymore,” a note attached to the box begins. And with that, so also does Ahrens story. The overwhelming majority of dog and cat owners consider their dogs or cats members of the family, and for millions they are a sort of surrogate for having children (or grandchildren). Ahrens tells stories about her own cats and dogs, many funny some touching, all pets do offer lessons.

I contributed a story about a Brittany named Chaser who changed my life. Following that, Ahrens writers about her Brittany, named Speckles, then many cat stories follow.   

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Cats · Lifestyle