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The Community Cats Podcast
26 minutes | 4 days ago
Dr. Aysha Akhtar – Author & Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics
This episode is sponsored in part by KittySift and Doobert.com. Aysha Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H., is a double-board certified neurologist and preventive medicine specialist, with a background in public health, and is a U.S veteran. For a decade, Dr. Akhtar was a Medical Officer at the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Akhtar is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. She is the author of the two books, Our Symphony With Animals. On Health, Empathy and Our Shared Destinies and Animals and Public Health, which argues for the need for health institutions to include animals as part of the “public” in public health. Dr. Akhtar is also the founder and CEO of the Center for Contemporary Sciences. Stacy and Dr. Akhtar discuss the importance of empathy in our society and how stopping infectious diseases, halting climate change, improving medical care, and decreasing violent crime are all connected to our empathy for animals. Increasing empathy for all animals increases our own wellbeing, which means that caring for community cats is caring for the community as a whole, and that public health models that support animals as well as people are essential to healthy communities. Dr. Akhtar also tells Stacy about her new nonprofit, founded in May of 2020, called the Center for Contemporary Sciences. The Center for Contemporary Sciences aims to end experimental testing on animals, and create a shift toward new testing methods based on human biology. Studies have found that 95% of drugs and vaccines safe and effective in animals fail in human trials. Dr. Akhtar believes the Center for Contemporary Sciences has the potential to help end cruelty to animals in the scientific setting, as well as give us a better understanding of the diseases that affect human biology. To find out more head over to the Center of Contemporary Sciences website. If you’re interested in buying Dr. Akhtar’s books, you can find links on her website. We recently reviewed Dr. Akhtar’s book, Our Symphony With Animals, on our blog.
30 minutes | 11 days ago
Steve Appelbaum, Creator of Animal Behavior College
This episode is sponsored in part by Tamadori and Doobert.com. Steve Appelbaum has more than 40 years of dog training and pet industry experience. He is the creator of Animal Behavior College (ABC) which provides many different pet industry certifications. ABC started off with only programs for dog training but Steve noticed a big problem with cats being surrendered or euthanized for treatable behavioral problems, so he set out to fix this problem. Steve and Stacy debunk the myth that cats can’t be trained and discuss how training cats isn’t about teaching obedience like it is for dogs, but actually treating behavioral problems. Steve gives some tips on how to train your cat for going to the vet and shares how enrichment and training go hand in hand. We in the animal welfare community know there is a shortage of veterinary assistants and veterinarians; Stacy and Steve talk about how ABC’s veterinary assistant program is their most popular program and they expect to have 2200 students enrolled in the next year. You can find Stacy’s niece and her adventure cat on Instagram @lily.lebaron. To find out more about Animal Behavior College or to register for a course, visit their website or call 800-795-3294.
32 minutes | 18 days ago
Maura Thomas - Empowered Productivity™ System
This episode is sponsored in part by Tamadori and Doobert.com. Maura Nevel Thomas is an award-winning international speaker, trainer, and author on individual and corporate productivity and work-life balance, and the most widely-cited authority on attention management. Maura has trained thousands of individuals at hundreds of organizations on her proprietary Empowered Productivity™ System, a process for achieving significant results and living a life of choice. She is a TEDx speaker, successful entrepreneur, and author of Personal Productivity Secrets and Work Without Walls. In this episode, Stacy and Maura talk tips for working remotely including managing attention, email best practices, guidelines for using different communication tools and apps, and how leaders can create a healthy and efficient culture at work. They also chat about Maura’s book Work Without Walls, which takes her previous book on personal productivity a step farther, helping leaders and managers create a productive environment for whole teams and organizations. Maura also has a series of bite-sized books coming out over the next year or two whose goal is to “spark impact in just one hour.” These will be short reads, giving specific information in an hour or less, and they will break her Empowered Productivity™ System into individual components. To find out more, get free resources, or buy her books you can visit Maura’s website. To get access to Maura’s on-demand training on empowered productivity, visit this website and use code SNEAKPEEK for a discount.
29 minutes | 25 days ago
Sam Wilson - Program Director, Iowa Humane Alliance
This episode is sponsored in part by TICA and Doobert.com. You might remember Sam Wilson, who spoke at our Online Cat Conference in January. Sam is the Program Director at Iowa Humane Alliance, a high volume spay/neuter clinic, where she manages and develops outreach programs like the Iowa Trap-Neuter-Return Resource and Assistance Program (I-TRAP). Stacy and Sam discuss how a passion for community cats and affordable spay/neuter services led Sam to Iowa Humane Alliance, how COVID has shifted their procedures, how many cities in Iowa are passing community cat friendly ordinances to support TNR and community cats and their caretakers. They touch on mentorship programs that help spay/neuter clinics get started, and the partnerships they have with community cat organizations, shelters, and rescues. The Iowa Trap-Neuter-Return Resource and Assistance Program helps to support TNR in the community by providing trap rentals, spay/neuter and vaccination packages, as well as training and education. To find out more visit their website or call (319) 363-1225. To reach Sam directly, you can email her at email@example.com.
27 minutes | a month ago
James Evans - President, CARE
This episode is sponsored in part by KittySift and Doobert.com. This week Stacy talks to James Evans, president of CARE and multi-award winning creative strategist and leader with 25+ years of experience connecting organizations with their constituents. He has worked on numerous animal welfare projects including Gulf Spay/Neuter Campaign and HSUS’ Pets for Life, Outdoor Cats Research, Stop Puppy Mills and Spayathon, as well as Best Friends Animal Society’s Outreach Action Team, Maddie’s Fund, and SPCA of Texas’ Let’s Fix This Campaign. Throughout his work, he has always advocated for more diversity and inclusion throughout the field. James shares how he came to animal welfare organically, marrying his passions for art, mass communications, and animals, and how he discovered animal welfare was an area lacking in services for underserved communities. Stacy and James discuss how to build sustainable community development and what marginalized people bring to the table when they’re included. CARE, of Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity, is dedicated to saving companion animals through bringing more diversity into the animal welfare industry. CARE hopes to partner with passionate individuals in communities to create CARE Centers, which will help connect people in underserved communities with services from vets and shelters. Ultimately CARE will provide both needed services as well as jobs for communities. To find out more about CARE, visit their website.
24 minutes | a month ago
Nathan the Cat Lady, Tabby Dates
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com. You might already know Nathan Khen from Instagram or Tik Tok, where he is known as @nathanthecatlady. Today Stacy talks to Nathan about cats (of course), building a following on social media platforms, reaching younger audience, balancing social media and mental health, the effects of COVID-19 on the world of cat rescuing, and dating as a cat person. Nathan is an actor, cat lover, volunteer with Milo’s Sanctuary and the Cat Cafe Lounge, and a spokesperson for Tabby Dates, a new dating app for cat lovers. Studies have shown that men who pose with cats in their profile pictures on dating apps are less likely to get a match. Tabby Dates eliminates that problem, as well as all negative stereotypes related to cat people, since everyone on the app is a cat person. To find out more about Tabby Dates, visit their website or download the app from the Appstore. You can find Nathan on Instagram, Tik Tok @nathanthecatlady, Twitter, and Youtube.
26 minutes | a month ago
Allen Kamrava, Eusoh
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com. Our guest this week, Allen Kamrava, has an impressive and widely varied resume focused on both business and medicine. Dr. Kamrava is a colorectal and general surgeon and the founder and CEO of Eusoh, a powerful platform working to change the insurance industry by helping pet owners afford their vet bills. Eusoh is an online community of pet lovers committed to helping each other with unexpected vet bills. It is an alternative to pet insurance, which Dr. Kamrava notes, only about 1% of pet owners have, though 67% of Americans have a pet in their household. Stacy and Dr Kamrava talk about how Eusoh is committed to creating a more transparent and efficient system, reducing economic euthanasia, and building partnerships with employers to offer Eusoh memberships to employees in benefit or perks packages. To find out more, or to get signed up, visit Eusoh’s website.
22 minutes | 2 months ago
Mikaela Fleisher, PennyFix
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com. Mikaela Fleisher is the secretary for a nonprofit spay and neuter organization called PennyFix. She has been involved in animal rescue since 2009, volunteering with various organizations as well as working as a receptionist at a busy animal hospital. Stacy and Mikaela discuss PennyFix, an organization founded in 2017 whose goal is to partner with pet food companies to add one penny to the cost of each can or bag of pet food sold to fund spay and neuter as well as rabies and distemper vaccines. This would help to take the burden of federal and local governments to help fund spay and neuter. The organization is still young but so far PennyFix has funded 15 clinics in 11 states and they hope to grow to cover the whole United States. This episode also delves into identifying areas of greatest need for spay and neuter services, the shortage of funding for those services, and the growing trend of animal shelters with food pantries partnering with human food pantries to make sure people are able to feed their pets during the hardships of COVID-19. To find out more, visit PennyFix’s website. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.
25 minutes | 2 months ago
Dr. Michael Blackwell, Director of the Program for Pet Health Equity, University of Tennessee
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com, and KittySift. Our guest this week has a very impressive bio. Dr. Michael Blackwell had a doctorate of veterinary science as well as a masters in public health. He directs the Program for Pet Health Equity at the University of Tennessee, chairs the Access to Veterinary Care Coalition, and serves as a member of the HSVMA Board of Directors. In the past he has served as dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee, the chief of staff at the Office of the Surgeon General of the U.S., the deputy director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration, and the chief veterinary officer of the U.S. Public Health Service and The Humane Society of the United States. During 23 years of active duty, he achieved the rank of Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. He has owned two private practices and has received numerous awards and recognitions. Dr. Blackwell chats with Stacy about how veterinary practice and public health can work together to provide a fuller picture of how animals and people are intertwined. Dr. Blackwell’s mission is to increase access to veterinary care to families with limited means. He bases his work on the “One Health” paradigm which works to address the needs of people, their pets, and their ecosystem holistically. He has launched Align Care, a conceptual healthcare system that works from this principle and provides for families that have both human and animal members. Stacy and Dr. Blackwell talk the billion dollar question of funding and how community cats and spay/neuter initiatives fit into the future of Dr. Blackwell’s work. To find out more about Align Care and the Program for Pet Health Equity, visit their website.
21 minutes | 2 months ago
Best of 2020 - Holly Ganz, Animal Biome
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com's FosterSpace. In this episode, Stacy chats with Holly Ganz, Ph.D., a micro-ecologist who studies how microbes and mammals interact, with a specific interest in the role that the gut microbiome plays in gastrointestinal (GI) conditions in cats and dogs. In 2015, Holly founded Animal Biome to create better diagnostics and therapeutics for cats and dogs with GI conditions. She and Stacy discuss how she became interested in this field, and the Kitty Biome Kickstarter that began the whole thing. They review what the term gut microbiome means and how all this relates to animal welfare work. Today, Animal Biome offers microbiome testing and fecal transplant capsules for dogs and cats that can be given at home. Holly explains what a fecal transplant is, how it works, and what conditions it can be helpful for, and she discusses what’s ahead for Animal Biome. To learn more, visit the Animal Biome website, where you can find all of their products, as well as a new article on a potential cure for FIP. You can also read a reporter’s chronicle of using Animal Biome’s fecal transplant capsules in his cat with GI lymphoma.
38 minutes | 2 months ago
Best of 2020 - Dr. Bob Weedon, TLC PetSnip & Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs
In this information-packed episode, Stacy sits down with Dr. Bob Weedon, a retired veterinarian who is still going strong as a volunteer at the TLC PetSnip low-cost clinic in Lakeland, FL, a board member of the Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs (ACC&D), and in other volunteer posts. Bob worked in private practice and also spent many years teaching in the shelter medicine program at the University of Illinois, including teaching high-quality high-volume spay/neuter techniques to veterinary students. He also holds a Master’s degree in public health. Along the way, he also became involved in TNR. “I just recognized there was such a need,” he says, “and that I had the tools that… could address that need.” Stacy and Bob discuss why the “V” in trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR) is so crucial, both for the cats and for proving the value of TNVR programs to community leaders and officials. He discusses the concept of herd immunity in relation to rabies, and also goes into great detail about cats and toxoplasmosis—including how to talk with public health officials about it. Bob also discusses his work with ACC&D and with the National Feline Research Council (NFRC–an “unbiased central repository of evidence-based information”). He tells Stacy how gratifying it is to be able to provide vet care to folks who can’t afford it, and how his own views have changed over the years from feeling like low-income pet owners shouldn’t have pets at all to realize how important pets can be to those folks’ mental health and well-being. To learn more about the organizations Dr. Weedon volunteers for, visit the ACC&D website, the NFRC website, and the TLC PetSnip website. You can also check out Dr. Weedon’s presentation entitled “Better Together—TNVR and Public Health,” or email him directly with questions or help with resources.
27 minutes | 3 months ago
Best of 2020 - Julie Posluns, Cat School
In this episode, Stacy sits down with Julie Posluns, the founder and owner of Cat School, an online training school for cats that uses clicker training to teach fun and practical behaviors and strengthen the bond between cats and their human in the process. Julie, who is a trained animal behaviorist, worked entirely with dogs until a small black kitten showed up at her back door. The cat, now called Jones, convinced the humans and the dogs in the family that he should stay—and he soon showed an interest in the training Julie was doing with her dogs. Julie began training Jones as well, and the rest is history! Stacy and Julie talk about what clicker training is, what its benefits are, and how this kind of enrichment differs from other types. (Hint: This kind is good for both of you!) Julie explains that clicker training is based on positive reinforcement, and she talks about what her program consists of, how the plan works, and how it can work in different situations (training for fun vs. training for behavior medication, for instance). They also talk about how training can work with multiple cats, how it can work in shelter environments, and about training cats to wash on a leash/harness or ride in a backpack or stroller. To learn more (or to enroll), visit the Cat School website. You can also check out their Instagram page to see lots of fun videos, including a free tutorial on how to teach your cat to fist bump.
22 minutes | 3 months ago
Best of 2020 - Camille Labchuk, Animal Justice
In this episode, Stacy is joined by Camille Labchuk, an animal rights lawyer and the executive director of Animal Justice, Canada’s only animal law advocacy organization. Camille also hosts the Animal Justice’s Paw & Order podcast, which was reviewed in the CCP blog back in February. Stacy and Camille discuss what’s going on in Canada with regard to cats, including the fact that, as Camille puts it, “People are really waking up to the idea that cat declawing shouldn’t be a practice that we allow any more in society.” Stacy and Camille also chat about community cats in Canada, how Camille would like to see the government give more support to community cat-related issues, and about the relatively new legal concept of putting an animal at risk. To learn more, visit the Animal Justice website, where you can also link to the Paw & Order podcast. You can find out more about Animal Justice’s conferences, which are open to everyone—not just lawyers—at the Canadian Animal Law Conference website.
23 minutes | 3 months ago
Best of 2020 – Dr. Jennifer Conrad, The Paw Project
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com, and KittySift. In this episode, Dr. Jennifer Conrad, who founded The Paw Project in 1999, joins Stacy to discuss the organization’s mission to end declawing in the U.S. & Canada, using education, research, and legislation. The Paw Project is made up completely of veterinarians and the group compiled the evidence, drafted the legislation, composed the language of the legislation, built the coalition of support, and obtained the representatives for every law prohibiting declawing in the U.S. Stacy and Dr. Conrad discuss the surprising way Dr. Conrad became interested in ending declawing and educating people everywhere on its devastating effects on cats. “Declawing is a misnomer,” Dr. Conrad tells Stacy. “It is really more appropriately called de-knuckling. It is the amputation of a toe bone.” They discuss the behavioral issues of biting and litter box avoidance that declawed cats have been shown to be prone to, and they talk about the organization’s new “Claw-Friendly” certification for veterinary practices that do not perform declaw surgeries. With legislation banning declawing passed recently in New York, and more bills in the works around the country, Dr. Conrad encourages listeners to join The Paw Project’s mailing list to stay in the loop on action needed regarding legislation in their area. She notes that, “There is a reason that we need to ban declawing: It actually saves cats’ lives … If we could get these bans all across the United States, we would be saving millions of cats’ lives.” To learn more, visit The Paw Project’s website. You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or check out their documentary, The Paw Project on the App Store, Google Play, YouTube, and Amazon Instant.
28 minutes | 3 months ago
Brad Kriser, Founder of Kriser's Natural Pet
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com. This week’s guest is Brad Kriser, founder of Kriser’s Natural Pet and Chief Education Officer of Independent Pet Partners. Brad lives in LA with his family and a menagerie of rescued animals. Stacy and Brad chat about Brad’s role with Independent Pet Partners and how he promotes education around natural pet food both within the company and out in the community. They talk about the 5 Pillars of Wellness, developed with the University of Denver, which include nourishment, play, comfort, companionship and purpose. Brad also shared the great resource Things My Human Knows, a fillable document to leave with a pet-sitter when you go away, or to have on hand in the event of an emergency. You can find their natural food retailers around the country at Kriser’s (California, Illinois, Texas and Colorado), Chuck and Don’s (Colorado), Loyal Companion (East Coast), and Natural Pawz (Texas).
25 minutes | 4 months ago
Susan Russell, Writer, Attorney, Animal Advocate
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com. Founding member of Archimedes’ Printing Shoppe and Sundry Goodes, Susan Russell has had diverse experience as a writer, attorney, and animal advocate. She has led municipal animal shelters in Chicago and Philadelphia, worked as a litigator, and published an array of books including A Ruff Road Home: The Court Case Dogs of Chicago, several children’s books, and the new series Gata Unbound. Susan and Stacy discuss Susan’s newest book series (co written with Lucy Nolan and illustrated by Katy Lacy), Gata Unbound: A Series for Ailurophiles of all Ages. Volume One of the series features two stories, Klein's Weird Evening & Archimedes’ Ear. This series aims to introduce children to the important topic of TNR. Stacy and Susan finish up their interview with the importance of bringing joy, humor and kindness to our lives. To buy Gata Unbound, you can head over to the Archimedes' Printing Shoppe and Sundry Goodes website; you can also find them on their Facebook page. A Ruff Road Home: The Court Case Dogs of Chicago can be found here. Susan’s children’s books can be found on Amazon: We Can’t Go There. We’re Bears, Shelter Dog Kisses, and Mr. Bird and Mr. Cat: How ‘Bout That.
21 minutes | 4 months ago
Sarah Archer, Writer, Curator, Design & Material Culture Historian
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com. Writer, curator, and design and material culture historian Sarah Archer speaks with Stacy about how her love of her rescue cats led her to her newest project. Sarah is a senior curator at Philadelphia Art Alliance, a contributor to Hyperallergic and many other publications, and has worked with organizations such as Project Meow and Morris Animal Refuge in Philadelphia, PA. After a cameo by Sarah’s kitten Toast, Stacy and Sarah discuss Sarah’s most recent project, a book called Catland: the Soft Power of Cat Culture in Japan which explores the unique relationship between humans and cats in Japan. Japan has a rich history of cats in arts and crafts, and today images of cats proliferate all parts of Japanese culture. Because of small apartments in big cities, it’s less common for Japanese people to adopt cats, which leads to a more collective style of caring for community cats. Their discussion also touches on overpopulation of cats in Japan, TNR efforts, and the phenomenon of cat islands. To find out more about Sarah and to learn where you can buy the book, visit Sarah’s website. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram. Kawaii!
18 minutes | 4 months ago
Kevin Coolidge, Author and Independent Bookstore Owner
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com, and KittySift. Author of Hobo Finds a Home and Huck and Finn, Bookstore Cats and independent bookstore owner Kevin Coolidge is featured in this episode. The tradition of library and bookstore cats goes back to the Library of Alexandria and Kevin is keeping up the tradition with his two bookstore cats Huck and Finn, who have been featured in Cole and Marmalade’s blog and in Bookstore Catsby Brandon Schultz. Stacy and Kevin talk about how Huck and Finn, and previously a cat named Hobo, found their home in the bookstore and became the stars of Kevin’s children’s books. You can buy the books at Kevin’s website or from his bookstore From My Shelf. If you can’t make it up to Wellsboro, PA for a visit, Huck and Finn can be found online on their Facebook page.
21 minutes | 4 months ago
Pam Johnson-Bennett, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and Author
In this special episode, we celebrate National Cat Day by talking with Pam Johnson-Bennett, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and best-selling author. Pam and Stacy discuss how Pam started her career and why we need to "think like a cat," as well as her latest project with ARM & HAMMER Cat Litter's "Purrfectly Impurrfect" campaign. The campaign is kicking off on National Cat Day to shed light on cats who may be passed by for adoption because of their age, appearance, or misunderstood personality. From October 29–November 30, anyone can nominate a "purrfectly impurrfect" shelter cat. Pam and two other cat experts will be selecting three winners, and each winning shelter will receive $10,000 from ARM & HAMMER Cat LItter, plus Pam's counseling services. Pam tells us not to wait to nominate a purrfectly impurrfect cat, as the first 100 nominations will receive $100 worth of ARM & HAMMER Cat Litter! And she also reminds us that if you can't adopt, you can still help spread the word. When it comes to helping community cats, everything we do matters. Happy National Cat Day! To learn more and to nominate a purrfectly impurrfect shelter cat, go to felinegenerousstories.com and use #FelineGenerous #Contest to follow the conversation.
23 minutes | 4 months ago
Kathleen O’Malley, TNR Educator
This episode is sponsored in part by Doobert.com, and Heaven Can Wait. Kathleen O’Malley is a longtime practitioner and educator of TNR. She has worked for the Hudson County Animal League, the ASPCA, the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City Animals, and Bideawee Feral Cat Initiative (FCI). In this episode Stacy and Kathleen discuss what to do if you see a stray cat, the many ways you can help with TNR, and the challenges facing those assisting community cats. Kathleen shares more about programs provided by Bideawee FCI, including education and outreach around TNR and caring for colonies, as well as support for certified TNR caretakers and the general public to connect with resources, services, and each other. To find out more, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Bideawee’s website or the NYC Feral Cat Initiative.
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