Attention San Francisco Bay Area dog owners

The San Francisco SPCA, Crissy Field Dog Group, Fort Funston Dog Walkers, Marin Unleashed, Pacifica Dog, and SF PAWS have created a new website.

It’s called Eco-Dog.

According to the site:

The purpose of Eco-Dog is to protect our natural resources and preserve multiple recreational uses, including off- and on-leash recreation, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

They are providing information about where the off leash dog walking areas and trails are in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo Counties. According to the site, this access is threatened in the Golden Gate National Recreation area. There is also a lot of information to help you protect the unique ecologies here while still enjoying the beaches, parks and trails with your dog. The resource library is excellent and provides links to various dog groups and has good maps of the dog walking areas.

I would advise any dog owner to visit the site. There is even a section for donations and volunteering.

Happy trails to all..!

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Tito’s Guide to Cats

MeeMee! Prepping for the arrival of your new cat.

Now that you have cat/kitten proofed your home, it’s time to think about other things.

If you already have a kitty and are adding another, you’ll want to use the same food you have now. Just remember to find out what your new cat has been eating in the shelter or cattery. You will want some of it so that you can change the food gradually. A sudden change can cause tummy aches and diarrhea.

Kitsy and I have a bowl of dry food available and we’re free-feeders. Mom doesn’t have to measure because we’re not over eaters. Some kitties will over eat though, so watch out for that. Mom measured my food when she and dad first brought me home. When they realized that I was ok with free-feeding, they just kept a bowl full of food.

Cats are obligate carnivores.  Please do not put them on a vegetarian diet.  Be sure to look for a food that does NOT have grains listed as one of the first three ingredients.  These a just empty carbs that are not processed well by the kitty.

You will also want to think about litter boxes and litter. My brother, Kitsy, isn’t always coordinated with his box when he poops and misses sometimes. They got us a covered box and it helps a lot. A covered box is good, but requires constant cleaning as it holds in the smell. It’s also a good rule to have at least one box per kitty. The best is 3 boxes for two cats, but we do fine with just two.

Warning! If your kitty begins peeing outside the box in an inappropriate place, it may not be bad behavior.   Many times, it’s a urinary tract infection.  If this happens, take kitty to the vet right away.  Many cats are given back to shelters because of this, when simple treatment for UTI will cure it.   Spaying and neutering also helps prevent this problem.

Never flush your cat litter. Squidoo has a page with good info on why it’s bad to flush cat litter.

According to Squidoo

Did you know that cat crap can give sea otters a potentially deadly disease if it is not disposed of properly? This is a major issue for sea otters along the California coast as well as river otters, but one that most people have never heard about.

Let’s talk about why cat crap stinks.  There’s pretty solid evidence that Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that attacks the brains of sea otters, is transmitted through cat feces. (This is the same parasite that can cause birth defects in humans, so pregnant women should stay away from poopy kitty litter boxes too!).

When feces is flushed down the toilet, it goes to the sewage treatment plant with all the other feces in the sewer system. You would think that this parasite would be killed as the waste water is treated, but it survives! Toxoplasma gondii is one tough hombre and isn’t affected by sewage treatment process.

I know this doesn’t matter to a lot of you who don’t live near the sea, but it’s still good knowledge to have.  In addition, flushing the scoopable litter can wind up plugging up your pipes, especially if they’re old.

Mom and dad use scoopable litter, but they don’t flush it.  We live in San Francisco and there have been lots of sick sea otters here.  We don’t want to add to the problem.

I do hope all you moms to be saw the bit about staying away from the litterbox.  No litterbox cleaning until AFTER the baby.  Be safe please.  Ask your partner to take care of it.

I have one more litter suggestion.  It’s not the cheapest litter, but it’s one of the best.  It’s called Feline Pine . The scoopable is messy. The pellets are very good. All you do is put in the litter and then put a one inch layer of the old litter on top until the kitties start using it. They won’t, otherwise. The pellets turn to sawdust as they collect the urine. We use a sifting litter box. This litter is great as there was NO ammonia smell from the urine. There is also no clay dust.

Oops, I have a disclaimer. I won’t recommend ANYTHING unless I really like it. Right now, no one is sending us samples or anything. If they do, it will have to be with the knowledge that if I don’t like it, I will say so. I will also donate anything (if possible) to local shelters.

Well, that’s it for now.

MEE! I’ll have more later..!

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Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison and American Gods by Neil Gaiman

This is bit of followup to Lastech’s Midnight Madness discussion of Malpertuis.

Harlan Ellison wrote Deathbird Stories in 1975  It contains 19 short stories that took him ten years to write.  The book looks at what happens when the old gods are replaced by new ones.   Computers, money, and isolation are just a few.

Ellison has a comment at the beginning of the book.  He suggests that the reader not attempt to read the entire book at once.  I would agree.  The writer deals with facets of our humanity that are not always pretty and nice.  It’s good to take the time to digest and think about it.

Along The Scenic Route is about road rage with a twist.

Paingod Ellison answers his own question of:

If God is good, why does He send us pain and misery?

The Deathbird What if Genesis was wrong and things happened a bit differently?

Be aware that the book is NOT for children and does explore some adult themes.  It’s well worth tracking down though.  Lucky for me,  I’ve been able to bring it in from the library.  The San Francisco Public Library is a wonder and if they don’t have the book I want, they will bring it in from elsewhere.

This book gets 5 claws.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman was winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards in 2002.  It, too follows the theme of old gods being replaced by new ones.  The old ones are dying off, but a war is brewing.  It’s quite a good read and you’ll have fun figuring out who all the gods are.

This book gets 4 claws

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Science Droppings

These droppings are brought to you today by Tito and Kitsy.  We hope you enjoy them.

I just flew in from Alaska and boy are my arms …I mean wings, wings.  On a serious note, talk about amazing…

Every autumn the bar-tailed godwit undertakes an eight-day journey from Alaska to New Zealand. The bird flies non-stop, without once breaking the journey to rest or eat. Then when spring comes, the bar-tailed godwit makes the 11,000-kilometre journey back to Alaska.

You can read the rest here, at Science Daily.

It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!  It’s a fish?

We’re all familiar with birds that are as comfortable diving as they are flying but only one family of fish has made the reverse journey. Flying fish can remain airborne for over 40s, covering distances of up to 400m at speeds of 70km/h. Haecheon Choi, a mechanical engineer from Seoul National University, Korea, became fascinated by flying fish when reading a science book to his children. Realising that flying fish really do fly, he and his colleague, Hyungmin Park, decided to find out how these unexpected fliers stay aloft.

Science Daily has more here.

Woolly Mammoths, yay!

A team made up of members of the University of Oviedo (UO) and the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) have gathered together all findings of the woolly mammoth, the woolly rhinoceros and the reindeer in the Iberian Peninsula to show that, although in small numbers, these big mammals — prehistoric indicators of cold climates — already lived in this territory some 150,000 years ago.

As usual, Science Daily has more here.

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Tito’s Guide to Cats

MeeMEE! My first column was about where to find your new cat.

Today, I’ll talk about things you need to do before you get your kitty. I’m hoping that you plan to keep your cat indoors. Outside is full of dangers for them.

If you are thinking of declawing your kitty, then don’t adopt one please. Just imagine having your fingers cut off at the first knuckle. It can cause permanent problems and leaves your cat defenseless. Kitsy and I have our claws. We use our scratching post, though once in a while we’re naughty and scratch the futon.  Mom makes sure she keeps our nails clipped.

There are a great many things in a home that can be dangerous to cats. A lot of houseplants are poisonous. For a complete list of poisonous plants for dogs and cats, visit the ASPCA for a toxic plant list.

While most people know that chocolate is bad for pets, not as many realize that there is a far more dangerous food ingredient. Xylitol is the main ingredient in sugar-free foods. It can be deadly, so keep all food with this ingredient out of reach of all cats and dogs. You can find out about Xylitol and more at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

Now for the rest of the cat-proofing.

  • Make sure all dangling wires and cords are out of reach. If necessary, get some Bitter Apple at the pet store. You can wipe the electrical cords with it. It prevents chewing. Yes, cats will chew.
  • Make sure all meds and make-ups are in a cupboard away from kitty.
  • Check all the nooks where a vacuum can’t reach for bits of string or rubber-bands. These can block the intestine if swallowed.

  • Put all breakable knick-knacks away for a while so that they don’t get broken.
  • Recliners and rocking chairs can be dangerous for a cat. My mom’s rocker sits in the corner and has stuffed animals on it. That way no one can sit on it and rock over a tail. Ouchie. We sleep on it.

  • When doing laundry, always check the dryer before starting and keep the lid to the washer closed at all times.
  • Make sure that you have a scratching post available before you bring your kitty home. It will help protect your furniture.
  • If you have expensive furniture, consider a good cover for them. The scratching post will help, but even so, kitty claws can be bad for them. Merely jumping on the furniture can be a problem.

These are just a few suggestions.  Look around and I’m sure you’ll see other things to do.

Next time I’ll tell you how to introduce your new kitty to your home.

MEE!  Goodbye for now.

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Hiking at the Sunol Regional Wilderness

The Sunol Regional Wilderness is located in Alameda County. It was established in 1962 and is owned by the San Francisco Water Dept. It is home to Little Yosemite, a scenic gorge on Alameda Creek. At the link above, you can get directions to the park.

We went to Sunol in May of last year. It was a drizzly day, but cool and nice. We began our hike at the visitor’s center, taking Flag Hill Trail over to Little Yosemite and came back via the fire road. Flag Hill Road is only 1.26 miles, but it’s quite strenuous. One can hike in and out via the fire road with minimal stress.

The easier part of the trail
The easier part of the trail

The hills offer a nice contrast to redwood forests
The hills offer a nice contrast to redwood forests

In the spring, the hills are full of blooms. You can find mustard, poppies, and lupines.

California Poppy
California Poppy


The hills were green and beautiful. The land is mixed use, so you are quite likely to come across cattle on the trail. Be sure to close any gates behind you because of this.



Along the trail you can see coast live oaks, elderberry, gray pine, and madrone.


Along the way, pay attention to the rocky outcroppings. They are both beautiful and interesting. Once a part of an ancient seabed, there are huge boulders of greenstone, metachert and schist. Many are covered in moss.




This is from atop the Flag Hill Trail looking down at the fire road.


Again, from atop Flag Hill Trail looking down at Little Yosemite.


The route back was much easier. We took the fire road and it took us across this pretty little bridge over the Alameda Creek.


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Latest Pet Food Recall

Sponsored by Jellybeansofdoom staff, Tito & Kitsune.

This is a heads up for our dog friends and their humans.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — SECAUCUS, N.J. – September 3, 2010 – The Hartz Mountain Corporation is voluntarily recalling one specific lot of Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs due to concerns that one or more bags within the lot may have been potentially contaminated with Salmonella. Hartz is fully cooperating with the US Food and Drug Administration in this voluntary recall.

Hartz Mountain Corporation is recalling 74,700 8-oz bags of Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs, lot code BZ0969101E, UPC number 32700-11519, which were imported by Hartz from a Brazilian supplier, Bertin S.A., and which were distributed to a number of customers in the United States. While regular testing conducted by Bertin (prior to shipment to the US) did not detect the presence of Salmonella in any packages of this product, random sample testing conducted by FDA did indicate the presence of Salmonella. Hartz is aggressively investigating the source of the problem.

You can read more about it here.

We have to watch out for our pets.  Best wishes to all the pets and their humans.


Tito’s Guide to cats

MeeMee! You want to get a kitty huh?

Before I say anything else, please-please-please never buy a cat or dog from a pet store. No reputable breeder will ever sell to a pet store. Only the puppy and kitten mills do that. Mills are horrifyingly bad places for dogs and cats. Don’t support them. Around here, pet stores are not allowed to sell cats and dogs.

If you already have one, you know the drill. If you don’t, then you need to do a bit of research. Do you want a kitten? Is a full grown cat better for you? Are you away from home a lot of the time? Cats are as varied as people. Some need more company than others. Some are more independent. Some are outgoing and some are timid. You have to match a kitty to your personality and home.

Kittens are wonderful and cute, but there are a great many adult cats who need a good home. The shelter is a very good place to look. If it’s a purebred you want, the shelter is still a good place to look. There are also purebred rescue groups. Granted, the kitty will be spayed or neutered, but unless you plan on breeding it’s for the best. My brother and I are both neutered. We have less health and behavioral issues that way. We’re good kitties. Well, Kitsy isn’t: he’ll steal your food when you aren’t looking.

I came from the San Francisco SPCA

This is my baby picture

Tito baby pic

Dad found my picture at the SFSPCA’s website. He sent the pic to mom. Then they came to meet me. It was love at first sight.

I was a bit scared when I first got home

Tito scared

Now I’m all grown up. I’m not much of a talker. I say MEE! sometimes, but I’m fairly quiet most of the time unlike my naked brother. He yells all the time. I’m also a nervous kitty. If you wear shoes in the apartment, I hide. If you move furniture, I hide. My mom and dad love me anyway.

I’m a good example of why shelters are such great places.

If you truly feel the need to get a purebred and can’t find one at a rescue group, then you need to research catteries.

A good cattery will be located in the breeders home. You should be able to go and meet your kitty and the breeders. Never pay for a cat you haven’t met yet, unless it’s a deposit on kitten not yet born. A really good breeder will want to meet you and see how you are with the kitties. You will also want to meet the breeders to be sure that reputable and loving when it comes to breeding their cats. Right now, with the economy in such a mess, a lot of catteries have stopped breeding and closed.

The Cat Fancier’s Association glossary describes a cattery this way.

CATTERY – A name registered by a breeder to identify their line of breeding. A registered cattery name always appears as a prefix to the name of the cat bred by that cattery/breeder.

CATTERY REPORT – A listing of all individually registered cats bred by a particular cattery/breeder. The computerized print-out gives cat names, numbers, litter numbers, birthdates, CH/GR points, and owner names. The list is guaranteed complete only with those cats that were registered after 1978, and is available only to the registered cattery owner.

Well, well, well, I guess that’s my advice for the day.

Oops, I almost forgot something. Kitties do better in pairs. If you have room for one, please consider two. They keep each other company and the playtime keeps them exercised.


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Science Droppings

I found a few more science droppings that were interesting. Have fun.

Oink! Oink! From Science Daily

Experts from the university’s School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development have shown for the first time that a pig’s mood mirrors how content he is, highlighting that pigs are capable of complex emotions which are directly influenced by their living conditions.

You can read more here.

A cat mimics it’s prey From Science Daily

In a fascinating example of vocal mimicry, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and UFAM (Federal University of Amazonas) have documented a wild cat species imitating the call of its intended victim: a small, squirrel-sized monkey known as a pied tamarin. This is the first recorded instance of a wild cat species in the Americas mimicking the calls of its prey.

You can read more about it here.

Diabetes help for cats, dogs, and other animals From Science Daily

A University of Missouri researcher is using a continuous glucose monitoring device — commonly used in humans with diabetes — to help treat dogs and other animals. The device, which provides a detailed glucose picture of an animal over several days, will help pet owners manage their pets’ diabetes.

You can read more here.

These droppings were brought to you by Tito and Kitsune

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