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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Facebook, Inc.

Preparedness for the Information Age

We are knee deep in information now. Fully at least 10 years into the information age and we still are just learning to paddle the canoe in the stream of electrons.

You may do your banking online, store family photos on yourhard drive, or have scanned copies of important documents on your computer. We've somehow been programmed to think that this is completely safe and the best way to do things. Well, it's a good way for certain, however nothing is completely safe.

This is where the preparedness mindset comes to bear. Yet, it seems to me, many preparedness folks aren't quite sure what to make of all this electronic storage and communications. There are some who are extremely competent and conversant in information technology - far so than yours truly, the High-Tech Redneck.

This isn't for those folks. This is for you.

Safety of Documents and Images

The safest and best way to store vital documents and sentimental photographs is still on paper. Paper isn't sensitive to power surges and a spilled coffee might make it messy, but it can still be read.

You might have a few thousand pictures now that digital cameras are so prevalent. Might have to thin the herd, before you start doing your printing. If possible, have them printed professionally for the higher quality paper and imaging.

Now, store them safely like you would have done with important papers. If the documents are very important, like insurance, long-form birth certificates and such, store them in a safe-deposit box at your bank. The cost for one is a tax-deduction, last time I checked.

"But Guy," you say, "why don't I just back them up onto a memory stick or DVD and put that in the safety deposit box?" Yes, you should do that too. Or in a firesafe at home, at the very least. However, how useful is that copy to you in a power outage? That's a rhetorical question.

Safety of Internet Communications

Some people, like myself, put a lot of themselves on the World Wide Web. I do that to try to help other people discover Preparedness and am willing to take that risk. You don't have to, if you don't want to. Don't be paranoid though. The chances of someone going to the great lengths it would take to collect info about you, are pretty slim. But why help out?

Use different usernames for every forum or service that you use. This makes it hard to piece together a history on someone. I use the username CdnGuy a LOT. If someone did searches on that term alone, they could build a pretty good profile of me. I sincerely hope that doesn't happen since I'm mostly just trying to help people.

Keep private information private. Do you really need to post your address and phone number on Facebook? The people are supposed to be your friends. They should already know that information. If they don't, they'll ask. It's up to you how to respond.

Your computer is your computer. If no one else needs to use your computer, then don't let them. If other people do need to use your computer, then use User Profiles. Only you should be the Administrator. You might be surprised how often immediate family may take advantage of your credit card or banking information. It's the new take-10-dollars-out-of-Mom's-purse.

That's a lot of gloom and doom, I know. But now for some good news!!! Have you ever thought that online banking wasn't safe? That somehow some 14 year old punk could steal your electronic digits, all $3 worth? You have a better chance of winning the lottery. Yet, you'll do banking at an ATM or even the local branch. All of their communications happen over the exact same telephone, cable and satellite systems that your Internet banking does. So, online banking is at least as safe as going to local branch and having Martha help you. Nonetheless, I do recommend going right into the bank, because they are nice people and getting to know them is a good idea.

Did this article help you out? Did it get you thinking about your Information Preparedness? Are you asking yourself questions about other things related to this topic. If that's the case, I'm glad. Think, be positive, and live well.


Guy McDowell
guymcdowell@gmail.com
http://www.CanadaPrepared.com
http://www.GuyMcDowell.com
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The Most Amazing Delicious Magical Award Winning 6 Grain Bread Recipe I Ever Came Up With Myself

Really.  It's that good.  And I made it up myself.  Well, I started with a recipe and kept changing it and changing it until I hit on this combination and haven't changed it since.  This is what my family eats.  I promise it's delicious.

Angela's Crazy Delicious 6 Grain Bread Recipe

Makes 6 loaves.  If I had two ovens and a few more bread pans I'd double it, but you can half it or 1/3 it or whatever for your needs.

4 Cups 6 grain cereal (or other rolled grains)  You want "regular" rolled grains here, not "quick"--quick oats would just turn to mush
1 1/2 C. Water
2 TB yeast
1 1/2 tsp sugar
5 C. warm water
About 15 Cups flour, half white half wheat
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Gluten flour (optional)
1-2 Cups Bean flour (optional)
1 Cup powdered milk
2 TB Salt
6 TB Butter or shortening

350 degrees 40 minutes or thereabouts depending on your oven.


Ready?  Okay, let's get started.

1.  Put the 4 cups rolled grains in a pot or bowl that holds more than 4 cups.  I use a pot because I don't actually measure the stuff, I just know about where on the pot to fill it to because I've used this same pot for the grain part of this bread forever.


2.  Pour hot water over the grains until they are covered by about an inch of water.  Hot water from the tap is fine, you don't need to go heating water for this.  Then set it aside to soak.  I set mine on the stove because I have limited counter space--I do NOT turn the stove on and cook it, it just sits there.



3.  Put the 1 1/2 Cups of warm water, 2 TB yeast, and 1 1/2 tsp sugar in a bowl and let the yeast do it's thing.  It's okay to stir it around a bit just so all the yeast gets in the water.

 

4.  While the yeast and grains are soaking, get out your giant bowl for the dry ingredients.  Sweet husband got this for me one year for Christmas.  It rocks.


5.  Put about 10 cups of the flour (I like half white and half wheat, but you could go all wheat or all white if you want to), the sugar, gluten flour, powdered milk, bean flour, salt and shortening in the bowl.  Grandma's very cool 2 cup measurer speeds up the process measuring the flour.  Thanks, grandma. :)


The bean flour is ground from white beans. It just makes it so my kids are eating beans without knowing it.  With a standard electric impact type grain grinder you can just grind beans up.  My mill has a corn/bean auger to grind beans into flour.  The gluten flour makes the bread hold together better.  Gluten=Glue.  If I use all white flour or don't use the rolled grains, I use less gluten flour than 1 cup.

You don't have to measure exact tablespoons of the shortening--what a hassle getting that stuff out of the measuring spoons!  Just put 6 scoops that are approximately tablespoon sized.  I promise you won't mess it up if you're a little off.


Do not forget the salt.  Really, the bread is not that good without it.  Edible, but not nearly as tasty.  I like Redmond Realsalt.  It's really good.  Shameless plug for a fantastic product. :)


6. Now all your dry ingredients are in the bowl, mix them together.  It's okay if the scoops of shortening don't get mixed up yet.  The yeast mixture should be nice and bubbly by now--add it to the bowl.

 

7.  Now we're going to add the 5 cups of warm water, but don't go turning on your faucet just yet.  Go get your pot of soaking rolled grains.  


Pour the water off the soaking grains into your measuring cup until you've poured it all off as best you can.  Yes some of the grains go along for the ride, it's okay.  This is not rocket science.

I usually get 2-3 cups of water off the grains.  Then the rest of the 5 cups I get from the faucet.

8.  Once you have the water measured off your grains, add them to the bowl as well.  About this time I turn my oven on warm because I use it to raise my dough.  If you've got a fairly warm place without using your oven, you don't need to turn your oven on yet.


Now we have everything in the bowl except the remaining flour.  See why you need a giant bowl?

9.  Mix it all up and add enough of the remaining flour to make it stick together fairly well.  Now we're going to knead it.  Some folks are all kinds of fancy and have a mixer that will knead bread for them.  Mine will only do about two loaves worth at a time, so I just knead this myself.  I divide it into two parts that will be three loaves each for the kneading.  It makes it easier to work with and it works out better for the bowls I use to raise the bread in if it's only half the recipe in each bowl.  I also move from my counter to my table to knead.  You've got to be able to get leverage on the dough, and the counter is too high for me.  See if you can lock your elbows with your hands together (CPR style) and reach your kneading surface without needing a stool.  If so, it will work better for you.  When the table's been busy with homework or whatnot, I've used the counter, I just get a little stool so I'm up a little higher to make it easier.  Whew.  Got all that?  Just trying to make kneading a little easier for you! :)  Here's what the dough looks like when I'm done mixing it in the bowl and it's ready to knead.


Put some flour on your surface before dumping the dough out and keep it handy to add flour to the dough as you knead.

I'm not giving kneading instructions here as I was my own photographer and it's kind of difficult to knead and take pictures without getting flour and dough all over the camera, so after I knead the dough, here's what it looks like.

 

I have no idea how long I knead each half.  I just keep kneading until it's nice and bouncy and kind of pushes back when I push on it.  Not sticky.  Okay?  And just for Chef Tess, here's a closeup of the kneaded dough where you can see the yummy rolled grains all mixed in there.

Where were we?  Oh yes, step 10.

10.  Spray oil a bowl and put your nice ball of dough in it.  Then spray the top of the dough with the spray oil, cover it, and put it someplace warm to rise.  I cover it with a dishcloth.  That's just how my  mom did it.  I don't know if it's the best way or not, but it works for me.  I also use my oven to raise the bread in.  I already had it turned on low or warm setting about the time I started mixing up all the ingredients, now I turn it OFF and put the dough in to raise.


11.  Wait.  Here's where you can clean up the mess you've made so far and go do some jumping jacks or whatever floats your boat for 20-30 minutes or so.  The bread is raising.  You want it about double in size, but if it gets bigger than that it's okay.  I've had it hanging over the edge of the bowl before.  The bread still turned out fine.  So once it's at least double its size, it's done raising.  Beautiful.


12.  If the top is kind of dry, spray it with some water from a spray bottle to soften it up again.  Then punch down the dough and dump it out of the bowl to form the loaves.  Divide each bowl into 3 equal-ish balls.


12.  Shape the dough into loaves.  There's probably a million ways to shape a bread loaf.  Here's what I do.  Press out the air while shaping one of the dough balls into a rectangular shape about as wide as a bread pan, maybe a little wider.  I kind of roll my hands from the bottom to the top to get air bubbles out--you could use a rolling pin if you want and get the same effect.  I just don't like washing more dishes than I need to, so I press it out with my hands.


Then roll the dough into a log being careful not to trap air bubbles in the layers.


My log is usually a bit longer than the bread pan.  Tuck the ends of the log under itself and wiggle it a bit to even it all out.


12.  Then put it in your greased bread pan.  I use el-cheapo bread pans and spray oil.  They work fine.  I don't wash them out after I bake bread in them, I just wipe out any residual grease and they're ready to go for the next round.  Maybe that's unsanitary, but they've become nicely seasoned this way--like cast iron.


13.  Put the loaves somewhere to rise.  I turn my oven on to pre-heat and put them along the back of the oven because that's where the oven vents so it's nice and warm.  Cover them again.  I use the same dish cloths I used earlier.

 
 
Wow, I think this is one of my longest posts ever.  If you are still reading, you are awesome!  Hang in there, we're almost done!

Let the bread raise in the loaf pans for 20 minutes or so.  It depends on how warm you have your raising place as to how fast the loaves will raise.  Don't let them raise until they look like a loaf of bread--they do some more raising in the oven, so that will make for "airy" loaves where the bread doesn't stick together very well.  About like this is fine.

 
 
14.  Put your bread in the oven and cook it at 350 for 40 minutes or so.  40 minutes is perfect in my oven.  Then take the loaves out, get them out of the pan, and let them cool.  I usually just set them out on the same dish cloths I used to cover them.  Multi-purpose.  I rub butter on the top while they're hot to soften it up a bit.


Super delicious.  Making me hungry . . . I think I'll go have some bread and jam now.
There are many varieties of commercial dog foo...

How to Make Homemade Dog Food

Today's post is from our newest Prepper author about feeding our dog companions properly. More articles to follow from this writer on pet care. Our canine, and feline, companions are key partners in our prepping efforts. Let's give them the best.

How to Make Homemade Dog Food
By D. M. Du Pont


Back in the days before Iams or Purina, what did our grandparents feed their dogs? Table scraps mostly or their own recipes. There weren’t the hundreds of dog food varieties as there are now. After World War II, Gaines and Kennel Ration began with canned horse meat. Mostly as a way of getting rid of surplus horses and using up cans made for the war effort. It wasn’t until the 60’s and 70’s when dog food really come into its own.

The ironic trend is now going back to natural dog food. After the poisoned grain episode from China and the increasing cost of dog food, plus my last dog, Adam I adopted came with multiple bags of very expensive sensitive stomach dog food (he upchucked anyway). I decided I’d try my friend’s homemade dog food recipe she used.

With a degree in Animal Science, I decided to put my education to a practical use. So after several versions of the following recipe, here is the most balanced one. My dogs love it. My pup Adam went from 56 to 104 pounds and his liver functions have improved 100 points. This recipe is simple and versatile and far less expensive than canned food.

I call it the “Third Recipe”, because all the portions are in roughly thirds; Rice, Vegetables and Meat. Plus you should make more of everything every three days. Once you get into the routine, it is very easy and you’ll know what amounts you are regularly using.
Important point to remember is dogs are omnivores, not carnivores, which mean they eat all sorts of stuff, not just meat. So just feeding meat is a no no. Too much protein in their diet can make dogs hyper and overly aggressive. Too much protein isn’t good for their kidneys and they don’t get certain needed trace elements. People act like feeding dogs is an “exact” science now. However, it never was before and dogs did fine. So you really can’t make a mistake it you stick with the basics of this formula.


The “Third Recipe” for Dogs

  • White rice boiled with a chicken bullion cube – carbohydrates for energy, easy digestion and bullion cube for favor. You can substitute potatoes occasionally.
  • Vegetables - frozen or canned or fresh - green beans or peas/carrots or mixed vegetables – I prefer frozen over canned – and green beans are best. Easily digested and have fiber.
  • Meat – chicken, turkey, tuna or beef or wild game or eggs
  • Two half meals – morning and evening- and the cup portions depend on the size of your dog(s). All ingredients are roughly in thirds, but if you have an active dog, use more rice.

Rice
The most inexpensive way is to buy 25 to 50 pounds of rice is from Costco or similar retail outlet. Those little bags in the grocery store are quite pricey. I store rice in “Vittle Vaults” porthole screw top lid hard plastic dog food containers. Buy these storage units on Amazon.com, least expensive and free shipping and you use these for all sorts of bulk food storage.

You’ll need to make more rice every third day as it gets watery and becomes a great bacteria medium. You can use a rice cooker, which I don’t like to clean. Or make it from scratch in a stock pot. White rice recipe is usually 2 cups of water for every cup of rice.

If you are not used making rice, it takes a little effort at first. So for two big German shepherds, I make four –five cups of rice at a time - eight plus cups of water, bring to a boil with two boullion cubes and then add 4 cups of rice. I stir, then turn the water on to a slower boil and stir periodically to make sure the rice doesn’t stick. Making the rice is now so routine now that I get up during commercial breaks, stir and visually know once the rice is big and puffy to cover and take off the burner. I have an designated big stock pot and I know from experience to fill up to a certain point and add so many cups of rice and two bullion cubes. Brown rice is harder to digest, tastes like cardboard and the point of the white rice is carbs for energy and easy digestion.

Vegetables
Green beans are the best all around vegetable. Green beans are fibrous, full of nutrients and pulls particles through the digestive tract. I occasionally mix a bag of peas and carrots with a bag of green beans. Peas and carrots are a bit more sugary and not as much fiber. So as a veggie staple, don’t use all the time. Mixed vegetables, like corn and lima beans, aren’t broken down in the digestive tract and a waste of money. Shop around for the lowest frozen vegetables or seal-a-meal or can your own. Broccoli is fine if you are willing to perish from dog gas attacks.

Meat
You can use a variety of meats in this food. It depends what your dog will tolerate. Be careful not to rotate types of meat until you have a feel for what you dog can tolerate. I always cook the meat; in today’s world there is too much contamination to take a chance on causing a hemorrhagic intestinal bug. Cut or pull the meat into smaller portions for better digestion.

Eggs
Eggs are a very cheap and inexpensive protein. I hard boil the eggs and add one or two to the meal. You can fry or scramble if you want to spoil your pooches. Eggs and rice is what makes up that expensive ID (intestinal diet) dog food from the veterinarian.

Chicken - is great, it is easy to digest and inexpensive. I broil up a $5 pallet of 10 chicken thighs from Wal-Mart. Chicken thighs have lots of meat and only one bone to remove and I add one chicken thigh per meal serving for my German shepherds. When traveling I bring cheaper canned chicken breast to open and add. You can use gizzard and hearts as well. Livers are a bit fatty, but okay as a baked treat once in a while

Turkey is inexpensive. You can cook a turkey up when they are on sale, then package the meat into portions, freeze and take out as needed.

Tuna – I give this for only two meals a week. It is inexpensive if you buy the store brand and the oil/water is good for their coats. Too much processed ocean fish has mercury. So limit the amount. I don’t like fish oil capsules. Oil from what fish? Goldfish? Contains too much concentrated mercury. Natural fish is best.

Beef – Is harder for dogs to digest. When I make a stew or a soup, I crock pot up beef stew meat until tender and broken down. I make extra to add to the dog’s meal with a little juice. So if you insist on feeding beef, crock pot for tenderizing and easier digestion. Hamburger is fine in limited amounts and a little grease is good for their coats, but kind of pricey to feed regularly unless you have a little foo foo dog.

Wild Game– Feeding your dog, venison or other game is okay. Just make sure it is thoroughly cooked. You don’t want your pet to get sick from some weird intestinal bacteria. Some wild game is very rich and less is more with pets. Just make sure your pet can tolerate this meat to avoid diarrhea and other intestinal episodes.

Vitamins
You can supplement your dog’s nutrition with a daily over the pet counter vitamin. A money saving tip is to buy the senior dog vitamins. They contain twice as much vitamin per pill. So, buy the senior dog vitamins, break them in half and you get two vitamins for the price of one.

Tips
As in all things in life, balance is the key. Dogs don’t mind eating the same thing daily. Try not to give your dog gravy or lots of fatty food, as this can cause pancreatitis and could kill your pet. You’d be surprised during the holidays how many dogs come into the vet with pancreatitis from eating gravy and fatty foods.

You can make a giant batch of this food, put it into portions and freeze. I don’t blend this food in a blender, but just hand mix the ingredients or with a spoon in their bowl. Blending breaks down the natural structures and it loses some of it’s value. Eating a paste like substance can stick on the dog’s teeth and cause problems. I have mixed this food and to put into portions to freeze to take on a trip for limited use.

Dry Dog Food
I do have some dry crunchy kibble dog food out. I prefer Purina, mostly because they are an all American ingredient dog food and never had recalls from overseas tainting like Iams or other brands. Purina One chicken and rice is a good all around dry dog food. Old Roy is a suspect dog food made in China. Science Diet is mostly corn based and not as digestible. Friend with kennels call Science Diet the poop making food, since it all gets eliminated. Eukanuba is a very fatty dog food and should only be fed to active bird dogs or dog with similar energy burn levels.

Dog Treats
Dog biscuits are fine. I just give the Milk bone or Kirkland brand. Remember each treat has between 2-5 grams of fat. That is what is holding the biscuit together. Avoid those dyed fake “meaty” treats. They are full of dye and salt and fat. Some dogs like carrots or other raw veggies. Carrots have fiber but are also very sugary.

For three days with two meals a day, it costs me about 75 cents a day per dog on average. This is for the rice, green beans and chicken, even less with eggs or more with beef. Once you get into the routine, it is a very healthy and economical solution and better for your pet’s health.



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20070819-20 - rejected kitten - IMG_3257 - kit...

Working Cats and Preppers

This is Montana. This is dog country for sure, what with the “Montana dog walk” (owner in pickup, dog running happily in front of the truck, up the trail) and hunting with our canine partners. But cats have their role to play for the prepper too. And not as target practice or for dog "training".

I'm talking about working cats here. Ones who pull their weight just like our dogs and horses do. For our purposes, we will call working cats barn cats to indicate cats that do not live mainly in their owners' home but rather spend most of the time outdoors, sheltering in outbuildings.

Sure the family dog can sound the alarm if intruders approach, or physically defend the family from looters. But it can't control vermin as well as felines nor is it as capable of personal survivalism as a feline. Cats can be a real help to the prepper as rodent hunters, alerters (though not as good as dogs), and “therapists”. Plus, they are small enough to function as "bioheaters" on cold Winter nights in our bedrooms.

But note that they cannot automatically “get by on their own”. So if you must move or evacuate, take your felines with you too. Felines that have been abandoned by families that move or evacuate are often scarred by the experience for life, assuming they survive. Don't “put the cat out” when the wildfire sweeps toward your compound, show the same compassion you show your dogs or horses.

Cats have been used for thousands of years for protecting stores of grain from vermin. They work as well today without the need for poisons, traps, or need to dispose of dead vermin that more “modern” methods require. The very scent of a cat in the area deters rodents and affects their reproduction negatively. Cats would also help the prepper who has berries as the cats will chase away the birds. Keep in mind that some cats will not kill birds, but will only chase them as “moving objects”. Providing wood fencing or ramps around the berries will help the cats deter birds from "harvesting" your crop.

Cats will alert to approaching strangers pretty well as their hearing is more acute than humans. Cats will have the edge over the family dog as “therapists” post disaster as felines will usually require less social reassurance by the family unit than the dog will. Cats, as "therapists", provide affection, play solicitation, and some camaraderie, though often less than dogs .They could serve as message couriers between two residences, though they would have to be taught, and given a reason, to travel between points on command.

Cats can pull their weight in the Hope and Change economic depression or TEOTWAWKI. My past barn cats have proven to be tireless workers; often following us into the fields “on patrol”, providing emotional support for humans, and alerting to deer in the flower and garden beds. I had significant feed losses until I got barn cats.

Here is a site that profiles working cats in developed areas, read it for examples of how felines can improve your operation with less “overhead” than dogs.

A few quick notes for the prepper. Cats are resourceful and can forage better than dogs. But your working cats need to be fed regularly and have access to clean water. Starving them won't make them hunt better. It will just weaken them. After all, do you go after that big muley buck when you haven't eaten properly in two weeks? A fed barn cat is a healthy, effective barn cat. Also, fixing your barn cats is vital as cats breed as well as , or better than, rabbits. When getting your new feline workers, please consider supporting a local feral rescue organization by adopting one of their fixed cats.

Cats have entirely different dietary requirements than dogs. Dogs are omnivores, cats are [absolute]carnivores. They require much more protein and fat in their diet than dogs. Unlike humans and dogs, cats require the amino acid taurine in their diet.Cats cannot survive on dog food. Always make sure that the store bought food label states that the diet has been found to be adequate by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The same applies for your dogs' food. No Dollar Store, made-in-China chow.

Other caveats: tuna is a rare treat as too much results in vitamin deficiency, occasional table scraps are ok as long as they are unspiced meat, or small amounts of grain or vegetables. Texture of cat's food matters to felines so try different presentations if one is rejected or try another texture of food. Homemade cat food takes more planning than dog food. A future article will deal with this.

Your barn cats will require shelter. We had modified dressers inside an old hen house for our barn cats that provided shelter and a refuge from coyotes, dogs, and the mountain lion in our valley. In Montana Winter, you need to provide insulated shelter that is large enough to accommodate all your barn cats so they can huddle together for warmth. If possible, the shelter should provide some elevated perches as cats have an instinctive need to survey their territory from a high vantage point. Also, don't forget toys for your barn cats. Racquetballs and sturdy commercial cat toys will help maintain the mental acuity of your cats. But do not give yarn or string toys as these are unsafe for tongues, limbs and intestines.

Veterinary care should be factored in. Worming the cats a few times a year is important as they will probably become infested with roundworms and tapeworms from their prey in Montana. Vaccination, at least for rabies is important. Annual feline 4-way vaccination is good, especially if there are other cats in the area.

Also, cats are not social by nature so it is vital that your barn cats let you handle them. Cats revert to “wild” in a single generation so early human contact is necessary. Or else, when they become injured or ill you will have to put the animal down as you will not be able to take them to a vet. Patience is necessary in approaching feral or semi feral cats. Feeding, coupled with "systematic desensitization", is a time proven way to tame down shy or feral cats.

Some of the links below describe how to tame down feral cats so that you can handle them and engage them as “employees”. I've had good luck taming feral cats ; two even served as good "watchcats", alerting to strangers and defending me when they thought I was in danger. Often, feral or semi-feral cats can be tamed but you can never trust them completely. Ferals do not just scratch you or nip you; they go all out. I once rescued a feral that destroyed my heavy leather glove in under five seconds and inflicted bites requiring medical care within seven seconds. See the movie Sleepwalkers for a sample of what damage domestic cats can do ;-)

Finally, let's put to rest the myth of the always “aloof cat”. I have done feral rescue, worked in animal shelters, and have owned felines for over twenty five years. It has been my experience that cats respond pretty much as they are treated. Sure some will only interact with humans for food and water, just as some humans are recluses. But approaching a feline in a friendly manner usually elicits a friendly response. Just like humans, many felines are wary of strangers at first, but warm up as they get to know the person.

They do show personal loyalty, though less than canines do. Dogs loyalty is to the pack. Cats loyalty is to the individual human or human family, with some cats showing generalized compassion for injured or ill humans . Treat your barn cats with at least with the level of affection that you give your horse. Friendliness and warmth elicit the same from felines as from humans.

Grooming is an excellent way to develop a relationship with a feline as it is a bonding mechanism in their “culture”. Plus, grooming your cats helps avoid serious problems like intestinal blockages from swallowed hair and burs. Pats are not well received as pats are discipline or combat gestures to felines. Running in front of the owner and dropping to the ground is a usually a play solicitation move by the cat.

See links below for more on communicating with your feline workers. Consider felines to be that guy with the pony tail who keeps your firm's computers running, who knows nothing about RBIs or who's going to the Bowl. Consider dogs to be the guys who get together after work for a few beers or a bbq. Now, work with your new feline employees for mutual benefit.

LINKS

Handling Barn Cats
Working cats have care requirements that differ from working dogs' needs. Also, a site with hints on keeping felines off your property without resorting to callous savagery.

Very good coverage of how to manage barn cats
Article on how to repel cats from your property. Without gunfire or poison
A reminder that felines have a vital role to play in ecosystems. Australian attempts to save the birdies on McQuarrie Island by booting the cats resulted in rabbits damaging the biome.

Cat Behavior
Links for the newcomer to cat ownership. As well as good information for current owners.

Felipedia.org section on feline behavior. Good, basic coverage of feline behaviors and common problems, with solutions. The anthromorphic section is, of course, a joke. Felipedia is a good resource for all aspects of domestic felines, but double check as this is a wiki.
Sacramento SPCA guide to feline behavioral issues. Very well written. For new barn cats, pay particular attention to the roaming cat article as cats must be initially confined for a time until they imprint a locale as home. This is normally not a significant issue with dogs.
Simple suggestions for play therapy to help with cat behavioral problems.
Good comparison of feral vs tame cat behaviors.

Disaster Preparedness and Cats
Cats disaster time needs. For example, a pillowcase with a rope is a great way to evacuate a frightened cat. For both your dogs and cats, remember to have current photos and ID on the animal.

Disaster kit for your cats.
Vital information on evacuating with your cat(s). Felines are much more likely to run and hide in a disaster than canines. How to successfully evacuate cats.
Disaster lists for our animals. This links to the cat page. Site also covers horses and dogs. This organization also trains animal disaster workers.
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