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Welcome to the January 2020 selection of our Cat Lovers Book Club.

The Ship's Cat Who Helped Flinders Map Australia
by Matthew Flinders, Gillian Dooley, Philippa Sandall

Not many ships' cats have even one memorial statue, let alone six! But Trim does, including one outside Euston Station in London, proudly unveiled by Prince William on the bicentenary of Matthew Flinders' death – 19 July 2014.

Trim was the ship's cat who accompanied Matthew Flinders on his voyages to circumnavigate and map the coastline of Australia from 1801 to 1803. He lived quite the adventurous life. 

As a small kitten he fell overboard while at sea but managed to swim back to the vessel and climb back on board by scaling a rope. This cemented his position as Flinders' beloved companion, and together they survived a voyage around the world, the circumnavigation of Australia and a shipwreck. When Flinders was imprisoned by the French in Mauritius in 1803 Trim shared his captivity until one day he mysteriously disappeared – which Flinders attributed to his being stolen and eaten by a hungry slave.

Trim, The Cartographer's Cat is an ode to this much-loved ship's cat, which will warm the heart of any cat lover. The first part of the book reproduces Flinders' own whimsical tribute to Trim, written while in captivity in the early 1800s, with added 'friendly footnotes' to provide some background to Flinders' numerous literary allusions and nautical terms. Next the book discusses where Flinders was when he wrote his tribute and why, and what his letters and journals from that time tell us about his 'sporting, affectionate and useful companion'. Finally, we learn what Trim's views on all of this might have been, in a fun and fanciful observation on his premature epitaph.

Accompanying all of this are beautiful maps, historical artworks, quirky original illustrations by Ad Long and excerpts from Flinders' original script, showing his beautiful handwriting. This book will make a unique and treasured gift for Flinders fans, Trim fans and cat lovers around the world.

Hardcover, 128 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, Imprint: Adlard Coles, 17th October 2019

RRP: $22.49 at

Celebrating the History, Culture & Love of the Cat

by Amy Shojai

"Though a cat may choose to share her affection with a human or two, she will always remain that quixotic mix of unpredictability and individuality that challenges the understanding of the most patient among us. It is as if they know that when they first stepped into the human ring of firelight, they forever altered our history, influencing our religions, our literature, our art--our very lives." (Introduction)

Chapter One, "Evolutionary Cat" traces the domestic feline back to the Paleocene Era, then introduces its big cat relatives. Sidebars highlight the fascinating evolutionary differences between big cats and small cats, which clearly explain why the smaller kitties became household favourites. 

Chapter Two, "Cultured Cat", is a survey of artistic homage paid to the cat. From Aesop's fables to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, cats have been featured as analogy, metaphor, and hero.

Chapter Three, "Physical Cat", is a guide to understanding and caring for your cat. First, each of the cat's senses and physical attributes are described, to reveal how they see the world. Important cat care issues are discussed.

Cat Life closes with a "Gallery of Breeds" a parade of fascinating cat types with descriptions of their unique personalities and special characteristics.

Overflowing with endearing photographs and enlightening, entertaining text, Cat Life is sure to capture the fancy of ailurophiles everywhere.

Paperback, 138 pages
Publisher: 1st December 2019

RRP: $52.95 at

The Essential Guide

by Robert Duffy (Editor)

A unique guide for cat lovers to deal with emergencies, accidents and injuries. 

It stresses the importance of knowing what to do in the time between discovery and getting the cat to the vet.

The guide also covers a full array of the general treatment needed for a variety of health issues that can affect cats. These include choking, bandaging, medication, bleeding, burns, heatstroke and hypothermia and other common injuries and illnesses.

Written in easy to understand language, the book is an essential guide for all cat lovers.

Paperback, 78 pages
Publisher: BX Plans Ltd, 14th November 2019

Price: $17.98 (free delivery) at

A Cat Groomer Mystery

by Eileen Watkins

The fur is really going to fly when groomer Cassie McGlone drags in a catnapper ...

With her new van, Cassie has expanded her Comfy Cat business to include mobile cat grooming. Next stop: a cat expo at a hotel just outside her hometown of Chadwick, New Jersey, where Cassie will give a grooming demo using shelter cats to encourage adoption while her veterinarian boyfriend Mark will offer a program on cat care and health.

The highlight of the expo will be a major cat show featuring pop sensation Jaki Natal. Almost as famous as his owner is her pet Gordie, a Scottish fold, who's become a social media darling. But when adorable Gordie goes missing and his sitter is found murdered, Jaki is having kittens. 

While the cops are more interested in solving the murder of a human, Jaki insists Cassie help expose the catnapper and return gorgeous Gordie to the fold. Now it's Cassie's turn to solo as she plays a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a culprit who's not afraid to pounce . . .

Paperback, 304 pages
Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia, Imprint: Kensington, 31st December 2019

RRP: $25.99 from all good book stores and online. Visit 


BRINA THE CAT The Gang of the Feline Sun  
by Giorgio Salati, Christian Cornia (Illustrator)

Brina, a city cat, moved to the mountains with the owners for a summer holiday. Here she meets some stray cats who call themselves “The Gang of the Feline Sun". The new friends convince her to escape her owners and become a free cat. 

But while Brina enjoys her newfound freedom and all the new types of delectable bugs the countryside has to offer, her young owners are panicking over losing her, a member of their family.

Brina must make a choice to live with her owners, where it’s safe (but confined) or go free in the wilderness. A heartwarming tender cat tale.

Paperback, 88 pages
Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia, Imprint: Papercutz, 14th January 2020
For Ages: 8+ years old

RRP: $19.99 at

Two Cats to the Rescue 
by Tom Watson

Tom Watson's Stick Cat: Two Cats to the Rescue is a backyard adventure involving a curious baby, two daring cats, and a pack of hungry pups!

Millie needs Stick Cat's help. When little Millie wanders off, Stick Cat needs to get her back. It's a rescue mission with too many obstacles to count. There's a runaway butterfly, a pole-vaulting adventure, and a growling beast in the woods. Yikes.

And, of course, there's Edith. Oh, Edith.

Will Stick Cat be able to navigate around her wacky plans, fragile ego and peculiar ways Just when he's doubting his chances, five familiar dogs burst onto the scene to help this rescue mission succeed.

Fans of the Stick Dog series and other quick, funny reads will delight in this funny, furry, feline fracas. Stick Cat is ready to go!

Hardcover, 224 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia, 28th November 2019 
For Ages: 8+ years old

Price: $17.25 at
Cats have descended from their African desert-dweller Felis sylvestris lybica (the African wildcat) and have adapted to a dryer environment. 

In the wild, the cat eats food with high water content such as mice and this delivers the majority of its water. 

Our companion cats are very close to their wild ancestors in terms of behaviour and are not very good at drinking water. 

By paying attention how cats naturally eat and drink, owners can significantly decrease dehydration and reduce stress

Pet cats are often fed foods low in water content, less water can be a risk factor for medical conditions such as obesity and lower urinary tract disease.

When you understand your cat’s natural drinking behaviour, it can help ensure your cat gets adequate water.

How to Encourage your Cat to Drink Water

#1. Type of Water Bowls

  • Avoid materials such as plastic, which can taint the water.
  • Use glass, metal or ceramic containers. 
  • Choose a bowl from which your cat will want to drink by experimenting with various types of dishes. 
  • Provide the water in a large wide container which enables the cat to lap from the edge. 
  • Some cats like drinking from glasses (choose a non-breakable one if placing on a high surface).
  • Most cats prefer a wide shallow bowl so they don’t need to put their head inside the container. Cats don’t usually like their whiskers touching the side of their water or food bowl – the broader the better. 
  • Certain cats don’t like the reflection of metal bowls, they will avoid it at all cost! 
  • Stay away from double bowls where one side for water and the other for food. 

#2. Quantity of Water Bowls / Stations

✔️ Have several water bowls or stations to ensure your cat does not need to go far to find a container (i.e. each level of your home or in several rooms).
✔️  In multi-cat households: multiple water bowls that allow cats to drink alone are important.

#3. Water Placement 

Water consumption takes place at different times to feeding and in separate locations to where cats consume food.

✔️ To encourage cats to drink, water should be placed away from food areas

✔️ Never place food or water adjacent to the litter tray
✔️ Water should be positioned in a quiet location – away from doors that are heavily used or busy traffic places.
✔️ In multi-cat households cats are unlikely to override social tension to get to water (place multiple dishes in separate areas that can’t be blocked by another cat).
✔️ Water stations should be placed in an easily accessible area.
✔️ Being a desert dweller, cats are ‘wired’ to drink when the opportunity arises: by placing a water bowl in the hallway or on the window sill (where the cat often sits) might make them take a lick every time they pass.

#4. Different Types of Water Supplies and Tasty Liquids

Free flowing water is often more attractive to cats than water in a bowl. This relates to a natural instinct to avoid still water which may be stagnant.
  • Placing a bowl under a dripping tap is also beneficial. 

  • Running water or cat drinking fountains can offer convenient ways to provide moving water as well supply fresh and non-stagnant water as in nature. 
  • A shower tray or leaving a little water at the bottom of the sink/bath with a small amount of water in it is also valuable. 
  • Placing a ping pong or small ball inside a large bowl full of water will stimulate drinking as well as help to create movement of the water which numerous cats like
  • Many cats don’t like heavily fluorinated water, try collecting rainwater from containers placed in your balcony or garden. 
  • Lots of cats prefer to drink from puddles and water sources in the garden. 

  • You can try mineral water if your cat likes it. 
  • Consider other liquids such as water left after poaching fish or a piece of chicken. Prawns, fish or meat liquidised in water that has a soup like consistency. 
  • You can also try liquid from a can of tuna in spring water, avoid brine since it contains a lot of salt. 
  • For some cats adding a cube of frozen flavoured liquid to their normal bowl of water will encourage drinking. 
  • Avoid milk, salty liquids and anything containing onions such as stock (onions are poisonous to cats)! 

When to Encourage your Cat to Take in more Fluids

✔️ Cats with kidney disease are more vulnerable to becoming dehydrated and this can worsen their kidney illness. 

✔️ Cats with idiopathic lower urinary tract disease also known as FIC; since producing larger volumes of more dilute urine helps to prevent decline of this condition. 

✔️ Older cats experiencing old age metabolic and brain changes, stiffness or pain associated with arthritis will be less reluctant to move and find water on regular basis. 

✔️ Stressed cats may be limited by mental barrier which may inhibit normal drinking behaviour.

Final Tips for Increasing Fluid Intake

  • Feed a wet diet (cans or pouches) rather than a dry diet (consult your vet prior to making changes to your cat’s diet).
  • Offer water and other liquids at room temperature where possible (flavour is reduced in cold liquids). 
  • Adding extra water to wet food can help increase water intake (about a spoon, if it’s too soggy most cats won’t eat it). 
  • Some cats will happily eat food that resembles soup
  • Keep the water topped up so the cat does not need to lower its head into the container and lose sight of the meniscus of the water. 
  • Fresh vs stale water – selected cats prefer drinking from puddles while others prefer stale water that hasn’t been changed for few days. 
  • Bottled or distilled water for fussy cats is an alternative source of water. 
  • If your cat will only eat dry food try adding water to their food! 


It’s often difficult to precisely measure your cat’s drinking consumption, however if you notice changes in their drinking behaviour such as: repeated trips to the water container/bowl, drinking from unusual locations (specific to your cat), increase in urination regularity, variations in appetite and demeanour, vomiting and/or diarrhoea, please seek veterinary advice since early detection and treatment will improve outcome.

When making changes to your cats’ diet, water intake or routine it’s vital to do it gradually since cats DO NOT like unexpected changes – be caring and persistent.

Whatever you can do will make a difference and your cat will THANK YOU! 

written by Melina Grin from Pet Nurture for Australian Cat Lover, January 2020 (all rights reserved).


Bonnema, L. (2015, July 24). How to increase water intake in cats. UK: ICATCARE/FELINE FOCUS. Retrieved January 08, 2020
Caney, D. S. (2018, March 20). Encouraging your cat to take in more fluids - Vet Professionals. Retrieved January 09, 2020, from Vet Professionals.
Care, I. C. (2019, April 20). ISFM Certificate in Feline Nursing - Food and Water. UK. Retrieved January 10, 2020
Medicine, I. S. (n.d.). ISFM Guide Feline Stress and Health. (D. S. Sparkes, Ed.) Wilshire, Great Britain. Retrieved January 05, 2020

About the Writer

Melina’s love of animals began in childhood, when she would care for sick or stray dogs and cats while dreaming of becoming a Vet. While working in the Veterinary field she found a distinct interest and passion in Small Animal Rehabilitation and Animal Behaviour. Melina has many years of experience handling and caring for animals: her own, as well as pet sitting, cat minding, dog walking, cat & dog training, nursing and rehabilitating her clients’ beloved companions.

Melina is currently studying to become a qualified Veterinary Nurse with a view to progressing to Animal Behaviour Therapy. Melina’s discovery of holistic natural therapies started several years ago following her own diagnosis of a recurring digestive disorder, which was treated successfully with alternative treatments. Then, when her beloved cats suffered from anxiety, skin, mobility and digestive conditions of their own, natural therapies and bodywork were used in combination with western veterinary medicine to bring them back to full health.

Melina is also the founder and admin of the newly created Facebook group: Feline Seminars, Workshops, Webinars & Events
The Most Popular Cat & Dog Breeds in Australia for 2019

As we launch into the New Year, Pet Insurance Australia reveals which were the top cat and dog breeds of 2019.

“With 2019 now firmly behind us, we’ve been busy crunching the figures to come up with a list of the most popular breeds around Australia,” Nadia Crighton, spokesperson for Pet Insurance Australia says. “It’s a great mix of large, medium and small breeds, alongside purebreds and cross-breeds.”

In Australia, there are over 24 million pets that are distributed across 62% of households [1]. Made up of 29.2% for our feline friends and 38.5% in dogs with the remainder being fish, reptiles, small mammals and birds.

“Australian’s simply love their pets, and this is clearly demonstrated in the huge growth of the pet industry in the past 15 years,” Crighton says. “Today, more than ever before, Australian pets are spoilt for choice from anything from toys, clothing, bedding and gadgets to the more serious stuff such as medical treatments, specialists, diagnosis and surgeries”.
Top Cat Breeds in 2019

1. Domestic Shorthair

2. Domestic House

3. Ragdoll

4. Domestic Medium Hair

5. Burmese (lead image)

6. Domestic Long Hair

7. Moggie

8. Domestic Short Hair Cross

Australian Cat Lover's Arya is a Domestic Medium Hair cat

Top Dog Breeds in 2019

1. Maltese Cross

2. Cavoodle

3. Labrador

4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

5. Border Collie

6. Golden Retriever

7. German Shepherd

8. Kelpie Cross

9. Staffordshire Bull Terrier Cross

10. Jack Russell Terrier Cross

Some breeds have also surged in popularity over the past few years.

“Ownership of the loving French Bulldog has increased hugely over the past few years and is now considered one of the fastest rising insured dog breeds,” Crighton says. “This is followed by the KelpiePug and German Shepherd.”

The love for the French Bulldog is clearly reflected worldwide, with registrations in the UK increasing by 3,000% in the past 10 years.

"The breed is also set to overtake the Labrador as the most popular dog in the UK, for the first time in 27 years!"

[1] Animal Medicines Australia: Pet Ownership in Australia 2016

MEDIA RELEASE, 9th January 2020
The festivities are over, and a new year and new decade begins. The number 2020 is often used as an analogy for clear vision and a clear view ahead – but do you have a clear and long-term plan in place for your beloved pets

Without a proper plan in place for the long-term care of your pets, you could unwittingly leave their future to chance should something happen to you.

Under current NSW law, your pet is deemed as property and, without a suitable plan in place, would simply be transferred to the beneficiary of your estate in your Will. Not all beneficiaries would be able to take on the care of a pet, so RSPCA NSW recommends that you have a robust plan in place to ensure the wellbeing of your pets should they prematurely lose you.

Friends and family who know your pets and are in a suitable position to take on the responsibility, are the obvious choice, but we know not everyone has that luxury. That’s why RSPCA NSW developed its Home Ever After Program (HEA). Enrolling your pet in HEA would ensure a safe future whereby your pet is taken under the immediate care of RSPCA and then rehomed to a forever home as similar to yours as possible.

The NSW program has been running since 2016 and is being rolled out uniformly across the whole of Australia from mid-2020. The entire program has several thousand households with multiple animals enrolled and is growing annually.

“It is a model we know works,” says Maria, HEA Program Coordinator in NSW. “We match the specific animal needs with would-be new owners to ensure the future welfare of the pet.”

“Sadly, an average of 15 animals per week are being surrendered to RSPCA NSW due to the death of an owner, permanent physical incapacity to care for a pet, or owners moving into a non-pet friendly nursing home,” Maria says. 

Molly enrolled in the Home Ever After Program 
“With shocking figures like this, and pet ownership rising every year, this program has become fundamental for our pet-loving community. 

We have a whole array of animals enrolled in the program, mainly cats, dogs and small companion animals, but the program welcomes most animals great and small. Currently we also have several horses, a herd of cows, four pet sheep and some alpacas!” 

With exotic pets such as reptiles and parrots, we advise owners to seek help from a specialist.

Sue from Kellyville in NSW has her cats enrolled in the program. Although Sue is only in her 50s, she decided to do it early. Sue said, “I love cats and will always own them, and HEA works in such a way that any new cat I own can automatically be enrolled. The program coordinator keeps in touch with me and is always across what animals I have, how they are doing and whether I have any new ones too. It’s a wonderful service.” 

Being enrolled in HEA means your pet will not be left alone if something unforeseen happens to you. This was what prompted Bob and Kerry to enrol their beautiful Greyhounds, 
Mr Darcy and Miss Maisie (below), into the program.
Kerry, who had previously worked as a paramedic, had witnessed what can happen to pets without future care plans and didn’t want the same thing happening to her dogs. Enrolling in HEA has brought the couple peace of mind knowing that in an emergency or otherwise, their dogs Miss Maisie and Mr. Darcy would receive immediate care and be rehomed responsibly. 

Bob and Kerry first heard of the program through the RSPCA website. Kerry said, “I realised that my sister, who was originally going to take on the dogs should something happen to Bob and I, could no longer assist us, so I went searching for an alternative and for me, RSPCA was the obvious place to look.

“Maria, one of the program coordinators, came and visited us in our home, met the dogs and we completed a pet profile on each one – that way, any new and suitable owner could be matched with the specific needs of Miss. Maisie and Mr. Darcy. This approach gave us both peace of mind that they would be suitably and appropriately looked after under the watchful eye of RSPCA NSW.”

HEA coordinators also keep in touch with adopters of HEA enrollees, providing them with the full details of their new pet. This ensures a smoother transition for the pet into their new environment, plus it assists the new owner in understanding the personality, quirks and needs of the new addition to their family. For example, one of our enrollees will only eat food off the carpet and dislikes hard surfaces, including feeding bowls. 

Knowing things like this make for a smoother transition for both the pet and the new owner

Helen, Gift in Wills Manager at RSPCA NSW said, “We all like to think that we are responsible pet owners and give as much love and care to our animals as we can in life, but we also need to extend this to ‘in death’ too. 

I do a lot of driving and if something happened to me, I want to know that my dog would be looked after in the way that I look after him: in a loving, caring home. The Home Ever After program offers this peace of mind.”

HEA can also help reopen a door once considered closed by many senior pet lovers. 

With HEA now as a future care plan option to consider, the possibility of bringing a pet back into a senior pet lovers’ home is a reality. 

Multiple studies show there are an array of health benefits from owning a pet, especially later in life. These include reducing loneliness through increased sociability, reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and lowering the risk of heart attacks. 

Owning a pet also gives people a purpose and routine – something that can fade in our senior years. RSPCA NSW even finds it helps to increase senior dog adoptions when we match seniors with seniors. 

How much does the program cost? 

There is no charge, we only ask that enrollees consider leaving a gift in their Will to RSPCA NSW. As a non-government-funded animal charity, we rely on the kindness of our community to enable us to carry on doing what we do. 

Your gift will go a long way in protecting and caring for all vulnerable animals, and HEA plays a crucial part in this.

If you would like more information on enrolling your beloved pet into HEA, please complete the enquiry form online at or call 0421 489 083 for Northern NSW or 0466 720 351 for Southern NSW.
The biggest pet adoption event of the year returns!

RSPCA Queensland's Pop Up Adoption is returning in 2020 for the sixth time with hundreds of cats, kittens, dogs and puppies from across Queensland shelters available for adoption on the day.

Mark your calendars for a day of fun and head down to the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre on Saturday 18th January 2020. This event is sponsored 
by Hill’s Pet NutritionBayerNational StorageBrisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre and Brisbane City Council.

Entry is just a gold coin donation plus you will also find free vet advice, information stalls and pet products.

Please note that in the best interests of animals, no public pets are permitted at the event. Support will be provided to assist in introducing your new pet if you already have other animals at home.

When: Saturday 18th January 2020, from 9:00am until 2:00pm.

Where: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition CentreHall 2, Merivale & Glenelg Streets, South Brisbane, QLD.

Cost: gold coin donation on entry

Save time by pre-registering to adopt at   
Help animals find their happily ever after with Shrek the Musical 

There is still time to start your new year helping animals by booking your tickets to RSPCA NSW supported performance of ‘Shrek the Musical’ on 1 January 2020.

As the chosen charity partner for the musical comedy featuring everyone’s favourite ogre, RSPCA NSW have an allocation of special discounted tickets to the show on New Year’s Day at 7:30 pm.

Tickets are available now for $69.90 and ALL proceeds from the sale will go directly helping animals like Donkey and Fiona find their happily ever.

Did you know that every ticket sold could provide a kitten like Prince Charming a soft bed, litter trays, meals, and medication during their stay in RSPCA NSW care? This is crucial now that we are in kitten season where our shelters are taking in up to 500 kittens each week.

The sale of two tickets will keep our inspectors on the road fighting animal cruelty as well as providing vital assistance during the bushfires and the current state of emergency.

RSPCA NSW’s Anne Keyvar said “There is no better way to help animals in need and entertain the family than with 
Shrek the Musical’. These discounted tickets are the perfect gift for not just your friends and family, but to all animals in our care”.

Do not miss the first public performance of ‘
Shrek the Musical’ and your chance to become a Fairy Godmother to animals in need this holiday season.

Pick me and take me home, I'm cute!
So reach out and grab your ticket to helping animals in need!

Head here to buy tickets or to find out more information.

What: RSPCA NSW partnership with 
Shrek the Musical

Where: Sydney Lyric Theatre

When: 1 January 2020 at 7:30 pm (New Year’s Day public holiday)

For all tickets, please visit:

For all the latest RSPCA NSW news, visit our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA RELEASE, 20th December 2019