You are currently browsing the Breaching The Web blog archives for March, 2007.

Won’t somebody think of the kitties?!

March 20th, 2007

For the past two days, I’ve been obsessing over what to feed my cats in the wake of the MenuFoods pet food recall. I have fed both my cats Iams dry and wet foods for their whole lives. I thought about changing their food in 2002 when Iams was bought out by Proctor & Gamble, but my older cat is extremely picky, and I didn’t want to try to change her food. I told myself I’d just keep an ear to the ground for news of any change in quality in it, and I’d change then. I guess I have that news now!

So last night my husband and I dashed to Petsmart to buy food. Petsmart’s website promised that they had pulled all “unsafe” food from their shelves, something I didn’t trust a grocery store or general merchandise retailer to do. We bought one 3 ounce can of every wet food that met the following conditions: it was fish flavored (Ms. Picky Kitty only eats fish!), listed fish as the first ingredient, and did not list a grain in the first 4 ingredients. We avoided pouch foods and Iams and Eukaneba brand entirely, because I’m too freaked out by the recall to buy those right now. We bought whatever food met those conditions, regardless of brand.

Now we have several different brands and flavors of wet food, of the highest quality I could buy on short notice, to try out on the kitties. The first one, Pro-plan’s Sardine and Tuna entree in aspic, was a definite hit. It had identifiable little fish bits in it, and it reeked to high heaven (I had my nose pinched and was breathing through my mouth and it still made me gag) — but the cats loved it and eagerly attacked it. As scary as this recall has been for me, it might end up being good for the kitties.

I’ve been trying to research cat food, but it’s very hard. There isn’t a lot of good information available. We have a veterinarian in the family that I might call for help. My cats are fine, but I’m freaked out about the whole thing — the very least you expect from your pet food is that it doesn’t kill your pet!

Something I didn’t know

March 14th, 2007

I didn’t know that gruntle was a word. According to, it is:

gruntle. verb. Cause to be more favorably inclined; gain the good will of.

Outlook not so good

March 14th, 2007

The libraries in my hometown are going to be a victim of the Iraq war. They are still scheduled to close in April due to a lack of funds. The funds were tied to timber sales, which dried up for a variety of environmental and economic reasons in the 1990s, and have been subsidized since then by the U.S. Congress:

In the early 1900s, Roosevelt took 2.4 million acres away from the Oregon-California Railroad, which was accused of swindling land deals in exchange for building the railroad. When the federal government reclaimed the land, Oregon lost half its property tax base.

To make up for it, the federal government agreed to split timber revenues on the acreage with Oregon. Over the next 50 years it was a lucrative arrangement, and timber money was used to build courthouses and jails, pave roads and free Oregonians from having to pay sales taxes.

The good times petered out in the early 1990s, when the northern spotted owl was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, all but shutting down large-scale logging. Today, just one large sawmill remains in Jackson County, compared with 91 in 1954.

While promising to come up with rules for a more ecologically friendly logging method, Congress agreed in 2000 to continue “safety net” payments to rural counties for six more years. But no one did the hard work of figuring out how to balance the timber industry with nature. So the checks stopped in December 2006.

The problem is worse than just libraries. Jackson county has also had to cut back on beds in the county jail, on monitoring of sex offenders, parks and recreation services, on fixing potholes — on everything. But the loss of the libraries is the worst. Libraries are the heart of small communities, where all kinds of meetings, celebrations and events are held. In many of the towns effected by the Jackson county shutdown, there are just a few public buildings in the town, one or two churches, and maybe a diner. The library’s public spaces are tremendously important in that kind of environment. These communities are being gutted.