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Archive for September, 2011

Designer Cat Breeds

Saturday, September 17, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

Doesn’t the word “designer” make a cat breed sound exotic and special? In reality, this term means high breed.  A designer cat breed is a product of selected breeding that is intended to produce kittens with a specific trait.  An example would be that of the Toyger. This cat was bred to look like a domestic tiger.  It has Bengals, Egyptians, Coons, and American Short hairs in its lineage.   The concept of designer cat breeds is relatively new.  If you’re thinking about buying one of these designer breeds, do your homework to first and know their characteristics. Designer cats can make great pets. Try to find out why the specific breeds were chosen. Keep in mind, what truly makes a cat special is not it’s breed but how well it fits in with your family and lifestyle. Remember, your pets count!

Helping a dog with arthritis

Thursday, September 15, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

Osteoarthritis is a common, degenerative disease found in the joints of older dogs. This causes chronic pain and effects the hip, knee, spine and other joints. A dog that has arthritis will be reluctant to take long walks. and will have difficulty climbing stairs. He may not even be able to jump on a couch or bed. He may lick the affected joint and it may be sore to the touch.

Treatment includes nutritional supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates. This protects the cartilage covering the joints. These treatments work over time. For immediate relief, your veterinarian may recommend using a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. These drugs work quickly. If your pet’s arthritis pain still is not controlled by these medications, your vet may recommend analgesic pain medication. One of the keys in preventing this disease is to make sure that your dog is not overweight.

Never issue any pet medication yourself. Always let your vet do his job and prescribe the medication.

Remember, your pets count!

Getting fur off the furniture

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

Your friends are coming over for a visit and you’re worried about all of the fur on the chairs and sofa left by your beloved pet.  Here are some tips for removing pet hair from the furniture. You’ll need some inexpensive tools for this job.  A rubber tipped brush can be used to ball up longer cat and dog hair from couches and rugs. I use a lint roller because my cats hair is short.  Use the kind with disposable sticky sheets. Even a piece of packing tape will do for a small area. A damp dryer sheet will pick up some pet fur as well. It’s also a good idea to keep cotton throws on the seats of your furniture. It’s a little extra laundry but at least you won’t have your guests going home with a bunch of fur on their pants!  Remember in addition to playing with your pet with his dog or cat toys, brush him regularly. This will keep the shedding down a little.

Setting boundaries for your cat

Tuesday, September 13, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

Is your cat  bothering your bird or other pets in the house?  Maybe you have a hamster or a small dog. The reason that your cat is bothering them is because it’s her instinct to do so.  Now,  teaching a cat to overcome these instincts can be  a bit difficult. Start by setting some other rules to help her.  Teach your cat to stay out of the room where your bird or hamster lives. You have to modify the environment to keep pets apart. For example, if you have a small dog, keep a baby gate up to keep them apart.  Don’t place the conflicting pets food, water or beds near each other.  If you do see your cat bothering another pet, spritz her face with cool water from a spray bottle.The sensation may be unpleasant enough for your cat to stop this behavior.   Do not reward her with cat treats right after you’ve spritzed her with water. She will get confused and think that by bothering the other pets, she’ll get more treats!  You may want to ask another cat owner or your veterinarian for more tips.

Do pets mourn the loss of their owners?

Sunday, September 11, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

On this tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I’m watching the very touching memorial to all of those who lost their lives that day. Many lives were torn apart, husbands lost their wives, wives lost their husbands, children lost their mothers or fathers, partners lost their partners, parents lost their sons and daughters  and pets lost their beloved owners. The list could go on. It makes me wonder, do our pets mourn our loss?

The answer is yes. Both cats and dogs feel the loss of their loved ones. Cats do feel a lot of grief after an owners passing. They may seek out shared objects or experiences that remind them of the lost individual, they show signs of unhappiness after a loss and may display distress when the owners name is mentioned.  They may also display this type of behavior to mourn the loss of another cat or dog in the same house hold.

There is a  story about a mother who’s daughter passed away. She took in the daughters cat. The cat seemed very depressed, would not eat and spent all of her time around the boxes of her daughters belongings. The mother put out one of her daughters favorite dresses and the cat quickly claimed in and spent all day lying on top of the dress.

Dogs also mourn the loss of a loved one. Pets may show signs of mourning in ways that a family does not recognize. Many pets have a different degree of attachment to their owner that leads to distress and stress when the owner passes. Here are some signs of mourning.

  • Barking, whining or howling
  • Destructive behavior
  • House soiling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression and inactivity
  • Lack of energy
  • Absence of play
  • Listlessness and moping
  • Becoming anti-social
  • Increased daytime sleeping
  • Nighttime restlessness
  • Weight Loss
So as you can see, our pets love us as we love them. They grieve and mourn our loss very much.  Many pets lost their owners and loved ones on 9/11. They grieved along with their family and friends.
Remember, your pets count! Today we remember the losses and tragedy which changed our lives forever on 9/11.

Is your new pet spayed?

Saturday, September 10, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

You’ve just taken a big step and adopted a new female cat or dog. Do you know if she’s been spayed?  The best way to find out is to ask this question at the time of adoption or take your new pet to a veterinarian.  He’ll look for a healed incision, feel for a uterus, or even perform an ultrasound to be sure. If you adopt a pet from a shelter or an individual, always ask for the animals medical records. It should say whether or not she’s been spayed. It will also tell you if the animal has a clean bill of health and is up to date on her vaccinations.

Another way to detect whether or not she’s been spayed, is to look for a small vertical scar on her under belly.  The scar could be hard to detect since the pet has so much fur. It’s always best to have the animal examined by a veterinarian. This should always be done soon after adoption. Any other potential problems could be easily detected and treated if necessary.

Enjoy your new pet. give her plenty of treats and exercise! Remember, your pets count!

Crazy kittens at night

Friday, September 9, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

Does your kitten seem to get all wound up in the evening and even crazier in the early morning? This is because cats are  crepuscular which means that they are more active at dusk and dawn.  The reason could be that in the wild, the animals that they hunt are moving around then. So when you’ve had a hard day at work and are drifting off to sleep, your cats killer instincts are just waking up. I could hear mine chasing each other around the house. My younger cat, Millie starts to meow, telling me to get up and play with her. My older cat Mollie will put her paws around my legs and keep me from getting back into bed if I get up for a glass of water or to go to the bathroom. To calm the night time antics and morning madness, you’ll need to reset your cats body clock.  Try playing a game that’s like hunting. I play with her fishing pole cat toy. Then feed her just before bedtime.  Feed her first thing in the morning. To keep her from sleeping all day, put out some interactive cat toys to keep her busy. Remember, your pets count!

Are your two dogs suddenly fighting?

Thursday, September 8, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

If your dogs suddenly start fighting with one another, the reasons can vary.  Have any of your dogs not been neutered? Has one become sexually mature?  Is there plenty of space for both of them to share?   Have you let them get away with bad behavior in the past? Do they get little exercise or have too few dog toys?  Any or all of these things can cause fighting.

To correct the problem, exert your authority and feed the more aggressive dog last.  Make him walk behind you and your other dog. If he does show aggression, give him an immediate correction such as a loud noise. This tells him that fighting will not be tolerated. Always reward him for peaceful behavior. This will motivate him to repeat the good behavior. If the problem continues, consult your veterinarian.

Cat in a tree

Wednesday, September 7, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

It’s a very common scene. One that’s appeared in many cartoons and TV shows. A cat climbs a tree and becomes too scared to climb down.  Unfortunately, this is also occurs frequently in real life.  Cat claws are curved downward which makes it very easy to climb up a tree or go down a tree backwards. If your cat is new to tree climbing, she might try to go down head first which doesn’t work. If your cat gets stuck up in a tree, you should rescue her right away before she gets dehydrated and weak. If your cat is too high for you to reach, you may need to call an Arborist or  tree service.  Lots of people rely on the fire department to help but their job is to save human lives and may not be able to spare the time or the equipment. Remember, your pets count!

Do dogs like to wear clothes?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

I know that you are expecting me to say “sure,” they love all of the latest fashions just as you do but unfortunately, your dog would probably prefer going outside completely naked. Dogs don’t need to wear clothing. They have hair/fur that acts as a insulator.  It keeps them warm in winter and actually keeps them cooler in summer.  Shortening the longer coated breeds in summer helps them stay cooler easier. When we put dog clothing on them, it’s our way of humanizing them. Do you ever notice how some dogs actually resemble their owners?  Very rarely do dogs actually need another layer of clothing. I always put a coat on my Chihuahua but did it stop him from shivering on a cold, winter day? No.  Small dogs should be outside for a very short period of time in the winter. They will warm back up quickly as soon as they’re in the house. Sometimes putting clothing on your dog can cause bald spots.

It can’t hurt your dog if you dress him up but don’t feel bad if your dog is naked and your neighbors dog is wearing all of the latest fashions! Remember, your pets count!