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June 2023

Archive for June, 2023

Safety for Your Cat on the Fourth

Friday, June 30, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Are your having  lots of people over for a cookout this 4th of July?  Is your cat a bit high strung?  If so, you’ll want to follow a few simple rules for a stress free holiday. First of all, this is not the best time to introduce a new cat to the household.  Unfamiliar house quests can be a shock to your cat’s system and very few cats enjoy noise and parties. Find a safe, quiet retreat for your cat as far from all of the 4th of July festivities as possible. Leave her there until the last guests are gone.  Give her lots of attention. Pet her frequently because that reduces your stress as well as hers.. Have a safe and happy 4th!

Remember, pets are family!

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Curing Cat Loneliness

Wednesday, June 28, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Cats are solitary creatures by nature which means that they don’t need anyone t0 survive. Dogs, on the hand require a pack leader weather it be a human or another dog. If you have an indoor cat and are gone for more than four hours a day, your cat may feel lonely. This varies from cat to cat. Some cats are perfectly fine being by themselves.

If your think that your cat is lonely, the solution may be to bring in another cat. Preferably, a younger cat of the opposite sex. Make sure that he or she is neutered. It may take awhile for the two cats to get used to each other. The cat that has been in the house the longest will always be the dominant cat. Make sure that you give the senior cat a little more attention than the younger cat. This is because when 2 or more cats live together, they develop a hierarchy in which one cat is the boss. I had a female and adopted another female and still, after 7 years, the younger cat feels threatened by the older one.

You can also try playing soft music while you’re out of the house, this may also curb their loneliness.

Remember, pets are family!
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The Correct Way to Feed Your Dog

Monday, June 26, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

A cute adorable 5 week old Chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy with one paw over the edge of a large ceramic dog bowl looking at the camera after eating. There is kibble scattered on the hardwood floor with a white baseboard and green wall in the background

You may think that feeding your dog is a no brainer but there are right and wrong feeding times for your dog. Most dogs eat their dog food twice per day. This stabilizes their metabolism and aids with digestion. You should select a feeding schedule and stick with it. Give dog food at 7:00am and 6:00pm. Remove any uneaten food but the dog water bowl should be kept filled with fresh water at all times.If you’re working on housetraining or have a dog who overdrinks, you can schedule the amount and times you provide it. But watch your dog carefully and, if he seems to be thirsty, increase the amount. A sample schedule for monitoring water would be:

  • 7:00 a.m. – Clean and fill bowl half-way.d
  • Noon – Rinse out and refill half-way.
  • 6:00 p.m. – Rinse and fill half-way.
  • Bedtime – Clean and fill bowl about 1/4 of the way.
  • Thanks to for providing some of this information.

    Remember, pets are family!
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Camping Adventures with Your Best Friend

Saturday, June 24, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Woman and beagle dog warm near the campfire

Our best friends love to accompany us on a camping trip. Some years ago, I had taken my small dog on a camping trip in the Poconos. The place where we camped was not  a traditional camp site but on the land that a friend owned.  There were no facilities or other campers on this site so we really had to “ruff” it. In the evening two friends, myself and my small dog were comfortably sleeping in our tent when all of a sudden, my dog began to growl. I peeked out the small window in the tent and saw a black bear breaking twigs very close to our tent. Of course, I panicked and my small dog began barking as I frantically tried to stop him. The bear heard my dog and actually ran away. Whew!!! I was never so scared in my life.

If you decide to go camping with your best friend, I strongly recommend that you choose one the many campsites in the U.S. These sites have supplies, facilities and most of all there are other campers in close proximity. has put together valuable tips for what you should do with your dog while camping.

Once at the camping ground, keep your dog on a leash or otherwise confined so that other campers are not disturbed and your dog is not at risk for becoming lost or injured. Be aware of keeping your dog away from things such as campfires and cooking utensils that can cause injury. A “leave it” command is also useful in case your dog begins to explore or picks up something dangerous in his mouth.
Keep your dog close to you during your camping expedition. If you are unable to supervise your dog, be sure he is properly confined. Do not leave your dog confined in a closed car or tied to a stationary object though. Provide a dog carrier, dog crate, or portable fencing unit instead.
While camping, check your dog’s fur and skin regularly for ticks as well as for plant material like thorns or burrs. Plant materials should be brushed free of your dog’s hair, if possible. In some situations, cutting or shaving the hair may be necessary to remove these items.
Remove ticks promptly by grasping the tick near the skin and pulling gently and slowly away from the skin. It’s a good idea to bring along flea and tick products for your dog. Wear gloves when doing so. Do not handle ticks with bare hands as they can transmit diseases to you as well as to your dog.

Remember, pets are family!

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Getting Your Cat Used to Going to The Vet

Thursday, June 22, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

An Asian female Veterinarian holds a cat up in her arms and strokes it’s neck gently to reassure it after an examination. She is wearing blue scrubs and has a stethoscope around her neck as she smiles down at the cat.

Every time I have to take my cat to the vet, fear comes over me. I know that going to the vet can be a very stressful situation for a cat who is used to her own home and her own people.  Here are some tips to make the situation a little easier. It’s always better to start t when your cat is a kitten if possible.

  1. Get your cat used to different people and environments early on.
  2. Use a cat leash and harness when she first goes out, even if it’s only going to the vet. Offer her treats when she gets there. Make the experience as positive as possible for her.
  3. Make sure that you get her used to her carrier ahead of time. Keep it open in the house and put a soft blanket inside for her to sleep on.
  4. Make a few practice trips to the vet with your cat. She won’t be examined but offer her treats when she gets there anyway.
  5. Get your cat used to being handled the way a vet may handle her. While you’re at home and for just a few seconds to start, get your cat used to being scruffed, having her hindquarters handled and lying on her back, so those won’t feel scary during a vet visit.

Despite all of these efforts, your cat may never get used to going to the vet. Even if the stress is reduced a little, is a big help. Most of all be patient with your cat.

Remember, pets are family!
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Recognizing Constipation in Cats

Tuesday, June 20, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Sad calico maine coon cat overweight constipated sick after megacolon, enema, trying to go to the bathroom in blue litter box at home looking

Yesterday my cat Millie pooped in the morning, but a little later in the day, she became restless. She started crying and walking all around the house. She went back and forth to her litter box and kept trying to poop some more. She had a large hairball a few hours earlier. I was confused since she had just pooped significantly. A few more small pieces of feces were expelled but she still seems uncomfortable. I’m is in the process of changing vets but here in southern Delaware, it is literally impossible to get your pet to a vet in an emergency! When you call, they offer no advice. So I watched Millie and it seems a few hours later she was back to normal. She seems fine now but being that she’s 18 1/2 years old, I always watch her very closely. Now to our topic. If your cat is truly constipated, what should you do? has put together a comprehensive guide to this issue. The following was published by

Symptoms of Cat Constipation

Symptoms that your cat is constipated include:

Little to no fecal production while attempting to poop

Frequent visits to the litter box


Decreased appetite

Abdominal pain

Decreased energy

Decreased interest in interacting with family

Causes of Cat Constipation

Cats can become constipated for many reasons, from stressful situations to health issues. You should always see the vet within 24 hours to rule out health-related causes or underlying diseases.
Litter Box Issues

Sometimes cat constipation starts with a litter box issue: maybe the box isn’t cleaned frequently enough or isn’t easy to access. Or the litter box could be associated with pain while attempting to poop, or with something that’s scary to a cat, like the washing machine buzzer going off.

In these cases, your cat not wanting to go can quickly become not being able to go. To help your constipated cat, examine your litter box and its surroundings, and consider:

Moving it to a quiet location with no noises or activity that would be scary to your cat

Moving it away from your cat’s food, water, and bed

Cleaning it more often to reduce smells

Switching to a low-sided box that is easier to access

Not Drinking Enough

Cat constipation could also be caused by not drinking enough water. Your cat’s reluctance to drink might be related to an underlying health concern such as mobility issues, mouth pain, or digestive discomfort. Take them to the vet to rule out any of these issues.

Your cat might also be reacting to an issue with their water dish, such as stagnant or dirty water, or even the type of bowl. Always rule out medical issues first, especially when it comes to dehydration. Then you can also think about:

Using a cat water fountain with flowing water that mimics a stream or river

Trying water bowls made out of other materials, like glass, ceramic, plastic, or metal

Cleaning the water bowl more often

Underlying Disease

Many diseases, both acute (short-term) and chronic, can lead to constipation in cats. These include kidney disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism. All cases of straining in the litter box should be evaluated by a veterinarian, because each of these illnesses can become very serious or even deadly if left untreated.

A toy or other nonfood item can obstruct the intestines, preventing the passage of poop. This is considered an emergency. If your cat is constipated and shows any symptoms of obstruction, take them to the vet immediately:



Refusing to eat

Swollen belly

Refusing to lie down

Fever or low body temperature

The inability to urinate is also an emergency for your cat; take them in to see a vet as quickly as possible to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Not Enough Exercise

Inactivity can also lead to constipation. You should aim for at least 10-15 minutes of activity interactive play (with you) per day, or more if you have a younger cat or kitten. Here are some tips for making sure your cat gets enough exercise also move enough throughout the day:

Cat trees provide opportunities for climbing and exploration

Scratching posts allow cats to express the instinct to scratch

Toys that mimic prey animals can attract a cat’s attention

Smart toys that move on their own motivate hunting and chasing

Catnip makes all of these activities more fun for your cat

How Vets Diagnose Cat Constipation

First, your veterinarian will get a history of the problem. You’ll describe the symptoms, when they started, and other factors that may be related to your cat’s constipation.

Providing a full history is very important because straining in the litter box can also be a symptom of lower urinary issues and diarrhea.

After getting your cat’s history, your veterinarian will perform a physical exam. In constipated cats, a vet can often feel the hard stool, but not always.

Next, your veterinarian will recommend X-rays to evaluate the extent of constipation to determine the best initial treatment for your cat. Bloodwork is often required to assess underlying diseases that may predispose your cat to constipation.
Treatment for Cat Constipation

Treatment for constipated cats depends on the cause and severity. Constipation that is left untreated can lead to megacolon, a form of constipation that is not responsive to medical treatment and can be fatal.

The first step in treatment is to remove the obstructing feces, which sometimes requires administration of fluids or an enema at the clinic. Never give an enema to your cat at home, as human enemas are not safe for cats.

If the constipation is moderate or severe, your cat will need to be sedated for the enema or deobstipation (manual removal of feces).

The next step is to determine the underlying cause of your cat’s constipation and address it. You may need to make changes in your cat’s environment, like moving the litter boxes, cleaning the water bowl or litter boxes more often, or trying a cat water fountain or a different type of water bowl.

The vet may also recommend switching your cat to low- or high-fiber food and adding medication specifically for constipation.

But more often, treating any underlying disease, such as kidney disease or arthritis, is the most important treatment to prevent a recurrence.
Recovery and Management of Cat Constipation

Once the hard stool is removed, recovery is usually rapid. Unfortunately, if you don’t deal with the original cause, whether it’s treating a health issue or making lifestyle changes, then your cat is very likely to become constipated again.

Follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian. Often the food changes or medications will need to be continued for life. Just because your cat is feeling better doesn’t mean you can stop treatment.
Pro Tip

Hang a calendar on the wall near the litter box to keep track of your cat’s poop schedule. This will help you be proactive at the first sign of a problem.
Cat Constipation FAQs
How can I help my cat with constipation?

See your vet within 24 hours to determine if there are any underlying health issues so you can treat them right and prevent ongoing constipation.

The best thing you can do is try to prevent constipation from happening in the first place. Litter boxes should always be clean, easy to access, and located in a safe place. Make sure your cat drinks enough water and gets enough daily exercise.
Will fish oil help cat constipation?

No, fish oil will not help cat constipation. Too much fish oil can cause painful cramping and diarrhea, and will not address the cause of constipation.
What do you feed a cat with chronic constipation?

Nutritional management depends on the cause of chronic constipation. This is a discussion you should have with your veterinarian about your cat’s specific needs.
What is a natural laxative for cats?

Consult your vet before giving your cat a laxative.

You may be tempted to give your cat over-the-counter products like mineral oil and petrolatum. While they can both help with short-term constipation, they may not be safe for all cats.
How long can my cat go without pooping?

A typical healthy cat should defecate at least once per day. Unless they just had surgery or are recovering from diarrhea, a cat should not go longer than 48 hours without pooping.
Can kittens get constipated, too?

Constipation is rare in kittens that are well cared for, which means they are in a home with access to clean water and a commercially formulated cat food diet. However, any cause of abnormal litter box habits should be evaluated by a veterinarian, no matter the age of the cat.

Remember pets are family!

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Cats Need Protein

Saturday, June 17, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Cat eating his food from ceramic bowl on wooden floor

A cat needs twice as much protein as a dog. Cats also require about 20 different kinds of amino acids to make their own body protein and those amino acids come from protein in food. What ‘s the best source of protein for your cat ,chicken, beef or fish? The truth is that any and all sources of protein are good for your cat. Commercial pet foods contain at least 30% protein from a variety of sources to more than meet your cats needs. If your cat eats quality foods,  you can give him beef one day, chicken the next and fish the next. All are great sources of  protein.

Remember, pets are family!
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How to Calm a Crazy Cat

Thursday, June 15, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Dog and cat high-five over spilled trash.

You’ve just adopted a cat, take him home and realize that he is out of control. What do you do to calm him down? This situation can be very frustrating but fortunately there are things that you could do calm him down. PedMd published an editorial in 2018 that outlines ways to solve this problem. This is the article from

If you’re a cat owner, you likely know that the picture-perfect idea of a cat purring and laying calmly at arm’s length while you pet her is inaccurate—at least some of the time. Cats are known for getting the kitten crazies, or bursts of energy that range from running and jumping around the house at high speeds to animated play-fighting with other household pets.

This type of behavior can be alarming or frustrating for cat owners, but, according to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a veterinary behaviorist in Westborough, Massachusetts, “it is their natural behavior.”

Dodman describes these sudden bursts of energy as the zoomies. The behavior is hardwired into cats for a few reasons. Cats will tend to sleep when it’s pitch-dark. But at dusk, they’re most active. Instinctive behavior they might exhibit outside, such as prey chasing, translates into activity that is within a confined household.

“When we put cats into conventional homes, we’re really limiting their ability to explore their habitat,” Dodman says. “The cat’s ancestors lived in much larger territories.”

If your kitty suddenly exhibits a high level of activity, here are a few methods you can use to help calm her down.
1. Structure in Playtime

Just like dogs, cats need an energy outlet. And if they don’t have viable ways of letting that energy out during the day, you may find them careering around the house, jumping on top of furniture, and getting into areas they shouldn’t. But Dodman stresses the importance of recognizing cats need to release their energy somewhere.

By structuring in playtime with your cat, you can reduce unwanted or over-the-top behavior. Using cat-friendly toys, such as interactive LED lasers or a tennis ball modified to contain treats, can work. “You’re having fun, interacting with your cat, and directing their energy,” says Dodman of structured playtime. If you use a laser pointer for play, make sure to include opportunities for the cat to catch the “prey,” such as landing the laser on a treat, and letting the cat pounce on it. Without the ability to catch the prey, laser pointer play can lead to obsessive behavioral disorders, such as shadow chasing.

Certified animal behaviorist Jennie Lane of Alexandria, Virginia, recommends food-dispensing toys for some cats because it approximates their instinct to hunt for food. Scheduled playtimes might be only five to 10 minutes long for some cats. “Some of them can become over-stimulated and get aggressive when they play too long,” Lane says.
2. Create Harmony in the Household

Because the predecessors to the domestic house cat were solitary hunters, having a household with multiple cats or other pets can stress cats out. Urine marking or inappropriate urination or defecation outside the litterbox are clear signs of stress. According to Lane, as you approach having 10 cats in the home, the chance of urine marking goes up 100 percent.

Personalities can change dramatically within a household whenever the number of cats in the home increases. Although it’s possible to have a multi-cat household, there’s more work to be done to ensure harmony within the group. In this instance, Lane recommends consulting with an experienced animal behaviorist to help sort out issues and ask your veterinarian for recommendations. Your veterinarian will look at factors like an individual cat’s history, specific triggers to problems, and a cat’s early life. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but Lane says increased exercise and mental stimulation tend to help.

There are some cases where adding a cat will remedy discord within a household. According to Dodman, if an excess of play behavior is directed toward you, owners should consider adding a cat so they are interacting with each other.
3. Address Any Hyperthyroid Issues

Not all unwanted behavior from cats is behavioral. With older cats, the most common physical reason for overactive activity is hyperthyroidism. Cats with this condition have an overactive thyroid gland, which is the control mechanism for their energy levels. Subsequently, you’ll have a cat with bursts of energy. “Cats with hyperthyroidism don’t sleep very much and will have a voracious appetite,” says Dr. Erin Wilson, a veterinarian and medical director at the New York ASPCA. “It generally occurs in senior kitties,” she adds.

Treatment for hyperthyroidism in cats includes the medication Methimazole, surgical removal of the thyroid gland, and radioactive iodine therapy.
4. Create Safe Outdoor Experiences

If cats don’t have safe, structured ways to entertain themselves, they’ll figure out ways to use that energy on their own. Dodman likens off-the-wall behavior from cats to “cabin fever.” They’re cooped up inside, and though your cat may seek outside stimulation, dangers like traffic and wild animals typically make this an impractical solution.

However, there are ways to provide safe outdoor activities for your cat. Lane recommends using a harness for cats to explore with you or providing an outdoor enclosure such as a catio, which allows your feline to enjoy being outside without being subject to predators.
5. Allow the Behavior

Feline experts agree that typically, when cats exhibit sudden energy bursts, it’s often just what cats do. The first question cat owners might ask is whether the cat actually needs to be calmed down. “If cats are merely running and jumping around for five minutes, it’s not necessary to stop the cat,” Wilson says. “It’s the same as stopping children from running and playing.”

But when the activity becomes dangerous, such as your kitty jumping off the top of a fridge, Wilson advises cat owners try redirecting the behavior with a toy to chase or even an empty cardboard box to keep the cat busy.

From a biological standpoint, owners should expect kittens, especially those under the age of 6 months, to have a ton of energy. Owners who allow the behavior will see the kitten calm down soon enough. “They tend to run around and crash,” Dodman says. “Activities like play wrestling are a necessary practice and skill for their adult life.”

Cats do have a need for mental stimulation and exercise. Besides addressing any behavioral issues and unhealthy household conflicts, it’s important to remember energy bursts are simply a part of who they are.

Remember, pets are family!
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Prevent Spreadable Cat Diseases

Tuesday, June 13, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Close up view of a cute cat, selective focus.

A healthy cat is a harmless cat but humans can be susceptible to some ailments that are spread by sick cats. These illness are called zoonotic diseases because they jump across species. Cat Scratch fever, is the most common disease that is spread from cats to humans. A scratch or bite from a sick cat can cause flu like symptoms. Salmonella may be spread to humans through kitty litter. Rabies is the most dangerous of all zoonotic diseases. This is why it is very important to have your cat vaccinated. Be very cautious with taking in a feral cat. Get him checked out by a vet immediately before getting him comfortable with cat beds and cat accessories.  Common sense hygiene and continuous kitty litter cleaning will spare cat owners from most threats. Remember you’re far more likely to catch a disease from another person than from a cat. Keeping your cat indoors and in a clean environment will help your cat stay healthy. Clean your kitty litter regularly and keep up with shots and regular checkups.

Remember, pets are family!
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Socializing Your Dog

Saturday, June 10, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Bernese Mountain Dog talking with Golden Retriever

In order for dogs to get along with other dogs and humans, they must be socialized. This can be a dicey process. Most of us believe that dog parks are a dependable place for positive dog socializing opportunities. This is not always the case. Dog parks can be fun but then can also bring about negative interactions by forcing your pet to come up against overly aggressive dogs. Try to avoid situations where this can occur. If it happens more than once, take your dog to a different park. You never want your dog to get into a fight with another dog. This can make socializing very difficult for him in the future, You want your dog’s interactions with other dogs in the park to be positive experiences. The more positive interaction ANY dog gets with other dogs, the more likely he will develop and maintain dog-tolerant behavior for life. Make sure that your dog is calm around other dogs while on his leash. You may notice that your dog gets along very well with another friend or relatives dog. While this is a good thing, don’t assume that your dog will behave this way around strange dogs. 

Smart socializing can involve  taking your dog to obedience class. He’ll get used to interacting and being calm around other dogs without the “leash greets’ that he experiences while you’re walking him or taking him to the park. He’ll . experience structured play sessions in safe, contained areas with other known dogs.  Dogs are like people in that they like to have a few people around that they can trust. Like humans good friendships come from familiarity  and develop over time.

Remember, pets are family!
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