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Why Does My Cat Scratch on Things?

Cat-ScratchThere’s nothing worse than coming home to the surprise redecorating of your kitchen table’s legs or living room upholstery, courtesy of your cat’s scratching instinct.  That doesn’t necessarily mean your cat has some inexplicable scratch problem that most other cat owners don’t experience as well.  There are many reasons why a cat will scratch anything sturdy enough to take a beating.  Let’s examine this further. [Read more…]

4 Ways Invisible Fencing Can Keep Your Pets Safe

Dog-Fence-150x150As pet owners and lovers, we do whatever it takes to keep our pets safe. Because they spend the majority of their lives at our homes, we make sure our living spaces are suitable for their safe enjoyment. If you have a yard that your dogs can use for exercise and play, you must ensure they’re kept inside your property lines to keep them from getting lost or wandering into the road. Invisible fencing is an excellent tool for containing your dogs in your yard, but did you know it can even be used inside the home and to keep other types of pets safe? Here are just some of the ways you can utilize a DIY electric fence to promote the safety and well-being of your pets. [Read more…]

FIV in cats, do you own an FIV+ cat?

My FIV+ kitty Thomas

My rescue kitty Thomas

I adopted my FIV positive cat named Thomas in 2008 when he became an orphan after the death of his owner. Thomas’ veterinarian agreed to take him in and find him a forever home. Or at least a foster in the mean time. Being an adult cat with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, finding him a home was going to be a challenge. Many FIV+ cats in this type of predicament are euthanized. Caring for an immune deficient cat involves a little more time and money than caring for a healthy cat. I’ve learned a lot about FIV in cats along the way.

So what symptoms does an FIV+ cat have? Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has an article which thoroughly covers the feline immunodeficiency virus:  “An infected cat’s health may deteriorate progressively or be characterized by recurrent illness interspersed with periods of relative health. Sometimes not appearing for years after infection, signs of immunodeficiency can appear anywhere throughout the body…”

Symptoms of FIV in cats (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus):

  • Diverse symptoms owing to the decreased ability to develop a normal immune response. Associated immunodeficiencies cannot be distinguished clinically from feline leukemia virus (FeLV)
  • Recurrent minor illnesses, especially with upper respiratory and gastrointestinal signs
  • Mild to moderately enlarged lymph nodes
  • Inflammation of the gums of the mouth and/or the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth is seen in 25 percent to 50 percent of cases
  • Upper respiratory tract disease is seen in 30 percent of cases – inflammation of the nose; inflammation of the moist tissues of the eye; inflammation of the cornea (the clear part of the eye, located in the front of the eyeball); often associated with feline herpes virus and calicivirus infections
  • Eye disease – inflammation of the front part of the eye, including the iris; disease of the eye in which the pressure within the eye is increased (glaucoma)
  • Long-term (chronic) kidney insufficiency (see more)

Next Article :Exercising Your Pets

Reliable Pet Sitter Wanted?

If you have a reliable pet sitter, you probably did some of the following things to make sure you found one who is reliable and honest. Having the neighbor’s kid watch your pets and home is not good enough, you want a professional. For those who are in the market for a pet sitter, here are a few tips to help you pick the right one, a reliable professional.

First, and most importantly, is the reason to hire a reliable pet sitter. Professional pet sitting goes way beyond tending to your pets needs. The person in charge of taking care of your fur kids is also in charge of your home and every worldly possession you have. The average vacation is about 7 to 10 days long, that’s a week or  more of your home being mostly unattended. Unforeseen disasters can and do happen at any time, things like the electricity going out, pipes bursting, a fire, a break in… just to name a few. Professional pet sitters are equipped to deal with emergencies of all types, it’s essential to being reliable.

The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) has created a thorough check list to help you pick the right pet sitter:

“Hiring a pet sitter is a serious process.  Make sure the person you choose is trained and professional.  He/she will not only be responsible for your pet, but also will have regular access to your home.” (read more)

The care of your pets involves working with your sitter as a team. Providing specific information about your pets and home will help the sit go smoothly. NAPPS provides a guideline to get the most out of your sitter.

“Once you’ve decided to hire a pet sitter, you’ll want to maximize the experience for you and your pet. The following pages list some simple guidelines that will ensure that that your get the most out of the relationship… Provide background on your pet’s history and habits…” (read more)

Part of a pet sitter’s job is to provide you with peace of mind while you are away. It’s worth the time to find the right one.

Next Article: Pet Dander

Reliable Pet Sitter

Walks are my favorite!

I love Halloween, don’t you?

Unfortunately many pets don’t! Someone knocks on the door every few minutes sending Spot into a flurry of barking to alert you, yet again, that you have visitors. You open the door to a group of little ghosts, goblins, witches and jack-o-lanterns who suddenly shout “TRICK OR TREAT!!” which sends Spot into another flurry of barking as these intruders surely should not be there! Meanwhile, Fluffy has been hiding since the first ghoulish creatures appeared, will not come out for dinner and you’re wondering if Fluffy’s brother, Tomcat, is with her or has slipped out the frequently opening front door.

Halloween can be a very confusing, and yes, scary time for our pets, especially those who are shy or not used to lots of activity. If your dog barks at strangers who come to the door or if your cat is skittish, it’s best to protect them from these stressful events right off the bat. Many pets escape from home on Halloween so the first precaution is to put them in a closed room, preferably one that is furthest away from the front door. Noise phobia can be soothed by having a radio on in the room with your fur kid making sure it’s loud enough to drown out the alien invaders that come for sweets. A favorite toy or blanket tops off the short term distraction created for maximum comfort on All Hallows Eve.

In addition to anxiety and stress, Halloween hazards for pets include food toxins from candy like chocolate and xylitol, opportunities to escape from home and susceptibility to cruel treatment by pranksters if outside. Plan ahead and Halloween can be both fun and safe for you and your fur family. Heck, your pet may even let you dress them up!

Next Topic: Pet Food Ingredients

Do You Know What to Do in a Pet Emergency?

If a pet emergency occurs, the goal is to get to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible. An initial visual evaluation of the pet and area will be essential, so stay calm and be observant.

Look for abnormalities on the scene such as blood or vomit around the pet, access to poison or additional hazards in the area. Also, take notice of the pet’s condition – conscious or unconscious, disoriented, unable to walk, and other physical or behavioral abnormalities. All of this information will help you properly assess the situation before taking action, so staying calm and observing the environment first is vital. The information you gather will also be very helpful for the veterinarian and their staff once you arrive with the injured pet.

The most important thing to keep in mind is YOUR safety. If you are injured, you will not be able to help the pet. For example, if we see a dog get hit by a car, we may panic, not watch for traffic on the road then run into harm’s way as we try to get to the injured pup. Also, a pet in pain may lash out and bite, so handling an injured pet on the scene of an emergency may be very tricky. Once you assess the situation and ensure your own safety, then you can begin transport to the veterinary hospital. If possible, call the vet immediately to let them know you are on your way and what the situation is. This will give them time to set up the proper pet emergency equipment to treat injuries.

In addition to proper observation and safety skills, knowing our pets’ normal vital signs may help us administer basic first aid in a pet emergency. So, in our next blog, let’s find out what’s normal!

Here are some excellent resources on pet first aid by the American Red Cross:

Pet First Aid: Dogs and Cats

Be Red Cross Ready Safety Series Vol. 2: Dog First Aid

Be Red Cross Ready Safety Series Vol. 3: Cat First Aid

Pet Emergency

First Aid for Pets


Next Topic: The ABCs of CPR