Winter Safety for Pets

Hello all!  The winter weather has officially been upon us for some time now, and since it’s currently snowing in Oregon, Baseball and Zooey thought it was important to re-share these Winter Pet Safety reminders from last year, with a couple of new additions!

Cold winter weather can provide many hazards for your pet, especially outdoor friends and strays.  Be a responsible pet owner this year and follow these tips from Alley Cat Allies to keep your furry friend happy and healthy through the winter season.

Winter Pet Safety

Some additional tips that Zooey and Baseball wanted to add:

  • Remember – if you’re cold, they’re cold!  So be sure to keep pets indoors on particularly stormy, wet, rainy, or snowy days.
  • If your pets are indoor/outdoor, be sure that they are brought inside over night – temperatures can quickly reach freezing (or below!).
  • If it’s absolutely impossible to bring them inside, consider setting up a shelter in a garage or shed, with a bed, fresh food, and water.
  • Make sure outdoor strays have access to fresh water and don’t allow it to ice over.
  • Invest in heated pet bed and heated food/water dishes for outdoor strays.
  • Feed outdoor strays extra – staying warm when it’s cold out burns more calories.
  • Make some roughneck homes – an inexpensive and easy way to provide shelter and warmth for those feral or stray pets that have stolen your heart.

Click Here to check out even more tips on winter safety from Alley Cat Allies, and make sure your friends stay safe and warm this winter!

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Winter Safety for Pets

Cold winter weather can provide many hazards for your pet, especially outdoor friends and strays.  Be a responsible pet owner this year and follow these tips from Alley Cat Allies to keep your furry friend happy and healthy through the winter season.

Winter Pet Safety

Some additional tips that Zooey and Baseball wanted to add:

  • Make sure outdoor pets have access to fresh water and don’t allow it to ice over.
  • Feed them a little extra – staying warm when it’s cold out burns more calories.
  • Make some roughneck homes.
  • Keep pets indoors on particularly stormy, wet, rainy, or snowy days.
  • Make sure all indoor/outdoor pets are brought inside over night.

Click Here to check out even more tips on winter safety from Alley Cat Allies, and make sure your friends stay safe and warm this winter!

Your Pet and Halloween

Halloween can be a fun time for humans, but for our furry friends it can often be a dangerous time of the year.

Here are some tips on how to keep your pet safe on Halloween:

  • Keep them indoors – and not just your black cats.  Halloween can be a time for mischief makers, and often times pets can be the innocent victims of cruel pranks.  Make sure to keep them inside in a safe place – especially if you’re attending a Halloween Party or taking out a group of trick or treaters.  Pets can get scared by loud celebrations and get free from even the most secure backyards.
  • Keep them away from open doors – curious pets might be tempted to follow behind you to “inspect” the kids at the door, and they may sneak out in the shuffle.  Also, you can never be too sure if young children have been raised around pets – it’s best not to risk a pulled tail leading to someone getting scratched or bitten.
  • If excessive ringing of the doorbell causes your pet anxiety, make sure they have a quiet place to rest, or place tape over it/cover it in some way for the evening.
  • Store all candy out of reach of pets, and never share your treats with them!  Especially chocolate – it can be deadly for many animals if ingested.
  • If you’re dressing your pet in costume make sure it doesn’t have any choking hazards and that it doesn’t restrict their breathing, eating and drinking, or movement.
  • Make sure that all candles, decorations, and carved pumpkins are out of reach of pets and not someplace they can be knocked over.

Photo Credit: BannerInk.com

Pet Safety During Natural Disasters

With Hurricane Sandy heading for the east coast, Baseball and Zooey thought it was very important for pet owners to find out how to keep their furry friends safe during the storm.  Even if you’re not facing a natural disaster at the moment, it’s always smart to be prepared.  You never know what the weather may do, and having a pet preparedness kit ready ahead of time will make it one less thing you have to attend to in an emergency.

Check out these links from PetFinder.com and the ASPCA on how to create a disaster kit and plan for your pets as well as information on first aid and CPR.

Petfinder: Disaster Preparedness for Pets and Their Families

ASPCA: How to Prepare Your Pets for Hurricane Sandy

If you are in the New York area, you should know that all evacuation shelters accept animals.  Please take them with you!  You do not be afraid to evacuate for fear of leaving them behind.

The ASPCA will have updates on the storm’s progress on their blog, facebook page, and twitter.  You can also use and follow their hashtag #SandyPets on twitter for updates on all of the pet-related hurricane news.

We hope all of our friends on the east coast stay safe and dry while this storm passes!

The New Collar of Shame

If you read Monday’s post, you know that Baseball has been forced to wear The Cone of Shame, because he won’t stop pulling out his tail hair.  The issue seems a bit resolved now, thanks to a bath, and breaking the scratching cycle with the cone, but I’m still looking into ways to prevent it from happening again in the future!

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to prevent your animals from scratching/licking irritated areas.  In the past, the only option was the traditional hard cone.  If you’ve tried this route, you know how much it can prevent them from doing other important things as well – like getting into/out of the litter box, and eating food or drinking water.

Then, along came the soft cone, which although a huge step up, still didn’t quite fit the bill.  As I mentioned in my previous post, the soft cones were still a bit awkward – and they can get dragged through the litter, food, or water.  Also, Baseball still tried to groom himself while he was wearing it, and ended up licking the cone instead.  After a few days…well, it started to smell kinda funky, and washing it off with soapy water didn’t help.

Another thing I brought up before, was the fact that it really only prevents them from being overly mobile until they get used to wearing it.  After that, even though it impedes their movements, they trip over it, and can’t use their peripheral vision or their whiskers to gauge the depth of things…they get bored and start trying to accomplish all of their favorite tricks anyways.  I cannot tell you how many times I watched Baseball attempt to fit in a space he just couldn’t, or fall off/completely miss what he was trying to jump onto while he had his soft cone on!  I’m not going to lie, sometimes it was pretty funny, and a couple of times he got mad at Mom for laughing at him for being a klutz…but most of the time I was worried that something would happen and he would hurt himself while I wasn’t at home, or even while I was asleep.

Enter my investigation into the world of e-collars!  There are several different options, but the one that stood out to me as the best one for Baseball and Zooey was the “Pro-Collar.”  This collar is awesome for a couple of different reasons!

1. The outside cover is made of a lightweight, durable material.  Not only is it removable and machine washable, but also bite and scratch resistant!  (They didn’t come with instructions so I played it safe and ran them on the cold cycle/didn’t use the dryer.)  I definitely recommend washing them before putting them on your pet however, because they have a pretty strong “new” odor, and that just doesn’t seem like a smell you want stuck right under your cat’s nose for days at a time.

2. It won’t block vision

3.  It won’t scrape your furniture

4.  It’s easily inflatable, adjustable and available in several sizes, it’s made to fit your cat or dog (Check out the size chart here)

5.  As far as I can tell, it really works!  We’ve had a couple instances of Baseball wriggling out of it, but that’s mostly due to the fact that I didn’t properly tuck the inflation valve in the first time and he managed to deflate it, and failure on my part to make the velcro “chin” strap tight enough.  Otherwise, we’ve had no instances of scratching or pulling out hair!

And perhaps most importantly:

6.  Baseball recommends it because it’s squishy and makes a fantastic pillow (even when he doesn’t have to wear it anymore!)

The one downside I can see to this collar is the price – it’s pretty steep for a collar. However, the fact that it’s machine washable, and it works, means that it’s a worthy investment.  This is something you can keep and reuse, and depending on the sizes of your pets at home, it can even be shared between animals.  Baseball wears a medium size, which could easily fit a small-to-medium sized dog as well…if I had one.  Zooey got her own because she’s smaller, though she hasn’t had to wear it yet as we haven’t had to do any flea treatments this year.

Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about the best choice for your pet.

 

What are your thoughts on/experiences with cones? Have you tried the Pro-Collar?

Baseball and The Cone of Shame

Baseball is not happy.

I think you can see why.

He has to wear the cone of shame!  And even worse?  Zooey doesn’t…

I keep trying to tell him that’s what happens when you try to rip out all of your tail hair and hack up hairballs all over the house, but he wouldn’t listen.  I feel bad for the big guy, cause he’s so itchy, and I don’t know why!  The fleas have been non-existent this summer, and he’s been doing really well on the food they’ve been eating recently. For a while I was thinking it could be heat rash, because he’s a long-hair and it got pretty warm in the house this summer without A/C, but it’s cooled off and his itching hasn’t, so I just don’t know anymore!

Yesterday he got a bath with some soothing organic shampoo that has aloe and jojoba in it, and after he was dry the cone went back on, so I’m hoping if we can break the cycle things will settle down.  Poor Bubbserman :(

In other news, I really don’t like the traditional hard cones for cats because they’re virtually impossible for them to function in, so we got these soft cones instead.  They work better, however they still blocks their vision, the cats still trip over them, and the edges get dragged through the litter box and food/water dishes.  For a while the annoyance of not being able to move normally slows them down, however, after a day or two Baseball and Zooey are back to their old hi-jinks and running around the house. Because they’re so much klutzier with the soft cones, I always have the fear of them getting stuck, injured, or even strangled by them when I’m out of the house and they’re attempting to go full speed.

This prompted me to look into a different kind of cone, and led to a pretty exciting discovery!  Tune in on Friday to find out what it is, where you can get it, and what Baseball thinks of it!

Any of you cat owners out there have a Maine Coon or a Long-Hair with a similar itching issue?  How have you dealt with it?  What was the cause?

Does Your Cat Meow When You Sneeze?

Because Zooey does!

Every time I sneeze (which isn’t terribly often, unless it’s allergy season!) Zooey comes running from whatever room in the house she was in, and meows at me.  My mom’s cat, her Cousin Squash, does the same thing!  Is this something YOUR cats do?

Out of curiosity, I decided to google it, and see what I could find out.

In fact, I found out that this is not an unusual occurrence!   The majority of the sites I found said the reason it happens is because the sound of a human sneeze closely resembles the sound of a cat hissing or “spitting,” and they meow in response to what they view as aggression. (Check out this forum here)

But…that really doesn’t seem to match up with Zooey’s reaction.  First of all, honesty time – I’ve hissed at my cats – sometimes the only way to get an unruly kitty to listen is to BECOME alpha kitty… and they don’t react at all the same as when I sneeze. Usually they hiss back, arch their backs and turn into a Halloween Kitty, or just crouch and glare at me from underneath the couch.

Second of all, Zooey is a talker, and she has very distinct meows.  In fact, a lot of the time she sounds mad even when she’s not.  Whenever you pick her up, for instance, it sounds a bit like you’re torturing her, even though she’s purring and trying to lick your hair.  She has meows with more than one syllable, chattering meows, baby tiny squeaks that barely even count as meows, demanding meows that sound like she’s yelling at you, sometimes her meows go up at the end like she’s asking a question (usually when she enters a room), and there are times when I swear she even mimics the sound of your voice when you’re talking to her.  But the point is, with such a variety of ways that she uses to express herself, it’s usually pretty clear what she’s trying to communicate to you. And when I sneeze, it’s never a “You’re trying to attack me so I’m defending myself” meow – it honestly sounds more like a meow of concern!

So I did some more searching, and came across this answer, which seemed a bit more fitting – it says that the reasons cats meow when you sneeze is because they’re surprised, since sneezes come on so fast they’re not an anticipated behavior.

Maybe so…but even after my research…I’m still inclined to believe they’re saying “Bless You!”

World’s Best Cat Litter – Is It Really The Best?

Whether you own a cat or not, I’m pretty sure everyone can relate when I say that it’s never pleasant to walk into a house and immediately be accosted with the smell of litter.  The more cats you have, the worse it is, and as an owner of two, I’m always on the lookout for ways to keep their area clean and as neutral smelling as possible!

The first move was to get an automatic litter box – one of the ones that has a sensor that knows when it’s been used, and sends the arm sweeping across to dump the clumps into a disposable plastic tray.  While this has helped a lot (since the tray has a lid), it’s certainly not perfect, and I still find myself cleaning out their box almost every day.

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

So the next step was to find the right litter.  Unfortunately, most cat litters (including the ones that are labeled fragrance free) have a specific cat litter scent.  Even when the litter box is clean, it still smells like litter!  I don’t know about you, but I don’t find it to be a particularly pleasant odor.

Not to mention the fact that most litters are dusty and easily tracked through the house.

Enter World’s Best Cat Litter.

Photo Credit: World’s Best Cat Litter

Now I’m not quite sure if it’s actually the world’s best, because I haven’t tried every single litter out there, but I will say it’s the best I’ve found, and it’s the one I’m sticking with!

First of all, it’s made from whole-kernel corn.  This is important for several reasons:

1. It’s natural with no silica dust, and 100% renewable,  making it healthier for you, your pet, and the environment.

2. It clumps on contact leaving the litter below dry, which also makes for easy scooping.

3. There’s no dust (this has really made a difference for my cat prone to urinary tract infections), and it doesn’t get tracked through the house.

4. It doesn’t smell like litter – or really anything at all!  And it traps odors better than any other litter I’ve found.

And perhaps the most important endorsement comes from Baseball and Zooey themselves.  Before, they would often meow and lead me to their box, as if to say “hey, clean this!” even it when there was fresh litter.  Animals are very clean creatures, (do you like using a dirty toilet? I don’t think so!) and this product seems to really keep their area a lot tidier.

For a limited time only, you can even get a bag for free!  Check out their website here for more information.

Have you tried World’s Best?  What did you think?

*Note: Corn litter is not recommended for use in boxes for/households with rabbits.

10 Ways to Keep Your Pet Safe on The 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!  In honor of the holiday, Baseball, Zooey, and I are skipping this week’s Wordless Wednesday post to take a moment and give you all some tips on how to keep your pets safe this 4th!

Celebrations can be a stressful time for your animal, especially celebrations like the 4th of July which are accompanied by the sounds of loud explosions. Here is a short list of things that should help to ease the stress for both you and your pet:

1.  The most important thing you can do for your pets is keep them inside!  This will help muffle the sound of the fireworks, and also help your pet feel safe and protected in a familiar environment.  It will also prevent them from getting loose if they start to panic.  Make sure all doors and windows are locked.

2. If you can, keep your pets in one area of the house – especially if you have company.  This will ensure they won’t get outside as people go in and out.  It will also keep you from having to “protect” the whole house.  Just make sure they have access to food, water, litter, and toys!

3. Create a “safe” place – blankets, pet beds, or even furniture they can crawl under will be comforting to your pet.

4. Turn on the tv or radio to drown out the noise of the fireworks.

5. Make sure your pet is microchipped or wearing their collar.

6.  Consider staying home with them – or at least coming home early to lessen the amount of time they are on their own.

7.  If you’re outside BBQing, step inside every now and again to check on them, and throw them a treat :)

8.  Keep all fireworks, alcohol, lighter fluid, matches, etc away from curious pets!!

9.  Never make your pet part of the celebration – what’s fun for you can be dangerous for them, so keep them away from the action!

10.  Don’t forget about Rescue Remedy and the Thunder Shirt!

More in-depth questions and concerns about anything mentioned here, or stuff we may have left out?  Be sure to get in touch with your veterinarian for more personalized recommendations.

Have a fun and safe 4th of July everyone!