Five interesting cat facts

Singapura is the world's smallest cat breed.Cats are great companions, but their behavior can be puzzling. For example, why do they love cardboard boxes so much?

In the wild, cats like to claim locations as their own, and they like to be in enclosed spaces. This is what we see today when a cat climbs into a narrow cardboard box.

Computer keyboards also hold a special allure to cats. It is a thing to claim as theirs, laptop keyboards are often warm and comfy, and humans touch keyboards all the time, which makes them special.

And why do cats always climb on the one person allergic to them?

Many cats gravitate towards people who are allergic or don’t like cats. This seems counterproductive, but cats play it safe and often choose to approach people who aren’t trying to get their attention. When a cat doesn’t know a human, gestures and calls can feel like pressure to perform, or even seem threatening. A person who doesn’t want a cat on their lap can be interpreted as safer.

Why do cats drink out of glasses or even the sink instead of the water bowl?

This too comes from their behavior in nature. Cats will avoid drinking from a water source close to something dead, because the water can be contaminated. This instinct remains. They will choose water as far away from their store-bought food as possible, to make sure it’s clean and healthy. Put the water bowl in another corner than the food bowl, and kitty will probably like it better.

Secondhand smoke harmful to pets

While no one has measured exactly how many pets die from secondhand smoke each year, vets know from lab tests and office visits that inhaling smoke causes cancers, allergic reactions, and inflammations in pets.

Several schools, including Tufts University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts and Colorado State University have studied the connection between secondhand smoke and cancer in pets. The results are discouraging; breathing in smoke can cause malignant lymphoma in cats, lung and nasal cancer in dogs, and various respiratory problems in both species.

Dogs are susceptible to smoke, but cats even more so, and it is important to make pet homes smoke free. Lymphoma is one of the leading causes of death in cats. Repeated exposure to smoke doubles a cat’s risk of getting cancer. Living with a smoker for five years or more quadruples the risk.

Symptoms of cancer include coughing, problems breathing or eating, excessive drooling, weight loss, nasal discharge, vomiting, and bleeding and sneezing. Cancer kills more dogs and cats than any other disease.

If you’re trying to quit smoking and turn to e-cigarettes, be careful how you store your cigarettes and accessories. Dogs are attracted to nicotine cartridges from e-cigarettes and can take them out of the trash. Make sure to store all parts of the cigarette along with any fluids used out of reach of pets and children.

How to take good shelter photos

AidiAll shelters and rescues need photos of available pets. A few are fortunate enough to have professional photographers donate time to help, but the vast majority rely on volunteers. This photo can be the most important event in the life of a shelter pet – it is literally a matter of life and death.

The shelter photo will show the pet on the shelter’s website, on Petfinder, Facebook, and other online resources. It’s the pet’s lifeline, in many cases their only hope of finding a new home. At the same time, the animals are stressed, and you’re usually working with low-budget equipment.

Take your time

The shelter crew is often stressed, and it seems like a good idea to get photos of as many pets as possible in the shortest possible time. However, spending just a few minutes with each pet will make the photos so much better, and might very well decrease the amount of time the pet will have to spend at the shelter.

Spend at least 5-10 minutes with a dog, and even 15 with a cat. They need to transition mentally between being in the kennel and being with you.

Find a good spot

If at all possible, take photos of dogs outside. They’ll need a few minutes to explore before they’ll be willing to cooperate. If it’s bright and sunny, shoot in the shade. If you have to take photos indoors, try to find a good backdrop. Anything is better than the kennel. There might be a nice wall or something you can use.

Take many photos

With digital technology it’s possible to take many photos in a short period of time without extra cost. Pets are difficult to photograph because they move all the time. If you take many photos, the chance of one being great is much bigger than taking one and hoping it will be fantastic.

Don’t use the flash

Many good photos of dogs and cats have been ruined by using the flash. It can scare them, and the flash reflecting from their eyes or shiny coats can make them look like a pet belonging to Dracula. It’s also helpful not to hold the camera in front of your face. The pets will trust you more, and relax better, if they can see your face.

Talk to the pets

When it comes to dogs, you want to get them from “I’m in jail” to “This person likes me.” Talk to them in a cheerful voice. Shelter kitties can be skittish, and here a happy but soothing voice works better. Keep talking. If they can connect with you they might be able to relax a bit, and photo with happy ears or even a smile sells much better than a sad shape crouched in a corner.

 

Secrets your pets wish they could tell you

shutterstock_1519023_catanddogIf cats and dogs could speak, they’d probably give us some hints on things we can do better. Cat and dog owners do their best, but it would be easier if our loved furry friends could give us some hints. Here are some examples on areas where we could improve.

Many cat-owners play with a laser pointer. Have you noticed your cat might seem frustrated after the game? Cats live to hunt, and if you end the game with pointing at an actual toy, the cat might get to “catch and kill” it.

Many dog owners get frustrated with their pooches during walkie-time – it’s difficult for a human to understand why the dog must walk around in circles before doing its business. Especially frustrating when it’s cold or raining, right! Dogs have an instinct to be aligned with the earth’s magnetic field before they do what they need to. Science have yet to figure out why.

Too much nap time can affect a pet’s personality. Many behavioral problems can be solved by taking a longer walk or giving some more play time.

All dog food is the same, right? Not really. There is special food for puppies, enforced with the nutrition a growing body needs. There is also special food for seniors, formulated to keep old dogs healthy.

Subtle changes in a pet’s behavior might mean it’s time to go to the vet. They can’t tell us how they’re feeling, and both cats and dogs are experts at hiding illness. Watch out for changes such as eating slower, drinking more, or getting tired quicker than usual. It might be time for a check-up.

And, if your dog isn’t paying attention during training, you might want to switch treats. Find something moist, icky, and smelly. Like, a piece of rotisserie chicken.

Peculiar cat laws

There are peculiar laws of many kinds across the USA. Many state laws are really old and were never updated. Allegedly, Florida women who are single, divorced, or widowed cannot parachute on Sunday afternoons. Also allegedly, Hartford Connecticut deems it illegal to educate a dog. That one seems impractical. Another funny rule that allegedly exists says donkeys in Arizona may not sleep in bathtubs.

maine coon catCats clearly deem themselves above all laws, but what does the legal system say about them?

  • In French Lick Springs, Indiana, black cats need to wear bells on Friday the 13th.
  • Reed City, Michigan says you cannot keep a pet cat and a pet bird in the same house.
  • In International Fall, Minnesota, cats are not allowed to chase dogs up telephone poles. Interesting. Do Minnesota dogs in general climb telephone poles?
  • Staying in Minnesota,  Duluth states cats are not allowed to fall asleep in a bakery.
  • Barber, North Carolina have prohibited fights between cats and dogs.
  • In Columbus, Georgia, cats cannot yowl after 9 PM.
  • Sterling, Colorado takes a firm stance on cats. There, a pet cat may not run loose without a taillight.

Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be any statutes against cat doors… These laws were found on kittentoob.com. The truthfulness has not been verified.

Keep your pets safe during the holiday celebrations

Girl and dogHappy 4th of July! This is a wonderful holiday, and here are some tips to keep your family together. Everyone should be happy and safe, right!

With 4th of July comes celebrations, fireworks, and firecrackers. While all this can be great fun for humans, pets are generally less impressed. They don’t associate the flashes, noise, and smell of fireworks with something happy; most pets are very afraid of fireworks and many panic and run.

Every year on July 5th, animal shelters drown in pets that panicked and fled. They can’t find their way home, many are injured, and some die.

During holidays such as 4th of July, keep your pets inside, and keep an eye on them every time someone opens a door to the outside.

They might bolt through a crack in the door. Even if your dog is used to hanging out in the yard on their own, keep them indoors. They can hurt themselves, break restraints, and jump fences in an attempt to find safety from the scary bangs.

Naturally, don’t leave your pet in the car, and don’t bring them the fireworks displays.

Make sure your pet has proper ID. They should carry a tag with their name and your phone number, and they should be microchipped.

Summer safety tips for pets

Most Chinese Crested require a medium PlexiDor dog door, but small individuals can get by with a small PlexiDor dog door
Hairless breeds such as Chinese Crested need to use sunscreen in summer. Be careful not to use human products as they can be toxic to dogs.

With summertime, holidays, and nice weather comes barbecues and other outdoors activities. It’s great to have pets join in, and some easy precautions can make the season safer for them.

Mosquitos are not just annoying; they’re dangerous. Dogs and cats should be on proper heart worm preventatives. Pets can get West Nile virus that is transmitted from mosquitos, and even if the disease generally isn’t deadly to them it’s still unpleasant. There is special insect repellents for pets. Never use insect repellents meant for humans on a pet.

Many use citronella-baed insect repellants, such as candles, oils, and similar. While these are great for keeping bugs away, they should be at a distance from pets. Inhaling the smoke can lead to pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses. A pet accidentally eating them can harm their nervous system.

Pets can get overhead and/or get sunburn, and on hot days they should be indoors or at least in the shade. If your pet is with you in the sun, make sure they’re not overheating. Some breeds, such as Chinese Crested and other hairless dogs, have extra sensitive skin and should wear sunblock. Never use sunblock intended for humans; many kinds are toxic to dogs.

Never give pets alcoholic beverages. Even beer is toxic to them. Allowing a dog to drink beer or anything else with alcohol can lead to coma and in worst case scenario death.

Innovative adoption campaign with 100 percent success rate

Many campaigns that raise awareness for shelter animals or attempt to influence adoption are utterly depressing. How many people have cried to the ASPCA commercials showing sad puppies and kittens in cages set to heartbreaking music? The Human Walking Program in Melbourne Australia tried the opposite approach.

Sad humans working all day clearly needed rescuing. Happy dogs came along, ready for funfilled walks in the park. The project put up posters around the city, showing sad humans in office environments. “For 9 hours a day he is kept in a tiny box. And ignored. He needs to go walkies.”

The result? Astounding success. The campaign led to a 100 percent adoption rate.

Desensitize your dog to fireworks

Many pets fear fireworksMany dogs suffer a fear of fireworks, and with the upcoming holiday it’s extra important to know about this, protect the dogs, and prepare them the best we can. Even a confident dog can be terrified by the loud and unpredictable noises and bright lights.

Pets should be kept indoors during 4th of July and other firework-holidays. There are some things we can do to help them manage the fireworks. The fear might never disappear completely, but we can make it easier.

Find a video of fireworks and play it on lowest possible volume a few times during the day. While you play it, give your dogs treats, cuddle, and play. You want doggie to connect the sound with positive things.

During the course of a few days, increase the volume slowly. Keep doing fun stuff every time you play it.

If your dog shows fear at any time when you play the video, turn the volume back down and keep the positive reinforcement with play and treats.

It might take time, but eventually your dog should be able to hear the sound at a fairly loud volume without being afraid.

Desensitizing takes time, and it doesn’t always make the fear go away. Keep your pets inside. Try to drown out the sound the best you can, and allow him or her to hide. Pulling them out or trying to coax them can reinforce the fear. Also, don’t coddle the dogs when they show fear; acting naturally shows there’s no danger.

Some dogs have severe firework phobia, and in these cases you should discuss the problem with your veterinarian. There are anti-anxiety medications that can help your pet get through the holiday.

Pets are good for the health

There are many health benefits to petsEveryone with a cat or dog knows they’re great company. Many pet owners see their furry friends as family members, and they make great snuggle-buddies. Did you know that they add other health benefits to human lives?

Cats and dogs protect children against developing allergies

This is particularly true for cats. A child under the age of one living with two or more cats or dogs has a smaller risk of developing allergies as he or she grows up. Living with pets is good for the human immune system.

Cats and dogs reduce stress in our lives

Petting a cat or dog has been shown to lower blood pressure and help humans relax. Pets have a knack for knowing when they’re needed, and even the most elusive kitty tends to show up when their human needs a friendly ear. Pet owners also adapt better to stressful situation than people without pets. And if anyone doubts the benefit of a dog, consider all the therapy and emotional support dogs that help people cope with everything from depression to post traumatic stress disorder.

Dogs keep us fit

The average American without a dog moves significantly less than the average dog owner. Daily walks, exercising, and playing with a dog helps us stay in shape, keep a healthy weight, and lessens the risk for health problems.

Pets give healthy hearts

The American Heart Association recently reported that pets help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Pet owners who suffer a heart attack recover quickly than people without pets. They also help lower cholesterol.

Pets improve our social lives

Walking a dog inspires conversations with other pet owners, neighbors, and strangers out for a stroll. Meeting new people and getting to know those around us battles isolation, loneliness, and depression.

 

Singapura cats stay small even when they grow up

Singapura is the world's smallest cat breed.Everyone knows there are many dog breeds, and most people can identify at least a few even if they’re not all that interested in dogs. Did you know there are many breeds of domesticated cats as well?

The Singapura cat is the smallest domesticated cat breed, and adult females can weigh as little as five pounds. Adult males usually weigh between six and eight pounds.

As the name hints, the breed was believed to come from Singapore. However, the three founding cats traveled from the US to Singapore and were then brought back to the USA. One working theory is that the breed is a mix of Burmese and Abyssinian. It is still considered a legitimate breed, and according to the Cat Fancier’s Association, there is at least one legitimate cat from Singapore behind the breed.

The breed has become a tourism mascot for Singapore, they have statues of the cats, and have even hosted Singapura exhibits.

Besides being small, the breed is known for being active, affectionate, and easy to live with. They thrive on attention and love to play, but won’t get excited to the point where they bounce around the house and accidentally destroy things.

Most Singapuras have a stunning coat. Each hair has two shades; ivory at the base and brown at the tip.

Kitty personalities

Cats have personalities just like peopleWe mentioned yesterday that June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. If you’re thinking about adding a kitty to the family it is be a good idea to consider the cat’s personality. They are as individual as we are, and matching personalities can be a big help when it comes to getting along.

ASPCA has put together a list with nine common cat personalities. This is more fun than serious, of course, but it serves as a good reminder that cats are individuals.

1. The Private Investigator

The P.I. cat doesn’t like trouble. It is good at staying hidden. It can vanish without a trace and reappear in the most unexpected places. This type of cat is likely to sleep with one eye open and constantly keep an eye out for danger.

2. I’ll Love You Later

This type of cat will love you from a distance, probably for a really long time, and the bond develops gradually. When the cat decides it’s time you’ll be subjected to intense head butting, purring, and napping on your lap.

3. Cuddle Me Now

These kitties are love bugs. There will be abundant purring, rubbing up against you, and demanding to be petted. If these cats could speak, they would say, “Adore me.”

4. The CEO

The CEO thrives on routine and order, and almost live on a schedule. He or she will put you on the to-do list, but you’ll have to wait your turn.

5. The Side-Kick 

The Side-Kitty-Cat loves to be with you and makes a great constant companion, but can also enjoy some “me-time”. If you want someone to share adventures with, this is a perfect choice.

6. The Helper

These cats love to be around their human, and live to help with the strangest things. If you’re cooking, the cat will be right there. If you want to use the computer, you’ll find the helper sleeping on the keyboard. The Helper generally feels that personal space is overrated.

7. The Golden Cat

Team player that pulls its own weight in whatever it perceives needs to be done. The Golden Cat is likely to do what you expect from it, and it likes to be pampered at the end of a long day of doing the right thing.

8. Wild Thang

These cats have a wild streak, and they’re pretty much the opposite of the Golden Cat. If you want a companion that’s always up to playing, breaking rules, and challenging limits, this is the kitty for you.  Having a Wild Thang can be exhausting, but also infinitely rewarding.

9. The Commander

The Commander Cat has a very clear perception of who’s the boss, and it loves to lead. It is super confident and demands respect and admiration. It will make time for you, but it will also make sure you know who’s in control.

June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

maine coon catJune is adopt a shelter cat month, and this is not a coincidence. During spring and summer, overwhelming numbers of homeless kitties arrive at shelters, and they all need homes.

The Watauga Humane Society has done some calculations, and one un-spayed female cat together with one un-neutered male cat can – together with their offspring – produce 420,000 kittens in just seven years. There are many cats needing home, and if you adopt one you don’t only get great company for yourself; you save a life.

So, what should you think about if you’re planning to adopt a cat?

Maybe you should take two?

If you’re considering adopting a cat, think about taking two. Cats are social, they need exercise, and they need mental stimulation. If you have two cats they’ll entertain each other. This makes it easier on you, and you get twice the purring, cuddling, and other kit tie benefits.

Consider the cat’s personality

Just like people, cats have different personalities, and it’s important that you match. Do you want an easygoing kitty, or an active one? Shelters and rescue groups have all kinds of cats. Do you want a playful and energetic kitten or a senior who’s happy to nap?

Make a budget and stock up on supplies

All pets cost money, and cats aren’t an exception. When you adopt, the cat might already be vaccinated, microchipped, spayed, or neutered, and  this is a great saving. But you still have to think about vet visits, litter box, cat litter, food, toys, scratching posts, bed, grooming, food bowl, and water bowl. It’s a great idea to have everything in place before kitty arrives, so he or she can feet welcome and at home.

Plan and kitty-proof your home

Cats are like children in many ways, and they get into stuff. It’s difficult to predict what will look like a great toy. You might want to put expensive decorations away for a while, until you and kitty get used to each other and figure things out. Make sure you don’t have loose things lying around the cat can accidentally swallow, keep food put away, and keep an eye on electrical cords. Kittens who don’t know better might try to play with them or even chew them.

Plan where you want to put the cat’s food and water bowls, and where to put the litter box. Many put it in a bathroom, closet, or laundry room, but that means that the door needs to be open all the time so the cat can get in and out. This isn’t always a feasible option, and we’ve seen some creative cat owners who put a PlexiDor cat door in the door to the laundry room or similar to allow kitty access while being able to close the human size door.

Take it slow

It will take your new furry friend a while to relax and settle in. Give him or her some time to get used to the new surroundings and new people.

 

Summer plants to watch out for

Rhododendron is poisonous to cats, dogs, and horses.Most dogs are super-curious, and summer invites to investigation. That’s usually not a problem, unless you have one of those dogs that try to eat everything, or play catch with wasps and bees.

While many dogs wouldn’t dream of tasting a plant, others munch down on everything they see. Knowing your dog’s normal behavior goes a long way towards ensuring safety.

Some of the most common problem backyard plants for dogs are Oleander, Lilies, Daffodils, Tulips, and Rhododendron. Bulb plants cause problems for dogs who like to dig, because the bulbs are often toxic – and inviting to chew on.

Common signs of a pet ingesting something poisonous include slobbering, drooling, and pawing at the mouth. Also watch out for vomiting and weakness. A poisoning left untreated can have serious consequences and even lead to the pet’s death, so it’s better to be safe than sorry with calling a vet.

If you wonder about plants, the ASPCA has a great list that includes both toxic and non-toxic plants.

Cats might be even smarter than we think

CatThere’s no doubt that cats are smart. They are quick to learn and have evolved for thousands of years to observe the world and make intelligent decisions. A cat’s brain structure is actually about 90 percent similar to a human’s.

According to Psychology Today, cats have around 300 million neurons while a dog has around 160 million. Cats also have more nerve cells in visual areas of the brain than humans and most other mammals. In plain English that means that they have a well developed center for rational decision making and complex problem solving. This area of the brain is involved in planning, interpretation of communication, and memory.

If cats are so smart, why don’t we have service cats leading people with impaired vision, or police cats finding hidden drugs?

Cats find motivation in discovering personal benefit. “What’s in it for me?” They base decisions on what to do and when depending on what it can get them. They are more impulsive than dogs, and less patient. If something doesn’t reward them, they’ll move on and do something else.

Dogs are more socially adapted and will work for a treat or to make their human happy. Cats can solve more difficult problems, but only if they feel like it.