Monthly Archives: November 2011
Continuing on with things to know for new cat/dog parents, learning how to properly trim/clip claws.
This is one of the things I hate to do, I am always scared that I am going to cut the quick and make them bleed. It can happen, but don’t beat yourself up about it. Make sure to have some cornstarch handy to help stop the bleeding. From what I have been told, it will stop bleeding quickly.
A great way to start off getting your pet used to getting their nails trimmed would be to start by touching their paws and playing with them on a regular basis so that they don’t shy away from you reaching for them when you are going to clip their nails.
Once they are more comfortable with you touching their paws, start to gently rub and run the nail clippers across their feet so they get used to the clippers being near them and don’t associate them with something bad. Always give treats so that they associate the clippers and you touching their paws with something good.
Also, if you are scared to cut the nails, you can always purchase a “quick finder” nail clipper set, they are more expensive, but they let you know if it is safe to cut the claw or if you are too close to the quick. These would be very handy for pets that have dark nails like Sasha. Luckily Isis’ claws are clear and I can see the quick when her claws are extended.
If you are truly too scared to trim their claws, you can always take your pet to a groomer or vet. Prices will vary. I called around to the groomers here and the prices ranged from $5-$10. I called the vet offices and their prices ranged from $10-$30. It will probably vary in price range all over and depending on how much competition there is, the prices may be cheaper where you live.
For me to be able to trim Isis’ claws, I try to play with her for about a half hour before I am going to trim them. I also use Feliway Spray (which consists of calming pheromones that help to calm cats in stressful situations, also stops scent marking, and helps with transportation issues, meeting new animals, moving situations, etc). I spray it on my hands, on the nail clippers and on the area where I am going to be holding her to trim her claws. I let it sit for about a half hour while we are playing and then usually it is not as traumatic for her as it can be. I also talk in a soft, soothing and calm voice with her. Also, I gently tuck her under my arm facing away from me because if she faced me, she would have easier access to be able to bite or scratch me. I always give her one of her favorite treats after I have finished.
When trimming Sasha’s claws, I make sure to do it when we have just returned from a walk, and I have put her Thundershirt on her. I talk to her in a calm and soothing voice as well and use the “quick finder” nail clippers because her nails are black and there would be no way I could find the quick. I talk to her with a calm and soothing voice. I also give her treats when we are finished.
Here is a page of different types of nail clippers. You can choose which ones you would be comfortable with.
As always, I have two great articles with pictures to show you how to cut your dog or cats nails.
I hope it all goes well and remember, patience and practice. Always give praise and treats and try to relax and take it easy when clipping their nails. Good luck!
Some readers have written to me (thank you for the e-mails, I love reading them!), mentioning that I should have some information for those who are first time dog/cat parents, things to consider and information they may not think about. I am going to try to write as many ideas as I can think of right now and if I can think of others, I will post a weekly blog about information for new pet parents. Anyway…
Congratulations! Thank you for adopting a dog or cat. You are doing a wonderful thing by giving an animal your love and attention, but remember, a pet is not just something that is a one time thing and you can leave it alone. You need to be ready to give your pet at least 10 years of your life. Many pets can live beyond 20 years (I had a cat that lived to be 22). It is a lifetime commitment.
Before bringing your new dog/cat home, there are things you will need.
When getting a cat, here are a few things you will need to make them feel at home:
- Cat carrier (make sure it is big enough for your cat).
- Litter Box, litter scooper and litter and litter catcher mat for in front of the litter box (will you get a covered one or an open one, or a roasting pan. Some people like the roasting pan because the urine doesn’t stick to it and they are easy to scoop).
- Litter container for waste (I have a litter locker, you can get one and put waste in for about two weeks before needing to change it. Look at wag or Petco for these items, please see the websites at the bottom of this post).
- Food (as I have mentioned before in a previous post, this is one of the things that requires research). Food Dishes (plastic isn’t that great, they can cause rashes or acne. So can stainless steel for some. I use glass dishes. Ceramic dishes can be good to use as well, just watch out for those made in china, as they can sometimes contain lead.)
- Cat bed
- Nail Clippers/Pedi paws
- Brushes/Furminator -(furminator is like a groomers clippers. I don’t use it because neither one of my fur babies can tolerate it. It scares them regardless of how much I have tried to get them used to it).
- Carpet stain remover
- Cat tree (this is optional, but some cats love to climb, and this will give them their own space, since cats are territorial).
As you can see, this is quite a bit to think about. If you like to order stuff online, like I do, the website WAG has everything you will need for your fur baby. The best thing about the site is that it ships FAST, your first order is 15% off using the coupon code on the site, and FREE 1-2 day shipping on orders over $49 before tax. When I ordered, the shipping information was delivered to my e-mail fast, and there were updates with prompt service. I highly recommend ordering from this site. It has stuff for dogs, cats, small animals, fish and reptiles.
When bringing a dog home, here are some things to consider buying them to help them feel at home:
- Dog carrier
- Dog bed or blanket or something soft for them to sleep on on the floor.
- Food and food dishes (the same applies for dogs as it does cats regarding acne, rashes, etc).
- Collar and leash
- disposal bags for when walking (pooper scooper bags to be responsible pet parents and pick up after them while out for walks).
- Crate for night time or for their own personal space
- Nail Clippers
- Dog Shampoo (try to get one that is natural, without sulfates/silicones, just some natural ingredients)
- Tie out for when they go outside, or if you have a fenced in yard, the tie out won’t be necessary as long as your fence is tall enough and sturdy enough. It might be a good idea to have someone inspect it before getting your new friend.
- Dog house, make sure it is insulated
Perhaps most important of all is a PET FIRST AID KIT. This will save you from going to the vet for minor cuts and injuries. Of course if it is not minor, make sure to take your fur baby to the vet!
Make sure you give your baby time to adjust to being in your home. It is a very stressful time and a totally new environment for them. They want to learn new things and a new routine. Make sure they have their own space to escape to when needed. Enjoy getting to know your new addition to your family and have fun!
I just received this notice in my e-mail today and I thought I would share it with all of you:
On November 25, 2011, select varieties of Iams dog and cat foods have been recalled by Price Chopper a major grocery store chain located in the northeastern region of the United States.
According to an announcement on the Price Chopper website, the recall has been instituted due to elevated aflatoxin levels found in the suspected products.
Iams Original with Chicken Cat Food
Lot Number 12794177D3
Size 6.8 lbs.
Iams Original with Chicken Cat Food
Lot Number 12794177I5
Size 4 lbs.
Iams Lamb Meal with Rice Dog Food
Lot Number 12794177J4
Size 15 lbs.
Unfortunately, we’re unable to confirm this recall on the Iams Company website — or with the Food and Drug Administration.
If further information becomes available, this article will be updated to reflect any changes. Here is the link to where this information came from.
If you are wondering what aflatoxin is, there is an interesting, yet scary article by Cornell University explaining what the harmful toxin is.
UPDATE: AS OF 4pm EST, PRICE CHOPPER MYSTERIOUSLY REMOVED THE RECALL NOTICE ON ITS WEBSITE. I GUESS IT NO LONGER IS RECALLING IAMS FOOD. HOPE THAT ALLEVIATES SOME FEARS.
THE BLUE BUFFALO RECALL IS STILL VALID. There is a second recall from the FDA for some Blue Buffalo food. Here is the link to the information for you to cross reference on your bags of food from Blue Buffalo.
I just wanted to make my readers aware of the recalls. Don’t panic, if you feed these foods, just watch your fur baby for the next couple days to make sure they are all right and stop feeding this food and find something else to feed them. If you are looking for quality food, Dog food advisor is a great site to help you choose the best food available for your fur baby.
You too can receive alerts in your e-mail when dog food is recalled. Just go to this link and type in your e-mail address and anytime food is recalled, you will get an e-mail. I have been signed up for a year, and I do not get any spam from it, and they are very quick to put out the information when they receive it.
I hope that this information helps and that everyone’s fur babies are happy and healthy!
A few people e-mailed me and wanted to know if I had information about learning tricks other than the standard sit, stay, rollover, paw, etc. So I thought I would do a weekly post about teaching an out of the ordinary trick.
This trick is called Peekaboo. It’s fairly basic for your dog to learn and they should pick it up quickly IF they already know the basic commands like “sit” and “come”.
First teach the dog to go through your legs from the front to the back and then from the back to the front, when they sit down between your legs while you are standing up, give them a treat. When they first start out, and they go from the front to the back or vice versa, give them a small treat each time.
Once they move from the back to the front and front to back and sit consistently, they are just about there. Have them sit between your legs while you are standing up and say “Peekaboo” about four times and treat them every single time after you say it. Make sure they also are looking up at you so that they are aware of what you want them to do.
Then have your dog walk between your legs and say “Peekaboo”. They should sit between your legs and peek out, thus the trick is “Peekaboo”.
I have a video that shows the trick because I am really horrible at explaining how to do something. This is NOT ME in the video. She is a dog trainer. The video is very easy to understand and shows how the trick should work. I hope you enjoy.
Each week I will have a new trick until I can’t think of any unique or different tricks.
In the coming weeks, I am going to talk about how to clicker train a dog and how you can actually clicker train a cat to do tricks as well. Yes, it is possible!
If you have comments, questions or concerns, you can leave a comment here, or do what others are doing and e-mail me. My e-mail is furbabiesfurever at yahoo.com , just replace the word “at” with the @ symbol. I spell out my address so that I don’t get a ton of spam in my inbox.
Hope everyone is having a great weekend and again, thanks for the e-mails and the compliments! They make my day! 🙂
It’s Friday again-TGIF! So it’s time for Recipe Friday! I have two great recipes for your dog or cat that they are sure to love. Remember, these are treats so they should be fed sparingly and in moderation. I try to make my treats last for about a month at a time. These are easy to make and fun to get the whole family in on the fun making them. Little ones can help out as well 🙂
First up are treats that I call Doggie Yum Yums, they didn”t have a name when I found the recipe, so I just used this name:
- ½ cup instant potatoes (the 100% real potatoes kind)
- 1 tsp. grated ginger
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp. molasses
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 beaten egg.
- Mix all wet ingredients.
- Mix all dry ingredients.
- Mix it all together.
- Knead the dough until well blended.
- Roll out to ¼ inch thick.
- Cut into bars, squares or use a cookie cutter.
- Bake at 300(f) for 45 minutes, then turn off the oven and let the cookies sit in there until the oven is cool. They should be completely dried and crunchy.
If your dog is allergic to eggs, you can leave them out in this recipe, as the potatoes will bind the ingredients together.
These gluten-free recipes all can be changed for variety.
- ½ cup of any kind of cheese can be added.
- ¼ cup of parsely adds a green flavor and tons of vitamin C.
- ½ cup grated vegetables of almost any kind except corn.
- Carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, beets with the greens, turnips, eggplant, etc.
And don’t forget fruit! Dogs love fruit, too, just don’t give it to them with seeds, as some fruit seeds contain a natural cyanide. Also don’t give them grapes or raisins.
- ½ cup pears, chopped
- ½ cup peaches, chopped
- ½ cup melon
Sasha LOVES them with pears as a variation. Again, she gets one a day after doing several tricks for them.
Now for the Kitty Treats:
1 Can of Salmon or Minced Turkey (about 210 g)
1/2 Cup mashed, cooked pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling but 100% pumpkin)
1 teaspoon Cold Pressed Oil
1 teaspoon Kelp
Mix together and roll into tiny cat bite-size balls. These can be used as Christmas treats for your cat.
I find you can keep them for longer if you refrigerate them in a Tupperware container. If they start smelling bad, please throw them out. If you want to make a smaller batch, halve the whole recipe.
I hope your fur babies enjoy these treats!
A Happy Thanksgiving to all the American readers today. I hope everyone is enjoying their time with their families and getting their fill of turkey or whatever you have for your meal.
Always remember that any holiday can be stressful for some pets. All the hustling and bustling, noise and commotion can be too much for some pets. Make sure they have some place they can get to that is safe for them and quiet so they can relax and de-stress.
Make sure to watch out what you are feeding your fur babies today. Although these foods are just indulgences for us, many can be too rich or even toxic to your pets. Always remember if you must feed them from the table, small moderate tastes of food is more than adequate. If pets are fed too much, this can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and join issues. I know we all want our pets to live as long and as healthy as possible, so please be careful how much you feed your fur babies this time of year.
This might be a side note, but make sure to watch the door when people are coming and going. Many pets can get confused and caught up in the bustle of the holidays and slip outside unexpected. Keep your pets away from the doorway to ensure you are not posting lost dog or cat notices the next day.
Another point to watch out for is the little ones in the family and the food they may drop on the floor. Most dogs will sit there and hope that someone will drop some delicious food on the floor for them. Also SOME of the little ones in families can get exuberant and chase after pets, pull on tails and get overly excited, causing the pets to stress out. Not all little ones are this way, just ensure that pets can have a safe place to run to where little hands (and big hands for that matter) cannot get to them.
In case you need more tips for Thanksgiving safety, Wellness has made a list of the top 10 tips for Thanksgiving safety for our fur babies. Happy Thanksgiving to all Americans and Happy Thursday to all my readers, and enjoy your day!
Crate training has raised much debate as to whether it is something useful for dogs or if it is just a lazy way to keep your dog out of your hair. While some people believe it to be something mean, I prefer to see it as your fur baby’s private room and their own space they can use when they want space and alone time.
As we know, dogs are pack animals that, in the wild, tend to have a den as their private space. This helps your dog know he/she has his/her own space and it is secure. As most of us know, a trained dog and a safe dog is a confident dog.
As well, having a crate tends to help those dogs who are chewers or destructive dogs around the house (you know, the kind of dogs that will chew dry wall or ruin your couch), by keeping them out of harm’s way and giving you peace of mind knowing that you’ll come home to a clean house, still in tact.
The main points to consider are:
- Crates are mainly used for house training, as most dogs will not soil where they sleep.
- If you want your dog to freely go into his/her crate, NEVER NEVER NEVER use the crate as a punishment. DO NOT make the dog go into it when you are scolding him/her. Put them in another room as a time out.
- The crate should always be associated with something pleasant. For example: When we put Sasha in her crate, we always give her treats and toys to occupy her time in there while we are gone. To start off with, you can feed your dog his/her meals in the crate, DO NOT lock the door while they are eating and let them freely come in and out of the crate to see that it is something positive and not something negative.
- Make sure the crate is big enough for the dog to stand on all fours in and they are able to turn around within the crate. We don’t have a huge crate for Sasha, as she likes snug enough spaces (I swear, she thinks she is a Chihuahua! She tries to cuddle up in the tightest of spots, it’s hilarious).
Also, if you bought a Thundershirt, and your dog experiences some stress going into and staying in the crate, using that shirt and putting it on about a half hour before you leave, will help calm the dog and she/he won’t be prone to whining or feeling separation anxiety.
Please know that it takes time and patience before your dog will be happy and comfortable in their crate. We bought a pillow bed for Sasha to create something comfortable and soft for her in her den. We also call it a den because when we first started using the word “crate”, she would whine and freak out when going into it at any time. It seems to work. Here is the crate we bought for Sasha, with the proper dimensions for her.
Always make sure to praise your dog when they do something right or when they stay in the crate and don’t whine or soil it.
Here is an excellent article that I followed when crate training Sasha. It took about a month and a half to train her so that she actually enjoys going into it and will now sleep in it all night. I hope it works for you!
I wrote this about Isis when I found out her full backstory. Some of it is graphic and may be hard to read for sensitive readers. Please read with caution. Thanks all. 🙂
On May 20, 2011 our lives changed forever, for the better.
My husband and I had always wanted to adopt a cat. We talked about it for the past two years. Where we were living before we moved into our house did not allow us to have pets. After finally getting out of that hostile environment, we decided to go to the local shelter and give one of the fur babies there a forever home.
After entering the shelter and meeting with the manager, he directed us to the “cat room”. All the cats were in cages, it was late afternoon and many were sound asleep in their cages, barely moving when we walked past each one. My eyes filled with tears as I had never been to a shelter that had the cats caged all the time.
As my husband and I walked past cage after cage of cats, we came to the last cage that was in the corner of the room. She was sitting pretty in her cage and rubbed and nuzzled her face against the cage bars as we approached and she started to chirp/purr as we got closer and closer to the cage. We looked at each other and smiled, then looked back at the cat, who was rubbing her whole body against the bars and she actually stuck her paw out to us from between the bars.
The shelter manager came in and said; “ Ahhh, that’s Maybel (which we changed to Isis), she’s been dubbed the cat that will never leave. No one wants a black cat, especially her. Too many problems, and too much work for anyone to ever want a cat like that.”
So I asked questions: What did he mean by that? What was her story? Why would she never be adopted out?
The manager said that people that have grown up “in these parts” think black cats are evil and there was a recent rash of people who were torturing black cats. She was the only one who was saved out of four others who endured what she did.
I react very strongly to anything that involves animal abuse, but I wanted, no, needed to know what happened to her.
As I pulled her out of the cage to let her run around in the room and to see how she got along around my husband and I, the manager explained that there was a group of teens and young men who were taking these cats and throwing them around and playing catch with them. Some of the boys then started a bonfire and were tossing the cats in the fire and watched them run off while on fire, some were doused with gasoline, some were tortured even more.
He went on to say that Maybel (Isis) was the only lucky one, she was thrown around, her whiskers were burned off (which have grown back beautifully), and she was found in the apartment of one of the people who tortured her, starving and on the verge of death. (Good news: The boys who did this to the cats where charged with animal cruelty and found guilty!)
My heart literally hurt and I could no longer hold back tears, as this sweet little love bug wrapped her tail around my leg and as I bent down, she head butted me and started to purr as if to say “I’m okay now, don’t worry.”
The manager said that Maybel didn’t know how to play with toys (she would howl and get stressed whenever they would try to play with her or show her any toys). She also didn’t eat much and for the longest time they had to feed her with a syringe; she had never had cat food before. He said that it might take a long time for her to warm up to anyone and that she probably wouldn’t eat any food put in front of her and that no one would want to spend the time to turn her into a playful and “normal” cat.
My husband turned pale as he was listening to the manager, and then bent down to give Isis a scratch on her chin. The manager told us to be careful, she would probably bite us if we put our hands around her face. Not so! She just closed her eyes so tight as my husband gave her chin a scratch and she actually started to drool a bit! He leaned over and whispered to me “she’s magic and she’s going to be ours.”
I got up, my face full of tears and said, “We don’t need to see any other cats, this is OUR cat.” The manager told us not to take her and that she would be way too much work. I told him I didn’t care, she was just too special to leave there.
We went and bought all the things that a cat would need, and even though she didn’t know how to play, we bought toys for her because we knew we were going to work with her to make her life a happy and playful one.
We got back to the shelter with a carrier, and she reluctantly went into it, but did not meow or make any scratching motions toward anyone. We paid the fee and the manager said “Well, you have ten days to see if you like her. I’m pretty sure you’ll be returning her soon.”
We put her in the backseat of the car and I chirped and purrmeowed at her all the way home (I’m sure people will think I am nuts for doing that!) She talked to me a little on the way home. She did not howl, scream, or make any sounds that would have suggested she was unhappy.
Once we reached home, my husband got her out of the backseat. We brought her in the house and let her look around in her carrier for a bit first. I chirped and meowed at her and she answered me a few times. Then she pawed at the door of her carrier. We let her out and she started to explore. Within minutes she was eating and drinking water out of her kitty water fountain.
My husband told me that he wanted to name her Isis, because that was the matron of magic and nature, and protector of the dead. He said the way she acted around us was like magic, so Isis became her name.
Although it’s only been a little while, she has adjusted better than we ever thought possible. She is slowly starting to learn to play, she is starting to half-roll onto her side (hasn’t shown us her belly yet, but I am sure she will soon). She has had no problems attaching herself to either one of us. She sleeps with us, and follows us everywhere in the house. She is quite the chatterbox as well; she chirps and purrs throughout the day. We both love her and think she is quite the little sweetie.
I called the shelter a few days ago and told the manager how wonderful she is doing (she is still skittish about loud noises, and she is strictly an indoor cat. She still has problems with playing and gets stressed out when we leave the house, but I know she will get better soon). The manager was surprised and said he was glad we liked her so much and that she adapted well.
Isis is quite spoiled by us, but she has spoiled us even more. She has trusted us and allowed us to love and care for her. As time progresses, her personality is shown more and more each day. Right now she is batting at my fingers as I am typing. Even though she came from such a bad beginning, I could not have asked for a better cat. She has taught me patience and just how much love I can have for a cat. For this, I am grateful.
If you already have a pet, sometimes getting a friend for them is the right decision. Sometimes a pet seems to need a friend to play with and to help with being alone and bored. The thing we has humans need to realize is that it sometimes doesn’t go as smoothly as we want and we need time and patience before our fur babies can get along and bond with each other.
What we wish would just take hours, can take days, weeks or even months. Cats are very territorial and when bringing a new cat home, they are invading the existing cat’s space. Similarly, when bringing home a dog into a cat’s home, the dog will need to adjust to it being the cat’s home. Dogs are pack animals however, so it makes introductions easier for dogs, they don’t really feel the invasion as much as cats do. When introducing Sasha to Isis, we kept Sasha in a crate when they were in the same room (for a half hour at a time). Isis was able to climb the crate, look inside and stick her paw in between the bars so that she could touch and see Sasha, but Sasha couldn’t chase her or bite or sniff or growl. She quickly grew to tolerate Sasha, and it took about two weeks before the introduction time was over. We would feed Isis treats every time she was around Sasha, so that she associated Sasha with something wonderful (getting treats). We also gave Sasha treats for being such a good girl and allowing Isis adjustment time. They still have their days when Isis probably wishes she could flip the dog the finger, but for the most part they get along. I wish they would be able to play and snuggle, but I am thinking with time and patience, this may happen.
It can be a very stressful time for everyone, but try to not show your stress when they are not getting along or if the introductions don’t happen soon. Your mood will set the mood and length of time that it takes for your pets to acclimate. The calmer and more positive you are, the better the situation will go.
Also, have something with the dog’s scent on it and give it to the cat to sniff and do what they want with it. I had Sasha’s harness and threw it on the floor for Isis. She ended up rolling around on it and smelling it, so I took that as a good sign.
I took one of Isis blankets and gave it to Sasha to smell so that she would know the cat’s scent. When they first were able to sniff each other nose to nose, Sasha went down into a submissive bow position, so I knew that was a good sign. Also she sniffed Isis’ butt, which meant that the dog saw Isis as an equal and not as prey. (If she would have seen Isis as prey, she would have shown her teeth and growled and tried to bite or give chase. None of that happened and hasn’t happened, so I think we’re safe).
As always, I have two great articles to read on how to introduce cats to each other and how to introduce a dog to a cat. Both have similar approaches, one just takes the approach much slower. Both are great ways to introduce pets to each other.
Whichever you choose, I hope you have a safe and happy introduction. Remember, there will be hissing moments, but think positive and be calm, it will all work out in the end. Good luck! 🙂