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Choosing The Right Cat for You

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Deciding to bring a cat home is a thrilling time – so exciting, in fact, that it can be hard to do the research when you’re anxious for that furry bundle to be in your arms. We get it, and we’ve been there! As hard as it is, taking the time to think through the process will be worth it in the long run. Here’s what to consider…

Purebred: If you have your heart on a specific breed, make sure to do the research beforehand – not only about the breed, but the breeder as well. A reputable cat breeder will have references on hand and be able to answer all your questions (don’t be afraid to show up with lots of them!).

Special-needs cats are always looking for their furever homes. They might require special medication, have an impairment like blindness or deafness, or suffer from neurological problems. Says cat photographer Josh Norem in this touching article. “Cats are experts at not letting life get them down, so I’ve met a lot of cats with significant injuries, yet they still chase a string if you drag it by them. It’s quite remarkable.”

Adopting or rescuing: There are many cats in shelters that would make wonderful pets. Your best bet to get to know the cat before you bring him home. Look for cues in his personality that will help you decide whether or not he’s the right match for you and your family. There are thousands of homeless cats around the country – your local shelter is a great place to start!

Before you get another cat: Looking to expand your furry family? If you have a young and social kitty that seems lonely and would benefit from another feline’s presence, bringing home a four-legged friend could be a great idea. Just make sure you prepare for the meeting and take it slow. We like these tips (http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/introducing_new_cat.html)

A quick note on short-haired vs. long-haired: we recommend reading this article, which addresses the main differences between the two. And whatever the length, we encourage cat owners to invest in professional grooming services like Pampered Pets, which will keep your furry friend’s coat shiny and excess shedding at a minimum.

Good luck!

Attention Dog Owners! Nationwide Rawhide Recall

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This is not our typical topic of choice on the blog, but when we heard about a nation-wide recall on rawhide bones and chew products distributed around the country, we thought we should let you all know!

United Pet Group, which is based out of Illinois, initiated the recall when it learned that several manufacturing facilities in parts of South America were using an ammonium compound mixture on their chew products. The chemical is not approved in the U.S. and may cause “reduced appetite, and gastric irritation including diarrhea and vomiting” in dogs.

Since the announcement was made, there have been several reports of dogs with such symptoms, and owners noticing an unpleasant smell on the rawhide. You can see the official recall, as well as which products were affected, by clicking here.

Keep your pets safe, everyone!

Is My Cat Lonely?

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Do cats ever feel lonely? Every cat is different; some felines are content to entertain themselves during the day, while others enjoy companions and thrive in a multiple-pet home (whether it’s another cat, dog, or even a bird!). In recent years, cat behaviorists have even found that our furry felines aren’t as solitary as we’ve always assumed. In today’s post, we explore certain behaviors that could be indicative of a lonely kitty. Here’s what to look out for…

1. Excessive vocalizing or meowing, especially when entering or leaving the house.
2. Overgrooming or self-cleaning. This compulsive behavior could be a “cry for more attention.”
3. Destructive behavior while you’re away.
4. Misuse of the litter box
5. Aggressive behavior
as you get ready to leave.

If you’ve noticed any of these tell-tail signs, don’t panic. Luckily, with a few distractions and change in routine, your kitty will settle down. We recommend trying out the following:

A window perch offers an entertaining view of the city (he’ll enjoy passing time looking for pigeons).

Rotating toys, and introducing new and challenging ones will engage his hunting instinct and keep him occupied during your absence.

Cat-sitter! Enlisting a cat-sitter to come to your home can make a world of a difference, especially for a kitty seeking mid-day cuddles while you’re away. Our sitters at Pampered Pets are fully bonded and insured and will play, pet, and socialize with your furry friend during each visit.

Once you know your four-legged friend’s alone-time threshold, you’ll be able to work out a routine that works for both of you. Good luck!

 

 

How to Properly Approach a Dog

 

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The scenario happens all the time: a cutedog out for a walk grabs the attention of a canine-loving passerby. If you have a furry friend yourself, you’re probably very familiar with this encounter. It’s inevitable; people love dogs! We’re not here to change that. But there are a few things to know that will make the exchange easier on both ends…

If you’re the dog-loving passerby:

If you see a dog you absolutely must say hello to, asking permission from the owner is the required first step. No skipping this one! Remember: even if a dog looks friendly, it’s respectful (and wise) to approach the human before approaching the dog. Not only is it good etiquette, but it also sets the tone for the interaction. This article (LINK to Ny mag article) makes a great point: If the dog sees his owner comfortable and relaxed, he’s more likely to be comfortable with you, too.

Another tip we’d add: Sometimes, dogs feel on edge when they’re leashed. Instead of reaching towards them, let them approach you by tapping your thigh and speaking in a friendly, cheerful manner, turning your body slightly to the side. Always let the dog call the shots!

And if you’re the owner:

Look to your furry pal for cues: if she seems relaxed, curious, or initiates the greeting herself, she may up for it. If you have a dog that loves treats, have those on hand for people who want to meet her. Lastly, it’s always okay to politely decline, especially if you have a timid or shy canine. Meeting a stranger can be overwhelming, especially for pups that need time to warm up. Don’t ever feel bad about that!

 

4 Tips for Raising Your Kid with Pets

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There’s a reason security questions often ask for your first pet’s name. Everyone will always remember their first pet – not just their name, but how they kept you company while you were sick, and always knew to come to you for treats and table scraps. Not only has it been proven that having a pet improves motor skill development in children, it increases exercise, boosts self-esteem, fosters social interactions and can even help kids excel in school. Here are our top 4 tips for raising kids with furry friends…

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Fact Vs. Fiction: Grain Free Dog Food

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When I adopted my dog, Juniper, the shelter handed me a baggie dog food and told me they had fed her a grain free diet, so it was best I did the same. They were adamant it would keep her coat shiny and her health in tip-top shape. I was a new dog owner, so of course I took their advice!

For almost three years, I kept the pantry stocked with high-end grain free food, which cost me a whopping $60 a bag. But it was healthy and kept her coat shiny, right? According to this article, grain-free food dominates the top of the niche pet food markets and caters to people like me, without having any scientific evidence to back their claims of being better suited for dog’s digestion. Surprised to learn that? Here are four other things that you may not know about grain-free food, broken down into fact vs. fiction…

Fiction: Grain-free means carb free.

Fact: In most instances, “grain-free” dog food still has carbohydrates in it, usually in the form of sweet potatoes, cassava, yams, and other high-starch ingredients, which are not necessarily better for dogs, and in some instances might be harder to digest than whole grains.

Fiction: A grain free diet will help with your dog’s food allergies.

Fact: In one study on food allergies tested on 278 dogs, beef, not grain, was actually the most common allergen, followed by dairy. Only 7 dogs were allergic to grain (in the form of corn).

Fiction: Grains are bad for dogs

Fact: Rather than focusing on grain itself, pet owners should be considering their furry friend’s entire diet. “Grain-free diets offer no more health benefits than a diet with grains,” states the article, “and each diet should be considered based on the overall nutrient profile rather than individual ingredients.”

Of course, always check with your veterinarian when making an adjustment in your four-legged friend’s diet.

 

 

Your Cat Loves You More Than You Think

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Cats get the bad rep for being the less affectionate of our four-legged pets, but if you’re a cat owner, you know it’s far from the truth. In fact, cats can be the most loving and loyal companions you can have, and new research is here to back it up….

In a new study conducted by Oregon State University, researchers presented 50 felines with four stimuli: human interaction, food, toy, and scent. This study was done in conjunction with dogs, but it was the behavior of the felines that peeked researcher’s interest: across the board, cats were drawn to the social interaction first, even after being deprived of all four for a few hours. It even rang true for shelter cats, too.

So why it is such common belief that cats are not very personable? “This disconnect may be due, in part, to a lack of knowledge of what stimuli cats prefer, and thus may be most motivated to work for,” states the author of the study. We have the tendency, as pet owners, to compare our felines to canines, but maybe that’s where we’re getting it wrong – after all, they couldn’t be any more different (their ways of communicating love and affection are vastly different, too!). While it comes as no surprise that kitties do, actually, seek human contact, we love the attention this study is bringing to the media.

And just for fun, here are some wonderful photos of cats, because we couldn’t love the creatures any more than we already do.

 

2 Ingredient Dog Treats

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We’re doing something a little different today, and sharing a homemade dog treat recipe that wins over even the pickiest canines, and requires minimal effort (no stirring or measuring!). Plus, they’re made with sweet potatoes, which are an excellent source of minerals and vitamins for your four-legged friend. Here’s how to whip them up…

Chicken Wrapped Sweet Potato Treats

2 sweet potatoes
1 chicken breast, fat removed, chilled in the freezer.

Preheat oven to 175 F*. Peel sweet potatoes, and cut them into matchsticks — about the size of fries. Cut them in half or thirds so each one is about an inch in length. Arrange them on a sheet tray and bake for 1-2 hours, or until they start to dry out. They should still be firm.

Thinly slice the chicken breast into strips, as you would for chicken jerky (it’s easier if the chicken is a little frozen). Wrap the pieces snugly around the sweet potato pieces and place back on baking sheet seam side down. Bake for an additional 2 hours, or until the sweet potatoes are soft but somewhat dry, and the chicken is completely cooked and dry in appearance. That’s it! I haven’t met a single dog that doesn’t love these. They should last for about a week in an airtight container. These make a special, healthy treat for your furry pal. Enjoy!