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Our Top 5 Tips for Keeping Cats Cool in the City

Summers in New York and New Jersey are not for the faint of heart – with all the concrete and sky-high temperatures, it can feel like a giant brick oven. While cats are lucky to stay in their air-conditioned homes during these hot months, they can still be at risk of overheating — especially ones with longer coats. Below, we’ve outlined our top 5 ways to keep kitties cool in the summer…

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1. First and foremost, always make sure your cat has access to fresh, cool water. We like adding a few ice cubes in the morning so the water stays cold. Hydration is key for kitties during the summer! A tip for encouraging your feline to drink? A water fountain, which will increase your pet’s natural instinct to drink more. We like this one

2. Give your cat a fan! Setting up a cool breeze for your furry friend will help him stay comfortable during these hot summer days. We recommend placing the fan somewhere where your kitty can comfortably sprawl out – either directly in front of it, or at a distance (just make sure the fan is placed somewhere where they can’t pull it over or injure themselves in anyway).

3. Let your cat choose which room he prefers to relax in. While it may be tempting to keep your kitty in the coolest room of the house, felines are good at regulating their own temperature, and should be given free range to find a cool spot of their liking.

4. Postpone playtime on the hottest days. Usually, we encourage daily playtime with your four-legged friend, but here’s the exception: on hot summer days, having your kitty chase after a laser might put him at risk of overheating.

5. Keep up on grooming in the summer months! This one is important. Matted fur can lock in heat, so we recommend scheduling regular appointments with groomers who can come to your home, like our services at Pampered Pets.

Happy Summer, everyone, and stay cool!

Your Job Could Cover Pet Insurance

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Paid vacation time, gym memberships, car washes, and on-site child care are all trending work perks that keep employees happy. The latest to join the list? Pet insurance. With the industry growth nearing 15 percent in the last few years, companies like Microsoft and Yahoo are adding pet insurance to their employee’s extensive benefit plans.

It’s a smart move, says Dr. Tracy Jensen, former president of the American Animal Hospital Association, in a recent New York Times article. Pets are part of the family, and more people are going the extra mile to make sure their four-legged family members are protected and covered when it comes to their health and wellness. While pet insurance has its caveats (it can be as complicated and convoluted as human health insurance), it comes as a welcome addition when offered as a work perk – especially knowing our furry friends are never far away from the best possible care.

Curious to read more about pet insurance? We covered the nitty-gritty here: Do or Don’t: Pet Insurance

What is Whisker Fatigue?

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We’ve been hearing a lot about whisker fatigue. Is it real? Is it all a hoax? And what is it, anyway? Below, we’re giving you the rundown. Whether you’re a cat owner or a just a curious reader, here’s what you need to know about whisker fatigue…

Whisker fatigue has been making the rounds online after an article published in the New York Times stated it could be the reason why some finicky cats struggle to eat out of bowls. When they lower their heads into the bowl, the article explains, their ultra-sensitive whiskers come in contact with the sides, resulting in repeated stress.

It’s a real thing, promises Dr. Catsby’s, a website that sells whisker-friendly and ergonomic food bowls. But even the most fanatic cat-people are skeptical of this claim. After all, states this opposing article, the phenomenon has never been acknowledged or backed by veterinarians, animal medical centers, or research labs focusing on cat disorders.

The problem? While there’s no harm in theorizing about picky cats, there is a growing concern that putting a name on something unproven could result in cat owners assuming whisker fatigue is to blame for appetite loss, rather than seeking proper medical care. The takeaway lesson? Felines with a decreased appetite should always be taken to the vet, whisker theories aside.

What are your thoughts on whisker fatigue? Please share in the comments below!

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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