Archive for January, 2011

Man’s Best Friend – Cat!

Everyone knows the adage “Man’s Best Friend” refers to dogs.  Or does it?  There are approximately 93.6 million  cat owners in the United States alone.

Cats are great pets and great friends as much as dogs are.  So many people fall into the belief that cats are aloof, non-affectionate and too independent!  Nothing could be farther from the truth! Cats are affectionate, intelligent and wonderful companions.

Let’s look at some of the advantages of owning a cat:

Cats are, somewhat, lower maintenance then dogs and in many cases are better equipped for apartment living.

Cats can be left for longer durations of time then dogs as they are pretty self sufficient.

Cats curl up in your lap quite nicely and never chew on your shoes.

Cats do not have to be taken out for walks and welcome a clean liter box.

These are just a few things that are perks to kitty owning.

Now let’s move from the myths about these great – compact friends.

Unlike popular rumor cats do not spend their lives snarling and hissing.  They are warm, affectionate little guys.  A warm hug, a good petting and a lap can go a long way with cats.

Cats have personalities! Yes! They are all different.  I have 4 cats and each one of them are completely different in their wants and needs.  Tucker constantly wishes to be held, cuddled and just generally babied!

Keely Yoda likes to come by and say hi from time to time but generally enjoys his solitude.

Misty is my clown, she will get into anything she can, chase a dust bunny and play, play, play.

Lastly, Cocoa Monet will saunter in and out of the living room, see what’s going on and then find a nice warm spot to curl up and nap.

Cats bring a great deal of humor, affection and comfort to their owners and should never be considered cold and indifferent.  I have watched cats do some of the silliest things imagined and have literally broken up laughing.

In times of sadness, I will pickup one of my friends, they will purr or lick my face as understanding my sadness and give comfort.

Cats are wonderful companions for elderly folks because of their low maintenance and lack of needing to go for walks.  They’re, in general, not as hyper as dogs and therefore easier for older folks.  They are a great source of comfort and bring incredible joy to folks that are suffering from various illnesses or disabilities.

Having a pet in general keeps you younger, happier and healthier.  There are so many cats in shelters that are full grown and are so overlooked when people come to adopt.  Grown cats are calmer and have outgrown their kitten antics.   Welcome an adult cat into your life – you won’t be sorry.

Winning the Trust and Affection of an Abused Dog

It is a very sad state of affairs that so many animals are constantly abused by people.  We see ads from the ASPCA everyday on television.  Many of us see these poor creatures homeless and afraid. Many times, we will adopted a pet that has been through terrible trauma and I applaud anyone who adopts these animals.  With this great commitment also comes patience, understanding and new level of building  lost trust.

If you have a new dog who has been down a long dark road, it’s not difficult just very time consuming to win this guy’s trust.  So, let’s go over some things that will help you and him down a new road of trust.

When interacting with a dog of abuse, you might want to kneel down or crouch so you are on the same level as he is.  This takes the fear of your height and dominance over him out of the picture.  Always, always talk in a cheerful, low, loving voice.  Loud and frustrated shrieks will send him into terror believing that you are going to strike him at any minute.

Also, try calling him to you instead of you going to him. Keep in mind, giving him the option to come to you alleviates the fear that you are approaching him to strike him.  Also, praise him a lot when he attempts to come to you, even when he stops  short of getting to you.  He’s still in a fear mode.  He wants to come to you but doesn’t know what to expect when he gets there.  Even if he only makes it half way, lay down a treat close to him and comfort him with your warm gentle voice.

When approaching your dog for praise, stay clear of his head for now.  Many times dogs are hit in the face and on their heads and this is a scary area for them.  Try petting under his chin or his chest – palms up.  One, these two areas are calming spots on a dog and 2 your hand is in a least threatening position.

If he pulls away, let him!  Speak gently letting him know it’s ok.  With each encounter, he will become more trusting and will start letting you pet him for a longer period of time.  Keep touching sessions short, just a few minutes until he starts showing signs that it’s ok to continue.

As trust grows, you will know when it’s ok to scratch his ears and even gently place your hands on his face.  I paid the original owners of Molly to take her away from abuse.  She was face slapped constantly, at first Molly would cower at the sight of my hands.  Now she lets me place my hands on her face and pet her head and ears.  I want her to always trust my hands so allowing me this stage is wonderful and each time I do, it’s assuring her that nothing hurtful comes out of this action.

I do not recommend very small children interacting with an abused dog in the beginning. Children are very loud, energetic and can appear to be a threat to a frightened abused pup.

A dog that has been abused, in time, will become your very best friend.  These dogs know they have been saved, they have someone who loves and cares for them.  Just give them all the patience and understanding you can to get to that level.

Praises and Blessings to All of You that are Willing to give these dear souls a second chance!

Here are some sites for you to learn more about caring for abused dogs and some wonderful sites for adopting abused dogs.  I hope this article has been helpful and interesting.  I welcome your comments.

Training Abused Dogs

The Real Pit Bull

Adopting an Abused Dog

Dogs 4 Life

Guidelines to Choosing Your Dog’s Diet:

Choosing a good, high nutritional diet is not always easy.  Most labels read in such a way they might just as well be writing in Greek!  How are you supposed to understand the percentages of ingredients and which ones are beneficial and which ones are just fill and of no substance whatsoever?

Talking to your Veterinarian should be on the top of your list.  He or she knows what dogs need at various stages of their lives from puppies to senior dogs.  They will suggest foods, by brand, that they feel is of the highest nutrician for your pup.

That said, not all dogs are alike!  Meaning, just like people, there a foods your dog will like and others they just don’t like the taste, smell or maybe even the texture.  So, if you stay within the guidelines of nutrients that should be in the food you will land upon a brand that both you and pup will be satisfied with.

What to Look for on a Label:

The highest percentage should be the meat.  Look for a specific name, not general – such as chicken vs. poultry.  When reading a label, the first item is the highest percentage within the food.  Therefore, meat should be the very first item listed.

Good quality fats in also important within your dog’s diet.  Once again, look for specifics – i.e. chicken fat.

A small amount of carbohydrates can be fine in their foods as carbs do deliver a favorable taste, as long as it’s not a high quantity.  Whole grains do help in digestion.  rice, oatmeal and barley are good sources.

Vitamins and minerals such as fruits and vegetables are fine but not necessary.  Your Vet will tell you what percentage is necessary and what is overkill.  Some products are Not Good, such as onions, grapes and broccoli.  Keep these out of their diets.

Also, look for natural preservatives vs. chemicals that you can’t even pronounce!  Natural ingredients can be vitamins and some herbs such as rosemary.

Your Food Your Scraps Are Poison Not Treats!

I don’t know how to stress this enough.  Stop Feeding Your Dogs Your Scraps and Your Food!  Dogs and People Do Not have the same metabolism!  Feeding your dog  your food is not healthy and in the long run will leave them obese, with major medical problems.  Talk about killing your dog with kindness!

There are treats specifically formulated for your dog.  Stick to those and not human foods.

Always check with your Vet when it comes to the age and needs of your dog.

Obviously Puppies need more fatty rich foods for growth vs. your senior dog that needs more dietary nutrients.

There are also many great recipes that you can find online to make natural foods for your pet that consist of the highest quality of ingredients.

Here are a few places for some recipes:

I Love Dogs

Some Good Recipes

Starting Your Own Dog Treats Business

Check Out The Dog Food Conspiracy!

Here’s to Your Pet’s Health!

Asthmatic Cats:

Asthma is not only a human disorder, but is also found in some cats.

Much like human asthma, feline asthma is an allergen-caused upper respiratory condition that causes distressed breathing. It is also called bronchitis or feline bronchial disease.

Many times owners may misinterpret their cat’s coughing as caused by fur balls, when in actuality – it’s asthma!  If you suspect your cat has asthma, have your Vet do a complete checkup.   Untreated for asthma may result in permanent damage to your cats lungs and heart.

Feline asthma is an immune-mediated disease characterized by symptoms ranging from infrequent, hairball-like coughing, to sudden onsets of respiratory distress, veterinarians refer to this as “acute dyspnea”.

Episodes are usually triggered by an allergen or stress, and can be accompanied and/or followed by vomiting, sneezing, or wheezing. Respiratory signs may be slow and deliberate (more abdominal breathing), to fast and labored.

True asthma, as opposed to bronchitis, normally responds quickly to a combination of bronchodilators, oxygen therapy, and fast acting steroids. Diagnosis is usually confirmed with an x-ray, and possibly a slide cytology of the airway.

Because asthma can mimic other feline diseases (bronchitis, heart disease, pneumonia), a veterinary diagnosis assisted by an x-ray is essential. In many ways, feline asthma is very similar to human asthma.  Through research and advanced diagnosis tere is a better understanding as to the causes of clinical feline.

Long-term treatment of asthma usually includes short or long- term use of corticosteroids (such as prednisone), and bronchodilators (such as terbutaline or aminophyline). While severe “episodes” of dyspnea can occur, the long-term prognosis for this disease is generally excellent. If diagnosed early, any structural changes to the lungs and airway are usually reversible, and damage can be minimized.

Research into alternative various treatments for asthma include injectable steroids, Cyproheptadine (also used as an appetite stimulant), Cyclosporin A (limited to severe cases), and Anti-Interleukin-5 Antibody (still in experimental mode).

Removing allergens from the air and surroundings can possibly help to relieve many symptoms.  Air purifiers, dust-free unscented litter and odorless sprays.

Things that can trigger asthmatic attacks in your cats:

  • Smoke
  • Mildew or Mold
  • Household Chemicals
  • Dust
  • Pollens
  • Cat Litter
  • Cold, Moist Air

If in doubt, always check with your veterinarian and play it safe.

Cats can be afflicted with diabetes, even though this serious decease is more common in people.  Through badly processed, artificial foods that we have fed our friends for many years, the loss of high quality nutrients have been lost. It is very important for pet owners to understand this decease and how to deal with treatments.

Understanding how diabetes affects your cat will help make your friend’s life a long, happy and healthy one.

There are two types of diabetes that affect cats.  The first type is caused by the insufficient production of insulin within the body.  The level of blood sugar in an animal is kept under control by hormone insulin, which the pancreas produces.  When the pancreas no longer produces the proper level of insulin, they will develop diabetes. Although Diabetes can strike at any age, similar to people, it is more likely to appear in older cats.

The Second type of Diabetes is caused by some decease that possibly impairs the natural process of insulin in the body or possibly by drugs.

The symptoms of feline diabetes will vary.  The most common symptoms include an increase in urine and an increase in thirst.  Other symptoms may include a loss of appetite, poor appearance to their coats, and vomiting.  With the body’s inability to process or handle glucose, cats may also experience weight loss.

If your cat experiences any combination or a constant on one of these symptoms, it is advisable that you have your Vet run a sugar level test both in the blood and urine.  The reason for testing both the urine and blood sugar is because when  a cat is stressed, their blood sugar can rise naturally.  Running both these tests will confirm or relieve you from the concern of diabetes.

If you don’t get your cat treated for feline diabetes immediately, your cat will eventually become inactive, vomit on a regular basis, and eventually fall into a coma.  On the other hand, if you get the diabetes treated in time, your cat will probably live a normal and healthy life.  Treatment takes time and dedication, just as in humans.

Just as in people, there is no cure for this decease but there are treatments.

One treatment for cats is a diet and weight control.  A diet that is high in fiber and complex carbohydrates.  This type of diet will maintain your cat’s weight as well as his blood sugar level.

There are also oral medications available that are suitable for your cat’s sugar level. As with any treatment, sit down with your Vet and talk over the various options and follow his recommendations.  He or She will have a great deal of information to give you, along with reading material/pamphlets and instructions for the treatment(s) he will place your cat on.

Your cat will need to be given food at very set intervals, the same time every day.  They should Not go outside and in some cases, may need insulin shots.

If, as an owner, you chose to deliver the shots to your cat, show great caution!  Your cat’s glucose and insulin levels should be carefully monitored before the administration of shots.  Great care should be taken as an overdose can be fatal.  Hypoglycemic shock is extremely dangerous.  Should he go into hypoglycemic shock and you are not around he will very possibly die. After administering a shot, your pet should be monitored for a short while to make sure all went well.

As there are many dietary supplements for diabetic cats available, I would travel that road first.  Only if there is no other recourse, would you want to consider injections.  If this were to happen,  you should set up times to bring your cat in and let your Vet administer the shot for you – at least until you are truly comfortable in doing this on your own. And in some cases, over a short period of time, shots may not be necessary whatsoever.

Your Vet will go over all the details and give you information that you should read and keep handy at all times.  Over a period of time, your vet will probably reduce the amount of insulin your pet will need, i.e. possibly one shot a day.

Your pet should live a very happy and long life.  There are many treatments now for cat diabetes, so do not feel this is a death sentence for your friend!  It’s not, just take a deep breath and go talk to the one person who can answer your concerns – your Vet.

You and your cat will still have many, many happy and healthy years together!

For more information on Feline Diabetes, please visit these sites for further, valuable information.

About Feline Diabetes

Managing and Preventing Diabetes

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