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How to Deal with Common Cat Quirks

While we all love our feline friends dearly, there are times when our cats can be a tad high maintenance.  Sometimes after a little catnip or not as much attention as they think they deserve, our cats become hyper and do naughty/annoying things to keep us on our toes!  Or because they can.

It is important that we cat owners do our part and make sure to have time to play with our cats so they don’t become too antsy or bored, feed them a well-balanced food and provide plenty of water for them.  The more satiated and/or well fed they are in the day, the less likely they will cause havoc in your home.

Below are some recommendations on how to deal with some common cat issues:

Cat litter all over the floor or carpet

If you’re using clumping litter and are tired of how it sometimes sticks to the cat litter pan, you can try using a little non-stick spray to stop this problem. Wash the litter pan, let it dry, spray some non-stick spray inside the pan and make it is completely dry before putting litter back in. It should help keep the clumps from cementing to the pan.  You can also buy a pine litter product that does not stick to the litter box and doesn’t track litter all over the carpet or floor.  It also smells nice and is great for those cat owners who have allergies.

Your cat attacks your feet while you walk around

If your cat attacks your toes or feet while you are trying to walk around your house, redirect this behavior with a toy. You may want to have a few toys on strings or feather toys in different rooms. You can even walk around holding the toy, like a fishing pole, and let the cat play with that instead of your toes or feet.  And, of course, when your kitty does the right thing, make sure to praise the correct behavior and eventually your kitty will choose the toy and not your feet!

Cat Tips and Solutions


Your kitty eats around the food bowl

If your cat seems to walk away from the food bowl, it might not be the food.  Try getting a new food bowl first as it is easier to transition a cat to new bowl. Sometimes if a cat’s whiskers touch the edges of a bowl they will back away from it. The width of the bowl may seem too small. You can switch to a flatter bowl or even a plate before trying to see if it’s the food or a health issue.  Sometimes that is all it takes before your kitty is devouring his or her meal.

Your cat tends to chew on your computer or electric cords

If your cat chews on your electric cords, it is not only bad for your cat, but can destroy your cords.  You can purchase flex tubing that can be placed over multiple cords and you can wrap them up inside. It tidies up your space and also keeps the cat from accidentally being electrocuted, the latter which is most important!

Your kitty loves to dig up your potted plants

Does your cat think digging in potted plants is a fun pastime? To curb this behavior, you can sprinkle a little powered habanero pepper on the soil. The smell of it will repulse your cat, and if some gets on his or her paws, a little lick will quickly associate the potted plants with a negative consequence. But, be very sparing as it can harm your cat if they ingest a large dose.  And usually once they make the association of yucky smell and plants, you won’t have to repeat the process.

Your cat seems to stay up all night because he is wound up

If you have a very active cat that wants to play when you come home and won’t stop bugging you, try to keep a variety of toys around. Spend a few minutes each day playing and creating a routine that works best for both of you. This way your cat will slowly know that before dinner she gets to play with a fishing rod toy and after dinner (or right before you go to sleep) it’s time to nap and receive a ton of affection.  With a little play routine each night, you and your kitty will sleep a lot better.

We love our cats and want them (and us) to remain happy and healthy and live a long time in our household where we all can thrive.


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How to Housetrain Your Puppy – Do’s and Don’ts!

When you first bring a puppy into your home, there will be many new things for the two of you to learn.  The first and biggest hurdle for your young puppy is housetraining.  The best way to actually get your puppy housetrained is to reward your puppy for eliminating where you want him to and by preventing him from doing so in places where he shouldn’t.  If possible, you should try to keep confining him and crate training to a minimum until your puppy learns the proper housetraining.

Each puppy has a different time frame in learning to be housetrained

Some puppies learn when and where not to eliminate at a very young age, while others take longer to understand. Most puppies can be housetrained by five to six months old. Some puppies seem to catch on early but then regress. This is normal. Keep in mind that it may take a while for your puppy to develop bowel and bladder control. He may be mentally capable of learning to eliminate outdoors instead of inside, but he may not yet be physically capable of controlling his body.  Not that different from getting your child to be potty- trained.

Housetrain Your Puppy

Give me time and I will learn!

The goal is to have your puppy get through the night without any accidents

All puppies are different, but a puppy can usually only hold in his waste for the same number of hours as his age in months. A five-month-old puppy should not be left alone for more than five consecutive hours without your letting him or her to go outside. Usually, a puppy can last longer at night, since he sleeps more and is relatively inactive. By the time your pup is about five months old, he should be able to make it through the night without going outside.

Below are some additional overall tips to help you housetrain your pup successfully:

Try to clean the spots where your puppy has an accident with a strong, enzyme based cleanser to help reduce any odor that could attract the puppy back to the same spot.

Once your puppy is house trained in your home, he may still have accidents when visiting others’ homes. And this is normal and to be expected.  Puppies need to generalize their learning to new environment, however, just because they seem to know something where to eliminate (or not) in one place doesn’t mean that they’ll automatically know that everywhere. You’ll need to watch your puppy carefully when you visit new places together and be sure to take him out often.

Further, if something in your puppy’s environment changes, your puppy most likely will have a lapse in house training.   If you bought a new piece of furniture, your puppy might think this is a new place to pee!

House training requires an investment of time and effort and sometimes you might think it will never happen, but you can do it.  If you’re consistent, your hard work will pay off. Hang in there! If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified professional or a dog trainer to teach you and your puppy how to successfully be house trained.

Below are some tips of what you shouldn’t do if your puppy is not quick at housetraining:

You should never rub your puppy’s nose in his waste if he isn’t successful at holding it.

Please do not yell or scold your dog for eliminating indoors. Instead, if you catch him in the act, make a noise to startle him and stop him from urinating or defecating. Then immediately show your dog where you want him to go by taking him outside, waiting until he goes, and then praising and rewarding him.

You should never physically punish your puppy for accidents (hitting with newspaper, spanking, nothing physical). Realize that if your puppy has accidents in the house, you were not adequately supervising him or her.  Your puppy is like a baby and if you don’t take him outside frequently enough and/ or missed his signals that he needed to go outside, it’s your fault not his!

Confining your puppy to a small area for hours each day is not a way to housetrain.  You need to teach him and let him or her out frequently.

If your puppy is eliminating in his crate, than don’t crate him and leave him there.

If your puppy enjoys being outside, don’t bring him inside right after he eliminates or he may learn to “hold it” while outside so that he can stay out there longer.

Do not clean with an ammonia-based cleanser. Urine contains ammonia. Cleaning with ammonia could attract your puppy back to the same spot to urinate again. Instead, use an enzymatic cleanser that is safe for your puppy.

Housetraining is a process but with time, effort and rewards, you can teach a puppy to be housetrained.  Positive feedback and love is also a great encouragement.


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The Tokinese Cat – A Unique Combination of Siamese and Burmese!

The Tonkinese Cat is a human designed breed with the mixture of crossing a Siamese and Burmese breed.  This beautiful kitty is medium in size, solid, and very muscular, and usually weighs 6 to 8 pounds.  With a medium haired, fine silky coat, your Tonkinese won’t shed as much as some other cats and are great indoor cats.   The Tonkinese is chatty, loving and a great cat for kids.

The Tonkinese physical features

Because the Tonkinese started off as a “designer” breed, three coat patterns have become the most common: solid, like the Burmese; pointed (or pale with darker extremities), like the Siamese; and mink, a combination of the two.  The mink is the most popular pattern; the shading is subtle and not as pronounced as the pointed pattern. Mink is generally referred to as a dark coloring, but it also refers to the texture of the fur. The mink can also be in champagne or platinum, for example.  Tonkinese generally have a slim, muscular build.

Tokinese Cat

One of the best known features of the Tonkinese is the beautiful aqua colored eyes that make their breed stand out with the silky mink coat. The appearance of aqua coloring in the eyes is actually a very carefully selected combination of yellow to green, balanced with light reflection. With the reflection of light the eyes appear to be aqua, and will reflect differently depending on the available light, as well as the time of day, just as the blue of the sky appears to change color.

The Tonkinese is a very active cat

The Tonkinese is very active, but not hyperactive. She or he run through the house, making its own little stampede of sound, and flip around like a circus monkey. They make very amusing companions and love to entertain family and guests. But, they can also sit contentedly, affectionately kissing and cuddling with their objects of devotion. They make for wonderful lap cats.

The Tonkinese craves affection, expects it, demands it in her loving way as the Tonkinese is not aloof or snobby. These beautiful kitties are fun to be around, with a good temperament and sense of humor, and they love to carry on conversations. The Tonkinese is a talker and will speak and expects you to understand every word he or she is saying. The Tonkinese is a happy cat that will get along great with children and other pets and will be a constant source of joy, laughter and love.

The Tonkinese does not like to be alone for long and will get into mischief if it is bored too often. This is one of the most playful breeds of cats, it needs to play. If you must leave your cat alone it would be best to have a fellow cat to keep it company.  Why not adopt two Tonkinese!

The Tonkinese is a very healthy cat

One of the more fortunate aspects of being a cross breed is that the Tonkinese does not have any health issues. They are a healthy and vigorous breed with great temperaments and strong genes. This is one ‘designer’ breed that has taken time to really breed the mix and therefore it is a healthy cat.  The Tonkinese has been bred solely with other Tonkinese, and that is because of the conscientious selection process of the early breeders.

Tonkinese cats are mischievous and you need to be prepared

Since Tonkinese are rambunctious cats, it is always a good idea to cat proof your home.  The Tonkinese doesn’t mean to do any harm, but it loves to have fun, and it would be wise to place your breakable treasures in safe locations, where they cannot be knocked over. Its love of play can make it careless in other ways as well, and it is strongly recommended as an indoor only cat.  Look around your home for anything that might be construed as dangerous and make necessary adjustments. 

Tonkinese love to play with toys

The Tonkinese are very active cats and love to play with toys.  It is good to keep them around to make sure your kitty can keep himself busy when you aren’t around. A scratching post, toys to knock around and chase, and a generally safe environment are all that you need to feel that your Tonkinese is safe and busy!


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Hot Spots on Our Dogs- Uncomfortable but Treatable!

Hot Spots are areas of the dog’s skin that become irritated and inflamed and are very uncomfortable for our pups. These spots are usually a circular shape and are accompanied by hair loss, inflammation and sometimes a discharge of pus. Hot spots are actually a form of dermatitis and may result from allergy, flea infestation, behavioral problems or other causes. It is important to treat hot spots right away to prevent spreading.

Anything that irritates the skin and causes a dog to scratch or lick himself can start a hot spot. Hot spots can be caused by allergic reactions, insect, mite or flea bites, poor grooming, underlying ear or skin infections and constant licking and chewing prompted by stress or boredom.

Below are some steps you can try at home to cure the hot spot as soon as they appear:

1. Trim your dog’s hair carefully from around the hot spot so the area will be easier to keep clean. Clean the area with a mild antiseptic. You can use cotton balls to gently dab the area with the cleaning solution.

2.  Apply a cool compress to the hot spot for five minutes three to four times a day to soothe your dog's sore skin.  Make sure your dog is flea free. Hot spots often occur due to flea bites. The fleas must be eliminated in order to prevent further skin irritation.

Hot Spots On Dogs

Hot spots are no fun!

3.  Soothe sore hot spots with a dab of Vitamin E oil. Vitamin E oil is well known for its healing effects and dogs can also benefit from the oil. Dab Vitamin E oil on the affected area two to three times a day to help loosen the crusty areas that have formed and aid healing. It will soothe your dog’s itchy skin as well.

4.  Bathe the affected area of skin with cool tea to speed healing. Tea contains tannic acid which aids the healing process. Dab the affected area with a cotton ball that has been soaked in tea that has cooled. Repeat the process three to four times daily.

Make an appointment with your veterianian if the hot spots don’t go away immediately

If the above doesn’t work immediately, call your veterinarian to make an appointment as your veterinarian will prescribe something stronger or might give your dog any of the following:

antibiotics and painkillers, medication to prevent and treat parasites, an E-collar or other means to prevent self-trauma as the area heals, corticosteroids or antihistamines to control itching.

The following tips can help in the prevention of hot spots:

Make sure your dog is groomed on a regular basis and your dog’s hair is clipped short, especially during warmer months.

Feed your dog a healthy, fat-enriched diet.  If you've been shopping for bargains, you may need to upgrade to a premium dog food. Feeding your dog a good nutritious source of food can help heal skin irritation and prevent further irritation from developing. If your dog suffers from recurring skin conditions or has dull, thin fur, a change in his or her diet may be needed.

Give your dog a daily vitamin supplement that contains fatty acids known as Omega 3. This will help to heal hot spots and other skin conditions. Omega 3 fatty acids will speed healing, promote healthy skin and fur, and prevent further break outs of hot spots or other skin irritation.

Follow a strict flea control program as recommended by your veterinarian especially if you live in an area which is prone to fleas.  This will get you ahead of the hot spots.

Try to maintain as stress-free an environment for your dog as possible as he or she can break out in hot spots when stressed.

As always, make sure your dog gets adequate exercise and opportunities for play and interaction with his human family and, if he enjoys it, with other dogs.  Dogs frequently start to itch and/or scratch themselves just out of boredom which can then turn to hot spots.

Hot spots take time to heal

Don't expect a hot spot to go away overnight. It will take a little time for the skin to heal and the fur to grow back.  Check the spots daily to see if the area is healing. If the hot spot appears to get worse, consult your veterinarian immediately.

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Walking Your Cat On a Leash – It Can Be Done!

While most of our felines today are indoor cats, the majority of our kitties would like to get a glimpse of the outside world.  And, if your kitty is new to the outdoors, we cat owners would never just let them out to explore as we would be afraid of the repercussions.  Therefore, wouldn’t it be great to take your cat out walking on a leash where you can supervise?  While this seems like a nearly impossible task, with time, patience and practice, you can have your cat walking on a leash outdoors with you!

Make sure to purchase a harness and leash designed for cats

There are harnesses designed for cats with a leash attachment toward the middle on these harnesses rather than at the neck, which is much safer and less stressful for your kitty. If your cat runs up a tree or gets caught somewhere, a standard collar could strangle him, and a breakaway collar will detach.  And cats are extremely flexible and able to fit through tiny, awkward spaces. It isn't uncommon for cats to find a way out of their collars. You don't want this worry while you're outdoors with your cat.

Walking Cat On A Leash

This is so fun!

Start slowly and do your training when your cat is hungry and not sleepy

Make sure to do your training sessions when your cat is hungry. Make sure to break treats into very small pieces as your kitty's cooperation will decrease in direct proportion to how quickly her tummy gets full. Cats don't have a desire to please their owners like dogs do, so food treats are their primary incentive.  Try limiting treat-giving to training sessions so you don’t overfeed your cat.

Start slow and take baby steps. As anyone knows who has tried to train their cat, most will do what they want, when they want, for however long they want. But kitties do actually respond to food treats, verbal praise and praise in the form of love, rubs and kisses.

Practice indoors and let your cat get used to the feeling of a harness

You need to get your cat used to wearing the harness and leash before going outside. Put the harness on your cat, making sure it's snug but not too tight. The second you've got the harness on, before you let go of her, give your kitty a treat. If she takes a step in the harness, give her a treat, praise her and pat her on the head. Repeat the treating and praising if she continues to move about in her harness.

If your cat seems frozen in place or completely hates it and runs to hide, remove the harness and give a treat as a peace offering. Try leaving the harness near your cat's food bowl at mealtime and near her favorite napping spot for a few days to get her used to seeing it in places she associates with good things.

Or try holding the harness and a few treats and when/if kitty sniffs the harness, give her a treat. Next hold the harness against her body and offer a treat. As she sniffs the treat, slowly pull the harness away and let her eat the treat.  Giving treats immediately is crucial because you want your cat to connect a desired action with getting a treat.

Keep praising your kitty as she gets used to the harness

As your cat learns to tolerate the harness and leash for longer periods, give her a constant stream of verbal praise, head pats and food treats while she's wearing it. When she's done with a training session, meaning she's dropped to the ground, her tail is switching, remove the harness immediately. You want to end the session with your cat feeling confident and in control.

Next step outside with the harness

Once your cat is walking around in his harness and leash in a normal manner, you can step outside the door. Depending on your kitty’s tolerance, you might spend the next few weeks getting down the front walk or onto the grass. Or, if your kitty likes it out there, you could be walking in a week or so. If your neighborhood has lots of traffic noise, dogs, or other distractions that your cat views as threatening, try taking her to a quieter area where she's less exposed to frightening sights and sounds.

Now try to take your cat out for a little longer walk

Try to take your cat a little farther on each outing. When your kitty's eagerly exploring a new area with his tail up, take another baby step.  However, make sure that your cat doesn't pick up anything in her mouth or lick anything. And no tree climbing for leashed cats. It's too dangerous on many levels.

Don't tie your cat's leash to something and leave her outside, EVER. If something spooks your cat, she could get tangled in the leash. If she's threatened by another animal or even a person, she can't get away. Your kitty should never be outside unattended for any reason.  See how your kitty adjusts and you will know how long you can stay outdoors walking.

Remember that there could be setbacks when walking your cat outdoors

One day, your cat might be fine walking out on a leash and the next day, he or she won’t budge.   Just go back to the last place when your cat was comfortable and move forward with baby steps. And unless your kitty is in harm's way, resist the urge to pick up your cat if something spooks him. It's better for your cat’s confidence if you can leave him on the ground at his own pace.

With time, effort, practice and a lot of patience, you can get your cat walking on a leash.

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