Summer is here and a lot of us plan our vacations during the warm summer months when the kids are on summer break and have time off. When you go on a vacation, there are many things to plan. If you are a pet owner, or specifically have a cat or cats, you probably won’t bring them along with you. Therefore, you want to consider the best option to make you and your kitty feel comfortable when you are on your vacation.
Cats are fairly low maintenance
While it’s not advisable to leave your cats alone for a long time, most cats will be fine if they have a litter box, fresh food and water. However, if your trip is more than a day or so, there are various option for you and your kitty.
Have a family member or neighbor watch over your cat
If you have a family member or friend stop by on a daily basis, this is a great option as most cats like to stay home and in their routine. Cats are creatures of habit and not a lot of effort, so all your friend or family member has to do is make sure that your cats have enough food, some water, and they need to scoop out the necessities from the litter box. And, of course, a little rub down and attention to your cat is also required. Hopefully, whoever is watching your cat has a pet so you can return the favor.
A pet sitter is another great option to take care of your cat
If you don’t have a friend that can take care of your kitty, there are numerous pet sitters that can stop by or some who even spend the night. A pet sitter is a viable option (make sure to get some recommendations) as they are trained to be with pets or specifically cats and therefore have the knowledge of what your cat needs and/or any special care for your kitty. If you do have a cat that needs medication of any sort, a pet sitter is the way to go. It is too much pressure for a friend or even family member to know how to give your kitties medication when you are away.
As always, make sure your pet sitter (or anyone who watches over your cat) is given all the emergency telephone numbers, just in case. Leave a number where he or she can reach you, and write down your veterinarian’s telephone number and the nearest emergency hospital as well. You can tell your pet sitter, also, the special needs of your cat or cats and/or preferences. And, of course, since you are paying a pet sitter, he or she needs to attend to those needs as well as cleaning the litter box on a daily basis.
If you can’t find a pet sitter or neighbor, you can take your cat to a pet boarding facility
If you don’t have any other option, try to locate a pet boarding facility where your cat will be housed away from dogs. A nice large confinement area is preferred. At a minimum, a litter box should be provided along with other essentials such as toys and food games to help keep your cat comfortable and occupied. A hiding place within the confinement area is also a good idea so your cat can have his privacy if he prefers. Some of the larger pet stores, such as Pet Smart offer boarding facilities where other cats are nearby yet each gets his or her own home. Or some veterinarians offer in house boarding and are trained to really take care of your cat’s special needs.
You can take your cats with you on your vacation
You could take your cats with you on a vacation, particularly if it is an extended trip. If you do this, make sure that any housing arrangements you’ve made (hotels, motels, etc.) are pet-friendly. There is a great new site, called goddoggyvactions.com where you can book your vacation and find a pet friendly hotel for your cats or dog all through one site. They also give some of the proceeds to various pet rescues groups!
If you plan in advance the best option for your cat and make sure that all his or her needs are taken care of while you away, your kitty will be fine. You can go on your vacation and feel comfortable that your beloved feline(s) is in good hands.
While we pet owners love the 4th of July and relish in the celebrations, our pets feel differently. A lot of dogs and cats are afraid of the fireworks and/or just even the loud sounds that they might hear outside. And if you decide to take your dog with you to an outdoor event, you need to keep an eye on your dogs at all times.
Below are some safety reminders for you and your pets.
1. Make sure all pets, even indoor cats, are wearing a collar with an identification tag that includes your name and telephone number. A microchip is also a good idea. Terrified animals may end up miles from home or deep under a neighbor’s porch. This simple precaution will save a lot of anguish, time, and energy.
2. Walk your dogs in the early evening, before the evening falls, to prevent stress from noises and to tire them out so they can sleep the night away (hopefully).
3. During neighborhood firework displays, keep all cats and dogs safely inside. Dogs and cats who are scared of noises should be put into a bathroom or other room with a secure door no windows. A screen door will not keep in a fearful dog. It is better not take a dog to watch a large commercial firework display as it only increases the chances of him or her becoming lost in an unfamiliar area.
4. It is safer to keep your pets at home during Fourth of July celebrations instead of bringing him to your neighbor's party. Keep your pets in the house, rather than in your yard. He will be a lot happier indoors, and not tempted to leap over a fence to find you.
5. Dogs can be startled by the loud noise of fireworks. Once the festivities begin, keep your pet in a safe room where he can feel comfortable. If he is crate trained put your dog in his crate covered with a blanket to make him feel secure.
6. Block outside sights and sounds by lowering the blinds and turning on the television. Play soothing music in the background to counteract the noise of the fireworks.
7. If your dog or cat seems overly anxious, spend some time with your beloved, speaking soothingly to help your dog or cat to relax.
8. Avoid spraying your dog with insect repellent and only use special sunscreen that is intended for your pets. Keep your pets away from matches and lighter fluid. They can be extremely irritating to the stomach, lungs and central nervous system, if ingested. When striking up the barbeque, make sure your dog or even outdoor cat is far away.
9. Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where cats or dogs can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, your dog or cat could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma.
10. Keep sparklers, candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
11. Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
Just remember that loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for cats or dogs, so it’s best not to take them along to your 4th of July festivities. Keep them safe at home in a quiet, sheltered area where your cat or dog can’t escape. They will be fine if you just make sure they have a safe place to reside during the short-lived firework celebration.
Most cat owners today are educated enough to know that declawing your cat is simply not acceptable. However, there are some cat owners or newbies who are bringing their first kitten home who might still declaw their cats for the sake of their furniture. This is selfish and unfair. If you are worried about your furniture, don’t get a cat! For the newly initiated who want to adopt a new kitty or cat, below are some of the many reasons not to declaw your cat.
Declawing is serious surgery
Declawing is not like a manicure. It is serious surgery. Your cat's claw isnota toenail. It is closely attached to the bone. Declawing is similar to an actual amputation of the last joint of your cat's toes. If you can think of how painful this surgery can be, it becomes clear why declawing is inhumane. And the recovery can be a very long and painful one. Remember that during the recovery period, your cat would still have to use its feet to walk, jump, and scratch in its litter box regardless of the pain that he or she is experiencing. Poor thing will be so depressed and upset.
Declawing can make a cat more likely to bite
People often mistakenly believe that declawing their cats is a harmless quick fix for unwanted scratching. They don't realize that declawing can make a cat less likely to use the litter box or more likely to bite.
Cats do suffer pain
No cat owner/enthusiast would ever doubt that cats (whose senses are much sharper than ours) suffer pain. They may, however, hide it better that we humans. Cats are not only proud, they instinctively know that they are at risk when in a weakened position, and will attempt to hide it. But make no mistake. This is not a light procedure and your kitty will feel the pain.
A cat’s personality can change after declawing
Some cat owners that had gregarious outgoing cats noticed that their personalities changed when they declawed their cats. Some owners who weren’t aware of the major downside of declawing also noticed a change in their cat’s personality. They had become much more timid and not as spunky, afraid of noises and people. Their outgoing cat now shies away from everyone.
Cats have claws for a reason
Your cat's body is perfectly designed to give it the grace and agility that is unique to him or her. Their claws are an important part of their bodies and amputating them can drastically alter their paws. Further, if your cat is an outdoor cat or an indoor cat that gets outside, he or she will be deprived of its primary means of defense. If your outdoor cat is chased by a dog or other predator, he or she can even climb a tree, which without his or her claws would be impossible.
Buy a scratch pad or cat post
Instead of declawing your cat, buy a scratch post or a cat tree. They will love to scratch on both as a way to release their energy. Most cats love them. Put a little catnip on the scratch pad and your cat will have fun scratching it and associate it with a positive experience. You can also throw a blanket or spray some lemon where your kitty might like to scratch. The lemon is a deterrent and will not hurt your cat all!
If you find your cat scratching your furniture, simply pick him up and bring him or her to the scratching post. Reward your cat and give him praise to reinforce the positive behavior.
There are different nail caps on the market that won’t hurt your cat
There are little lightweight vinyl nail caps on the market calledSoft Paws . You simply glue them on your cat’s front paws. They are easy to apply and usually last four to six weeks. They cause no pain for your cat and will allow them to scratch the furniture without the repercussions.
Please be sensitive to your cat and his or her needs and do not declaw them ever! If you are so worried about your furniture, than maybe a cat isn’t for you. However, there are ways to train your cats not to scratch and they will remain happy and healthy. Remember that declawing is a very hard, painful surgery for our beloved felines and there are many alternatives to combat the scratching issue.
As humans and pet parents, we all try in our own way to do what we can to become ecofriendly and resourceful with ourselves and in turn, our pets and our environment. There are plenty of things you can do as a pet owner to become eco-friendly and resourceful in almost everything we do or use for our pets. Below are some ideas that can help you, your pets and our planet.
First and foremost, neuter or spay your pet
Every year millions of cats and dogs are euthanized around the world. This is the devastating reality, but it’s also avoidable. Having your pets spayed or neutered not only curbs its aggressiveness once it reaches maturity, it is the best way to avoid sending an unwanted puppy or kitten to the local shelter, many of which are never adopted.
Try recycled toys and recycling your existing toys
There are now many toys and bedding made from recycled materials or sustainable fibers to help lessen your pets’ paw print. Get creative and make toys out of old socks and rope and beds out of old blankets and towels or even bags! This helps avoid harming the environment and can help protect your dog or cats from dangerous chemicals in plastic chew toys and bedding.
When your cat or dog seems to grow disinterested in a toy, put it away for a few weeks. Your dog or cat will forget about it, but when you surprise your furry friends with them later, it will be like having a new toy again. You can even start a rotation, putting away a few toys every couple of weeks, and cycling them in with regularity. You get to spoil your pet without spoiling the planet!
Donate Paper Newspapers
For sanitary reasons, animal rescues and wildlife rehabilitation centers use discarded newspapers to line their cages. This is both cheap and efficient. Contact your local shelter or rehabilitation centers in your area in need of old newspapers. Old newspapers are a great way to keep the cages and pick up the poop.
Scooping your pet’s poop
Try use biodegradable bags to collect your dog's waste. Ordinary plastic bags can take decades to decompose in landfills. And if you have a kitty, avoid clumping clay litter for cats. Not only is the clay strip-mined (which is bad for our planet), there are usually several chemicals added to this type of litter which can be harmful for the cat and the environment. There are several environmentally friendly alternatives such as litter made of plant sources or recycled newspaper or feline pine (and they smell great too)!
Feed a natural or organic pet food for health and well-being.
Natural or organic food for our pets (similar to those for humans) provide nutrients which are minimally processed and preserved with natural substances. They don’t have artificial colors or other harmful additives. Organic pet foods also avoid the use of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically engineered ingredients.
Buy local and make some home- made treats for your pups
If you buy fruits and vegetables at your local farmers market, it not only helps support your local economy but you will also cut down on the amount of fossil fuel required to ship your pet's food. Besides, your pet will love this tasty addition of green to his life. Try making some homemade treats for your pups – they will love them too.
Adopt a Pet
There are so many reasons to adopt a pet. With overpopulation and millions of pets being euthanized each year, you can save a life and bring a fun, furry member home. Why is this eco-friendly? Because you are bringing home a pet that exits and not one that is created from a breeder.
If you think about all the ways that you try to be eco-friendly in your life, you can easily extend that into your pet’s life and/or what you use for your pets.
As any cat owner knows, our cats sleep a lot! Yet, when our cats are taking one of their many cat naps, we often wonder if they are dreaming of chasing mice, their best bowl of food or just in a deep sleep. Research shows that cats do, in fact dream. Not every cat nap has a dream; however, their overnight long term sleep most certainly does. And cats, not unlike their pet parents, might not understand why or how this works, but just accept it as normal routine.
Cat sleep stages
The first phase of a cat’s sleep is called light slow wave sleep. During this phase our kitties are not fully relaxed and are easily roused. You say their name and they wake up easily and/or can feel any type of movement. Next is the deep slow wave sleep when our cats becomes progressively more limp and harder to rouse. Finally, there is paradoxical or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in which the brain becomes extremely active once more, as if the cat is awake, and yet the body is profoundly relaxed.
The second phase of sleep is the REM phase
This REM sleep is sometimes referred to as the sleep of the body. Certainly the mind is getting no rest. It is at this most-difficult-to-wake stage of sleep that dreaming occurs. People who are awakened from REM sleep have reported that they have been dreaming. The fact that the body's muscles are relaxed does not mean that occasional movements cannot occur and it is quite common to see cats twitching or contracting their toes during REM sleep, as if they are experiencing some mental chase. This is when we think our cats do dream.
Cats sleep patterns are very much like our own. They spend about nine to ten hours a day asleep, mostly at night and during this time their sleep cycles shift.
You can tell when your cat is in the deep sleep and might be dreaming
When REM sleep arrives, the brain is the most active and this when you might see some movement in your cat and twitching of his or limbs. What has been researched to happen is that a cat’s serotonin neurons supply muscles that control large anti-gravity muscles and not those that control episodic behavior and fine movements, such as muscles that control eye position and movement of the limbs or paws.
A catnap is when our cats are in a light wave sleep and the cat's mind is blank at this time. This represents the resting of the mind (as we humans can take 5 minute ‘cat naps’)" during which there is no dreaming. This is similar to when we fall asleep in a chair and the brain is resting, but dreaming doesn’t occur.
Although they sleep mainly at night, cats are most active at dawn and dusk when their prey would normally be most active, with periods of snoozing and sleeping in between times of peak activity. And, if our cats become totally relaxed, with their eyes darting back and forth, it is likely they are dreaming. So, really, our kitties might sleep a lot more than we do, but their sleeping patterns are very similar to us humans.