Tips for Raising Kittens We Should Know

When it comes to raising kittens, the philosophy is pretty similar to that of bringing up children. If you provide proper care and training when they’re young, it increases the odds they’ll grow up to be healthy, well-adjusted adults. So if you recently adopted a kitten, start incorporating this advice as soon as possible.

MJ the kitten

1) Don’t Treat Your Kitten Like an Adult Cat

Just as a human infant has vastly different needs than a teenager, a kitten will have care requirements distinct from those of a fully matured cat. In addition, you should consider a kitten’s various stages of development when caring for her:

  • Under eight weeks of age. At this early age, a kitten should still be with her mother and litter mates. Because kittens this young are unable to regulate their own temperatures, they rely on one-another’s body heat to survive. In addition, they are still developing vision and leg coordination. If you adopt or foster an orphan kitten in this age group, special care will need to be taken, including bottle-feeding the kitten for every two hours up to four weeks of age and possibly helping your kitten pee and poop. It’s best to consult with a veterinarian for specific instructions and advice.
  • Eight to eleven weeks of age. Kittens are usually weaned by eight weeks and should be eating kitten diet, which needs to be energy dense, rich in protein and highly digestible. Whether choosing dry kibble or wet food, be sure it is formulated for kittens. Other big changes will start occurring during this period as well. As your kitten begins developing complex motor skills she will become a force of nature — running, jumping, playing and exploring. This is a delightful period of kittenhood, but also one that can be dangerous to your kitten if she isn’t appropriately supervised.  Start setting boundaries for your kitten and keep her in a safe, enclosed room while you can supervise her.
  • Two to four months of age. This is a phase of rapid growth for kittens in which they’ll have almost three times more energy than an adult cat. They’ll need three to four individual meals a day during this time. According to Vetstreet.com, these meals should be minimum 30 percent high-quality protein.
  • Four to six months of age. Kittens in this age group are reaching adolescence and, thus, sexual maturity. Talk to a veterinarian about having your kitten spayed or neutered before your kitten reaches this stage to avoid unpleasant habits like territorial spraying and accidental litters. (Learn more about spaying and neutering here.)

2) Reward Good Behavior and Socialize, Socialize, Socialize

The socialization and training your cat receives during kittenhood will affect how well she will likely interact with people and other animals when she’s older. “I remember the first time I fostered kittens and how worried I was about scaring them,” says Jane Harrell. “What I didn’t know was that that was a critical socialization period for them and not exposing them to things made them more nervous as adults. Now when I foster kittens I do everything I can to get them exposed to as much as possible – loud noises, walking on leashes, strangers, you name it! It all helps them become better-adjusted, healthy adult cats.” Just makre sure your kittens have a positive experience out of any socialization exposure you provide them.

As a new kitten’s parent, it will be up to you to guide her and show her that the world is a wonderful place. Consider trying some of these training and socialization methods:

  • Kittens will generally use litter boxes by instinct, however you can help teach her to use it by placing her in the box after meals and play sessions. Make sure the litter box is always available to your kitten and cleaned frequently
  • Pet her frequently
  • Get her used to weekly combing and grooming. (Learn more about cat grooming)
  • Introduce her to toys
  • Allow her to experience different walking surfaces (carpet, linoleum, etc.)
  • Take her outside on a lead or in her carrier (It can be very dangerous to allow a kitten outside without one.) However, before providing any outdoor exposure be sure your veterinarian has administered the proper vaccines and enough time has passed for your kitten to build immunity.
  • Give her objects to explore, such as boxes and paper bags
  • Play loud music and make noise
  • Have friends over and ask them to play with her and give her treats
  • Provide appropriate scratching alternatives (such as scratching posts) and reward her with toys, praise or treats when she uses them
  • Do not allow her to bite or scratch during play. If she does, redirect her attention to a toy.
  • Expose her to other cats and kittens (as soon as they’re up to date on vaccinations, of course!). There are even kitten socialization classes; do an internet search to see if any are available in your area.
  • Take your kitten on car rides, giving her treats the whole time, and get her used to her carrier. (Check out these tips for getting your cat to like his carrier.)
  • Reward friendly behavior with treats or praise.
  • Do not reprimand bad behavior, instead, ignore her when she displays inappropriate behavior. (Give her a time out.)
  • Challenge your kitten to think by teaching her tricks. (Learn how to teach a cat tricks.)
  • Always be patient

3) Make Preventive Care a Priority

To help ensure your kitty has a lifetime of good health, start early in providing her with preventive care:

  • Schedule an appointment early. No matter what, schedule your kitten’s first vet appointment within a week of getting her. Early and frequent vet visits will help socialize your kitten with the vet and help the vet establish a baseline for your kitten’s health.
  • Ask about intestinal parasites, fleas and heartworm. Have a veterinarian check your kitten for worms and intestinal parasites, and have her de-wormed, if necessary. And while heartworms aren’t as much of a problem for cats as they are for dogs, some kittens may be susceptible, so also ask your vet if he or she recommends a heartworm preventative. The biggest parasitic threat to your kitten, however, is fleas. You can start administering topical flea preventatives when your kitten is around 8 to 12 weeks of age — although some brands are formulated for kittens as young as 4 weeks old.
  • Ask which vaccinations your kitten needs and how often: Preventive care for kittens may include vaccines for feline leukemia, rabies and distemper. These shots are usually first administered when a kitten is around 8 weeks of age, with boosters given every few weeks until she reaches 16 weeks of age. After that, your veterinarian can set her up on an adult vaccination schedule. He or she may also recommend additional vaccinations.

5 Most Expensive Pet In The World

5. Chimpanzees

most expensive pets

Chimpanzees are a favourite among pet lovers because of its close affiliation with human; the tradition of keeping chimpanzees as pets dates back to centuries and they are counted amongst the most intelligent animals. They have significant life lines, which goes even higher than 60 years. A chimpanzee will cost you $60,000 and an exotic animal permit and license.

4. Ram

ram, male sheep

Surprised? Yeah we were dazed too when we found out that rams are amongst the most expensive pets to bring home. In 2009, a flawless ram was sold at the alarmingly high rate of $352,000, which is even higher than the white lion cubs; ram is considered as an elite animal as expressed by the Texel Sheep Society.

3. Arabian Horse

Black Arabian Horse

Arabian horses are regarded as one of the most beautiful and highly expensive horse breed of all times; the horse has historical origins dating back to Middle East and is one of the oldest breed. Arabian horses are known and valued for their strong skeletal structure, speed and endurance, which is the reason that they are used to rectify other horse breeds. An Arabian horse will cost around $100,000 and even higher.

2. White Bengal Tigers

White Bengal Tigers

Though domestication of wild animals especially the endangered ones like white tigers is not legal but still they hit the charts as the most expensive pets, also most expensive animals around the world. Like the white lion, while tigers are extremely rare and beautiful breed recognised for its creamy white furry skin and beautiful blue eyes. However, they are illegal to be kept but according to resources they can cost $100,000 and higher.

1. German Shephard (Alsatian)

Most Expensive Pets

In March 2011, a Tibetan Mastiff was sold at the record breaking price of $1.5 millions in China but our very own German shepherd still holds the place of world’s most expensive dog breed. German shepherds are celebrated for their versatile role of a domestic and friendly dog and a shrewd watch guard, a German shepherd can cost up to $24,000.

5 Smartest Cat Breeds In The World

5. The Cornish Rex

cornish rex kitten

The fifth most intelligent cat is the Cornish Rex breed. Their most striking characteristic is their wavy, curly coat that needs no grooming. A large area to play is the Rex’s dream. They love to roam in wide-open spaces. Being the center of attention is one of their favorite pastimes and they will pounce around just for your entertainment! Their playful spirit makes them to be a great choice for families with children.

Compatible With This Breed: Households with children. Active people. Families with other pets.

4. The Sokoke

sokoke cat

Next up is the Sokoke, originating from Kenya. Their independent nature means they’re okay having alone time. Don’t be fooled though, these cats aren’t loners. They are very social and get along perfectly with other cats and dogs. Ever seen a cat on a leash? There’s a good chance it was a Sokoke! These are one of the few felines that can be trained to walk on a leash. They are very active cats that have a hard time sitting still for long.

Compatible With This Breed: People looking for a trainable cat. Families with school-age children. Families with dogs or other cats.

3. The Sphynx

sphynx

Placing third is the Sphynx, nickednamed “Love Mooch” for their undying loyalty to their owners. These felines love being the center of attention and are extremely friendly. You’ll find them a great for entertaining guests. They aren’t afraid of new people and will jump at the chance to show off their talents. The Sphynx has an abundance of energy – they’re go go go, but when they tire, they like a warm, cozy spot to cuddle up and rest.

Compatible With This Breed: Experienced owners, families with children, single people and people with other pets.

2. The Bengal

Bengal

 

Coming in as the second smartest would be the Bengal. They have a  three A’s personality – active, agile, and alert. Because of that, they are extremely curious and mischievous. Don’t be surprised when you open your cupboard for some morning cereal to find a set of eyes staring back at you! These smart kitties learn how to open cabinets and doors quickly. Bengals love and even demand attention. The right owners for them will have a lot of time on their hands to play and cuddle.

1.  The Savannah

savannah

Stealing the number 1 spot is the Savannah breed. Savannah’s are known for their dog-like personality. You’ll see these felines following their owners around the house. If you’re lucky, they’ll even play fetch! Very friendly to other cats and even dogs, this active breed loves to play, play, play. They are extremely active! Also, they are avid escape artists and will try tricky tactics to get what they want and where they want.

Top 5 Expensive Cat In The World

Cats have been domesticated since the Neolithic period, though the first certain signs that they were adopted as pets came in ancient Egypt. Known for its incredible breeding rate, cats are known to be excellent companions for humans. They also have the ability to hunt down rats, vermin, and other household animals that humans consider as pests.

Cats may have different looks and personalities, so people can choose one depending on his own preference. Shy and introverted owners may opt for the aloof American Curl, or maybe even the Scottish Fold. Those with gregarious personalities who are outgoing will definitely prefer a Manx or a Birman. These two breeds actually have traits similar to a dog. If you are after a cat’s looks, prim and proper owners will do well with the Siamese, while those who are rough by nature may want a Maine Coon.

Some cats are more rare and more beautiful than others. The combination of rarity and beauty has brought about unbelievable prices for this animal.  Here is a list of the top five most expensive cats in the world today.

1. The Ashera – $125,000

DNA tests have indicated that these are actually Savannah cats, but these have not stopped Ashera lovers from praising the beauty of this feline creature. The Ashera is not a pure bred cat in the real sense of the word, as it is a result of the hybrid of genes from several cats, namely the domestic housecat, the Asian leopard cat, and the African serval. The result is a domesticated cat that looks just like a leopard.

The Lifestyle Pets Company, the company that created the cat, breeds only five Asheras each year. The ones with patterns similar to a snow leopard are sold for as much as $125,000. The other Asheras can be had for as low as $22,000, though the average price has hovered at around the $28,000 range. The Lifestyle Pets Company has recently focused on the creation of hypoallergenic Asheras, however, costing $37,000 each. It is still much more than what you would pay for an average cat, but then again, the Ashera is more than just your average cat.

2. The Bengal – $42,000

Bengals are not that rare, with almost 60,000 of this breed all over the world. Its beauty, however, was enough for an Englishwoman named Cindy Jackson to pay $42,000 for a Bengal cat in 1998. The cat was named Fur Ball, and it definitely cost more than a ball of money.

The Bengal is a result of a hybrid between domestic cats and the Asian Leopard Cat, or the ALC. Its scientific name is the Prionailurus Bengalensis Bengalensis, thus the name Bengal. Their coating is similar to that of the magnificent leopard, though its shape and nature resemble that of a domestic cat. The Bengal is extremely popular because of its wild appearance that features large spots, light tummy and rosettes, just like the Asian leopard. Its temperament would become similar to a domestic cat once it is removed by at least three generations.

Experts advise, however, that Bengals be kept as pets only if it is removed by four generations already. The first three generations should be used for breeding purposes only.

3. The Savannah – $22,000

The Savannah is a hybrid cat out of a domestic cat and the African serval. It was created in 1986. A first generation savannah that is half serval can cost as much as $22,000. The value can go down, as the generation gap from the first gets farther.

The Savannah is a large domestic cat. Though slim, the cat’s tall built gives it the appearance of an imposing size that is greater than its actual weight. Just like the price, the size will go down as the generations start to pile up. Some countries do not allow it to be owned domestically, however, so be sure to check first with your local animal board. Australia, for one, does not allow Savannahs to become pets.

If you do buy this cat, however, take special precautions because of the Savannah’s tremendous leaping ability. It can jump as high as 8 feet even from a standing position, meaning refrigerators, high shelves and cabinets and tops of doors are fair games for them. Its inquisitive nature also allows it to open doors, cabinets, and cupboards.

The Savannah is a very sociable cat so long as it is properly exposed to people and other pets while growing up. It is loyal to its master, and it may hiss upon seeing an unknown person.

4. The Sphynx – $3,000

Also known as the alien cat, the Sphynx is a seemingly hairless breed that emerged in Canada in 1966. Its skin is like chamois, and it is usually covered with vellus hair. The lack of pelt, however, means that it has a tendency of cuddling up against people and other animals to keep itself warm. It features a strong body, heads shaped like a wedge and potbellies.

The Sphynx is an extremely intelligent breed. It likes to climb and is very lively. It does require a lot of attention, but it more than makes up for it by its loyalty.

5. The Peterbald – $3,000

The Peterbald is just like the Sphynx, only it developed in Russia instead of Canada. Its main feature is its blue eyes. It is affectionate and energetic, and can live peacefully with other pets. It is also a loyal cat, as Peterbalds are known to follow its owners wherever it goes.

The cat is well built, though in a graceful and elegant way. Its ears are set apart, while its eyes are shaped like almonds. It can hold on to objects and even open doors using its webbed feet and oval paws.

10 Fact About Cat You Must to Know

1. They can be allergic to you.

Does your cat cough frequently? You might be to blame. According to a 2005 study, feline asthma—which affects one in 200 cats—is on the rise thanks to human lifestyle. Since cats are more frequently being kept indoors, they’re more susceptible to inflammation of their airways caused by cigarette smoke, dusty houses, human dandruff, pollen and some kinds of cat litters. And in rare cases, humans can even transmit illnesses like the flu to their pets.

2. They’re not always affected by catnip.

In fact, half the cats in the world don’t respond at all. Sensitivity to Nepeta cataria is inherited; cats with one catnip-sensitive parent have just a one-in-two chance of developing the sensitivity. If both parents have the sensitivity, however, the chances rise to three in four.

3. Cats can actually live with dogs.

Forget what Peter Venkman said about cats and dogs living together causing mass hysteria. A 2008 study by scientists at Tel Aviv University showed that if the animals are introduced while they’re still young—six months for cats, and a year for dogs—they’ll get along just fine.

4. Despite what you’ve read, your cats like it when you pet them.

You might have read about a study that suggested cats get anxious when you pet them. But that was a misinterpretation. “As a matter of fact, the majority of the cats enjoyed being stroked,” study co-author Rupert Palme of the Institute of Medical Biochemistry at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, explained later. “Only those animals that did not actually like to be stroked, but nevertheless allowed it, were stressed.” So go ahead, pet away!

5. Cats have strategies for sharing space.

“We think we know about [domestic cats] because they are so familiar to us—living in our homes and being part of our families,” Professor Alan Wilson of Royal Veterinary College wrote on BBC.com. “In fact, we know less about some aspects of their behaviour than we do about many wild cats.” So in 2013, Wilson and a team of other scientists attached GPS trackers and cameras to 50 felines in Shamley Green, Surrey, for a BBC special. They found that the cats appeared to timeshare territory to avoid squabbles with other felines—though the cat-cams the kitties wore did capture a few fights.

6. A cat’s brain is more complex than a dog’s.

Sure, their brains are small, accounting for just 0.9 percent of their body mass. But according to Psychology Today, “the brains of cats have an amazing surface folding and a structure that is about 90 percent similar to ours.” The cerebral cortex—the part of the brain that’s responsible for cognitive information processing—is more complex in cats than in dogs, and cats have some 300 million neurons, as compared to 160 million in dogs. Some research does suggest that dogs are slightly smarter than cats, but cat owners might have a different opinion on that.

One more fun cat brain fact: The most sophisticated supercomputer in 2010 performed 83 times slower than a cat’s brain.

7. And their short-term memories are pretty good—under the right circumstances.

Short-term memories typically fade away in about a minute, but in a study published in Current Biology in 2007, scientists determined that cats’ short-term memory of certain things lasts 10 minutes. The scientists tested it by stopping cats after their forelegs, but not their hindlegs, had cleared an obstacle. They distracted the cat with food and then waited to see how long the cats would remember having stepped over the obstacle. The cats remembered for about 10 minutes and would bring their hind legs up where they remembered an obstacle, even if it had been removed.

But when cats saw the obstacle and were distracted before they had a chance to step over it with their forelegs, they didn’t remember the obstacle, indicating their visual memory is not so great. “We’ve found that the long-lasting memory for guiding hind legs over an obstacle requires stepping of the forelegs over the obstacle,” researcher Keir Pearson of the University of Alberta in Canada said. “The main surprise was how short lasting the visual memory on its own was—just a few seconds when animals were stopped before their forelegs stepped over the obstacle.”

8. Feral cats wander farther than free-roaming house cats.

A two-year study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois-Champaign tracked 42 cats with radio collars and showed that the feral cats traveled more than free-roaming house cats. One of the ferals, a mixed-breed male, had the largest range of the wild cats with 1351 acres; the mean distance for house cats was a mere 4.9 acres.

That same study found that feral cats were also more active than house cats, which spent 97 percent of their time sleeping or engaged in low levels of activity. A mere 3 percent of their time was spent engaged in high levels of activity, like running or stalking prey, while the feral cats were active 14 percent of the time. “The un-owned cats have to find food to survive, and their activity is significantly greater than the owned cats throughout the day and throughout the year, especially in winter,” said Jeff Horn, a former graduate student in the department of natural resources and environmental sciences, who conducted the study for his master’s thesis. “These un-owned cats have to search harder to find food to create the (body) heat that they need to survive.”

9. Some of their illnesses are similar to ours.

Cats are susceptible to more than 250 hereditary disorders, and many of them are similar to diseases that humans get. A genetic defect in a cat’s DNA can cause retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that also affects 1 in 3500 Americans, and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is a genetic relative of HIV. Felines even have their own form of Alzheimer’s Disease, and, like us, they can get fat—in fact, 55 percent (approximately 47 million) of American cats are overweight or obese.

10. Cat domestication began in China.

The Near Eastern Wildcat, native to Western Asia and Africa, is believed to be the primary ancestor of all domestic cats now living around the globe. Photo via Sonelle via Wikimedia Commons, used under Creative Commons license.

Scientists once believed that cats were domesticated in Ancient Egypt approximately 4000 years ago, but new research, published in 2013, shows that a breed of once-wild cats lived in close proximity to farmers in China some 5300 years ago. “Our data suggest that cats were attracted to ancient farming villages by small animals, such as rodents that were living on the grain that the farmers grew, ate and stored,” says Fiona Marshall, study co-author and archaeology professor at Washington University in St. Louis. “Results of this study show that the village of Quanhucun was a source of food for the cats 5300 years ago, and the relationship between humans and cats was commensal, or advantageous for the cats. Even if these cats were not yet domesticated, our evidence confirms that they lived in close proximity to farmers, and that the relationship had mutual benefits.”

Vacation at Orange Lake for Memories to Last a Lifetime

If you are looking to vacation in Florida, look no further than the Orange Lake Resorts. With so many fun-filled activities and fine restaurants, you could easily spend days here. But if you do seek to venture out, you could not pick a more convenient spot. Orange Lake is situated just three miles from Walt Disney World. It is also a mere 17 miles from Universal Theme Park in Orlando and 13 miles from SeaWorld.

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Image Credit

A Bird’s Eye View

You can see for yourself the amazing spread of theme parks in the area by taking a ride in a hot air balloon and getting a bird’s eye view of Orlando. Or else explore on the ground level to get closer look at the unique ecosystem of Florida by taking a nature walk through the Orange Lake environs with a naturalist tour guide.  People will often be seen walking their well styled dogs and usually use services like Dog groomers like Cheltenham dog Groomers Blossoms Dog Grooming for example over here in the UK.
Rooms are located within walking distance of the lake beachfront. Splash around in the surf or go out into the deep to partake in the various watersport options, such as jet skiing, tubing, water skiing, fishing and more! In addition, the resort offers a huge waterpark that contains four swimming pools, a lazy river and multiple waterslides including The Hippo, the world’s largest inflatable waterslide. There are courts for tennis, basketball, beach volleyball, even shuffleboard. Check out this evaluation by travel specialists from Canada and USA to find out about more the resort and its facilities.

And while the kids play, mum and dad can hit the links on stunning 54-hole championship golf course. Or better yet, why doesn’t the whole family shoot a few holes? Kids under 16 golf free at Legends Walk 9-hole lighted golf course. There are also two different 18-hole miniature golf courses to practice your putting skills.

Sunset Over the Lake

After a day well spent in the sun, you and your family can relax and watch the sunset over the lake at the Breezes Restaurant and Bar. Enjoy live performances of classic beach tunes while sipping on signature drink specials, both virgin for the kids and including alcohol for mom and dad.

There is so much to see and do at Orange Lake, you will be hard pressed to get it all done in just one trip. Many choose to participate in a shared vacation ownership, so they can return to Orange Lake regularly.

The Orange Lake Resort is a wonderful place to stay during your Florida vacation. You’ll be in an ideal location centrally located to many of the area’s major attractions, including Mickey Mouse for the kids! Whether you want to play, relax or explore, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Come to the Orange Lake and make vacation memories to last a lifetime.

How to Find Funding to Build and Maintain an Animal Shelter

People who dedicate their lives to caring for neglected, abandoned, homeless or abused animals must have a special place in heaven. Starting an animal shelter involves a tremendous amount of dedication, time and energy. Above all, however, the shelter must have adequate funding to ensure that the animals receive the best treatment possible and are given a real chance at finding adoptive owners to start their new lives. Luckily, other animal lovers have many tips to share with individuals who set out to build and maintain an animal shelter.

Instructions

  1. Decide what type of shelter to open. Experts suggest starting small and allowing the shelter to grow with time. Funding can increase as the shelter’s success becomes known, so work slowly to build up the shelter.
  2. Develop accounting skills, management experience and a large network of community contacts before embarking on the opening of an animal shelter. Initial fundraising, as well as subsequent solicitations for maintenance and expansion, will go more smoothly if potential donors see that the shelter has good, efficient management.
  3. Assess community needs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) encourages individuals who plan to open an animal shelter to first investigate what facilities are lacking in their community for animal care and protection so that services do not duplicate. In addition to the common sense aspect of this suggestion, the time that the preliminary investigation and research takes will return in multiple ways as supporters come to understand that the shelter provides previously lacking services.
  4. Gain experience in working in an animal shelter. Volunteer at an already existing shelter. Discuss the plans for opening a new shelter with the staff. They can offer tips and suggestions for fundraising to open a new shelter, relieving the already existing shelter (animal shelters are almost always overcrowded) and bringing more advocates for animals onto the scene.
  5. Find like-minded supporters, helpers, volunteers, neighbors, activists and anyone else who wants to help the new shelter succeed. Each individual can bring in his own contacts and friends, who, in turn, can bring in someone else. All of these involved people can help to donate and raise funds, involving the entire community in this worthwhile project.
  6. Market the shelter. Think of cute and innovative ways to promote the shelter’s activities. Ask children to walk around the mall with a puppy and a tin can, do a “bark sale” with animal-shaped cookies at a community fair, approach local schools to ask their students to adopt a pet, set up a web blog with “guest posts” and lots of pictures from the shelter’s residents (“What we had for dinner today”; “Hey! What a cute dachshund in the next cage!”; “Thoughts about today’s vet visit”; etc). Keep pictures of the cutest animals circulating. Invite classes, church groups and community center clubs into the shelter to help. Make sure that they involve their families, neighbors and everyone else that they can think of to contribute to the shelter.
  7. Set up a web presence. Post comments and guest articles to community forums and newsletters to keep the shelter’s needs uppermost in everyone’s minds.
  8. Research the implications of incorporating the animal shelter as a non-profit organization. Many donors prefer to donate to a non-profit because it gives them tax breaks, but incorporating involves expense and a high level of oversight. Speak to a tax attorney or a CPA to learn about the pros and cons of incorporating as a non-profit organization and the procedure for doing so.
  9. Draw up a clear mission statement that potential donors can see. Donors look for a mission statement that demonstrates that their donation supports a firm and honest concern whose vision is clear. Donors also want to make sure that an organization that they donate to will not undertake tasks or projects that they might not agree with (for instance, a donor who thinks that he is donating to a “no kill” shelter might become upset if he finds out that the shelter puts animals to sleep when necessary).

How to Filter Cat Hair From a House

How to Filter Cat Hair From a House
Cats bring their owners all sorts of things—love, comfort, affection and companionship typically top the list. One contribution cat owners can usually do without is a feline’s hair. The furry stuff seems to always find its way into your carpet, furniture, clothes and the air, and can really wreak havoc on those who are allergic. It is possible to live a hair-free life by filtering the hair out of your home.

Instructions

  1. Prevent the fur from flying. Routinely brushing and bathing your cat will prevent a good amount of hair from lying around your home or making its way into the air. Long-haired and short-haired cats both shed, so unless you take it upon yourself to remove the hair with a brush or comb, it will find its way out and end up around your home.
  2. Use air purifiers in your home. According to AirPurifiers.com, some of the best purifiers to use to remove cat hair include the IQAir Healthpro for smaller rooms and IQ Healthpro purifiers for larger rooms. Air purifiers can remove particles of hair and dander, as well as the cat saliva that sticks to both. This helps remove hair from your home while also helping those with allergies.
  3. Remove the cat hair from your carpet. Because felines spend a majority of their time on the floor, it is only natural to have a large amount of hair embedded into the carpet. Most vacuums do a decent job of eliminating the hair, however, they might not completely remove hair that is fine. PetPlace.com, an animal information website, suggests using a damp towel to remove the hair. Rubbing a damp terry cloth towel against the carpet will collect the hair so you can remove it.

How to Build a Simple, Outdoor Cat House

Providing a cat house gives your outside cat a place to get out of the elements.
A cat house gives your outdoor cat a place to go to get out of the rain or snow. Outdoor cat shelters also give your cat a place to go when it wants to stay cool in the summer. Commercial cat houses are available and can be purchased from pet supply stores. However, these houses are usually expensive. You can easily make your own simple cat house, using a large plastic storage tub. Plastic makes an ideal cat house since it will not rot or leak.

Instructions

  1. Remove the lid from a large, plastic storage tub and turn the tub upside down on your workspace. These can be found at your local home improvement store. The size depends on the size of your cat and the number of cats you intend to house in the tub. The cat should have enough room to enter the tub, stand up and turn around.
  2. Draw a door on the side of your tub. The size of the door should be large enough for the cat to enter the tub, yet still small enough not to expose the inside of the tub to the outside elements.
  3. Cut the door out using a jigsaw. When cutting the door out, it is best to wear protective eye gear and gloves to protect yourself from injury. Discard the cutout piece of plastic.
  4. Sand the edges of the door using sand paper. This will prevent jagged edges from hurting your cat.
  5. Place the storage tub outside where you want the house to be kept. Keep it upside down so the bottom of the tub is up, and the bottom of the door is against the ground. You can re-use the lid to the tub by placing it under the house as a floor, or you you can discard it if you chose.

How to Get Rid of Fleas Naturally on House Cats

Naturally rid your cat of fleas.
If you’ve ever had a cat you know how hard it is to get rid of a flea infestation. Your cat may be an inside cat, but if you or your children play outside, it is very possible for each of you to bring fleas in on your clothes from outside. Cats do not care for water, making it almost impossible to bathe one to get the fleas off. There isn’t just one thing you can do to magically rid your home of fleas, but using several different methods at one time can relieve your home and cat of fleas. There are plenty of home remedies to get rid of the fleas on your cats and none of these remedies involve using harmful chemical that can hurt your feline friend or you.

Instructions

  1. Purchase a nylon collar and rose geranium essential oil and rub a little oil into the cat’s collar. Reapply the oil to the collar once a week.
  2. Apply lime or lemon juice to cat’s fur once a week. Fleas aren’t very fond of citrus, and it won’t hurt the cat if she licks her fur.
  3. Vacuum your home daily. If you have a bagless vacuum, dump the contents of the canister outside far away from your home. If your vacuum requires bags, replace the bags every time you vacuum, seal the bag with tape and throw away outside in your trash can.
  4. Add brewer’s yeast to your cat’s food daily to repel fleas.
  5. Keep laundry picked up and put way in a dresser or a laundry hamper. If clothes are lying on the floor a dog can walk across and lay on the clothing, leaving fleas behind to breed and be carried off to other areas of the home.
  6. Purchase a flea comb and brush your cat every time your cat comes in the house

How to Trim a Donkey’s Hoofs That Have Curled

Donkeys make good pets, but they require proper grooming.
Donkey hooves are almost the same composition as horse hooves, but they’re much more dense. Fortunately for those who own donkeys and horses, trimming a donkey’s hooves is done almost the same way as trimming a horse’s hooves. The only difference is the size of the animal and the angle at which the hooves are trimmed. If a donkey’s hoof hasn’t been trimmed in a long time, it might start to curl, and that can take time to correct.

Instructions

  1. Tie the donkey securely and relax it. A light brushing and establishing that it’s time to clean the hooves is a good thing to do. A donkey’s hooves should be trimmed every six to eight weeks, according to Tiny Farm Blog.
  2. Take the hoof firmly in hand and clean it. Brush off dust and grit, and use a hoof pick to pull out any dirt or grit that’s gotten into the hoof’s sole. Use a hoof knife to scrape away the dead hoof material from the sole. Dead material is dry and flaky, whereas living hoof is springy. Use your fingers to judge if the hoof material you’re trimming it dead or not.
  3. Trim the curling hoof. A donkey’s hoof should be trimmed at the same angle as its shoulders or hips, for the front and rear hoofs respectively. If a hoof has begun to curl, you need to take farrier’s nippers, which are like industrial nail clippers, and begin clipping the nail. Grip the nippers with one hand on each handle, and keep the nipper blades perpendicular to the angle of the hook and not to the angle of the hoof wall. It’s recommended that you never clip more than half the length your nippers can handle at once. As with the sole, dead hoof material is dry and hard; living hoof is softer and more flexible.
  4. Use a rasp to clean up the hoof and to smooth out the cuts. A rasp is essentially a huge nail file, and as you drag it over the hoof it rubs away harsh angles and smooths out the cuts you’ve made. The rasp can also damage your skin, so you may wish to wear gloves while using it.

Correct Application and Dangers of Termidor

Subterranean termites live deep underground in colonies that include millions of individual insects.

Termidor, short for Termidor SC, most often serves as a subterranean termiticide application. Occasionally it’s applied to kill ants. The only difference between the products available to homeowners and professionals is the quantity in which it’s sold. The “SC” stands for “suspended concentrate.” Termidor is not recommended as a termite killer indoors. Drywood termites are usually found inside the house, where a nontoxic wood treatment, such as borate, is a more effective option.

Toxicity

  • The active ingredient in Termidor is a chemical called fipronil, which works by blocking receptors in the brains and nervous systems of living organisms. It’s LD50 rating is 177 — that means it requires 177 milligrams per kilogram of body weight to kill 50 percent of laboratory animals exposed to it. The level of exposure that causes an observable effect in laboratory animals is 5 milligrams per kilogram, so even small amounts can cause headache, nausea, dizziness and weakness. Children and small animals can be harmed or killed by much smaller amounts. Children are more sensitive to pesticides in general than adults are, as their systems are still developing and they are less able to safely process poisons out of their bodies. Small animals may show such symptoms as irritation, lethargy, uncoordinated movement and convulsions from overexposure to fipronil. Fipronil can also disrupt thyroid function and causes thyroid cancer in rats at doses of 300 parts per million. Take great care when mixing and using Termidor.

Precautions

  • Always wear long sleeves and pants, nonabsorbent gloves, eye protection and a mask when working with Termidor or other poisons. This is not the time for children or pets to romp in the yard. Always read the container label carefully for particular first aid and safety instructions, and don’t use the chemical for purposes not listed on the label. The label is a legal document and using the chemical for off-label purposes is illegal — in some cases, a felony. Avoid letting any of the diluted or undiluted chemical run or drift into a waterway, as it is particularly dangerous to amphibians and fish. You could also inadvertently expose pets and people who come in contact with waterways or gutters. Do not use the product near a water well. Termidor is an outdoor chemical. Don’t use Termidor indoors except for spot treatments in areas that are sealed away from contact, such as inside a closed wall space.

The Underground Lifestyle

  • Termites constantly make social contact with other members of their respective nests, including their queens and young. The active ingredient in Termidor is not an immediate knockdown chemical, so insects that travel through it have time to share bits of it as they make contact with other nest members. Subterranean termites can’t abide sunlight and must have a humid environment to thrive. Thus, they travel only underground, accessing your wood structures from below via mud tubes they construct when it’s dark and cool. In order for the termites to come in contact with the Termidor, the chemical must be placed where they are likely to pass through: the soil near and under your home.

Application for Subterranean Termites

  • Lock pets in the house before you begin. The recommended method for applying Termidor is to pour it into a ditch 6 inches deep and 6 inches wide all around the perimeter of your house, and right up against the foundation. In order to ensure an even application, leave little dirt walls in the trench at 10-foot intervals to create a series of long, skinny pools. Mix 0.8 ounce of Termidor suspended concentrate per every gallon of water in a bucket and fill each 10-foot section with 4 gallons of solution. Double-check the label for dilution rates, as formulations are sometimes changed by the manufacturer. When the material has soaked in, back-fill the ditch. If your perimeter barrier is interrupted by a concrete driveway or sidewalk slab, use a concrete dill to punch holes through to the soil beneath. Follow up by pouring the appropriate amount of solution into the the holes, using a funnel. This could take some patience, as the compacted soil beneath the slab may be slow to soak it up. Clean all tools and the bucket thoroughly with soap and water when you’re done.

How to Open a Pet Store & How to Find Animals

How to Open a Pet Store & How to Find Animals
Owning a pet shop is fun and challenging. Helping people find that perfect pet or supplying them with the food and supplies they need is fulfilling work. The challenge is finding quality pets and caring for them until they find their homes.

Opening a Pet Shop

  1. Decide what type of animal and pet supplies you would like to sell. This decision will affect your location. For example, a pet shop that sells dogs needs more space than one that sells only fish. But a pet shop that sells fish needs excellent plumbing, heating and cooling.
    Choose a niche for the pet shop and focus on that animal or even breed for a specialty feel. This is the best option for a small shop. Focus on the best pet food and treats for that animal. Offer the best bedding and kennel options. Choosing a niche market will also allow you to get to know your customers better. Take this information and write a business plan.
  2. Find a good location for a pet shop in a residential community. It’s easier to sell pets from an independent building rather than a mall, because there may be noise or odor involved. Find a location near good traffic flow, but not on an extremely busy street if animals are to be carried in and out.
  3. Hire professionals to go over all of the paperwork. Apply for all necessary sales tax licenses, and make sure the zoning in the building you want to use allows a pet store. Check the livestock and pet laws in your area and draw up a pet adoption agreement accordingly. Draw up any return policies at this time. Contact the department of agriculture in your state to set up an inspection for licensing to sell and kennel animals. Purchase business insurance.
  4. Hire adequate help for the amount of livestock you will offer as pets. Offering pets for sale is an excellent customer draw but requires a lot of cleaning and handling. Make sure to hire staff old enough to understand the responsibilities of working with animals. Look for assistants with expertise in the type of pet they are hired to care for and have the ability to answer customer questions.
  5. Find dry stock vendors for pet supplies and food. Look online as well as locally. Some online distributors offer deep discounts and free shipping on large orders, so consider this for initial orders. Find local dealers for all fresh food needs, or visit farmers markets.
    Find local artists or crafts people willing to sell their goods through your shop to show support for the community and unique pet supplies.

Finding Animals

  1. Help a rescue in need of store space and adoption help. This is the most community-oriented way to stock a pet shop with livestock. You can either lease part of the shop to the rescue at a discount or write it off as a tax donation. The shelter provides veterinary work and pet guarantees to adopting families. The benefit of this is the release of liability for the pet shop owner. No covering of expensive vet bills or dealing with pet returns.
  2. Find reputable local breeders. Look online and talk to other pet owners about where they got their pets and if they would recommend the breeders. Tour any breeder before making any commitments to purchase animals. Personally inspect all areas where animals are kept. If a breeder refuses to let you see an area or tour at all, choose a different breeder.
    Check with the top breeders clubs in your area. Generally speaking, the smaller the breeder the better. Smaller breeders have more time to handle animals, a big plus for pet livestock.
  3. Find pet distributors for livestock delivery of exotic pets or large fish orders. There are some larger pet distributors that have excellent customer service and livestock guarantees. These are for the hard-to-find small animal, reptile or fish. Keep in mind these animals will likely not be well handled when arriving at the shop. Daily handling will be required to ease the pet’s anxieties. Check off-site customer reviews of any major pet distributorship before ordering livestock.

Different Types of House Cats

Different Types of House Cats

House cats are the second most common pet in the world. Although cats often have an independent nature, they still depend on human caretakers for food, shelter, affection and veterinarian care. Cats excel as apartment pets because of their limited space requirements. The Humane Society of the United States suggests that all cats remain inside-only pets, to ensure the cat’s safety and security. There is a wide variety of cat breeds available for purchase as pets. Each breed offers its own looks and personality.

Persian

  • Persian cats have exceptionally long, thick fur in a wide variety of colors, and a unique pug-like face. The cat’s personality is laid back, relaxed, sweet and loving. The Persian adores being brushed and pampered. Persian cats are not fond of climbing, so they very rarely will become a nuisance on shelves and kitchen counters. Their abundant fur requires daily brushing and care.

Maine Coon

  • The Maine Coon cat is a large, natural North American cat breed. The breed comes with a heavy, water-resistant coat in many colors and patterns. The cat’s personality is loving, but it is not really a “lap cat,” partly thanks to its very large size. The Maine Coon prefers to be close to its owners but not attached. They enjoy playing and are considered a moderately active breed.
  • The British Shorthair cat dates its history back to Roman times. The cats are rare in the United States but quite popular in Britain. British Shorthairs have a very easy-going personality. The cats are not exceptionally vocal and they greatly enjoy the companionship of their owners. The British Shorthair is not overly active and does not like to climb. The cat’s body is large and quite solid.

Russian Blue

  • The Russian Blue cat can trace its history back to the 1860s. Many believe that the cat breed originated in Russia. The breed has a very unique short, gray coat that is dappled in silver. The coat’s unique density makes the hairs stand out from the body for an overall shimmering appearance. Russian Blue cats are known for their sweet dispositions. The cats are exceptionally clean. They are a shy cat and can take time to warm up to their owners. The cats tend to hide from strangers.

How to Identify A Nebelung Cat

Nebelung cat
A long, silvery-blue, fluffy cloud of a cat with a glorious plumed tail, the enigmatic nebelung cat is described by enthusiasts as mysterious and enchanting. With luminescent green eyes and a magical aura, the relatively rare nebelung has a distinctive long, silky coat that shimmers as well as an endearing personality.

Origin of the Nebelung

  • The only exclusively blue long-haired domestic cat, the nebelung has its roots in Denver, Colorado in the early 1980s when Cora Cobb took in a stray cat. The black domestic shorthair mated with a roving longhair tom and had three kittens. One of her daughters, also a black shorthair, produced two litters with a blue longhair tom, and among them were two blue longhairs. Named Siegfried and Brunhilde for characters in the epic Wagner opera, “The Ring of the Nibelung,” they became the foundation of the nebelung line.

New Breed and Championship Status

  • Seigfried and Brunhilde’s first litter was born in 1986; the nebelung attained new breed status in The International Cat Association in 1987. Russian blue cats were used to enrich the gene pool and by the late 1980s renewed interest in the Russian blue introduced a flurry of foundation cats to the breed. Many carried the recessive longhair gene, a major factor in the further development of the breed.

    In 1997, the nebelung was allowed to compete in TICA championships. Breeders anticipate The Cat Fancier’s Association, the largest registry of purebred cats in the world, will accept the nebelung in future.

Physical Appearance

  • Except for its distinctive blue-gray, medium-long coat and plumelike tail, the elegant looking nebelung is similar to the Russian blue. Both breeds have double coats and a lithe, long, well-muscled yet slender body, known as semi-foreign in type, and luminous, wide-set, oval green or yellowish-green eyes. Their ears are large in proportion to the wedge-shaped head. Their well-rounded feet have tufts of fur between the toes.

The Nebelung Coat and Grooming

  • The nebelung coat takes up to two years to develop fully and in adults gives the impression of draping over the length of the body as the fur gets longer from the shoulders to the tail. Males often have a thick neck ruff; both males and females have soft, woolly pantaloons on their hind legs. The lustrous fur is bathed in a silvery sheen that is most prominent on their head and shoulders.

    Nebelungs are not as tangle-prone as other long-haired breeds; a minimum of three or four brushings a week will keep their coat in prime condition, especially during spring and fall when they shed the most.

Personality, Temperament and Health

  • With the aristocratic bearing of cats imported from Russia in the late 19th and 20th century, the nebelung has a regal presence yet is undemanding, good-natured and quiet with a soft, melodic meow. Keenly intelligent, active and playful, they are affectionate, devoted pets, often following their human from room to room like a dog tending to bond closely with only one or two people.

    Nebelungs are frightened of loud noises and are happiest in a home with adults and older children. They are shy, sensitive cats and take time to warm up to new people.

    Sound and sturdy, these long-lived felines have no known breed-related health issues.

How to Prevent Cat Dander

Control your cat's dander.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, close to 10 million people react to cat dander or, more accurately, the protein in the dead skin scales that cats regularly shed. Reactions include watery eyes, itchy throat and skin, sneezing and coughing and may lead some to think the solution to getting rid of their allergies is to get rid of their pet. With appropriate measures, cat dander can be controlled, helping to keep a cat’s skin and coat healthy, reducing or ridding a pet owner of allergic reactions and keeping the cat in the home.

Grooming the Cat

  1. Bathe your cat once a week. It will help to remove dander that accumulates in her fur. Use a shampoo that will not dry out her skin and that is environmentally friendly. Make sure to thoroughly rinse and dry your cat after a bath, otherwise leftover shampoo may make her dander problem worse. Never use human dandruff shampoo; it is too rough on a cat’s skin.
    Bathing a cat
  2. Wipe down your cat with an antiallergenic formula made specifically to remove dander. Formulas come in sprays and ready-to-use wipes. Make sure the product is animal- and environmentally friendly, especially since cats frequently lick themselves, making them prone to ingesting the product. Dry sponges also help remove cat hair and do not require water, soap or chemicals.
  3. Brush your cat daily with a metal brush made specifically for pets. This will remove the excess undercoat and help to promote natural oils that will keep her coat shiny.

Diet

  1. Only feed your cat human-grade cat food, usually purchasable at specialty pet stores. Most grocery store brands contain fillers and proteins that are of poor quality and make cats fat and prone to dry skin. Choose a brand that is high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids that will soften skin, reduce shedding and give the cat a shiny coat. Be sure to replace your cat’s diet slowly to avoid digestive disturbances or an annoyed cat.
    Healthy cat diet
  2. Zinc supplements can affect a cat’s skin function, thus controlling dander production. Add fish or flax seed oil to your cat’s diet to help keep her skin healthy and hydrated. However, before adding any supplements to your cat’s diet, be sure to consult with a vet first.
  3. Keep your cat at a healthy weight.

Other Considerations

  1. Make sure your cat does not have dermatitis or any other underlying skin conditions.
    Keep your cat away from prolonged sun and heat exposure.
  2. Do not let your cat spend too much time in the sun. Cats can burn their noses, ears and the tops of their head, which promotes dry skin.
  3. Discourage your cat from sleeping in front of a fireplace or heater. While this may be her favorite spot, it also dries out her skin.

How to Tell a Male From a Female Cat

How to Tell a Male From a Female Cat
Determining a cat’s gender is important whether you are sexing kittens, strays or a cat you wish to adopt. Feline gender identification is quite easy once you know what clues to look for.

HandlingHandle cats carefully and gently. Wait until kittens are 3 to 4 weeks of age, if feasible, before trying to hold them — make sure that the mother cat is comfortable with you handling them, and be ready to return the kitten to the mother if either becomes distressed.

To handle wiggly or ornery adult cats, enlist another person’s help. Encourage the tail up by petting or scratching the area where the tail meets the back.

Gender DifferencesDetermine gender by measuring the distance between the anus and genitals. Do not touch the genital area but rather eyeball the spacing. Female genitals appear like a vertical slit and are either directly below or within a half-inch below the anus. If the distance is greater than a half-inch in a kitten or an inch in an adult, the cat’s a male. Male genitals appear more rounded. This scrotal sac is not fully developed until about 6 to 10 weeks of age. Neutered adult male cats’ genitals appear smaller than those of male cats who aren’t neutered.

Call the VetIf you’re not sure, take the feline to a veterinarian. The vet should be able show you the male or female genitals and determine whether the cat has been fixed. Rarely, a kitten is born without an anus — a life-threatening birth defect. If you notice only one opening, take the kitten to the vet immediately.

How to Dominate a Cat

Author's cat

Cats are not dogs. Dominating a cat is not something to maintain constantly, the cat’s rightful place in the house pecking order is not going to be a rank the way it is for a pack animal. Dominating a cat is how to establish some boundaries with your cat in a way that the cat understands. When cats adopt you, they treat you as another cat. Sometimes they act like perpetual kittens, other times there’s a reason people say “my cat runs my life.” But it’s possible to take that parental role and establish meaningful dominance for communication.

Instructions

  1. The simplest way to establish some dominance with cats is to raise them from kittens. Breeders sell kittens at twelve weeks old, but shelters adopt them out at eight weeks old. Kittens younger than twelve weeks can develop an extreme emotional dependence because you’ve been in a parental role during the age when they learn to socialize. Be sure your kitten has been raised by humans and understands human-cat interaction or you will have a harder time teaching this to an adult.

    Kittens at five or six weeks are fluffy, passive, bumbling and dependent physically as well as emotionally. They can eat kitten food and use the litter pan but will constantly run back for reassurance. It’s the age greeting card photographers get their best results, before they turn into Rocket Kittens — but they need their mothers at this age to grow into psychologically healthy cats.

    Kitten Stages
  2. If you choose an older cat, seek one that’s already socialized to humans and responds well to you personally. Does the cat look up to make eye contact? Does the cat purr when you approach, or lean against your hand? Will the cat come toward you if you make clicking sounds and scritching motions with your hand? All this is starting off on the right paw with a cat.

    Purring means a cat wants to be social, is seeking interaction and affection. Cats will purr when they are sad or hurt, because they want the comfort of their family and clan members. When a cat or kitten enters your life, you are being adopted into that cat’s family as a human member of the clan. Cats will adopt many other species into their clans. Cats who get along with dogs do so because they establish pack dominance over the dog by sitting higher and giving dominant body language. Dogs are comfortable with this if raised by a cat, it’s psychologically stable.

  3. Understand cat dominance. Cats are not pack animals. To function well, a hunting pack has a leader and the leader decides what the pack will do, the beta will give advice, the others follow and the omega plead and beg to be privileged with remaining in the pack. Dogs can be comfortable in the omega position. To a dog, being the omega in a great high pack better than all other packs is far better than being the alpha of a miserable pack of one.

    To a cat, she or he is the alpha of the pack.

    Cats do not work together. Cats work alone and socialize together in their off time. They sleep together, guard each other in the nest, socialize for pleasure, communicate, play, share food, establish safe den territory and have one sterling grace cat lovers learn to appreciate. A cat’s reaction unless cornered is to walk away from an unpleasant situation.

    Thus, attempts to dominate a cat the way a human would dominate a dog will often result in the cat walking away, tail high, pretending that didn’t happen. Or severe discipline from the cat for crossing his or her boundaries.

  4. You can win a stare-down with a cat. Even an adult cat. Even an adult cat who’s used to winning stare-downs with humans. The result of winning a stare-down with a cat is usually that the cat will stalk away. A direct stare-down may be a territorial challenge. Within a clan, many different cats are establishing themselves constantly. Dominance is a fleeting thing. Who looks away first does matter — but humans will look away a lot sooner than most cats until they understand this. It also helps to understand that winning a stare-down with a cat does not necessarily win your argument with that cat, or win anything but that moment’s stare-down.

    Don’t try to enforce this all the time. Don’t always look down first or always look away. Keep this to moments when the cat is clearly challenging you in areas that ought to be yours. The key to cat dominance is that a dominant cat is saying “This is mine.” In the ephemeral way that sitting in a chair makes it yours, not necessarily the permanent way that you can’t stay in this den any more. Too much aggressive dominance to a cat may convince the cat to move out, find friendlier accommodations. This is one of the pitfalls of relearning dominance behavior from human or canine to cat — if you carry it too far, you convince the cat he’s not welcome.

    Toms are more likely to move on than queens. Female cats are the dominant gender among cats, but they understand this is not always the case with humans. Dominance is maternal. The dominant cat takes care of other cats. Food gifts to you are a cat’s respect to you as the keeper of the den, and a recognition that you’re family. It’s symbolic now after thousands of years of human-cat interaction, but because cats hunt for their friends and family, cats learned to bring mice to humans.

    To the humans this meant “See? I’m earning my keep, guarding the granary.”

    To the cat it means “I love you and you’re family. You give me food, so I’ll bring you something.”

    Only put in the effort to win the staredown with a cat when it’s over something you really do not want to give that cat. Like not clawing your chair. Watch for boundary testing behavior, that is the time not to back down because you do have to live together on mutually agreeable terms.

  5. Use sweet reason. I’m not joking. Cats understand what humans say a lot better than people credit them for, because their mouths can’t pronounce all the words they know. Cats respond to their names and much more. Explain things to your cat in simple terms, but explain in adult language what’s going on. Your cat may understand you perfectly and still disagree, but there is a start. Also remember that human-socialized cats do read human body language well, sometimes better than other humans do. Be truthful with your cat.

    “We’re going to move. See all these boxes? We’re getting a new apartment. You need to ride in your cat carrier now, but when we get there I think you’ll like the new place. It’s got lots of room and windows with birds, it’s going to be great.” This is an example of how I talk to my cat.

    Don’t lie to your cat about things like going to the vet. Cats do understand the concept of lying and they’ll distrust what you say if you break that trust.

    Cats lie perfectly well themselves, but if you’re honest with the cat you’ll raise a cat who’s honest with you.

  6. If you have to stop a cat doing something you don’t want her to, or pick her up to get him in the carrier to get him to the vet, here’s where raising the kitten helps. Use the Kitten Grip. You are large enough that by sheer size you can establish yourself as Mom or Adult Family to Kitten.

    Cats have loose skin on the back of their necks. Ever see cute pictures of mother cats carrying kittens in their mouths? Even adult cats have this handle, you can firmly grip the loose skin of the back of the cat’s neck and lift. Get the cat off her feet fast when you do this. Instinct will make her dangle, slightly curled up, trusting you are big and strong and know where she should be at the moment.

    The Kitten Grip is not as uncomfortable as it looks, and it’s very comforting to a cat. It means being protected and taken care of. When the cat curls up and surrenders responsibility, you have completely dominated that cat in a gentle, affectionate, familial way that is entirely within cat instinct. Humans do this with their hands, you don’t need to bite the cat’s neck to do this.

    Kitten Grip administered by a human
  7. If the cat struggles, hang on and hold the cat at arm’s reach. Wear thick sleeves and keep a firm grip. This may be difficult with a large cat, and the kitten grip works best with cats who know and trust you. From an adversary, the kitten grip is terrifying. A cat who fights it does not trust you, and trust needs to be established. Do not shout at the cat while doing this. Do not threaten the cat. Keep a good grip and do whatever you had to do with the cat quickly — use the Kitten Grip to move the cat into a carrier before the cat can figure out what’s going on.

    Then sit down next to the carrier and explain why you did that. “Look, I know you’re scared, but we do have to go for your annual checkup. I’ll be right with you, I won’t let any of the dogs in the waiting room scare you, and you’re going to be all right. I know it’s scary and rotten, but let’s get this over with. I love you.”

    Reasoning with a cat often penetrates even after a delay of reality testing. Stay with your cat at the vet. Most veterinarians are very good with cats and will calm even hysterical and hostile cats easily with body language. Act as if it is your right to do this, be aware it’s for the cat’s good, be gentle and loving in your language and voice tone. Confidence is good for a lot.

    What would you say to a phobic human being to persuade him to go in to see the doctor when he needs to? Treat the cat as a person, because cats treat you as a person. But keep in mind this person is another species and will read your body language much more clearly than humans — be honest with the cat.

  8. If a male cat sprays territory in your house, that’s instinct too. He’s establishing that he’s the big tom in the area. He is sending a message to all the other toms that they had better be his tribe or gone, because he will accept other males if the queen likes them. He’ll only compete that viciously when the queen’s in heat. Now if he’s purebred and you mean to keep him unneutered, you may have to do something like confine him only to certain areas of the house, or create a cattery room on a porch. I’ve seen some interesting arrangements to let purebred cats live partially outdoors but protected from predators, like a nine foot tall tiger-cage arrangement where an indoor room and a roofed-over cage allowed them into their own cat garden, complete with catnip and nontoxic plants to play with and chew.

    The best solution is to neuter him. Take him in to a good vet to have it done and be gentle with him afterward, don’t make a big deal of it. Neutered males will live longer and develop more social skills once they get used to it, they usually don’t resent it. Many seem to think of it as kitty birth control and still enjoy sex in a less driven, less combative way with cats they get along with.

    If you can’t neuter the cat, consider using your perfume or aftershave and following the cat to spray on his spots. Clean each of them thoroughly and spritz them with your scent. Explain verbally. “I am a 145 pound tom and you are a 12 pound tom, I am the big cat in this household. I love you, but you gotta understand this is my territory.”

    This worked with a male cat I had for years, and though he occasionally tested it if I forgot to spray my territory often enough, he got used to my aftershave as a territorial marker. There was one, so he was happy. If I neglected it, he had to do it — who else would ward off strange toms from chasing our queen?

  9. Some male cats like their bellies rubbed, and will purr and relax demanding tummy scritches. This is personal taste, a little more popular with males than females. Some pregnant female cats like belly rubs because a human can help shift the kittens around gently to make her more comfortable. If she allows this during pregnancy she may allow tummy rubs later on.

    However, the first instinct a cat has about laying on its back pointy side up is “Let’s play!” It is a basic opening move in Cat Fu, it allows teeth and all four paws into the game. The move is to bite and grab with forepaws, then bicycle kick hard with hind claws to disembowel the prey — which may be your arm.

    Playing “got your paw” with a cat in this position will inevitably result in the time the cat gets your paw and hangs on with claws, ripping a long scratch or several. Wear heavy gloves to play this game. Wearing an oven mitt and playing tummy-tickle with the cat can be a lot of fun, and you can even slide your hand out of the mitt when she’s going to town on it in that prey-slaughter mode.

    The point to remember is that laying on his back is not a submission move from a cat. It’s a defense move. To quote “Get Fuzzy,” Satchel was right not to try to pick up Bucky when he was laying “pointy side up.”

  10. A soft, pleading, kittenish mew is a submission move. Loud purring and pleading for attention can be submissive. It takes a while to distinguish submission from affection, the body language is a little different. A cat can be aggressively affectionate. Leaning, cuddling, walking into your lap, banging her head into your chin or the side of your face while purring loudly are all affection moves. Walking past and hip bumping is just a message “You’re family,” a friendly greeting to establish that you’re still loved.

    Submission will involve laying down, not fluffing fur, crouching with ears forward and soft kittenlike noises.

    Domination by fluffing, hissing, standing sideways and crab-dancing with false strikes is not always something affectionate from a cat. From a dog or a primate this kind of anger display is part of pack behavior. When a cat’s angry enough to display this kind of behavior, the cat has had it and is extremely angry.

    I have seen a tiny eight week old female kitten display this behavior toward a 20lb tomcat, and the cat bowed to her and walked away backward, accepting that she was a cat princess and she would not tolerate his cheek. She didn’t repeat it, that was a single confrontation comparable to the stare-down.

    It means “Get out of my territory or submit.” This is some of how cats sort themselves out. The difference is that since it’s not a pack, the lower ranking cats will all have some line they don’t let others cross–each cat holds territory separately and that social territory is fluid, it’s contextual. It’s not as hard and fast as alpha, beta, delta.

  11. One of the big differences between cat and dog ownership is that if your cat is well socialized and doesn’t have bad habits, it’s safe to let your cat dominate you some of the time or even a lot of the time. Female cats especially tend to take charge of everyone in their territory. They will sort out among themselves who the matriarch is, she will be a cat of very strong personality but not always the largest cat.

    She will be motherly. She will care about everyone’s feelings and take care of them when they’re sad or hurt. This is one of the biggest ways that cats take over people’s lives, because the dominant cat is the one whose back is a crying shoulder for every bad day or disappointment. She will wash you. Washing behavior is a big part of cat dominance.

    I’m not suggesting that you wash your cat with your tongue to establish dominance. Petting gently in the direction of the fur is the equivalent in cat-human pidgin. Cats understand that we aren’t cats, but over thousands of years reliable signals have built up that cats treat as the equivalent of their social signals. Hands take the place of mouths for most human responses.

    Responding to the hip-bump with a verbal greeting or bending to pet the top of the cat’s back or side of the cat briefly, once, is the same affectionate greeting the cat initiated. Picking up a cat and holding the cat in your lap is dominating the cat, again in that parental way. Petting the cat while the cat’s in your lap and speaking softly and affectionately is the human equivalent of that mother-cat lick and a purr.

    Domestic cats sometimes seem to be smiling. Feral cats don’t even try. This is because cats do understand that a smile is a human purr, and will try to teach this to you by smiling while purring to try to help you understand what a purr means.

  12. Watch the cat you live with. Most intelligent cats will teach humans how to interact with them, hissing and spitting or walking away when a human does something socially inappropriate and responding with a purr and added attention and affection when you get it right. Tail twitching usually means it’s time to play, it’s warming up to some rowdy fun or to a brief conflict.

    Ear language is important in understanding the tail twitch, eye contact and forward ears with tail swishing is a warmup to play. Flattened ears are hostile and suspicious. Whiskers move around. Cat eyes are eloquent in expressing meaning, as much as human eyes. After a while you’ll get used to reading your cat’s mood.

    Politeness counts. When dominating a cat, don’t be rude to the cat. Don’t mock the cat while doing it. Just be firm and loving as a cat-mom, and you will get across the message that the cat’s not rejected. Time, patience, honesty, confidence and consistency are the best ways to establish enough trust that you can dominate a cat.

How to Feed Baby Birds Cat Food

Baby birds need frequent feedings.
If you find a lost or abandoned baby bird, you may find yourself suddenly playing Mama Bird. After warming the little one in your hands, your most urgent duty is to feed the baby. Feeding a baby bird may feel overwhelming because you don’t have a mother bird’s ability to swoop through the air and locate high-protein food for her babies. Relax. A baby bird can thrive on the same thing you feed your feline friends—cat food.

Instructions

  1. Determine if the bird is a nestling or a fledgling. A nestling has either fuzz, no feathers, or a few early feathers. It is mostly naked and not very mobile. Nestlings need more frequent feedings. A fledgling is feathered, mobile and possibly already trying to learn to fly. It will be able to self-feed shortly and may initially resist being fed by something other than its own parents. Whether the bird is a nestling or fledgling determines how long and how often to feed it cat food.
  2. Analyze whether the baby bird gapes or not. Baby birds that gape, or open their mouths wide to be fed, have yellow or yellowish-white coloring on the sides of their beaks and have yellow inside their beaks, while those who suck regurgitated food from their parents’ beaks do not have yellow marks on the side. How the bird responds determines the method you will use to feed cat food to the bird.
  3. Soak a bit of cat kibble in hot water, preferably with a drop of corn syrup mixed in the first two days. After an hour the kibble is soft and cool enough for the baby bird to eat.
  4. Hold a small amount of the soft moist cat food at the end of a pair of tweezers or on a stick and offer it to a gaping bird such as a swallow. If the baby bird does not open its mouth, tap very gently on the side of the beak until it opens its mouth. On rare occasion you will need to open the beak manually by prying the sides apart gently. Drop the cat food in the back of the baby bird’s open mouth. Give the bird a few small pieces of moist cat food at each meal. Repeat this every 30 minutes during the day for nestlings, or every 15 minutes if the baby is very weak and in need of the protein cat food offers. As the baby grows into a fledgling it may indicate with begging and chirping that it is hungry.
  5. Place a few pieces of the softened cat food inside a pen cap or a similar container to feed a non-gaping bird such as a dove. Gently grasp the beak and move your fingers up and down to encourage the bird to open its mouth. Place the container gently at the end of the baby bird’s beak. Wiggle the cap a bit. The bird should reach in and suck the cat food. If it does not suck up the cat food mixture, simply place a bit inside the end of its beak. Repeat every 30 minutes during the day.
  6. Deposit softened cat food in a shallow dish on the floor of the bird’s container if the bird is a fledgling. To show the fledgling where the cat food is, feed it directly from the dish. It should begin to eat it on its own, although you will still need to hand feed it until it indicates its preference for self-feeding by eating from the dish while refusing your offers of food.
  7. Prepare freshly soaked cat food each morning because the previous day’s food will sour. If desired, use canned cat food in the same manner as the soaked kibble. Mixing other foods into the cat food will accustom the bird to different flavors. Baby food and apple sauce are the simplest options, although fresh vegetables and hard-boiled eggs are excellent choices as well.

Are Cats Bad for Newborn Babies?

Cats and newborn babies have coexisted peacefully for years, yet myths espousing the danger of cats to infants persist. Despite what your great-great-grandma may have to say about it, your cat has no intention of sucking the life out of your baby. However, toxoplasmosis, may pose a health risk for newborn babies and pregnant women.

Toxoplasmosis Risk

Cats who come and go from outside, or kill prey such as birds and mice, are at risk for becoming infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. A cat may shed the parasite in her stool for up to two weeks after ingesting this microscopic organism. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the parasite becomes infective between one and five days after it’s passed in the cat’s stool. For the pregnant woman taking care of litter box duty, toxoplasmosis is a threat, potentially causing miscarriage or stillbirth, as well as birth defects such as deafness, blindness and hydrocephalus.

The threat of toxoplasmosis doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your cat, but it does require that pregnant women use caution when it comes to taking care of a cat’s litter box. Use disposable gloves when it’s time to take care of litter box chores, or leave that bit of business to someone else in the house. If there’s gardening to be done outside, be sure to wear gloves, as cats may be drawn to outdoor spaces as toilet opportunities. Wash your hands after tending to your cat and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and avoid raw or undercooked meat.

Before Baby’s Arrival

You can help prepare your cat for your new arrival by getting her used to the sites and sounds that come with a newborn baby. Set up the baby’s crib and changing table and allow your cat to check them out so they’re not so interesting when the baby’s using them. About a month before the baby’s due, make the baby’s area unappealing to your cat: Double-sided tape on the surface of the changing table or in the crib can deter your cat’s interest. Instead of waiting for your cat to learn firsthand what a crying infant sounds like, play sounds of baby noises before the baby comes home to minimize the chance you’re cat will be alarmed at the sound of the baby’s cry. Before you play or cuddle with your cat, rub baby lotion or powder on your hands so your cat becomes accustomed to the smell and associates it with positive attention.

Easing Into Change

A change in routine is unavoidable with a new baby in the house. Do what you can to ease your cat into a new lifestyle before the baby comes home. If someone else will be more involved in caring for your cat, taking on feeding, grooming and other responsibilities, get him involved with your cat a month or two before the baby is born. If the litter box needs to move to a new location, such as from the soon to be nursery to elsewhere in the house, allow several months for the relocation, moving the box a few inches each day.

Safe Baby

Though it’s an exciting moment when your baby first comes home, don’t forget to take a quiet moment alone with your cat. Leave a receiving blanket or a piece of clothing worn by the baby for your cat to smell so she can get used to the baby’s scent. When you’re nursing or rocking your baby, allow your cat to come near to learn more about the baby. When it’s time for sleep, a crib tent or net will discourage your cat from trying to get up close and personal with the new family member. Closing the nursery door or putting a screen door on the room will keep the crib off-limits to your cat.

Do Cats Lose Their Baby Teeth?

Get your kitten used to having her teeth cleaned, using cat toothpaste on a finger brush or some gauze.
Your kitten will normally have lost her deciduous or baby teeth by 7 months of age. She has 26 baby teeth that are replaced by 30 permanent or adult teeth. It’s important to know what’s happening during teething, as baby teeth don’t always fall out. If you spot a retained deciduous tooth — a baby tooth still in the kitten’s mouth after the adult tooth has erupted — contact your veterinarian, as retained teeth can cause dental problems.

Baby Teeth Timetable

  • Your kitten is born without teeth. Around 3 weeks old, her baby teeth start erupting through the gums. The 12 incisors — the small teeth at the front — and the four fang-like teeth, called canines, erupt between 3 to 4 weeks of age. From 4 to 6 weeks old, the four bottom premolars, located at the side and back of her mouth, come through. By 8 weeks of age, the six top premolars should have erupted and your kitten usually will have all her baby teeth. These tiny needle-pointed teeth look slightly translucent and are more fragile than adult teeth.

Adult Teeth Timetable

  • Your kitten starts teething when she’s about 3 months old. Her deciduous incisors are replaced by permanent teeth between 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 months old. The adult premolars erupt at about 4 1/2 months and the canine permanent teeth at 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 months. Between 5 to 6 months of age, your kitten gets four extra teeth, two at the top and two at the bottom, called molars. At 6 to 7 months old, all of your kitten’s baby teeth normally will have been replaced by 30 permanent teeth.

What Happens During Teething

  • During teething, it’s common for a kitten to have smelly breath and swollen, red gums. She might start chewing on things, and even be reluctant to eat where her mouth is tender. This is caused by the adult teeth developing in the jaw and pressing on the roots of the baby teeth. The pressure, stimulates the kitten’s body to start absorption — dissolving — of the baby tooth roots. The roots weaken and disappear, so only the crowns or visible part of the teeth are left. The crowns drop out as the permanent teeth push through the gum. You may notice the odd tooth in your kitten’s bedding or on the floor. Most of them will fall out when she’s eating and be swallowed with her food.

Problems Caused By Retained Deciduous Teeth

  • Some deciduous roots fail to dissolve. The adult tooth still erupts, but it’s forced to come through at the wrong angle, or in the wrong position, because it has to share the same socket as the retained baby tooth. The upper canine teeth are most likely to be retained, but any tooth can be affected. Retained teeth can cause a number of problems. Food, trapped between the crowded teeth, may lead to tooth decay, tartar deposits and periodontal disease, all of which can result in your cat prematurely losing teeth. Malpositioned teeth can make chewing difficult and weaken other teeth by rubbing on them. They may cause painful sores if they dig into the gums or roof of the mouth. Occasionally, even the growth and development of the jawbones are affected. If a root is only partly resorbed, it can become infected.

Treatment For Retained Deciduous Teeth

  • Up to about 8 months of age, it’s a good idea to check your kitten’s mouth on a weekly basis. If you notice any retained teeth, make an appointment with a veterinarian straightaway. He usually will extract a retained baby tooth if it looks as though it won’t fall out normally, taking care not to damage the adult tooth’s root. If a retained tooth is extracted early on, the adult tooth generally will move back into its correct position.

Are Baby Cats Born With Their Eyes Open?

Newborn kittens can't even eliminate without mama's assistance.
Kittens began their lives in a manner that is far from self-sufficient; they rely on their mother cats for everything from warmth to sustenance to waste removal. The wee things can’t see the world around them, as their eyes are totally shut initially after birth. That changes relatively quickly; they open in a matter of a week. Actual seeing takes longer.

Eyes Shut

  • Baby cats’ eyes slowly but surely start opening once they get past the first week of their lives — specifically around the eighth day. Once they hit 3 weeks old, their eyesight usually comes into full fruition. When their eyes first begin to open, vision is still fuzzy. Their eyes gradually start opening wider and wider until around 21 days, when they can open their eyes fully and can see clearly and distinctly, too.

Eye Color

  • When kittens’ eyes first start opening up, they are always blue, even if that’s not necessarily the color they’ll stay for life. When they get to the point that their eyesight is in good working order, at around 3 weeks, the “real” coloration often starts to show up, whether green, gold or anything else. However, the emergence of the adult eye color can sometimes take even longer than that.

Tracking Down Mama

  • Newborn kittens lack vision, although they can easily track down their mother cat’s nipples through simply following cues such as smell and bodily warmth. They can usually even do so just by feeling their way around.The helpful queens often make the whole process a lot simpler and quicker by staying right next to the little ones, all the while lounging on the sides of their bodies.

Hearing

  • Vision isn’t the only thing that baby cats don’t have immediately after being born. They also can’t hear at first — a result of ear canals that are totally sealed up. These canals usually start opening gradually during the second weeks of their lives. As with vision, baby cats usually gain vision when they’re about 3 weeks of age.

Experience With Humans

  • Baby cats that receive lots of close experiences alongside humans prior to 7 weeks old could be warmer and more sociable toward them once they get to adulthood, the ASPCA suggests. Apart from possibly softening up kittens’ future dispositions, some experience alongside humans at their tender ages also might enhance their growth and maturing. Wee kittens that get lots of human touch via petting generally have eyes that open at quicker rates.

How to Start an Online Pet Supply Business

Pet treats are just one kind of product you could offer in your business.
Over 62-percent of American households owned a pet as of 2009 and Americans spent over $10 billion for pet supplies alone in 2009 according to the 2009-10 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association. This means opportunity exists for individuals who want to get in the pet supply business. Setting up an online store selling pet supplies gives you a great chance to target consumers who purchase online, but competition may be fierce with big-box retailers – such as PetSmart and WalMart – that already sell these products on the Internet.

Preparation

  1. Decide on the type of online pet supply business you want to start. Think about whether you want to sell general pet supplies for many kinds of animals or whether you want to specialize your business towards a certain kind of pet (e.g., selling only cat, dog or reptile supplies). Specializing your pet supply business may decrease the amount of online competition you face. Also, decide on the kinds of pet supplies you want to sell online, such as pet carriers and handbags, pet ID tags, or animal clothing and toys.
  2. Research your competition. Visit websites of big-box retailers that sell pet supplies online, such as PetSmart, PETCO and Complete PetMart. Go to smaller, specialized online store websites like Glamour Dog, Little Pampered Pets and Simply Cat Supplies. Take note of the quality of products you see as well as the general price ranges of retail products that you want to sell in your own online pet supply business.
  3. Complete the legal requirements for setting up your business. Think of a name for your online pet supply company. Register this name as well as your business’ structure (i.e., sole proprietorship, limited liability company) with your state. Acquire any business permits or licenses, if needed, such as a tax permit that may be required to charge sales tax to customers.
  4. Find manufacturers and suppliers of pet supplies and products. Go to business supplier directory websites like ThomasNet, TradeKey and Kellysearch. Type in the name of the pet supplies you’re looking for in the search box provided. For example, type in “pet food” to find suppliers for pet food and “dog” to find suppliers and manufacturers of dog products. Find the website and/or contact information for each supplier. Contact the manufacturer and inquire about special pricing for retailers.
  5. Place orders for the pet supplies and products you want to sell. Wait for the products to ship and find a place to store them once they arrive.
  6. Purchase a domain and web hosting service for your business. Get your domain name from the same place you purchase hosting. Make your domain either the same name of your pet supply company or think of a short, catchy domain name that’s easy for people to remember. Expect to pay around $10 per year for your domain name and anywhere from $15 to $50 per month for your web hosting, depending on the specific hosting package you order.
  7. Set up your pet supply website. Choose a shopping cart for your website – such as Volusion, BigCommerce or osCommerce – so that you can display products easily, integrate shipping and accept major credit cards on your site. Hire a professional web designer to install your shopping cart and make any design changes that you want done. Make sure to use attractive photos and accurate descriptions of the pet supplies and products you’re selling.
  8. Begin marketing your online business. Pay for banner advertisements on active message boards and forums – such as Cat Channel, DogForums.com and PetPeoplesPlace.com – to gain the attention of pet owners. Set up pay-per-click advertisement campaigns and bid on keywords related to the pet supply products you sell so that your ad shows up in search engines when people search.

Why You Should Adopt a Dog From a Shelter or Pound

Adopting a shelter dog can save a life.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that between six and eight million cats and dogs enter animal shelters each year, and only half of those animals are adopted. While approximately 30 percent of stray dogs in shelters are reclaimed by their owners, there are still millions of dogs euthanized each year because they have no homes. Adopting a shelter dog can save a life.

Considerations

  • Animal shelters and pounds take in homeless animals and try to find them homes. According to the Humane Society, between three and four million cats and dogs are killed in the U.S. each year simply because they cannot find homes. The ASPCA states that pet store puppies usually come from mass-breeding operations known as puppy mills. Puppy mills do not test their breeding dogs’ health, and the puppies often have diseases such as epilepsy, respiratory disorders, heart disease and deafness. Purchasing a pet store puppy helps support puppy mills.

Benefits

  • According to the Humane Society, shelter dogs are often cheaper and healthier than store-bought dogs. This means the owner saves money from the start, and can save money throughout the life of the dog rather than having large, unexpected vet bills. Another benefit of adopting a dog from a shelter or pound is that it is saving the life of a dog that could be euthanized if it does not find a home.

Misconceptions

  • The Humane Society warns that many pet stores scam their customers into thinking the puppies they sell come from a reputable breeder. While some people may believe this, the only way it can be proven is if the purchaser is able to see the puppy’s parents and the breeder’s home.

Warning

  • According to animal trainer Kathy Diamond Davis, many animal shelters test their dogs’ behavior and temperaments before putting them up for adoption, though this method is not foolproof, and there is often no way to tell a shelter dog’s history. A dog that was beaten in its previous home could become fearful and aggressive if cornered and threatened.

Expert Insight

  • According to the ASPCA, older shelter dogs are often the best choices for pets. Older dogs are calmer than younger dogs, as well as being loving, easy to train, less likely to chew inappropriately and able to settle into a new home relatively easily. The ASPCA says older dogs are often the last ones to be adopted and the first ones to be euthanized in shelters, so adopting an older dog saves a life.

How to Open a Pet Store & How to Find Animals

How to Open a Pet Store & How to Find Animals
Owning a pet shop is fun and challenging. Helping people find that perfect pet or supplying them with the food and supplies they need is fulfilling work. The challenge is finding quality pets and caring for them until they find their homes.

Opening a Pet Shop

  1. Decide what type of animal and pet supplies you would like to sell. This decision will affect your location. For example, a pet shop that sells dogs needs more space than one that sells only fish. But a pet shop that sells fish needs excellent plumbing, heating and cooling.
    Choose a niche for the pet shop and focus on that animal or even breed for a specialty feel. This is the best option for a small shop. Focus on the best pet food and treats for that animal. Offer the best bedding and kennel options. Choosing a niche market will also allow you to get to know your customers better. Take this information and write a business plan.
  2. Find a good location for a pet shop in a residential community. It’s easier to sell pets from an independent building rather than a mall, because there may be noise or odor involved. Find a location near good traffic flow, but not on an extremely busy street if animals are to be carried in and out.
  3. Hire professionals to go over all of the paperwork. Apply for all necessary sales tax licenses, and make sure the zoning in the building you want to use allows a pet store. Check the livestock and pet laws in your area and draw up a pet adoption agreement accordingly. Draw up any return policies at this time. Contact the department of agriculture in your state to set up an inspection for licensing to sell and kennel animals. Purchase business insurance.
  4. Hire adequate help for the amount of livestock you will offer as pets. Offering pets for sale is an excellent customer draw but requires a lot of cleaning and handling. Make sure to hire staff old enough to understand the responsibilities of working with animals. Look for assistants with expertise in the type of pet they are hired to care for and have the ability to answer customer questions.
  5. Find dry stock vendors for pet supplies and food. Look online as well as locally. Some online distributors offer deep discounts and free shipping on large orders, so consider this for initial orders. Find local dealers for all fresh food needs, or visit farmers markets.
    Find local artists or crafts people willing to sell their goods through your shop to show support for the community and unique pet supplies.

Finding Animals

  1. Help a rescue in need of store space and adoption help. This is the most community-oriented way to stock a pet shop with livestock. You can either lease part of the shop to the rescue at a discount or write it off as a tax donation. The shelter provides veterinary work and pet guarantees to adopting families. The benefit of this is the release of liability for the pet shop owner. No covering of expensive vet bills or dealing with pet returns.
  2. Find reputable local breeders. Look online and talk to other pet owners about where they got their pets and if they would recommend the breeders. Tour any breeder before making any commitments to purchase animals. Personally inspect all areas where animals are kept. If a breeder refuses to let you see an area or tour at all, choose a different breeder.
    Check with the top breeders clubs in your area. Generally speaking, the smaller the breeder the better. Smaller breeders have more time to handle animals, a big plus for pet livestock.
  3. Find pet distributors for livestock delivery of exotic pets or large fish orders. There are some larger pet distributors that have excellent customer service and livestock guarantees. These are for the hard-to-find small animal, reptile or fish. Keep in mind these animals will likely not be well handled when arriving at the shop. Daily handling will be required to ease the pet’s anxieties. Check off-site customer reviews of any major pet distributorship before ordering livestock.

What License Do I Need to Open a Pet Store?

According to statistics cited by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 63 percent of all households in the United States have a pet. For an animal lover, opening and running a pet store is therefore an exciting and lucrative business venture. The federal Animal Welfare Act of 1966 and state animal laws set out basic requirements for operating a pet business.

General Business License

  • A general business license is required for any business regardless of the industry the business is in. To open a pet store, you are required to obtain a business license from the agency that regulates business in your state or from the city and municipal authorities in your locality. Business licenses help the authorities to identify the owner of the business and to locate the physical business premises. You require a business license even if you run your pet store from your residential area.

Local Permits

  • Apart from the general business license, you must obtain local permits. These include occupational permits for pet stores operated from the owner’s residence, and a signage license (if required in your state), which is needed to authorize signs offering directions and information about your store. Another essential permit is the building permit, which allows you to construct a building or an extension to a building within certain premises. These licenses are obtained from local authorities such as the municipal or county council in your area.

Federal Licenses

  • In addition to state and local licenses, you need to obtain a federal license to operate a pet store. The United States Department of Agriculture is the federal agency that oversees the transaction of animals in the country. Pet store owners who breed and raise animals that are not regulated and run the business from their own premises require a Class A license. Store owners who engage in the sale and purchase of regulated animals require a Class B license. Regulated animals are exotic animals such as tigers and snakes protected by federal law. Unregulated animals are pets such as dogs and cats. Both these licenses are obtained from your state’s Department of Agriculture.

Operations License

  • These are licenses issued by animal care regional offices after an inspection to determine that your facility meets the standards of running a pet house. These standards include availability of proper feeding systems and sanitation. The housing and lighting facilities put up are also required to meet safe housing standards for animals. The health of the animals will also be inspected before this license is issued. An operation license may be revoked if you do not demonstrate compliance with these standards.

How to Raise Horses

Raise Horses

Horses are wonderful animals that require a fair amount of work. Whether raising work horses or race horses or just pleasure horses, there are some basic rules to keeping the animals. These are easy steps to follow, although they can be labor intensive. The reward for the work are healthy, happy and well-trained animals that will make your experience raising them a better

Instructions

  1. Have a barn (or stable) ready before you bring the horses home. You will need stalls for the horses, a tack room for the equipment, another space to keep hay bales, and bins for grain and sawdust. It should also have a water supply such as a spigot or hose.
  2. Fence in a place outside the barn, too. How big a pasture you will need depends on the breed and number of horses you plan on keeping. A single draft horse, for example, should have about 5 to 6 acres of pasture with room to run.
  3. Make sure that in addition to grazing (grass), the pasture has access to water. A natural source, such as a stream, is best, but a water tank will work. Fencing to keep the horse inside the pasture is also wise.
  4. Use a halter (or harness) around the horse’s head, as well as a lead–like a leash but for livestock, usually rope or chain–to take the horse from the barn to the pasture, or into the horse trailer when you transport the horse.
  5. Use a round pen where you can train your horse with simple commands. The pen should be a circular, fenced-in area. You’ll also need a riding crop for those moments when you need to gently correct the horse with a tap on the side or hindquarters.
  6. Make sure that every day each stall has a water bucket with clean water. You may also want a hay rack, but you can put the hay on the floor. There should be a good coating of sawdust on the floor, not only for the horses comfort but to help absorb odors and waste.
  7. Clean the stall daily. A sifting fork allows you to scoop up the waste left behind without taking the clean sawdust with it. A wheelbarrow makes it easier to remove the waste to a compost pile as well as get fresh sawdust (usually kept in a bin) to re-line the stall when you are done.
  8. Feed the horses grain and hay each day, even if they are also grazing. Grazing horses need less hay, but if you live someplace where winters are harsh, they’ll need more in winter. Grain is easier to feed the horses if you use a grain dish that you can remove from the stall when they are done.
  9. Clean your horses when they get dirty. Use a brush to clean the horses and help remove excess hair. It also helps you and your horse bond.

Gifts to Give to People Whose Dog Died

Gifts to Give to People Whose Dog Died
Pets are an important part of a family and their loss is heartbreaking. When dealing with the loss of a pet, it is comforting to know that other people understand these feelings. When a friend loses a pet, a special keepsake or memorial gift can help lessen the sadness and remind your friend of the joy his pet brought into his life.

Pet Memorials

  • Pet memorials are usually made of stone or rust-free metal and come in a variety of styles and sizes. Many memorials feature a poem or memorial phrase and offer the ability to personalize the memorial with the addition of the pet’s name and commemorative dates. The memorials are generally placed in a garden or to mark the site of the pet’s burial.

Keepsake Box

  • A keepsake box is a small box that holds mementos and photos. They can be found in wood, ceramic or metal and usually measure about 6 by 2.5 inches. Keepsake boxes can be personalized with a photo and commemorative dates, and many contain a poem or uplifting phrase.

Memorial Jewelry

  • Memorial jewelry is available in many different styles, from heart shaped bracelets to dog tag necklaces. Jewelry can be personalized with photos or engraved with a pet’s name and commemorative dates.

Pet Sympathy Card

  • Something as simple as a pet sympathy card can help ease the pain of a friend who has experienced the loss of a pet and let her know you are thinking of her. Most of the top greeting card manufacturers create sympathy cards for those who have lost pets.

Books

  • There are many books written to help people understand the grieving process, such as Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet by Gary Kowalski, and books that celebrate a pet’s life, such as Animal Blessings: Prayers and Poems Celebrating Our Pets by June Cotner.

Memorial Plaque

  • A memorial plaque will often include a poem or inspirational message. Many can be personalized with a photo and commemorative dates. Memorial plaques are often made of wood, marble or acrylic and are available in a variety of sizes.

Photo Frame

  • A memorial photo frame often includes a special poem, and a place for one or more photos. Frames can usually be personalized with the pet’s name and commemorative dates.

How Much Money Do Puppy Breeders Make?

Some dog breeds are more popular than others. Dogs that are popular because of a movie, TV show or being photographed in the handbag of a celebrity, become more sought after and therefore expensive. Whether a puppy is show quality or pet quality is another factor in how much puppies cost. The costs a customer pays for a puppy and other factors influence how much money puppy breeders make.

Professional Breeder

  • People who are professional breeders sell to the general public, to other breeders and to those that want to expand their show dog “portfolio.” The objective of a professional breeder is to improve and protect the breed as much as earn a profit. Dogs go into heat from one to four times a year, but that doesn’t mean the professional breeder breeds each female one to four times each year. Pregnancy takes its toll on the female. Ethical breeders give the females time to recuperate. The puppies stay with the mother and litter mates at least eight weeks and sometimes up to 12 weeks. Puppies from professional breeders cost more than from hobby breeders but less than from a pet store or puppy broker. That’s because there is no middleman — the broker or distributor — and no store to maintain. If each female is bred twice a year, has six puppies and each puppy sells for $750, the one female generates $4,500 per year.

Puppy Mill

  • A discussion about puppy breeders wouldn’t be complete without including puppy mills. These breeders only have a profit motive in mind. The care of the mother dogs is neglectful and borders on cruelty. The cages may be stacked to where the feces from the upper cages falls on the dogs and puppies in the lower cages. The cages are barely big enough for the mother to stand up and turn around. Puppy mills sell to pet shops or a broker or distributor. A Labrador puppy in a pet shop may be priced as much as $1,500, according to the Animal Kingdom pet shop in Paradise Valley Mall, Arizona. That means the pet shop paid $750 for the puppy. Retail prices are based on doubling the cost of the inventory, according to Ronald L. Bond in his article, “Finding the Right Price for Your Retail Products.” While markup rates vary, a 50 percent rate is not unreasonable. The distributor most likely kept $375 and paid the puppy mill $375. Dog pregnancies take 58 to 63 days. If the mother has two weeks off between pregnancies, nurses the puppies for four to five weeks and has an average litter of six puppies, that one mother produces three to four litters per year or between 18 to 24 puppies a year. This translates to revenues of about from $6,750 to $9,000 per female. If the puppy mill sells directly to the pet shop, the figure is substantially higher.

Hobby Breeders

  • Occasionally, the owners of a purebred dog will decide to breed their female once a year and offer the puppies for sale to the general public through the Internet or advertising in the newspaper. The puppies go for substantially less than in a pet shop. The pet shop has to mark up the dogs by 100 percent, in other words, double the price it pays to the distributor, to make a profit. The hobby breeder doesn’t have those expenses. The money for hobby breeders is minimal, no more than several hundred dollars a pup. Gregg and Deborah Tonkin, championship breeders of Championship Labradors say on their website that a puppy from a backyard breeder may cost as little as $150.

Expenses

  • Food and shelter are the main expenses for a puppy breeder. If the climate is mild, or if the owner is irresponsible, the dogs and puppies are kept outside in kennels. Food expense depends on the breed. Small breeds consume considerably less food than breeds 50 pounds and up. Professional breeders give their dogs immunizations and de-worming without having to go to the veterinarian. Responsible breeders are well-versed in dog health and care. Stud fees are an expense if the breeder wants to expand the gene pool outside his own male dogs.

Facts About Cats and Kittens

Nothing matches the feline elegance.

More than 30 percent of American households own a cat, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. That’s slightly less than the number of homes that own a dog; however, people who own cats are more likely to have multiple cats while most dog owners are more likely to have just one dog.

Why We Love CatsCats have been kept as pets for over 8,000 years. While dogs have kept humans company longer than that, cats only became domesticated when humans became sedentary and started to grow crops. Grain storage meant more mice around; humans welcomed felines to keep pests under control. All domestic cats descend from a common ancestor: the Felis silvestris, a Middle Eastern wild feline.

Cats Versus DogsCats and kittens are different than dogs and puppies when it comes to day-to-day behavior. While dogs are more likely to exhibit pack behavior, cats tend to be more solitary. Dogs are also more trainable because they crave attention, while cats and kittens are happier to lounge around and be as self-sufficient as possible. Cats and kittens are less interested in exercise because in the wild they are sprinters, stalking their prey and pouncing on it when they’re ready to hunt. Wild dogs and puppies are more likely to have to chase their prey, which means dogs are more interested in running and being active.

Caring for a New CatStart by gathering supplies, including a litter box and litter, clean food and water bowls and food recommended by your veterinarian. If you’re adopting an adult cat, ask the shelter or previous owner about his health history and vaccinations. Ask your vet to test him for parasites, feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus. Young kittens will need to receive the FVRCP vaccine, which protects against three fatal diseases: feline panleukopenia, feline calicivirus and feline viral rhinotracheitis.

Training TechniquesCats and kittens won’t work for praise like dogs do. If you want to train your feline friend, start by looking for activities that are fun and pleasurable for him to do. Using treats as rewards is the best way to train a cat. Pick a treat your cat will love, such as fresh chicken, tuna or something from the pet store. Then make your cat do something you want, such as sit on a specific spot or wait for you to call him. Reward him when he does what you want, even if it’s just for a few seconds. Clicker training also works for cats, but remember that cats have short attention spans and get bored easily. Keep the training sessions short but repeat daily.

How to Build a Cat House for Cold Weather

Feral cats spend the winter outside in unprotected conditions.
According to the Feral Cat Coalition, 60 million feral cats are in the country alone. These cats are semi-wild and live outdoors year round. One can occasionally befriend ferals, but can’t get them to come inside. One solution is to build an outdoor cat shelter to help feral cats survive the harsh winter weather. One particular shelter is easy for just about anyone to build.

Instructions

  1. Obtain the necessary supplies for the cat shelter. Most of these items can be found at hardware stores. Many stores will even make straight cuts for you on items like wood and foam insulation. Straw can be found at pet stores, farmers markets or farms. Foam or batting material can be purchased at sewing stores.
  2. Place a sheet of polystyrene insulation inside the bottom of the larger plastic tub. This provides insulation against the cold coming in from the ground.
  3. Place the smaller plastic tub inside the larger plastic tub. A few inches of space should be between the two plastic tubs. The inside of the smaller tub serves as a dwelling for the cats.
  4. Fill the empty space between the tubs with the remaining polystyrene sheets. This protects the walls of the shelter from the cold weather.
  5. Break up any remaining polystyrene and use it to fill in spaces between the sheets. Any place that isn’t protected with insulation is a place where the cold can creep in.
  6. Place the straw or bedding material inside the smaller tub and cover with the smaller tub with its plastic lid.
  7. Cut a piece of polystyrene sheeting to fit on top of the smaller tub. If no space exists between the top of the smaller tub and the lid of the larger tub to fit more sheeting, consider using batting or squishier foam. Place the lid on the larger tub.
  8. Pick a spot for the entrance and cut an eight inch hole using an electric hand saw. Saving this move until last allows you to line up the holes in both tubs and insulation easily.

How to Build a Cat House

Build a Cat House

Cats love to hide and explore, and there’s nothing better than a secure and comfortable place to curl up in after a long day. While cats largely sleep where and when they want, here’s a fairly easy and inexpensive way to build them their own indoor cat house.

Instructions

  1. Remove the lids from the plastic bins. Take your carpet squares and cut pieces that will cover the inside of the lids, leaving enough room around the edges to reattach the the lids. Use the glue and secure the carpet to the lids. Leave to dry.
  2. Figure out your plan. Arrange the bins so that they can be placed side-by-side, with holes cut into the sides of each bin to allow the cat to go back and forth between the modules. You can even make the module with two floors; just stack bins on top of each other and leave enough space that your cat can jump up.
  3. Cut holes in the sides of the bins. Make sure they’re large enough for your cat to get through comfortably, but not overly large. Most cats like the feeling of being in a secure hiding place.
  4. Replace the lids after making sure the carpet is secure and the glue has dried.
  5. Line up you bins again and duct tape them in place.
  6. In one of the modules, sprinkle some catnip on the carpet. It’ll drive your cat crazy, attracting them into the house and letting them know that it’s for them.
  7. In the other modules, place some old clothes or towels for your cat to curl up in. They’ll rearrange it as they see fit. Don’t forget to change the clothes and wash them every so often.

How to Kill Fleas on House Cats

How to Kill Fleas on House Cats

The problem with fleas isn’t the one you see, but the thousands you don’t see. An infestation can begin with a single flea that lays eggs in your cat’s fur. A resulting flea population can cause serious issues for both you and your cat. Controlling a flea infestation starts with removing fleas from you cat and other pets, but that isn’t enough to stop the population.

Identifying the ProblemA flea comb is an inexpensive item available at any pet retailer. An efficient comb through your cat’s fur can reveal fleas that may have taken residence. Comb your cat thoroughly, running the comb deeply through the fur, as fleas will gather close to your cat’s skin. If your cat is tolerant, bathe her to remove fleas. Specially designed flea formula shampoos are available to assist in ridding your cat of these parasites, but be certain the product you choose is safe for use on your cat.

Preventive MedicineYour veterinarian may recommend a topical flea preventive medicine that is applied to your cat. These preventives normally protect your cat for 30 days or longer, depending upon the product you choose. To maximize your odds of winning the flea battle, you should treat all animals in your household with the appropriate flea preventive. Some preventives kill live fleas and others kill live fleas and destroy larvae. Talk to your veterinarian, who will help you determine which product is right for your cat. Never use a flea preventative designed for dogs on your cat. This may cause serious harm to your cat, as the dosage is different for cats than it is for dogs.

Protecting Your SurroundingsThe flea colony is most likely to take residence on your cat, but fleas will infest your furniture, your cat’s bedding and your carpet. Vacuum your carpet and upholstery frequently, and dispose of the contents in the vacuum’s filter compartment or the vacuum cleaner’s bag. In areas of low humidity, consider sprinkling your carpet with salt. The salt’s drying agent will help kill flea eggs and larvae that may be deeply embedded in the carpet’s fibers. Wash your cat’s bedding frequently, especially after applying a flea preventative or bathing your cat. If proper cleaning is not effective in controlling the population, consider flea bombs or canisters that will kill fleas in your household. Be certain to follow directions and remove all occupants, including pets, from the household for the duration of time recommended in the manufacturer’s instructions.

Doctor’s OrdersUntreated infestations have devastating effects. If your cat is severely infested, a trip to the veterinarian may be in order. Severe flea infestations can cause flea anemia as fleas continue to gorge themselves on your cat’s blood, or flea dermatitis, which is an allergy to fleas that causes bloody, red and inflamed hot spots. Your veterinarian can administer a tablet that will kill all the fleas on your cat’s body and help alleviate her suffering. Treating your cat, other household pets, and your home properly will help keep flea infestations from recurring.

How to Introduce a Dog to a Cat

Eventually, your pets may just hang out together.
First impressions are everything, especially when it comes to introducing dogs and cats. If you’re adding a new feline family member to your household, you want to keep the introduction to your resident canine as calm and pleasant as possible for both animals. While it may take a little time, as long as your pooch is properly trained to behave during the meeting and you positively reinforce calm behavior, the introduction should go smoothly.

Preparing the Dog

  • Train your pooch in basic obedience or brush up on his training before he meets his new feline companion. Teach your pup to “Sit,” “Stay” and “Leave it.” You want your pup to stay as calm and still as possible during the meeting, which is what the “Sit” and “Stay” commands will do. The “Leave it” command stops your dog from chasing the cat during the meeting. Just prior to the introduction, you’ll also want to exercise your dog with a vigorous run or play session. This way, he’ll be tired and less likely to annoy the cat or try to chase her.

Preparing the Cat

  • Get your cat used to being in a crate so that you can use it during the initial meeting with your dog. Once she’s crated, give her treats to reinforce the experience as positive. Allow your cat to smell some of your dog’s toys or bedding so she’s used to his scent during the meeting. Treat her in the presence of his things to associate the scent with good things. Prior to her meeting with your dog, try feeding each pet on either side of a closed door. This will help associate the scent and sound of the other with a pleasant experience.

The Initial Introduction

  • Crate your kitty and place the crate on a table so that it’s out of your pup’s direct reach. Leash your dog and bring him into the room with the cat. Command your dog to “Sit” in the presence of the cat. When everyone is calm, with no hissing, lip-licking, growling, barking or lunging, give both your dog and your cat treats. This will help to associate the presence of the other with good things. Calmly praise the animals for calm, nonaggressive behavior. If everyone stays calm, slowly let your cat out of her crate, allowing her to stay as far away from your dog as she wants. Continue to reward and treat each animal when they behave calmly.

Dealing with Aggression

  • If your pup tries to lunge at the cat during the initial meeting, command him to “Leave it” and “Sit.” If the aggressive behavior continues, keep the cat in the crate and calmly lead him out of the room on the leash. Try the introduction on another day. Only reward the cat and dog when they don’t exhibit any aggression toward each other.

Getting Acclimated

  • Slowly allow the cat and dog to acclimate to each other over a period of a few weeks. While you can use the leash to control your dog during meetings if he exhibits any aggressive behavior, try to avoid using leash corrections and scolding. Instead, control him with voice commands so that you don’t create negative associations with the presence of the cat. Give your kitty a few spots, such as cat perches, that she can access if she feels threatened by your pup where he can’t get to her. Eventually, you can let your dog off his leash in the presence of the kitty. Always separate the dog and cat when you aren’t around to supervise them.

How to Train a Cat

Cats are more independent than other pets such as dogs, however, this does not make them impossible to train. Training a cat to behave will require different methods, and more time and patience than training other animals, but the end result is positive.

Instructions

  1. Understand the type of training your cat respond to. Rewards of food or affection often do not stop bad behavior in cats. Pain also is usually not helpful as punishment. The best tactic is surprise, provided there is no pain involved.
  2. Get down on the cat’s level. When administering discipline, bend down to your cat to foster better communication between the two of you.
  3. Use a plant sprayer or water gun to spray your cat with water when she misbehaves. Cats generally do not like water and water will not hurt the cat. Spray the cat without yelling so she sees water as the punishment.
  4. Keep a bean bag handy by your chair so if you see your cat misbehaving, you can instantly surprise him. Throw the bean bag near the cat without hitting it to surprise it. Rapid response is necessary. If you wait until the cat has stopped the bad behavior to administer punishment, he will not understand what he’s being punished for.
  5. Place aluminum foil in areas your cat is not allowed to go. Cats do not like the uneasy feel of the foil under their feet nor do they like the loud noise it makes when they walk on it.
  6. Train cats not to dig in or eat houseplants by putting moth balls in them. Cats are sensitive to the strong smell. As an alternative, place mouse traps under paper around the plants if your cat misbehaves while you’re away. When the cat steps on the paper, the trap will spring and surprise the cat, but the can will not be hurt.
  7. Tap your cat gently on the nose if he bites or otherwise misbehaves toward you. This simulates how cats retaliate toward each other and trains the cat not to harm you. However, this only works if the misbehavior was directed at you.

How to Introduce a Baby to Cats

Introducing your baby to your cat can be a positive experience.
Having a baby affects many factors in your life, including any animals you may have at home. Your cat, for example, is probably used to being the center of your attention, so it’s natural that it may feel something like sibling rivalry when the baby arrives. To make sure your cat stays happy and well-adjusted, it’s important to help it adapt to the baby you’re introducing. No matter what you do, this transition may be difficult, but there are steps you can take to minimize the stress your cat feels when the new baby is brought home.

Instructions

  1. Take your cat to a veterinarian for a health exam and necessary vaccinations. If you haven’t already, spay or neuter the cat; this makes it calmer and less likely to bite.
  2. Accustom your cat to spending less time with you before the baby is born. Do this gradually by having the cat start spending more time with another family member, if possible. This will help prepare the cat for the lack of attention from you when the baby is brought home.
  3. Ask friends with infants to visit your home. You can also play a recording of a baby crying, use the rocking chair, or use any other baby-related instrument. This will accustom your cat to the sounds associated with babies. Offer your cat a treat while doing these things to make them positive experiences.
  4. Swaddle and carry a baby doll. Give the doll a bath, change its diaper and take it for a walk in the stroller to get your cat used a real baby and baby activities.
  5. Put a sturdy barrier at the door of the baby’s room if it will be off limits to your cat. A gate or even a screen door will help to keep the cat out while still letting it see and hear everything going on inside. This will keep your cat from feeling left out and get it used to hearing new baby noises.
  6. Before you bring it home from the hospital, have someone bring home a blanket with the baby’s scent on it for the cat to investigate. Your cat will get used to the baby’s smell and be more comfortable when you arrive with the baby.
  7. When you return home from the hospital with the baby, have someone take the baby in another room while you calmly greet your cat. After this initial greeting, bring your cat with you to sit next to the baby. Keep treats handy to reward positive behavior.

How to Keep a Cat Out of a Crib

A kitten playing on a blanket.
Deterrents and barriers keep a cat out of a crib. Cats can pass on an infectious disease called toxoplasmosis. And any cat owner knows cats are attracted to warm, soft places such as cribs. You can either keep a cat out of the crib or out of the baby’s nursery altogether. Changing circumstances are stressful for cats, so begin preparations two months before the baby is due, to allow your cat time to adjust.

Preparing For the Baby’s Arrival

  • If you plan to allow your cat into your baby’s room, introduce the cat to the nursery before the baby arrives to help satisfy his curiosity about the crib. Leave the nursery door open so your cat can explore at his own pace. Leave out items with unusual scents, such as baby powder and baby lotion, for him to smell and get used to. To help your cat adjust gradually, decorate and add new furniture to the nursery piece by piece over a period of several weeks. Play with your cat in your baby’s nursery so that he views it as a friendly place.< class="unstyled">
  • A range of materials discourage your cat from climbing into a crib. You can allow the cat to explore the crib until a month before the baby arrives, or always keep the crib out of bounds. When you want to teach your cat the crib is an undesirable place for a nap, cut pieces of cardboard to fit inside the crib and cover them with double-sided adhesive tape or lay sheets of aluminum foil on the crib mattress. Cats dislike walking on both these surfaces. Another option is to fill the crib with balloons or empty soda cans so she gets a shock if she jumps in. Be warned that The Humane Society of the United States says this can cause additional stress for your cat.

Fixing a Crib Net

  • Crib nets prevent cats from climbing in cribs. Made of netting similar to a mosquito screen, crib nets allow air and light through to your baby but protect her from curious cats. Fix the netting according the manufacturer’s instructions, and take care to pull it tight so that your cat can’t lie on top of it and use it as a hammock. Put the netting back in place when you take your baby out of her crib to prevent your cat from sleeping in the crib while it’s empty.

Preventing Access to the Nursery

  • You may decide the best way to prevent your cat from entering your baby’s crib is to keep him out of the nursery. Removing the nursery door and replacing it with a screen door allows you to see and hear your baby while preventing your cat from entering the room. This also allows the cat to become familiar with the sight, sound and smell of your baby without having access to her crib. Alternatively, keep the nursery door closed all the time, and use a baby monitor so you can see and hear your baby while she’s asleep.

How to Get a Baby Kitten to Sleep

Sometimes two kittens are better than one.
Help your baby kitten sleep through the night by providing a safe, secure environment with plenty of soft, warm bedding. You can make her transition less scary by minimizing stress. Despite your best efforts, your new kitten may still miss her mom. Be prepared for some crying for the first night or two while she adjusts to her new home.

Make a Smooth Transition

  • She might be feisty and playful when you first bring her home, but once the lights go out, your new kitten will realize she’s all alone. Minimize her distress by preparing in advance for her arrival so she’ll feel safe and secure.

    Confine her to one room for the first few days so she’s not overwhelmed by noise, other pets and family chaos. Remove dangerous electrical cords and plants and set up her litter box, food dishes and bed.

    Provide her with a special hiding spot. Cut a kitty entrance in a small cardboard box and place a cozy towel inside. She’ll be able to observe and adjust to her environment at her own pace. Encourage family members to socialize with the new kitten one at a time so she’s not overwhelmed.

Create a Safe Sleeping Spot

  • Snuggling up with a warm kitten all night might be tempting, but your kitten isn’t safe in your bed. She could wake up in the middle of the night and fall off the bed, which could cause a serious injury. A kitten cage or box with high sides keeps her from wandering around the house in the middle of the night. Place it near you so she feels safe and put a blanket or cloth that smells like you inside so she’ll get accustomed to your scent.

    Your young kitten can’t maintain her body temperature very well. Keep her bed warm with a water bottle wrapped in a towel — just make sure it’s not too hot.

Introduce a Human Sleep Schedule

  • After she’s settled in and feeling confident, your kitten might decide she wants to sleep all day and play in the middle of the night. Introduce her to the same sleep schedule as the rest of the family or you might be awakened at all hours when she tears around the house.

    Decide on a bedtime, then host a rousing play session an hour earlier. Let your kitten chase a laser pointer or feather chaser. Once she’s tired, snuggle her for a few minutes before tucking her into bed. Consider using a kitty crate for a few nights until she’s accustomed to a schedule.

Consider Two Kittens

  • Your kitten likely spent her first eight weeks snuggled up with her litter mates, which kept her from getting cold and lonely. If you can care for two cats, consider bringing home siblings. They’ll play with each other during the day and burn off some energy. At night, they’ll snuggle up together and maintain their body temperatures better. If one kitten wakes up, the other is there to reassure her and keep her company. A second kitten entails additional cost and care, but consider the potential benefits as well.

How to Help Animals for Free

Photo: Jp Corkery

When the economy suffers–people suffer–and unfortunately, so do pets. Many folks would like to help animals, but think they can’t because they don’t have the means or the money–yet that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are various ways to help animals that are free and easy–right in your own community–or right from your own computer. Here are some ways.

Instructions

  1. Click daily on these websites: The Animal Rescue Site, Care2’s Race for Pets in Need, Freekibble and Freekibblekat. Each click is completely free. On Freekibble and Freekibblekat you get to answer a trivia question-and the cool part is-even if you miss it–you’ll still help feed homeless pets just by clicking-plus you’ll learn some interesting facts about doggies and kitties (see Resources below).
  2. Use the search engine dogpile.com, and every time you do, you will help generate funds for the ASPCA and other organizations that help homeless pets. You can also make dogpile your home page if you like. The more you search, the more they rescue–and it won’t cost you a penny (see Resources).
  3. Post pictures and information about homeless pets that are up for adoption in your community on your website, MySpace, Facebook, Petfinder.com, Adopt a Pet.com and on Craigslist (see Resources). Craigslist prohibits selling pets, but allows you to list pets that are up for adoption if you charge a small fee (“free to a good home” ads are discouraged to prevent animals from falling into the wrong hands). The Internet has proven to be a valuable (and free) tool for getting homeless pets adopted.
  4. Link your grocery club card to an animal organization. Most supermarkets have savings cards with a percentage of whatever you spend going to the community organization you designate. Many of them have animal organizations on the list.
  5. Donate blankets and towels to your local animal shelter (especially during winter), so the pets won’t have to sleep on a cold, cement floor. There is an organization in Southern California called Operation Blankets of Love that is dedicated to this and they hope to branch out nationwide, or you might start a similar drive in your area (see Resources).
  6. Find out what’s on your local shelter’s wish list and donate some items. Needs may include: paper towels, newspaper, dog and cat toys, pet food, cleaning products, rubber tubs and collars/leashes.
  7. Clean out your closets for animals. Many cities and towns have thrift stores that benefit animal organizations and rescues. Find out which ones do in your area and take over that stuff that’s just been sitting there accumulating dust. Many organizations will pick up your items.
  8. Donate your time and love to a local animal shelter or rescue. The lonely animals will sure appreciate you until they hopefully find homes. You can help walk dogs or socialize cats, and some shelters need help cleaning cages and with computer work. If you are a dog trainer you might also offer your services to help get the dogs more adoptable. Then there are many organizations that hold mobile adoptions and need volunteers to help transport animals to the events, as well as people to work the events.
  9. Visit the website of an organization such as Best Friends Animal Society or North Shore Animal League to find out about volunteer opportunities (see Resources). You can also periodically check the websites of the major animal organizations to find out about the latest campaigns and sign up to receive action alerts.
  10. Lobby your local elected officials concerning animal issues, participate in boycotts and demonstrations and educate people you know. There are different ways to do it. For example, you can boycott pet stores that sell dogs and cats and tell everyone you know to do the same. With the millions that are destroyed each year, there is no need to sell animals. Aside from the fact that the overwhelming majority of dogs (almost all) sold in pet stores are from puppy mills, factory-like breeding operations that keep their breeding dogs in cramped cages for most of their lives and discard them when they’re done. You can also organize a pet store protest, which isn’t hard to do, or join one in your area (see Resources).

How to Open an Online Pet Store

If you love animals and enjoy being online, opening an online pet supply store could be the perfect business opportunity for you. Selling on the Internet is fun, and it helps you connect with people who love animals as much as you do. But like any other business venture, an online pet supply store requires commitment and marketing and accounting skills. Being able to write clear, concise, descriptive product listings and take good photographs are necessary, too. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Getting Started As an Online Pet Supply Retailer

  1. Decide what you want to sell and think about creating a niche market for yourself. If you love dogs, for instance, you could specialize in training aids. Specializing in one product category is a way of setting yourself apart from all of the other pet supply retailers on the Internet and winning repeat customers.
  2. Do some market research to determine whether your products will sell. Sometimes the auctions on eBay are a good indicator of a product’s popularity.
  3. Find a venue. Marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, iOffer, Bonanzle and eCrater have easy-to-use templates for building an online store and drive traffic to your site with their search engines. There are no listing fees on iOffer, eCrater and Bonanzle. If you’re planning to sell handmade pet products, Etsy could be the perfect venue.
  4. Register with your state for a sales tax number. Even if you’re not required to collect sales tax, that number will prove to vendors that you’re a legitimate business.
  5. Buy your inventory. The wholesale pet supply distributors’ websites are a good place to start because you’ll find many vendors in one location. Many of the vendors offer unique products not available in pet supply chain stores. Another place to find product is Pet Age Magazine’s Online Sourcebook.
  6. Research shipping methods. Since most pet products are quite small, you might find that United States Postal Service Flat Rate Envelopes and Boxes are the easiest and least expensive way of shipping items to your customers.

How to Keep a Mole As a Pet

Moles are common garden pests.

Moles are common animals in North America, Europe, and many other places. Although there are a large variety of breeds, all moles have most of their basic traits in common. Moles are mammals and live in elaborate tunnel systems created with their excellent digging abilities. Known commonly as a garden pest, moles are not good pets and often die quickly in captivity. However, if you discover an injured mole or a mole that cannot be released into the wild, there are ways you can provide for it.

Instructions

  1. Provide your mole with a large habitat, giving him at least two square feet of space. Glass terrariums are a good choice if they include a screen lid that does not easily come off.
  2. Pour dirt into the terrarium deep enough to provide your mole with digging space. Moles require very little above-ground territory, so fill the aquarium up about 2/3 of the way.
  3. Give your mole water. A water dish is the best way to begin, but moles may adjust to gravity-dispensing water supplies intended for pet hamsters or rats.
  4. Research your mole’s species to find out what its diet consists of. Many moles survive off of worms, some prefer other insects. Moles must eat every hour to survive, so providing the correct food is important to keeping your mole alive.
  5. Darken the room for your mole. Moles prefer dark, cool climates.
  6. Call an exotic animals specialist, rescue or vet for advice on caring for your mole or healing any injuries it may have.

What Is the Public Access Test for Service Dogs?

Service dogs should be tested to ensure their ability to work in public.
The public recognizes that many disabled individuals benefit from help from service animals. However, numerous providers of service dogs recognize that the animals must be safe in public to be of any benefit to their owners. Public access testing helps to ensure that service dogs are able to interact safely.

Development

  • Assistance Dogs International, a provider of service dogs, developed the Public Access Test for service dogs in cooperation with the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners. Assistance Dogs International’s Team Testing Committee created the test as a final measure of whether the service dog is adequately prepared to interact publicly without a trainer’s oversight. The test specifically measures how safe the dog-and-handler team will be with consideration to themselves and the public.

Recognition and Significance

  • Assistance dog organizations use the Assistance Dogs International’s Public Access Test in conjunction with their own certifications. They also encourage any disabled individuals who wish to have a service dog accompany them to use the test as a measure of whether their dogs are capable of interacting safely in public. This test does not measure a dog’s assisting abilities; rather, the test focuses tightly on the dog’s obedience and whether the owner can control him effectively, thus allowing the test to be used widely. If videotaped, the test can be used as proof of the service dog’s access rights.

Administration

  • Anyone can administer the test if the only goal is to see if the dog-and-handler team is safe in public. The International Association of Assistance Dog Partners recommends having a friend or family member administer the test. However, Assistance Dogs International cautions that it developed the test for use by professional assistance dog trainers only. To administer the test, the evaluator needs a clipboard, another dog, an assistant, a plate of food and access to a shopping cart. The evaluator must explain the test to the handler before it begins.

Components

  • The test components evaluate three main abilities: the handler’s ability to control the animal, the dog’s ability to behave appropriately and the team’s ability to enter a public place in a controlled manner. It does this through observing the handler and dog as the dog enters and exits a vehicle, and as the owner drops and retrieves the dog’s leash. Additionally, the dog and handler interact with other dogs and people in a public place such as a mall, and the team enters a public area through a doorway.

Scoring

  • The evaluator scores the team based on the dog-and-handler team’s response to the test situation presented. In each situation, the evaluator decides whether the dog responds appropriately always, most of the time, some of the time or never. The team must earn at least 80 percent “yes” answers on the yes/no portion of the test, according to Assistance Dogs International Inc. Similarly, the team must earn all “always” or “most of the time” on the corresponding portions of the test.

How to Train a Rottweiler to Get Along With House Cats

How to Train a Rottweiler to Get Along With House Cats
Cartoons have taught most of us that dogs and cats simply do not get along. Yet this is simply not true, and it is possible for the two species to peacefully cohabitate. Don’t assume that you need to teach your Rottweiler to get along with the cats merely for the cats’ protection. Cats can seriously injure dogs if they feel threatened or are cornered. There are ways to make your home a wonderful place to live, for both your dog and your cat.

Instructions

  1. Introduce your Rottweiler to cats when they are both young. Kittens and puppies are much more likely to get along if they grow up with one another.
  2. Make sure your cat always has an escape route. Your cat is more likely to attack and injure the dog if it feels cornered and has no way to remove itself from the situation. This will eventually lead to more animosity between the animals.
  3. Use a toy to redirect the dog’s urge to chase the cat. When the dog begins to chase or play with the cat, give it an alternative that will help it lose interest in the cat.
  4. Keep your Rottweiler on a leash in the home if it is constantly chasing the cats. It will learn that going after the cat will lead to being tethered and restricted, which is an unwanted consequence.
  5. Allow the cat to growl, hiss and bat at the Rottweiler. This will teach the dog that the cat has boundaries, and it will eventually learn to leave the cat alone.
  6. Praise your dog for leaving the cat alone. If the dog does not react when the cat walks or runs by, give it a treat or a toy and verbal praise. The dog will begin associating a reward with leaving the cat alone.
  7. Give your dog plenty of exercise. A dog that is tired will not have as much of an urge to play with the cats due to pure exhaustion.

How to Make Organic Cat Food

Make Organic Cat Food

Many cat owners are turning away from commercial pet foods and are feeding their cats homemade organic pet food. It’s easy to make once you know how and it’s healthier than store bought pet foods. Here’s how to feed your cat safely with your own organic ingredients.

Shopping for Supplies

  1. Know the “why” behind the “how” when it comes to making healthy homemade organic pet food for your cat.
  2. Buy meat. Your meat should always be fresh, and organic. This means it is antibiotic and hormone free. A good place to purchase organic, safe meat is a nationwide store called Whole Foods Market. See the resource box for contact and location information. Types of meats to buy are whole chicken, whole rabbit, whole guinea fowl, and turkey thighs (bones included)
  3. Buy organ meat. Organ meat is very rich in vitamins and nutrients. Be aware though that organ meat for your homemade cat food must be organic from non-medicated animals as any toxins in the animal’s body will have stored up in the liver and other organs.
  4. Buy psyllium. This can be purchased from just about any grocery or health food store. Buy loose psyllium husk powder for easier handling and measuring.
  5. Buy kelp and dulse. Kelp and dulse are an excellent source of trace minerals to add to your organic pet food. Both are easily found online. Again, buy in the powdered form for easier use.
  6. Buy salmon oil. Salmon oil is an excellent source of essential fatty acids. Whenever possible you should try to use wild salmon oil as opposed to farmed salmon oil as wild salmon has higher levels of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Capsules that can be used one at a time are best as salmon oil degrades quickly once exposed to air.
  7. Buy a glandular supplement. These supplements are made from real animal glands such as spleen, brain and heart and are a great source of nutrients. Buy the capsules as they are easier than crushing the pills.
  8. Buy vitamin E and B complex. These add to the balanced vitamins and nutrients of a good homemade organic pet food. These can be found at any health store or pharmacy.
  9. Buy an electric grinder. This will make grinding the meat and bones for your homemade cat food so much quicker and easier.

Make the Organic Cat Food

  1. Get out your grinder. You will use this to grind the bones and attached meat for your cat’s food.
  2. Assemble all your supplements. Have all the ingredients you need ready and at hand before you begin.
  3. Cut up the animal carcass that you are using for the food into large pieces (as you would when you de-bone a chicken).
  4. Cut most of the meat from the bones (leaving a little attached) and set the bones aside in a large bowl.
  5. Cut the meat into bite-sized chunks. This will allow your cat to chew on something and keep her teeth and gums healthy.
  6. Weigh your organ meat. You will need 400 g (14 oz.) of raw heart meat and 200 g (7 oz.) of raw liver.
  7. Put the organ meats into the same bowl as the meat bones. Put the meat chunks into a separate bowl and store both bowls in the fridge.
  8. You are now ready to make the supplemental part of this organic pet food recipe. Into a large bowl pour 2 cups of water.
  9. Crack 4 raw eggs and separate the yolks. Add the yolks to the bowl.
  10. Add your dry ingredients. You will need 4 capsules of glandular supplement, 4000g of salmon oil, 200 mg of vitamin B, 800 IU of vitamin E, a ¼ teaspoon each of kelp and dulse, and 4 teaspoons of psyllium. Be sure to add the psyllium last. Stir the mixture thoroughly and set aside.
  11. Take the meaty bones and organ meat out of the fridge and grind them together in your electric grinder.
  12. Take the meat chunks out of the fridge and add them to the ground bones and organs. Stir these together.
  13. Add the supplemental mixture to the meat and stir thoroughly.
  14. Spoon the organic cat food into small containers suitable for freezing. Small glass canning jars work perfectly for this. Do not overfill your jars. Leave about a ½-inch gap from the top of the jar.
  15. Label each jar with the type of meat you used and the date it was prepared.
  16. Freeze your jars to keep the ingredients fresh. Take each jar out and thaw as needed to feed your beloved cat.

How to Mate Cats

Mating cats requires a vet visit and correct timing before the breeding begins.

While you can mate two cats of the opposite sex by simply putting them in the same room together, this isn’t the safest choice. Mating cats requires that each cat has grown to its full size and that you’ve checked them both for any genetic or health problems. Additionally, you need to catch the female cat when she’s in her cycle. Approaching and executing the breeding process correctly both creates a more likely chance for pregnancy the first try and increases the likelihood of healthy kittens at pregnancy.

Instructions

  1. Allow both cats to grow into their full size before mating. Breeding too early can stunt the female cat’s growth, because she will put all of her energy into raising the kittens. Breeding the male cat too early can cause you to miss any genetic problems in his genes. Female cats should be somewhere between 18-24 months old before mating, while the male cat should be at least 18 months.
  2. Schedule a veterinarian appointment for each cat before the mating process. Ask the veterinarian to give any necessary shots, perform a physical evaluation, stool sample check and any other necessary tests. Ensure that each cat is healthy enough to mate. The veterinarian should be able to tell you about any possible problems in mating the two cats or in the offspring they will produce.
  3. Wait until the female cat is in heat. Outdoor cats are most likely to enter heat during the spring and summer. She will become extremely affectionate and attract any male cats in the immediate area for about three weeks. If she’s not mated, she will leave the heat phase and enter again about two weeks later. Indoor cats can generally be mated year round because of the way artificial light affects their cycle.
  4. Put the male and female cat into the same room. If the female cat is in heat, she will allow the male to approach her and mate. The mating process can take anywhere from 1-20 seconds. The male cat will run away, while the female cat will appear to thrash around after mating. This process is normal and can last up to 10 minutes. You can mate the female with another male cat in about 30 minutes, if desired. This increases the variety of offspring she is likely to produce.
  5. Watch the female cat for pregnancy. The cat will be active for the term of the pregnancy, which is two months. You may see the nipples turn red and enlarge as early as day 18 of the pregnancy. If you’re unsure if the female is pregnant or not, take her to the veterinarian and order an ultrasound.

Cat-Proofing A Crib

Precautions should be taken to keep your cat from jumping into the crib with your newborn baby.

Cats have a natural curiosity about new things, your newborn baby is one of them. While there are few actual reports of domesticated cats harming babies (mostly urban legends), a cat does have claws and could hurt your baby if the cat lands on the baby in a crib. Cats crave warmth and could end up laying too close to your baby when sleeping and rob the baby of needed oxygen. Taking precautions, such as making the crib uncomfortable for the cat prior to bringing your baby home from the hospital, will ensure that your crib is cat-proofed.

Make the Crib Uncomfortable

  • In the weeks prior to your baby’s birth, set up the nursery and allow the cat to explore so that it gets used to the change. About four weeks before the birth, start making the crib a place that the cat doesn’t want to go. Cut a piece of cardboard the same shape as the crib bed and place several lengths of double-sided tape on the surface of the cardboard and on the crib rails. If your cat jumps into the crib, it will immediately jump out because cats dislike sticky surfaces. After a few attempts, the cat will no longer jump into the crib. Placing thumb tacks underneath some of the tape strips may be necessary if tape alone doesn’t work.

Spray Citrus In and Around the Crib

  • As much as sticky surfaces, cats don’t like the smell of citrus. Prior to bringing your baby home, mix lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice or any other citrus juice in a spray bottle with water. Lay a towel down on the crib (without the mattress inside — place several towels folded up underneath to simulate the mattress being there) and spray the surface of the towel. If the cat jumps into the crib, it will smell the citrus smell and leave immediately. Spray some of the citrus mixture around the perimeter of the crib; you shouldn’t have to worry about the cat getting near the crib.

Install a Crib Net

  • Crib tents and crib nets are made of cotton netting, similar to mosquito netting. Attach a tent or net underneath the crib mattress and suspend it by a hook you install yourself on the ceiling. The tent allows for air circulation, a clear view of your baby and keeps flying and crawling insects away from your baby, in addition to cats. Crib tents prevent your baby from getting anything caught between the slats on the side of the crib.

Closing the Door to the Nursery

  • This may seem like a simple answer, but it’s also the most effective. If the door is closed, the cat can’t enter the nursery and can’t jump into the crib. Monitor your baby with a voice or video baby monitor. You can also replace the nursery’s wooden door with a cottage-style screen door (metal on the bottom section and wire mesh on the top).

How to Deal With Jealous Cat Behavior

If you just got a new pet, isolate her from your older cat for a couple days.

If your cat has a case of the green-eyed monster, you can help him by providing him with lots of affection and attention. Cats often become jealous when new and sudden developments threaten their cozy and routine-oriented lifestyles — think new partners, newborn babies and even new pets.

Understand the Causes of JealousyIf you bring a new baby girl home and all eyes are on her instead of on your cat like before, he might feel frustrated due to the sudden lack of attention. Major life changes, such as a new baby, can also alter your cat’s day-to-day routine. Since cats are routine-oriented animals who appreciate stability, this can lead to jealous, stressed out and often even destructive behavior. Cats also often feel unhappy when new people, babies or pets spend time in their preferred parts of the home.

Before the arrival of a baby, try to prevent jealousy by acquainting your cat to brand new scents, such as baby powder.

Look For Signs of JealousyWhen some cats are jealous, they react by swatting, growling or hissing as they encounter their new “rivals.” Other cats aren’t as direct in their approaches. More reserved felines might ignore their meals or hide away from everyone. They might display unusually clingy behavior, too. If your cat won’t leave your side and is demanding more of your time than usual, jealousy could be the cause. Some cats deal with jealousy by urine marking. If a cat feels that a new animal or person is encroaching on his turf, he might spray. Destructive actions in general can often signify jealousy in cats. Jealous cats sometimes chew on random household objects, for example.

Give Your Cat Lots of Love and AttentionYou can manage jealous feline behavior by going the extra mile to keep your pets’ routines normal and predictable. If you have a tradition of playing with a laser pointer with your cat every night, try to keep it up even if you just brought a new puppy home. If you feed your cat dry food first thing in the morning, stick to that schedule, too. It’s also vital to give your cat the same level of love and attention you always did. More love is actually preferable. Let your pet know that although some things are different now, you care for him just the same.

Keep His Possessions His OwnYou can also curb jealous behavior in cats by making sure that new pets don’t gain access to their belongings and preferred spaces. If you have a new kitten, stop her from sleeping in your cat’s longtime hangout in your bedroom walk-in closet, for example. Also provide your new pet with her own bedding, food bowls and toys. These simple measures can often reduce jealousy in competitive cats.

Seek Veterinary AttentionDon’t always assume your cat’s uncharacteristic behavior is necessarily due to jealousy. If your pet won’t eat, is constantly hiding and hissing, it could be because of a medical condition that simply coincided with the major life change. Major changes can also sometimes heighten health issues in cats. Schedule an appointment with the veterinarian to rule out possible medical ailments.

Facts on Why to Adopt a Pet

Adopting a pet from a shelter could potentially save his life.

Before you start your search for a pet, consider adoption. Because of the pet overpopulation problem, adoption is one of the ways to potentially save an animal’s life and contribute to the solution. Only 18 percent of pets are adopted from animal shelters. This fact is most likely due to misconceptions about pounds and animal shelters. There are many reasons to adopt a pet from an animal shelter as opposed to purchasing one from a pet store or some other source.

Saving Lives

  • Approximately 3 to 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized annually due to overpopulation, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Because pounds have limited space, all too often the staff have to make the decision to end the life of an animal simply because there is not enough room to house all of the pets. When you adopt an animal from a shelter, you not only are potentially saving its life, you also are freeing up space so that another homeless pet can be rescued.

Expense

  • When you adopt a pet from an animal shelter, humane society or pound, you’ll likely save more money than if you were to purchase one from a pet store or from some other source. Animal shelters usually examine pets and give vaccinations upon arrival, which can save money on future vet bills. Also, animal shelters generally spay or neuter pets that are old enough before adopting them out.

Purebred Pets

  • If you’ve decided against adoption because you’ve got your heart set on a purebred pet, think again. There are breed rescue organizations that specialize in specific breeds of cats and dogs. These organizations allow people to adopt pets that they have rescued. Also, although 70 to 75 percent of pets in animal shelters are mixed breeds, 25 to 30 percent of pets up for adoption in animal shelters are purebred (see Reference 2).

Health

  • Generally, many backyard dog breeders sell inbred pets and do not pay special attention to genetic problems that may occur as a result. Most pets in shelters are mixed breeds, and mixed breeds have less inbreeding and usually less inherited genetic diseases than dogs from backyard breeders and pet stores, which can make for fewer vet bills, according to AdoptAPet.com.

Training

  • Some humane societies and shelters offer training classes and behavioral counseling for pets in their care. Also, because some pets were previously owned and cared for, some have already been trained by their previous owners. Adopting a pre-trained pet from a humane society or animal shelter saves a lot of time and money when you consider the price for obedience school and pet-training services.

    In addition to any training pets may already have, animal shelters usually screen the temperaments of the pets so that families have some idea of the animal’s personality and background before buying it, which helps in deciding which pet would be best for their family.

Preschool Pet Theme Activities

Fish work well for classroom pets, especially for preschoolers.

If you want to teach your preschoolers math, reading and social skills, plan some activities around pets. Students can learn about how different animals live and what it takes to care for a domesticated animal. You can focus on math skills by helping students figure out how much to feed a certain pet, and of course, they learn how to look after another living thing. It takes the preschooler out of his “me” state of mind, helping him empathize with something less able than he to look after itself.

Classroom Pet

  • Having a classroom pet can help teach your students about nurturing and responsibility. It also teaches them about science, because they can observe the way the pet eats, sleeps, plays and even nurtures her own young. Take turns giving one or two students “zoo keeping” responsibilities for feeding, watering and cleaning. Preschoolers may need adult help with cleaning, especially larger pet cages. Fish tend to work well for preschool classrooms, since feeding is less involved, and you can help when it comes to cleaning out the bowl.

Learning About Pets

  • Introduce your preschoolers to the different kinds of pets people have by reading a book on pets. Teach about pet care with a trip to the veterinarian skit, having one student play the vet, and the other play a sick animal. Allow each student to take part. Discuss with your class what equipment the vet needs and what things he should look for when examining the pet. Have students write or draw about their own pets and what they or their parents do to take care of them.

Taking a Field Trip

  • Let your students see some animals up close. Contact the local pet store or animal rescue shelter to see if you can take your class on a trip to visit the animals. Pet stores typically offer a wider variety of animals, while going to a shelter teaches the kids about how people take care of abandoned or lost animals. Plan a trip to a wildlife rescue organization if you have access to one, so students can see the difference between animals that are appropriate to have as pets and animals that should be in their natural habitat.

Show and Tell

  • Plan a day where students and parents bring in their pets to meet the rest of the class. You’ll have to get permission from the school, and you may need to go to a park nearby instead of bringing animals into the classroom. Have each student say something about her pet and perhaps show a trick, if the animal knows any. Remember that some animals should be kept away from one another, so you may want to split up show and tell and have students bring dogs one day, and birds another, or have students bring pets one at a time.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pet Stores

Pet stores make it simple to run down to the corner and grab a bag of litter or the latest dog toy. The products and services offered can vary widely, from big-box chains selling live pets to a natural foods specialist focusing on simple diets for dogs and cats. Quality can also vary widely depending on a store’s policies, suppliers and management.

Live Pets

  • Advantages: Pet stores, depending on whether they stock live animals, can offer a range of small pets from rodents to reptiles, as well as birds and fish. Many store chains have rules about quarantining new or sick animals to ensure that only healthy animals are offered for sale. Guarantees are usually offered so that buyers can bring back the animal if it becomes ill within a short time of purchase. Stores can often order sought-after species for you, cutting out the costs that could be associated with, for example, finding a breeder of a specific finch and paying for shipping to your door. Many stock informative brochures to advise owners on proper care for a new pet, and stock all of the needed supplies.
  • Disadvantages: Some pet stores employ staff who aren’t well schooled in the specific care of the animals. Advice to prospective pet parents can be spotty, with specialized aquarium stores or aviaries usually being the best place to find staff knowledgeable about the species. Animals may be overcrowded and ill, or in poor conditions, such as bunnies in small enclosures without hay. Though not many stores sell puppies and kittens, those that do may carry animals from poor-quality mass breeders and have pets that are less healthy and improperly socialized.