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September 2016

Making Veterinary Visits Less Stressful For You and Your Cat

 by michele on 30 Sep 2016 |
Sem comentários
Most owners and cats alike, dread the thought of a visit to the vet. Not only will the cat have to be placed in a carrier, it may also have to travel by car and encounter unfamiliar places, people and animals. Here are some simple tips to make the experience less stressful for both you and your feline friend. Image credit   Socialise your cat Being familiar with only you or other members of your household may make your cat fearful of strangers. Introduce your young kitten to as many people as possible. Also try to get your cat used to being handled as they would during a vet examination. Gently touch your cat’s paws, look into its ears, open its mouth, and run your hands over its legs and body similar to what they may encounter during a vet visit.   The cat carrier Cats generally do not like cat carriers but they tend to be the easiest way to transport them. Choose a carrier that is sturdy and secure but also easy for you to carry. Keep a carrier out and open in your home so your cat can investigate it or even play in it, allowing them to develop a positive association with the cage. Put some food and treats, their favourite toys, or blankets inside to entice them into the carrier.    Image credit   The car Take your cat on short trips in the car to get it used to travelling and make sure the destination is not always the vet clinic. Drive slowly without braking hard and seat-belt the carrier into the car to reduce the bumpiness of the ride. If possible, do not feed your cat for several hours prior to travel to decrease the chance that your cat will get carsick.   The waiting room The vet’s waiting room can be a pretty scary place for a cat, so cover the carrier with a towel or blanket to help reduce visual stimulation. Try to sit away from dogs and if your cat is showing signs of stress, ask if there is another room that you and your cat can wait in. Cats can sense our anxiety and frustrations so try to keep calm despite any stress or delay.    Image credit   Mobile vets If your cat is extremely unwell or stressed, another option is to find a mobile vet. Ask your vet if they offer or can recommend a mobile vet that can come to your location.         

O que significa sacudir a cauda realmente significa?

 Por yunus em 29 Sep 2016 |
2 Comentário (s)
It’s common knowledge that a wagging tail is a sign of a happy, friendly dog, but many pet owners don’t know that this everyday behaviour can also signal fear, insecurity or even aggression in our canine companions. Watching a dog’s body language, then, is crucial to understanding whether a wag is an invitation to play or a sign to stay away.   Dogs originally evolved their tails for balance. The appendage not only helped our canines’ ancestors navigate sharp turns at high speeds, but also helped them walk across narrow structures, climb and jump. Over time, however, this practical appendage evolved into a means of communication. Like any language, tail wagging has its own vocabulary that helps other dogs understand the intent behind the motion, and owners can better understand their pets by reading these signs.   To decipher what a wag means, note the position of your dog’s tail as well as its specific movements. Generally, a tail held high or straight up is a sign of being alert or even aggressive; a mid-set tail signals a calm or neutral pet; and a lower wag indicates your dog is feeling worried or anxious. Watching the motions accompanied by these positions is important, too, in understanding exactly what your dog is trying to say. A slight, rapid wag is often reserved for friendly greetings, while a wide, sweeping wag is your dog’s way of showing he is pleased and does not pose a threaten or challenge to you. A slower, lower wag often indicates Fido is feeling insecure, while tiny, rapid tail movements in a high position can mean your dog is issuing an active threat.   Other tail actions can communicate other emotions, too. When a dog holds his tail horizontal to the ground, he is often curious about his surroundings. When he tucks it between his legs, he is either displaying submission or showing he is scared. Dogs also wag their tails to help spread their unique scents from glands located under the appendage, so more dominant dogs tend to carry their tails higher to release more scent.   Like any means of communication, tail wagging is a social behavior and is largely learned from other dogs. Puppies don’t start wagging their tails until they’re old enough to communicate with their littermates and mothers, and you’d be hard-pressed to catch a dog wagging his tail when no other creatures are around. Dogs don’t limit their tail talk to other dogs, however, and will use it to communicate with humans and even other pets. Knowing the difference between a cheerful wag and fearful flag, then, is key to understanding what your dog is trying to say. When in doubt, watch for other body signals such as stiffened muscles or ears pinned back to know when your pet is telling you to walk away.

Por que o meu gato está de volta ... na minha cara?

 Por lucy em 21 Sep 2016 |
Sem comentários
Nothing says “Hello!” like backing up butt-first into someone’s face— at least if you’re a cat. While this gesture may seem uncouth to his human counterparts, your pet’s presenting of his posterior is the ultimate sign of affection in cat-speak. Not only does it give you access to his scent glands — cats’ way of sharing information about themselves — but the butt-to-face greeting also puts your pet in a very vulnerable position, meaning it is reserved for only his closest companions.   Cats can say a lot with their tails, and a tail held high is a sign that your pet is relaxed and comfortable. Tail sniffing, then, is considered a normal greeting between two familiar felines. A tail-up welcome puts your cat in a very vulnerable position, however, so this salutation is reserved only for his closest friends. When two unfamiliar cats meet for the first time, they are more likely to sniff or rub each other’s faces or necks, which contain scent-producing glands. These scents help clue cats into their social settings and can calm feelings of aggression or fear when approaching a friendly feline. Once cats feel more comfortable with each other, they will perform a similar greeting along each other’s flanks, another scent-laden region. This can communicate information about a cat’s own scent, which cats he’s been rubbing up against, and which humans have been petting him. Only once felines have achieved best-friend status do they let their peers sniff beneath their raised tail— the center of your cat’s signature scent. This is the feline equivalent of a warm handshake or hug, and greeting you bottom-first shows trust between you and your pet. A bum to the face may also be your cat’s way of asking for affection, further reaffirming your bond.   While your cat does not expect a sniff in return, some people prefer not to be greeted by their cat’s nether regions. To head off a posterior-first welcome, try meeting your cat with a scratch under the chin instead. You can also pat your cat from his head to his shoulders, emulating the exchange of information between cats when they brush up against each other. All of these actions swap scents while showering your cat with affection—the primary goals of his butt-to-face greeting. With some practice, your pet should start meeting you head-on, but in the meantime, you can rest easy knowing your feline friend doesn’t expect you to return his rear-first greeting with the regular sniff he’d expect from another cat— a simple scratch or pat on the back will do.

Por que meu cão gira círculos antes de deitar?

 Por yunus em 14 Sep 2016 |
Sem comentários
Whether it’s on the couch or in their own beds, dogs often turn a dizzying array of circles before finally settling down to sleep. While this seems an unnecessary ritual to their human counterparts, our canine companions are simply following a set of behaviors that their ancestors used to create a safe, comfortable spot to sleep.   Experts agree that Fido’s pre-sleep rituals most likely stem from his wild ancestors. Before they were domesticated, dogs had to sleep outdoors on various surfaces and in varied conditions. Walking circles in a spot helped them stamp down tall grass, creating a softer, more level surface for sleeping. Circling also helped dogs expose stones or twigs before settling down on top of them, and likely served as a means for scoping the area out for snakes and other hidden dangers. If turning circles before bed is functional, though, it also served a social role for wild dogs. As pack animals, our canines’ ancestors generally traveled together and bedded down beside each other, too. This helped protect the pack from harm and stay warm on cold nights. Some even theorize that the flattened sleeping areas acted as visible signs to other dogs that the territory had already been claimed.   In addition to circling, many dogs also “dig” at their bedding before curling up. Another relic of wild dogs’ behavior, this helped canines stay comfortable in a variety of climates. In hot weather, sleeping in a hole helped them control their body temperatures with the cool soil, for example. In cold weather, a hole provided a means of retaining body heat. A dugout den also provided a more concealed, secure place to lie down, and digging helped make the ground into a more comfortable spot to sleep.   While “nesting” is a normal canine behavior, repeatedly circling without seeming to settle down can be a sign that your dog is experiencing pain or discomfort. Arthritis can cause this, as can certain neurological problems, so if you notice your pet cannot seem to sit still, take him to the vet to rule out any pain and figure out what is causing his restless behavior. Similarly, digging at his dog bed is perfectly normal for Fido, but if his scratching carries over to your prizes rugs, you may need to provide alternative surfaces for sleeping. Try placing a blanket over your dog’s favorite spots; teaching him to use his dog bed only for sleep; or keeping your dog in rooms where he cannot damage the floor. Because pregnant dogs are especially prone to creating a maternal nest, provide them with clean rags, newspapers or other soft materials in an appropriate spot early in their pregnancy to encourage them to do their digging where it won’t cause damage.

Por que alguns gatos enlouquecem por catnip

 Por yunus em 07 Sep 2016 |
2 Comentário (s)
When it comes to catnip, there are two schools of cats: Those that hyperactively roll in it, lick it, and go “crazy,” and those that couldn’t care less. While this split response seems strange, it all comes down to our individual cats’ genetics, and either reaction is considered normal and safe for our feline friends.   Though cats can respond to catnip like a drug, it’s actually an herb belonging to the mint family. Catnip’s curious effects on our cats comes from an oil it contains called nepetalactone, which triggers varied reactions in from cats. While some are happy to just sniff the mind-altering chemical, others will eat, lick or even roll in their catnip. Because the reaction is inherited, however, not all cats respond in any way at all. In fact, up to 50 percent of our feline friends experience no change from catnip and will simply sniff it and walk away. The trait doesn’t emerge until kittens are between three and six months old, and older cats are less likely to respond, too. Large cats such lions, tigers and leopards, however, have been shown to react to catnip in similar ways to our housecats.   Researchers suspect that catnip works by triggering feline pheromones, or “happy” receptors, in your cat’s nose or brain. Once he gets a whiff, Kitty may begin rolling, rubbing, drooling or otherwise becoming hyperactive, and can even turn aggressive. Cats who eat catnip, however, seem to have the opposite reaction, becoming more sedated with their herbaceous snack. Whatever his response, your cat’s reaction will only last around 10 minutes before he loses interest in his catnip and will need a break of 30 minutes to several hours before becoming susceptible to its effects again.   Catnip isn’t just a feline obsession, however. Humans have used it for centuries as a mild sedative brewed into herbal teas. It has also been used to treat headaches, relieve cramps and insomnia, and reduce swelling associated with arthritis. Nepetalactone acts as a powerful insect repellent, too, fighting mosquitos and other pests.   Because it’s not a drug, catnip is non-addictive and safe to give to your cat. Those who are apt to eat it can make themselves sick on rare occasion, though, so be sure to give Kitty his treat in moderation. Catnip can lose its potency over time, so it’s best to store it in an airtight container in the freezer to increase its shelf life— or start your own catnip garden for you and your pet
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