Archive for the ‘Pet’ Category

Hissing Cat

An angry cat can be quite intimidating. Your usually cool cat suddenly crouches, half opens his mouth, draws back his lips, and bares his teeth in a terrifying expression. And then he expels his breath in a loud hiss. It’s enough
to deter anyone – or anything.

But that’s the whole point. And what could be more intimidating than sounding like one of the world’s most fearsome animals – the snake. The sound your cat makes – as well as its grimace – resembles that of a snake right before it strikes. And the message is clear: This is a warning, and any further threatening behavior toward me is at your peril.

When your cat hisses, it is a defensive act; in fact, it’s an evolutionary strategy of deception based on mimicry, and occurs when one species of animal looks like or behaves like another one. Mimicry is fairly common in the animal
kingdom. For example, when burrowing owls are cornered, they produce a
defensive hiss that mimics the rattle of a rattlesnake. Non-poisonous
viceroy butterflies mimic the poisonous monarch butterfly in color, and
as a result birds do not to eat them. And a beetle called the “locust
borer” mimics the sound of a bee when picked up.

When your cat hisses at another cat, don’t be too eager to intervene. Not only is  hissing a defensive strategy; it is also a manner of communicating to
establish house rules. A kitten may playfully pounce on an older cat,
who will then hiss. Usually the kitten gets the point – that this older
cat is not to be messed with.

Your cat may also display this threatening behavior toward you. When your kitty hisses at you, it’s best to ignore the behavior and walk away. Your pet will soon learn that this verbal display will get him no attention at all and should be saved for really threatening circumstances – not just silly old you.


Dealing with Insensitive People

Alas, not every human being loves dogs or appreciates why living with a dog is such a special experience. Some people may have difficulty understanding why you’re so upset over the impending death of your senior pal. You may hear insensitive comments from these folks and wonder how to deal with them without going ballistic.

Here are some steps you can take when someone makes one of the following thoughtless or cruel comments about how you’re dealing with the death of your senior:

  • It’s just a dog.” The word ‘just’, as used here, is so inappropriate. Your dog is a member of your family. By trying to give her good care up to the very end and by grieving over her impending death, you’re treating her with the love and respect that you’d give any family member. When other people say that you should feel otherwise or that a dog’s death is no big deal, they deserve your sympathy.
  • You can always get another dog.” A variation of this supremely insensitive comment is “When are you going to get another dog?” No individual, canine or otherwise, can truly be replaced. Someday you may have another dog — or you may not. The choice is yours. Meanwhile, though, you focus on honoring your current senior dog — exactly as you should be. If the person who makes the comment is persistent, you can always say, “I’m really not ready to deal with that right now.”
  • “Aren’t people more important than dogs?” This comment is especially galling, not to mention a total non sequitur. Feeling sad over the death of a beloved dog doesn’t mean that you don’t feel (or haven’t felt) just as sad over the death of a beloved person. The love, not the species, is what’s important here. You can respond to this comment by saying, “Fido was a member of my family, and I feel sad when anyone in my family dies.”
  • He lived a long life, so you really shouldn’t be upset.” So what?
    Maybe your dog lived a long time — but people who have the privilege of loving dogs know that no matter how long their canine companions live, they never live long enough. When confronted with this comment, your best course of action is to say, “I tried to give him a good life, and he was a great dog.”

Chiropractic Treatment for Your Dog

Today’s veterinary chiropractic treatment has borrowed from the
human chiropractic profession. Veterinary chiropractors are trained to
have a detailed understanding of the structure and function of every
bone, muscle, nerve, ligament, and tendon in the body and how they
interact and move in relation to each other. To realign the bones, the
chiropractic practitioner performs adjustments, in which the bones are realigned either manually or using a small impacting device called an activator.

Chiropractic adjustment is particularly helpful when a dog has an
injury or other musculoskeletal problem that causes her to move
abnormally. Perhaps your dog has had an injury and has been limping. Or
maybe she has hip dysplasia or arthritis, and she is stiff or favors
one leg over the other. These chronic abnormalities in movement can
result in an uneven tension of muscles and misalignment of the skeletal
system. Chiropractic adjustment realigns the bones, helps relax the
muscles, and returns balance to the musculoskeletal system.

Dog Health & Nutrition, by M. Christine Zink, DVM, PhD, can help your canine friend enjoy a longer and healthier life.

Calculating Feline Age

A widely held belief for determining whether a cat is
middle-aged or old is that one year in a cat’s life equals four in a
human’s. In truth, the situation is not that neat, and if you think
about it, you can easily see why. Under a "one equals four" rule, a
1-year-old cat would be the equivalent in terms of mental and physical
maturity to a human 4-year-old, and that’s clearly off.

A better equation is to count the first year of a cat’s life as
being comparable to the time a human reaches the early stages of
adulthood — the age of 15 or so. Like a human adolescent, a 1-year-old
cat looks fairly grown up and is physically capable of becoming a
parent but lacks emotional maturity.

The second year of a cat’s life picks up some of that maturity and
takes a cat to the first stages of full adulthood in humans — a
2-year-old cat is roughly equivalent to a person in the mid-20s.

From there, the "four equals one" rule works pretty well. A cat of 3
is still young, comparable to a person of 29. A 6-year-old cat, similar
to a 41-year-old person, is in the throes of middle age; a 12-year-old
cat, similar to a 65-year-old person, has earned the right to slow down
a little. A cat who lives to be 20 is the feline equivalent of nearly
100 in terms of human life span!

The O-Fish-All Word on Aquarium

When you go on vacation, try to find a trustworthy person to
feed the fish in your aquarium while you’re away. A relative or mature
neighborhood kid is usually a good choice. To make sure that they feed your
fish properly, place individual servings in plastic bags so that your
substitute know exactly what to put into each tank. They may sound like a
hassle, but it’s better than returning home to find your prize goldfish has
become the size of a basketball and is stuck on top of a mountain of uneaten

Another option is to purchase an automatic feeder from your
local fish shop. These units automatically dispense a certain amount of food
daily. Never add a bunch of extra food to the tank before going on vacation.
Your fish won’t eat the extra food before it starts rotting, and by the time
you get home, you may have a serious — and stinky — water problem.

Aquariums For Dummies, by
Maddy Hargrove and Mic Hargrove, will help you get along swimmingly with your
aquatic interests.

Can Your Dog Get Mad Cow Disease from his Food?
by: Shirley Greene
Scientists believe our human and dogs?food supply chain is safe from BSE.

Have you been reading the papers, watching the national news or listening to talk radio? If so, chances are you’ve been exposed to the term Mad Cow Disease. Recently, even a case in Goats has been confirmed in France! We know it is possible for a variant of Mad Cow Disease to be passed to humans through meat consumption. What about our pets? Are they also in danger?

First, let’s briefly review some information about Mad Cow Disease.

What Is Mad Cow Disease?

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow Disease, is a transmissible, slowly progressive, degenerative disease having an extremely long incubation period. Some experts quote the incubation period may be as long as three to nine years. This means that there is a very long period when an animal is infected but does not appear ill. This is important because animals may be infected and consumed before they become symptomatic.

The disease affects the central nervous system of cattle causing symptoms such as excessive salivation, staggering gait and weight loss. The animal usually dies within six months of becoming symptomatic.

There are limited portions of the steer carcass thought to carry the infection. They are the brain, spinal cord, and other nervous system tissues. Muscle meats, experts state, should be safe for human consumption, even if they are from an infected steer.

While the USDA tells us that muscle tissue is safe, killing methods in slaughterhouses create situations that may lead to contamination of brain and central nervous tissue into other tissues.

The mode of transmission appears to be from infected animals that were processed as cattle feed, then fed to other cattle and then were consumed by people.

Safety Measures Don’t Protect Pet Foods

Since the discovery of infected cows first in Great Britain, then in Canada, and now one (or possibly more) within the U. S., the USDA has announced implementation of some new safeguards. These safeguards fall far short of those called for by consumer groups and scientists. This new rule was very interesting to me, as a pet owner:

“Meat from downer animals will no longer be allowed into our human food supply. These animals are called 4D for dead, dying, diseased and disabled.”
However, 4D animals can still be used in commercial pet foods and feed for poultry and swine.

Restrictions have also been placed on slaughter and processing methods to “increase the likelihood” tissue from the nervous system of the cow does not end up in meat products. Is that good enough.

Can Your Dog Get Infected from Eating Kibble, Hooves or Rawhide?

In a word, the general consensus of the international scientific community is a resounding “NO.” For reasons unknown, dogs appear to be immune. Cats, however, are not so lucky.

Many animal experts recommend that any dog food containing beef or beef byproducts be kept away from felines, even though there is no reason to believe that BSE is present in American dog foods.

The FDA states: “There is no evidence to date that dogs can contract BSE or any similar disease and there is further no evidence that dogs can transmit the disease to humans. With the exception of cats, no pets are known to be able to contract Mad Cow Disease.”

Final Thoughts From the Author

I don’t have many answers. The more I read, research, e-mail, and phone various experts, the more I find myself concentrating on the “loophole” words and phrases, such as: highly unlikely, perhaps, maybe, possible, probable, documented, nearly, estimated and my favorite – “appears but not scientifically proven, so we’ll just say undocumented.”

Overwhelmingly, scientists believe our human and dogs’ food supply chain is safe from BSE, well, except in very rare instances. And, in those cases, it is the humans, not our dogs, who are not guaranteed 100 percent safety.

What would I do? I would follow the advise of Ben Jones, President of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), who recommends that meat and bone meal should be avoided altogether in any dog food products where there is the possibility of access by cats or kids.

If I owned a kitty, or had children, I’d make certain there was no pet food containing beef or beef byproducts or beef meal in my home. If I had venison or elk meat in my freezer, I’d call my local Department of Public Health and ask how to safely and permanently dispose of it.

Each of us must make informed decisions for the well being of our families and our pets. More is unknown than is certain. Knowledge is power; so update yours often.

For more information, see the complete article Food For Thought: Mad Cow and Wasting Disease.

Here is your Pets eTip

Coaxing Kitty through Airport Security

The most frightening moment of any trip for most kitten owners traveling by air is walking through the security X-ray checkpoint. Officers will instruct you to remove the kitten from the carrier, place the carrier on the conveyor belt, and carry your kitten through the human X-ray scanner. Never place your kitten in the carrier to send through the X-ray conveyer.

While you try to walk through those X-ray arches and return your kitten to his carrier, alarms are blaring, people are dropping change and keys into metal bowls, and any number of other unfamiliar noises, sights, and motions are scaring the fur off of your kitty. He will struggle. Make sure you have a harness on him. Security may not be too helpful. They may even watch nonchalantly as your kitten scratches three layers of flesh from your chest while you try to fit a spread-eagle four-legged acrobat into a carrier opening. If you’re traveling with a companion, have him go through the checkpoint first so he can hold the carrier door open for you.

Kittens For Dummies, by Dusty Rainbolt, can help you make wise decisions about your kitty’s care and feeding.

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