This blog is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a veterinarian if your pet is ill.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Minnie helping with holiday card writing

Happy New Year!
Christmas came and went uneventfully - I had the flu and wasn't up for much. Hopefully the new year will bring many good changes for all of us. Today is a very cold and windy day - the kitties and I will celebrate the New Year with a movie and some warm comfort food!
Blessings to all!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ivy is Sick - Please Send Purrs and Prayers

Little Ivy cat from "Dangerous Napping" photo is having lots of seizures. I am consulting with two vets to see what we can do to help her. She has had a rough life living outdoors with a feral group until I took her inside two years ago when the others had died or left. She adapted very well and likes to be loved.

Also both my hours and my husband's hours have been cut back to part time in our jobs which makes it hard to make ends meet financially! Please keep us and Ivy in your thoughts!

Thanks for your purrs and prayers. I spoke with one vet and we are trying herbs and homeopathic remedies. She thinks it is Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome which is not easy to treat. Ivy's itchy skin causes her nervous system to overreact. I have gotten her down to one seizure a day - usually it happens first thing in the morning. I held her on my lap last night for a few hours to Reiki her. It seems to help calm her. She spends most of her day sleeping in the cubby hole of the TV stand, only coming out to use the litter box. I have another vet appointment on Friday with a new but holistic vet. We just moved here so I don't have anyone but my old vet who is doing phone consults with us. Will keep all posted.

Monday, December 22, 2008


All dogs drool a little and some breeds drool a lot because the loose skin around their mouths traps saliva and overflows. Even cats will drool when they are feeling happy and affectionate.

Dogs that drool normally can wear a bandanna around their neck - it catches the moisture before it hits the floor and they look spiffy wearing one!

Any change in your pet's drooling indicates a possible health issue. Drooling increases when pets are nauseated or when they have something stuck in their teeth or gums or a loose tooth in their mouth. Serious conditions like liver disse can cause drooling.

Do a mouth check - pets with a piece of string or bone in their teeth will drool heavily. Make sure they don't have a foreign object stuck between their teeth. They will also drool if they have gum or tooth disease. My cat Sweetpea was drooling long ropes of bloody saliva when one of her teeth became loose but would not fall out. A trip to the vet is needed if this is the issue.

Nausea - traveling in a car will cause drooling. The motion upsets the pets stomach and causes them to drool. I use the homeopathic remedies Ipecacuanha or Cocculus for this. Look for 30C strength and give two or more drops up to two hours before traveling.

Mancat Monday - Only Keeping a Lookout

It is a cold windy day but sunny. Don't think it warrants doing anything but sitting inside and watching the leaves blow by! ...and dozing off too!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dangerous Napping

Rainy days are great for napping - Ivy has a very precarious spot on the edge of the sofa! Every so often I have to yell her name to wake her before she slides off on the floor. Who would have thought napping could be risky!

Rainy Day Work

The day is rainy but warm so I am trying to catch up on my feral cat shelter work. The screen porch has been enclosed in plastic to protect them from the weather but they miss being able to see out. During warm days, I can lift the front door and one side and tack it up on Velcro strips to let in fresh air and sun. I need something for those colder days when I don't want to expose them to the weather. I have a few windows from an old trailer that I am embedding in the plastic to provide views to the outside and still be protected.

It took a few tries to get it right but cutting a hole in the plastic and sliding the window inside, then taping it up to keep it from moving and leaking worked the best. I put in two glass windows still in metal frames and one piece of Plexiglas for a higher view. The glass ones I rested on the ground. The Plexiglas being so light I could set it up higher for the cats to see out from a shelf inside.

They seem to enjoy watching the chipmunks and birds at the feeders in front of the windows. The shelter is still a work in progress for the cats and me. More work for another day!

Friday, December 12, 2008

At the Grave of a Fine Cat

This poem is dedicated to all the wonderful cats we have all known that have passed on to the Bridge.

May your whiskers be ruffled by only pleasant breezes,
May your bowls be filled with tuna and sweet cream,
May your dreams be blessed with legions of mice,
And most of all,
May you forever purr in peace.

--Barbara Younger

Are You Top Dog?

Your pooch needs you to be his leader. Dogs need to foloow soneone - it's their nature to live and hunt in packs.

Way back in dog history, members of packs with weak or not so smart leaders didn't survive to breed. Those is well led packs fared far better and passed the strong genes on to their offspring. As a dog owner, it is best to understand this insticnt and work with it - otherwise you will have a very hard to manage dog on your hands.

In an orderly pack the leader is the smartest and often the strongest. Under him or her is a dog who can beat every dog except the top or alpha dog and so on down throguh the pack. This is accomplished by testing the pack memebers.

Since you need to be the top dog, you need to set up challenges with your dog to test him. This process is what we call obedience training. It teaches your dog the he must always do what you say even though he may not have done so left to his own choices.

What happens whne the dog accepts you as top dog? A huge bruden is lifted from his mind. He knows he doesn't have to be constantly vigilant for danger outside the pack becasue you, the pack leader will take care of that. All he has to do is your bidding, which is exactly what you want.

The book and television show Dog Whisperer about Cesar Millan focuses on this very concept - of being a pack leader and letting your dog relax in his pack. Check out his book for ways to challenge and train your dog.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Living With a Deaf Pet

Pets do loose their hearing as they get older just like people. Some pets like white blue eyed cats and dalmatians can be born deaf. It takes some extra effort but they can adapt and make great pets in spite of their handicap.

I know from first hand experience. Albert, now four, is a beautiful long haired blue eyed deaf cat. I found him as a kitten sitting quietly alongside a busy road, watching the cars drive by. I walked up to him with a friend to help keep him from running into the road and he let me pick him up without any fuss. Since a family member had a white deaf cat, I surmised that this may be the case with Al. I knew that the local shelter would have a hard time placing him with his hearing loss and since I too am hearing impaired, I just felt this was meant to be.

Here are some suggestions to help make this living situation better for you and your deaf pet.

If your pet is deaf, then he must become strictly an indoor animal, out of harm's way. He will not be able to hear the engine of an oncoming car or the movements of another animal or person who may hurt them.

Indoors you must still become more aware of your pet's handicap and adjust your routine to assist him. Avoid startling the animal - never approach him from behind. Stomp on the floor. The vibration will let him know you are nearby. If your pet is sleeping, blow gently on his fur and he will turn to see what you want. Always be gentle in getting his attention.

If your pet was once hearing and responded to voice commands, then you will have to train him to respond to visual clues. Once I have Al's attention, he seems to be able to know what I am trying to tell him. Hand signals work great and are easy to teach. I wave at him to tell him to come. If it is for his food, I hold the food dish up for him to see and he will come to me.

Since he can't hear you telling him no, you must use another form of command to keep him in line. I use a water squirt bottle to stop Al from getting up on counters etc. You must quickly squirt and then stop - you don't want him to think it is a game. Sometimes just distracting him with a toy or another activity is the best way to divert his attention away from doing something you don't like. It doesn't always work - Al has a mind of his own but I keep trying.

Life with Al has been interesting and challenging but I would not have it any other way. Like the new movie out - Life with Marley - my life with Al has been just as funny and difficult but I have learned a lot from him along the way.

How to Trim Your Cats' Claws

Cat's claws should be examined and trimmed every two weeks or so. A groomer or vet can do this but most owners are capable of handling the task as well.

The following tips help make this a doable project for you and your cat.

Do the trimming when your cat is relaxed or sleepy. Waiting until they are makes this all the easier.

Have all the equipment at hand that you will need -- clippers, emery board, and styptic pencil.

Sit down and snuggle with you cat in your lap or have your cat stand or lie down on a table top. It helps to have someone to assist you in case the cat is difficult to handle. I have to wrap my cat Chica in a large towel with only her head and one paw sticking out. She still screams the whole time like I am hurtng her but I get the job done.

Hold up paw, grasp it gently, placing your index finger under the toe pad and your thumb securely on top of it.

Squeeze your thumb and index finger together to extend the claw.

Using the clipper cut halfway between the end of the claw and the quick - the pink, sensitive tissue at the base of the claw. If you accidentally cut into the quick, don't panic. It may bleed a little but if you apply the styptic the wound will soon heal.

Happy trimming!

Check Your Window Safety Stickers

When we moved recently I made sure I put up the "Save Our Pets" sticker by the kitchen door, listing the number of pets we had inside.

If you don't have one already, get one. It is essential to let the Fire Department know that you have pets that need to be rescued in case of fire. If you already have a safety sticker, make sure it is updated with the correct number of pets listed and that the ink on it has not faded with exposure to sunlight.

Most pet supply stores sell them for dogs, cats or both. Safety stickers also make good gifts for friends with pets.

Olive Leaf for infections

When my pets need help to boost their immune systems whether it is because of skin ailments, colds or other infections I use olive leaf. My vet turned me on to this herb and I highly recommend it.

Olive leaf works by stimulating your pet’s own protective cells (phagocytes) to ingest foreign invaders. It interferes with microorganisms’ vital amino acid production processes. It has no impact on ”friendly” microbes.

Olive leaf is highly effective in eliminating microorganisms, which supports its use in almost any type of infection. It is extremely effective in treating 19 different viruses and 15 types of bacteria, including conjunctivitis, canine hepatitis, “kennel cough,” cystitis, Endocarditis, peritonitis, staph infections, and urinary tract infections. Note: With very sick animals, their symptoms may become worse - because Olive leaf works so well that it kills bad microbes faster than the body can eliminate them, so detoxification symptoms may occur. If that happens, reduce dosage or stop giving Olive leaf for a day or two to allow your pet’s waste system to catch up.

When used as a daily supplement, olive leaf will bolster your pets' immune system and metabolism, making them healthier happier, and more able to resist fleas safely, naturally, and without the use of potent neurotoxins found in over the counter flea products.

Thinking of getting the dog his yearly cortisone shot? Did you know that cortisone is a powerful steroid that has many bad effects on the body and overall health? Our pets, dogs in particular, use their skin to remove excess toxins from their system. Because of this, the yearly itching and scratching that accompanies spring allergens is much the same as seasonal colds in humans. The effect of the steroids is merely to push the issue out of sight by driving the toxins deeper into the body. Would you take a steroid shot to treat a cold yourself? Olive leaf can work wonders in easing these annoying symptoms without resorting to heavy handed methods that can manifest into larger problems down the road. Olive leaf dramatically increases the function of the immune system, as well as acting as a natural antibiotic to allow your pets to deal with allergies in a safe, natural and effective manner. No side effects, and no danger of damage to internal organs. Simply add Olive Leaf Powder to your pets' wet or dry food and say goodbye to annoying scratching!

Best for Pets: Try Olive Leaf Powder or open capsules to add the powder to their food. I also like to use olive leaf extract in a non alcohol base. Rule of thumb for dosing - give 1/8 to 1/4 of the human dosage, depending on the size of the dog or cat.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Most dogs and cats can handle the winter's cold without experiencing anything worse than shivers. But pets that spend a lot of time outdoors in blustery weather can get frostbite, an extremely serious condition in which the body diverts blood away from the extremities - the legs, ears and tail - in order to preserve the core body heat. This can cause tissue in the extremities to break down and die.

Pets with frostbite will have extremely cold paws, ears and tails and the cold will persist even after they have spent time inside. They may bite at their feet and tails as well. Frostbite is always an emergency. But if you can't get to a vet immediately, there are things you can do to help your pet.

Let them choose the heat. They need to be warmed up but not too quickly. The best approach is to put them in a room with a radiator or fireplace and let them move closer or farther away as they see fit. Don't try to rush the heating process with things like heating pads.

Warm the ears and pads with moist heat. When the extremities are very cold, it is a good idea to gently dab them with a moist lukewarm washcloth.

Let them go hungry. Don't feed pets with frostbite because eating will draw circulation to the intestines at a time when it is more important to get circulation to the legs, ears and tail. It is fine for them to drink water at room temperature. Once your pets' body parts have warmed up, then you can feed them.

Cat Breeds: Siamese

My uncle always had Siamese cats and they had such outgoing personalities. He really enjoyed this breed of cat.

They need regular brushing but can be indoor or outdoor cats. They do need more space than some other cats. Plus they tend to be long lived cats.

Siamese are very active, inquisitive cats that bond strongly to one person. They enjoy travel and accept a leash quite readily. They are very vocal cats and can be talkers.

Some Siamese can be aggressive towards other cats. They can be jealous and unpredictable and very sensitive.

They are more susceptible to disease than other breeds. Congenitally they can have nasal obstructions, chin malformations, cleft palate, retinal degeneration and weak legs.

There are many rescue organizations that offer Siamese cats for adoption. Find a reputable breeder or help a needy cat find a home through rescue centers.

Vomiting Causes

Pets vomit for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes it is fairly obvious what caused it - eating garbage, anxiety, overeating. If your pet continues to vomit daily or several times a day, bring your pet to the vet ASAP! It could be serious. It is helpful for your vet to bring a sample of the vomit -- as gross as it may sound to do this.

The material in it is often the clearest indication of the cause. Material high in mucus tells you that the stomach or high intestine is inflamed. Undigested food can indicate food poisoning, anxiety or simply overeating. Bile is often present when an organ is involved - inflammatory bowel disease, kidney failure, pancreatitis. Flecks of bright blood tels your vet that the stomach may be lacerated. If the blood is brown and caramelized the problem is further down the intestine. Strong digestive odors indicate intestinal obstruction. Bits of foreign substances tell you that they may have eaten something like tinsel, paper etc.

If you suspect you pet may have eaten something they should not have please contact your nearest veterinary ER right away. Time is of essence in this situation.

Dog Breeds: Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are becoming very popular - they have been featured in TV ads and movies like Legally Blonde in recent years.

Their small size,averaging two to six pounds, makes them easy to take along with you on errands and trips. They do need lots of exercise and are very sensitive to the cold. Because of this they are primarily indoor dogs.

They can be difficult to train as they are very dominating dogs for their size. On the plus side, they are also nondestructive to your home and belongings.

Chihuahuas are very affectionate and do need a lot of attention. They have less tolerance for children and may snap at toddlers who handle them roughly.

They make good watchdogs although like most small breeds they may bark too much at times.

Possible congenital defects include deformed spines, knees, dislocated shoulders, heart and breathing problems, hemophilia and brain swelling.

Choosing A Pet

When choosing a pet, choose a breed that fits your lifestyle and preferences. Both dogs and cats vary widely in their temperaments and their needs.

Every day animal shelters must euthanize healthy animals turned in because their unhappy owners did not research and anticipate certain issues. For instance, a mild mannered person should not select a large dog from a breed that tends to dominate the owner. Or a family with toddlers should choose a breed less likely to snap at the children. Those who live in an apartment with no yard should pick an animal suited to smaller confines.

Size also affects personality. Small dogs tend to be active and have a high demand for affection. Large dogs tend to be quieter and more patient with children. Very small and very large dogs are prone to genetic problems. Large dogs require more space and more food - affecting your budget and lifestyle.

Check out the breed list and see what type of pet is best for you and your family.


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