CatFriendly.com Launches: A Veterinary Resource from AAFP

Go ahead and admit it–if you love reading and talking about cats, sharing cat stories, and (especially) providing good cat care for your special felines, the new CatFriendly.com website is right up your alley(cat). Sorry…couldn’t resist.

cat friendly practice

Last year, I was honored to be asked to serve on the Cat Friendly Practice Advisory Council. This is an outreach effort of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) to connect with cat caregivers and provide good information for keeping your cats happy and healthy.

In their continued effort, last week AAFP announced the launch of a new “cat friendly” Internet destination, with content written by feline veterinarians. Mee-WOW! Believe me, if your cats could read, that’s where they’d hang out. And since they can’t read (and you have control of the mouse *s*) I urge you to take an eye-blink look at CatFriendly.com. The site includes a searchable database for you to “Find a Veterinarian or Practice” to help you locate an AAFP member veterinarian or Cat Friendly Practice® in your neck of the woods.

JUST ANOTHER CAT WEBSITE?

Now, y’all know I provide lots of cat care (and dog care) and behavior information here on the Bling, Bitches & Blood blog, as well as in my books. And I know a boatload of wonderful “cat journalists” members of the Cat Writers’ Association who research and fear free cat tipsprovide accurate cat information and advice in a variety of ways. That info ONLY works when you also partner with a veterinarian.

But too many cat caretakers avoid going to the vet at all because of the angst involved. I even wrote a short booklet about the issue, with some tips how to overcome the kitty angst (and your own!). So I’m already preaching the Cat Friendly message.

When looking for solid, credentialed information, it’s always important to know your source. You can never have too much GOOD information to get you started, and having a website designed, vetted and written by feline specialists takes all the guess work out of the equation. So I’m delighted to now have yet another resource to share. Trust me, your cat will LOVE you for this!

aafpWHAT YOU’LL FIND AT CatFriendly.com

AAFP recognizes that folks often begin looking for answers to their cat questions by asking “Dr. Google.” That’s why they’ve created CatFriendly.com to provide veterinary-approved, credible information–while still encouraging you to seek veterinary advice and care. Here are some of the information topics the site covers:

  • Cat Care at Home
  • Keep Your Cat Healthy
  • Diseases
  • Why Does My Cat….?
  • Be a Cat Friendly Caregiver
  • The Toy Box (offers the opportunity to share photos, take quizzes, and other fun stuff!)

Today, we have many more options to find solid information, and provide the best care possible for our kitty friends. Applause and purrs to the AAFP and the Cat Friend Practice initiative–and the new resource website for us all. Please share this great information far and wide!

 

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Note: Upon occasion, affiliate links to books or other products may be included in posts, from which I earn a small amount with each purchase from the blog. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

 

Cold Weather Pet Protection

Cold weather pet protection becomes more important this time of year. Here in North Texas we don’t have snow–yet–but just that wind chill can make it uncomfortable for our dogs and cats. It can also be downright dangerous, especially for pets that spend any amount of time outside, like feral cats or stray dogs. House pets used to warm indoor temps need extra help, too.

Colorful Dog

Different size dogs and variations in coats impact how quickly they’ll be ready for cold weather.Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

PREPARE PETS FOR COLD WEATHER

Here in Texas, the weather stays HOT HOT HOT well into November and December. Now it’s the first week of January, and it’s starting to cool down a smidge. For cats and dogs that will spend a lot of time outside during the cold winter months, it’s important to get ’em ready now.

It takes time for that winter coat to grow. And it’s not fair to the dog to expect him to “get hairy” overnight when the first frost freezes. The video below, from a past KXII-TV pet talk, still has good information with suggestions and cautions for prepping pets for the colder weather to come.

Chow

The Chow has lots of thick fur for cold weather protection. Thinly coated pooches like the Chihuahua may need a coat. Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

How do you get your dogs ready? Magical-Dawg would stay out in the wind and wet if we’d let him, and doesn’t seem to have the smarts to come in out of the weather. (Don’t tell him I said that!) The cats, on the other paw, have a very good idea about how to stay comfy and already have the warmest spots staked out for snoozing in sunny puddles on the carpet. Or under the stained glass lampshades.

Feral cats need extra help. Many of the tips, below, work equally well for creating safe outdoor spots for your dogs, too.

KEEPING KITTY SAFE IN WINTER

I wrote about keeping outdoor cats safe on this blog, and received lots of comments here and on Facebook. That discussion had more to do with choosing whether or not to allow cats out. But what if you have strays that refuse to come inside, or a feral colony you care for? My colleague Louise Holton of Alley Cat Rescue shared some PAW-some tips with our Cat Writers Association group and gave me permission to also share it here. What are some other ways to help keep kitty safe? Many of these also apply to keeping outside dogs winterized and safe. Here’s Louise’s suggestions:

A feeding station will help to keep food and water dry and will help with freezing weather. Bedding should be straw or made of a synthetic fleece material such as that used to make horse saddle covers. Blankets, sheets and towels retain moisture and remain damp and should not be used during winter.
If you are unable to build a shelter, you can use any type of strong box or crate, or buy a dog “igloo” from your pet supply company. The styrofoam ice chests work great for cat shelters, with thick walls that provide some insulation.
Mylar insulation is made of polyester and aluminum that reflects radiant heat. It is used to keep houses cooler in summer and warmer in winter. This type of insulation is normally used in attics and is a perfect material to use to insulate outdoor cat shelters.

TIPS FOR WINTERIZING YOUR COLONY

  • You should insulate the shelter with thick plastic or other material such as Mylar mentioned above to keep out wind and cold.
  • You could buy a dog house and modify it, blocking off part of the larger opening to make it smaller and therefore warmer inside for the cats.
  • Size should be approximately 3’ x 3 ’ and 2′ high.
  • Cats will cuddle together inside for warmth.
  • Build enough shelters so that around 6 cats can stay in each one.
  • Use straw for the bedding NOT HAY or blankets or towels.
  • It is safer to have 2 small openings for the cats to enter and be able to get away if danger presents itself. Put the openings on the side of the shelter that is protected from the wind. Two openings will give a chance at escape should a pesky raccoon for instance or any other animal try to enter the shelter.
  • Raise the shelter off the ground by placing it securely on bricks or on a wooden pallet. If left on the ground it will retain moisture and will rot.
  • Clean shelters each spring and autumn by replacing the bedding with fresh straw.

    Be sure and visit Louise’s Alley Cat Rescue to find more feral cat resources and info.

COOL WEATHER PREPARATION FOR PETS

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Note: Upon occasion, affiliate links to books or other products may be included in posts, from which I earn a small amount with each purchase from the blog. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Pet Music Therapy? The Sound of Success!

Pet music therapy can help solve cat behavior problems as well as offer physical therapeutic benefits. Our pet cats are attuned to sound and are incredibly sensitive to noises, including music.

With New Years celebrations this weekend, some pets with noise phobia issues are in for a rough ride (tips here for helping with fireworks fear!). Pet music therapy can also help, so read on.

cat with musical instruments

Seren appreciates string music from my cello or violin.

CAT FACTS, THE SERIES

I’m sharing this information from my PET MUSIC THERAPY entry from Cat Facts, The Series 13 (M): The Pet Parent’s A-to-Z Home Care Encyclopedia which includes these topics:

Mammary Glands, Mange, Marking, Massage, Mastitis, Mega Colon, Miliary Dermatitis, Milk (as Food), and Music Therapy.

I’ve broken the massive book into discounted catnip-size alpha-chapter sections. Folks can choose which ones they most need. Each chapter will release every other week. Of course, you can still get the entire CAT FACTS book either in Kindle or 540+ pages of print.

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

WHAT IS PET MUSIC THERAPY?

Pleasant music can mask scary noises like thunder, or upsetting sounds like a trespassing cat’s vocalizations that put your pet’s tail in a twist. But more than that, the cadence of certain sounds influences the body’s natural rhythms and can speed them up and energize the listener, or slow them down to calm him.

For instance, a fearful cat can be soothed with music or distracted with nature sounds like water running from a fountain. Lethargic pets that need to exercise can be energized with chirping bird sounds or fast music to get up and boogie to the beat.

pet music therapy

Many dogs enjoy music, and “howl along” with singing or the keyboard.

WHY PET MUSIC WORKS

Sound causes physical changes in the body. Brain waves change with different kinds of sounds—music with a pulse of about 60 beats per minute slows the brain waves so the listener feels more relaxed and peaceful and shifts the consciousness into a more alert state. This rhythm also slows breathing, which calms the mind and improves the metabolism. It works for humans, and also for our pets.

Even the heart wants to follow the pulse of the music—faster rhythms energize the listener as his heartbeat increases and blood pressure rises, while slower tempos calm. Listening to music releases endorphins—natural painkillers that are produced by the brain—and reduces the levels of “stress hormones” in the blood.

cat music therapy

MUSIC IS SOUND MEDICINE

Sound therapy is still considered pretty new. One of the best known applications is ultrasound that uses the “echo” of high frequency sound waves to take diagnostic pictures inside the body—doctors even use it to break up kidney stones with vibration instead of surgery. Over the last 20 years, music therapy has become a staple of the human mental health profession, and is often used with troubled children and brain-disordered patients.

Today, harp music is used to relieve pain that drugs don’t help, soothes emotional upset, and has become of particular help in hospice situations for human patients. The sound of harp music calms fractious cats and offers almost a natural sedative effect so that the upset animals become quiet, and go to sleep.

HOW TO USE PET MUSIC THERAPY

The simplest way to treat cats with music is to put on a CD or turn on the radio. Choose music you like—pets seem to respond best to music their owners enjoy because of the bond you share. If you have favorite music you often play, your pet will associate the sound with your presence, so playing that same music when he’s alone will remind him of you and help ease problems like separation anxiety. Play the music for at least 10 to 15 minutes at a time to get your pet in the right mood.

LOUD, SOFT, CLASSICAL OR ROCK?

Soft music with a slow, steady rhythm helps calm agitated pets. It can help arthritic cats relax their muscles and increase their range of motion. Many pets enjoy Mozart or other classical music. New Age, soft jazz, nature sounds or even ballad-type Country can be soothing. The music should be melodic (not dissonant) and the tempo even and slow. You can play calming music anytime your pet feels stressed, or all day long as a background to help keep him calm.

Turn up the volume to energize your pet. Moderate to loud music with a more driving beat energizes the emotions and can encourage lethargic pets to exercise and lift depression or grief. Rock music, even the driving energy of Rap may get a pet’s tail moving, but any up-tempo music from classical to contemporary has the power to energize.

YOUR TURN!

Do your pets like music? Is it part of your doggy or cat protocol? What style of music do you (and your pets) prefer? Seren does her lion “cough-cough” when I hit a wrong note on the cello, and Magical-Dawg howls along when I sing too high. What about your furry wonders? Do tell!


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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Note: Upon occasion, affiliate links to books or other products may be included in posts, from which I earn a small amount with each purchase from the blog. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Does Your Cat Hate the Vet? Get Quick Solutions Now!

My Cat Hates My Vet . . . well the visit, anyway, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more of your cats feel the same way. Karma-Kat doesn’t care so much, but Seren-Kitty is horrified at the notion.

We want to provide the best care possible for our beloved cats, but what do you do when your kitty turns into a wildcat at the vet? Cats visit veterinarians less often because their owners hate to see them upset and afraid of the cat carrier, car ride, and stranger handling.

my cat hates my vet

SEREN’S VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY BAD DAY…

Because of Seren’s c’attitude, she didn’t get the best or timely care that would be ideal. Oh, we managed, because I’m a former vet tech. So for years, before the vet visit, I’d get her temperature at home, collect a fecal sample, even draw blood if necessary. That way, once at the clinic, the veterinarian could hurry through a hands-on exam in the limited time Seren remained calm.

Basically, I’d ask for the first morning appointment, get assurances no (spit!) dogs would be there, and gently tell the staff that ONLY the vet should touch Seren. The doctor had about a 45-60 second window before she’d begin a melt down. Oh, and she never used to be like this. But cats learn very quickly (and remember!) both the good, and the very bad.

VETS & FEAR: BAD FOR CATS

In a memorable episode that will live in infamy, Seren was diagnosed with a potentially devastating illness — BECAUSE OF STRESS! Yes, her tests came back as a false-positive and for several days, I was a basket case. I was anguished not only by the diagnosis, but by how Seren was handled that elevated her angst. *shudder* No, you’ll have to read the gruesome details in the Quick Tips Guide. She’s fine now, but I know that experience worsened her expectations of vets.

Anyway, as a result of that horrific episode (and hearing from YOU through the years, as well as veterinarians now advocating FELINE FRIENDLY and FEAR FREE VISITS), I’ve created a new quick tips guide. It’s a fast read, barely 50 pages, but packed full of how-to tips for helping your cat get the veterinary care needed. Hey, your veterinarian will appreciate you, too!

It’s available as a trade paperback ($6.99) and only $2.99 on Kindle, or for FREE when you join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial  Here are the details:

MY CAT HATES MY VET! Foiling Fear Before, During & After Vet Visits

“Amy has been educating and advocating for kinder, more gentle feline handling and procedures for decades. This powerful book is like Cliff Notes for your cat’s emotional well-being. It contains proven techniques, practical methods, and is filled with passion. I’m going to prescribe this book for all my cat owning clients.” —Dr. Marty Becker, America’s Veterinarian and the father of the Fear Free veterinary visit movement

HALT THE HISSES!

MY CAT HATES MY VET! packs prescriptive advice into a short how-to guide that offers step-by-step instructions to help your cats learn to LOVE the vet, accept the cat carrier, and tolerate car rides–and get the medical care they need and deserve. This is your definitive guide for foiling feline fear. From one of America’s best known pet care authorities, you’ll learn:

*7 Reasons Cats HATE The Vet
*12 Ways to Soothe Fear
*Best Carriers & 8 Cat Crate Tips
*9 Calming Cat Car Ride Techniques
*How to Choose the Best Veterinarian
*What are Cat Friendly Practices & Fear Free Clinics
*Ways to Stop Cat-to-Cat Aggression After Vet Visits

With a fun conversational tone and easy proven techniques, MY CAT HATES MY VET! helps ensure your loving bond remains strong and intact.

YOUR TURN!

So…does YOUR cat hate the vet? Are you ready to start 2017 off on the right “paw” for your cat? I hope so! I’m doing things sooo much better with Karma-Kat (and Seren’s getting better, too). Bless the veterinarians making a difference, but us pet parents gotta do our part, too!

P.S., Subscribers to my Pets Peeves Newsletter got an advance copy of this book for free over the holidays. Have you subscribed? 🙂

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Note: Upon occasion, affiliate links to books or other products may be included in posts, from which I earn a small amount with each purchase from the blog. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Get NATURAL HEALING for Pets Book FREE 3 Days Only

A NATURAL HEALING GIFT FOR PETS & PET PARENTS

Get this Natural Healing for Pets Book today! New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats in time for the Holidays is FREE! for three days only…

Get your KINDLE copy of the book 12-15, 12-16 or 12-27. Please tell your friends! Share the furry luv!  CLICK HERE to get your copy!
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And…here’s another lil’ something just for you…created this a couple year’s ago but the sentiment is the same. All my best…

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!