National Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day #Cat2VetDay

KarmaSerenSandwich

The “laying on of paws” does not replace proper vet care!

Saturday, August 22, is “National Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day” (#Cat2VetDay) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) is using this as an opportunity to educate cat owners on the importance of routine check-ups.  Eighty-three percent of cats are taken to the vet in the first year of ownership, yet over half of them don’t return!

Now, y’all know I have a boatload of books available about how to care for your furry wonders, from kittenhood to old age, first aid and everything in between. But a book or an Internet search is NOT how best to care for your cat! Kitty needs hands-on whisker-to-vet interaction to ensure s/he’s healthy and will maintain that health for all of her nine lives. By the time you notice something may be amiss, it’s likely been percolating for a while…

Young female veterinarian with a cat in her arms

How can you help?

  1. Check out the PAW-some Infographic, below.
  2. Please TWEET about this using the #Cat2VetDay hashtag.
  3. CALL your vet today and make an appointment for your furry wonders.
  4. SHARE on Facebook. We need to get our cats some furry love.
  5. Oh, and here’s another great resources, a PDF you can share far and wide with more great info: 5 Cat-Tastic Benefits of Routine Vet Visits!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–click the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Want the insider info on the latest books and appearances? Join my team and get advance sneak peaks related to my THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Top 10 Puppy Proofing Tips to Save Dog Lives

naughty dog - barbet wrapped in danger tape on white background

School will soon start, and a number of summer pet arrivals may have more unsupervised freedom than ever before. Puppy proofing is the canine version of human baby-proofing when a new bundle of joy arrives, and it’s vital you know how to puppy proof your home and yard. Puppies explore their world with nose pokes, paw pounces, and chewing everything within reach.

For your new puppy, everything is a potential game. He uses his mouth the way infants reach out and grab. So tug-games with the curtains, keep-away when he steals your wallet, un-planting the potted palm or eating poisonous plants, and nosey sniffs of the candle flame get him in trouble.

During teething, he’ll want to chew even more to relieve the discomfort, but most dogs love to chew their whole life. Puppies not only damage your property, he could hurt himself or die from munching dangerous objects.

purebred rottweiler carrying a lucky bamboo on a white background

Think Like A Puppy

Anything that moves, looks fun or interesting, or dangerous will attract your furry delinquent. Get a puppy-eye-view of your home by crawling around on all fours to channel your “inner puppy” –it’s okay, you don’t have to wag or bark, just find and address the dangers. Remember, some pups aren’t really grown up mature dogs until 18 months or so, and even adult dogs can get into trouble. Here are some of the most common trouble spots.

  1. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets often house cleaning supplies that can be poisonous if swallowed. When cabinets are within puppy reach, be sure the baby can’t paw them open. Child-proof latches are a good idea.
  2. Toilet paper is a popular puppy toy. Drinking out of the toilet is another nasty habit that could be dangerous if a small pup falls in and drowns or ingests chemical cleaners. The easy fix is—shut the bathroom door, and/or always put the lid down.
  3. Electrical cords tempt puppies to chew. They can be shocked and sometimes even rescue breathing and CPR may not save them. Bad tasting products like Bitter Apple may help but don’t rely on these as some funny canines like the taste. It’s better to keep the cords out of reach by installing baby gates to make rooms off-limits, moving electrical items and their cords elsewhere, or bundle the cords together. Home product stores offer products designed to do this.
  4. Pups jump up on window sills to look out. That may tempt them to grab curtains or play tug with the cords on the window blinds. Some pups have strangled in these cords so tie them up out of reach.
  5. Waste baskets can be incredibly rewarding for a puppy to pillage. Table scraps to old used tissues can be found so invest in waste baskets with lids, hide them behind latching doors, or set them on countertops out of reach.
  6. Dirty laundry must smell like heaven to puppies. Concentrated beloved human scent found on worn socks and underwear or shoes can be very appealing. The pillow your head rests on when you sleep also smells like you. So protect the laundry basket, and close the closet door to keep puppy marauders from stealing and chewing shoes, purses or brief cases left on the floor. Puppies may confuse throw pillows with legal chew toys so make it easy for them to tell the difference and put forbidden objects out of reach.
  7. If you have cats, be sure the litter box is out of reach. Puppies like to snack on poop, especially kitty potty deposits and aside from the unsanitary issue, this will hiss off the cat and cause potential inter-pet problems. Most cats can leap onto a tabletop to find their litter box, which keeps it out of dog range.
  8. Some common house plants are poisonous if chewed and swallowed. Even if nontoxic, your puppy may have great fun gnawing and dragging pieces around the house, or practicing his excavation technique. Either hang baskets or set houseplants on tables out of reach, or throw away if they’re of the toxic variety.
  9. Find a safe place out of puppy tooth range to store cell phone, TV remote or other such objects. If you’re paper training the puppy, remember that the newspaper, books, magazines or music left on the floor may invite puppy potty attention you don’t want.
  10. Puppies also spend time in the yard. Don’t think a fence makes him safe. Puppies can wiggle out of tiny openings or get caught and injured trying to escape. Anything that can be turned into a toy should be put out of reach. Lawn and garden chemicals should be shut in puppy proof rooms or boxes.

NEW-PUPPY-COVER-lorezWhat have I missed? Are there DANGER ZONES unique to your neck of the woods? I cover a whole lot more in my book COMPLETE PUPPY CARE, and I’d love to hear what else has been a safety issue for your furry wonders!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–click the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Want the insider info on the latest books and appearances? Join my team and get advance sneak peaks related to my THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Crash Test Dummies & Car Seat Covers

dog in carBack in May, I wrote about Kurgo Harness and how delighted I was that it fit Magical-Dawg. At the time, I also included information about the crash tests conducted by the Center for Pet Safety Studies. Since that time, I’ve received the latest results on follow-up tests, as well as a Kurgo Bench Seat Cover to review.

See how all that ties in together? :) Anyway, I’m late posting about the updated info as well as the seat cover, and beg forgivness. My excuse–I’ve been at deadline on the next pet-centric thriller (actually, I need to add something in there about pet safety in vehicles…you’ll have to read the book to get that reference), and also it’s been too dang HOT to have Magical-Dawg in the car to fully test the seat cover. So today, this is sort of a make-up blog to combine all together.

I am not being compensated for writing this post. Kurgo provided me with a free seat cover in exchange for an honest review. Kurgo is not responsible for the content of this article.

KurgoSeatCover

Image courtesy of Kurgo.

I received the Universal Fit Kurgo Bench Seat Cover for my Toyota Camri, list price $45. My first impressions were the material is soil resistant canvas with a plastic backing to make it waterproof. It comes in either charcoal or tan, and looks very nice.There’s a Velcro-close pocket in the seat back and front bottom of the seat supposedly for doggy storage items. There also are Velcro openings for seatbelts to come through, important when using the Kurgo Harness or another crash-tested product to keep your pet safe. It’s recommended to hand wash with cold water and mild detergent or on “gentle” with front load washing machines, and to hang dry.

This is a great product for keeping hair, mud, or other bodily insults off the car upholstery. Because it is a “universal” size, for my car the fit is loose and slides around a bit. There are elastic tie-downs for each bottom/side of the seat, and elastic loops to hook over each headrest. Essentially, the cover hangs from the headrests and drapes over the seat. An exuberant pooch could get it scrunched up. That said, for cars with back seats that fold down, the additional back-of-seat attachment would augment security. The Kurgo Bench Seat Cover is a solid and quality option for toting your dog around. Do be cognizant of size differences and read the reviews on the site, since different car “benches” may not fit as well as others.

CPS-Subaru-1-300x200

Images courtesy of CPS

Center for Pet Safety Studies: Update

“After our findings in 2013 [on harness safety], we were eager to continue working to bring accountability to the pet products industry, while highlighting the products that will help improve safety for the entire family during their travels together,” said Lindsey Wolko, Founder and CEO of Center for Pet Safety. The 2015 Crate and Carrier Crashworthiness Studies evaluated leading crates and carriers advertised to be crash tested and/or recommended for use in a vehicle. No live animals are used during these tests. Instead, the tests employed specially-designed crash test dogs that approximated the size and weight of real dogs.
CPS-Subaru-3-300x200Many manufacturers claim their products are crash-tested, safe and even protective for your pet, but today there are no substantiating tests or standards in the U.S. The data gathered from these studies will assist CPS in formulating crate and carrier testing and performance standards. Four crates and eight carriers were evaluated, and on July 24, 2015 CPS announced that three top products emerged in the tests:CPS-Subaru-5-300x200

TOP CRATE: Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate with 8’ Tie Down Straps

TOP CARRIERS: PetEgo Forma Frame Jet Set Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch Connection and Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock

The full product performance report studies can be found at CenterforPetSafety.org. You can also now look for the logo (on the left) for products that have been certified safe by the Center for Pet Safety.

Do you use a harness, crate or carrier in your car when traveling with your pets? What about dealing with the mess, do you have a seat cover? How often do you take your cats and dogs for car rides? Do tell!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–click the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Want the insider info on the latest books and appearances? Join my team and get advance sneak peaks related to my THRILLERS WITH BITE!

 

 

SHOW AND TELL, BONUS MATERIAL!

Show_Tell(1)SNOOPY-DANCE O’ JOY!

I had to get that out of the way first of all. Yesterday I sent my next suspense thriller SHOW AND TELL to my faithful, picky, red-pencil maniacal (in a good way!), totally PAW-some beta readers to slice-dice-critique the work. It’s nail-biting time, hoping the story holds together.

Meanwhile, I’ve got my hard copy and going through the manuscript for another couple of edits. Then I’ll incorporate my readers’ notes, and send SHOW AND TELL off to my editor.

Cat, pen and blank open notepadAnd she’ll repeat the process.

I’m hoping that by the end of the month we’ll have a pub date nailed down, as well as possible pre-order date. Here comes the fun stuff for all my Sweet Peeps, and especially those who won the NAME THAT DOG and NAME THAT CAT contest. For the runners up to the contest, pay attention because this involves you, too.

BONUS FOR ORDERING FIRST WEEK!

To entice those on the fence into “adopting” this latest SHOW AND TELL book and reward those for lending their pets’ names to the story, I’m putting together bonus material. Some of this will ONLY be available to those who order the book the first week of release, on a first come first serve basis.

To get the bonuses, you’ll need to email me a copy of your order receipt–that’s easy if you order online, just hit “forward” to amy @ shojai.com (no spaces) with the subject line SHOW & TELL BONUS.

TripleA-LogoMy TRIPLE A TEAM will get first dibs, and next the subscribers to my PET PEEVES newsletter, and only then will it be announce publicly. So, if you’re not yet a member or subscriber, you might want to check those out.

What’s the bonus? Here ya go:

  1. Limited edition POSTER of the book cover, and *photos of the NAME THAT DOG/CAT winners: Hercules, Waffles, Boris Kitty, Fuzzit, Kinsler, Teddy and Dot. The poster will be paw-tographed of course!
  2. Exclusive EXTRA CHAPTER in Shadow’s viewpoint, featuring all the Runners Up winners: Thor, Lucy, Truffle, Caster, Einstein, Freckles, Buster and Bo.
  3. First looks/listen/share of the SHOW AND TELL trailer
  4. (If I can get it done in time…) First looks/listens of an original music video and the song SHOW AND TELL (written/performed by moi…maybe with Magical-Dawg howling backup!). In another life, I’m a singer/song-writer. :)

*If you are a winner or runner up but don’t have a photo or can’t get me one in time, I’ll find a stand-in image for the poster.

Stay tuned, because if you’re also a blogger and interested in helping get the word out, I’d love to work with you and offer some exclusive first look excerpts partnered with some of these bonuses.

Now, after a couple weeks of head-down busy-icity, I hafta get caught up on other work. Later, Sweet Peeps!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–click the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Want the insider info on the latest books and appearances? Join my team and get advance sneak peaks related to my THRILLERS WITH BITE!

First Cat Cafe Opens in Dallas

SauerkrautKitty-Tamar

For their launch weekend August 8, guests will have the opportunity to meet a special guest of honor, internet “celebricat” Sauerkraut Kitty. Image courtesy of Tamar Arslanian

What the heck is a Cat Cafe and why does Dallas, Texas need one? Do they serve cream and mice to cats, or what? Find out this Saturday, August 8 in Dallas–with specialty coffee drinks and treats in addition to some adoptable kitties.

What Is A Cat Cafe?

Cat Cafes have been around for decades, and are very popular in Japan, in part to deal with cat lovers who don’t have enough space to live with their own feline. But in the past year or so, the cat café concept has become a popular idea in the US, too, and offers a legal “kitty fix” to those unable to share their life with a cat purr-haps due to rental policies or allergy concerns. In the best situations, cafe cats offer a way for cat-seeking adopters to get a more up close and personal test of potential kitty candidates behavior, and c’attitude.

Cat Connection Has You Kitty-Covered!

The Cat Connection, a Dallas based pet supply store and cat only hotel and spa, located at 14233 Inwood Road in Dallas, will be home to the first Cat Café in Dallas for four weekends starting Saturday August 8th, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The event will feature adoptable cats and kittens compliments of various local rescue groups. Guests will be able to play with cats on a first-come-first-serve basis for up to twenty minutes.

Operation Kindness will provide adoptable cats and kittens for the Grand Opening on August 8th, and be on hand to facilitate adoptions. Operation Kindness is the original and largest no-kill animal shelter in North Texas, saving more than 75,000 cats and dogs over almost 40 years. The organization cares for approximately 300 cats and dogs on a daily basis, with another 100 in foster homes. This first weekend, you’ll find specialty drinks with a barista on site and snacks all weekend for free.

Texas Cares and other local rescues will be on-site for subsequent weekends. Donations are not required but are appreciated and will support local rescue.

Errin West, co-owner of The Cat Connection says this will be “…a great opportunity for cat lovers in the area to connect with and interact with adoptable animals in a relaxed setting, hopefully increasing adoptions for local rescue groups.” I’ve visited the store, and it is well worth checking out all the PAW-some cat-centric products–having cats on hand puts this event over the top.

Sauerkraut, pictured above, will attend this first event on August 8 only, to offer her paws-up of approval. Sauerkraut is a special needs rescue kitty from Central Oklahoma Humane Society. Rising to internet fame due to her adorable scowl and struggles with Feline Hyperesthesia, Sauerkraut now serves as an ambassador for shelter cats nation-wide.

To ensure both feline and human attendees have an enjoyable time, The Cat Connection asks that no outside animals be brought to the event. Children are allowed under an adult guardian’s supervision. A complete set of guidelines can be accessed at The Cat Connection’s website.

Have you ever visited a cat cafe? Would you if given the chance?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–click the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Want the insider info on the latest books and appearances? Join my team and get advance sneak peaks related to myTHRILLERS WITH BITE!