Doggy Moans, Groans & Itchy Ear Zones

Do your dogs make weird sounds? What do all those moans and groans mean? Do they mean the same thing–even pleasure?

I’ve found some past YouTube posts and decided to update and share them. I have to admit, Bravo-Dawg talks the most of any dog we’ve ever had, and he yodels, moans, groans, and happy-snarls when he wants attention. What fun! To anyone else, he might seem to be threatening–but we’ve become used to his special way to express himself.

How can you tell whether the noises mean he loves it — or is in pain? What sorts of sounds does your pooch make when he’s enjoying himself? Perhaps he enjoys having his ears rubbed and expresses his pleasure, as in this Ask Amy video. What other ways do your dogs have to express themselves?

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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? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. 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!

How To Keep Outside Cats Safe

Do your cats get to go outside? How do you keep them safe from harm? How would you go about transitioning an exclusively INDOOR ONLY cat to life on the outside? What can you do to make certain your kitties are always safe? I wrote this post back in 2013 and have updated it extensively. Read on to learn options for how to keep outside cats safe!

keep outside cats safe

Can you see the fine-webbed fencing that keeps these kitties safe? There CAN be options–if you make the effort! Image Copr. Sanskrittlady/Flickr

Why Keep Cats Inside? & How to Keep Inside Cats Happy

Seren used to stand at the door or window, meow, and dig against the glass with her paws as if she couldn’t wait to escape the plush indoor lifestyle. Karma-Kat watches Bravo-Dawg when he takes a break outside and has started stalking the door to dash outside–but then acts terrified once he finds his paws on the patio. Folks who live in the UK think we Americans are cruel for not allowing kitties the joy of grass between their toes–many cat lovers in the UK have back gardens and the whole neighborhood of cats comes and goes.

Here in North Texas, coyotes come and go from my back patio and turn into land sharks patrolling for kitty treats. Although in her younger days Seren went out on a leash to sniff roses, I’d never feel comfortable letting her out without that safety net. Karma once escaped his harness while outside, and only returned when Magical-Dawg brought him back. We don’t have kitty outings these days o9n a regular basis. I’ve made the choice to keep them inside and keep my cats safe. Instead, I offer lots of indoor enrichment like multiple cat trees and condos–and a best friend dawg for playing chase.

lost catHow to Keep Outside Cats Safe

I do offer some options for creating safer outdoor environments in my Cat Competability book:

FENCES like cat-specific fence products such as the Cat Fence-In, Purrfect Fence, and others. Read more about pet fence options in this post.

CAT CONDOS and tents, like Purrfect Play Tent. You can get modular units like the KittyWalk net tunnel and create an outdoor cat-safe playpen. Or you can actually build a more substantial Catio yourself or purchase kits online.

CAT STROLLERS come on all sizes and shapes, from those that serve as standard cat carriers with wheels, to actual strollers purr-fect for your cats.

HALTERS & LEASHES and of course cat leash training.

More Cautions to Keep Outside Cats Safe

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not invest in an “electric fence” type of product that purports to protect cats (or dogs) using shock collars. Such things are not the plug-and-forget-it answers you want–it requires training to use correctly and even then can result in the pet “breaking through” the invisible barrier and then being prevented from returning home. You simply create lost cats that way.

Such products also don’t keep strange dogs or cats (or other critters) from invading your pet’s home turf. You gotta hope that your kitty has proper identification (is your cat microchipped?) to help the pet get home.

I do agree, in the best of all possible worlds where cats could be safe, the best thing in the world would be for them to chase butterflies and sleep in the sun-puddle on the back patio. When you can’t provide a safe outdoor environment, maybe you’d want to take Kitty for a safe outing in a cat stroller. The next best thing is to bring the outdoors inside with lots of hidy-holes, climbing ops, kitty grass for munching, and fun toys that float your cat’s boat.

When Inside Cats Want Out

Today’s Ask Amy video is a heart breaker. It’s a composite of some of the consults that I’ve dealt with over the past several years. Every home and person’s circumstance is different and I’m not in the other’s shoes so can’t judge–and only seek to offer some insight and help. I hope you’ll share some of your suggestions (positive ones, please!) for any lurkers out there who have ever found themselves in such a dilemma.

How would you transition an indoor-only cat to the outside? And then, how would you transition an outdoor cat BACK into an inside cat? I know this is a controversial subject–but we all want the best for our cats so let’s see what creative ideas we can develop!

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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? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. 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!

My Cat & Dog Hates My Date! Valentines Tips For Pets Lovers

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but all too often I hear the lament, MY CAT HATES MY DATE! Dogs tend to be more forgiving but there can be dogs that hate your boyfriend, too. It seems appropriate to revisit the topic, so I’ve updated this post.

Valentine pets

“He’s looking at me, what do I say?…he IS kinda cute…”

The past few years, I’ve recorded a couple hundred videos in ASK AMY quick tips on my YouTube channel. So I figured it’s appropriate to share with you one of the most popular ones “My Cat Hates My Boyfriend!” as well as a couple of brand new ones. Scroll down for the latest–some tips for an emergency cat sitter helping out a friend, when the cat HATES the stranger.

You’ll also want to check out Valentine’s Day pet dangers. Yes, there are some scary things that can affect cats and dogs, so take a look here.

The best way to your lover’s heart and affections, though, is to win over the pet. Instead of giving her a gift, bring something for your girlfriend’s dog or cat. That shows you’re not only considerate of what’s important to your date, but that you’re sensitive to her family (the furry ones).

So in addition to these brief videos, you can find detailed step by step info in my quick-tips guides. Hey, it’s not just about dates…what happens if the pet hates the new grandbaby?

hates my date hates my date

Here’s a fun question, I’d love to know. Would you ever date (or consider marrying) someone who didn’t like your pets? Or that your pets didn’t like? Do tell!

 

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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

Radio Daze: A Family Friendly Original Musical Comedy

Radio Daze MusicalI am excited to announce the premiere performance of a brand-new original musical comedy. RADIO DAZE is a family friendly show sure to tickle those who love the Big Band era. Brought to you by SHOJAI & STEELE PLAYS, Frank Steele and I are thrilled to showcase our talented cast of popular local performers.

RADIO DAZE shows THREE NIGHTS ONLY at the Historic Rialto Theater in downtown Denison, Texas on February 7, 8, 9, 2019. The doors open at 7 pm, the curtain is at 7:30. General seating tickets are $15/Adults, $10/Students.

VIP tickets are $25, and include front row center reserve-seating and two drink vouchers.

There is a 15% discount for groups of 10 or more. Area theater teachers are encouraged to bring their students. (Yes, the show will soon be available for licensing — perusal copies here.)

Get Tickets Here!

RADIO DAZE, the 1940s MUSICAL

RADIO DAZE is a funny and often touching homage to the late 1940s. The story unfolds in the failing WPDQ radio station. The owner is ready to cut his losses and sell out to the latest fad—television. A motley crew of staff, has-been movie stars, and strangers off the street come together to try and save the station–and fail miserably to hilarious effect.

Radio Daze Cast

L-R: Gil Nelson, Theresa Littlefield, Amy Shojai, Keith Clark, Jenny Daniel, Steven Mildward, Frank Steele, Marty Burkart, Mark Beardsley, Tammie Sims, Ben Fuhr, Sally Hawthorne.

RADIO DAZE is an ensemble show featuring 6 men and 6 women. The family-friendly script is appropriate for any age performer, from high school to professional venues. Characters include station owner BOB HOPE (the one from Schenectady) played by Mark Beardsley: his love-sick assistant WILADINE, played by Tammy Sims; the director IRVING, played by Frank Steele; grumpy news guy BENNY, played by Gil Nelson; and girl Friday, DOTTIE, played by Jenny Daniel.

Bob hires his niece PEARL, played by Theresa Littlefield, to write a radio script. Irving hires sound effects guy ROB, played by Steven Mildward; salesman SNAZZY, played by Ben Fuhur, to sell ads; and has-been talents BARRY, played by Keith Clark, his ex-wife DIZZY, played by Amy Shojai, and the PEPPER SISTERS, played by Sally Hawthorne. Meanwhile, the mysterious stranger ROSIE, played by Marty Burkart, hides secrets that could change the station forever.

RADIO DAZE is the perfect early Valentine’s “date night” or family-friendly evening-out event. The two-hour show will leave you laughing, humming catchy tunes, and hugging your loved ones close.

DON’T MISS OUT,

3 NIGHTS ONLY,

Get Tickets Here!

Cold Weather Pet Protection

Cold weather pet protection becomes more important this time of year. Here in North Texas we got just a sprinkling of snow so far but temps of 25 degrees (and less) with wind chill can make it uncomfortable for our dogs and cats. My sympathies to those of you experiencing the brunt of the Polar Vortex weather this week — it’s not only dangerous for you, it’s deadly for unprotected pets. Outside animals like feral cats or stray dogs, suffer greatly. Housepets used to warm indoor temps need extra help, too. It seemed like a good time to remind everyone about cold weather pet protection.

COLD WEATHER PET PROTECTION

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.

furry chow chow prone to hot spots

Thickly furred dogs like the Chow have more cold weather protection.

How do you get your dogs ready? Magical-Dawg always loved cold weather, and would stay out in the wind and wet if we’d let him. Karma-Kat, on the other paw, has 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.

Yesterday, Karma dashed out the front door when I took down the Christmas wreath. PANIC! But since it was icy-cold on his paw-pads, it took less than 10 seconds for Karma to get a clue, and dash back inside.

Feral cats and community cats (those who roam neighborhoods without one special family) don’t have that luxury. They need extra help. Many of the tips, below, work equally well for creating safe outdoor spots for your dogs, too.

cold weather cat dangersCOLD WEATHER PET PRODUCTION FOR CATS

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.

OUTDOOR PET SHELTERS

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 FERAL CAT COLONIES & COMMUNITY CATS

  • 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.

     

COLD WEATHER PET PROTECTION & PREPARATION

This is an older clip from my Pet Talk segment, but the information still applies. How do YOU keep your furry wonders safe in this BRRRRRRRRRRRR frigid weather? 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!