St Patrick’s Day: 8 Irish Dogs & A Cat from Ireland

Begob and bejabbers, are ye Irish? My family hails from both Ireland and Scotland, and while Karma-Kat and Bravo-Dawg can’t claim the same, it’s fun to share St Patrick’s Day pets breeds that have a distinctive Irish heritage. After all, St Patrick’s Day offers the perfect time to brag some blarney and lift a pint of greet beverage! Far more Irish dog breeds fill the list. But at least one cat breed arose from Ireland.

MANX

Legend says the Manx lost her tail when Noah closed the Ark door too soon and cut it off. Not all tailless cats are Manx, the breed that developed in about the 16th century on the Isle of Man. Some Manx have residual tails, known as risers, stumpies or stubbies, and longies, according to the length of the tail. The mutant gene responsible for taillessness typically results in only a small hollow where a tail would be. Their rear legs appear to be longer, giving them a raised rear end. Manx come in nearly all colors, and the longhair variety is identical but called a Cymric.

IRISH SETTER

This big red dog became popular in the early 1800s, and today remains a favorite of hunters and families. His handsome moderately long coat is solid mahogany to rich chestnut red and is straight and flat with fringes on the legs, belly, and tail. Described as clown-like for his love of play, he’s a gay, outgoing happy dog that tends to take longer to mature, and remains devoted to his people. Slower to learn than some, the Irish makes a fine family pet.

RED & WHITE SETTER

Related to the red Irish Setter, this breed dates back to the 17th Century and is considered the older of the two. He nearly disappeared during the hardships of World War I but was successfully revived in the 1920s. The Irish Kennel Club recognized the Red & White as a separate breed from the red Irish Setter in the 1980s, and the AKC formally recognized the breed in 2009.

IRISH TERRIER

This medium-size red dog is one of the oldest of the terrier breeds and also claims Ireland as her home. Her shape has been described as a miniature of the old-style Irish Wolfhound, but she is a true terrier in attitude, ready to take on the world. She has been a successful hunter of small game and vermin, loves the water, and some say matches the hunting expertise of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. During World War I, she even served as a messenger dog.

The Irish Terrier is an elegant dog, faithful to family, an eager playmate of older children, and a born guard dog. Like many terriers, she likes to bark and dig and needs a firm hand during training. She is plucky and has a fiery temperament that prompts some to call her the daredevil of terriers.

IRISH WATER SPANIEL

This breed is quite ancient, with similar types traced to the 7th or 8th century A.D. Due to his curly crisp water-resistant liver-colored coat, some might mistake him for a Poodle. The curled fur covers the body but is smooth and short on the front of the throat, face, whip-like tail, and rear legs below the hocks.

He’s called the “clown of the spaniels” because of his distinctive topknot and peak of curly fur between the eyes, and his precocious personality. The Irish Water Spaniel is loyal to those he knows, forbidding to strangers, and loves the water. He can be a stubborn dog to train and needs to be kept busy (hunting). He likes children.

IRISH WOLFHOUND

This is a giant of a dog, sized at 32 inches at the shoulders and 120 pounds. The Wolfhound is a coursing sighthound that’s been known since at least 391 A.D., similar to but more robust than a Greyhound, and with a rough weather-proof coat. Developed to hunt giant Irish elk and wolves, his intimidating appearance makes him seem an appropriate guard dog. In fact, he is a mild-mannered dog that matures slowly and may be timid.

Wolfhounds need room to run; be aware, he can leap a 6-foot fence. He may be aggressive toward smaller pets and tends to be suspicious of strangers. His quiet manner and gentle nature make him a good pet for those who understand his needs.

KERRY BLUE TERRIER

This medium size terrier arose in the mountainous region of County Kerry in Ireland several hundred years ago. She is a jack-of-all-trades: a hunter, retriever, and herder of cattle and sheep. She has even been used as a police dog in England. Her distinctive dense and soft wavy coat, always in blue-gray, gives the breed its name. This is a lovable, intelligent dog that does not get along well with other dogs or small pets, and can be a challenge to train.

SOFT COATED WHEATEN TERRIER

The Wheaten arose at least 200 years ago in Ireland. Some people believe him to be an ancestor of the Kerry Blue Terrier. He is a medium-size dog with soft, medium length wheat colored fur.

The Wheaten has a mild manner for a terrier. These dogs tend to be worriers and need early socialization to improve his confidence level. Training needs to be slow and patient — not overbearing or demanding — or you risk timidity turning into fear-biting. The Wheaten is a sensitive dog but can be self-confident and gay with those he knows.

Do you share your pillow and heart with an IRISH pet? How do you plan to celebrate St Patrick’s Day?

YouTube Button

Subscribe to Amy’s YouTube Channel

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!

Countertop Cruising Cats? How to Keep Cats Off Counters

Do you have a countertop cat? Many cat owners complain about cats countertop cruising and they want to know how to keep cats off counters. To figure ways to shoo cats off furniture or counters, it’s important to know WHY cats love counters.

Cats trespassing in your garden? Find tips here!

keep cats off counters

Why Cats Love High Places

Cats love high places because they’re safe lookouts. Perching on high places also makes a literal statement about the cat’s place in the feline hierarchy. However, countertop cruising can be both a safety and a hygiene issue for owners. Nobody enjoys having a pet “graze” from the dinner table or skillet, and walking across a hot stovetop may cause serious burns.

keep cats off counters

Cats love kitchen counters because it puts them on the same level as their human. The kitchen counter has lots of food around for cat burglars. Cats also love lounging in warm spots, and a stovetop proves irresistible to some second story cats.

Dealing with height-loving felines frustrates owners. Even when Kitty understands that a particular location (the mantel) is forbidden, she may avoid the place when you’re present, but plant her furry tail on high as soon as you leave the room. When you return and she sees you, she’ll leap off even before you yell at her.

Cat Territory Claims

A couple of things are going on. The cat that claims the highest position is the “top cat” in the scheme of feline hierarchy. Cats want to be able to see long distances and be out of reach of potential threats.

Cats practice a time-share mentality and schedule lounging time to avoid competition. When the “top cat” is not there to use the preferred perch, the cat feels within her rights to claim it. After all, YOU weren’t using it! Then when you catch her in the forbidden zone, she acknowledges you as the top cat and gets off in deference to your social status.

cats on counters

Multiple Pet Issues

Multiple cats mean you’ll constantly chase cats off second-story space because as soon as one vacates the real estate, another waits to take her place. When cats must share space with dogs, they’ll be even more inclined to take the “high road” and avoid the ground floor territory claimed by any canines. That can be a safety issue as well as a social statement for the cat. Find out more tips for living with multiple cats in the ComPETability book.

At my house, we have several cat trees for Karma-Kat, and he also uses the backs of furniture to keep out of Bravo-sniff range. Since we only rarely use the dining room table for meals (it’s my secondary office space, so mostly used for the laptop), I’ve set up a cat bed at one end.

You need to choose your battles, too. You can modify some of these irksome behaviors, and encourage cats to stay off forbidden places with training techniques.

cats on stoves

How to Keep Cats Off Counters

  • When you are there, use an interruption, such as a loud “OFF!” or clapped hands to get cats down. A long-distance squirt gun aimed at the backside may persuade some cats. NOTE: Some cats like to be sprayed, and such things only work as interruptions, not punishment. Kitties learn to leave when you pick up the sprayer, and return to time-share when you’re gone.
  • When you aren’t around, the cat will still use the perch unless you make it unattractive. The SSScat aerosol has a motion detector that triggers a HISS of harmless air to shoo trespassing cats away from forbidden areas. You can also cover forbidden surfaces like stovetops with aluminum foil. Many cats dislike walking on this surface.
  • Apply Sticky Paws(double-sided tape) to keep cats off furniture and make other surfaces uncomfortable. Put the Sticky Paws on placemats set around on forbidden surfaces, so you can easily position them but remove them when needed.
  • You can also use clear plastic carpet runners placed spike-side up on tabletops so cats will avoid the area.
keep cats off counters

Offering a legal scratch target is one of the easiest ways to stop the claw damage.

Give Cats Legal Perching Options

Offer your cats legal outlets that are higher and more attractive than the forbidden zones. Since felines prefer the highest perch, they’ll choose the legal perches and leave your mantel alone.

Cat trees are a big hit. Be sure to offer cats legal scratch objects with scratching posts. Fancy ones are available from pet products stores, or you can make inexpensive fun feline furniture out of a ladder. Tie toys and ribbons onto the rungs, place a fluffy cat bed on the paint rack, glue rope around and around a step for a scratch surface, and you have an innovative cat gymnasium.

Consider creating a cat playground with kitty shelves that let cats lounge on wall shelves away from your furniture.

Choose your battles and perhaps allow cats to lounge on the television as long as they leave the kitchen island alone. Place a cat bed on a “legal” countertop or bookshelf to invite the cats’ presence and they’ll be less likely to trespass where not welcome.

Do YOUR cats stomp all over your counters or forbidden tabletops? How do you manage the issue? Please share your solutions in the comments!

 

YouTube Button

Subscribe to Amy’s YouTube Channel

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!

Pet Insurance: What You Need to Know To Choose Insurance For Pets

Do you have pet insurance for your cats and dogs? Today, that’s a great option for many folks, but insurance for pets works a bit differently than human health insurance. Owners of pets must make health care decisions that often are based on financial limitations. Even if it takes ten or fifteen years for you to use pet insurance, you will.

Why Insure Pets?

A heart-wrenching dilemma arises when treatment is possible, but the owner can’t afford the expense.  According to the American Pet Products Association (ABBA) National Pet Owners Survey, the U.S. spent an estimated $72.13 billion on veterinary care in 2018. According to the 2017-2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 68% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 84.6 million in homes.

Jack Stephens, DVM, founded the first insurance company, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) in 1980 with the support of 750 independent veterinarians. Pet insurance has been slow to be adopted in the US and Canada, but the numbers of insured pets have slowly increased. More than 2 million pets are now insured, according to the 2018 report from NAPHIA, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.

Do Healthy Pets Need Insurance?

Karma-Kat has been very healthy. He’s no longer a clueless kitten and has settled down as a mature man-cat. For him, it’s been routine neuter and vaccinations. Of course, it’s important to get pet insurance before any “pre-existing” conditions develop. Just like human health care, pet insurance may not cover the health issues that your pet already has. So do you have pet insurance for your pets?

Pet insurance typically reimburses the owner for a predetermined amount allotted for the specific veterinary service, after it’s been performed. For example, you would pay your veterinarian in full, and then submit the receipts to the insurance company in order to receive payment back according to the amount designated by your pet’s particular coverage schedule.

The amount covered varies from company to company, from plan to plan, and from city to city. Like human insurance, pre-existing conditions may be disallowed, so you must buy the insurance before the pet develops the problem. Age also influences the cost, and the premiums for some breeds with a large number of potential health challenges tend to cost more than those with fewer such conditions.

Health Membership Programs

Health membership programs like Pet Assure are not true insurance companies, and simply offer a percentage discount on any veterinary care across the board, regardless of health status, age, or preexisting condition. The Pet Assure service is limited to only those veterinarians enrolled in the program.

Similarly, Banfield Pet Hospitals (located across the country in many PetsMart stores) offer Banfield’s Optimum Wellness Plans memberships that discount a number of preventive care services. CareCredit offers the clients of participating veterinarians the option of paying for expensive services on a monthly installment basis.

How to Choose Pet Insurance

Most basic plans will cover only accident and illness. Routine care such as vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, teeth cleaning and flea treatments generally require additional coverage.

Pet insurance typically covers pets regardless of age, excluding pre-existing conditions, but premiums go up as the animal ages. That’s no different than life insurance people where you pay a whole lot more if you’re fifty than if you’re twenty.

The best coverage depends on your individual pet, his potential breed considerations, his age, and other personal considerations. Here are a few questions to ask. Be sure to look in the “fine print” and especially at the exclusions, as these may be hidden issues that keep him from being covered.

Early Age Enrollment

Companies also define the age breaks differently. The rates may go up at certain ages, so what you pay during puppyhood from eight weeks to one year may be less than after that age. Most plans allow coverage for puppies of eight weeks or older. Learn more about kitten development or about how puppies develop in this article. 

Thankfully, our Bravo-Dawg has been quite healthy since he arrived–other than his eye surgery (more on that in a future post). He’s now 13-months old and still puppy-goofy. Like Magic, the new boy also loves cat toys and also has a great talent for destroying any kind of cloth left within reach. He has eaten several of my husband’s socks — and thankfully, thrown them back up. A blockage would be a huge veterinary expense! That’s exactly the type of situation that pet insurance addresses.

Accident Limitations

It’s important to purchase insurance as early as possible before health problems develop. Not every preexisting condition disqualifies the pet from coverage. If he’s fully recovered from being hit by a car or shock from chewing up the electrical cord, for example, that wouldn’t preclude coverage.

The first year we had Magical-Dawg, he had several minor injuries. He ripped open his paw once, tore a claw twice, and had a couple of allergic reactions to some sort of bee sting. We had several years of no injuries or health problems until late in life he developed a “sterile abscess” caused by nothing the veterinarian could find–other than perhaps a bruise. His last year with us we made several visits to the vet to help with his arthritis but, alas, nothing could be done for his ultimate diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy.

Illness Limitations

We all hope our puppies and kittens will live long, healthy lives and “old age” problems may cost more to treat. So plan ahead for your pet’s golden years. Policies not designed specifically for senior pets often still cover “old pet” illnesses such as cancer and renal disease.

SerenWindow

At 17, Seren loved finding prime sun bathing ops. Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

Aging Pets

It scared me when 17-year-old Seren had another schnorkle flare up and stopped taking her Lysine treats that help ward off the upper respiratory issues. She choked so much that I rushed her to the veterinarian and (thank the cat gods!) was NOT in respiratory failure. The antihistamine that we’d used before made her foam and become ill, so a new gel-type of L-Lysine HCI offered a better option. She soon began eating her “kidney” diet once she could again breathe and sniff more effectively. Seren-Kitty eventually recovered from the schnorkles and lived another several years until we let her go just shy of her 22nd birthday.

Some pets become uninsurable as they get older and may not be covered if they’ve already had cancer. If your pet has had a condition that is potentially life-threatening and a recurring problem, then it would become uninsurable. Different companies may define what is an old dog or an old cat in different ways. Some companies offer special coverage for catastrophic illness at a very low rate, if you purchase it when the pup or kitten is young and still healthy.

Exclusions

Babies are more prone to accidents and illness than at any other age, besides senior pets. Some of these conditions may be excluded in general policies—such as hip dysplasia, renal disease, cataract surgery or knee injury, particularly in breeds prone to these issues. If your puppy’s breed ranks high on the incidence of a particular health challenge like bloat, check to be sure it’s covered. The fee may be higher or an additional rider may be necessary.

Picking Your Vet

Certain plans participate only with listed network veterinarians (similar to some human HMOs). Others allow a choice of any practitioner. Additional differences may include variations in the cost of the deductible or higher premiums for certain metropolitan areas that have higher typical veterinary fees.

Alternative Care

Chiropractic and acupuncture treatments may or may not be covered, so if this is important, be sure to check. Some policies agree to cover alternative care and even experimental innovative treatments and diagnostic tests if prescribed and performed by a veterinarian. Pet insurance companies may encourage specialist referrals by offering price breaks, believing their diagnostics and treatments are more effective and ultimately save money in the end.

Check Limits

Policies may set a limit cap on claims on an annual, per condition/incident, or a lifetime basis. Deductibles also may be annual (good), per incident (not so good), or lifetime (fantastic!), so be sure you know what you’re getting. Some policies place limits on hereditary or congenital conditions, yet offer no limits on accidents or illness coverage.

Pet insurance may reduce what the industry characterizes as “economic euthanasia.” Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation about pet insurance. Companies may come and go, contact information may become outdated, and coverage could change. Check for the latest updates and review your policies annually. Be sure they still give your special pet all the coverage he needs.

NOTE: I cannot recommend one provider over another. However, Pet Insurance Review offers comparisons provided by feedback from pet owners and may be helpful in making your choice.

YouTube Button

Subscribe to Amy’s YouTube Channel

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!

Cats In Your Garden? 10 Tips How to Keep Cats Away

Why would you want to keep cats away? Well, if you have indoor felines and strays keep trespassing, that can put your pets’ tails in a twist. Other times, the stray or feral cats abuse your hospitality, poop in your garden, or stalk the bird bath and terrorize the birds. What’s a responsible cat person to do?

How do you shoo unwanted cats out of your back yard? With spring weather fast approaching, lots of folks now find that community cats, strays or even feral felines have decided to make themselves at home in unwanted places. Here are my 9 tips to keep cats away.

WhiteOutsideCat-MariaMagnus

“Can I bring all my friends, too?” Image Copr. Maria Magnus/Flickr

10 Ways to Keep Cats Away

I’ve read a number of “how-to” articles over the years about ways to shoo cats away. We need kitty kryptonite! Many suggestions resort to what I’d consider inhumane methods. Those who read this blog LOVE cats! We don’t want to shock them with electric fences or poison them with toxic materials (as sometimes suggested). Yikes! Here are my best 10 tips how to keep cats away.

1. Talk to Owners

When your neighbor’s cat roams, have a talk to figure out ways to keep the cat safe and out of your yard. Perhaps explain that your dog may object and injure their pet, or that you want to protect the songbirds in your back yard.

When a friendly cat hasn’t been claimed and just hangs out in the neighborhood, work together to keep these community cats safe and cared for. A well-nourished kitty is less likely to stalk your birds. Perhaps someone can be persuaded to adopt the cat or share the responsibility to work toward a solution. Work with your neighbors to prevent their pets from visiting your yard or hunting birds you want to protect.

cold weather cat dangers

2. Manage Feral Cats

A truly feral cat has no owner or family and must hunt to survive. Learn about ways to humanely manage feral cats. They need shelter and food, so deny them access to forbidden places by boarding up cubbyholes or openings into porches, garages, and outbuildings. Create more appealing cat habitats far away from your living area, and the cats will stay away. Protect feral cats during cold weather with these tips.

3. Check With Animal Control

If you’re unable to find the owner, your local authorities often have resources for safely trapping feral or stray cats. Each community has different regulations and laws, so research what you can do based on your neck of the woods. The scared feline you believe to be feral may turn out to have a microchip that will reunite Kitty with his lost owners.

how to keep cats away

4. Wash Pee-mail Cat Urine Marking Away

Cats mark their territory by spraying urine on prominent (usually vertical) landmarks, like doors and walls. The odor not only tells other cats they own the property but also announces their sexual status. The smell may bring the cat to return to the scene time and again to refresh his Pee-mail message. That also proves arousing to your indoor-only cats and can prompt them to return the aromatic favor, but on the INSIDE of your house. Wash down any places you find to remove the urine, and use an odor neutralizer to eliminate the minuscule traces cats still can detect. Having the cats neutered will reduce their inclination to spray, too.

5. Booby Trap Cat Targets

Cats dislike surprises. While you can’t patrol your yard all the time, there are automated motion detectors that can shoo cats away from forbidden areas. You can set up water sprinklers on timers, or invest in products like the Scarecrow Sprinkler.  These devices are triggered by the cat’s presence and fire a blast of water at it.

There also are repellant devices that employ sound and lights to keep cats away or shoo away other critters. The SsssCat! repellent is an aerosol can that triggers with motion and produces a HISS of air to scare interlopers away. Other devices use ultrasound detectable only to the target animal. Be careful choosing ultrasound products, though, since your indoor pets may also be harassed by the sound.

cat hunt

6. Eliminate the Cat Smorgasbord

Cats looking for a free meal are drawn to prey hangouts. Mice, bunnies, and squirrels love woodpiles and hidy holes filled with leaves and other debris to raise babies. Birds fed on the ground or from birdfeeders and birdbaths within cat pouncing distance prove irresistible to roaming cats.

Clean out the clutter, and keep yards and fields mowed. Tidy up trash bins that attract vermin, so cats won’t follow the rats to your door. If you feed your pets outside, pick it up and clean the area or the leftovers will bring out the cat nibblers. Position birdbaths away from cat perching ops, and place bird feeders out of reach. Include a feeder baffle to keep industrious cats at bay.

how to keep cats away

7. Deny Stray Cat Digging & Lounging Ops

Cats love soft, sandy soil to dig and eliminate. That’s why fresh garden soil proves so attractive to stray cats. Of course, you object to the feral cats using your petunias to potty! To keep cats from excavating, just lay chicken wire over the top of your mulch or soil before you plant. Clip openings with wire cutters to allow for placing your larger plants. Seeds will come up in between the wire mess with no problem.

You can also make mulch beds unattractive by making them prickly. Scatter pine cones, holly or rose bush trimmings, or other sharp-edged items over the top of your munch bed. Depending on the planting, you could even use eggshells or a stone mulch that’s hard on soft paws.

Cats love warm places to snooze. If you want them away from the warm hood of your car, drape a plastic carpet floor runner (nub side up) over the surface. That also protects the paint from cat claws.

8. Use Natural Cat Repellents

Check with camping supply stores that service fishing and hunting enthusiasts. They’ll have a number of “predator” products that you can share in the garden. The urine smell of coyote, fox or other predators will give stray cats pause.

Cats hate the smell of citrus. Scatter orange peels, or the peels of lemons, limes and grapefruit among your plants. Please do NOT use mothballs, as those can cause problems for beneficial insects as well as the cats. You want to shoo them away, not poison them.

9. Landscape to Repel Cats

Cats are particular about plants, so design your garden to either attract or repell the strays. Coleus gives off a scent cats don’t like, and sometimes is called “scaredy cat plant.” Rue is another plant that repels cats, and you might try lavender as well. Plant these in between your other plants.

CAUTION! Some gardening gurus recommend pennyroyal but AVOID this. Pennyroyal can cause toxic reactions in cats.

10. Attract with Plants

Most of us know cats love catnip, so why not plant a cat-friendly garden in one corner of the yard. Cats also enjoy other mint plants like peppermint and spearmint. Kitties that are rolling and lounging and drunk on the ‘nip won’t bother your birds in the other part of the yard.

Better still, make a sandbox just for cat digging ops. Plant it near to the catnip area, and perhaps give the cats a tree to climb and lounge. You will have to police the outdoor litter box to clean up the poop and pee (or will end up with more cats, but you can keep it in one area.

How do you deal with the problem? Any suggestions to add? Of course, a great alternative is to adopt the lil’ interloper and solve the outdoor trespass problem altogether. (That’s what happened with Karma-Kitten.)

YouTube Button

Subscribe to Amy’s YouTube Channel

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!

National Love Your Pet Day: 14 Ways How Pets Show Love

Following on the furry heels of Valentine’s Day, February 20 is National Love Your Pet Day. At my house, that happens EVERY day. Whether you love your pet with special attention, treats and toys or lap snuggles, pet love has become a given in our pet-friendly society.

Valentines for Pets

“Got a hole in your heart? Pets fill it up with furry love!”

National Love Your Pet Day

How do YOU show love to your cats and dogs? Please share in the comments — Bravo-Dawg and Karma-Kat have their own ideas about what’s ideal. Maybe they’ll appreciate me more, if they see how others spoil…er, I mean, LOVE your pet! Here are some ways to increase your cat’s purrs.

But what about the pets returning the favor? Do you know how pets show love? Don’t we deserve something in return? I mean, we feed them, buy toys, open the door, mop up messes, scritch their itchy spots and rub tummies. Is that sloppy smooch or adoring kitty glance all there is?

pets show love14 Ways How Pets Show Love

There’s no doubt our cats and dogs love us back. But pets show love and affection in ways that aren’t always what humans expect. Here are 14 ways pets show love, and a little bit about why these are signs of affection.

Cat purrs can mean everything from delight to expressions of concern. A cat that purrs while snuggled in your lap expresses deep trust and love for you.  Return the favor and talk back—say, “I love you!” She’ll understand the emotion, if not the exact words.

Dog howls aren’t nearly as subtle as kitty purrs but can be a canine Valentine. A howl can mean your dog is lonely. Try scheduling extra face time with your special dog, or offer puzzle toys filled with treats to show your love. It’s harder to howl when chewing something yummy.

Kitty rubbing against you leaves the cat’s scent—marking you as “owned” by them. Cats repeatedly head-bump their most favorite people. Bumping your face is the ultimate show of trust since it leaves eyes vulnerable.

Dogs lean against us. Yes, it can be pushy or awkward especially with big dogs, but it’s a way of showing and asking for love and attention. Either sit down so he can lean and love, or teach him to “sit” before you dole out the attention.

Kitties groom other cats—or humans—that they like. Licking your skin or hair, or even nibbling or sucking on your clothing spreads “family” scent and is an expression of feline love. Return the favor—petting your cat is the kitty equivalent of a love-fest of mutual grooming. Learn more about how and why cats groom here.

Dogs jump up, not to knock you down, but to give a big kiss. A dog kiss isn’t exactly the same as human kisses. Puppies lick the mom-dog’s eyes and face to show deference. Adults give doggy kisses to humans they love and respect and aim at the face. Kneel to let him kiss you (if doggy smooches don’t bother you). Or offer your hand for a sniff-and-smooch instead.

Cats scratch and pee to calm themselves down, and seek out items that smell most like their beloved human. So scratching your favorite chair or “baptizing” your bed with urine actually is a backhanded kitty compliment. Relieving stress and providing legal scratch and potty opportunities encourage kitty to love you in more appropriate ways. Here are tips for litter box woes.

pets show love

Puppies pee and roll on their back when owners come home—another way to show deference and declare their love and respect. Most pups outgrow the pee-party, but not the rolling over. Baring his tummy invites a friendly rub, so answer his request to show you love him, too. Here are some house training tips.

Cats knead—honestly, we’re not sure why. Kittens do it to prompt mom-cat’s milk to release. We suspect this instinctive behavior hearkens back to that feeling of comfort and joy. So a cat kneading her human certainly can be a kitty Valentine.

Dogs chew to relieve stress and calm upset feelings and also seek out owner-scented items like shoes or that Gucci handbag. Why not offer him a gift of a legal chew toy—stick it inside your shoe overnight so it has the appropriate “cologne” to really show your love! Here are more tips for your chew-aholic pooch.

Dog crotch sniffs may not seem all that loving but are the equivalent of a human hand shake. Request a “sit” instead, then pay him with attention.

A kitty butt-in-your-face is an invitation to sniff—that’s a very friendly and loving gesture! (Not that you want to indulge). Scratch the base of her tail, instead.

Doggy wags that are low, loose and wide are technically a “distance-decreasing signal” that invites attention and love. Tail-less dogs wag their whole body.

Kitten tails held straight up with the end tipped over use this to greet mom-cat, and the tippy-tail is a kitty Valentine when directed at humans—in effect calling you “mom.”

Learn more about dog and cat tail talk in this fun post.

We can’t know for sure what they think, and every pet is different. Some cats and dogs become very creative and keep us guessing! But there’s no doubt pets love us back. The best pet love gift we can give them is learning to understand them, foibles and all.

What are some other ways your dogs and cats show love? Maybe they love you by bringing owners gifts. Canines offer toys to invite play, and cats sometimes catch and deliver live presents—mousies on the pillow are a particularly attractive love gift from cats.

YouTube Button

Subscribe to Amy’s YouTube Channel

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!