Practical Solutions for Pet Problems & Publishing
With Amy Shojai, CABC
Adopt A Shelter Pet Day: Tips for Cat Adoptions & Dog Adoptions
Will you adopt a new furry friend soon? There are many things to consider when adopting a pet. With Adopt A Shelter Pet Day on April 30th, I wanted to share some sobering adoption facts. In the ASPCA alone, 6.3 million dogs and cats enter their shelters each year, and only about 52% get adopted. I wrote about my pets’ adoption days here, and they chose me more than I chose them. But you don’t need to wait for happy accidents to get your pet, and can adopt shelter pets anytime all year long.
How to Leash Train Cats
Why would you want to leash train cats and confine kitties from stalking and pouncing? Isn’t that mean? Actually, it’s not cruel, but without proper introduction, it can be a wee bit scary. In my Complete Kitten Care book, I call this LIBERATION TRAINING. Teaching your new cat to walk on a leash is a safety issue, but also means they get to venture beyond the confines of your house and into the yard and beyond.
This week during a cat consult, a pet parent asked about training her cat to walk on a leash. It’s always a good time to revisit the notion. An adult cat won’t automatically understand the concept, though, so this blog not only explains the benefits of leash training to YOU, it also helps you purr-suade your cats to get a new leash on life. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Cats and Mirrors: Stranger Danger or Twin Fun?
Years ago, when I was the spokesperson for the Purina Cat Chow Way of Life Tour, we’d arrive in town the evening before and visit the shelter to choose a kitty for the next morning’s TV appearance. The “stars” almost always received lots of attention from viewers and got adopted. Understandably, shelter staff had their favorites and often urged us to choose a special feline that had less chance for a forever home. I had the delight of spending the night in the hotel room with the lucky kitty. Believe me, it was tough not to bring a whole clowder home!
One memorable kitty hated mirrors. Oy!
The shelter volunteers urged us to take a “lifer” onto the TV show. This kitty had been there for several years, and probably couldn’t remember ever being on the “outside.” She’d had reconstructive eye surgery for a birth defect (problems with the eyelids) and had poor vision. But she was sweet and adored by the whole staff–so we chose her to make a television appearance.
That evening, when I opened the carrier door in the hotel room to allow her to stretch her legs, she got as far as the closet door, and FREAKED! The mirror reflection terrified her—that strange cat in the glass hissed at her, screamed at her, threatened to attack—and this poor cat hadn’t a clue what to do. Why do cats get freaked out by mirrors? It’s likely the eyesight issue made it worse, but many cats react to mirrors poorly. Learn here why cats hate mirrors and what you can do to ease the angst!
Dare Or Die Pre-Order: Amy Shojai Thriller Book #7 Releases April 30
Plan to get your copy of DARE OR DIE from Amy Shojai thrillers by pre-ordering NOW. The book releases in all Ebook versions, in print, and hardcover on April 30th. The audiobook version releases in May.
What’s DARE OR DIE #7 About?
September Day won’t let anything prevent her from walking down the aisle. Hiring more security instead of canceling the ceremony, she’s horrified when the stalker makes good on their threat. And whisked away by a mysterious bodyguard, the distraught bride fears the only way to keep everyone safe is to fake her death.
Longing to return home, the frantic dog trainer relies on her German Shepherd Shadow to sniff out her strange savior’s true motives. But September’s PTSD escalates into full-blown panic after learning she holds the key to take down a sinister crime syndicate.
Can September and Shadow bury the past for good?
DARE OR DIE is the electrifying 7th book in the September & Shadow series. If you like spirited survivors, twisty secrets, and the healing power of hero dogs and hero cats, then you’ll love Amy Shojai’s hair-raising read.
How Pets Play, Why Cats Play, and What Dog Play Means
It can be hard to tell sometimes what’s “real” and what kind of play is “just fooling around.” In fact, both dog play and cat play can tip over into dangerous aggression if the pets get too wound up.
Dog and cat play use the same behaviors as hunting, attack, and aggressive behavior, but the pets use “meta signals” to let the other party know it’s all in good fun. For instance, dogs use the “play bow” with butt-end up and forepaws down to signal that everything that comes after this signal is not serious. Cats also can use a play bow, or roll on their back to solicit attention or a game.
Here’s a BIG clue. Doggy play includes growls, whines and barks. Cat play typically is silent. If your cats become vocal during play, it’s time to stop the games. And if both of the pets keep coming back for more, they’re likely just having a good time.
Learn more about dog and cat play here.
Vet Visits Don’t Have to Be Stressful with DIGGS Passenger Travel Carrier
Dog crates and cat carriers—love ’em, or hate ’em, they’re a necessity to keep pets safe. With vacation time just around the corner (do you take pets with you to visit family on holidays?), consider updating your pet-safety accomodations. I recently received a Passenger Travel Carrier from DIGGS, known for their innovative and high-quality dog products—and now the Passenger option for smaller dogs and CATS.
Vet Visits Don’t Have to Be Stressful with DIGGS Passenger Carrier
Mee-wow! So much to love about this carrier, especially the fact it received a five-star crash test rating (highest score possible) from the Center for Pet Safety. In fact, the Passenger Travel Carrier passed on the first try. For cats and small dogs, the best and safest option for car travel means riding inside a carrier that you seat-belt into the back seat–or, if small enough, fits on the floor behind the front seats. The Passenger Travel Carrier fits both requirements.
Adopting An Easter Bunny? Make Mine Chocolate!
Easter bunny, anyone? Awwww…nothing sweeter than baby bunnies. Well, baby anything, right? Our “Cottontail Mountain” home already has rabbits everywhere, especially in our garden. Shadow-Pup, sadly, wants to hunt them so we must monitor him as the babies appear Easter bunnies appear.
Karma-Kat loves watching “bunny TV” out the back patio windows. I think he’d love to have one come inside to *ahem* cuddle and play. NOT! Just like other animal companions, it takes more than admiration to make bunny love positive for everyone.
Easter is not the time for a spur of the moment furry gift. People purchased chicks and ducklings and baby bunnies by the score each year, some dyed in ridiculous colors, almost as gag gifts although they are living creatures with very specific care needs. A rabbit is more than an Easter bunny joke. Here’s what you need to know when considering a bunny as a pet.
Easter Candy Caution for Pets
Easter candy fills the aisles at grocery stores these days. There are plenty of toys, too, including stuffed bunnies–a far better gift than real live rabbits that need special care. Here’s my yearly caution about Easter candy and other goodies around pets.
Cats & Easter Lilies Danger, A Deadly Combo!
I know that I’m preaching to the kitty choir when I write about Easter lilies’ danger each year. Lilies cause toxic reactions in pets when eaten, especially cats. The gorgeous lily makes its appearance each Easter, decorating the church, home, and garden. I love lilies and have daylilies and Asiatic lilies outside in the redesigned garden, but I can’t have them in my house. I won’t risk having an Easter lily anywhere near my Karma-Kat or Shadow-Pup. For cats especially, the fragrant blooms can mean death. Learn what lilies pose dangers, which are safe, and how to offer first aid if needed.
Asian Longhorned Tick Poses Pet Concerns
Spring has sprung, and with warming weather, the bugs come out ready to make a meal of our pets. If you plan to spend any time outside, it’s not too early to think about ticks, those creepy crawly spider cousins that bug pets and spread disease. I’ve written about tick-borne diseases before. Here in Texas, we have pets (and people!) diagnosed with Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and/or ehrlichiosis. Yes, some folks end up with a combination of illnesses. There are other diseases ticks carry, and I recently learned about a new invasive tick species. The Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) poses additional risks.
How did the Asian longhorned tick get to America? Officially reported first in 2017, it appeared outside a quarantine facility on a sheep farm in New Jersey. It hasn’t yet reached Texas, but may soon. It looks similar to other tick species and has the ability to transmit many bacterial, viral, and protozoal pathogens that can make humans and animals sick. Kathryn Duncan, DVM, PhD, DACVM, parasitology field specialist with Merck Animal Health, graciously agreed to answer my questions about this new risk to our pets. She says this tick most likely entered our country through imported or shipped animals.
Here’s what you need to know about this potentially deadly pest.