Monthly Archives: September 2012

Cat Breed Profile: the Lovely LaPerm

By Langley Cornwell

It doesn’t seem fair that a cat breed has prettier hair than I do, but that’s the case with the beautiful LaPerm. These gorgeous cats’ coats are curly; the curls can be loose and wavy or ringlet-style, ranging from tight Shirley Temple type ringlets to extended corkscrew curls. Their coats can be any color and coat pattern, it’s the curls that make it a LaPerm. In fact, the name LaPerm means rippled or wavy.

History of the LaPerm Cat

This cat breed hasn’t been recognized for long; in 1982 the breed actually started as a mutation of a robust, healthy barn cat. The Cat Fanciers’ Association relates the story of a farmer in Oregon whose land, located near the ancient fishing and hunting grounds of the Wishram Indians, was peppered with barn cats. One of the cats had a litter of six kittens, and one was born without a hair on her body—she was completely bald. Even though she was hairless, the kitten had big, wide-spaced ears and classic tabby-type patterns marked on her skin. At around eight weeks old, the kitten’s coat started to come in curly. And when she reached three to four months of age she had a full coat of soft, curly hair. The farmer named her “Curly.”

These Oregonians knew more about farming than they did about cats. Even though they knew the curly-haired cat was different, they didn’t give it much thought. For the next 10 years, life on the farm remained fairly steady. Since the farmers didn’t know anything about genetics or breeding, they allowed their cats to roam freely around the orchards and throughout the barns. The cats continued to breed indiscriminately, but the farm lady noticed that more and more litters included a bald kitten or two. Curious about what was happening, she began to search for information about her strange cats.

Once the farm owner was made aware of how unusual these cats were, she wanted to learn more about breeding. She started confining the cats and studying their offspring. She determined that the curly gene was dominant and was carried by both the male and female cats. The farmer-turned-breeder entered one of her beautiful, curly-coated cats in a cat show and got a huge reaction; she was overwhelmed with the amount of interest and excitement the cat generated. It was that farm lady in Oregon who established the breed and gave the cats the name of LaPerm.

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Introducing Your Pet and Your New Partner

By Linda Cole

When couples get to the point where it’s time to meet the parents, it can be a bit stressful if you don’t know how the folks will receive your new partner. That can be a piece of cake compared to the first meeting between your significant other and your pet!

Even with a dog or cat, that first impression is important and makes a big difference to both your pet and partner. From a pet’s point of view, there are polite and respectful greetings and rude ones. A pet can easily get freaked out if someone invades their space without asking for permission first. We don’t appreciate someone we just met moving too fast, and pets share that view. Take it slow so your pet and partner can start off on the right foot from the beginning.

Scent is one way dogs and cats explore and understand their world. Before you were serious about your partner, you were bringing their scent into your home. When you are getting ready for the first meeting between your dog and new mate, begin by introducing their smell into your home. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to bring home a T-shirt or small towel with their scent on it. Have your pet sniff the fabric and leave it lying around where they can find it. Reward your pet with their favorite CANIDAE treat and give praise. You want your pet to have an enjoyable association with the other person’s smell, and when he finally meets your boyfriend/girlfriend, he will recognize their scent in a positive way.

When your partner greets your dog for the first time, it’s best if you can do it somewhere outside the home. Meet at a quiet park, in the front yard of your home, or on a favorite hiking trail. Have your partner stand sideways and let your dog walk up and smell them. Don’t give him direct eye contact, don’t talk to him, and don’t force a meeting. Allow him space to approach the person when he’s ready. Stay relaxed and calm.

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Does Your Dog Video Chat?

By Tamara McRill

Video chatting isn’t just a great way for us humans to stay in contact—it can also keep our dogs in touch with those they love. I have one dog, Cody, who always gets face time with the camera when someone he knows comes up on chat. Okay, to be honest, sometimes people come up on chat just to say hi to him. (Like a lot of animal lovers, I’ve made peace with the fact that my pets are more popular than I am.)

Cody doesn’t make much noise when his friends (mostly my nephews) video chat with him, but his crazy-happy tail thumping shows how excited he is.

Checking in on Vacation

Like a lot of responsible pet owners, we always have a pet sitter stay at our house when we go on vacation. Given how stressful not seeing us for a week is on our three dogs, I wish I would have thought of checking in via video a long time ago. Video chatting can work both ways when it comes to separation anxiety during vacations. Not only does your pet get visual affirmation that they will see you again, but you also get to actually see how well they are being taken care of.

Keeping Tabs on Loved Ones

From going to college to divorce to moving and more, there are many reasons dogs get separated from people they are used to interacting with daily. With video chatting, dogs don’t have to wait months or even years to see them again. Don’t forget closely bonded animals that get torn apart for some reason or another – say your roommate and her cat move across country. They may appreciate seeing each other on the computer, as opposed to never having any type of contact with each other ever again.

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URGENT! The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank Needs Help

By Linda Cole

CANIDAE has been a huge supporter of The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank since 2009, when their initial donation of $125,000 worth of premium pet food helped this very important charity open their doors. Larry Chusid founded The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank to help people feed their beloved pets, so the animals can remain with the family instead of being surrendered to a shelter. Although many who receive the lifesaving pet food from The Pongo Fund never imagined they’d ever be unable to feed their pet without help, it can and does happen to all walks of life.

To date, The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has provided meals for over 50,000 hungry animals throughout Oregon & Southwest Washington. Now it’s our turn to give back to Larry and The Pongo Fund, and I’m asking for your help.

The Pongo Fund is entered in the Chase Community Giving contest for a share of $5 million in grants to the winning charities. A win for The Pongo Fund would come at a very good time, because the charity was recently forced out of their building after it was severely damaged by rain and slated for demolition. The pet food bank has located a new home, but will now have to pay rent and restock the warehouse.

CANIDAE will continue to lend a hand with donations of their premium pet food and treats, but it takes more than one company to keep Larry’s lifesaving work going. Winning $50,000 would go a long way in helping The Pongo Fund get back on their feet so they can continue to feed pets in need.

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How to Train a Cat to Do Tricks

By Julia Williams

“Train a cat? Ha ha! Very funny. That’s a joke, right?” No, it isn’t. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to train a cat to do tricks. You really can teach your cat to sit, shake, give you a high five, fetch on command and any other trick you want. But (and this is a BIG but)… it won’t be easy. Then again, if it was too easy the thrill of victory wouldn’t be half as sweet!

If you want to teach your cat to do tricks, you need a wealth of four things: patience, determination, time and cat treats. Anyone who is familiar with the independent nature of cats knows why training them requires lots of the first three things. Unlike our canine friends, cats really have no innate desire to please anyone except themselves. As for the cat treats, there’s simply no greater motivator for felines than food. Praise? Cats have no use for praise, and although most do enjoy a good brushing or petting, it’s just not enough to inspire them to do your bidding.

So before you begin to train a cat, it’s wise to stock up on some tasty cat treats. You really can’t go wrong with FELIDAE TidNips™. These soft cat treats are made with real chicken meat and supplemented with Vitamin E, an antioxidant, and Omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat. More importantly, they are delicious! (No, I haven’t eaten any myself, but the reaction I get from my three cats at treat time is all I need to know).

If you let your cat “free feed” dry food, consider switching to two feedings a day and remove the 24-hour kibble buffet. Then you can try training your cat to do tricks before their scheduled meal time, which makes the food reward even more motivational.

Another important aspect of cat training is that you have to coax them to do what you want, such as “sit” or “shake.” When they do, say the command loudly and clearly, and immediately give them their food reward. You can also praise them lavishly and pet them, although as I said before, this is not nearly as effective as the cat treat.

If you don’t succeed after a few days (and you probably won’t), don’t get discouraged. Remember the old adage, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Simply keep trying. Trust me…training a cat to do tricks can be done!

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Therapy Dog Comforts Kids and Seniors with Teddy Bears

An Interview with the Amazing Stacey Mae 

By Langley Cornwell

Stacey Mae is a beloved therapy dog in Canon City, Colorado. With over 19,000 Facebook fans, this Greater Swiss Mountain Dog’s good deeds span the globe. Some of us at the CANIDAE Responsible Pet Ownership Blog wanted to know more about this four-legged angel.

I had the opportunity to interview Stacey Mae. With a motto like Never Give Up, Never Back Down, Never Lose Faith, you get a sense of the dog and her guardian’s character. Throughout the process, however, I was only granted access to Stacey Mae herself. Apparently her guardian wants all of the credit and acclaim to go to Stacey Mae. Maybe that’s another peek behind the curtain?

Our interview:

What made your family get involved in canine nursing home therapy? 

My family had another Greater Swiss Mountain dog named Gracie who visited nursing homes for several years. They wanted to do something nice for the elderly and knew that people in nursing homes really like dogs. Gracie was mellow and loved people, so my family thought it would be a good fit. Unfortunately, the nursing home where Gracie visited closed down. When that happened, my family stopped going. Then Gracie crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2008.

Sorry to hear about Gracie. What happened next? 

Once Gracie passed away, my family thought I would do a good job visiting homes since I am so relaxed. I don’t lick, and just like to spend time with people. I’m fine if people want to pet me and if they don’t, I’ll just lay down near them to keep them company in their final days, months or years.

How old were you when you started?

Just a little over a year old.

What do you most like about being a therapy dog?

The people; I’ve met wonderful people at the nursing home, and I can tell I’m helping. Even though it is hard to say goodbye, knowing I helped make their time better is worth it.

Then you wanted to do more? 

Yes. After about 2 years of simply visiting the elderly, we wanted to do something more. So in October of 2010 we launched the Teddy Bear Project.

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