Monthly Archives: March 2013

How to Teach Your Cat to Come on Command

By Linda Cole

Because cats are perceived as independent or aloof, many people don’t try to teach their cat to come when called. I’m sure from the cat’s point of view, she justifies her refusal to come on command with “Does the Queen come to your beckoned call? I don’t think so! Now, where’s my supper?” However, teaching your cat to come on command is easier than you think, and doesn’t require an electric can opener. Think about it this way: if the can opener can train your cat to come, then you should be able to as well!

Like most cat owners, I’ve experienced the frustration of searching for a wayward cat hiding somewhere in the house. As far as the cat is concerned, if she isn’t hungry, there’s absolutely no reason to leave a perfectly good hiding place just because someone is calling her name. However, it’s just as important to teach a cat to come as it is for dogs. Emergencies can happen in the blink of an eye. Knowing your cat will come when you call her makes life easier and safer when you don’t have to hunt for her in or around the home. Not only can it save your cat’s life, it’s nice knowing she’ll come running just because you called her.

Cats are quite capable of learning commands, but teaching a feline can be frustrating and it can take some time. So stay calm, committed, patient and consistent. The first thing you need to do is decide what word you’ll use when you call your cat. The next thing is to stock up on your cat’s absolute favorite treat – the one she just can’t resist. For my cats, that’s FELIDAE TidNips™ treats. Whatever you use as a reward, it has to be something she enjoys eating more than anything else – the one treat that gets her attention no matter what she’s doing. That’s your cat’s motivation to learn.

Call your cat’s name followed by the word you picked as your “come” command. Make sure everyone in the home uses the same command each time and rewards your cat with the preferred treat. Begin training in the room you usually feed your cat. If it’s in the kitchen and she comes running when you use the electric can opener, run it to get her attention or shake her treat bag, if that’s a sound she responds to.

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Solutions for Pet Lovers with Allergies

By Langley Cornwell

My dad has extreme cat allergies, so we were never able to have a cat when I was growing up. As a young adult, one of my best friends had a cat. When I was at her house for more than an hour, my eyes would get red, swollen and itchy. Then my throat would start to feel scratchy. After one or two times, I came to the conclusion that I had cat allergies like my dad. From then on, if I was going to hang with anybody that had a cat, it had to be somewhere other than their house.

Fast forward to the time my husband and I decided to extend our family by taking in a dog that was in dire circumstances. Probably because of my limited exposure to cats, I’ve always been what’s known as a dog person. On the other hand, my husband has always been a cat person; in fact, Julia included him in this article: Real Men Do Love Cats! 7 ‘Cat Guys’ Tell All. Being a dog person, it was fixed in my mind that we were just going to rescue this one specific dog. At the time, my husband was in complete agreement.

At the shelter, we met the sad pup and were preparing to bring her home when one of the shelter workers ran up to us and shoved a ball of fur into my husband’s hands. Obviously this was a wily woman who was great at her job because she pegged us as suckers almost immediately. My husband looked up at me (don’t tell him I’m sharing this part) with tears in his eyes and said “He looks like Rudy.” He loved all the cats in his life but as a young boy he had a particularly strong bond with a cat named Rudy. What was I going to do?

You know the rest of the story. That little ball of fur came home with us too, and now I’m completely under his command. He gets the best of everything including FELIDAE cat food.

At first, however, I was concerned about my allergies. According to Unleashed Magazine, approximately 15% of the population is estimated to be allergic to cats and/or dogs. The statistics go on to reveal that about one third of the people who are allergic to cats are currently living with at least one cat in their household. I love it; only one in five people avoid cats because of allergies. What they do instead is try to minimize the symptoms.    

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Traveling with Your Dog

By Lisa Mason

Traveling with your dog is different from traveling with cats. If you have an upcoming trip and you want to take your dog along for the ride, there are a few things you should know first and that you should prepare for. Let’s explore this topic for a bit to help you prepare.

Should You Bring Him or Leave Him?

One of the first questions to ask yourself when traveling with your dog is if you should even bring him along or not. To find your answer, consider where you are going and for how long, what method of travel you will take, if your dog has traveled before and if he likes traveling.

If you consider leaving him instead, how will he be cared for in your absence? Do you have a dog sitter you can trust or will you be using a kennel service? Have you researched the kennel and the conditions your dog will be in?

If you plan on taking your dog, will your destination be dog friendly? If your dog has traveled before, how did he react? Are you prepared to handle any behavior issues that may arise while traveling to unfamiliar territory with your dog?

Driving with Your Dog

If you and your dog both like traveling by car, a road trip can be an excellent way to spend time together. Try to plan your route ahead of time with dog-friendly stops along the way (hotels that allow pets, dog parks, dog-friendly rest stops, etc.) and be sure to pack the car with your dog’s safety and comfort in mind as well.

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Five Dog Approved Relaxing Activities

By Linda Cole

During waking hours, most dogs go a mile a minute. There’s guarding the home, or at least barking just to let their owner know they’re on the job. Then it’s off to make sure squirrels, outside cats or other critters are properly reprimanded if they step foot in the wrong yard. All of that takes time and energy, and sometimes it’s nice to just relax and enjoy some dog approved activities with their favorite human. That’s the one thing dogs enjoy more than anything else!

Being involved with your pet helps to strengthen your bond and build trust. What’s great about dogs is you don’t have to spend a lot of time doing an activity with them. They don’t ask much from us, and spending some extra time puts them on top of the world.

A Slow Walk

Many dog owners walk their dog on a daily basis, but not necessarily as a way to relax. Since I have a dog enclosure where my dogs can hang out, do their business and enjoy the day, our walks are mainly a way I can give them some mental stimulation. Dogs get tired of the same old thing day in and day out. They like a set routine, but they also enjoy an impromptu outing now and then.

A slow walk around the neighborhood or on a trail is a good way to relax. Let your dog sniff around under the bushes, while you enjoy the fresh air and everything nature has to offer. After all, if you’re too busy to stop and smell the flowers once in awhile, it really is time to slow your world down a bit. There’s something about being on a slow walk with your dog that helps both of you relax from the rigors of the day. Take your time, and if you find a bench where you can sit, enjoy some quiet time with just you and your dog.

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A Letter to My Cat

By Julia Williams

Recently while browsing on Amazon I came across an interesting book titled A Letter to My Dog: Notes to Our Best Friends. It’s essentially a collection of heartfelt letters that pet owners, including some celebrities, have written to their best canine buddy. The personal letters celebrate the human/canine relationship, speak of the deep love and devotion they have for their pet and reveal raw honest emotions as they discuss a beloved dog that’s gone to the Bridge.

Intrigued, I discovered a website of the same name where people can write their own letter to their dog and post it for others to read. The dog-focused book and website have become so popular with pet owners that a follow-up book is coming soon. Naturally, it’s titled A Letter to My Cat, and there will be a sister website as well.

I loved the concept, so I decided to write my own letter to my “heart cat” Annabelle and share it with you, my dear friends and readers of the CANIDAE RPO blog. It was a lot of fun writing this letter to my darling cat that I love so much. I encourage you to write your own letter to your dog or cat, and share it here if you so desire.

My Dearest Annabelle,

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly ten years since I first saw your tiny little self in that flea-ridden place, desperately in need of rescue. I swooped you up and out of there immediately. You weren’t more than a month old, and so I became your “mother” to give you the loving care you badly needed.

I intended to find you a family once you were well, and old enough. Looking back, it seems silly I didn’t realize at once that you’d already found your forever home. But I’m so grateful that I kept you, because you are simply the best, most loving friend anyone could ever have.

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Animal Actor Higgins, of Petticoat Junction and Benji Fame

By Langley Cornwell

One of the most beloved and well known animal actors during the 1960s and 1970s was a scruffy little shelter dog named Higgins. This pup played all sorts of roles, but is probably best known as the dog on the Petticoat Junction TV show and as the title role in the movie Benji. As a kid, I was crazy about every show and movie that had a prominent animal actor, but the movie Benji was a particular favorite. I’m certain this movie was a contributing factor in establishing my lifelong passion for animals.

Higgins was discovered by Frank Inn, a Hollywood animal trainer and true animal lover. Inn was known to visit animal shelters and take home all the healthy pets because he couldn’t stand for them to be euthanized. He kept and trained the ones that he thought had potential as an animal actor and he found loving homes for the rest. There was a time when Inn and his assistants had over 1,000 animals in their care.  

It was during one of Inn’s shelter sweeps at the Burbank Animal Shelter when he found a special little tan-and-black mixed breed puppy. Inn believed this little pup was a combination of Border Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Poodle and Schnauzer. With Frank Inn’s incredible talent as a dog trainer and this puppy’s natural abilities, the dog went on to become what some people consider the best animal actor of our times.

Higgins first major national role was of the dog (creatively called Dog or sometimes called Boy, as in “Here, Boy”) in Petticoat Junction. Higgins appeared in 163 episodes from 1964 to 1970, and even though he was un-credited in this role, it introduced him to millions of fans. During that time, he also made guest appearances on Green Acres and Beverly Hillbillies. Even though he was from Burbank, California, Higgins must have had a southern accent.

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