Monthly Archives: June 2013

Fun Places for Cat Lovers to Visit

Sign outside Hello Kitty theme park

By Julia Williams

This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me even slightly: I have a “cat-themed” bucket list. What might that be, you ask? Well, it’s a detailed list of all the cat-themed places I want to visit before my demise. Lest you think that would be a really short list, I assure you it isn’t. There are, in fact, so many fabulous feline-inspired things to see worldwide, that I would need to live (at least) several hundred years to cross them all off.

The wildly popular cat-obsessed blog, Catsparella, only contributed to my longing by featuring some purrfect pussycat travel destinations in a series of great posts called Around the World in 80 Cats. Every day for months I salivated worse than Pavlov’s Dog, and sulked that my pink leopard suitcase and I wouldn’t be heading to the airport any time soon. Here are just a few of the feline-themed destinations on my bucket list:

Hello Kitty boat ride

Hello Kitty Theme Park: Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo

It takes a special kind of bravery for a middle-aged woman to admit that she (still) likes Hello Kitty. But I do. And despite the fact that the target audience for Sanrio Puroland is 3-6 year olds, I would go there in a heartbeat, and I would have a wonderful time. Never mind that the reviews on Trip Advisor range from “Every Hello Kitty fan’s dream come true” to “A complete waste of time and money.” Besides, Wikipedia claims that “the park has become one of Japan’s most popular attractions.” So there! The park is run by the Sanrio company, creators of Hello Kitty, and features live musicals, restaurants, attractions, parades, fireworks and rides, including an “It’s a Small World” type boat ride. For diehard Kitty fans, the extensive gift shop offerings alone would be worth the trip.

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Ready for Dating – Single Brown Dog Seeks “Alicia Keeshond”

By Bruin, canine guest blogger

Thanks to CANIDAE natural pet food, I’m well on my way to achieving my weight loss goal.  I still have at least 10 more pounds to lose until I do justice to my speedo, but I have been thinking about entering the dating scene.  Since I’m currently unemployed, not attending classes, don’t spend much time in religious facilities (rules, rules, rules, everybody has their rules) and don’t like hanging out at bars, I thought perhaps on-line dating might be the answer.

I’m really not interested in the stud service sites since I have a three-date rule (see what I mean about everybody having rules – I guess I’m just as guilty).  Since I haven’t been successful in finding a suitable site, I was thinking I might have to start one on my own.

Although I’m over 21 (in dog years), theoretically I should be able to do as I please.  My mom and dad tell me that as long as I live in their house I have to follow their rules (ack, there it is again – rules).  I think their concern is that I’ll open myself up to meeting all kinds of bitches.

Right now I spend most of my free time lying by the pool and working on my tan. Since I have no lions to hunt, just the occasional kitty cat, I do enjoy the excitement (NOT!) of bird watching.  The kitty cats actually have the audacity to use “my place” as their litter box.  Believe me, my dad is not a happy camper when it’s clean-up time.

Speaking of those annoying little rascals, I was thinking of naming my dating site, the CAT’S’ MEOW.  I’m a little concerned about the name, because I wouldn’t want to attract the wrong types.  While we’re on the subject of type, I want you to know that I have very simple tastes.

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How Some Popular Dog Breeds Got Their Name

Cocker Spaniel

By Linda Cole

Deciding on the perfect name for a new puppy or dog isn’t always easy to do. You want to pick one that fits his personality and is easy to learn. Now imagine coming up with a name for a new dog breed. The history of dog breeds is an interesting story. The history behind naming some of our popular dog breeds is also an intriguing tale.

Cocker Spaniel

Spaniels date back to the 14th century; they evolved over the years with some working on land and others working as water retrievers. These dogs were highly prized by English hunters for their outstanding ability to flush out and retrieve a large, short legged and bulky wading bird called a woodcock. This nocturnal bird spends most of the day hiding in dense cover. People started calling the dog “cocker,” and the name caught on.

Labrador Retriever

Newfoundland is the land of the Labrador Retriever, not Labrador. Fishermen around the Canadian province used a small water dog that was bred with Newfoundland dogs to produce a first-class swimmer called the St. John’s Water Dog, the ancestor of the Labrador. The breed had webbed feet and was used to retrieve fishermen’s nets from the icy waters and bring them back to shore. In the early 1800s, the Earl of Malmesbury saw one of the dogs in action and imported it to England. He trained his dogs to retrieve ducks and called them “Labrador dogs.” Even though the Earl was confused about which province his dogs came from, the name stuck as the dog became more popular.

Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terrier

This little dog was developed on the Isle of Skye, in Scotland. Farmers wanted a small, feisty dog with lots of courage, determination, intelligence and the ability to go to ground when necessary after prey. The Cairn Terrier was bred to hunt badger, otter, fox, rabbit and other vermin. They were especially good at digging prey out from under cairns, which are mounds of man-made piles of stone used in the Scottish Highlands as grave site memorials and boundary markers. People started calling the dogs Cairn, and that’s where the breed name came from.

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Should I Adopt Two Adult Cats at the Same Time?

By Langley Cornwell

My mother-in-law recently decided to add a heartbeat or two to her solitary life. We went to the animal shelter with her because she wanted our advice and moral support. I’m amazed that my husband and I didn’t come home with another four-legged family member, but that’s beside the point.

She set out to adopt an adult cat because she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to keep up with a kitten or adolescent cat’s high energy level. What’s more, we know that adult cats are harder to place and, as a rule, we try to help the animals like that.

When we entered the shelter, we told the staff what we were there for. They offered helpful advice on various adoptable cats that fit her criteria. After a brief conversation, we walked the aisles, surveying the available cats and watching my mother-in-law’s reactions. It was during this time that the shelter manager approached us and started in with her targeted and compassionate sales pitch. Mind you, this is the same shelter that has – thankfully – talked my husband and me into many pets that we didn’t intend to bring home. They’re good, very good!

We all know that adults and especially children gravitate towards the kittens and puppies in a shelter. Let’s face it, older animals just don’t radiate the same cuteness that the snuggly little kittens and puppies do, so adult animals often get ignored. Even so, there are real and measurable benefits to adding an adult pet (or two) to your family.

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The Role Carbs Played in the Evolution of Dogs

By Linda Cole

Scientists are still trying to unravel the mystery behind how wolves evolved into dogs. It happened so long ago, the only evidence scientists have to work with is in archaeological research into how humans evolved and fossilized teeth and bones of early canines. Researchers have a basic understanding of the approximate time when humans and wolves began to interact. New discoveries are occasionally found which adds another piece to the evolution puzzle; hopefully one day we’ll have a complete picture of how dogs became man’s best friend.

The scientific community is still debating whether wolves approached humans first or if it was the other way around. A partnership between man and domesticated wolves would have been a beneficial relationship; wolves could help bring down larger game with enough meat to share between humans and animals. With no refrigeration or knowledge of how to preserve meat, leftover kills wouldn’t have stayed fresh for long. Women were gatherers, collecting edible berries, roots, nuts, green plants and smaller animals. A tamed wolf would have given them protection as they searched for food.

The more likely scenario that led to domestication, however, was a mutual relationship of “you leave me alone and I won’t bother you” agreement between man and animal. With an advancing Ice Age, humans were forced to turn to other sources of food. Larger plant-eating animals began to die off as cooler temperatures caused their food source to become scarcer. Early humans were nomads following Mammoth and other large game because it didn’t make sense to carry a kill long distances. When their main meal, the Mammoth, became harder to find, humans were forced to turn to other sources of food. They gave up their nomad life about 10,000 years ago, settled down in small villages, and turned to agriculture for a food supply.

With the introduction of grains, the human digestive system began to evolve to better digest carbs, and scientific evidence shows the wolf’s digestive system also evolved at the same time and for the same reason. Modern dog has 10 genes that aid in digesting starches and breaking down fats. Scientists found changes in three of the genes, which is what makes it possible for dogs to split starches and absorb sugars. Today’s wolves can’t process starchy food, and that’s one thing that sets them apart from modern dogs. This discovery, however, has nothing to do with when dogs became our best friend.

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Why Does My Cat “Go” Outside the Litter Box?

By Julia Williams

I saw a funny cartoon on Facebook recently, where a cat had made a little Zen Garden out of his litter box. A woman commented that her cat had started pooping next to the litter box and they were going to find it a new home. Dozens of angry retorts from cat lovers followed, and while some of the comments were a bit harsh, I think their wrath was justified. Had the woman said she’d tried everything to figure out why the cat was doing this, and asked for help, it would have been a different story.

Unfortunately, there are people who, instead of trying to change this common but undesirable behavior, just dump the cat at the shelter. That doesn’t solve anything, and innocent animals suffer needlessly. It’s absolutely not the cat’s fault that it starts going outside the litter box. There is always a reason, and a responsible pet owner has a duty to figure it out and find a solution. Anything else is just unacceptable. Sometimes it’s not easy, but no one ever said life would be without challenges.

There are five main reasons a cat might start “doing his business” outside the litter box. Let’s take a look at them.

A Medical Problem

Many medical issues – including diabetes, cystitis, bladder stones and urethral blockage – can cause a cat to stop using the litter box, and some can be life threatening. Therefore, it’s imperative to take your cat to the vet to rule out a medical problem first, before considering other reasons for the litter box aversion.

Type of Litter

Back in 1947, when Edward Lowe “accidentally” invented the first commercially packaged kitty litter, pet owners weren’t faced with a gazillion choices like they are today. How do we choose one? It depends somewhat on your personal preferences, but in the end it’s really about which one your cat likes and will use. If you love the natural kitty litters made from corn or wheat but your cat doesn’t, guess who has the final say? If you think scented litter smells nice, but your cat (whose sense of smell is infinitely greater than your own) prefers unscented, then unscented is what you’ll have to use. Some litter has a rough texture, and your cat might prefer a finer, sandy feel.

If your cat doesn’t like your choice of litter for any reason, she’s going to let you know with inappropriate elimination – and you will never convince them to accept a litter they find objectionable. You may have to try many different brands and types to discover which one is the holy grail of kitty litters in your cat’s eyes, but once you do, stick with it.

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