Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Psychokitty Speaks Out: Diary of a Mad Housecat

By Julia Williams

I am addicted to cat books. No, not books about cats; books written by cats. I can’t get enough of them. Luckily, it’s easy to get a fix. There are so many cat authors now, that I wouldn’t be surprised if they outnumbered human writers one day. Amazon often has kindle versions of cat books for .99 to $1.99 (sometimes even free!), and like a good pusher they email me to let me know.

My latest cat author discovery is Max Thompson, who describes himself as “14 pounds of sleek black and white glory, with an attitude…and opinions… on everything.” That’s accurate, I think. Max the cat is quite a character. He’s got “catitude,” as they say.

Max first dipped his paws into the writing water in 2003, with a blog called The PsychoKitty Speaks Out. Spurred on by the appreciation of the masses for his witty quips, enlightened feline wisdom and snarky attitude, Max put his musings into book form. Diary of a Mad Housecat contains short daily entries about Max’s life as a “put-upon and under-appreciated feline.”

The book puts a humorous spin on common feline behaviors that every cat lover will identify with. Such as: “If you don’t want me to lick the chicken, don’t leave it on the counter. Simple as that.” The diary format makes it easy to read in snippets, as time permits. It’s a funny look at the day-to-day life of a sarcastic, smart-aleck cat.

Max is cool, but he does have a potty mouth. Yes, he swears. A LOT. If Max were human, I imagine him as a beer swilling, chest thumping macho man who cusses like a drunken sailor, but still has a soft spot for Mom even though he claims not to like or need anyone. The idea of a swearing feline is admittedly not everyone’s cup of tea. I didn’t hate that aspect of Max’s character, exactly, but also feel the bad language could have been toned down because it started to detract from the humor.

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Organizing an Emergency Preparedness Bag for your Dog

By Langley Cornwell

An Emergency Preparedness Bag, also known as a Bug-Out Bag, is a type of designated container that you have filled with whatever you’ll need to be able to survive for a 48 to72 hour period; what you’ll need if you have to “bug out” in a moment’s notice. It’s important to have a kit ready for each human member of your household, but if you find yourself facing a disaster like a flood, fire or tornado and you need to make a run for it, you’ll want to have a bag ready so your dog can escape with you as well.

Even if you don’t live an area that’s known for hurricanes or earthquakes, having an Emergency Preparedness Bag is a sensible idea in case evacuation becomes necessary for any reason. Here is a list of the most critical items to include in your dog’s Bug-Out Bag.

Water: In all cases, it’s a good idea to be well stocked with water. The amount of necessary water to carry for your dog varies according to his age, size, weight, breed and health. You also have to take the weather and terrain into consideration when calculating how much water to bring. To complicate things further, you have to figure how you’re going to tote your water. If you and your dog are evacuating on foot, consider the fact that water is heavy and takes up a lot of space. On average, you should have a half gallon of water per dog, per day. Include a collapsible bowl for your dog to eat and drink from.

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New Study Says Dogs Are Capable of Imitating Us

By Linda Cole

One nagging question dog owners have is “Why is my pet always staring at me?” Dog experts may have cracked the mystery to that question. According to a new study, dogs watch what we do, remember an action and imitate it with their own interpretation of what they saw us do.

Our long relationship with dogs has given them plenty of time to study us. They pay attention and can learn through observation. To prove this concept, researchers at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest tested dogs to see if they could learn by watching, remember what they saw and then repeat an action on command. According to the scientists, the study shows that dogs can do those things, and provides evidence for the cognitive ability of our canine friends.

Researchers tested eight adult pet dogs ranging in age from 2 to 10 years. The dogs were all female of different breeds, plus one mixed breed. They began with a preliminary test to prepare the dogs for the actual test. Taking turns, each owner had their dog stay and gave the command “Do as I do.” While the dog watched, her owner walked around a traffic cone, rang a bell hanging from a bar, or stuck their head in a bucket on the ground. Returning to the dog, the person waited 5 seconds, then gave the command, “Do it,” and waited for the dog to copy what her owner had done.

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Alternatives to Kennel Boarding When You Go Away

By Laurie Darroch

When you need to be away from home for any length of time, it is necessary to find care options for your dog to ensure they are safe, taken care of and fed properly. Kennels are a definite option, but they can be quite pricey. Also, your dog may not be comfortable staying in a kennel with the constant stimulation of other dogs in neighboring pens, strange or uncomfortable surroundings and unknown caretakers. Thankfully, there are some alternatives to kennel boarding.

Home Care

Your dog might be most comfortable in your home. Even with you gone, everything is familiar. They may be much more at ease staying there rather than going to a kennel. If this is the option you choose, you will need to have someone you can rely on to take care of your dog while you are away.

You can advertise for a home care person, but it’s important to make sure they are legitimate dog care specialists. Get full background information and verification of their services, whether or not they are insured. One possibility is to go through an agency that hires professional dog sitters.

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Does My Dog Really Need a Bed?

By Linda Cole

Even though my dogs are allowed on the furniture, I still have a variety of pillows and beds for them to snuggle in. Sometimes I will even tuck them in with a cover thrown over them. Now that might sound like my pets are treated like royalty, but I think a good bed is as important for dogs as our bed is for us. A dog’s bed isn’t as much for their comfort as it is for their good health. We invest in a proper bed for joint and back support, and warmth. If we had to sleep on the cold, hard floor, we would feel the effects in the morning with stiff joints and back, and our quality of sleep would be affected. It’s much the same for our dogs. And contrary to what some believe, a dog’s coat isn’t always enough to keep them warm.

Here are five reasons to get your dog a bed:

Support

Larger breeds like Labs, German Shepherds, Newfoundlands, Great Danes and Mastiffs are more likely to suffer from arthritis as they age. Small dogs that are longer than they are tall, like the Dachshund, are also at risk of this degenerative disease. A supportive bed helps cushion joints and bones, which is especially important for older canines and dogs with arthritis or other medical issues. It’s good to keep pressure off of the joints whenever possible.

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Designing Homes for Feline Enrichment

By Julia Williams

I have been told that my cats are spoiled. I suppose they are, but I don’t really consider that to be a bad thing. Spoiled human children often grow up to become snooty adults that no one wants to be around. Spoiled cats just live their cushy life and enjoy every minute of it. If a cat is able to convince a human that her purpose in life is to satisfy their every desire (no, of course I’m not talking about me), then rah rah for them! However, recently I’ve discovered that in regards to living that aforementioned cushy life, there are other cats who have it far, far better than mine.

Take, for example, the cats of Bob Walker and Frances Mooney. These nine felines definitely hit the cat lottery when they adopted this couple. The lucky kitties have the purrfect home (more on that in a minute). In fact, Bob and Frances call their home “The Cats’ House” because that’s exactly what they believe it to be.

Bob said “One day it finally came to us that we go off to work every day leaving the house to the animals. We realized that possession was nine-tenths of the law, that it was really their house so the least we could do was cater to their whims and desires and make it their house.”

They started with a simple catwalk and “one thing led to the next.” Ha ha! Before they knew it, they had 140 feet of elevated cat paths (the “Cat Highway”) throughout their home, with three different ways for the kitties to get up to the catwalk. One of their early inspirations for the catwalk came from a relative, who had a train track that went around the top of the room. Only instead of a train, Bob and Frances have cats zooming around overhead and through the walls to the next room.

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