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.
By Guido the Italian Kitty
Catzowey! I’m itching to tell you about my itches that have gone arrivederci and bye bye too, and you must believes it cuz itza for sure my fur is more meowvalous and shiny than ever in all a cat’s 9 lives. And it’s not cuz I went to the deeziner fur salon and had a makeover! But I would purr to let you in on a giganticat secret.
For the first 4 years of my catzowey life, I was itching. Yep, just itching and scratching and biting my handsome man-cat fur like gnawing on myself. It was not so comfy having to live like this and strike a pose on the catwalk at the same time! My photo shoots were done around not showing my itchy tummy cuz I itched so much that I ate all of my EyeTailYun tummy fur right off of my bod. And like that’s not a furry worry, then I started on taking all the furs off of my famous legs. CATZOWEY! When I looked into the mirror, I didn’t see my EyeTailYun buffed self but instead saw what I thought was a long lost scraggly relative! Catzowey, it was me looking half naked from biting off my handsome fur coat.
Oh sure, I visited abundacat dreaded V E T persons – more than I want to remember and they all said “he needs allergy tests.” Then most of them said I was probably having an environmental reaction! Holy Cannoli – like I’m allergic to my sofa?
By Julia Williams
I vividly remember the first time I ever came face to face with a Sphynx cat. My friend and I were making the rounds at a cat show, oohing and aahing at all the beautiful kitties with their luxurious, fluffy coats brushed to perfection. We turned a corner and there they were, these peculiar hairless creatures with giant ears, wrinkled bodies and an alien-like appearance. I must admit my first thought was something like “What the heck are those things?” I saw them again recently on Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell and had a similar reaction. I guess I’m just so used to seeing cats with fur that the Sphynx, by comparison, looks unnatural to me. However, the Sphynx reminds me of that old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The Sphynx may look odd to people who are used to furry felines, but many other cat lovers call the Sphynx ‘pure enchantment’ and value the breed for its affectionate nature and lively demeanor. I decided to research this interesting rare breed to find out more about it.
Though the appearance of the breed is one of hairlessness (and some truly are) many actually have a light covering of soft, peach-like fuzz. Some Sphynx also have short, fine hair on their feet, tail or outer edges of the ears. The lack of fur makes the cat’s skin warm to the touch, described as feeling like a heated chamois or a suede-covered hot water bottle. The lack of fur also creates a feeling of resistance when petting the cat.
The breed’s lack of hair is governed by a recessive gene. It takes two copies of the gene for the hairless trait to express itself, so if both parents have only one copy, the number of hairless kittens in their litters will be approximately one in four.
The breed standard states that wrinkled skin is a desirable trait, particularly around the muzzle, between the ears, and around the shoulders. The Sphynx skin can be any color found in other felines, as well as any pattern (solid, point, van, tabby, etc.). Most Sphynx have no whiskers, but of those that do, the whiskers are short and sparse.
By Linda Cole
We all have our reasons for why we picked a certain pet to share our home with. Adopting a pet is a tremendous responsibility, and it’s essential to pick the right pet that fits your lifestyle. For some people (that’s me) any pet fits in, but it’s not the case for everyone. There are many things to consider before deciding on the right pet. If you’re thinking about adding a pet to your family, here’s a short quiz to contemplate.
1. How much space do you have?
a. I live in a small apartment with no yard.
b. A couple of acres and a modest to large house.
c. A nice little place with a decent backyard.
Space is important to consider, because not all dogs will make a good pet if they are cooped up in a small space. All dogs need exercise whether they are a high energy breed or not. If space is limited, consider which dog breed would be happy in a small space, or perhaps get a cat instead. Check for dog parks in your area, and plan on daily walks if you live in an small home and/or have a tiny yard.
2. What kind of lifestyle do you have?
a. I have a couple of young kids.
b. I live alone and love to curl up on the couch at night to read or watch TV.
c. Exploring the great outdoors is my passion.
d. I work long hours and often on the weekends.
e. I have an active night life.
Lifestyle needs to be considered because some dog breeds and young children aren’t a good mix. Not all dogs enjoy being around little kids. Think about how much time you have to devote to a pet. Leaving a dog home alone for long periods of time can cause them to develop behavior issues, and cats need attention, too. Do you have time to train a dog? Do you like to entertain on a regular basis? Do you like to go out a lot? Do you like to be active on the weekends, or are you more of a homebody?
By Linda Cole
We use a dog’s nose to find lost people, hidden explosives, termites, drugs and other contraband. Now we can add sniffing out life threatening allergens to the list. People with food allergies spend hours reading labels and questioning a waitress about what’s in a particular dish. For those with a peanut allergy, even a minute amount of peanuts can cause a severe, life threatening reaction. One solution to help those who suffer from peanut allergies is Allergy Alert Service Dogs – canines trained to search for and find hidden allergens in food or on everyday objects.
One of the more common food allergies is peanuts. In children, peanut allergies tripled from 1997 to 2008. A severe allergic reaction to peanuts is responsible for an estimated 100 to 150 deaths every year. Millions of kids and adults have to be vigilant about making sure they don’t come into contact with peanuts in any form, in their food or on everyday objects. They have to constantly stay on alert to what’s in food. Even if there are no peanuts in the food, traces of peanuts could have been introduced without anyone knowing about it.
By the Drs4pets Team
Dogs scratch. Some dogs scratch a lot. Why do dogs scratch, and when should you intervene?
Let’s first talk about why dogs do not scratch. One myth is that dogs begin to itch when something changes in their diet. This is rarely the case. First, food allergies make up the smallest percentage of allergy cases in veterinary medicine; less than 10% of dogs with allergies have an allergy to food. Allergies develop over time, typically after a dog has eaten a particular food for 2 or more years.
Dogs can be itchy because of allergies though. The most common type of allergy is flea hypersensitivity, followed by atopy or inhaled allergies. Instead of coughing and sneezing, dogs get itchy when they breathe in molds or pollens that they are allergic to. Food storage mites and dust mites are known to trigger an allergic response in pets, and are found in almost every household. They thrive in dry, warm environments, like a pet food bin.