Category Archives: Julia Williams

How to Know When Your Cat is Sick

By Julia Williams

Early detection is always best for any illness. Catching a disease before it becomes advanced increases the chance that it can be treated successfully. What makes this problematic for cat owners is that felines are hard-wired to hide signs of illness. Their wild ancestors did this as a means to survival, and it’s instinctual for a feline to conceal the appearance of sickness, even if they lead the life of a very spoiled housecat.

Your best course of action is threefold: 1) take your cat to the vet for wellness checkups at least once a year; 2) know your cat well enough that you can immediately recognize any changes in their normal behavior; 3) know the subtle signs of a sick kitty. Here are some things to watch out for:

Appetite Changes

Both an increase and a decrease in a cat’s food intake can signify illness. If a cat begins to eat ravenously and always seems to want more, diabetes or hyperthyroidism could be the culprit. Eating less could mean dental problems or something more serious such as kidney disease or cancer. It’s important to be aware that cats who stop eating can quickly develop a potentially fatal liver disease called hepatic lipidosis. If your cat won’t eat anything for more than a day, get to the vet ASAP.

Water Consumption

As with food, both an increase and a decrease in water intake can indicate health issues. Excessive thirst can be a sign of kidney disease, diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

Bad Breath

“Cat food breath” is one thing – all felines have that to some degree. However, if your cat opens his mouth and the smell just about knocks you over, that’s definitely cause for concern. Stinky breath can indicate dental disease, infection, digestive issues or kidney problems; a sweet, fruit-like smell can be a sign of diabetes.

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Common Faux Pas Pet Owners Make

By Julia Williams

We all strive to be responsible pet owners and “do the right thing” where our beloved furry friends are concerned. We are human, though, which means that despite having the best intentions, sometimes we slip up. Read on for some common blunders pet owners make, and how to avoid them.

Adopting on a Whim

Judging by the number of people I know who’ve made this mistake (myself included) I’d say that “impulse adoption” is fairly common. It’s also understandable. That adorable little puppy face in the window can be so hard to resist. That kitten being given away on the street calls to our most basic need to “save” this tiny helpless being. However, getting a pet before doing your research or making the necessary preparations can have disastrous results, with the pet being the one who bears the brunt of our hasty decision. Adopting a pet is a long-term commitment, and you need to be absolutely certain you’re picking one that is appropriate for your family, your living situation and your lifestyle.

Not Enough Exercise

Yes, it can be darn inconvenient to walk the dog in frigid winter weather, or make time to play with your cat every day. But exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle for our pets, just as it is for us. Couch potato pets run the risk of becoming overweight, which can cause numerous health issues including arthritis, diabetes, joint issues, liver problems, difficulty breathing and a decreased quality of life. Insufficient physical activity can also contribute to bad behavior. How much exercise is enough depends on your pet’s age, breed, size and health status. A basic rule of thumb is 30 minutes a day for dogs, and 15 minutes for cats. Consider that the bare bones minimum; your pet may need more exercise than that.

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Happy 2015 to All Pets and Their Beans!

By Julia Williams

I tried to find a good word that rhymed with 2015, but “bean” was the best I could do. See, if you don’t already know, some cats and dogs who blog call their human a bean. I’ve no clue who coined that term, but it’s a thing, so I went with it.

Bad rhymes aside, it’s time once again for us here at the CANIDAE RPO blog to wish a very Happy New Year to those we hold dear. That certainly includes all of you, our readers. Without you, there would be no reason to write a thing!

Whether you’ve just discovered this blog, have been with us since our inception (in early 2009!) or joined us somewhere in between, we appreciate you and are so glad to have you along for the ride.

Each year, we strive to bring you a variety of topics ranging from pet care tips and important pet-related information, to human interest stories and entertaining posts that will make you smile. We’re always open to suggestions, so feel free to drop us an email or a comment if you have a specific topic you’d like to see us cover in 2015.

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Tosha the Three Legged Wonder Cat

By Julia Williams

Tosha was my first cat as an adult. I was 21 and newly married, and we’d just moved into a cozy cottage in Northern California. Of course, in my eyes no house is a home without a cat, so it wasn’t long before an 8-week old brown tabby came to live with us. I thought she was just the cutest little thing, and she was a delightful addition to my new family. Like any kitten, she was playful and inquisitive. She was also very affectionate, and would curl up on my lap anytime I sat down.

When Tosha was about a year old, we went away on a weekend camping trip. At the time, I thought it was perfectly fine to leave my cat home alone with a bowl of dry cat food and some water. Worse, she could come and go through the cat door anytime she liked. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about her; I loved her dearly, but I just didn’t know better. Older and wiser now, I would never do that. As it turned out, Tosha paid for my mistake.

When we returned from camping, I called and called her. She didn’t come, so I went looking for her and found her lying in the bushes with a badly mangled back leg. I rushed her to the vet, who said he wasn’t sure what had happened but guessed she was either attacked by a dog or hit by a car.

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Holiday Pet Poison Prevention Tips

holiday safety jimBy Julia Williams

The holiday season is one of joyous celebrations, but along with the merry gatherings and cheery decorations comes increased risk for our beloved pets. As responsible pet owners, we need to be extra vigilant during the holidays to prevent our dogs and cats from being accidentally poisoned or injured. No one wants to spend Christmas at the vet, least of all your pet. Here are some potentially poisonous things to look out for as you decorate your homes and plan your parties.

Imported Snow Globes

What prompted me to write this article was a heartbreaking blog post I read recently, about a family whose cat had broken a snow globe. Some of the liquid got onto the cat’s fur and despite receiving timely medical attention, the kitty didn’t make it. I was surprised to learn that imported snow globes contain antifreeze (ethylene glycol) which is highly toxic to pets – ingesting just a teaspoon can be fatal for a cat, and a tablespoon or two for a dog (depending on their size).

Snow globes are the #1 bestseller in Christmas décor on Amazon. With so many people displaying them in their homes, I wanted to get the word out about how dangerous snow globes are to pets. They are pretty, but certainly not worth the risk of poisoning a beloved pet. If you have snow globes in your home, please put them where you are 100% certain your pet cannot get to them.

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What to Do If Your Pet Goes Missing

lost pet kent wangBy Julia Williams

That moment when you realize your beloved pet is missing is horrific.  It can happen to even the most diligent, responsible pet owner, and it’s beyond scary. It can be hard not to go into full-on panic mode once you realize your pet is not where they should be, but that’s Rule Number One. Staying calm and having a plan will help you find your lost pet as quickly as possible. To that end, I’ve put together a few tips on what to do if your pet goes missing.

Be Prepared

Make sure your pet always wears his collar and tags, and that the information is current. Microchipping can be an additional and worthwhile form of identification. I’ve read countless stories of microchipped pets being reunited with their family – some after many months or even years – so it really can help.

Keep some clear, close-up photographs of your pet in an easily accessible place. It’s also a good idea to write down your pet’s unique markings and things that could help identify them – such as “small, white patch of fur underneath left front leg.” It might seem silly to do this now, but you may not be able to think clearly while distressed.

I also recommend creating a “lost pet poster” template on your computer, which will save you valuable time. All of the basic information will already be there, so updating it will be quick and easy.

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