Category Archives: Julia Williams

Decoding the Secret Language of Pet Bloggers

By Julia Williams

It’s common knowledge that many twins have their own secret language, which allows them to communicate in a way that no one else can comprehend. What you may not know, however, is that pet bloggers also have a unique vernacular. When I first started reading pet blogs years ago, I often felt like I’d accidentally stumbled into a virtual foreign country where I couldn’t understand a lick of what was being discussed.

Turning to Google was little help, as the words and phrases I came across had not made it into the online urban dictionary. I didn’t want to brand myself as a newbie (even though I was) so I just kept reading. Some of the terms were easy to figure out because they were derivatives of popular animal-related words such as meow, paw and cat. Other times the meaning of a word could be inferred from considering the context.

It hit me the other day that I now use most of these words without even thinking about them. Woot! I am finally fluent in the Secret Language of Pet Bloggers! I decided it would be fun to compile a list, so future newbies to the pet blogging world won’t have to wonder what someone means when they talk about beans, floof, green papers or the flashy beast. Even though some of the words and phrases below have become so commonplace that they show up in online dictionaries, there are many that don’t. So here you go: The Secret Language of Pet Bloggers, decoded. Use it as you wish.

Anipals: animal pals; blogger friends

Backside of Disrespect: when a pet turns his bum to you

Beans: human beings

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15 Ways to Include Your Pet on Mother’s Day

By Julia Williams

It should come as no surprise to anyone reading this blog that pets are increasingly seen as an integral part of the family unit. In fact, one study found that 81% of the survey respondents considered their pet just as much a part of the family as their spouse or children. Some of us even like to – gasp! – refer to ourselves as a dog mom or cat mom. Even if you’re one who thinks the hallowed title of Mom should be reserved for human offspring, I’m sure you’d agree that including your beloved family pet in your Mother’s Day plans is a nice thing to do – for Mom as well as for your pet. Whether your Mom has human kids, just the furry kind, or both, Mother’s Day is a great family bonding opportunity. Here are some fun ways you can all celebrate this special day together.

1. Spend the day watching family-friendly movies, such as any number of the flicks that feature dogs and cats. It’s true that pets probably don’t care what’s playing on the TV, but can you think of anything more cozy than watching animal movies with a purring cat on your lap or a happy dog by your side? Me neither!

2. If Mom and Fido both love being out on the water, why not take them on a sightseeing day cruise? Believe it or not, there are quite a few dog-friendly cruise lines across the country. We wrote about some of them last year in All Aboard for Dog Friendly Cruises.

3.  Serving Mom breakfast in bed is a Mother’s Day tradition for many. While dogs and cats are more of a help than a hindrance in the kitchen, your kids can pitch in to help make the meal. Your pet can participate by carrying in her card, safely attached to their collar, while you bring the feast. Let everyone pile onto the bed to keep her company as she eats; just be sure to have a handful of CANIDAE treats to keep your pet from sampling Mom’s meal!

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Is It OK to Kiss Your Pet?

By Julia Williams

It goes without saying that we all love our pets and they love us back. I don’t think anyone would ever argue about that. Yet we may have a difference of opinion on the appropriate ways to give and receive that love. Some pet owners like to hug their dog or cat, while others say that pets don’t really like or want hugs. (I believe it depends on the pet).

Some people let their pets show their love with copious licks, even smack dab on their mouth. Others, like me, are uncomfortable with the thought of letting a dog or cat’s tongue come into contact with our lips. I do let my cats lick me on my face, but I draw the line at mouth kissing.

Opinions aside, is it really safe to kiss your dog or cat? Are there any health risks to letting your pet give you a wet kiss on your mouth? Considering where dogs and cats often put their mouths, should we be letting them shower us with affectionate licks?

Veterinarian, dog lover and author Dr. Marty Becker admits to kissing his pets, but he also says “I know I probably shouldn’t.” Dr. Becker says veterinarians are divided about the issue of kissing pets. In a veterinary publication, Dr. Christina Winn recommended that vets kiss their clients’ pets as a way to foster better relationships with them (the people, not the pets). Other vets vehemently disagreed, on the grounds that it is actually possible to catch something from kissing your dog or cat. Zoonotic diseases – those that are transmissible from animals to humans – do exist. Nobody disputes that. The difference of opinion is in regard to the risk, i.e., the likelihood of getting a zoonotic disease from kissing your pet.

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It’s National Hairball Awareness Day! Yay?

By Julia Williams

It’s pretty much a given that if you have a cat, you don’t need a special day in April to make you aware of hairballs. Cat owners are, unfortunately, all too familiar with those awful things. I don’t think there’s any sound more wretched than the gagging noise a cat makes that signals a hairball is about to be deposited on your carpet.

That our cats never do the hairball hack on the linoleum is surely proof that they’ve all been carefully trained by someone other than us. (And you thought cats couldn’t be trained. Ha!). Ah yes, there it is…right there in chapter one of the Cat’s Handbook on How to Annoy Your Human.

Now, you might think it’s funny that, some years back, some unknown person declared the last Friday in April to be National Hairball Awareness Day. I would chuckle right along with you, except that hairballs are really no laughing matter. Aside from the carpet cleanup and the likelihood that sooner or later, you’re going to “find” a hairball with your bare foot, frequent hairballs could be a sign of trouble with your cat’s digestive system.

How frequent is too frequent? That depends upon who you ask. Some say even one hairball is one too many. For me, more than one every few months per cat would cause me to take a much more proactive approach. While I’m not sure you can ever completely eliminate hairballs, there are some things you can do to greatly minimize them (more on that later).

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Things Only a Cat Person Would Do

By Julia Williams

“Cat People” are a special breed. There’s really nothing too outlandish when it comes to the things a true cat person will do to keep their kitty content. Yes, we Cat People willingly suffer for the greater good of our feline friends. I mean…isn’t that Cat Commandment #1 in the adoption contract? I’m pretty sure it is, and I’m also positive cats know it’s mandatory that you cater to their every whim. They certainly act like it, and they didn’t just pull that “I’m the King of my Castle” attitude out of thin air, did they? No, your cat thinks you worship the ground he walks on…because you do.

I’ve recently discovered that there are some universal “Cat People” truths. I.E., there are things every diehard cat lover does at some point for their furry best friend’s happiness. Further, while these things might be seen as eccentric to the no-pet crowd, to Cat People they make perfect sense. I say that will full confidence, because I recently polled a large group of Cat People on this very subject, and certain “themes” emerged. Here are some:

We Don’t Wake Sleeping Felines

Cat People do many things to avoid waking the cat. We watch TV programs we don’t even like if there is a cat sleeping on our lap and the remote is out of reach. Forget about grabbing a snack, answering the phone or using the bathroom. Our food may get cold, our legs may go numb and we might nearly expire from thirst, but one look at the sleeping cat and everything else is forgotten.

When our kitty sleeps on the computer chair, Cat People sit on the edge to type. It’s not the least bit comfortable and sometimes makes sentences come out like this: I ki93te dkfill be te4 fjje. Yet the cat is blissfully unaware. My computer chair is one of Annabelle’s favorite sleeping spots. Even when she’s awake but lounging in the chair, she gives me such a pitiful “you’re not really gonna make me move?” look that I just can’t. So I suffer.

Cat People let their kitties sleep pretty much anywhere they want to, with few exceptions. When the cat chooses our favorite reading chair or the best TV viewing spot on the couch, we just find other places to sit. Moving the cat is unthinkable. Jennifer Niemi says “I have sat on the floor, as the couch in the family room was fully loaded.” Indeed!

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Can Dogs and Cats Be Best Friends?

By Julia Williams

I read a lot of pet blogs and online pet magazines, and whenever I see a photo of a dog and cat snuggling, I have mixed emotions. One the one hand, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I just love seeing these photos because they seem to support what many pet owners have said – that dogs and cats can be best friends.

On the other hand, seeing these heartwarming examples of interspecies friendships often makes me feel a little wistful. You see, I am a diehard cat fan but I also like dogs and have wanted to add a woofie to my furry family for some time. One of the things that stops me – not the only thing, mind you – is my fear that it will upset my three cats and damage the extremely close relationship I have with each of them.

I say this because I know that while many cats and dogs can be great friends, not all dogs and cats will get along, and some may even be arch enemies. It really depends on several factors, including the individual dog, the individual cat, their interaction, and your household dynamics.
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