Category Archives: Julia Williams

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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Let’s Start a New Black Friday Trend!

black friday nikitaBy Julia Williams

For many people, Black Friday is all about shopping. People go a little crazy, even going so far as trampling and pummeling others, all in the name of getting a good deal on this, that or the other. Personally, I steer clear of all retail stores on Black Friday because the whole thing strikes me as madness. Yes, you can get Christmas gifts for a great price…but is it worth it? I guess it’s an individual decision.

In any event, today I am thinking not about Black Friday shopping but about a different black …all of the black cats and black dogs that are in animal shelters, waiting for someone to pick them so they can have the life and home they deserve.

black friday maja dumatHistorically, black pets have the hardest time getting adopted, for a variety of reasons. Some people believe the myth that black cats are bad luck. Others won’t adopt a black dog or cat because he’s not “colorful” enough or they don’t think a black pet has much personality because they can’t see his facial expressions as well as those with lighter colored faces.

I don’t get it. Judging a cat or a dog by the color of his fur? That’s more bizarre to me than the Black Friday shopping mayhem. I have two black cats – Mickey and Rocky – and if I had a negative bias toward black pets, I’d have missed out on being loved by two of the coolest cats I know. Their black fur is not very colorful, but their personalities? Now that’s an entirely different story!

The motto often used by shelters and rescue groups is “adopt, don’t shop!” It doesn’t have anything to do with Black Friday, but can you imagine what would happen black friday beverlyif every person who went out shopping today, went to an animal shelter instead and picked out a black pet for their family? Millions of wonderful animals would be “home” for Christmas, that’s what!

However you spend this day, I hope you stay safe and warm.

Top photo by Nikita/Flickr
Middle photo by Maja Dumat/Flickr
Bottom photo by Beverly Goodwin/Flickr

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Why We’re Thankful for Our Pets

Thanksgiving rochelleBy Julia Williams

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

In the spirit of being thankful, CANIDAE has another fun photo contest going on right now. Just share a photo of your pet and why you are thankful for them, and you might win 6 months FREE pet food! For full details see the contest page on Facebook.

A few years back, the other RPO blog writers and I shared some of the reasons why we are thankful for our four legged friends, which you can read here. I personally make a point to verbally give thanks every day for my beloved cats, who are cherished members of my family. I express my gratitude each day that these amazing, loving and delightful beings chose me, and that they are all healthy, happy and safe.

Today, on the day when we gather with family and friends to share a feast and give thanks for our blessings, I wanted to share with you what some of my pet loving friends said when I asked them to fill in the following question: “I’m thankful for my pet because…”

Jeanne: I’m thankful for my pets because they always live in the moment and are wonderful companions.

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“Bad Kitty” Confessions

By Rocky Williams, feline guest blogger

Hello again! The Warden says it’s never a good sign when she sees me walking out of the kitchen licking my chops, and it’s nowhere near my meal time. Yep, that’s true. It means Bad Kitty did something…again.

I am incorrigible, especially when it comes to food. In my defense, I don’t think my devilish behavior is entirely my fault. The Warden knows who I am, yet she’s always giving me opportunities to be bad. Can I help it if I simply can’t resist the temptations she lays before me?

The Warden worries about what would happen to me if something happened to her. She doesn’t think another hoomin would ever put up with my Bad Kitty behavior. But I said, “Hey, sometimes my naughtiness makes you laugh!” She said that was because she was a crazy4cats lady and I reminded her that there was absolutely nuthin’ crazy about loving us cats, even naughty ones like me.

I kept a diary for a few weeks, to see if anyone besides the Warden would tolerate my Bad Kitty behavior. I would hate to be homeless if she kicked the bucket. And I DO have lots of other good qualities that would make up for it…right?

Day One: I “helped” the Warden make enchiladas today. In other words, I jumped up and grabbed a huge hunk of chick-hen right in front of her, before she even knew what happened.

Day Two: Warden put her pizza back in the oven to keep it safe from me while she ate her slices in the living room. BUT she left the oven door cracked, so naturally I opened it and then I crawled in the nice warm oven to eat the pizza. Yum!

Day Three: Remember those enchiladas? Warden left their foil covering on the counter, and it had bits of cheese stuck to it. So naturally, I shredded that foil to get every last cheese morsel.

Day Four: I tried to eat something called a bear claw but it was in a zippered plastic bag. I was trying to rip the bag when I was caught red pawed. Oh well; I’m not sure the claw of a mangy bear would taste good anyway.

Day Five: I knocked a box of pasta shells to the floor while I was strolling on the kitchen counter. The box opened and pasta went everywhere! Too bad I only like it cooked.

rocky-catpuchinoDay Six: I discovered that if I get on the espresso maker and then stand on my tippy toes I can open the cupboard and reach the high shelf where my CANIDAE treats are kept. So naturally I did. When the Warden saw me, I tried to pretend I was just making a Catpucchino.

Day Seven: The Warden was fixing herself a baked potato when the phone rang. She came back after chatting to discover that there wasn’t much left of the full stick of butter she’d left on the counter. (See what I mean about giving me opportunity?).

Day Eight: Oooh!! There was a homemade biscuit-egg thingy sitting in the microwave and the door wasn’t shut all the way. Half of me (the front half, naturally) was in the microwave polishing it off when I got caught.

Day Nine: A glass bowl on the counter had some food in it but I couldn’t tell what it was because there was plastic wrap on top. I was busy trying to get into the bowl when it crashed to the floor and broke, sending salsa mixed with glass flying everywhere.

Day Ten: The pet sitter wasn’t told about my Bad Kitty ways, so she put empty CANIDAE cans in the trash under the sink. I pulled them out to lick off the stinky goodness and I may have spread garbage all over the kitchen floor.

Cat-AnimatedDay Eleven: I licked yogurt out of the Warden’s bowl when she turned her back to get fruit from the fridge. I got yogurt all over my face and my whiskers!

Day Twelve: Amazingly, this is the only Bad Kitty confession that isn’t food related. I bit the Warden on her behind when she stuck it in my face (well, she was trying to get into the shower, but still).

Day Thirteen: The Warden tried to eat a Creamsicle right in front of me. I attacked her until she let me lick the stick.

Day Fourteen: Warden asked me “Are you going to be a Good Kitty today?” Haha! I almost had a coronary laughing so hard.

So what do you think? Would you ever adopt a Bad Kitty like me?

Photos by Julia Williams

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How Do You Know if Your Vet is a Keeper?

By Julia Williams

Of all the things we can do to help our pets live long and happy lives, finding a great veterinarian is definitely near the top of the list. Because we rely on their expertise for basic pet care as well as emergencies, it’s vital to find a vet that both you and your pet are comfortable with, and one that you’re confident will help you make the best decisions for your pet. It can be a challenge, though – just as it can be to find the right doctor for your own healthcare needs. There are many factors that determine whether your pet’s vet is a keeper. Here are some:

Bedside Manner

The way your vet interacts and communicates with you is an important aspect of the relationship. Visits to the vet are often stressful because we are worried about our pet’s health. A good vet will be compassionate and will try to make you feel at ease. They also need to have excellent communication skills, and be able to clearly explain treatment options, test results, medications, at-home procedures and other things relating to your pet’s care. Your vet should also have a good bedside manner with your pet; you should feel as though they really care about your pet.

Willing to Explain

A vet who rushes through the exam as though their primary concern is adhering to a predetermined time limit for the visit, regardless of what might ail your pet, is definitely NOT a keeper. You may be ushered out before you feel your concerns were really heard or before you have a thorough understanding of your pet’s health or care. If any veterinarian makes you feel that way, walk out and never go back.

A good vet takes the time to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about different treatment options. They explain what the risks or side effects are, what a particular procedure entails and what they feel is the best course of action for your situation.

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Why Cats Bite and How to Prevent the Behavior

By Julia Williams

My girl kitty Annabelle is the sweetest cat I’ve ever known. Normally, she can’t get enough of my lovin’, but if I try to pet her immediately upon waking, she will nip me. Not break-the-skin bites, but a clear signal for me to stop. I don’t know why she hates being touched only at that time, but I joke that “she’s just not a morning cat.” If people can be anti-morning, why not cats? Thankfully, it’s the only time she bites, and as long as I resist the urge to pet her upon awakening, it’s not a problem.

Others aren’t so lucky. According to feline behaviorists, biting is the second most common problem for cat owners (peeing outside the box is the first). This issue needs to be corrected, because cat bites are not only painful when they occur but they can cause serious infections. I’ll discuss three of the most common reasons why cats bite, and what you can do to reduce or eliminate this problem behavior.

Petting Induced Aggression

Scenario: You’re sitting there petting your cat who is purring away and seemingly enjoying the attention when all of a sudden she whirls and sinks her teeth into your hand. What just happened?

First of all, let’s be clear. In most cases, your cat’s transformation from friendly Dr. Jekyll to psychotic Mr. Hyde was not instantaneous. Your cat’s body language was telling you it was time to stop petting; you just missed the signals or misinterpreted them.

These signals include tail lashing or thumping, ears flattened or twitching, shifting body positions, eyes focused on your hand. She stops purring and may even meow or growl.  If you don’t heed your cat’s warning(s) that she’s had enough, she goes to Plan B – the bite – and voila, petting stops.

Some reasons your cat wants the petting session to end:

1. Overstimulation – for some cats, there’s a fine line between what feels good and what doesn’t. They can only handle so much stimulation before sensory overload occurs.

2. Not in the mood – sometimes what your cat wanted was to play, not to be petted. They may tolerate your petting for a little while because they love you, but then they just want it to stop.

3. Sensitivity – some areas of a cat’s body may be more sensitive than others, and being touched there is uncomfortable. Individual cats may also have specific areas of the body where they like being petted and others where they don’t. It’s up to you to figure out which is which, by paying attention to their body language.

Learning the sometimes subtle “stop it” cues your cat gives before they have to resort to biting you, will enable you both to enjoy the petting session and have it end on a positive note.

Play Aggression

Many people unwittingly encourage their cat to develop a habit of biting them during play, by engaging in roughhousing and offering their hands, fingers and toes as “toys.” Sure, it seems really cute and innocent when they’re a tiny kitten, but this type of play has Cat Bite written all over it. Your cat isn’t able to discern how rough is too rough. If you want your cat to stop biting you while playing, never use your body parts as toys. That means no tickling them, no moving your finger for them to chase, no tapping your toes as an invitation to pounce. And pass up products like gloves with balls on the end that encourages your cat to see your hand as a toy – they simply can’t understand that it’s only OK to attack when the gloves are on. Be sure that every family member follows this strict rule, or biting during play will continue, and one day it may go too far.

Cats are natural born hunters, and need to engage in “stalk and pounce” play for mental satisfaction. If your kitty likes to lie in wait and bite your ankles when you walk by, try carrying a small catnip mouse, fuzzy ball or other cat toy that you can toss away from you to redirect their attention. It’s also a good idea to provide plenty of interactive playtime with the appropriate toys (remember – no fingers!).

Redirected Aggression

Sometimes an agitated cat will lash out at a person or another cat in the household that had nothing to do with the reason the cat got upset. This is called redirected aggression. It can occur when your inside cat sees a cat outside – trespassing on “his” territory. It can also occur when you take one cat to the vet and he comes home smelling like “that place.” There are many other reasons that can cause a cat to take out his frustration on you instead of the person or thing that upset him.

Your best strategy is to try to figure out what the stressor is and take steps to remove it. For example, if a trespassing cat has your kitty in an uproar, find a way to either discourage the cat from coming around (such as installing motion activated sprinklers) or keep the curtains closed. It can take some fine detective work to figure out what’s causing the redirected aggression, but don’t give up. Also, don’t try to interact with your cat when he’s highly agitated, as this will almost certainly result in being bitten.

Top photo by Tnarik Innael/Flickr
Middle photo by Sam Howzit/Flickr
Bottom photo by d.i.o.d.e./Flickr

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