6 Fun Homemade Games For Cats

cat games PeteBy Julia Williams

Every cat guardian knows how important play is for a feline’s physical and mental wellbeing. Playtime provides beneficial exercise while stimulating their minds and preventing boredom. If you’re like me, you have an assortment of toys littering your floor. You may have also discovered that a plain cardboard box has as much feline appeal as a new catnip mouse. With that in mind, here are some ideas for homemade games that will entertain your kitty and don’t cost a lot.

Ball Pit

I found a cute video of cats playing in a kiddie pool filled with little plastic balls. Looks like fun! You can also use ping pong balls, and if you don’t have a kiddie pool, just use your bathtub to keeps the balls contained. Rocky loves this game and will play with just one or two balls in the bathtub for quite some time.

Box Jumping

This game takes advantage of a cat’s natural affinity for the box, and their love of jumping. Line up a row or two of boxes as shown in this video. Let your kitty smell a CANIDAE cat treat or piece of kibble, then toss it into the box to start the game. Once they jump into the box and eat that piece, toss another into a different box making sure your cat sees where it goes. Depending upon how food motivated your kitty is and how (ahem) smart they are, you may need to “walk them through” how to play at first. Some kitties enjoy the box jumping game even without the enticing treats.
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7 Heartwarming Animal Rescues in 2015

animal rescue toddBy Linda Cole

Like us, animals sometimes find themselves in perilous situations and need assistance from a human. Thankfully, there are brave people who are quick to extend a helping hand. Read on for seven heartwarming animal rescue stories from 2015.

Duke

Edward Emmerich and his Belgian Malinois, Duke, were down on their luck and homeless. For seven months, “home” for the construction worker and his dog was an encampment under a bridge in McKinney, Texas. The day after Thanksgiving, the rain swollen river quickly rose, and Emmerich was trapped by the rising water. He dialed 911; rescuers pinpointed his location using pings from his cell phone. A rescue team found Emmerich standing chest deep in floodwaters with Duke perched on his shoulders. One of the rescuers, Del Ray Pope, was lowered down to the pair and assisted them as they were pulled to safety. On dry ground, Duke and Emmerich were checked out while Pope removed his gear. What happened next shows that even dogs understand it’s important to thank their rescuer. When Pope walked back to the truck, Duke immediately recognized the firefighter and rushed to him – planting his front paws in the middle of Pope’s chest and gratefully licking his face.

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Famous Dog Statues Around the World

dog statues falaBy Laurie Darroch

Statues around the world reflect history, legends and great people or events. Famous dogs have also made their mark in the art of statuary, with symbolic statues ranging from simple dedications to dramatic memorials of cultural heritage. Our faithful canine friends have greatly impacted the lives of mankind; it is only appropriate they would be immortalized with honor the same way humans have been. Although there are many dog statues around the world, this small sampling will give you an idea of how important dogs have always been to humankind.

Fala

Fala, a wee Scottish terrier, was the presidential pet of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Fala (originally known as Big Bo), was a Christmas gift to Roosevelt from a cousin. Roosevelt renamed him after a Scottish ancestor named John Murray of Falahill. A statue of Fala next to President Roosevelt, created by sculptor Neil Estern, is in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Fala traveled everywhere with President Roosevelt, and was lovingly cared for by Roosevelt. The travels with the president included accompanying him to international conferences and to Roosevelt’s homes in Georgia and New York where the president received treatments for  the paralysis he had developed from polio.

Fala was named an honorary private in the United States Army, and his name became a code word between American Military troops in The Battle of the Bulge to help keep Germans from infiltrating the U.S. ranks.

Laika

The name may not be well known in all parts of the world, but Laika, the stray dog found on the streets of Moscow in the late 1950s, is a hero in her own right who earned her place in history. She was among the earliest living animals to be launched into space. On the 3rd of November 1957, the Russians put Laika into Sputnik 2 to be the first animal ever to hopefully orbit the Earth. Although her fate from the flight was a sad one, with her death occurring while in Sputnik 2, she helped pave the way for humans to travel in space.

The tiny 11 pound dog has been immortalized in two statues in Moscow, Russia. One created in 1997 depicts her standing on a rocket in Star City, Russia where the cosmonauts trained. The other includes her in the Monument to the Conquerors of Space built in 1964. The mixed breed dog was born in 1954 and died in 1957.

Besides statues, Laika received recognition on a Romanian postage stamp in 1959. To further honor her, NASA named a soil target Laika during the Mars Exploration Rover Mission.

dog statues bremen townBremen Town Musicians

Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten (Bremen Town Musicians), are featured on a statue in Bremen, Germany which was erected in 1953. It was built in honor of a well-known Brothers Grimm fairy tale. The story is about four animals – a dog, cat, donkey and rooster – that are past their prime and usefulness in local farms. In an effort to stay alive and become independent of their human masters, each of the four run away and meet on the road on their way to become musicians in Bremen. On their travels they come across a home inhabited by robbers enjoying their ill-gotten gains. The four animals climb on each other’s backs and frighten the terrified robbers away from the home with the loud music they create. The robbers try to regain the home, but are again frightened away by the seemingly ghostly foursome. The four brave animals have become a loved symbol of bravery, unity, independence and perseverance.

The tale has been reproduced in numerous books and movies, including a Muppets version called The Muppet Musicians of Bremen, an altered 1975 version by children’s author and illustrator Richard Scarry entitled Richard Scarry’s Animal Nursery Tales.

Anubis

Not just one, but many statues and pictorial representations of Anubis have appeared in ancient Egyptian art. Anubis, although actually a jackal, is part of the nomenclature of Canidae, which includes foxes, wolves, coyotes, jackals and domestic dogs.

Jackals, as nocturnal feeders of rodents that lived among the tombs, were believed to be protectors of the dead. In the old Kingdom of Egypt, the statues were used to pray for the souls of the departed. Anubis became the God of embalming and cemeteries, a very important role in the ancient rites of passage into the afterlife. Priests involved in the mummification process were believed to don a mask of the animal god to symbolize Anubis watching over the departed during the ceremony.  Present in statuary and art discovered from ancient Egypt, he is present in every kind of Egyptian historical treasure that has survived the centuries.

dog statues k9K9 Statues

In their loyalty to humans, dogs have long been members of military and law enforcement teams. These often unheralded companions, team members and working dogs perform their dangerous services to help protect human beings. Some have lost their lives in the effort, and others served for a lifetime. The bond between their handlers and these amazing service dogs is similar to that between human comrades in arms, no matter what their service was. Their sacrifice and loss, or longtime service is deserving of statues being built in their honor.  There are countless examples of canine heroes represented in memorial statues across the United States. The deep connection between man and dog withstands even the most harrowing circumstances. It is no wonder these brave animals are so honored. Their contributions have been immense.

It is obvious in their inclusion in the vast art of statues throughout the world, that dogs are valued for their steadfast loyalty and love for humankind, and rightfully honored.

Top photo by Ken Lund/Flickr
Middle photo by Allie_Caulfield/Flickr
Bottom photo by State Farm/Flickr

Read more articles by Laurie Darroch

Do Dogs Remember Their Canine Family Members?

dogs remember jeffreyBy Langley Cornwell

Because our dogs are so much a part of our lives, we tend to humanize them a bit, calling them our babies, saying they are brother and sister even if they’re not from the same litter (I’m guilty of this with Frosty and Al), etc. We think of our dogs as family members and we know they recognize us easily. The question of whether a dog remembers and recognizes canine family members, however, is another story altogether. Some people believe that their dog remembers their original canine family members throughout their lifetime while others claim there is no way for this to be true.

One of the reasons we can’t believe that dogs remember their canine family members is because, as humans, we tend to moralize many aspects of a dog’s nature. For instance, we believe that if a pup would mate with his mother or sister then there is no way that he realizes the other dog is a family member. Nature is a whole different story, and it is important for us to realize that our dogs are not the same species we are, and they do not hold to the same code of morality that humans do. Their drive is instinctual. When a female dog is in heat, the pheromones and hormones will lead any male dog—regardless of family relation, size or breed—to mount her. So that is not a logical argument for or against familial remembrance.
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Why is the Greeting Ritual of Dogs Different from Cats?

greeting tonyBy Linda Cole

Cats and dogs both see the world with their own unique perspective as individuals and from the way they evolved to interact with us and other animals. A dog isn’t shy about racing to meet you at the door the minute you walk in. A feline is typically more subtle in the way she greets you; a twitch of the ears or flick of the tail will do for some kitties. Have you ever wondered why the greeting ritual of dogs and cats is so different when saying hi to their owner?

Dogs are social creatures who evolved to be comfortable living within a family unit, and prefer the social company of other dogs and humans. Because of that preference, your dog has a small degree of stress when you aren’t around. Some canines have a much harder time dealing with their stress and suffer from separation anxiety. The degree of stress your dog experiences depends on his personality and environment. When you leave your pet home alone, he is forced to accept a non-voluntary detachment from those he has a bond with. When you finally return home, your dog is filled with relief and welcomes you home in his own special way. His expression of joy is one way of telling you he has a special attachment to you and is really happy you’re home.
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Does Your Dog Hog Your Bed?

dogs sleep joaoBy Laurie Darroch

Dogs love being close to their human companions, even when they sleep.  If your dog is allowed on the bed or furniture, they will very soon take it over and make it their domain as well as yours. In their minds it must be allowable to establish the most comfortable arrangement they can on their sleeping spots, even if it makes your sleeping arrangement uncomfortable. For our loved dogs though, we often make concessions that we don’t even do for our human companions.

Unerring loyalty is sometimes worth bending the rules for when it comes to rest time. The sense of safety and security humans and dogs get from each other is an added bonus, but dogs know how to push the limits of sleeping comfort if you allow them to. Sometimes they are quite humorous about their sleep time maneuverings. They have a way of wiggling in where they want to be, to sleep right next to the person they love most.
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