Aug 25

Hairball Prevention and Remedies for Your Cat

Blue eyed CatAny cat owner is more than aware of their pet’s propensity for hairballs, and hairball control is a topmost priority for the benefit of the cat as well as their human companions. It’s never pleasant to slip out of bed for a late night snack only to step on a cool, hairball cluster right next to the bed, and anyone who has watched their cat retch up a hairball feels the utmost sympathy for their condition. Dealing with hairballs is both reactionary and proactive, and taking a positive and productive approach to your cat’s overall health is a priority for cat owners world-wide. It’s impossible to prevent a cat from cleaning and grooming themselves. With that in mind, what can cat owners do to control or prevent hairballs as much as possible?

1) One of the simplest and effective tricks to hairball control should be obvious. The more often you groom your cat, the less loose hair they are able to swallow when they clean up behind you and groom themselves. Brushing your cat regularly can remove a lot of the fur that could be ingested by your feline companion, and it makes the possibility of a hairball less likely. Contrary to popular opinion, cats do love to be brushed regularly, and as an added benefit it can be a fun bonding experience between you and your feline. Expect them to nuzzle the brush and purr like crazy, but use caution. You don’t want to use a brush with sharp-ended bristles or you could cause irritation on your cat’s sensitive skin, and you don’t want them to see regular grooming as a painful or stressful process.

2) A lot of hairballs can also be prevented by a change in your cat’s regular diet. A lot of cat foods have adopted a special, indoor formula specifically designed to limit or reduce the likelihood of hairballs. These dietary formulas are high in fiber which encourages a strong, healthy digestive system which allows swallowed hair to pass safely through without accumulating in the stomach. They also serve to strengthen your cat’s healthy coat which minimizes shedding on the surface and leaves less loose hair to be swallowed initially.

If store-bought brands don’t seem to be effective with your cat (especially if you have a long-haired breed that is naturally prone to hairballs in the first place) special, holistic blends are available. A lot of vets are recommending pet owners to adopt a more natural approach and guiding their patients away from cat foods that contain grains like wheat, barley, rice, corn or gluten. These blends are a lot milder on your cat’s digestive system, and they still provide all of the essential nutrients to make sure they have a well-balanced, healthy diet free from fillers that aren’t really effective overall.

3) If your cat is already susceptible to hairballs, there are a lot of products on the market specifically designed for hairball control. Most of these products act as a mild laxative for your cat, and it encourages digested balls of fur to be passed through their systems rather than being vomited back up. Make sure to read the instructions carefully and use only as instructed to reduce the chance of dehydration and diarrhea. You don’t want to act so proactively that you give your cat an additional digestive system issue rather than preventing one completely.

If your cat seems to experience frequent hairballs regardless of your efforts to prevent or limit them, it can be a symptom of a more serious problem like IBD or intestinal lymphoma (which is a cancer) so you are certainly advised to take your pet to the vet for a full checkup. You want to make sure that there is not something more serious in play before trying a mix of alternate solutions, and the last thing that you want to do is to take a gamble with your favorite feline’s overall health.

While hairballs are typically harmless, they’re still unpleasant for both the cat and their owners. It may not be possible to prevent all hairballs initially, but these remedies and ideas can work to improve the overall health of your pet, in addition to providing them all of the essentials needed for a well-balanced diet and a healthy life. Hairballs can be a symptom of something worse, so don’t avoid a trip to the vet if their hairballs appear more frequent than normal.

 

Velita Livingston is the founder of the Cat Lover’s Diary blog which provides rich content with great advice on cat care tips and cat training, teaching pet owners how to protect, pamper and live peacefully with their pets. Visit the http://www.catloversdiary.com to watch the Cat Lover’s Diary Movie, it contains breathtaking images and heartwarming quotes… It will uplift and inspire you! You can also visit the Cat Lover’s Diary on Facebook and Twitter.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 25

The Abyssinian Cat

Purebred Abyssinian Cat

Purebred Abyssinian Cat

Known for its distinctive fur and its country-wide popularity, the Abyssinian cat has become a happy addition to many homes, and seems to be poised to arrive at many more.

Origins
While rumors of the Abyssinian commonly trace back to Ethiopia, this cat’s origins remain unclear. Genetic and DNA testing have traced this popular breed to the Indian Ocean or even Egypt, although its name originates from Ethiopia. Although its origins remain uncertain, the breed was developed over time in Egypt, where it is believed the British colonists purchased the distinct animal from traders. Wild versions of the Abyssinian cat still roam the northern parts of Africa, and this breed is said to date back potentially thousands of years.

Features and Characteristics
The Abyssinian cat is most notable for its coat. This distinctive coat can be traced back to a single mutant gene known as the “ta”. To the touch, the hair is dense and extremely silky. Appearance, however, is what set this cat’s fur apart from the others. Each hair on their bodies has multicolored bands surrounding it that compliment and accentuate the single base color. There are many different color variations within the Abyssinian community, and Abyssinian kittens usually begin darker at birth before growing into their lighter, final color as they mature.

The Abyssinian is also known for its large and prominent ears, which always seem to be on high alert. The rest of the head is wide and shaped like a wedge. The Abyssinian’s tail is longer than most other cat breeds as well, and it tapers to a very narrow point at the end. Abyssinian cats are also surprisingly strong and nimble which takes some owners by surprise since their bone structure appears incredibly fine and dainty. They also commonly have “frown lines” appearing above the bridge of the nose and the eyes which most notably forms a very distinctive “m” shape.

Behavior and Temperament
You couldn’t ask for a more intelligent and interactive breed. Abyssinian cats are well-known for their curiosity and their playful spirit, and they’re very apt to learn quickly and easily. These cats are not known for serious snuggle time – they’re more often than not up and about, constantly exploring their surroundings with a curiosity that is usually breed-wide. Many Abyssinians are even known to play fetch when given the opportunity.

These cats spend so much time interacting and exploring their environment that they often don’t receive the affection and attention from their human companions that they need. They can slip into depression when the interaction with humans is limited and they need a lot of positive reinforcement and encouragement to remain happy and stable inside their surroundings.

Health Concerns
Because Abyssinian cats are short-haired cats, they require very little in terms of grooming so they are easily cared for. While they may occasionally require a bath, it is not the norm. Brushing semi-regularly may be advisable, and a regular brushing can accentuate their unusual coats even further. Their teeth, however, need to receive special care and it is highly suggested by veterinarians that they are brushed more regularly than they are bathed. Although rare, Renal Amyloidosis has also been found in certain Abyssinian cats, so having their health (especially their kidney functions) checked regularly is also advisable.

The Abyssinian cat is the perfectly suited cat to practically any environment. By maintaining external stimulation and engaging these intelligent and beautiful cats, you can guarantee a world of entertainment for your cat and for your family.

 

Velita Livingston is the founder of the Cat Lover’s Diary blog which provides rich content with great advice on cat care tips and cat training, teaching pet owners how to protect, pamper and live peacefully with their pets. Visit the http://www.catloversdiary.com to watch the Cat Lover’s Diary Movie, it contains breathtaking images and heartwarming quotes… It will uplift and inspire you! You can also visit the Cat Lover’s Diary on Facebook and Twitter.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 24

The Truth (And Myth) About Your Cat’s Food

cat foodPets are a source of joy, comfort and security in a hectic and fast-paced life. We let these furry creatures into our homes, into our lives and into our hearts and we treat them like members of the family – because they are. It’s easy to peruse the stocks of feline food available on any supermarket shelf anywhere in the country and believe that you are giving your cat adequate nutrition in order to encourage and support a long and healthy life – but does this diet really support their dietary needs sufficiently? Are there requirements that are often overlooked? When it comes to the best kind of food to feed your beloved pet, experts disagree. One thing is certain. Giving your pet adequate cat food to suit their unique dietary requirements should not be overlooked if you want to maintain a long, happy and prosperous life with your feline companion.

Dry cat food is often the go-to substance. It’s easy, it’s quick and it’s tidy. But is it sufficiently nutritious to provide a happy and healthy life? Cats dietary needs have been examined for years, and a lot of veterinarians are turning away from the standard dry-food varieties for several reasons. Dry cat food often is not well-balanced, and it lacks in several nutrients that are required for a healthy and long life. Cats are predators at heart – they are hunters, and they require a very specific diet if their lives are going to be prolonged and enjoyable. Many dry cat foods lack in several key elements for a balanced and healthy diet. While there are proteins associated with dry cat food, the majority of the protein is derived from plants – not from animals. This deprives a cat of their natural, normal diet and can lead to health problems if the diet is not adequately corrected.

The cat’s dietary system is designed to be carnivorous. They simply are unable to digest plant-based proteins as well as they are able to digest animal proteins. Not all protein is identical, and if you unknowingly deny your cat the nutrition that their bodies require (as designed by nature and natural instincts), you may ultimately dictate that their nutritional needs remain unmet, and they’re far more likely to succumb to many natural diseases that may otherwise be kept at bay.

Additionally, the prolonged use of dry cat food has been irrecoverably linked with several common health problems like diabetes, hairballs, unnecessary obesity (a particular concern with indoor cats), kidney disease and more. Transitioning a cat away from dry cat food to canned or homemade cat food can act as a preventative measure to ward off a lot of these common – and often fatal – diseases before they ever appear. Because dry cat food is lacking in sufficient water levels, urinary diseases are far more prevalent in felines that subside on a solely dry diet. A cat’s instinct to drink is much lower than their instinct to eat. In nature, cats derive most of their water from their diet – and a diet of dry food alone does not provide adequate water levels to sustain a cat’s well-balanced nutrition.

Many cat owners are transitioning away from store-bought cat food brands altogether and focusing on a purely homemade diet for their loyal feline companions. While making cat food at home can be a time-consuming and intricate process, it also ensures (when practiced correctly) that your cat is receiving the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that they need to sustain a long and healthy life, while avoiding much of the filler associated with store-bought brands. Packaged cat food contains unknown ingredients, while a homemade diet ensures that you know exactly what your cat is consuming – and you can strive to provide a well-balanced, thoughtful diet.

Natural-based cat foods can be purchased from holistic sites and are loaded with the nutrients that are required for a long, healthy and balanced life. These products provide exceptional levels of protein as well as vitamins not often found in dry, canned or processed brands.

It’s only natural that you would want your pet to live a happy and long life so that they can remain with you as long as possible. Taking appropriate steps to ensure that their dietary and nutritional needs are met is the first step towards overall health. It can provide you with peace of mind, which simultaneously ensuring that your cat is receiving exactly what they need to achieve optimal health. Adequate diet plays a vital role in overall health. When combined with regular checkups, lots of love and affection, your feline can enjoy a life full of fun and health.

 

Velita Livingston is the founder of the Cat Lover’s Diary blog which provides rich content with great advice on cat care tips and cat training, teaching pet owners how to protect, pamper and live peacefully with their pets. Visit the http://www.catloversdiary.com to watch the Cat Lover’s Diary Movie, it contains breathtaking images and heartwarming quotes… It will uplift and inspire you! You can also visit the Cat Lover’s Diary on Facebook and Twitter.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 22

How to Train a Cat to Stay Off the Counters

cat livingIf you’re a content cat owner, you’re already aware that your cat seems to enjoy jumping up on anything above their typical position on the floor or couch. They like having a high vantage point from which they can survey their surroundings like the king or queen of the castle. If your cats are continually jumping up on your tables or counter-tops and you’re hoping to find a solution to nixing the problem in the bud, there are a wide variety of options available to you.

Although your first instinct may be to just sweep them off of the counter every time they jump up on it, this method is ineffective at best. Realistically, you can only control your cat’s behavior in this manner when you’re at home and awake – and what your cat does when you’re out of the house, sleeping or engrossed in something else is equally as important as what they do directly in front of you.

One of the best methods to deterring your cat from jumping up on counter-tops or on your kitchen table in the middle of dinner is easy, free and continually tested. Since most cats detest water, getting a spray bottle full of water and keeping it near you at all times is an easy and effective tool. Spraying your cat when they exhibit any behavior that you want to discourage will quickly teach them that, if they continually exhibit unwanted behavior, they will immediately receive an unwanted result. Since practically every cat dislikes water, they will not want to continue to act in a manner that will garner a squirt of it.

Another relatively inexpensive solution can be found at your nearest hardware store. A lot of cat owners fail to realize that cats have a distinct and predictable tactile response. They typically dislike surfaces that are cold or slippery. They also dislike surfaces that are sticky. Double-sided tape wrapped on a piece of cardboard can quickly and easily teach your cat that jumping up on the table comes with a negative tactile experience, and they will very quickly start to second-guess their instinct to jump up and get a bird’s eye view of the family as they enjoy their meals.

Cats for whatever reason also dislike the smell of citrus. Squeezing a fresh lemon, lime or orange into a spray-bottle full of water and using that solution to wipe down your counter tops after use can go a long way towards getting your cat to equate counter-surfing to an unpleasant odor. Additionally, aluminum foil is an unpleasant sensation to cat’s sensitive paws – and the noise when they jump up on it is a double-whammy that makes aluminum one of the most effective solutions to retraining your cat to avoid certain high-flying perches.

Several electronic cat deterrent alternatives can also be found in pet stores worldwide in an effort to curtail this very problem. While certain spray-deterrents are on the market, a simple spray doesn’t last for long and requires continual reapplication in order for it to be effective. Some devises approach the problem of counter-jumping in multiple fashions. A product called Sccccat includes a sensor that indicates when the cat has jumped on a counter where they’re unwanted. Secondly, a high-pitched alarm goes off, which most likely startles the cat into jumping off the counter. Thirdly, a harmless spray of gas accompanies the alarm and offers a harm-free solution to the problem in a safe and reliable manner.

If you’re going to start making certain high surfaces off-limits to your cat, make sure that you offer them an alternative instead. Leave the shades of the windows open just a crack in order to invite your cat to jump on the window-sill and do a bit of squirrel or bird-watching while you’re out of the house. Buy them a perch of their very own in the form of a cat-condo or scratching post that has a platform on top. You can easily get your cat to realize that, although they’re unwelcome on certain surfaces, they’re more than welcome on others. Giving them an alternative perch will allow them to feel a sense of security as they relearn the rules of the household, and they also realize that they’re a valuable addition to the family – not just an animal that doesn’t get to have any fun.

 

Velita Livingston is the founder of the Cat Lover’s Diary blob which provides rich content with great advice on cat care tips and cat training, teaching pet owners how to protect, pamper and live peacefully with their pets. Visit the http://www.catloversdiary.com to watch the Cat Lover’s Diary Movie, it contains breathtaking images and heartwarming quotes… It will uplift and inspire you! You can also visit the Cat Lover’s Diary on Facebook and Twitter.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 21

Walking Your City Dog in Summer

dog walkingIf you live in the city and have ever thought “boy, how about this heat” in summer, then think what it’s like for your dog. If short haired dogs can overheat in high temperatures then long haired dogs must suffer terribly! But walking your city dog in summer doesn’t have to be such an ordeal for them — as long as you remain constantly aware of the problem and the ways in which to deal with it:

  • Never leave home with your dog without sufficient water to see you through the trip When the heat gets over 85 degrees and you’re going to be outside for longer than 15 minutes you should always carry water with you, unless you know there are going to be places you can stop and get some. Dogs lose a lot of water in the heat due to excessive panting and it has to be replaced. If you have room, a flask of ice cold water is an excellent idea, although a regular bottle will do. Most pet stores sell collapsible pet bowls which are small enough to fit into purses or even pockets — although when it’s really hot out, your dog will be quite happy to drink from your hand. A couple of manufacturers make dog hydration packs that your dog can wear — while these are a little over the top, if you’re going to be outside for a good part of the day you might want to consider looking into one. For extended trips, you may even want to think about making a proper high performance hydration solution for your dog. Similar to human isotonic drinks, these powders come in a range of flavors pleasing to dogs and are available at some pet stores and online.
  • Keep your dog’s coat short in summer There is a common urban myth circulating that some long haired dogs are actually “protected” from the heat by their fur. This is absolutely 100% false! Basic physics dictates that fur traps heat and keeps it next to the skin — there is certainly no way in the world fur is going to facilitate a cooling process…the exact opposite is true. Clip long hair down to an inch for the summer months, but never so short that your dog’s skin is visible. Dogs have sensitive skin that is prone to sunburn. If your dog’s skin is visible then think about using a sunscreen spray especially made for dogs. Again, online is the place to find these.
  • Stay lazy on extremely hot days! When the heat rises above 90 degrees you should take it very easy with your dog, especially if that heat comes with humidity. Cities generally have less of a breeze than suburban or rural areas and as such very hot temperatures have more of an effect on dogs. Accept that your dog is not going to get as much outdoor exercise as they usually enjoy — and take a slow, easy stroll around the block. Never, ever be tempted to speed walk or jog with your dog on such days. Dogs can and do die in such circumstances. This especially applies to snub-nosed breeds like pugs, Boston terriers and French bulldogs. If the temperature is especially severe then it’s a good idea to dampen your dog in the shower before taking them out. If you come across someone hosing down the sidewalk, ask if they’ll give your dogs a little shower as you pass. Most dogs love this when the heat is brutal!
  • Stick to the shade It seems like an obvious point but many people don’t even consider the fact that the shade is considerably cooler than direct sunlight. Choose routes that have shade available and stick to the shaded side of the street. If this means changing your regular route, then so be it. If you have to wait to cross at intersections that are in direct sunshine, then consider waiting a little way back in the shade of a building. This all helps to keep the heat at bay.
  • Don’t stand for too long on hot asphalt — avoid metal surfaces Asphalt radiates a lot of heat when it’s been in the sun, so keep your dog moving. A dog’s paws can easily become burned by sitting or standing in one place for too long. Always avoid metal surfaces as you walk since these become even hotter — hot enough to fry eggs in some cases! Take care to walk around metal grates, manhole covers and road plates. If your dog has a real problem with paws and hot surfaces then consider having them wear lightweight dog booties in summer.
  • Consider buying dog goggles for your dog If you’re someone who wouldn’t dream about venturing outside on a sunny summer day without sunglasses, then take a minute to consider your dog’s eyes too. They are at as much risk from excessive UV exposure as human eyes and while dogs rarely complain about glare, it might be worth considering buying them a set of dog goggles. These are available in some pet stores and online, fit securely to your dog and give them 100% UV protection. They’ll be the center of attention, but it’s worth it!

Please take care of your dog in summer – far too many dogs die of heat stroke unnecessarily during the hot months and it’s all avoidable. Summer is there to be enjoyed and by taking a few simple measures your dog can enjoy it too!

 

For more information on our NYC dog walking services and further information about city dog walking, visit King Pup’s website.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 21

About The Sphynx Cat

Sphynx Cat

Sphynx Cat

Perhaps the world’s most bizarre feline, the Sphynx cat has a unique hairless look that sets it apart from other cats. But that’s not all. It’s a rather rare and unusual breed of cat, and has been described to feel like a warm suede hot water bottle. These cats need special care, but all the extra time and effort you dedicate to taking care of this cat will be well worth it. Their loving, playful and inquisitive nature makes them a wonderful cat to have around and call your own.

Breed History
Although it gets its name from the ancient Great Sphinx of Giza, Sphynx cats are a relatively new breed. There have been a number of occurrences of these hairless cats being born throughout history. But the Sphnyx cat first came to be well-recognized in the year 1966 in Canada when a domestic cat in Toronto gave birth to a hairless kitten. This was considered to be the result of a natural genetic mutation. From there, cats with the mutation were bred to give rise to the Sphynx breed. In 1970 the line became extinct due to the belief that the mutation caused health issues and breathing difficulties in the cats. But this did not spell the end to this breed. Before long, in 1975, a cat in Minnesota, named Jezebel, gave birth to a hairless kitten. The kitten was sold to a local breeder who revived the Sphynx breed by expanding and strengthening the gene pool. After many years of careful breeding, now Sphynx cats are a varied and genetically sound breed, though still rare. In 2002, the Cat Fancier’s Association accepted the cat breed for competition in the Championship Class.

Physical Characteristics
The most obvious feature of the Sphynx cat is its lack of hair. Although they are known as the “hairless” cats, they actually have warm peach fuzz fur on their bodies, especially on their nose, toes and tail. They may or may not have whiskers and eyebrows. They have long, lean bodies and a rounded abdomen. They possess characteristically large triangular ears, large paw pads and their tail is long and slender. The skin of a Sphynx cat is wrinkled, and they come in a variety of colors and patterns, including Siamese point patterns. An adult Sphynx cat normally weighs around 8 to 15 pounds, and male cats can be up to 25% bigger than their female counterparts.

Personality & Temperament
Sphynx cats are an inquisitive breed that likes to be the center of attention and love being handled and cuddled. They are intelligent cats that are agile, playful and sweet-tempered. They have a sense of adventure and mischief that make them fun to be around. They love human companionship, and will follow humans around the house. Sphynx cats are not for people who want a quiet, docile cat. They fit in well in homes with children, dogs or other cats. Oh, and these extroverts like to show off with their acrobatic tricks as well. So it’s probably a good thing that these cheeky felines are kept indoors for the most part.

Common Medical Problems
Sphynx cats have few health or genetic problems, and have a normal lifespan. They are generally considered to be a very robust breed. But they do still face some problems unique to their physical nature, most of which have to do with their hairlessness. During their 1st few weeks of life, Sphynx kittens are susceptible to respiratory infections. Sphynx cat breeders usually don’t allow kittens to move to new homes until they are at least 12 weeks old so they’re ready to handle a new environment. These hairless cats are also prone to sunburn and skin cancer, so it’s important that their sun exposure is limited. They are also susceptible to the cold, so care needs to be taken to keep this indoor cat nice and warm.

Sphynx cats also have sensitive digestive systems, particularly in that they are small. They can develop severe diarrhea after using medication or being fed diets that contain less than 80% protein. They can also acquire common feline illnesses, and are immunized just as other cat breeds are.

Hereditary myopathy (spasticity) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) are two genetic conditions that are found in this breed, with the latter being more common. HCM refers to a thickening of the left ventricle of the heart, and may not cause outward symptoms. Sphynx breeders are trying to eliminate this condition from the breed by scanning yearly and removing positive cats from their breeding program.

Special Care & Maintenance
Because they lack the protection of a fur coat, a hairless Sphynx cat requires special care. It’s recommended that you give them a weekly bath to remove the buildup of oil and dust on their skin. Their hair follicles give off oil, but unlike other cats, they have no hair to absorb the oil, and so their skin can easily become greasy. Because they have sensitive skin that burns easily, a very hot bath should be avoided. A sphynx cat’s eyes and ears should also be cleaned weekly to remove any eye discharge or earwax. As they lack hair around their ears, it’s easy for dirt to enter.

Sphynx cats are vulnerable to the sun and cold, and are meant to be indoor cats. So exposure to the outdoors should be limited. They may be taken outside on occasion if they are heavily supervised and the weather is right for them. Generally, the temperature inside your house should be kept around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Consider the Sphynx cat to be “naked” – if you would be cold naked, chances are that your cat is going to be too. You may need to clothe them during the winter.

Also, as their bodies are constantly working to keep themselves warm, their metabolism is higher than other cats so they need to be fed more food at meal times. Always place dry food out for your cat and add one or two servings of wet food each day. They need to be fed high quality food with a good balance of fat and protein.

So if you think the intelligent and companionable Sphynx cat is for you, then you can purchase them from Sphynx cat breeders. Expect to pay more for a hairless Sphynx cat than you would for another cat breed. Sphynx cat adoption is also available, and costs less than buying a newborn kitten.

 

Velita Livingston is the founder of the Cat Lover’s Diary blob which provides rich content with great advice on cat care tips and cat training, teaching pet owners how to protect, pamper and live peacefully with their pets. Visit the http://www.catloversdiary.com to watch the Cat Lover’s Diary Movie, it contains breathtaking images and heartwarming quotes… It will uplift and inspire you! You can also visit the Cat Lover’s Diary on Facebook and Twitter.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 21

The Scottish Fold Cat

Scottish Fold Cat

Scottish Fold Cat

If you’re looking for an affectionate, caring and beautiful breed of cat to add to your family, look no further than the Scottish Fold. With a prestigious heritage and a lifetime of pleasure for your family, this breed is a perfect addition to a cat-loving household and it easily provides a lifetime of enjoyment, fulfillment and affection.

Breed History
The Scottish Fold, named for its peculiar yet adorable folded ears, was first noticed in 1961 by a Scottish Shepherd. He took notice of a cat on a neighboring farm because of its “folded” ears – a birth trait that is made possible by a dominant gene within the cartilage of the ears – creating a folded, shortened appearance. As the shepherd continued to investigate, he realized that the breed was not formerly known. When he adopted a “folded” cat from his neighbor’s litter and later produced two “folded” kittens himself, he attempted to gain recognition for the breed but encountered resistance. The breed was officially recognized by the CFA in 1973, later receiving the coveted champion status in 1978.

Characteristics
The ears of a Scottish Fold cat fold down and forwards but the ears remain fully functional. They’re able to tilt and swivel in a typical feline fashion – and can even be laid flat against the head when expressing anger. The gene that causes this unique fold is a dominant trait. In order to produce Scottish Fold offspring, at least one parent must have the unique folded ear. Scottish Fold interbreeding leads to an increased chance of skeletal deformities. Like all other breeds of cat, continually inbreeding produces a higher chance of genetic problems that can lead to more serious medical conditions throughout the life of the cat.

Potential Breed Problems
When Scottish Folds are interbred, they have a high likelihood of skeletal problems as well as an increased risk for congenital osteodystrophy which enlarges and distorts the underlying bone structure. If your cat exhibits difficulty in moving or unusual density of the bones, you will need to have your cat checked by a certified veterinarian. This often presents itself as an unusual thickness in the tail or the legs.

While all Fold cats eventually acquire the trait-specific folded ear, they are not born that way. Scottish Fold kittens are originally born with straight ears. The fold appears about 3-4 weeks after birth. The unusual and characteristic fold can also lead to almost-inevitable ear problems such as increased wax buildup or dirt. The cats are also just as likely to have problems with ear mites as other cat breeds, and owners should watch carefully for signs of an ear infection due to improper or irregular cleaning. While early cat bred studies led researchers to believe that Fold cats were susceptible to deafness, this is no longer thought to be true.

Personality
Scottish Folds are easily adaptable to new or changing environments. They are typically very sweet, affectionate and loving. They are not very vocal, and tend to be extremely quiet and observant animals. While they will demonstrate affection towards multiple people, they do have a tendency to single out one family member and bond with them exclusively on a deeper level. They love attention, but don’t want to be forced into it. They want to choose when to receive attention, and they will often go to their “chosen” human to receive it – becoming almost like a shadow to the one person that they uniquely bond with. Scottish Folds are highly intelligent and curious animals that like to explore in a safe environment where they feel loved and protected.

While they appreciate a close relationship with their family and others, they aren’t incredibly fond of being held and they certainly can’t be classified as “clingy” or “whiny”. They’d much prefer to sit next to you while you go about your daily activities rather than being held on a lap or in your arms. They are also incredibly playful and can easily learn to play fetch or play with other cat toys. Their playful and inquisitive nature will continue throughout their lifetimes, and it’s not likely to dissipate once they reach adulthood.

Caring for the Scottish Fold
Folds, especially long-haired breeds need to be regularly maintained in order to achieve maximum health. They need to be regularly brushed – at least once a week. Their ears also need to be regularly cleaned and examined for wax build up or ear mites. Scottish Fold cats need to be washed occasionally with a good, high-quality cat shampoo. Their diet needs to be high in nutrients like vitamins and protein. The most important aspect of caring for a Scottish Fold is to be sure to shower them with lots and lots of love, exercise and playful affection.

 

Velita Livingston is the founder of the Cat Lover’s Diary blob which provides rich content with great advice on cat care tips and cat training, teaching pet owners how to protect, pamper and live peacefully with their pets. Visit the http://www.catloversdiary.com to watch the Cat Lover’s Diary Movie, it contains breathtaking images and heartwarming quotes… It will uplift and inspire you! You can also visit the Cat Lover’s Diary on Facebook and Twitter.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 18

Uncover the Mystery of Why Cats Purr

Happy Birman Cat

Happy Birman Cat

As a cat owner, I love the hypnotic sound of a cat’s purr. But, I’ve always asked myself the question, “Why do cats purr?” So, I decided to do some research on the topic and found some interesting answers.

Weird Science – My Homegrown Investigation

The initial investigation started right here in my own home with my family of cats. I have eleven cats that I have rescued over the years and they are of varying breeds and personalities. Personally, I felt eleven subjects were enough to make a good home-based experiment, wouldn’t you agree? Over time and under different circumstances, I began to note when I observed my cats purring and here are my findings.

Happy

My first cat Liberty came into my life after showing-up on my front door step on Liberty Street, which is how he got his name. He walked up to me and started to rub around my legs and was purring. Anytime I’m in front of my computer blogging, my big orange tabby, Neko jumps into my lap and starts to purr… now that’s a happy cat.

Content

My little firecracker kitty named Chiwa is always running around, jumping and playing. When she finally settles down and is just lying around on the couch after a nice meal, she seems to be completely content and purring. I’ve observed her while she is alone and she just purrs away while relaxing.

Hungry

This observation is a little confusing but, here it goes. When Neko and his litter-mate Domino were born to their mother Chloe, I noticed as kittens while they were still unable to see, they would purr. Chloe would then come near, lie down and she would begin to purr. The kittens would then zero in on mom like a radar and start nursing. So, does the mother hear the purring of her kittens and respond to their hungry cries by purring herself which audibly guides the kittens to the mother to feed?

Sleepy

My black cat, Sammy is an athletic and high energy kitty. He’s also a teenager and is constantly playing with the older cats and two kittens, Chiwa and Lydia. He runs himself as hard as he can, literally fighting sleep. But, when he comes in and is completely exhausted, he seems to purr extremely loud, then flops down and purrs himself to sleep.

Hurt/Injured

Our toughest cat has to be Oliver (aka Ollie or Mr. Bubbles as we like to call him). He was named after the street that we found him on; he was barely alive after being hit by a car. He had severe injuries to his head causing paralysis and blindness from brain swelling. Also, he had a broken hip, shoulder and tail. We stabilized his body in a stiff cardboard box to transport him to an emergency animal hospital. The whole time he was purring? I believe he was purring because he was injured and scared and it brought comfort to him.

Fear/Scarred

We have a 4,000 square foot yard that is fenced in with special cat fencing to contain our family of cats. Occasionally, a neighborhood stray or feral cat will come around and approach the fence. When this occurs, approximately 8-10 of our cats will gather in a semi-circle about 4 feet from the fence and stare the poor stray cat down. I’ve noticed that some of our cats will start a pattern of growling and then purring then growling again. They will continue this pattern until the offending stray leaves the area. I believe our cats are nervous or fearful of the stray cat during this confrontation of growling but then have a need to calm themselves to prepare for a fight or to at least make a stand.

Is This An Elaborate Form of Kitty Kommunication?

After all my observations over the years, I’ve come to a conclusion that this purring must be an elaborate form of kitty communication. There has to be some scientific or biological reason why these feline frequencies are being emitted by our cats under different circumstances. So, I decided to hit the internet to find a scientific explanation.

Real Science – What the Nerds Say

Well, there seems to be some interesting scientific theories that explain the question, “why do cats purr?” Let’s take a look at several theories below.

Purr Frequency

The tonal range of a cat’s purr is 25hz-250hz, which is 25 to 250 vibrations purr second. They appear to be able to generate the purr from either nerves or blood vessels in their voice box.

Communication

Many vets believe purring is definitely a communication tool for cats and is tied to their emotions to signal different moods, desires and needs. Socially, a cat may purr to signal to other animals that they are not a threat. Some believe that a cat’s purr is a sign of friendship or a sign of anxiety. Also, purring may be associated with hunger, if a cat starts to purr, maybe the owner will come to investigate the reason for the purring which usually leads to the owner feeding the cat.

Healing Power

There is scientific evidence that the frequency ranges in a cat’s purr can stimulate bone growth and healing. Vets feel that a cat will purr to extend their life by lowering levels of heart and bone problems. Other theorists believe the purring may release a pain reliever in the brain called endogenous morphine (aka endorphins). Endorphins resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being. Also, some say that purring is like that of a cat’s mantra of self-healing, vibrating, relaxing sound.

Human Comfort

Some scientists believe that a cat’s purr has a therapeutic effect on their owners and can be a healing method for humans. There is evidence that cat owners have lower blood pressure than those who don’t own a cat. Many times a cat will lie and arrange themselves on their owner’s body over a painful area and the heat and vibration from purring will relieve their owner’s pain. Many retirement communities approve cats as a healing animal.

My Conclusion

My observations appear to be somewhat aligned with the scientific and veterinarian community on the reasons why cats purr. I suggest you do your own investigation and observations with your cats and hopefully you’ll find the answer to the question, “why do cats purr?”

 

Velita Livingston is the founder of the Cat Lover’s Diary blob which provides rich content with great advice on cat care tips and training, teaching cat owners how to protect, pamper and live peacefully with their pets. Visit the http://www.catloversdiary.com to watch the Cat Lover’s Diary Movie, it contains breathtaking images and heartwarming quotes… It will uplift and inspire you! You can also visit the Cat Lover’s Diary on Facebook and Twitter.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 14

The Rudiments Of Water Chemistry

Aquarium with Fishes and Corals

Aquarium with Fishes and Corals

Most aquarists will happily debate water quality to the point of being obsessive. Water is, after all, the atmosphere on which your pets depend.

It isn’t necessary to have a degree in chemistry to maintain a healthy aquarium, but you will need to do some water testing.

Axolotls are extremely sensitive to water quality. You must be prepared to test the water in your tank on a weekly basis to ensure your pet’s continued good health.

With that in mind, there are some basic measurements you need to at least understand to some degree.

Acidity or Per Hydrogen (pH)

The “pH” sign for most people signals an assessment of acidity. When viewed as a scale, low numbers mean greater acidity and higher numbers indicate “basic” or alkaline water.

The actual measurement is the balance in the water between hydrogen (H+) and hydroxide (OH) ions. Axolotls are freshwater creatures, so they need a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5.

Carbonate Hardness (KH)

With this measurement, it’s easy to confuse terms. KH refers to alkalinity, which is not the same thing as “alkaline.”

Alkalinity is a description of the water’s ability to neutralize and absorb acid, thereby acting as a “buffer.” If the KH level in water is high, there won’t be many changes in the pH level, and the water will be more stable.

Specific Gravity (sg)

In its most simple terms, specific gravity measures the salinity of water. It is taken with a hydrometer or a refractometer. Since axolotl are freshwater creatures, the specific gravity of their water should be around 1.0000.

Hard vs. Soft Water

Axolotls prefer slightly hard water. If you have limescale in your cookware or around your pipes, you have hard water.

If your axolotl is living in water that is too soft, its color will fade, especially the shade of the gills. This indicates your pet is suffering from temporary anemia. You will need to add salts to the water to increase the hardness.

Since these equations can be confusing, it’s best to find out in advance if the water in your area is hard or soft and consult with an experienced aquarist about the best corrective measures to test.

The variance in water quality in this regard can be so extensive, there is no one set formula to “fix” the measurement. In general, however, soft water tends to be more acidic and hard water is more alkaline in terms of pH.

 

Axolotl water chemistry can be tricky. Here is more information on Axolotl and how to care for them.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 14

City Dog Walking Advice

City Dog Walking AdviceCity dog walking requires 360 degree awareness at all times

Dogs love cities! What they lose in wide open space is made up for in the volume of sights, sounds and smells which envelop a dog during their time outside. Many owners who have moved their suburban or rural dog to the city have found that they develop a new level of confidence, both with other dogs and with people.

But with this stimulation comes the potential for mishap. Walking your dog in the city demands your utmost care and attention at all times. It’s a good idea to bear a few things in mind during a city dog walk:

Never unleash your dog on a city street

For most people, this is common sense — yet it’s surprising how many dog owners think it’s no big deal to walk their dog off leash in the city. Such people will tell you that their dog “would never do anything crazy”, but the simple truth is that all dogs have the potential to react unpredictably when provoked or startled. Here’s why you should never walk your dog unleashed on city streets:

    In most cities, it’s against the law and subject to a fine. Sudden loud noises like truck horns can startle a dog and cause them to bolt. An approaching unleashed dog can be interpreted as a threat to a leashed dog and can create tensions and possible physical conflict. It’s not possible to steer an unleashed dog away from hazards and obstacles they may not be aware of. For people who are afraid of dogs, an approaching dog off the leash — even a small dog — can be a terrifying experience. Such people need to see that you have full control over your pet. If your dog causes an accident while unleashed, you’re going to pay through the nose! If anything should happen to your dog as a result, you’ll never forgive yourself.

Scan the sidewalk ahead of you at all times

There are many hazards on city sidewalks which mean that you should never take your eye off them, in much the same way as you should never take your eye off the road when driving.

Sidewalk snacks are the most common — always do your best to steer your dog away from them. Chicken bones are plentiful in areas that have a lot of fast food establishments, as are pizza crusts. Dogs love both! But chicken bones can splinter in the intestines and everything else carries with it the risk of bacteria and food poisoning. If your dog looks for food obsessively it may be a good idea to walk them with a collar instead of a harness, as a collar attachment makes it easier for you to move their head away quickly from anything they might eat.

Broken glass is a problem for dogs in the city and it’s for this reason among others that many urban dog owners have their dogs wear booties outside. Large pieces of glass can cause serious lacerations in paws, and smaller pieces can become embedded in pads and lead to infections. If you suspect that your dog has walked across broken glass then be sure to stop and check their paws there and then — don’t leave it until you get home.

Sidewalk scanning is a skill that develops in time for the city dog walker. You’ll do it without thinking after a while. Just remember — you are the extra pair of eyes your dog needs!

Avoid using retractable leashes on city streets

Although retractable leashes are very popular among dog owners and great for certain environments, they are not always such a good idea for city dog walking. First and foremost — even though it is very rare, the locking mechanism on such leashes has been known to fail. This can be a terrifying experience if your dog is trotting ahead towards a busy intersection and you need them to stop. To compound matters, most retractable leashes consist of a thin line which will burn your hand if you ever need to grab it and pull in such a situation. Besides which, the added length and freedom which these leashes give you is moot in a busy urban environment in which you really need to keep your dog on a relatively short leash and near you at all times. Another disadvantage is that you can’t wrap them two or three times around your hand like you can with a regular leash — and that’s something which adds an invaluable extra layer of security.

Keep your dog close when crossing busy roads

A short leash and full control is absolutely essential when crossing roads with your dog in the city. When waiting to cross, insist that they sit right by you on the curb and not on the road or in the gutter. When crossing at an intersection which allows cars to make turns onto the crosswalk, be aware that many drivers either cannot see your dog or aren’t looking out for one anyway, so make sure your dog stays away from moving wheels! Drivers are often impatient in the city and like to edge their way through crossing pedestrians with the smallest of margins when turning. If your dog is walking slightly behind you it’s so easy for them to be caught up in the wheels of a turning car.

Never let your dog spray lampposts or scaffold

Dogs love to pee on anything vertical — but just make sure you avoid anything that carries the potential for stray currents, as dogs can and do get electrocuted in such situations. In New York City for example, many lampposts are badly maintained with open hatches at the bottom — and sometimes even live wires protruding. Similarly, sidewalk scaffold can in rare cases lead to electrocution as current strays from faulty overhead lighting into the steel poles.

Approach other dogs with caution

Dogs live to socialize. In the course of a 30 minute dog walk in a busy urban area it’s not uncommon to pass ten dogs or more — and if your dog’s friendly, they’re going to want to do a meet and greet with them all! But never assume that the other dog is friendly. It’s good practice to ask the owner “is your dog friendly” before letting them meet — unfortunately, some dogs aren’t.

Once you have the go-ahead, never be tempted to let go of the leash even if they insist on circling each other. It’s tempting to do this to avoid leashes becoming entangled, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Leashes can always be untangled safely.

A little horseplay is fine, but try not to let them get too excited while wrestling because in rare cases two leash fasteners can clash in certain positions and unhook themselves. It has been known! The last thing you want during a period of such excitement is for your dog to become unleashed.

Take great care with dogs around elevators

If you take your dog into elevators on a regular basis then always make sure they stay right by your side. Never let your dog run into an elevator well ahead of you, and similarly never let them run out ahead or behind you. If the elevator door is faulty and closes suddenly with you on one side and the dog on the other — well, it doesn’t even bear thinking about! Bear in mind that this can and has happened. It’s also important to keep your dog on a short leash right beside you when traveling in an elevator, since you never know who’s on the other side of the doors when they open. If it’s another dog and they startle each other, a melee could ensue!

All in all, city streets are like Disneyland for many dogs. They’re a cacophony of sensual stimulation and socialization. The most important thing to remember is that city dog walking is something to be enjoyed — with caution!

 

For more information on dog walking in New York City as well as helpful dog walking advice, visit King Pup’s website.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

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