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Feline Friday: Happy Cat Month

Kisa

"Get spiffed up for Happy Cat Month!" Copr. Maria Magnus

The CATalyst Council declared September to be Happy Cat Month, dedicated to finding ways to keep kitty companions happy, healthy and purring all year long. They suggest these top 10 ways cat owners can promote feline happiness–and I’ve added a few additional links for detailed how-to, further info or just play furry fun. Enjoy! Oh, and please feel free to add your own tips to the list (I have *s*).

1.        Visit the veterinarian. Healthy cats are happy cats. Many owners dread vet trips with cats, even though a good number now work hard to be cat friendly or have doctors who specialize in cats. Sterilizing your cat helps keeps cats healthy by preventing behavior problems and some types of cancer.  Here are reasons why cats hate the vet and how you can change that purr-ception.

2.       Microchip your cat. In addition to a collar and identification tag, owners should ask their veterinarian about microchipping their feline friend. If a cat ever escapes or gets lost, having this type of permanent ID will make a reunion between cat and owner much more likely. I’ve blogged about lost pets before . Learn more about pet ID in this puppies article (works for cats, too!).

seren scratching 1

Seren's office chair shows her artistry.

3.       Go outside (appropriately). Yes!  There are ways owners can safely take their cats outside to allow them to broaden their horizons. Teach your cats how to walk on a leash so they can periodically and safely experience the world outside their windows.

4.       Scratch the surface. Cats need to scratch for physical and emotional health.  Figure out what your cat likes to scratch–vertical, horizontal or angled position–and what kind of surface, and provide it. Giving legal scratch options keeps the furniture safe.

5.       Provide preventive medications. No one likes fleas, ticks, mites or heartworms, especially your cat. Even indoor cats are at risk. Magical-Dawg goes outside and can bring creepy crawlies inside to Seren-kitty so she gets prevention just like he does.

6.       Train together. Cats can be trained to do fun tricks just like dogs, and the mental and physical stimulation is great for felines. Clicker training can boost the confidence of shy cats, too. Teaching your cat to sit, for example, is easy, and training your cat to sit on stools instead of counters will make you and your cat much happier. Training also helps you connect and strengthens your bond with the cat–she’ll finally believe YOU are smart when you can communicate with her!

7.       Work for food. Feline obesity is a huge problem in this country, and one way to combat it is for owners to make their cats work for their food. I love offering cats their meals inside puzzle toys or hiding it around the house on small bowls to stimulate kitty’s innate hunting instinct. That keeps the cat’s brain exercised, too.

8.       Get your cat acclimated to the carrier. Many cat owners find that the worst part about taking their cats anywhere is getting cats into their carriers. Owners should work with their cat on making their carrier a safe, secure, and inviting place to be prior to veterinary visits or family vacations.  Visit www.catalystcouncil.org to view Cats and Carriers: Friends not Foes for tips on how to get cats to love their carriers. You can also find tips in this article about ways owners HISS OFF their cats (and how to avoid that!).

9.       Provide prey toys. One of the easiest ways to make a cat happy is with a new prey toy. Cats love to play and turn wads of paper into pretend prey so you can give kitty “cheap thrills” to keep her happy. Here are some tips how to get the prey-play kitty games going!  And one of my previous blogs included some very kewl kitty toys.

10.   Think about getting another cat. Cats are social animals, and owners should consider adopting two cats or kittens at once to keep them company. Just be sure to properly introduce your newcomer cats to resident felines.  Here are tips how to care for your new kitten–and you can also always refer to Complete Kitten Care for even more help including proper introduction tips!

During Happy Cat Month, CATalyst Council encourages people to adopt a kitty–or to spoil the cats you already love with these tips. And just for fun, channel your “inner kitty” and answer this question–

Do cats have ESP? Can your cats see ghosts? Why do cats STARE for hours at a time at stuff you can’t see? The ASK AMY below attempts to answer the question but–all kitties are different so what do your cats tell you? Please share!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Pets, Vets & Furry Writer-icity

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Frankie in the Sun

Frankie in the sun . . .

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and blogs and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. So I had to share these lovely pictures taken by photographer Jamie Clugston  posted them in my Flickr Kitty Publishing group. There’s also a  Puppy Publishing group on Flicker. A number of these great pictures will also get posted over at the Puppies site but of course you can post ‘em directly there with details about your baby dog’s gotcha day and more. Check out the links, below, and please don’t be shy about sending me your own links or suggestions for others to highlight. First out of the cat-bag today are–CATS!

MEOWY-SHOUT-OUTS

PETFINDER.COM sponsors TAKE YOUR CAT TO THE VET WEEK

During Take Your Cat to the Vet Week, we remind cat parents to take their cats to the vet for preventative care. Even though pet cats outnumber dogs in the U.S. by 15 million, cats go to the vet only half as often as dogs. But cats need preventive care just as much as dogs, and regular vet checkups can help you catch health issues before they become major illnesses that are painful for your cat and more difficult (and expensive) to treat. Check out Jane Harrell’s terrific blog with lots of great information all week long at PetFinder.com

Cats get the short end of the health care stick. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association and the CATalyst Council, cats visit the vet much less frequently than dogs. It’s not that felines are healthier (although cats do hide illness better) but many cats hate the vet so much their owners find it easier to just skip it. But even healthy cats need well exams once or twice a year. Last week’s Feline Friday Heart-to-Heart about heartworms points out one devastating result of overlooked health care.

Why do cats hate the vet? Cats are adept at protecting themselves from stranger danger. What’s familiar is safe, while anything new or different raises kitty suspicions. A vet visit delivers a triple whammy by changing the cat’s routine, environment and exposure to strangers. Here are seven reasons cats hate the vet and how you can ease the angst.

Lily As A Puppy

Lily as a puppy--SQUEEEEE! by Brenda Hawk in Puppy Publishing

DOG STUFF TO HOWL ABOUT

Neat story about a rescue dog from Mexico–check out The Flying Nun from DJones Blog

AMERICAN HUMANE’S HERO DOGS AWARDS Finalists have been named! Take a peek and be inspired by these canine furry wonders–and add your vote to help choose the winner.

Fido & Friend & Five Bobbie Pyron shares recommended books filled with furry inspiration.

WRITER-ICITY YOU NEED TO KNOW

Terry Odell writes romance with a twist of mystery–and her blog today features BLOODHOUNDS! This is great info for writers wanting to include some furry facts.

THINKING BURNS CALORIES according to Joy Held’s Writer Wellness blog.  I need all the healthy help I can get–so I’m loving the fact that angsting over a plot twist gives me an extra boost.

Kristen Lamb’s latest Deadly Sins of Writing blog on POV PROSTITUTION is a must-read for aspiring and established authors.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? I’m nearly ready to record a bunch of new ones, so be sure to get your requests in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Cancer Support, Disaster Help & Furry Professional Ops

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Please take me home!

I’ve saved up lots of great info to share in today’s Monday Mentions. First, I had to share some of the puppy-licious pictures from this weekend’s adoption event. The babies mostly slept but finally woke up for some yappy-happy playtime. If you have a dog intent on breaking the bark-a-thon record, the latest puppies.About.com tips for curbing barks may help.

Older dogs benefit from a terrific promotion hosted by Morris Animal Foundation on Sunday, September 18, for a K9 Cancer Walk at the Cove at Concord Park in Knoxville. The event will benefit the Foundation’s Canine Cancer Campaign, an initiative to fund research to prevent, treat and, ultimately, cure cancer in dogs. An estimated 50 percent of all dogs will battle cancer. All dog lovers are invited to attend and are encouraged to walk to celebrate the life of their canine best friend or walk in memory of dogs that have lost their battle with canine cancer.

Last week I talked about disaster pet preparation tips on the blog. The ASPCA has worked closely with the Joplin Humane Society and the last I heard, nearly 850 animals have since been rescued__with more than 200 beloved pets being reunited with their families. Here’s one story of a kitty and owner reunion!  Now the recent fires have displaced more families–and animals. Check out this video…and help if you can:

Some might be curious about those initials after my name, C.A.B.C.–that stands for Certified Animal Behavior Consultant (dogs and cats). I’m a professional member of IAABC. This professional membership organization promotes Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) principles in work with companion cats, dogs, parrots, horses and working animals.

In honor of Cat Adoption month in the U.S, the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants have a “special deal” for Cat Division applicants. The application fee has been waived for all new members (to all divisions) throughout the month of June–YEEE-HAW!!! President Marjie Alonso writes, “Cats are currently the most popular pet in the United States and  it’s imperative that we support and educate regarding growing need  for feline behavioral assistance and services to help cat owners.  Learn more about joining IAABC here.

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Adopt a new friend, don't wait!

This past weekend I attended a puppy and kitten adoption and am pleased to say several fur-kids found new forever homes. But there are always so many more waiting . . . and after all, there’s still several days left in Adopt A Cat Month.

CATalyst Council is working with American Humane Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, and Petfinder.com to make this June the most successful Adopt A Cat Month® ever! Check out the official website here. Better yet, visit your local shelter this month to take home a new feline friend! Oh, and check out the fantastic how-to video on kitty carrier training at the end of the blog, courtesy of Catalyst Council folks.

Can’t adopt right now? No problem. Consider fostering. Everyone wants to help critters–well, those who read this blog do anyway! But it comes at a cost. Good news! Did you know that your expenses of caring for “foster animals” may be tax deductible?

Unable to foster? One of my fav organizations Alley Cat Rescue offers a brilliant alternative. You can have a virtual adoption and sponsor an ACR office cat or special needs kitty.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!