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Woof Wednesday: A Big Hairy Deal

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Puli

The fur flies this time of year at my house. With an off-white carpet (when it’s clean, that is!), the Siamese wannabe’s shedding isn’t such a problem unless I wear black. But the Magical-dawg might as well be Go-Dawg-Van-Gogh using hair as his artistic medium to swirl interesting fuzzy logic patterns on the floor. See, when he sheds he itches, and when he itches, he chews–different than the Ask Amy puppy chew answers from yesterday, too. He’s got the “don’t cares & cain’t hep its” cuz he’s a German Shepherd fella. Chewing fur could lead to doggy hairballs–and boy, would the cat laugh!

Now, if he was a Puli, like the lovely fellow up above, the shed fur would simply get caught into dreadlocks. This breed looks sort of like scrubbing bubbles as they move. I could trade in the carpet for hardwood floors, and he’d take care of the mopping for me.

Yorkie in papers
Or I could trade Magic in on a Yorkie. They have hair–not fur–and require papers to stay tangle-free. Heck, I don’t spend that much time on my own hair. Guess I’ll stick with my Magical-Marker.

The majority of doggies (and cats) shed. Floating fur increases the challenge of keeping just-washed apparel a Fido-free zone. Unless you’re a passionate pet lover who considers pet hair to be a condiment, understanding how to tame the hairy mess will keep your pet’s coat and skin healthy and simplify housecleaning.

Don’t blame warmer weather. It’s light exposure, either to sun or artificial light, determines the amount and timing. More hair is shed during the greatest exposure to light. You can find out more about shedding and how to manage your fur challenges with these 6 Shedding Tips in my latest Paw Nation article.

D-29

Or you could trade in your fur-maniac for a lovely Chinese Crested beauty, like the fellow above. Hey, don’t bark at the messenger, I don’t want to split hairs. Just dishing up the naked truth. *ducking*

So do y’all have a “big hairy deal” with pet shedding? How do you corral all the drifts of fur? Do you knit dog fur hats? Provide nesting material for area flocks? Doing nothing can lead to hot spots, hair mats, or hairballs (stay tuned for a Feline Friday hairballs feature). Please share your fur care tips.

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!

Feline Friday: Ask Amy & Claw THIS!

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Jodi with "Merlin."

I’ve got a cat-tastic update for y’all. Remember last Thursday’s blog about “Thursday” the stray kitty adopted from the City Limits outdoor cafe? Heard back from Jodi Green’s nephew, Deron McCraw, that the kitty’s name is now “Merlin.” And he had his (ahem) ass-ets “fixed” last Friday and is settling into life as a pampered feline at Jodi’s house.

Doncha love happy endings? (pun intended…)

We love cats but don’t always understand them. But cats always have a reason for what they do, even if it seems bizarre to humans. Often, cat owners reward these strange behaviors without realizing it. That’s why many cats develop interesting and unique foibles. But cats around the world share some common behaviors that make owners go, “huh?” For instance, phone fanatics.

kitten with phone

And why are cats attracted to plastic? Apparently the plastic tastes good, perhaps because often it’s made from petroleum-based ingredients. What about elevator butt,  flipping, and privacy issues–why the holy heck do cats follow us to the potty? My latest Paw Nation article lists 7 weird cat behaviors, and what they mean. There’s bunches, more, though–what did I miss? what are other outrageous behaviors our cats (and dawgs?) indulge? Please share!

One of the biggest challenges cat owners share is SCRATCHING (hissssssssssss). What are some ways we can manage this natural behavior–and if’n y’all start recommending declaw surgery, there’s likely to be a cat fight in the comments section!

What are some of the best ways to naturally handle the pointy-sharp cat parts? Above is the latest ASK AMY topic…but even though I talked fast (HEY! no wise cracks!) couldn’t get all the tips in the short clip. So watch, kitty-kibbitz and add many several cents’ worth to get this topic covered cuz I know there are BRILLIANT cat savvy folks subscribed to this blog.

And yes, for those who asked, there’ll be ASK AMY videos coming soon to cover more crap-piocca dawg topics including how to address dogs eating their own or other’s shhhhh…t  (ahem) schtuff.  Don’t worry, I’ll give fair warning in case anyone’s in the middle of eating breakfast.

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!

Woof Wednesday: Clueless Friends & Pet Book Launch

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 Magic homecoming 2

We love to talk about our cats and dogs, show off cute pictures and brag how smart and clever our pets are. Even when we complain about stepping barefoot on nasty hairballs or cleaning up puppy potty accidents, we do so with affection. But unless friends share our furry passion, dog and cat conversations often raise eyebrows or spark disbelief about our pet devotion.

Non-pet friends don’t understand that Seren and Magic are my family. Pets don’t fire me as an owner when I’m downsized from my job, and they stay by my side when I lose my home or human loved ones. Friends don’t always get it that it’s not “easier” to give up my pet family even in times of disaster or hardship.

Friends don’t realize that getting another animal friend isn’t like shopping for new shoes. Each dog and cat is an individual and can’t be replaced once lost. New pets honor the past furry friends, but never take their place. My latest Paw Nation article lists another eight things friends often don’t “get” about our relationship with our cats and dogs.

What about you? Are there specific things that your family or friends don’t understand about your pet relationship? My husband didn’t grow up with pets–but quickly learned that in my world, fur is a condiment. In fact, he gave me (us!) our first doggy companion at my first birthday after we got married. And after that furry-muse died, it took over a decade to welcome another furry wonder into our home–the cute puppy picture (above) is Magic the first day he came to live with us.

Pictures of my first "furry muse" are in this book, when he was a golden oldie.

Our first dog lives on in my heart, and in the books I write. In fact I’ve got to share a brag. Hey, it’s my blog, I can do that! This past week my colleague Dr. Debra Eldredge, gave a glowing 5-star review of Complete Care for Your Aging Dog.  You’ll want to bookmark her site, too, because Doc Eldredge is a brilliant writer and author who covers great dog content.

NEWS FLASH! I’m excited that the “Cutting Edge” book is back in print and a variety of Ebook formats, thanks to the brilliant folks at WhoDaresWinsPublishing yee-haw! And in celebration, those reading this blog get the first crack at a special in celebration of the print book launch. I’ve reduced Pet Care in the New Century “Kindle Version” to $2.99 for the next 100 books sold…or until the end of April, whichever comes first. Of course, I also hope you’ll share what you think in a review on the amazon page. (Stay tuned…there’s a kitty book special coming on Friday!)

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 April pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday, ps: 10 Kitten Care Do’s & Don’ts

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kitten face

Nothing beats kitten fun. But more goes into proper care than plopping food in a bowl and setting up a litter box. Before you adopt, there are 10 do’s and don’ts to ensure your kitten love lasts a lifetime. The first is–don’t adopt too early! (see below) 

What age is best to adopt your new kitten? The majority of professional cat breeders and many well-respected cat behaviorists say that cat babies should stay with siblings and Mom-cat for at least 12 to 16 weeks. Of course, that’s not always possible.

Maturity has as much to do with emotional development as it does with physical growth. Physically, kittens are able to eat and thrive on commercial food as early as three weeks of age and most are weaned by six to eight weeks of age. That’s the most common time kittens leave and go to new homes, primarily I believe for convenience’s sake. Places that have kittens available, like shelters, often have limited space. So as soon as kittens reach that six to eight week mark, are able to eat, and have a set of preventative vaccines, they’re out the door.

But by that age, kittens are just beginning to learn to be proper cats. And no matter how well intentioned, human caretakers aren’t able to do as good a job as furry siblings and cat-parents. Kittens learn from other cats how to use the litter box and cover their waste; groom themselves; play nicely and inhibit claws and bites; use and understand body language and verbal cues; and to defer to dominant felines. They also take their cues from other cats about what’s safe—like people and other cats—and what’s scary and to be avoided. That means if Mom-cat shows kittens a positive reaction to a friendly dog, they’ll be more likely to get along in a multi-pet home.

Kittens adopted too early often bite and claw more than those who have been kitty-corrected by Mom and siblings. They also may be fearful or less tolerant of other cats, because they don’t understand all the proper feline etiquette of the social structure. And because cats tend to consider their human to be part of their family, it’s important for the kitten to respect you and defer to your rules of the house, just as he would a cat-in-command.

Proper socialization not only includes interaction with other cats, but positive handling by people during this critical period. That ensures the baby is well adjusted, confident, and emotionally healthy.

Many times we do not have the luxury of adopting our kitten at the “ideal” age. That means that you, the human parent, will need to do your best to do Mom-cat’s job and teach Junior how to be a proper cat. Each age has particular challenges, too. After all, a kitten is a kitten from birth until he reaches his first birthday—that’s a lot of physical and emotional growth and development!

For the other 9 kitten care do’s and don’ts on my list, check out the latest Paw Nation article here!

This blog entry is an excerpt from my updated, award-winning COMPLETE KITTEN CARE, available in print and all Ebook formats. Are you looking for a kitten to adopt? How did you find your special kitten or cat…or did they find you? To make it easier for both new and experienced kitten owners to get off on the right “paw” I’m dropping the Kindle price of the book for the month of April–stay tuned! and please let shelters know that the “kitten bible” is available.

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!