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Fun New Things for Your Favorite Feline(s)

Cat Products Galore

By Sandy Robins

If you are looking to spoil your kitty with fun new toys, beds and pet accessories, you’re in luck. I recently attended SuperZoo 2014, a pet industry tradeshow held annually in Las Vegas where manufacturers of everything pet show-off their wares to retailers from across the country and around the world. Below are just a few out of hundreds of the cat products that I found interesting. Most are available now for your favorite feline—and all will be available for gifting during the holidays.

Sleepypod

Sleepypod has launched its self-titled carriers in a new limited-edition that features the fabulous Robin Egg blue (aka Tiffany blue). This stylish carrier has been crashed tested both in the United States and Australia and is made from ballistic nylon. The carrier converts into a bed when the dome is removed. Ideal for trips to the vet as scaredy-cats can be examined in the carrier if necessary, and perfect for cats who travel, as it can become a home away from home. www.sleepypod.com

 

 

WorldwiseMouse

Stylish new toys designed by celebrity Kathy Ireland include this patented Stretch and Chase© Mouse that will hone your kitty’s prey and pounce skills in the safe confines of the living room. Ireland’s new Loved Ones collection offers innovative and solution-based toys that will meet a variety of pet needs. The feline toys are filled with organic catnip to rev up the fun and ensure your cat gets plenty of exercise. www.worldwise.com

 

Motorola Scoutt 66Motorola’s new Scout 66 camera means you can check in on what your cat is doing when you are in at work or traveling anywhere in the world. The camera operates via a free app that works with both Apple and Android phones and various tablets. It allows pet owners to talk to their cats through the camera and also play a selection of soothing music if their kitty is feeling anxious being home alone. The Scout 66 is available at PetSmart. www.motorola.com

 

Earthbath-2-n-1

While many cats are water phobic, it may be necessary to bathe them if they suffer from a sensitive, itchy skin. Earthbath’s new 2-in-1 Conditioning Shampoo is pH-balanced for feline skins and contains ultra-mild coconut-based cleaners, supple conditioners,and aloe vera to soften the coat and re-moisturize the skin. This new formulation also includes vitamins A, B, D and E and glycerin for added moisture retention in the skin. www.earthbath.com

 

 

 

YeowwCigars

No cat can ever have too much catnip. Yeowww! Catnip Cigars are stuffed with Yeowww! organic catnip, and are perfect for cats who like to grip and kick; they can be tossed in the air, too. The cigars are available individually and in a new special three-pack tin. The ideal gift for the cat who has everything. www.duckyworld.com

 

 

PlushBlanketBed

If you cat is obsessed with kneading your throw or getting herself super comfortable in your freshly washed laundry then she will appreciate the patent-pending Blanketed Pet Bed from The Plush Pet Company. This very clever design has a comfy throw sewn into the bed for kitty to nest and nestle and purr off to sleep.  www.plushpecompany.com

 

Foods that are Safe to Give to Your Dogs

People Foods for Dogs

By Audrey Pavia

Most dogs love bananas, which is good since they're a people food dogs can eat.

Most dogs love bananas, which is good since they’re a people food dogs can eat.

Before the days of commercial dog food, dogs ate whatever they could catch, and whatever their humans were willing to share. With the development of the pet food industry, dogs now have their own special diets designed to provide them with all the nutrition they need to stay healthy. But that doesn’t mean your dog can’t enjoy—and even benefit from—certain types of people food.

Prior to even considering giving your dog foods typically enjoyed by humans, consider his weight and health. If your dog is overweight, it’s not a good idea to supplement his regular diet with anything that might contribute to his overall calorie intake. If your dog suffers from allergies and is on a special allergy diet, giving him human foods might aggravate his condition.

That said, the following foods are safe to give dogs as an occasional treat:

  • Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, green beans and squash, either raw or cooked
  • Cooked lean meats, such as chicken or turkey (without the skin or bones), beef or pork
  • Fruit such as bananas, blueberries and apples
  • Plain yogurt

It’s best not to give dogs simple carbohydrates such as bread or crackers because their systems are not designed to digest this type of food.

As long as your dog is not overweight, you can give him an occasional treat of eggs or cheese. Cook the eggs (scrambled is best) and serve in moderation. Avoid using oils or butter since these fats might upset his stomach. When giving cheese as a treat, select cheeses that are low in fat. String cheese is a particular favorite of dogs and can be easily broken up into small pieces as a training reward.

Some people-foods can be harmful to dogs because of chemical compounds they contain. Do not give the following to your dog:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Raisins

Remember when giving your dog treats of people food to always use moderation. A few bites here and there are enough. Too much people food given all at once can make your dog sick and upset his nutritional balance.

Whichever people foods you give your dog, remember to not feed him directly from the table--you'll encourage begging if you do.

Whichever people foods you give your dog, remember to not feed him directly from the table–you’ll encourage begging if you do.

Keep in mind that if you feed your dog while you are sitting at the table eating your own meal, you will create a beggar. If you’d rather not have your dog staring at you whenever you eat, place people food in his own dish when you are serving him his regular meal.

If you plan to use people food as a training treat, keep it in a plastic bag in your pocket, and offer it in moderation when your dog performs a behavior you’ve asked for. Cut the food in small pieces about the size of a dime so you don’t give him too much. This will help keep him from gaining weight or getting an upset stomach.

Remember when giving your dog people food, the choice of food item and the amount you give is most important. Always use moderation.


About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com.

Why Dogs Act Aggressively Toward People and Other Dogs

Reasons for Aggression in Dogs

By Stacy Mantle

Dog aggression can stem from a variety of causes, and once you understand them, you can start learning the solutions.

Dog aggression can stem from a variety of causes, and once you understand them, you can start learning the solutions.

The stories show up in the news nearly every day—someone was attacked by her dog, another dog was attacked by a dog or a child was bitten by a dog. The public begins to think that all dogs are vicious, trainers look at the ways they could have been avoided and animal lovers rise to the defense of the animal.

More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, according to the American Veterinary Association of America (AVMA). Considering there are 70 million dogs in the USA, these stats show we need to do more on all levels; from educating the public on how to work with animals to teaching children how to recognize dogs’ body language and signals.

Under most circumstances, bite cases can be summarized into three categories:

  1. A lack of veterinary care for dogs suffering from a medical condition
  2. Children who have not been taught to read animal behavior
  3. Multi-dog households with owners who are not trained in working with multiple pets

Pet aggression can stem from a variety of causes. These are the more common reasons for aggression in dogs. Once you understand the causes, you can start learning the solutions.

Pain Aggression

One of the most common causes of aggression in pets is a result of the dog being in pain. Since associative learning is a dog’s most important way of learning, it can result in long-term damage to the dog and the owners. The most obvious solution is to have the dog medically evaluated.

Multi-dog Households

If you have more than one dog in your home, you are five times more likely to be bitten than a home with only one dog. This is largely due to owners reaching in to break up fights between dogs. This is a problem that can only be solved by educating owners on how to live within a multi-pet household. Fortunately, there are many good sites that focus solely on this problem, and plenty of material that you can share with family members.

Side Effects from Medication

There are hundreds of medical conditions that can stimulate biting behavior in pets. In many cases, pets have sustained damage before they were even brought them into a home. But more commonly, aggression can be caused by side effects from prescription medications. Check with your veterinarian and pharmacy to learn which types of medications are most likely to encourage aggressive behavior.

DogBiteInfographic

Fear Aggression

Just as screaming or striking out at someone who surprised you would be considered a perfectly normal response, dogs react with the same instinctual response. Since children are fond of “sneaking up” on a pet, this is one more reason why most bites occur in kids. Threatening a dog, negative training methods or lack of socialization can cause a pet to react in fear.

Children

From 2010 to 2012, there were 359,223 reported bites in children. 57 percent of these children were between the ages of 5 to 9. Sixty-six percent of these injuries were to children 4 years and younger. This is just one more reason it’s so important to teach children how to understand dogs at a very young age or keep them separated from dogs until they can learn how to read them. There are many child-friendly books, diagrams and infographics that are free to download and available from a variety of sources. Simply search on “Body language of dogs” and print one out. It’s free and it could save a child or a pet’s life.

Behavioral Aggression

Behavioral aggression can include everything from resource guarding to frustration aggression. Dogs are naturally territorial and if your pet perceives you as the cause of a resource being withheld, you could be at risk for a bite. This is one more reason it’s so important to socialize and train pets. Dogs learn by association and once they have successfully used a negative reaction (biting) to obtain results they want (food or a toy), they will begin to do it more often. Dogs learn by association, which is why it’s so important to integrate positive training approaches.

Genetics

There is a lot of controversy about breeds that bite. Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is rampant on a global level, particularly in regards to the “bully breeds.” While it’s true that many bites occur from bully breeds, the facts are rather skewed. Often, a smaller dog’s bite is not reported because of the minor damage smaller dogs inflict. However, a large-breed bite is nearly always reported due to a larger bite radius and therefore increased damage. Bully breeds tend to get most of the blame due to selective breeding in the world of dog-fighting. It’s important to remember that there is no “inherently vicious” breed of dog. There are only dogs who have been bred, trained or taught to become vicious.

Education is the key to preventing dog bites. By training yourself, your children and your friends who have pets on how to interact with animals, you will be helping to decrease the number of bites and the number of animals who enter the system and are destroyed.


About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at www.StacyMantle.com

Make Sure Your Pets are Prepared in Case Disaster Strikes

Preparing Your Pets for Evacuation

By Stacy Mantle

RescuePetFloodWe never think it will happen to us, but the truth is a disaster can strike anywhere at any time. From hurricanes and fires, to gas leaks and terrorist threats, there are hundreds of reasons why you and your pets may need to evacuate your home. The important thing is to be prepared and to be certain your pets are, too. Here are some guidelines on getting your pets ready for evacuation.

Microchip Your Pets: This is the best way to ensure you and your pet are reunited. Be sure to register the tag (or change ownership if you adopted a dog or cat from a rescue). If you move, be sure to update your pet’s microchip information.  Always keep a recent photo of you and your pets on you. You never know when this information will be needed in case of separation. In addition to microchipping, your pets should always be wearing a collar with ID tags.

QR-coded tags are handy if you have a pet with a medical condition as you can store the information needed in one simple app. You decide how much of the information a stranger who finds your pet needs to know.

Know Where to Go: You should be certain you have a place to go in case of emergency. Search in advance for pet-friendly hotels in your area. In the event of long-term evacuation, you should have a plan in place with family or friends where you can take your pets.  You might also want to make prior arrangements with a kennel (for dogs or cats), a ranch (for large animals) or an animal rescue (for exotics).

Know Your Emergency Veterinarian Hospitals: Even if you don’t think you’ll need a veterinarian, you should know where your nearest 24-hour hospital is for your pets. This is particularly important if you have large animals who are more likely to injure themselves due to the stress of evacuation.

Make a Plan: You should have several ways to get out of your home with your pets, know how you will gather them safely in a timely period and identify a “meet place” with other family members. Map out your area and know where the nearest 24-hr veterinarian clinic is located so you can ensure your pets receive prompt attention in case of emergency. Verify that your veterinarian, pet sitter, trainer or daycare facility has an emergency plan in place if anything happens while your pets are under their care.

Create a “Go Bag”: Every household should have a single backpack that you can “grab and go” on the way out the door. This is a perfect bag for quick evacuations (gas leak, police evacuation or other temporary threat).

This bag includes a three-day supply of whatever your pets need for longer-term evacuations. Larger animals can carry their own packs if you plan well. You should have a go-bag in place for each animal and teach them ahead of time how to carry a pack. Smaller pets may need you to do the carrying.

  • Documentation: This includes an updated photo of you with your pet, microchip numbers, ID tag numbers and any emergency contact information in case anything happens to you.
  • Water: You and your pet need water. Keep a three-day supply of water for you and your pets in your go-bag. Plan on keeping 1 to 3 ounces of water per pound of body weight for each animal, each day.
  • Food: Keep at least three days of food for each pet in an airtight, waterproof container. Rotate these out on a monthly basis to ensure freshness. You may want to consider feeding your pets moist or canned food to assist in preventing dehydration. You can also consider purchasing premade emergency meal kits. (See resources below.)
  • Medicine: Keep an extra week of medicine on hand for pets who are on prescription medication.
  • Collar, Leash, ID Tags: Your pets should always be wearing a collar and ID tags, but it’s also a good idea to have an extra set stored in your “go bag.”
  • Dishes: Be sure you have at least one dish for feeding and watering your pets.

Crate: Be sure you have a way of transporting your pet securely. Conduct training exercises on a regular basis so that pets know the crate is a safe place. The goal is to have the crate be their location to run if anything frightens them. There’s nothing worse than trying to find a cat that has hidden in fear during an emergency situation.

Sanitation: Be sure you have a way to clean up after your pet. For cats, this means a spare litterbox and litter (these are premade and easy to dispose of). For dogs, this means plastic doggy bags. Your sanitation bags should also include paper towels, a disinfectant and wipes.

Use the Buddy System: A buddy system can be incredibly beneficial in saving your pets lives. Particularly if you work away from the home or have large animals (like horses), larger dogs who may be considered threatening (shepherds, pit bulls, etc.), or exotics (reptiles, ferrets, birds, etc.). Proper handling of these animals often means the difference between life and death. Work out an agreement between three and four families to learn how to handle one another’s animals. That way, you have back up if you’re out of town and emergency strikes at home.

Emergency Resources ASPCAPetFirstAid

 Premade Meal Kits and Bottled Water for Pets:

 First Aid Kit for Pets

 


About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at  www.StacyMantle.com

What to Do if Your Cat Gets Stung

The Cats and the Bees

By Sandy Robins

CatBeeGardenDid you know that July 10 was “Don’t Step on a Bee Day.” Seriously, who comes up with this stuff? If you don’t believe me, go to a website called DaysOfTheYear.com and check this out along with national waffle day and national gummi bear day…

The whole idea of this day is to help preserve bees, which are in danger in many parts of the world. While saving bees is a good thing, they can present a problem when you have cats. Cats find them irresistible to watch, chase—and catch.

We have a succulent on our balcony where the cats are allowed to sit safely and sun themselves. Every year it produces a huge stem with hundreds of tiny yellow flowers and with it comes the bees that probably get more pollen from this one stop than from flitting from flower to flower.

Fudge couldn’t care less. Been there done that—this occurs every year. But Ziggy is fixated, watching their every movement. It must make him dizzy when several bees arrive at once and flit all over this huge flowering stem. When one bee lost its sense of direction and flew inside Ziggy took after it at high speed. I had to spring into action to prevent ensuing conflict.

After a couple of weeks of this, I realized I couldn’t sit and watch Ziggy watching the bees any longer because eventually he could catch one and probably get stung, so I cut off the huge stem and put into it into a vase instead.

CatwBeesWhat do you do if your cat gets stung on her nose, paws or anywhere else? First off, if possible, get the entire stinger out. (Note: wasps, yellow jackets, hornets and bumble bees don’t leave their “stingers” behind.) A credit card is your best friend when it comes to removing a stinger. Use the credit card to scrape it away, making sure you get the whole stinger. Don’t use tweezers or your fingers as you might end up releasing more venom into or onto your cat. A sting won’t be too painful for your cat, according to veterinarians, but the site can swell up quickly. Ice will help reduce the swelling and it’s also a good idea to apply an antibiotic cream.

A friend’s cat chomped on a bee and got stung inside his cheek. That necessitated a trip to the vet and an antihistamine injection. In fact, any bee sting is definitely worth a follow up to the vet because cats can have an allergic reaction and go into shock. They might have difficulty breathing if the tissues of the throat swell. In addition, their blood pressure could plunge, resulting in a life-threatening complication. If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms after being stung, take her to a veterinarian immediately.

Sorry bees. Next year when this plant flowers, I am going to cut off the flowering stem and put it in a vase straight away. I am going to buy Ziggy a toy that replicates a bee on a wand and play with him instead.


About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats

Keep Your Dog Cool with Homemade Frozen Treats

Tasty Frozen Snacks for Dogs

By Lisa King

DogIceCreamHot weather is dangerous to humans and animals alike, and climate change means that longer and hotter summers are on the way. Keeping pets cool is an owner’s responsibility, but confining a dog to an air-conditioned house all day just isn’t feasible. Both you and your dog are going to want to spend time outdoors, so while you’re enjoying the pool, barbecuing or working in the garden, make sure your dog has a way to stay cool and be near you.

We have all seen photos of lions and tigers in zoos licking giant “bloodsicles” during heat waves. These effectively cool down the animals’ bodies so they don’t suffer as much from the heat. You can do the same for your dog without resorting to freezing blood. 

If you have a large dog or multiple dogs, freeze water or salt-free chicken stock in layers in a large plastic container and drop in small toys and treats as each layer freezes. Once it’s fully frozen, run a little hot water over the container and slide the block of ice out onto a flat pan or plate. Set it in the shade where your dog can reach it. He will be able to see the treats and toys and will happily lick away the ice to get to them.

Commercial frozen dog treats are available at pet supply stores and some supermarkets. These are handy, but can be pricey. If you want to save money and be certain of what your dog is consuming, make healthy frozen treats for him at home.

frozendogtreatsThe principles behind making frozen treats are simple: Use foods your dog likes and that are safe for him and combine them in imaginative ways, and then freeze them in ice cube trays (the silicon ones make popping out the treats easy). There are even trays designed for dog treats in which the holes are bone-shaped. You can also freeze treats in small Dixie cups, disposable plastic cups or cupcake liners.

Never add salt or sugar to your dog’s treats. Don’t use grapes, onions, avocados, chocolate, macadamia nuts or anything else on the ASPCA list of foods hazardous to dogs.

Give your dog his frozen treats outside; he is bound to make a mess as the treat melts. Keep in mind that these treats do have calories, so don’t overdo it.

Here is a list of suggested ingredients for frozen dog treats:

  • Plain nonfat yogurt
  • Peanut butter (the natural kind without sweeteners or salt)
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Melons
  • Chopped apples or applesauce
  • Canned pumpkin purée (avoid pumpkin pie filling)
  • Grated carrots
  • Cooked ground or shredded meat or poultry
  • Salt-free chicken stock or beef stock
  • Grated cheese (low salt)

The easiest treats to make involve putting a few berries or pieces of chopped fruit (such as banana, melon or apple) in the bottom of each section of an ice cube tray and then filling the tray with yogurt or one of the combinations below. This gives your dog a sweet and healthy treat. For a low-fat savory treat, put a little leftover unseasoned meat or chicken and a pinch of cheese in each section and fill with salt-free stock.

Here are some ideas for combinations your dog will like. If the mixture seems too thick, thin with a little stock or water.

  • Combine peanut butter with a little yogurt or applesauce.
  • Mix pumpkin purée with peanut butter.
  • Pumpkin is also tasty mixed with plain yogurt.
  • Mashed bananas are delicious mixed with yogurt, peanut butter, or a combination.

This isn’t gourmet cooking. Keep the combinations simple and appealing to your dog. While you and your guests are enjoying frozen margaritas on the deck, he’ll feel as if he’s joined the party.


About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA, and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea” and the recently released “Vulture au Vin.”

A Safe, Cozy Home for Your Dog

In the Doghouse

By Audrey Pavia

DogHouseYardDogs are a lot like humans in one respect—they appreciate a safe, cozy home. Descended from wolves, dogs have a strong denning instinct, which means they feel happiest when they have a secure hideaway they can call their own.

Providing your dog with his own “den” will go a long way toward helping him feel comfortable and secure. That den can be in the form of a doghouse or a crate, depending on your situation and your dog’s needs.

 

Doghouses

In the days when dogs lived mostly outdoors, doghouses were a necessity. They provided shelter from the elements and a place for an outside dog to feel secure. Today, we know that dogs need human companionship and should spend the majority of their time in the house, especially at night. But for dogs that need to be outdoors during the day when their owners are away at school or work, a doghouse can provide a welcome respite.

Unlike the simple wooden doghouses of the past, today’s commercially made doghouses come in a variety of materials and designs. While some houses are made from plastic or metal, the most popular styles are still made from wood, with some featuring windows, skylights and front porches.

When selecting a house for your dog, look for a design that allows for good ventilation along with protection from bad weather. Make sure the house is insulated, and large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around.

If you choose to build your own doghouse, choose a plan that provides these same benefits. Be sure to use untreated wood in case your dog chews on any part of the house.

 

Crates

Dog crates are useful not only for providing a dog a safe place to retreat indoors, but also to help with training. Crates are invaluable for housetraining puppies, and for confining dogs that are still learning the rules of the house. Crates are also the safest way to confine a dog for travel.

Dog crates come in two basic styles: airline and solid wire. Airline-style crates have plastic sides, with a wire door

MidWest Homes For Pets' LifeStages ACE crates are designed to be a safe place for a dog to retreat.

MidWest Homes For Pets’ LifeStages ACE crates are designed to be a safe place for a dog to retreat.

and windows. Solid wire crates are made of a wire grid on all sides.

Airline-style crates are the most adaptable type of crate. They provide dogs with a sense of security because of their solid sides, and can be used for travel. In fact, these crates are the only type approved for use on airlines, and are a safe place to confine your dog when he’s going somewhere by car.

Wire crates are also popular with some dog owners, who believe this style makes it easier to observe the dog while he’s confined. These crates can also be folded up when not in use for easy storage or transport.

Whatever type of doghouse or crate you choose, keep your dog’s health and wellbeing in mind. Make his “den” as cozy and welcoming as you can by including a soft blanket and his favorite toys.


About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com.

Cats in Film – Superstar Cats People Love To Watch on the Big Screen

Cats in Film
By Sandy Robins

Breakfast At Tiffany’s

It seems that if you have an idea for a national holiday or special day, all you have to do is lodge your suggestion with someone (I am not sure with whom, to be exact) and bingo, you have a day on the calendar to celebrate.

Case in point: June 19 is National Pets in Film Day.

If you just take cats, there is a plethora of well-known feline actors as well as cartoon cats and, of course, feline-inspired characters such as Catwoman that actors love to portray to show off their feline prowess.

In fact, cats have been stealing scenes throughout the history of cinema. The movie “Inside Llewyn Davis owes its success to a brilliant cat performance from an unknown ginger tabby, according to British film critic Ann Billson who writes for The Telegraph. Billson also noted that the Coen brothers, who produced the film, were so successful because they applied one of the truisms of the Seventh Art: There are few films that are not improved by the presence of a cat.

I would take it one step further and say that many films are only remembered because of their feline stars.

I don’t remember much about “Breakfast at Tiffany’s except that Audrey Hepburn’s character had a cat. Nor do I remember much about the dysfunctional Focker family shenanigans in both movies, but I do remember Jinx, the cat. The movie “The Heat was one big catfight between the Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy characters, but the scene-stealer was the ginger tabby Pumpkin. “Cloud Atlas is a blur, but the sleeping grey tabby that the naked man grabbed and used as a modesty shield until its claws came out made this movie memorable to me. Go tabby!

Not surprisingly, ginger tabbies are definitely movie favorites. The opening sequence of “The Long Goodbye,” Robert Altman’s revisionist update of Raymond Chandler’s private-eye story, depicts Marlowe (Elliott Gould) being woken up by his cat, which tramples all over him and meows nonstop till it gets what it wants. Billson claimed the film as having “a fine bit of Method acting from the ginger cat.”

Billson’s critiques are very cat-centric. She also gives kudos to Jones in “Alien” another handsome ginger puss that performed multiple functions. He is a catguffin—a pretext for characters to go wandering off by themselves. He is a catpanion for Ripley to talk to, provides several moments of catshock by suddenly jumping out at people and remains a wild card to the end because the audience is never quite sure if an alien has infected him.

The James Bond movies are often an intellectual muddle between good and evil but everyone remembers Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s white Persian who made her first appearance in “From Russia with Love,” and returned to nestle in the archvillain’s lap in “You Only Live Twice.” Not to mention the Austin Powers spoof where the white glamorous Persian is replaced by a sphynx named Mr. Bigglesworth.

There is no question that dogs are easier to train for the movies; however, cats, even if they work on cue, add their own special feline mystique that make them scene stealers. And when it comes to cartoon cats, such as Garfield or Puss in Boots, or any one of the memorable Disney movies such as “The Aristocats,” the felines aren’t the sidekicks; they are where all cats belong: in the spotlight center stage as the star.


About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats

Dog Safety in the Car

On the Road with Your Dog
By Lisa King

Harness For Your Dog - Car Ride Safety for Dogs

Sleepypod’s Clickit™ 3 Point Safety Harness

Traveling by car with your dog can be rewarding for both of you. Sharing a vacation is much more enjoyable than kenneling your dog and going without him. With a little careful planning, you can minimize problems and maximize fun. Before you hit the road, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is my dog accustomed to riding in the car? Does he enjoy car travel?
  • Does my dog get carsick?
  • Is my dog very active or generally calm?
  • Is my dog crate-trained? If so, is my car large enough to accommodate his crate?
  • Are there dog-friendly motels or campsites along my route and at my destination?

The answers to these questions should guide you in making your travel preparations. Before departing, do an online search for dog-friendly accommodations and make reservations. It’s increasingly easy to find lodging that welcomes canine guests, but some places have size or breed restrictions.

The safest way for a dog to travel by car is in a crate. If your dog is crate-trained, this should be an easy solution. The crate should be large enough to allow your dog to stand up, turn around and lie down. Make sure it is well-ventilated. Put a crate mat or other absorbent material on the bottom of the crate and give your dog chew toys (preferably non-squeaky) to keep him from getting bored.

A crate also makes a great bed for your dog at your destination, whether it’s a motel, a friend’s or relative’s house or a campsite.

If you have a large dog and your car is too small for a suitable crate, put an absorbent blanket across the back seat and secure him to the seat belt with a tether. These are available in many configurations; check online dog supply sources. Never give your dog unrestricted access to the front seat or let him hang his head out a window.

To get your dog used to car travel, take him on short trips to destinations other than the vet’s. Drive him to a dog park or to pick up the kids. That way, he will associate car travel with positive things. Never leave him alone in the car on a warm day, either around town or on your trip.

Your dog should have a checkup at the veterinarian’s before you leave. Make sure all his vaccinations are up to date, and carry proof with you. Now is the time to ask about motion-sickness medication if your dog gets carsick. If the trip will be long and your dog is very active, ask the vet about a mild sedative.

Some carsick dogs respond well to natural motion-sickness preparations, many of which contain ginger and mint. Antihistamines such as Benadryl can help calm a nervous dog, but don’t give him human medications of any kind without checking with your vet first.

Here are a few supplies you should have with you no matter what your destination:

  • Plenty of water and a spill-proof water dish.
  • Your dog’s usual food and a spill-proof dish for that
  • His medications, if any
  • If he’s not traveling in a crate, bring his familiar bedding along
  • An identification tag with your cell phone number on it. If he’s micro-chipped, make sure the microchip company has your cell number.
  • A collar and sturdy leash.
  • Favorite toys—chew toys, plush toys, fetch toys.
  • Plenty of poop bags.

As you travel, stop every hour or so to allow your dog to get out, walk around, drink water, and relieve himself. He should be on a leash at all times when he’s not in the car. Always clean up after him.

Once you get to your evening’s destination, play a game of fetch with your dog if possible or take him on a long walk to let him stretch his legs. He’ll sleep better if he’s gotten some exercise.

A dog who reacts to outside noises by barking can get you tossed out of a motel. Playing low music or running a fan or white-noise machine can help calm your dog. Give him a treat-stuffed chew toy to distract him. That mild sedative can come in handy in this case, too.


About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA, and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea” and the recently released “Vulture au Vin.”

Dogs At The Beach – Beach Activities for You and Your Dogs

Canine Beach Time

By Stacy Mantle

Canines Day At The Beach

Heading to the beach with your best friend can be a great experience for both of you. Whether you have a Chihuahua or a Labrador, the love of water is a crossbreed activity. Not only is it relaxing for both you and your pet to get out in the water, its great exercise as well.

There are some considerations before you head out for a day on the water. There are certain breeds of dogs that are so low to the ground and off center, they can’t swim (or can’t swim well). If you have a bulldog, basset hound, Maltese, dachshund or pug, it may be better to stick to land-based activities.

However, there are many breeds that love the water. You, as a responsible pet owner, need to make sure your pets are prepared for a day at the lake or the ocean. Here are some tips to ensure a wonderful day at the beach.

Follow the Rules
Visit the beach or lake prior to taking your pet. Become very familiar with the location, the possible escape routes, the routines of other people and their pets, and the rules associated with the locale. Never leave your dog unattended, always keep them on a leash (or under your control), and always clean up after your pet.

In addition, be courteous of other beach-goers. No one likes to be on the beach only to have someone’s dog come up and shake water all over them. Keep in mind that some people have an irrational fear of all animals, no matter the size, so be sensitive and avoid potential problems.

Be Prepared
You should plan on making sure you have the following items (depending on the activity and time spent outdoors).

PFD: A personal flotation device is a must-have any time you’re in (or on) the water.

Bowls: There are some great collapsible bowls on the market. Make sure you bring them along and keep them filled with water!

Sunblock: According to CanineCancer.com, “Exposure to the sun has been shown to cause a higher incidence of three types of skin cancer: squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and hemangioma.” Only use an approved sunscreen as human-grade sunscreen can be toxic to pets. I recommend epi-pet sunblock.

Shade: Offering your pet a shaded area will help them stay cool and out of the dangerous sun. Sturdi offers a great “pup-tent” that is easy to transport and perfect to give pets some relief.

GPS Tracker: If you’re planning to visit an off-leash beach, be sure you have a way of finding your pet in case the worst happens and he is sucked out to sea in a riptide or running after seagulls on the beach. A GPS tracker that is waterproof, lightweight and easily affixed to the collar will tell you where your pet is at all times.

Standard Pet Gear:

  • Collar, harness and leash
  • Proper identification (picture and dog tags)
  • Water and food bowls
  • Poop bags
  • Food and treats
  • Dog towel
  • Plenty of toys

Before taking your pets to the beach, you should be well versed in CPR and basic first aid for you and your pet. There are many dangers on land and at sea, so be prepared for as many as possible to help make your visit to the beach a safe and non-stressful day for everyone in your group.


About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at www.StacyMantle.com