Sunday, December 18, 2011

What's in the Mix?


This is our dog Duke. We rescued him and his sister Cali (photo below) when they were around nine months old.  Read more about that story here. We often get asked what kind of dog he is. He's a mixed breed obviously but what breeds is he made up of? Well we've always had our guesses but now thanks to Canine Heritage we are going to find out! They are currently offering the DNA testing for only $48. That's 20% off their regular price. But you'll have to hurry! This offer ends January 2, 2012. We should receive the results in 2 - 3 weeks. I'll let you know when we get them. What breeds would you guess he is made up of? To help you, I've also included a picture of his litter mate Cali. Though you can see the resemblance, they also look quite different. (Cali has the Red Merle color too but it's just not as pronounced as Duke's.)

Not that it really matters what they are made up of because we love them to pieces no matter what....but it will be fun to find out!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA)


Last weekend one of our dogs, Ellie (who had a splenectomy a year ago), started acting lethargic and her breathing seemed labored. After taking her to the vet and running some tests he referred us to Gulf Coast Veterinary Internal Medicine and Critical Care where she received a blood transfusion and it was confirmed; Ellie has immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (extravascular). In other words her immune system suddenly started destroying her own red blood cells. She was hospitalized for a couple days after the transfusion while they worked on getting her PCV (packed cell volume) count up. She is now home and is on several medications to try and control the immune system which is causing the anemia. She will be on them long term and will also need regular blood tests while we monitor her progress. She is doing well but the recovery will take awhile. 

Experts say some cases may have an underlying cause but 60 - 70% of dogs with IMHA do not have an apparent cause. There are a  few breeds like the cocker spaniels, poodles, Old English Sheepdogs and Irish setters that are predisposed to the development of it. To learn more about this serious disease you can visit these websites:  http://www.cloudnet.com/~jdickson/ and http://www.peppypaws.com/LillisLegacy.html

We are fortunate enough to have some of the best veterinary specialists here in Houston should we need them. Miss Ellie has been to the specialists before to have arthroscopic surgery for elbow dysplasia in 2008. Though she is 13, which is old for a dog, she is in good health other than this anemia. We are blessed to have her with us this Christmas and cherish the time we have together which hopefully will be a lot longer.

12/19/11 UPDATE: Good news! We just got the lab results back for infectious diseases and Ellie tested positive for Mycoplasma haemocanis. This apparently can be a problem in dogs that have had their spleens removed, which Ellie did. Why is this good news? That means Ellie is in the 30 - 40% that have a known cause of the immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. The Mycoplasma which causes the anemia can be treated with medications (prednisone and antibiotics) and once we get rid of that her anemia will be cured! This is really good news! We are so blessed. We are going in for a blood test tomorrow and to change up her medications. I don't know that much about Mycoplasma yet but will be updating you as I learn more. 

12/22/11 UPDATE: Ellie is doing much better and her PCV is on it's way back up to the normal range. There is little information available on Mycoplasma in dogs. What I have learned is this: Mycoplasma is transmitted by either fleas or ticks. It doesn't normally affect most dogs if they have it but if their spleen is removed, it can cause the immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. It's not known whether she contracted the Mycoplasma some time ago (before she had her spleen removed)  and then (a year) after her spleen was removed it causes the IMHA or if it was contracted more recently, since the removal of her spleen. It's also possible for her to get this Mycoplasma again in the future and because of this, we will be not only continue to use a monthly flea treatment (like we always have) but will need to also give her a monthly tick preventative to be on the safe side.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Favorite Pet Product of the Month

Hemp Leash w/Fleece-Lined Handle
After almost a decade of professional pet sitting I think I have seen or used every kind of leash, collar or harness there is. I didn't know there was so many!

Having the right tools while walking dogs makes all the difference. My first priority is safety. I want to have complete control over the dog (for it's sake and/or anyone else's sake) which means not having him/her more than six feet away from me on a good, strong leash usually made of nylon, hemp or leather. My favorite is the Eco-friendly hemp leash by Planet Dog. Planet Dog Hemp Leashes are made of one of nature's most durable fibers. Hemp tends to get soft over time, but it stays strong, which makes it the perfect material for collars and leashes. My favorite part is they come with a cozy fleece-lined handle providing ultimate comfort , which I just love! The leashes are 1" wide and 5' long (for medium and large dogs). For small dogs, there is the Small Hemp Leash which is 1/2" wide and 5' long. Machine washable, air dry. They are well made and the most comfortable leash I've ever used. They come in a variety of colors.The fleece-lined collars are soft and comfy too!

Mendota British Style Slip Lead
Another favorite and probably the leash I use the most is the (Mendota British style) slip-lead. It's a collar and leash in one. This slip lead features premium, strong, 1/2" solid braid multi-filament UV coated polypropylene rope, leather sleeves and brass ring. Used by trainers, field trial and hunting test participants. The adjustable leather slide keeps "collar" in place eliminating slipping off, yet releasing properly in relaxed position. "Broken-in" feel is easy on the hands and allows easy folding to fit in a pocket. 1/2" x 6 feet for medium to large dogs, 3/8" x 6' for small dogs. Quick and easy to put on and take off, these slip leads have quickly become a favorite for their quality, workmanship and simplicity. Handcrafted in the USA using only the finest materials, these dog leads are waterproof, colorfast and UV coated to protect against fading. A dog cannot slip out of this leash which is one of the reasons why I like it so much. I've had dogs slip out of their collars and I even had a dog back out of her harness! Another reason why I like it so much is if you position the collar high on the neck, just below the ears and slide the leather slide to keep it in place there, while holding the leash close to the collar, it keeps dogs that like to pull from pulling. It's also great to have handy for catching a loose dog.

Although for small dogs (especially if they like to pull) I prefer they wear a harness with a regular leash as their tiny  little necks are delicate, these slip leads are great if you have one that tends to pull out of his/her collar.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We're now on Twitter!


We are now on Twitter as well as Facebook. Do you tweet? Follow us!
                             http://twitter.com/cozycritters

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pet Product of the Month

My favorite large pet fountain.
As a pet sitter and a pet parent I always make sure all  pets have fresh clean water. Just like us, dogs and cats bodies are comprised of mostly water. While most people don't consider water a nutrient, it is without a doubt the most important one. While your pet's food can supply a little or a lot of your pet's daily water needs, (dry food contains up to 10% moisture and canned foods have up to 78% moisture) water is the one thing to which your pet should have unlimited access. Animals know when they're thirsty and they should have free access to clean containers of pure, healthy water at all times.

Anything to encourage more water intake is helpful particularly for cats, who by nature, aren't big drinkers. Putting various kinds and sizes of water bowls in different locations around the house helps to encourage more drinking. If your pets go outside be sure to keep bowls of fresh water there as well. Pet water fountains are great forthose pets that like to drink out of faucets or prefer running water. We go through a lot of water at my house and  the stainless steel fountain shown above is one that is big enough for my eight pets. It's very quiet too. I have another smaller one (below) just for the cats in another room. The water stays fresh and oxygenated, plus the fountains come with filters that you change out every few months. (Be sure to buy plenty of extra filters!) I find it's best to use filtered or bottled water in pet fountains. They do have to be cleaned periodically but I have found them to be easy to clean. Some models have reservoirs to hold extra water so you don't have to add water as often. There are probably a dozen different types of pet fountains. You can find them at most pet supply stores. Try doing an on-line search to find the different models and the best prices.



This model has a reservoir.



Another one of my favorites.
This model comes with or without a reservoir .

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

LOST DOG



Please keep your eye out for this lost dog in the area.

RHETT SIGHTINGS!!  

Saturday and Sunday - Inside the Loop between Beechnut and Bellaire (near Holly St. and again on Maple).  

Saturday afternoon - Inside the Loop near Academy and Lanark. 


All calls have indicated that he still had his leash on.  If you see him, please do not chase him, but call me immediately and try to follow him at a distance.  We can have people in the area quickly that Rhett is familiar with.

PLEASE CIRCULATE and help us find him!!!! 

We are not giving up on him!!  

Call 
 or email Leslie at 281-236-6345 or lesliehillendahl@yahoo.com with any information!   Thanks!! 

Leslie 
Scout's Honor Rescue

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pet Product of the Month

As a pet sitter, giving medications to pets is a big part of my job. It can also be the biggest challenge, especially when it comes to medicating cats. Dogs are usually pretty easy considering they will eat almost anything you wrap a pill in; peanut butter, cream cheese, cheese, wet food meatball, hot dog, bread, etc. Some dogs will eat a pill if you just throw it in with their food. One of our dogs (Duke) has hypothyroid and has to take a pill twice a day. I typically give it to him in a small piece of cheese. He thinks "getting his pill" is actually getting a treat and looks forward to it. He will usually remind me if I forget too. Of course our other three dogs think they are missing out and they come running to get a "pill" too! No problem giving pills to these dogs! Dogs are easy! (Except if they don't want to eat anything in which case you give it the old fashioned way - down the throat.)

On the other hand, cats can sometimes be much more difficult to give medications to! (And yes, there are some cats I cannot administer medications to.) With cats you have to be creative. If you have a cat who doesn't mind getting pilled or taking some liquid medication, that's great. Some cats are real easy-going about taking oral medications and even shots like insulin injections. Some cats may be easy-going for their people-parents and not so happy about it when someone else is doing it! I have administered just about every kind of medication in a variety of ways. Of course it's better if you can give a cat medication without it knowing it's getting it; like hiding it in their wet food. Some medications can be compounded into special kitty flavored soft treats (check with your veterinarian). If your cat likes the treats (ask for placebos to try first) this works great! Some medications can be compounded into creams that you just wipe inside their ear and it is absorbed through the skin. In some cases this is much easier especially if the cat needs medication long term and is not a good candidate for pilling and won't eat the treats. 

Another great invention is Pill Pockets! These are small soft treats shaped like a cup. You put the pill in the cup and pinch it shut. Pill Pockets come in several different flavors; for dogs: beef, chicken or duck and pea for dogs with allergies; for cats: salmon, chicken or the duck and pea for cats with allergies. Of course, again, the key is the cat has to like the treats. Some cats may like one flavor and not the other. You may have to rotate the flavors when they get tired of one. For this reason I keep all three flavors on hand. If your cat likes the Pill Pockets it makes giving medications so easy and stress free. (Tip: If the pill is really small, try using just a half of a pill pocket.) With cats you just have to be creative and try different methods to see which one works best for your feline with the least amount of stress for the both of you!

Pill Pockets can be purchased at most retail or on-line pet supply stores. I found the best price at  PetSuppliesDelivered.com. (If placing your first order from them, tell them Beth VanDusen/customer # 16230690 referred you.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pet Product of the Month

Does your dog eat too fast? Inhaling their food in one or two gulps is not healthy and increases the risk of bloat. Bloat is not only an extremely painful condition but a serious life-threatening condition.

"In the bloated stomach, gas and/or food stretches the stomach many times its normal size, causing tremendous abdominal pain. For reasons we do not fully understand, this grossly distended stomach has a tendency to rotate, thus twisting off not only its own blood supply but the only exit routes for the gas inside. Not only is this condition extremely painful but it is also rapidly life-threatening. A dog with a bloated, twisted stomach (more scientifically called gastric dilatation and volvulus) will die in pain in a matter of hours unless drastic steps are taken."

If you ever see your dog show these symptoms take them to the vet immediately: 
            
              distended stomach
         vomiting; the pet appears highly nauseated and is retching but little is coming up 

Emergency surgery is needed within a matter of hours or they will die. Be sure you know where the closest emergency clinic is that is open during the night and weekends. 

Although the Great Dane, St. Bernard and Weimaraners have the highest risks of bloat according to one study, any dog can get it, especially those dogs with deep, narrow chests. I had a client who's wire-haired dachshund developed bloat and had emergency surgery. To prevent this from happening, avoid exercising your dog after a large meal. If you only feed once a day, start feeding them twice a day, it's better for them any way. If your dog eats too fast, there are slow-eat bowls available now in several different designs. I have several clients and family members who use them and report they really do help them to eat slower. You can find several different styles on-line at various pet supply retailers. Just do a search for slow eat dog bowls. I prefer stainless steel to plastic but unfortunately there are more styles available in plastic than stainless steel.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Plants and Pets

One of the best resources I've found for looking up poisonous plants to pets is the ASPCA's Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants. They have a great database with not only photos and details of each plant but you can sort the lists by toxic or non-toxic, for dogs, cats or horses.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vaccine Insights

Here's informative videos presented by Dr. Patricia Jordan on the safety of vaccines.




Monday, August 22, 2011

Favorite Pet Products

Over the last nine years of being a professional pet sitter, I have seen and tried all kinds of pet products. I get the benefit of trying products out without having to buy them since chances are,  I probably have or have had a client who had one, whatever it may be. I have come across many wonderful and helpful products and would like to share my favorites with you. My intention is to share a different favorite pet product each month.
This month's favorite is Fool-A-Bug Pet Bowls. Feeding feral cats outside or any pet outside for that matter, can be a problem because of ants. I have had the problem of ants getting into the pet bowls inside the house as well. So how do you keep those pesky ants out of the bowls? The Fool-A-Bug Bowl is the solution!  The design is very simple. It has little legs on the bottom that keeps the bowl off the ground just enough to keep the ants from crawling in. Though I've only found them in one size (large), you can put a smaller bowl inside of it. Best of all, they now have them in stainless steel. (Stainless steel is easier to keep clean and doesn't harbor bacteria like plastic, or leach toxic chemicals. Some cats are allergic to plastic too.)


I have tried the bug-proof bowls that have a mote around them but the problem with those is you have to keep filling the mote with water and the water gets all yucky.  The Fool-A-Bug Bowls work great! You can find them at Amazon.com, Walmart, Academy and many on-line stores. You may have to do some searching to find the stainless steel as most places stock the plastic.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

August Birthdays

Einstein turns 15!
We're celebrating two of our dogs' birthdays this month. Our oldest, Einstein is 15!!! He recently had his wellness exam and is very healthy for an old guy. Except for some arthritis and loss of hearing he still runs and plays with the other dogs. Of course having three other dogs helps keep him very active!


We adopted Einstein when he was 4-1/2 years old. He has certainly lived up to his name; he is so smart and the most loyal dog I've ever had. He is dedicated to knowing where I am at all times. My little protector. He loves cats and other dogs. He has the most calm demeanor around other animals and they usually take to him right away.  He's like the wise, old, calm one. He is quite a character. We hope to have him around for more years to come.


Ellie turns 13!


Our Miss Ellie turns 13 years old. We adopted Ellie from a shelter when she was 2 to 3 years old. Also known as "Wiggle-Butt" (as most Australian Shepherds are, due to their absence of a tail), she loves everybody and everything! Especially food! 


Ellie has been through a lot in the last four years. She had surgery on her elbows, two surgeries to remove tumors and most recently she had a tumor and her spleen removed. She's back to feeling her old self again and is doing very well. She just got her wellness exam and except for some arthritis she is very healthy for an old gal.


To celebrate their birthdays I made them a cream cheese dog birthday cake made with all organic ingredients including cream cheese, applesauce, honey and wheat germ. Yum! They loved it! So did Duke and Cali (our other two dogs), who were happy to share in the celebration!

Friday, August 12, 2011

What Flea & Tick Products Are Safest?


The NRDC (of which I proudly support) has a great guide for what flea and tick products are the safest. Check out their GreenPaws Flea and Tick Products Directory. They also have a handy printable pocket guide


Read about what the NRDC is doing about the health hazards from flea and tick products and also about what you can do to protect your families and pets.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Did You Purchase a Natura Pet Food?

A federal judge has entered an order for preliminary approval of class action lawsuit against Natura Pet Foods (Innova, Evo, California Natural, HealthWise, Mother Nature, and Karma).  The suit will award any U.S. pet parent that purchased a Natura product(s) from March 20, 2005 through July 8, 2011 two hundred dollars; the suit claims Natura made false and misleading statements about the human grade quality of its food.


If you'd like to file for your $200 (were a Natura pet food purchaser from March 20, 2005 to July 8, 2011), click here to visit the pet product settlement website.  To read the 'Notice' including some answers to questions regarding this settlement, click here.


You do not have to have a receipt to file a claim with the class action lawsuit. To file a claim, click on "submit a claim" and then click either "on-line" or "by mail" on this page.


(Not all products are shown in the picture above.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Official Dog of Texas

Did you know there is an Official Dog of Texas? Declared the official dog breed of Texas on May 25, 2005, the Blue Lacy is the only breed of dog that originated in Texas. Also referred to as Lacy Dog, Lacy Hog Dog, Blue Lacy Game Dog, Texas Blue Lacy Game Dog and the Texas State Dog. 


The beginnings of the Blue Lacy breed date to 1858, when the Lacy brothers from Granite Mountain, near the present-day Texas city of Marble Falls, were looking for a dog tough enough to handle the job of herding and gathering  hogs on their free-range hog and cattle ranch. Over time, the brothers refined the breed, developing a high-energy dog that is happiest when it has a job, whether it's herding hogs, cattle or following a scent trail. Powerful and very intelligent, it is a common saying that one Blue Lacy can do the work of five mounted cowboys. Though the exact mix is unclear, historical documents say they are a mix of greyhound, English Shepherd (or scent-hound) and a wolf or coyote.


The decline of the family owned ranching industry along with new technologies brought the Lacy Dog near extinction; however it's rediscovery in the mid 1970s as a masterful hunting companion and search-and-rescue dog has dramatically increased the demand for Lacys. They are now the most common breed used by United States Trappers. The recent explosion of Texas' feral hog population has also helped boost the dogs' popularity as hunting companion.


To learn more about this breed check out these websites:
http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/bluelacy.htm
http://www.truebluelacys.com/
http://bluelacydogs.org/

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Quality of Pet Food Ingredients



Proactive Veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker explains in these two short videos how to choose a good quality pet food. Quality food makes all the difference! Thanks Dr. Becker!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pets, Protein, Dry Foods and Disease



This short (7 minutes) video from Dr. Karen Becker is full of good information on cats and the foods they eat. She does a good job of explaining how cats need a biologically appropriate diet and why. She explains what is causing diseases that are so common among cats such as obesity, diabetes, kidney disease and others. She gives you tips on how to switch over to a better food and more. 


Find out why The Association of Feline Practitioners recommends owners feed cats a diet of primarily canned foods (vs. dry foods) and more details about the subject by clicking here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Best and Worst Pet Food for Your Pet


Finally, a veterinarian creates a video about the best and worst pet foods. Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive wellness and holistic veterinarian in Chicago. She is a good source for good information. Check out her credentials here: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/dr-karen-becker.aspx


Attn: Dog Owners - Huge Increase in Dog Theft


According to the American Kennel Club there has been a significant increase in the number of dogs stolen in the last two years. Find out why and how dogs are stolen, which breeds are most popular for thieves and how to prevent this from happening to you and what to do if it does by reading this article:


http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/06/09/dog-thefts-on-the-rise.aspx

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Buyer Beware - The Crimes, Lies & Truth About Pet Food

Another good book just published about commercial pet foods. This book was written by Susan Thixton, owner of TheTruthAboutPetFood.com and is full of information every pet owner needs to know. She also includes stories throughout the book from pet owners who's pets have become sick or died from pet foods. She gives a detailed list of do's and don'ts when it comes to buying pet foods including not only ingredients to avoid (and why) but questions to ask the pet food manufacturers. She explains how to figure out when that bag of pet food you bought was made and how long it has been sitting on the shelf. (She found out the food she had been feeding her dog had a shelf life of 25 years! Her dog died of bone cancer from an ingredient (preservative) in that pet food.) She lists the different health conditions which "could easily be the result of inferior or contaminated pet food." Think you can't afford quality pet food? She gives a detailed break down of the costs of randomly chosen dog and cat foods to show  you can afford it and reminds us "that a food-related emergency can cost over $1,000." (I can vouch for that.) She gives an in-depth explanation of how pet food regulations work, what the federal laws are and information about the 2007 pet food recall (and other recalls) and how it was managed. She not only explains what rendering is but gives a personal account of rendering plants from someone who worked in them. If that isn't bad enough, she quotes a 2004 report prepared for the 108th Congress of the United States which told elected officials that dead animals from animal shelters are cooked (rendered) and converted into pet food and crayons. And "despite this being a clear violation of Federal law, not one Representative of Congress did a thing about it." 


She talks about mycotoxins, canola oil, food dyes, genetically modified (GMO) ingredients,  arsenic, ethoxyquin, propylene glycol, carrageenan, wheat gluten,  flouride, BPA and heavy metals (to name a few) found in pet foods. She explains probiotics, omega fatty acids and irradiation. She explains why she started the Pet Food Recall First Alert and which pet food companies have signed up so far. Susan has done a lot of work and research regarding pet foods and I, like many other pet parents are so grateful.


Finding this stuff hard to believe? I know, it's so disgusting it's hard to believe this is and has been going on! (The truth is often stranger than fiction!) The more I learn about "big pet food" the angrier and the more disgusted I become. That's why I am trying to make people more aware of what they are feeding  their beloved pets. It's time to wake up pet-parents! It's time you learn what really goes into your pet's food! It's time to learn to read ingredients and become an informed pet food buyer instead of listening to all the marketing bull****! These big companies spend millions of dollars on marketing and they have been allowed to down right lie about what's in their products. "Pet food is the ONLY industry in the United States legally allowed to lie to consumers" and "The ONLY food industry in the U.S. allowed to violate Federal Food Safety Law." Just like with us, what we put into our bodies can mean health or illness. Same goes for our cherished pets. "What pet owners are not told about pet food could be making their pets very sick." 


I highly recommend reading this book if you have pets. You can also stay informed by signing up for the free TruthAboutPetFood newsletter. And for a small annual subscription fee ($17.95) you can subscribe to the online Petsumer Report which is a database of over 2,200 pet foods and treats, with new ones added every month! This is worth every penny and is a valuable resource.

Friday, April 8, 2011

April Birthdays

Cali and Duke 
 Our dogs Duke (right) and Cali turn 9 this month. It's hard to believe even they, being the youngest of our dogs, are seniors. It doesn't seem like that long ago when we found them. I remember it well. It was a cold January day in 2003. We made a trip up to our ranch taking our two dogs Einstein and Ellie with us. Our property is way out in the country. The mile long, dead end gravel road that leads to it has only a few scattered houses along the way. (Dead end roads are notorious for people dumping pets.) Some of the houses (like ours) are just weekend houses. As we pass the house just before you get to ours, we noticed 2 small red dogs huddled together on our neighbor's porch. Our neighbors were not there and we knew these dogs weren't theirs. We immediately thought "uh-oh...what are those dogs doing there?" We went ahead to the house & let our dogs out of the truck. We went for a walk around the property and as we returned to the house, here comes the two red dogs. We put our dogs inside the house. Cali came up first wagging her tail. Duke followed behind, cowering and ran under the porch only sticking his head out periodically. They were about nine months old, hungry and scared. Both apparently from the same litter. Duke had an injury to his head and back end but other than that they seemed pretty healthy. After petting them and giving them something to eat, we let our dogs out to meet them. Ellie started to chase them off but we told her to stop and she obliged. They did their dog greetings and there was no problem. We figured someone must have dumped them off on our road and they went to the first house they saw (where other dogs didn't chase them off). We don't know how long they had been there. We usually only went on weekends. We couldn't leave them there. We had to take them back home to the city with us!


Once we got them in the truck and then back home, we noticed that they did not have much experience traveling in a vehicle, had ever been inside a house (everything was new and scary!) and were not used to the city life. They were country dogs. We took them to the veterinarian right away to get checked out, their shots and they got spayed and neutered. The original plan was to find them a home as we already had two dogs. Well, it didn't take long at all and that plan went out the window. We fell in love with them and couldn't give them away! They settled into the indoor-city-life just fine!


Chloe
Chloe turns 14 this month. She was 3 years old when we adopted her from our veterinary clinic. They had several cats that were needing homes and Chloe (formerly known as Ethel) caught my eye. She came from a home that had too many cats. They took her out the cage for me to hold and that was that. She found her new home!. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Foster Cats Get Valentine's Day Present

After being in a cat condo for a month and a half our foster cats Tommy and Biscuit were getting a little stir crazy and needed to be able to walk around and stretch their legs. We figured out a way to give them more room and do it inexpensively. We already had a patio in the backyard with four posts and shade screen on top. Two sides of the patio are the back of the house. We bought two rolls of plastic poultry fencing and stapled it around the posts, to the top and to landscape timbers on the bottom. On Valentine's Day they moved into their 10 ft. by 15 ft. by 8 ft. high outdoor cat-proof room! Complete with a warm cat house, a grassy area and lots of toys. They are loving it! The weather has been great. They spend their time rolling around, snoozing in the sun and watching our dogs running around. They have gotten used to the dogs and actually look forward to visits from Einstein and Duke in particular. They smell noses and rub up against the fence. Our cats make periodic visits and they seem to entertain one another. (Although our cats are a little bent out of shape because they can't lay on the patio any more.) Another good thing is our big bay window in the living room looks onto the back patio. I can watch them from inside and they watch us as well.  With a possibility of rain in the forecast, we have since put up a tarp covering half of the area. (The shade screen on the ceiling keeps out 80 percent of the sun's rays but lets rain through.) Needless to say, they are really enjoying themselves now and are constantly entertained!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cozy Critters Fosters Two Cats

Cozy Critters has started off the New Year fostering two sweet male cats; Biscuit (bottom) and Tommy (top), ages 8 and 10. They belong to a client who has become homeless. With our house being full with our four dogs and four cats and considering that bringing in any new pet would upset the household, we figured out a way to take them in but yet keep them separate from our pets. We set up a cat condo in our shed in the backyard for them. They have settled in nicely and are doing well. Since it's gotten cold, they now each have a heating pad to lay on & I have covered up the whole condo with beach towels. They get good food, treats, toys and lots of pets of course. This is definitely a big change for them but considering the alternatives, at least they are safe and cozy and are being well cared until their owner can get back on her feet and find a new place to live. Our dogs know they are there and are curious about them (they like kitties!) but our cats haven't seemed to notice them or if they have, they don't seem to mind since they are not in their space -- the house. Please keep our client and her cats in your prayers that they will be able to have a home together again soon!