Cat’s are Kids Too, Who Knew?! -Jessica Arent, Author

My perspective of cats and their dispositions has changed. . . once thought to be aloof, and detached unless needing to be fed, I have determined that this is not in fact the case at all.

Mira was about a week old when I found her. Living in Houston, Texas at the time on a bayou littered with water moccasins and gators, I rarely went beyond our back fence for fear of what was slithering in the wreeds.

One morning however, standing in the backyard with my cup of coffee, I heard what sounded like a small “mew” from the grassland beyond the back gate. Curious, I ventured out to find the source of the cries. Close to the bank of the bayou I discovered her.

Frail, tiny and barely born, was this tiny creature that fit in the palm of my hand. She could not have been more than a week or two old.  Searching the wreeds and wetlands I found no sign of the rest of her family, though I will say there was a rather satisfied alligator on the other side of the bank watching me intently.

Scooping her up, I took her into the house.  This was the day my whole life changed.

Learning of the new addition to the household, my next door neighbors showed up later that afternoon with a “kitten shower”; bottles, formula, collar, toys……. and so life began with Mira.

4 years later, we have since moved off that bayou to the Rockies and Mira has become an integral part of my life and the household. My children claim she is the “favored child” as the world seems to stop for this cat who is far from despondant and independant. Like that of a duckling, it seems she has imprinted me. Meaning, if I am out of sight, she goes into terrible separation anxiety and begins to quite literally call me. The meow sounds like the kids when they called that long “Moooooommmmmyyyyyyyy???”.  Just as I could not use the bathroom alone when the kids were toddlers, I cannot go into the bathroom and close the door on the cat either. She sits on the other side beside herself that I am out of sight. When I am gone overnight I have to hire someone to come stay, or she cries all night long. So much so, the apartment neighbors report the most painful cries coming from behind my door.

When I come home from the day, she runs to greet me. She has much to say, and will insist on being in my lap for the first 30-60 minutes I am home. Groceries to unload? FORGET IT. Its all cat, in my face until I relent and give her my undivided attention. If I move rooms, go to the kitchen, or  my office space she follows me. Always an eye on me and a paw on the pulse of where I am. At all times.

Bedtime has it’s ritual as well.  As the lights go out and television turns off, she follows to bed to be “spooned”. This position is the inside of my chest in my sleeping fetal position. My arms wrapped around her. The purring becomes deep and the stretch long, draped and possessive over my arms. Together we snuggle in for the night of sleep and except for the occasional feeding or catbox requirement it is there she sleeps all night long.

Mira might be an exception to the rule, but I now think very differently about the feline and the disposition of the masses that they are distant and aloof.  I have come to believe that a pet, like a child, is a reflection of the investment. If time and attention are given to your four legged family member, even a cat, the result is a love and attachment like no other. Its loyalty is absolute. Mira loves no one like she loves me, and the truth is it’s very mutual. I adore her with every fiber of my being almost in the same vein that I love my own children. She feeds my soul with unconditional love and an attachment that oddly completes me.

Don’t discount the aloof cat. There is more to that concept than we give credit for. They are not aloof and detached by nature, instead  they just need the same love and nurturing we give a dog, or moreover our children.

Mira

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GUARD DOG’S CHRISTMAS

Tonight’s my first night as a watchdog, And here it is Christmas Eve. The children are sleeping all cozy upstairs, While I’m guardin’ the stockin’s and tree. What’s that now—footsteps on the rooftop? Could it be a cat or a mouse? Who’s this down the chimney? A thief with a beard— And a big sack for robbin’ the house? I’m barkin’, I’m growlin’, I’m bitin’ his butt. He howls and jumps back in his sleigh. I scare his strange horses, they leap in the air. I’ve frightened the whole bunch away. Now the house is all peaceful and quiet again. The stockin’s are safe as can be. Won’t the kiddies be glad when they wake up tomorrow And see how I’ve guarded the tree. – See more at: http://www.holidaymetro.com/funny-christmas-poems/christmas-dog-funny-christmas-poem.shtml#sthash.B61wIDEM.dpuf

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The Cat For Christmas – Jessica Arent, Author

‘Twas the night after Christmas, the time to replay
The events of that most hectic annual day.
The stockings, once hung by the chimney with care,
Were chewed on and drooled on and torn past repair.dogatepaper
No one was nestled all snug in his bed;
There was spilt milk and Friskies to clean up instead.
And me in my ‘kerchief, and Dad in his cap,
Wished we’d settled down for a much-needed nap,
When somewhere downstairs there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chores to see what was the matter.
Away down the steps I flew like a flash,
Just as I heard one more thunderous crash.

The moon wasn’t out, so I switched on the light,
Still hoping to see everything was all right,
When, what for my wondering eyes was in store,
kittencurtainBut my family-room curtains a-heap on the floor.
I re-hung the drapes, but to end all this “fun,”
I knew in a moment more work must be done.
More rapid than eagles I rushed all around,
To make certain everything was safe and sound.
Out, tinsel! Out, ribbons! Out bright-colored bow!
Out, garland! Out, ivy! Out, all mistletoe!
From the poinsettia plant, to the yarn in the hall,
It’s throw away! Throw away! Throw away all!

Next I turned my attention to the Christmas tree,
Making sure it was totally temptation-free.
I moved ornaments up, for three feet or so,
And no strand of lights was left dangling low.xmascookies
When then, in a twinkling, I heard soft and sweet,
The prancing and pawing of four little feet.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
By the chimney this character came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And was covered all over with ashes and soot;
The ears stood straight up on this bold little elf,
And he looked overwhelmingly pleased with himself.catchimney

His eyes–how they twinkled! He purred like a glutton!
His tongue, pink and raspy; his nose, like a button!
His droll little tail was drawn up like a bow,
And those whiskers of his looked like yesterday’s snow.
I had not a doubt that this bundle of gray
Was the cause of the chaos at our house today.
How proudly he strolled, with what grace and what style,
As he tracked soot and ashes all over the tile.blackcover
He was chubby and plump and out to impress,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of the mess.
I scooped up the imp, and I patted his head,
But he seemed to sense he had something to dread;

I spoke not a word, but went straight for the sink,
Where I washed him and dried him, as quick as a wink.
Then he darted away and stopped on a stair,
And giving a nod, he fell sound asleep there.xmassleep
He dreamt and he kneaded and purred; all the while
I regarded him with half-frown and half-smile.
And you’d hear me exclaim, as I cleaned up our flat,
“I’ll remember the Christmas that we got a cat.”

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Dogs are Curious Like Kids at Christmas, Keep them Safe!

Merry Christmas CaninesDog Dangers At Christmas – Safety Tips For Dog Owners

Christmas is a wonderful time of year when we celebrate family and friends and the community of home. Those of us who have pets consider them part of the family and thus we include them in our holiday festivities.

Your canine is curious just like toddlers and small childrenChristmas Cookies are Not For Dogs and we recommend that you take a few precautions and considerations this season and puppy proof your home.

 

Keeping your dog safe when Christmas decorations come out of storage, Christmas trees are put up, and extra food and sweet treats are readily available and potential hazards for your four legged furry family member.

Crafting and Wrapping

That Plant is Toxic!!!!

From Poinsetta’s to holly and mistletoe – not all plants are necessarily healthy…

mistletoe can be harmful to your dog if ingested

  • The berries and leaves of holly can cause discomfort and vomiting. They can also be fatal.
  • Poinsetta sap will blister your dog’s mouth within minutes of digestion. It can also cause other symptoms, such as stomach upset.holly is poisonous for dogs
  • Mistletoe can, in mild cases, cause stomach upset and in severe cases, heart collapse.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree….

  •  Some dogs will mark the Christmas tree.
  • Others will see ornaments as toys and try to get them off the tree.
  • Very hyper dogs can knock the Christmas tree over. Our Alaskan malamute did this the same year as he ate the roll of film.HELP! The Dog knocked over the Christmas Tree!
  • Dogs may also chew the wires from Christmas lights, which can cause shock or electrocution.
  • Preservatives that some people place in their Christmas tree water have sugar in them, which can lead your dog to drink the water in the tree stand.These preservatives are dangerous to dogs. As is the aspirin that some people add to Christmas tree water.

 

If You Can’t Stand the Heat Stay Out of the Kitchen! Christmas is a lot of Dog Work!

  • Never leave turkey where your dog can get to it. Why? Because turkey bones, like chicken bones, can be fatal to dogs. .
  • Cookie dough should be kept out of your dog’s reach, especially if it has chocolate chips or chocolate by-products in it. Chocolate can be TOXIC to dogs.
  • Be sure to dispose of all garbage in a safe manner. Items dangerous to dogs (like bones and string) should be discarded
  • Just a small amount of alcohol can poison your dog. Keep alcoholic drinks out of reach of your dog, and remind your guests to do the same.

God Bless Us All and to All a Goodnight We don’t always consider these things when we get wrapped up in the holiday season – we think about the two legged family members and often forget to be mindful of the safety of our pets. This year take a moment and keep your pet safe!

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Cat Toys for This Holiday Season

Cat toys keep your baby  busy and boosts activity and energy; aiding in the health of your beloved kitty.

What Kind of at Toys Are Available?
type of cat toysThe options for toys for your cat can be overwhelming as there are all kinds of toys available for cats, in all types and varieties of shapes and sizes. Some manufacturer’s to get you to buy their product, will promise their cat toy will provide your cat the ultimate fun.

 

Others claim they will help your cat be more active while keep him busy. Some promise that your cat will never again scratch your furniture or hang from the curtains….they are brightly packaged and frankly the options leave me often standing with my jaw on the ground, wondering what to do with all the options! Some cat toys are interactive which means that your cat can’t play with them by themselves alone. This one is for chasing, that one for hunting…. Does your cat love fetching things or maybe love to roll around the floor with a sock like toy clutched between its paws?

To help you figure out what to give your feline family friend to play with I have compiled a basic overview for types of cat toys in the market to help you combat the overwhelming cat toy aisles …

  1. Scratcher: Cats do love scratching things, Turbo Scratcher is a popular scratching toy on the market. It will keep your cat away from scratching home furniture while help to get a nice amount of exercise on a daily basis.
  2. mouse for catMouse Shape Toys: If your cat enjoys chasing things,  a simple mouse shaped stuffed toy or a motorized mouse, is a great alternative
  3. cat toys laser for catLaser Light: Cats love laser lights! all you need is a small laser pointer, Your cat can have hours of fun chasing the red light around. You can get FroliCat BOLT which is an interactive laser pet toy. The toy will move the point around all on its own while you can attend to other things.
  4. Da Bird: It’s a fishing pole-type interactive toy. It has a swiveling device, at the end of strings where feathers are attached, when you move the toy the feathers of the end spin and create an exciting game for your furry feline.
  5. Balls: You can get a variety of ball toys at a nearer pet store or online. Roll the ball across the floor your little hunter will chase down the ball. Don’t ever go for an air-filled ball if your cat punctures it with his teeth the result can be tragic. While I might suggest one, my cat’s personal favorites are a blue rubber racquetball resurrected from the deep recesses of the front hall closet or the ping pong ball, no doubt discovered in a beer pong player’s room…they think Mom doesn’t know? Really?  The blue ball made of rubber can be heard bouncing around the master bathroom at three am, while the ping pong ball is perfectly active on carpeted floors and lightweight enough to cover distance and bouncing and hiding itself behind furniture legs!
  6. catnip for catCatnip Toys:  “What is catnip?!” Well, it’s a type of mint, which is known to have an interesting effect on a cat’s behavior. Some cats may get hyper and wild when exposed to it while some may become calm and mellow. Does it hurt your cat? Of course not! It’s not harmful or addictive by any means. And not all cats are affected by catnip; kittens less than 3 or 4 months old don’t even react to it. Catnip can be sewn into toys, and my feline’s favorite is a stuffed duck with catnip in it. Commercially made, this little yellow soft duck has velcro pocketing in the belly, and refills are readily available in pet stores everywhere.

Making your own cat toys

homemade cat toysMaking a cat toy from scratch is a bit hard, but believe it or not there a probably a ton of things all over your house that your cat would love to play. And turning those things into cat toys are not that hard.

An idea and a favorite social media video for Homeward Bound’s Team, is the Whack a Kitty!

This plays on one of my favorite homemade toys, “The box”Yes, that’s it. The box.

Take a box and seal it closed. Make sure it’s big enough to allow the cat to turn around in easily, for play and strong enough to wish stand some rough play.  Taking a sharp edge, such as a straight edge razor from the hardware store, cut in the box walls various holes, in various shapes. I do small paw size circles, and head sized triangles. I will cut out long strips that are just wide enough for the cat to see out of, and create a series of these all over the box with one side a hole big enough for the cat to get in and out of the box with ease.

I then will coax the cat into the box with a treat or wait for her own curiosity to get the best of her. Once inside I will take a stick, long wooden spoon handle, feather or my finger and begin to tease her from the outside of the box ! Its one of her favorite things to do!

Cat’s are not hard to entertain though I am not always sure if it is her entertainment or my own.

 

Jessica Arent-Author

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Black Friday Dog Toys to Consider for your Four Legged Love……

-Jessica Arent, Author

Black Friday is already upon us and we are bombarded with advertisements. We think of the shopping and the people, but what of our dogs?

Here are some of the best toys for Dogs for this year to consider for your beloved furry family member….

The Newest and Best Dog Toys This Year

Each year, thousands of new dog toys come on the market and this past year ( 2014) has been great as far as new and exciting advancements, creativity and, of course, increased fun factor in dog toys.  Dog toys are after all for the dogs…..

Seamsters dog bone
Seamsters dog bone

Seamsters Bone with Rawhide Strips

A tough chew bone, weaved with rawhide and can be filled with dog friendly diet treats

Great dog toys are designed to please dogs, not their owners. TheSeamsters Bone is a perfect example of a dog toy that was made with the goal of making dogs as happy as they can possibly be with a chew toy. How did they accomplish this?

1) The tough yet soft rubber bone makes not only for a nice chewing sensation but the shape allows for an easy grip on the chew toy.

2) The Seamsters dog bone comes apart in two pieces so that it can be filled with any of your dogs favorite treats, from kibble to peanut butter. It can also be frozen with broth inside for a cool summer time dog treat.

3) It includes thin rawhide strips that are woven through the bone to finalize the creation of one of the most irresistible dog chew toy

Dog Slow Food Bowl
Dog Slow Food Bowl

Buster DogMaze Food Bowl

Turns a Super-Fast Eater Into a Grazer!

When a dog scarfs down his food, he chews less and swallows a lot of air. The lesser of things that can happen is gas and burping. Worse can be death by dog bloat. Not just a over full belly, but the kind of dog bloat where the stomach twists and cuts off circulation to the stomach. Very serious and very scary. Fortunately the savior of dog speed eating has come in the form of the Buster Dog Maze.  Not only does this dog bowl dramatically slow down the time it takes for a dog to eat, it’s also fun and challenging for the dog. The Buster Dog Maze comes in one size and is suitable for all sizes and breeds of dogs. Truly a life-changing product for those frantic eaters.

Biscuit Basket
Biscuit Basket

Biscuit Basket

Hide a dog biscuit inside and let the fun begin!

Sure, you could just GIVE your dog a biscuit and then, 3 seconds later, that’s over with and those big, brown, beggin’ eyes are staring right back at you. So, why not make the fun and excitement of getting a treat last a while longer? That is exactly what the Biscuit Basket dog toy was designed to do. By putting a dog treat inside of its own biscuit jail, if you will, your dog has to think about how he’s going to rescue that poor, innocent treat (and then gobble it up, of course). The most popular ways seem to be: crunching it up inside the Biscuit Basket and maneuvering the smaller pieces out through the holes, shaking the Biscuit Basket relentlessly until the dog treat drops out of one of the holes, or pulling at the treat inside and finding the right hole in the Biscuit Basket to pull it through. No matter how your dog goes about it, chances are he won’t quit until that deliciously trapped treat is out of jail and in his tummy.

dog domino puzzle
dog domino puzzle

Nina Ottosson Dog Domino puzzle

A challenging dog game that allow dog’s to use their thinking skills

Nina Ottosson is great about continually coming up with new and creative dog puzzles designed to engage a dog and keep them interested in the challenging task at hand. The way the Dog Domino puzzle works is that a dog must first slide the black discs (either by nose or paw) in order to uncover the hollow, treat-filled pegs and remove them in order to get the dog treats out. A challenging and fun addition to the 2014 dog toy lineup!

rip 'n tug dog toy
rip ‘n tug dog toy

Rip ‘N Tug

Rip-Apart Dog Toy is Satisfying Again and Again

The Rip ‘N Tug dog toy has taken the dog toy market by storm this year! It is a godsend for dogs who like to kill and destroy every dog toy in front of them. The Rip N Tug is made of a tough material that is lined with Velcro and can be opened up so that treats can be put inside. So, the way the Rip ‘N Tug works is that you just open up the sides, put in a dog treat, Velcro the sides back up, give it to your dog and watch as he “destroys” the toy by ripping apart the sides and then eating the treat. Then, put the Velcro sides together again and start all over! One of the best interactive dog toys of 2014 for sure!

squawkie talkie
squawkie talkie

Squawkie Talkies

The Most Annoying AND Most Fun (for dogs) Squeaky Toy EVER

The Squawkie Talkies were designed to fully amuse and entertain squeaky toy obsessed dogs. These fun squeaky toys squawk for a loud and full 10 seconds. This dog toy is a total dream come true for dogs that really enjoy squeaker toys. The Squawkie Talkies dog toys come as a chicken, flamingo or a pelican. Sure, it will drive humans crazy, but dogs will absolutely LOVE it! Plus, it makes a great gift for that person who bought your kid a trumpet for his birthday!

Busy Buddy Jack Dog Toy
Busy Buddy Jack Dog Toy

Busy Buddy Jack

The Ultimate, Ever-Satisfying Dog Chew Toy

The Busy Buddy Jack is one of the best chew toys ever invented because it satisfies every possible chew craving a dog could have. It is made both of hard nylon and soft, durable rubber and has tasty rawhide rings in between to keep dogs interested in the toy and chewing for extended periods of time. What sets the Jack dog toy apart from other dog treat toys is that the rawhide rings are strategically placed in such a way that a dog cannot gorge on the treats. They are meant to last a long while and keep the dog interested in chewing. The gnawhide rings come packaged with the Jack dog toy but are also sold separately.

With the holidays upon us, and as the preparations begin remember your dog this holiday season!

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Is Your Dog Smarter than You Child? -Jessica Arent

Smart Canine

Intelligent Dog

 

According to a recent paper published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, The closer we are to our dogs, the more intelligent we think they are…..or are they?

The paper, written by researchers at Monash University surveyed more than 550 dog owners. Generally speaking the group believed their dogs were socially intelligent and possessed the ability to learn social and general cognitive skills.

Research suggested one-quarter of the dog owners polled, believe their dog to be smarter than most humans. Nearly half of the group polled believe their dog’s mental ability is equal to that of three-to-five-year-old human child, and of those polled, 73 percent consider themselves knowledgeable about dogs.

Of course those  are “beliefs” or ideals, and are not scientifically proven as accurate. While some dogs may rival a two-year-old human in terms of intelligence, this is the extent researchers have seen learning levels go among any canine.  A typical two-year-old toddler knows 300 words, but Chaser, “The Smartest Dog in the World,” who appeared on 60 Minutes in early October, 2014,  knows the names of 800 cloth toys and more than 200 plastic toys and balls.  While construed as impressive, not anywhere near the intelligence of a four-year-old  child, who typically has a 1,000-word vocabulary and can easily put together sentences of four or five words.

Don’t misunderstand, just because dogs are not as intelligent as humans does not mean that they don’t offer their own unique benefits. For starters,research suggests, that dog owners may get more exercise than those without canine companions. And walking dogs may lead to more conversation, therefore more friends in addition to a workout,according to the NIH.  Animals are also used for therapy in an effort to relieve pain and stress. And those furry friends can worm their way into our hearts… and cardiovascular health. One study,funded by the NIH, found that people who suffered a heart attack lived longer on average if they owned a dog.

Smart_Dogs_2659Of course we understand the love of the dog and recognize the parental pride of you Dog Owners. We know your dog is the most intelligent canine.

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