Posts

National Cat Month

We’re not sure why there is a National Cat Month since every day is a celebration for our feline rulers. So, in honor of the fluffy, adorable, independent, sassy, mastermind, evil, clumsy, demanding, affectionate, indifferent kitties that make our lives so much better on a daily basis, we have BUY 2, GET 1 FREE cans of FROMM and WERUVA from Feb 1-Feb 11!

Stop in the Barkery and grab a few goodies for your feisty best friend and share your love with them all month long!

Why Do Cats like Boxes?

Is your cat always trying to get into a box no matter how big or small the space is? Watching a 20 pound cat attempt to squeeze into a tissue box can be the most comical thing you see all day. Ever wander why it is your cat is so fond of boxes? This article from pet360.com tells us why.

There are several reasons why cats love boxes, but the big one is safety and security, says Marilyn Krieger, a certified cat behavior consultant and owner of TheCatCoach.com.

“All animals have different coping mechanisms,” she says. “This is a cat’s way of dealing with stress. If she’s feeling overwhelmed or in trouble, she can retreat to a safe, enclosed space where she can observe, but can’t be seen.”

In fact, a recent study in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science found that boxes can actually help reduce a cat’s stress levels. A group of new shelter cats were randomly assigned to either receive a box or not. After just a few days, researchers reported that the cats that were given boxes recovered faster and adapted to their environment more quickly than the cats without boxes.

So if you’re adopting a new cat, bringing your cat to a new place, or leaving your cat for the day, Kreiger suggests setting up a few boxes. “It’ll instantly give them controlled, secure hiding places where they feel protected and calm,” she explains.

Another reason your cat loves boxes: warmth. A cat’s normal body temperature can range from 100.5 to 102.5 degrees, which is higher than humans. That means that they’re most comfortable in settings anywhere from 86 to 97 degrees, says Kreiger. Humans keep their homes around 72 degrees, though, so cardboard boxes provide insulation for your cat, she says.

So what’s the best setup for your cat’s cardboard box? Kreiger says to place the box a couple of feet from a wall with the opening turned toward it. You can leave treats inside and a towel, too. If your cat doesn’t handle new situations or your absence well, you can leave a t-shirt or blanket that has your smell on it in the box.

Remember that safety comes first, Kreiger says. Remove any staples, tape, and handles from the boxes before letting your cat enjoy playtime.

Don’t want an ugly brown box always sitting in your living room? Stop by the Barkery and get a cat specific hideaway.

Make your Cat Smile: 7 Simple Tips

Cats are known for being finicky. Ever wonder what you can do to make your cat a little happier? We have 7 tips from moderncat.com that will make your kitty smile.

 

1. Let your cat graze

Plant cat grass so your cat can nibble indoors. Cat grass is not only a digestive aid, it’s a delicacy—most cats simply enjoy the taste. For the uninitiated, cat grass is a fiber-rich cereal grass, usually barley, oats, wheat or a combination thereof and can easily be grown indoors in pots.

2. Provide the appropriate number of litter boxes—one per cat

Cats greatly prefer not to share litter boxes. By providing a litter box for each cat (and cleaning them regularly!), you’ll reduce the chance of litter box mishaps. Cats eliminating inappropriately is one of the top reasons cats are surrendered to shelters. Prevent the frustration of bathroom “accidents” by giving your cat his own place to go.

 

3. Brush your cat every day

This accomplishes several things: bonding, the loosening of hair and thus the prevention of hairballs, and it allows you to check in with your cat and note any changes or sore areas so you can alert your vet if need be. If, at first, your cat isn’t super keen on brushing, have some treats on hand to sweeten the deal and make sure she associates grooming time with something good. Bonus: brushing will significantly reduce the amount of cat hair adhered to surfaces/blowing around your home!

 

4. Set aside time to play with your cat every day

Spending time actively engaging with your cat every day will cement your bond and keep your cat mentally and physically active. Many people erroneously think their cats don’t like to play but chances are they’re just doing it wrong. Try out different playing styles (both up high and slithering along the floor, as well as an assortment of toys. If you have more than one cat, separate them then play with them one at a time. Cats sometimes won’t play with another cat present.

 

5. Install a window perch

Allow your indoor cat a vantage point from which to bask in the sun’s rays streaming through the window and watch the birds and squirrels outside. This keeps them mentally engaged.

 

6. Microchip your cat

 

All cats, both indoor and out, should be microchipped. If your cat slips out the door and goes missing, having her microchipped greatly increases the odds of your reunion.

7. Clean the litter box daily

Would you want to use a filthy bathroom? ‘nuff said.

Need a new toy for your kitty? How about a brush or even grooming to keep their coat shiny? The Barkery has you covered! We have everything to keep your cat happy, stop by today and check us out!

 

15 Tips That Will make Your Cat Adore You

Everyone knows that cats can be stingy with their affection. Ever feel like you cat just doesn’t care about you? Believe it or not there are things you can do that will change your cat’s ways! These 15 tips from pet360.com will make your kitty adore you.

Signs Your Cat Loves You

Even though your kitty is standoffish sometimes and may even disappear for hours, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you. To learn to love like a cat, simply watch what she does and imitate her, understand that she’s a child who never grows up, and appeal to her senses. Here’s how:

Cat Watching

Be on the lookout for these affection-showing moves:

The head bump. It’s her way of saying hello, by using the oil glands in front of her ears to greet you as if you’re a cat and leave her scent on you. She sees you as one of her clan, so bump her right back.

The butt presentation. When your cat backs up to your face and lifts her tail, she’s waiting for you, her mom, to clean her. If you gently blow at her rear end, she’ll think that this is what your cleaning style is and will go on about her business.

Kneading you or “making biscuits.” If you maneuver yourself into the right position, you’ll get a free massage out of this one. This is another sign that Kitty-Face thinks you’re her mom, since she’s trying to get milk out of you. It also means she’s happy.

Licking you. Your cat may think you taste good, but grooming is actually a social practice to establish a common scent among a clan of cats. In other words, she’s claiming you as one of her own. The exfoliation is an extra added bonus.

Gumming you. This is another way Kitty-Face blends her own scent with yours, establishing a common “family scent.” Take advantage of it by feeling all of her teeth to gain her trust for when you actually need to be in her mouth.

Appeal to Her Sense

Show her you love her through your touch and your voice.

Sing to her. In your little kitty voice. Whether you have talent or not. She doesn’t care.

Greet her.Tell her “hi” and say her name, even if you just saw her a minute ago. She’s choosing to be near you, which is a big deal to a cat.

Meow back.Imitate her sound exactly, and she’ll think you’re one of her kind.

Carry on a conversation.She meows, you talk. Just make up what she’s asking and answer what you think she wants to know.

Tell her what she wants to hear. Cats seem to know what the word “beautiful” means, especially in reference to them. Hearing it makes them very content.

Give her a neck massage. Kitties are very alert and watchful, holding their head up almost constantly. Relax her with a gentle neck massage to pamper her.

Hold her hand. Stroke her paw, both on top and underneath on her toe pads, and loosely wrap your hand around her paw. This should feel good to both of you.
GETTING IN TOUCH WITH HER INNER KITTEN

Nurturing her inner kitten will strengthen your parent-child bond and provide hours of fun.

Play fetch. Cats like this game almost as much as dogs, especially Bombays. Rather than balls, toss items they can easily fit into their small mouths, like toy mice.

Turn the faucet on. Drinking water is good for your cat, and is even more fun from a running tap. Plus a flowing stream encourages water play.

Indulge their sense of fun. Being brought a palmetto bug may not be much fun for you, but it’s Kitty-Face’s way of showing you what a great huntress she is and that you’re worthy of her prey. And in the world of kitty, that’s a very big compliment.

You’ll probably come up with even more ways of bonding with your cat as you get to know her on a deeper, more intimate level. But one thing’s for sure, you’ll have a very happy kitty — a cat that loves you!

The Barkery has all the tools you’ll need to make your cat love you. Stop by today and check out our selection of essentials for your cat from food to toys!

The Purrfect Companion

The power of pet therapy is thought to be stronger than any medication, not only for people going through tough times or in poor health, but also for the elderly as well. Proven to increase mental alertness, build self-esteem, and decrease loneliness, pets can provide a warm and fulfilling relationship that older people—or indeed all of us—desire. Moderncat.com will explain why cats are beneficial to the elderly.

“Pet ownership for older people can be very beneficial by giving them something to love and care for, as well as a companion in the home, especially if they live alone,” said Dr. Sonny Presnal, Director of the Stevenson Companion Animal Life-Care Center at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). “I don’t believe there are any appreciable risks, providing that good decisions are made in the choice of a pet for older people.”

Having the responsibility of caring for a pet can be a healthy situation for most elderly people. Sometimes, a pet can be the only reason that he or she feels a need to get up in the morning; it provides them with a sense of purpose. “It gives older pet owners something to care for, which in the case of a dog may mean they are out taking the dog on a walk instead of sitting in the house,” said Presnal. In addition, there are many studies that attribute pet ownership to relieving stress, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and bettering mental health.

Not only do pets help the elderly overcome various health ailments, but also they can significantly decrease their owners’ sense of loneliness. As you probably already know, pets are automatic people magnets and are often a great conversation starter. People love talking about their pets, and others love interacting with the pets they encounter. This can often lead to new friendships and can provide beneficial social interactions that elderly people may not have otherwise had the chance to experience. This, in addition to simply having something to care for, significantly decreases loneliness and accompanying depression.

When choosing a pet, you must take into consideration the limitations of the elderly person’s physical and mental health. “A large, active dog may not be suitable for older people, due to the risk of injury to the owner from an accidental collision that may cause them to fall,” said Presnal. “Fractures from falls can be very dangerous for older people, especially hip fractures.”

A young puppy or kitten may not be a suitable choice either, due to their high maintenance requirements. An older dog or cat that has matured past their ball of energy phase can be a perfect companion. Not only does adopting an older pet benefit their owner, but may save the pet from euthanasia, as often people are (unfortunately) not interested in adopting older animals.

A concern that many elderly people considering pet ownership face is the possibility that they will no longer be able to care for their pet later on. This can happen if their health suddenly decreases, or if the animal becomes in need of extensive veterinary care. “There are many mobile veterinary services available for older persons who may not drive or who otherwise have problems transporting their pets for veterinary care,” said Presnal. There are also programs, such as the Stevenson Center, that provide for the physical, emotional, and medical needs of companion animals when their owners can no longer do so.

The Stevenson Center, which Presnal directs, is a unique program that has veterinary students who live at the center to provide companionship and care for the resident pets at night and on weekends and holidays. “As part of the CVM, the resident pets receive the ultimate in veterinary care at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital,” said Presnal. “We believe the level of care and companionship is unequaled by any other similar program.”

It is proven that animals can help enrich the lives of their owners both physically and emotionally, and this can be especially true for the elderly. The right pet can provide them with a sense of purpose, nonjudgmental acceptance, and companionship that both animals and humans need to stay happy and comfortable.

How to Clean Cat Urine

The lingering, pungent odor of cat urine is enough to make a homeowner with carpeted floors weep in despair. Besides the unhealthy air you’re breathing, the “mark” beckons your kitty to return again and again to that same spot. Pet360 tells us here how to get rid of it for good.

Play Detective

Black lights are unique in their ability to detect urine, blood, sweat, and other gross bodily fluids that contain fluorescent molecules. Pick one up at most any store – pet store, hardware store, discount department store. Wait until nighttime, turn out all your lights except for the black light, and mark the spots with something heavy (rocks work well) that your cat won’t disturb. Then get to deodorizing so whatever product you choose can work overnight.

Stop the Stink

Few things smell as bad as cat urine ripening in your home, which has made products reputed to de-stink your carpets a hot commodity. Enzyme-based cleaners and odor removal products claim to render the odor inactive (in my experience, they do not), and sealers (like Kilz) are reported to lock the odor away in walls and floors. But rather than spending a lot of money on chemicals that are bad for you and your animals, consider using cheaper and time-tested cleaners from your grandparents’ day.

Go Natural

Some natural and reportedly extremely effective remedies include:

  • Pour ammonia on the offending areas, allow to dry, cover with baking soda, let it sit for a while, and then vacuum.
  • Saturate the spot with hydrogen peroxide, pile baking soda on top, and let it sit for a couple of months (seriously!).
  • Give it a heavy spray-down with white vinegar.

Granted, the ammonia and vinegar routes can be pretty stinky on their own, but the smell will dissipate much sooner than any urine odor will.

Bring Out the Big Guns

If none of these methods work and your house still smells like a litter box, it’s time to bring out the big guns of serious measures and considerable expense. Rent a commercial steam-cleaning vacuum to deep clean the carpets and go over the areas slowly and repeatedly. Combine this with purchasing an ozone machine, which improves the air and makes the whole house smell as if it’s never been urinated in. If you have the unfortunate experience of neither of these methods solving the problem, a professional may have to be brought in to rip up the carpet and pad, scrub and seal the floor underneath, and replace it all. Short of moving out, this is the method that’s practically guaranteed, although it is extreme and very expensive.

Be Thorough

Whichever way you choose to get rid of the stench, you absolutely must, unequivocally, be completely thorough. This pointer cannot be emphasized enough. If Kitty-Face so much as gets the slightest whiff of having urinated there before, the call of the wild will make her do it again. And after all the work you did to get rid of it in the first place, being forced to do all of it all over again has been known to reduce some urine cleaners (namely, me) to tears. It’s a good idea to block off the room from your little spraying feline until the cleaning and deodorizing process is complete and no odor remains. Otherwise, she may decide to thwart your efforts by re-spraying.

Animal Odor-It’s Science

If you have an animal companion, odors of one kind or another will become an issue at some point. It’s just the nature of the beast, so to speak. Animal Wellness Magazine’s article on animal odor will show scientifically what causes these odors, shedding some light on the not so pleasant smells that may be enveloping your home.

First, it’s important to understand what odor is and where it comes from. It seems simple, but the science of odor is actually very complex. Once you understand something about this science, it becomes clear why so many so-called odor eliminators fail to live up to their names.

Bacterial-based odors are the most prevalent in our environment and can be the most difficult and frustrating to eliminate. What your nose identifies as the odor is actually a very small gas molecule. It’s the natural by-product of bacteria eating and digesting a food source such as biological refuse (urine, feces, vomit or spoiled food). So scientifically speaking, there are three components to odor: refuse, bacteria eating the refuse, and what you smell as odor, the bacteria’s waste gas. These bacterial-based odors should not be confused with fungi odor (mold and mildew).

So now that you know what causes odor, and its components thereof, what can you do to eliminate it? Cleaning up the mess might seem like the obvious answer, but it’s impossible to remove every tiny trace of urine, feces, etc. using conventional methods. Think about dried cat urine, for example – no matter how much you scrub, the smell still seems to linger.

You could use air fresheners, candles or aerosols, but this kind of treatment either masks the odor with fragrances and perfumes, or attacks the waste gas molecule. Unfortunately, this only temporarily eliminates the gas produced by the bacteria. As the bacteria continue eating the traces of refuse still present, the odor will return rather quickly.

You could use bleach or a similar product, which attempts to kill the bacteria. This should theoretically eliminate the source of the odor, but unfortunately, it is impossible to eliminate all bacteria from the environment. When traces of refuse are still present, more bacteria will find it, happily eat it, and produce more waste gas. Consequently, before long, you will again smell the odor.

Unique Pet Odor and Stain Eliminator is a natural cleaning product that will eliminate all of your pet stains and odors on any surface that won’t be damaged by water. People want plain and simple products that work. This product is safe and it works, plain and simple. Pet Odor and Stain Eliminator is guaranteed to remove pet related stains and odors or Brookside Barkery will give you a full refund!

Adopting an Older Pet

There’s no mistaking it, kittens are adorable and many grow up to become magnificent companions. Unfortunately pet owners often forget the trouble involved with raising a pet from infancy, and overlook the countless mature cats awaiting adoption from shelters and rescue organizations. This article from Modern Cat can give some tips when it comes to adopting an older pet.

“Consider adopting an older pet if you want to skip the house-training and want an animal that may already be obedience trained,” said Dr. Mark Stickney, Clinical Associate Professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science (CVM). “Another benefit with older pets is that their personality is set when you meet them, and any health issues or special care needs may already be evident.”

Within the first week of bringing home an older pet, schedule a visit with your veterinarian to identify any health concerns and to update vaccinations, heartworm prevention and parasite prevention.

“When selecting a pet to bring home make sure their behavior and activity level will fit into your lifestyle, which is much easier to determine when you meet an older pet,” said Stickney. “For example, a pet that is calm and relaxed for a smaller house versus super-active pets that need room to move around and a large yard. You should also have it meet all of the family to make sure the pet will get along with the children, males, and females living in your home.”

It is also important to ask the shelter or rescue organization about any known health or behavior issues, or if the pet has been around other pets before or not.

Preparing your home for an older pet is not that much different than a younger one, with a few exceptions that many find easier. “When bringing home any pet, it is important to have things such as the appropriate food, bedding, bowls, and the appropriate toys like chew objects for dogs or a scratching tree for cats,” said Stickney. “It is also essential to have a carpet cleaner around for a few accidents until the pet understands your house’s routine, and to make sure your yard is fenced with no breaks where the pet could escape and get lost. If your pet has arthritis and has trouble moving and jumping, you may need a ramp to help it maneuver steps.”

Older pets can also be easier to train because they do not get distracted as easily as puppies. However, if they have already learned certain commands you will need to stick with the same command words and gestures instead of trying to use new commands for the same trick.

To view adoption services and to adopt an older pet of your own, check out services such as our Resources page for local shelters!

What’s Up With All Those Cat Naps?

Ever wondered why your cat sleeps most of the day? Modern Cat gives some insight as to why they do.

If you are a cat owner, you’ve probably gazed at Whiskers on the couch and asked, “Why does he sleep so much?” The answer is very simple, says a noted Texas A&M University animal behaviorist: It’s in their DNA.

Bonnie Beaver, a veterinarian at Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and a former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, says cats are natural sleepers – and they are very good at it.

When it comes to sleep, the news about cats is hardly out of the bag. Many cats sleep 16-20 hours a day, more than any other animal, and they are not picky about choosing a place for their cat nap – on top of a car or a roof, in a tree, their favorite chair or just about anywhere they can curl up for 40 winks or more.

“Let sleeping cats lie,” goes a French proverb, and it’s advice cats have taken to heart.

“Over the thousands of years that cats have evolved, so have their sleeping habits,” Beaver explains.

“Early on, they had to hunt for food to stay alive, and that desire for food can require a lot of energy. So sleeping helped cats conserve their energy, and even though the common housecat does not have to hunt for its next meal, a cat is still conditioned for sleep.

“House cats sleep a lot more than feral cats do because they don’t have to spend a lot of time searching for food.”

That’s not to say all of that sleep is purr-fect sleep, either.  A lot of that time – maybe as much as 40 percent – is spent resting and not in deep sleep, Beaver adds.

So with all of that sleeping, do cats dream like we do?

“We know that dreaming occurs in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, and cats very much have an REM phase of sleep,” she notes.

“They also exhibit movements during REM sleep, so it is possible they can dream.  What are they dreaming about?  Since we can’t ask them, we really don’t know.” She adds that if a cat’s whiskers or paws twitch during sleep, it’s very possible it is dreaming.

And while dogs are known to snore almost as loud as your Uncle Fred, cats tend to be quiet sleepers, Beaver points out.  “Most cats don’t snore because they don’t have a loose, soft palate like many breeds of dogs do,” she says.

There’s also the flip side – if Fluffy appears to sleep very little, it may not be a true cat-astrophe, but it could be a sign that something is wrong.

“Cats are like people – each one is different,” Beaver adds.

“Each cat is unique, so if it does not seem to sleep much, it may be its normal routine.  It is more important to note changes in behavior. If it seems like the cat is not sleeping as much as it used to, it could meaning something is wrong; perhaps it’s suffering from hyperthyroidism. If that is the case, the cat needs to see a veterinarian.”

Your cat will thank you – once it is fully awake, of course. Or then again since it’s a cat, maybe not.

Events

National Cat Month

We’re not sure why there is a National Cat Month since every day is a celebration for our feline rulers. So, in honor of the fluffy, adorable, independent, sassy, mastermind, evil, clumsy, demanding, affectionate, indifferent kitties that make our lives so much better on a daily basis, we have BUY 2, GET 1 FREE cans of FROMM and WERUVA from Feb 1-Feb 11!

Stop in the Barkery and grab a few goodies for your feisty best friend and share your love with them all month long!