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How Pets Can Help with New Year’s Resolutions

For most of us, especially here at Pets fur keeps, our pets wear many hats:  they are our greatest comfort, patient listeners, our best friends, spirit lifters; just to name a few roles .  Our pets often bring out the best in us, and depending on some of your resolutions, they can be wonderful motivations and inspirations to achieve your goals.   So while your dog or cat probably doesn’t have their own new year’s resolution, that doesn’t mean they can’t help with yours!newyearsdog

Lose Weight & Exercise More:  Year after year, this takes the #1 spot for most popular resolutions, and probably always will, considering 1 in 2.6 adults think they are overweight, and roughly the same percent are obese.  But if you have a dog, you’ve got the best exercise partner ever.   Set a goal of how far you want to walk everyday, and stick to it, but not just for yourself, for your dog: to see your pup’s eyes light up when you say ‘walk’ and grab the leash, to see his little dance as you walk out the door.

For added incentive, download the ResQWalk App (it’s free for both iPhone and Android).  The app tracks the number and distance of all your walks, AND it donates money to the rescue of your choice every time you hit the pavement.  Talk about motivation!

Fall in Love:  Another common resolution it to fall in love or find ‘the one.’   Did you know pets can help with that too?  Yup, and rescue pets have even more sway for attracting that someone special.  Check out these stats from a 2014 survey of Match.com pet owners by Petsmart Charities:

  • 59% of women would be more attracted to someone if they found out they rescued a pet rather than bought one
  • 35% of single women have been more attracted to someone because of their pet
  • 4 out of 5 singles are pet lovers

Plus, there are lots of dating sites just for pet lovers, including DateMyPet , MustLovePets, PetPeopleMeet, PetPassions, & MeetAnimalLovers.

Quit Smoking:  If you can’t quit for yourself, would you do it for Fido or Fluffy?  According to a 2009 survey, 28% of pet owning smokers would consider quitting if they knew the smoke could harm their pets.  I hope you’re one of them!  The ASPCA’s Poison Control Center says “Nicotine from secondhand smoke can have effects to the nervous systems of cats and dogs. Environmental tobacco smoke has been shown to contain numerous cancer-causing compounds, making it hazardous for animals as well as humans.”

Cats who live with a smoker are 2-3 times more likely to develop cancer, including lymphoma, which kills 75% of afflicted cats in under a year.  Cats with smoking families typically have nicotine and other toxins in their urine, and are especially vulnerable to oral cancers because they are constant groomers- consistently consuming the cancer-causing carcinogens from secondhand smoke (Mercola).  For dogs in smoking households, their risk of lung cancer increases by 60%.  Small animals and birds are also at increased risk for lung cancer, heart problems, and pneumonia (Petfinder).

So make this year count- not just for you, but for your pet, too!  Best of luck with all of your resolutions and endeavors for 2015.

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5 Ways to Show Your Cat You’re Thankful!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I  want everyone to show your gratitude for the felines in your life!   While cats might be a bit subtle in their expressions of thanks, we know its there, don’t we?  A bird-like chirp now and again, the question-mark shape their tail takes when they are delighted to see us, and everyone’s favorite: the sweet, slow eye-blinks of love.  But just because they are subtle doesn’t mean we have to be!  Here are some ways to show them you’re thankful for the joy they bring to your life.

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1) Grooming session:

A good brushing can do a lot for a kitty; it prevents matting, especially in long haired cats, removes lose fur that can cause hairballs (which are no fun for you either!), it can be a great bonding experience with their human, it makes them look healthier and more beautiful, and offers guardians a chance to examine for abnormal skin conditions, growths, and other health concerns.

So take some time (even if your cat doesn’t absolutely  love it) to brush them thoroughly.  Offer treats while you’re doing it, especially if they are not big fans of being groomed.  Feeling bold?  Add nail trimming to the session, too.
2) Extra CatPlayingWordsplaytime

It’s easy to forget about play sessions with our cats, especially after long days at work, household chores, etc. But offering your cat regular outlets to expend energy will make both of you more relaxed at the end of the night.  So put in the extra effort; put down the cell phone or turn off the TV and dedicate some time (or extra time, if this is already part of your routine) to play- no, really play- with your cat.  Get them riled up, panting if possible, using whatever toy they like best; lasers, feather toys, mice, balls…  For a most fulfilling experience, follow playtime with dinner or their favorite treat (For more playtime tips, check out my post ‘The Importance of Playtime‘)

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3) Vet check up

Okay, so no cat wants to go to the vet, but it’s in their best interest.  Domestic felines, like their wild cousins, are experts at hiding symptoms of illness (it’s an instinctual behavior that helps them avoid looking like easy prey to predators), so its important to take your cat for checkups and routine blood work, especially as they get older.  Even if your cat is indoor-only (as they should be) and you choose not to get them vaccinated annually, check ups are key to making sure your cat isn’t suffering in silence.

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4) Special Nom Noms

Now and then its fine to give your cat something special to eat, especially as we ourselves indulge on Thanksgiving.  Just make sure it is in moderation and kitty-safe!  Here’s a great recipe from The Ultimate Cat Treat Cookbook. 

 

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5) Companionship!

Just like humans, cats benefit from having company of the same species. This is especially true if your cat is young, high energy or rambunctious, spends long hours alone, or recently lost a companion animal.  Having another cat to roughhouse and play with typically decreases negative or destructive behaviors.   Or, if you have a newly adopted young’n who tends to bother your older cat,  getting another kitten will give your elder feline some peace.  No matter what your situation is, chances are your kitty could benefit from having another.  Not sure?  Come in and talk to us about it- we’re experts on cat introductions and match-making.  See our current adoptable list here.

Of course, if you really want to show your cat gratitude, your best bet is to open all the cans of cat food and bow down at their feet  😉

Myth, Mysticism and Misconceptions About Black Cats

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MacBeth, an all black boy who was adopted in the summer of 2014, and has brought only good luck to his family!

Black cats are probably the most iconic feline.  Their mysticism permeates the beliefs and folklore of many cultures across the globe, and can be found in music, literature, even comic books.  Due to their association with witchcraft and the spiritual world, much of the folklore about black cats is ominous.  Although these beliefs have roots that are thousands of years old, some have lingered and continue to haunt- not us- but the black cats of today.

In America those that are superstitious tend to associate black cats with witches and bad omens.  In Greek mythology, there is a story about Galinthias who, in one story, is turned into a black cat before being sent to the underworld with Hecate, the Goddess of death and witchcraft, thus making black cats an omen of death.  A common superstition in India is that if a black cat crosses your path, you will have bad luck (many people think this superstition stems from the Americas, but it does not!).

It only gets worse in the Middle Ages when cats were closely associated with heretics (heretical groups prayed with, and sometimes to cats), and so leaders of the Catholic Church at the time spoke out against them.  In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII went as far as to declare that “the cat was the devil’s favorite animal and idol of all witches.”  For many, this solidified the feline/devil connection without question.

During the Black Plague, people eagerly accepted this scapegoat and cats were rounded up and killed. Of course, we now know that the Black Plague was spread by fleas that thrived on rats, so killing the cats led to a sort of Bubonic boom as the rat population prospered.  The few people that did keep cats (sometimes doing so against the law), often did not fall victim to the Plague. It is possible that people were skeptical of their powers of immunity, thus strengthening the distrust of cats and their familiars.  We don’t know the exact number of cats that were murdered during this time, but the bones of 79 cats (whose remains were dated 13th century) were found in a well in England, suggesting mass killings.

Fast forward to the witch hunts in Europe and Salem, Massachusetts where many presumed witches simply took in or cared for stray cats, but the association with the devil was still lingering in the minds of many.  During this time, the belief that witches could transform into black cats to escape death also took hold.

YOUR LUCK HAS CHANGED

These are certainly the most negative anecdotes of black-cats superstitions throughout history, but they are not the only ones.  In fact, they might be outweighed by the positives ones: tales that see black cats as good luck are present in many, many cultures.   For example, in the United Kingdom, seeing a black cat means your luck will change for the better.  In Japan, this is especially true for single women, since black cats are thought to attract suitors. In Scotland,a black-cat visiting your porch is a sign that prosperity is in your future.  In Italy, a sneezing black cat is considered good luck.

THE MODERN BLACK CAT

For the most part, people have accepted these myths for what they are- nothing more than ancient superstitions.  Still, one  in ten people still believe black cats are unlucky.  If you ask me, its people that are bad luck for black cats, not the other way around.  Many adoption groups and shelter volunteers, including here at Pet Adoption Network, truly believe that black cats are more likely to have a long wait before being adopted.  National studies have proven that black and dark cats are more likely to be euthanized.

Chances are its not due to the ten percent of people who are superstitious about them, but rather to other factors like the fact that black cats are harder to get good photos of, they may be considered ‘boring’ or ‘plain’ by potential adopters, and simply get overlooked when the cat in the cage to their left is an orange tabby or Siamese mix.

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Anyone who has ever been owned by a ‘mini-panther’ knows how wonderful they are, and that the stigma surrounding them is simply nonsense.  However, the fact remains: black cats need YOU to help dispel the myths, and find them the homes they deserve.  Share this info-graphic and check out our adoptables’ stories.

 

**At PAN we believe October should be a month for celebrating black cats, not for fear mongering… so unlike some organizations, we do not hold black cats back from adoption during the month of October.  Withholding black cats implies that any old witch can fly in on her broomstick and take home a cat from us.  On the contrary, we hold our adoption applicants to the same high standards any month of the year, for any cat.**

 

Merry Catmas, the Best of the Best

Christmas is near and there’s nothing I love more than festive animals that add extra cheer and merriment to the season.  Here is a collection of some of the best Christmas-themed cat videos, pictures, posts, etc.  Enjoy!

Animals of YouTube singing ‘Jingle Bells’

This is my favorite of Klaatu42‘s holiday compilation videos.  He has made newer ones, including ’12 Days of Christmas’ and ‘Jolly Old Saint Nick,’ but this early one is definitely one of the best.

Simon’s Cat

Like Klaatu, Simon’s Cat has multiple Christmas/winter themed video shorts.  This one titled ‘Santa Claws’ is one most cat owners can relate to!

Cats In, On, and Around Christmas TreesIn, On, Around Christmas Trees

Anyone with cats knows that mixing Christmas trees and cats can end in one of two ways: adorablely photogenic, or like the Simon’s Cat video above.  Or, I suppose it most often starts out adorable and then goes terribly wrong.  Here’s a nice assortment of cats in, on, and around Christmas trees- before things get ugly!

Dear Santa… A Cat’s Christmas List

Dear Santa

Okay, we know no matter what we get for our cats at Christmas (or any time of year), they’re going to prefer the box it came in, hands down.  But this post of a cat’s Christmas list is funny and adorable at the same time. 

Cat-friendly DIY Christmas tree

Perhaps your cat has knocked over your tree, chewed the lights wires, or broken ornaments one too many times, and you’re through putting up a decorated tree, then maybe this idea is perfect for you!  This affordable and relatively easy to design cat friendly and climbable Christmas ‘tree’ is rather neat.

Climbable Cat Christmas Tree

Click for more pictures and DIY instructions, via Hauspanther.

I’d like to make it just for fun, even though my cats are pretty well behaved around my tree anyway.

The Alternate ‘Catmas Tree’

In case the DIY one, with all its cutting and measuring, is too much work, this is an easier option. 

Merry Catmas, everyone- tis the season for peace and love!

Hope you had as much fun with this list as I did and that it helps you get into the spirit!  Remember to include your fur-kids in Christmas gifting, and no matter what you do, know that Santa doesn’t support puppy mills or breeders (or buying any animal from a pet store for that matter) so always, always choose rescue and adoption.  Also, please don’t give animals as gifts- they are a lifetime commitment so everyone needs to be involved and dedicated to the adoption- there should be no surprises.