For "Mammal Monday":
Dog vs. Cat: Are They Really Rivals?
Flirting with the idea of owning both a dog and a cat — but worried you'll only be flirting with disaster? Canines and felines can live in harmony, as long as you follow these no-nonsense tips.
"If you’re having doubts about adding a cat to your “dog house” or introducing a canine to your feline-friendly home, rest assured: Dogs and cats can live together in peace. The trick? Create a structured and healthy pet environment to smooth the transition.
The conventional wisdom that a cat and dog can’t get along is a pet myth, says Isabelle Hamel, head trainer and behavior consultant at North Shore Animal League America, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization located in Port Washington, N.Y. “Cats and dogs can live very happily together,” she says.
In fact, millions of Americans live in a dog-and-cat household. According to a recent Gallup survey, of the 59 percent of Americans who own either a cat or dog, 16 percent of them own both a cat and a dog.
5 Must-Dos for Keeping the Peace Between Pets
Here’s how to avoid an unpleasant dog vs. cat showdown:
Keep kitty safe. Set up a safe room/haven for your cat that is inaccessible to your dog. “This area should contain the cat’s bed, food, and water on one side of the room and the litter box on the other,” says Hamel. Use a gate or chain on top of the door that keeps the dog out, but provides just enough room for the cat to slip in and out.
Put your pup on a leash. “It’s important to be able to control the dog without chasing, yelling, or grabbing,” Hamel says. She suggests using a light tether attached to the dog’s collar while at home. This will provide you with instant access to the dog. Since the tether is lighter than a leash, the dog will feel as though he’s free, but you will still be able to control him. To keep the dog from chewing on the tether, soak it in bad-tasting mouthwash. As the animals become accustomed to each other, gradually cut this cord shorter until it is no longer needed, she says.
Get them while they’re young. If possible, introduce a cat and dog while they are still young. “Youth is a formative time — most animals are curious, flexible, and resilient when they are young,” says Hamel.
Bear breeds in mind. “It’s important to research what tasks an animal was originally bred for,” Hamel says. For instance, hounds, spaniels, and retrievers were bred to work with groups of people or other dogs, making them very social. Says Hamel, “Terriers were bred to work independently and usually prefer the company of people rather than other animals — Jack Russells are a good example of this.” Siberian huskies have a strong prey drive and do not do well with cats, nor do Alaskan malamutes since they are natural predators, according to Hamel.
Let them work it out. Hamel says the biggest mistake pet owners make when introducing a cat and dog is interfering with the animals’ natural interaction. “If an animal growls or hisses, it is a clear correction toward the offending animal.” If you step in and try to stop the behavior, the cat and dog will hiss or growl more intensely, becoming more aggressive, she explains.
So if you think you’re ready to share your home with another pet, Hamel has this advice: “Examine your motivation behind the decision. Does your existing pet want another animal in its life? What role will the animal play in your life? This decision is a 14 to 25 year commitment, so it is important to consider everyone in your family, including your existing pet.”
Our SPCA recommends keeping ANY new cat confined to a separate room for the first week, whether you have other animals or not.
If there are other animals, they will sniff at each other under the door, and get acclimatized like that. Then let them meet slowly, and don't rush it.
"We love our cats but still complain about their annoying behavior problems. Why do they scratch furniture and caterwaul all night when we are perfect parents?
The problem is that while we are worrying about their behavior issues, we might be better off focusing on our behavior instead.
Here are eight common things owners do to "hiss off" the cat.
1. Under appreciating the Need to Claw: Cats claw to mark territory, to exercise and relieve stress. Owners annoy cats by not providing the right claw object in the right location or by replacing a favorite scratching post. A nasty-clawed-ugly-old-post with scratch graffiti is like a child's favorite binky and can't be easily replaced with a spanking-new post.
2. Surprising Him With the Cat Carrier and a Trip to the Vet: Being stuffed into an unfamiliar cat carrier and then grabbed, poked and probed by scary-smelling strangers (vet alert!) makes cats hit the panic button. Savvy kitties teach owners a lesson by disappearing each time we reach for the carrier. Acclimate your cat to its bag by first making the cat carrier part of the furniture in the room. Then add catnip toys or fuzzy bedding to make it more soothing and appealing.
3. Buying the Wrong Litter Box or Litter: Hit-or-miss potty behavior is the top complaint of cat owners but we often bring it on ourselves without realizing it.
- Changing cat litter. Do you have a favorite TP? Cats get attached to favorite litter, and switching prompts some cats to take their business elsewhere.
- Getting a too-small box. If you have a jumbo-size cat, most standard litter boxes will be too small and he will have to hang over the edge or look elsewhere.
- Choosing a covered box. Though this might appeal to you, it doesn't work for all cats. A covered box condenses smells, which can make the box a place the cat wants to avoid. These kinds of boxes also often block the view, so cats can't see if someone is sneaking up on them.
- Having too few boxes. Your cats might be acting up because they don't like sharing a littler box. Extra boxes will reduce the hiss quotient.
4. Leaving Him Behind: Your cats get used to being fed, petted, played with and snuggled at certain times, and your absence during a business trip or vacation throws a wrench in kitty expectations. It can take him a week to get accustomed to a change in schedule, so not only is his schedule upset when you leave, it is also upset when you return.
5. Oversleeping: Why would an owner want to sleep late when a kitty bowl needs to be filled? Cats just don't understand it. Which is why they raise a ruckus to point out food bowl infractions or other owner irresponsibility. Even a small change can annoy your cat.
6. Forcing Indoor Incarceration: Cats that have experienced the great outdoors can become distraught when "jailed" exclusively indoors. Sure, they're safer indoors away from dangers, but cats find closed doors and barred windows crazy-making. Keep the annoyance level down by recreating the outdoors inside with challenges like cat towers and puzzle toys.
7. Cheating With a New Pet: Bringing a new pet (especially another cat) into the house turns up the hiss-teria. How would you feel if asked to share your potty, dinner plate, toys, bed and love-of-your-life human with a stranger off the street? To the cat, the interloper looks funny, smells scary and disrupts the all-important routine. It can take weeks or months for cats to accept newcomers as family members.
8. Declawing: This doesn't just annoy your cat, surgical claw removal offends many cats on an emotional and physical level. It strips away normal kitty defenses and changes kitty stride/balance. Yes, some cats manage to suck it up and soldier on, but others demonstrate hissed-off status by avoiding the litter box (it hurts to dig with sore toes!) or biting more often in defense.
Of course, every cat is unique and your cat might have an entirely different list that causes hissy fits. Understanding what annoys our cats helps us be better owners and enhances the love we share."
"We adore dogs but why do Max and Fluffy bark at all hours, gnaw the kids' new shoes or (gasp!) hump the pastor's leg?
While aggravating dog habits make owners show their teeth, clueless humans also raise the dog's blood pressure. Here are seven common things you do to make your dog howl.
1. Misunderstanding His Bark: Dogs use barks to communicate alarm, excitement and boredom -- and owners annoy dogs by ignoring these important warnings.
- Shouting "Shut up!" can increase barks if your dog thinks you're joining the barkathon.
- Ignoring some barks -- squirrel alert! -- could encourage a dog to stay quiet when a burglar drops by.
- Lonely dogs relieve boredom by talking to themselves with barks or howls.
Instead of yelling when your dog sounds off, say "Good bark," so he knows you heard him. That will also reassure him that you plan to address the scary squirrel issue that he so kindly pointed out. You might also try create a three-bark limit before asking him to hush with a treat or toy that keeps his mouth busy and quiet. (Puzzle toys stuffed with treats are particularly good at keeping bored dogs entertained.)
2. Being Inconsistent With Potty Training: Accidents in the house are common owner complaints, but dogs don't think we play fair. Yelling at your dog to stop mid-pee or punishing the dog minutes or hours after she's done the dirty deed is confusing. She knows you're unhappy but won't know what to do instead. Particularly confusing is if you do something crazy like rubbing your dog's nose in her mistake.
Anger over potty problems teaches your dog to hide deposits better and avoid "going" in front of you, which makes it even harder to explain proper potty manners. Instead, take your dog to the right spot after meals, naps or playtime, and reward her production so she understands that pooping outside on the street is what you want.
3. Incarcerating Him Outside: Though dogs enjoy spending time outside, they want to be part of the family. Leaving Fido alone too much hurts his feelings, so he'll dig, climb or jump fences to find company. You may think tethering or chaining is a solution, but such tactics can increase aggression -- tethered dogs can't get away from scary or threatening situations and use their teeth instead. If you think your dog is feeling too fenced in, boost the time you spend with him and work to make him feel like part of the family.
4. Forcing a Car Ride: Dogs either love cars or hate them, based on what happens during or after the ride. Work to associate the car with fun, positive experiences rather than just trips to the vet. Go for rides to the dog park or stop at the drive-through for a tasty treat.
5. Leaving Him Behind: Separation anxiety affects some dogs so much that they throw fits if left alone. Dogs will destroy objects or even injure themselves trying to soothe their angst or escape to follow you. One way to handle this is by helping them get accustomed to your coming and going. Stage situations where you leave and quickly come back over and over again to dilute the power of your absence. Puzzle toys also keep the dog's mind (and teeth) occupied during the critical first 20 minutes or so after you've left.
6. Making Him Go Out in Bad Weather: Sure, some breeds adore romping in snow, but those same dogs may hate going out in the rain. Whatever the case, each dog, regardless of breed, will have its own preferences about going out in bad weather. But you can diminish the discomfort. Invest in a raincoat or jacket for your dog to protect him from the elements. Consider creating an indoor-potty zone for tiny dogs who get chilled easily outside.
7. Sleeping Late: Dogs can't imagine why owners sleep late on weekends when the best sniffing and walking time is the break of dawn. Cold-nose pokes and raising a ruckus points out empty bowls and full bladders. Dogs believe their job description includes keeping owners on the proper schedule. Understand that and try to stick to a regular timetable.
Every dog is an individual and owners may annoy dogs in ways not named here. But learning about canine concerns helps us be better owners -- and that makes everyone happier."
Ten Interesting Differences Between Cats and Dogs
"Because dogs and cats are the two most common companion animals, and because both species walk on all fours and are covered with fur (most of them, anyway), there's a tendency among humans to think they are more similar than they really are.
Dogs can be trained quickly, some in a matter of minutes, to obey basic commands like ‘come' and ‘sit.'
Most cats are difficult if not impossible to train to respond to directives.
- Cats can be housetrained in an instant as long as they have access to a litter box. There's really no training to it, in fact. It's instinct.
Most dogs take considerably longer to housebreak, and some just never get all the way there. Unlike with Fluffy, housebreaking a pup is usually a hands-on, time intensive project.
- Dogs are social beings. They want to be with their pack, wherever their pack may be.
Cats are solitary by comparison and their primary attachment (when forced to choose) is to their territory rather than other two or four-legged animals.
- Dogs have 42 teeth.
Cats have 30.
- Cats can jump and climb, giving them more options when they need to hunt for food, or when they feel threatened.
Dogs are earthbound, so they need their pack to hunt effectively. And when a threat triggers their fight-or-flight response, they are more likely to react with aggression because their ability to flee from a predator is limited.
- Dogs are scavenging carnivores, which means although they are primarily meat-eaters, if necessary they can survive on plant material alone (remember, surviving is different than thriving).
Cats are obligate or strict carnivores. Kitties cannot sustain life without eating meat in some form.
- Dogs in the wild catch their prey by running it down. They are long distance runners, not sprinters.
Cats creep up on their prey and catch it by surprise. They are sprinters, not distance runners.
- Cats cannot be fasted and should not be dieted down too quickly. Kitties don't efficiently burn fat reserves as an energy source. Instead, without food, their bodies break down non-fatty tissues for energy. This can lead to a life-threatening liver condition called hepatic lipidosis.
Dogs are much better at using their fat reserves and can tolerate a lack of food for much longer than cats.
- Cats have retractable claws that stay sharp because they are protected inside the toes.
Dogs claws are always extended and become blunt from constant contact with the ground when they walk.
- A dog's memory is only about five minutes long.
Kitties can remember up to 16 hours.
East and West Germany reunite after 45 years, Oct 3, 1990:
Less than one year after the destruction of the Berlin Wall, East and West Germany come together on what is known as "Unity Day."
O.J. Simpson acquitted, Oct 3, 1995:
"At the end of a sensational trial, former football star O.J. Simpson is acquitted of the brutal 1994 double murder of his estranged wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. In the epic 252-day trial, Simpson's "dream team" of lawyers employed creative and controversial methods to convince jurors that Simpson's guilt had not been proved "beyond a reasonable doubt," thus surmounting what the prosecution called a "mountain of evidence" implicating him as the murderer."
To keep Mikey, who was here for grooming, apart from my orphan kittens, I locked them up in their big cage in the house. It would be nice if I could just leave them on the screen porch for the morning, but they are destroying all my aloe vera plants.
Mikey is a very strong, stocky, energetic Miniature (midsize) Poodle. In fact he is over 15" inches at the shoulder, which technically makes him a Standard Poodle, but they are usually 22" or more. He loves to be groomed, but he doesn't like to hold still. I am constantly re-positioning him either on the grooming table, or in the tub, so he wears me out. To make matters worse, his ears are in terrible shape, so he is shaking his head all the time. I know Mikey doesn't have ear mites, as he is on Revolution, this is something else. It's difficult to scissor a beautiful round top knot or clip the face of a moving target.
His "Dad", Sam had a stroke, so he has difficulty making himself understood. So I'll see if I can take Mikey to the mobile vet who will be in our town next Friday afternoon. http://www.themobilevetclinic.com/
That vet comes here on the first Friday to do low cost vaccinations, and to tend to any small ailments. They set up tables under a canopy on the grass beside the feed store. The vaccinations are all iced down so they are safe. It will be a lot cheaper than taking him to a regular vet to just pick up some ear meds, as there is no office visit charge. The vet can look at his ears, and tell us what is wrong. Mikey was taken there before, by me, for his shots. Bobcat has been taken there for her shots for 15 years. With a population of 5,662, there are 4 vet's practices here in our little town of Willis, but he still does a thriving business, and it is a low cost alternative for our community.
That is a tip for y'all, too. Often towns have a mobile vet who comes to an area once a month to do low cost vaccinations, and they sell flea, heartworm products, etc., cheaper. A vet is there to look at the animals, too, if you have any pet health questions.
No rain, and another "doors and windows open" day.