We've accumulated enough pet care tips
to offer you an index. Below, you can scroll through a list of
all the tips in our archive. When you see one that interests
you, click on the tip's title to go that tip. If you'd prefer
to browse the tips themselves, not just the titles, click
cats to cars
vera for pet first aid
for your pet's well-being after you're gone
pet care when you leave your pet at home
losing your pet--or find your pet if it is lost
for happy pets
time can be pleasant
Be a good
neighbor---and help your pet to be one,
for a pet health emergency
travel with your pets
wisely when buying second hand pet equipment
a new vet
Flea Treats in winter
bad bugs in your yard
with jumping dogs
when it's time to euthanize
preparedness for your pets
your pet need a pet?
safety and pets
words besides "no" to train with
collars don't belong in your vacuum cleaner
tips for changing your pet's diet
forms to help you take good care of your pet
and onions aren't for pets
ready for Spring
and raisins may be dangerous to dogs
hints when your pet is unwilling
safety for pets
feeding pets safely
pet care tips
toys and equipment for your pets
your pets healthy and safe in cold weather
kitties where they belong
your pets cool in summer heat
your pet's outdoor environment comfortabl
and dogs--a cautionary tale
the multiple pet household
by dog--what it means for pet owners
and claw care
your pet transportation supplies
painless way to help homeless pets
safety in summer heat
Plan early for holiday
your pet for a new baby
your pet for a person's departure from the household
music with your pets
to promote healthy weight in your pets
the bunnies, ducklings and chicks this Easter
for ID tags
Spay or neuter
quiet moment with your pets over the holidays
up for animals in the new year
cat to walk on a leash
about pets as holiday gifts
ten reasons to keep your cat indoors
care with rodent poisons
every pet should know a trick
Tapeworms are a common internal parasite,
but flea-free pets don't get tapeworms. Here's why: when a pet
has tapeworms, you'll notice little wriggly things about the
size and color of a grain of rice protruding from your pet's
rectum or in the stool. What you're seeing is the egg sac that's
been shed by the tapeworm in your pet. The egg sac is eaten by
a flea larva. After the flea matures, when a pet bites the flea
off and swallows it, the egg sac hatches inside the pet and the
pet develops a tapeworm.
Besides the egg sacs, which are shed
intermittently, symptoms of tapeworm infestation include a poor
coat, swollen belly, and big appetite. Flea Treats will not get
rid of a tapeworm infestation (consult your vet for that)--but
once your pet is flea free, you'll never see another infestation. Return to archive index
Teach your cat to walk on a leash:
If you're committed to keeping your
cats healthy, teaching them to walk outdoors on a harness and
leash is a great idea. It allows your cat access to fresh air
and sunshine without exposing it to all the big scary bad things
that can happen to cats in the big outdoors world. Here's how
to teach your cat to enjoy this:
- Get a figure-8 harness that's made
- Put the loop that would go over the
kitty's head on the floor, in a circle shape. Put a treat or
some catnip in the center of the circle. When your cat tips its
head down to enjoy the treat, gently pull the loop up and over
your cat's head. Secure the strap around kitty's chest.
- If your cat accepts the harness, just
leave it on for 30 minutes or so. Then remove it. Praise your
cat. If your cat freaks out, remove the harness. Try again tomorrow.
- Once the cat accepts the harnessing
procedure, repeat it once or twice a day for about a week.
- Now, attach a short line ( 12 inches
or so) of cord of some type to the harness. Let the kitty drag
that around the house to get used to the bit of weight. Supervise
this activity so your cat doesn't get snagged on something in
- After a week of this exercise, attach
a leash to the harness. Walk with your cat indoors. Let the cat
set the course and the pace.
- Now, you're ready for the great outdoors.
Some cats will trot down the sidewalk like a dog would. Others
prefer to explore their own yards. Let your cat set the agenda,
- If you have a mellow, mellow, cat,
you may progress through these steps more quickly. A scaredy
cat might take a bit longer. If you pay close attention, your
cat will let you know when it's time to move on to the next step.
- Patience will pay off. Walks with your
cat can be enjoyable time together for both of you. And your
neighbors will be impressed by your clever kitty.Return
to archive index
Water for pets 101:
Access to clean, fresh water is crucial
to your pet's good health---especially in summer heat.
- Provide more than one source of water.
Place bowls for indoor pets in a variety of rooms; for pets outside,
select multiple locations.
- Outdoors, locate bowls where they won't
be contaminated by falling leaves or bird droppings.
- Place outside bowls in the shade. Water
will stay cooler, and metal bowls won't get hot.
- You might freeze one bowl overnight.
The water will thaw over the course of the day. It's harder to
spill while it's still frozen, and the water will remain cooler.
You can also add ice cubes to a bowl of water to cool it.
- If your pets tip over their water bowls,
look for weighted bowls. Or, secure the bowl to a fence, then
fill it from a pitcher. Or buy a valve that screws into a hose
bib and dispenses water when the pet licks at it.
- Clean water bowls regularly. Return
to archive index
Breath test for pets:
All of us who share our homes know that
doggie breath or tuna mouth doesn't smell as sweet as our human
mouths (at least, not to us). But some breath odors can be a
sign of a more serious health problem. Read on:
- Really rank pet breath can signal a
dental problem. Take a look at your pet's teeth and gums. Are
the teeth nice and white? Are the gums firm and pink? Dingy teeth
or red, swollen, or bloody gums could signal that it's time for
some dental care. You can find special flavored toothpastes for
pets at any reliable pet store (don't use your own toothpaste--pets
may swallow it, which isn't a good idea). Use a child's toothbrush
or a piece of gauze on your finger. Brush once a week, at least.
If a brushing routine doesn't clear up the problem, you might
have your vet take a look.
- Digestive problems can also cause bad
breath. You may suspect this problem if you also notice loose
stools or other signs of general poor health.
- Breath that smells like ammonia, or
"chemical-y," signals a serious health problem. Kidney
problems often cause this type of breath odor. Consult your veterinarian
immediately if you notice this type of odor on your pet's breath.
Return to archive index
- If you have a backyard pool or spa,
make sure your pets know how to get out of the water. A dog chasing
a cat, or a cat chasing a bird, can land in the water without
realizing they were headed that way and panic. Teach them how
to get out safely. Better yet, fence off the pool or spa so they
can't get to it without your supervision.
- If you take your pets boating, either
keep them tethered on a lead too short to allow them to jump
over the side and hang, or fit them with pet life preservers.
- If you take your dog to the beach or
to a lake, limit swim time. Your pet may swim to exhaustion just
to please you, and drown. Adjust your water time to suit your
pet's fitness level. Return to archive
Controlling bad bugs in your yard:
If you're using Flea Treats for your
pets, you don't need to worry about fleas in your yard. They
won't jump on your pets even when your animals are playing outdoors.
But if you have children who play on the lawn, the fleas could
go after them. Or you may have problems with beetles or other
unpleasant creatures invading your garden.
One excellent method of control is the
use of beneficial nematodes. These microscopic worms feed
on flea larvae and eggs and also eat grubs--which grow up to
You can buy beneficial nematodes at
any garden center that carries organic gardening supplies or
you can order them by mail or over the internet. You spray them
onto the lawn with a sprayer attached to your hose. One caveat:
They're living beings. You need to keep your landscape watered
so they don't dry out and die.
Another possibility is the use of diatomaceous
earth. This white powdery substance is actually the fossilized
remains of diatoms, tiny little critters. To us it feels like
talcum powder, but under a microscope you can see sharp jagged
edges. The diatomaceous earth pierces soft bodied bugs (like
flea larvae and snails) when they crawl across it, causing them
to die. If you decide to use diatomaceous earth, be sure to buy
the pure kind that isn't chemically treated. The type sold for
use in swimming pool filters is treated with chemicals that you
don't want. Sprinkle it on the ground on your lawn and in garden
beds. Be sure the area you're treating is dry--wet diatomaceous
earth has no effect on the bugs. Fence off the area to keep your
pets out--it isn't poisonous, but it isn't wonderful if they
inhale the powder. For the same reason, wear a dust mask as you
apply it to the ground. After a few days, rake it around and
water it in. At this point, the pets can have access to the treated
area. We use DE each spring to control snails and other unwanted
garden pests. We fence off half the yard, treat it, then move
the fence and treat the other side of the yard. Return
to archive index
Foxtails are the seeds of a specific
grass. Many other grass seeds are also loosely referred to as
"foxtails" and plenty of other plants also produce
sharp or sticky seeds. These plant parts can harm or even kill
Foxtails are those little plume-shaped
grass seeds that we see everywhere this time of year. They were
designed to allow the plant to reseed and reproduce. Thus they
have a sharp, pointy end, and some feathery foliage on the other
end. In nature, the point falls to the ground, and a breeze catches
in the feathery part to help drive the seed into the soil. On
your pet, these seeds and others can cause big problems.
Foxtails can burrow into an eye, ear,
nose, between the pads of the foot, or any other tender part
of your pet. There they can cause abscess, secondary infection
and other related miseries. Untreated, the ensuing problems can
kill your pet.
If your pet has sniffed up a foxtail,
caught one between the pads of a foot, or has one lodged in the
ear, you'll likely know about it. The pet will sneeze violently
and repeatedly if the foxtail is in the nose. A foxtail in the
pad will cause limping and a lump may develop. A foxtail in the
ear will cause head shaking, pawing at the ear, and rubbing the
ear on the ground. Any of these situations is a potentially life
threatening emergency and should be assessed by your vet. These
little monsters can migrate into a vital organ if left to their
Prevention is better than cure, of course.
In your own yard, keep the grass mowed and sticker-producing
weeds pulled to minimize exposure. Don't walk your dogs through
fields of high, dry grasses. Develop the habit of inspecting
ears, noses and paws after your pets return from an outdoor adventure.
A foxtail can be removed if it's spotted before it burrows into
the animal. Some varieties have barbs like a fishhook--if you're
not sure whether the foxtail is embedded, play it safe and ask
your vet for help. Return to archive
Be prepared for a pet health emergency:
It can happen at the worst possible
time, and usually does: Sparky slips out the gate and is hit
by a car. Tiger eats the lily plant that you thought was safely
out of reach. What to do? Here are three important suggestions
to help you through an emergency:
- Know your regular vet's emergency
protocol. Some vets will refer
you to a 24 hour emergency clinic. Others have an answering service
or carry a pager. Learn your vet's emergency plan before you
have a catastrophe. Locate the emergency clinic, if that is the
option offered to you. Have back up plans in mind for after-hours
- Keep first aid supplies on hand. Consult
your vet, a good pet first aid book, or take a class in pet first
aid from the American Red Cross. Have the essentials on hand.
- Contact Animal Poison Control. The American Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals offers a fee-basis phone consultation for
animal poisoning emergencies. Contact them at 1-888-4ANI HELP
(1-888-426-4435) or visit
their web site.
With a bit of luck, you'll never have
a pet health emergency. But it never hurts to be prepared. Return to archive index
Spay or neuter your pet--it's important:
spay or neuter?
and neuter resources
- Overpopulation: According to SpayUSA, 70,000 puppies and kittens
are born in the United States every day. Many of these
newborns will never make their way into loving homes. The lucky
ones will be euthanized. Less fortunate ones will starve, be
hit by cars, attacked by other animals, contract diseases, or
be tortured by humans.
- Better buddies: Your pets will be calmer and less likely to
roam if you've had them surgically altered.
- Healthier pets: Your pets will not be susceptible to dangerous
diseases of the reproductive organs if they're fixed. They're
much less likely to get breast cancer, as well. You won't face
the additional veterinary expenses of an animal pregnancy (which,
like pregnancy in humans, can present life-threatening complications).
And you won't be as likely to have wounds from fights with other
animals to deal with.
- Contact SpayUSA. They're a national organization, providing
referrals for low cost services in your area. Click
here to visit their web site, or call them toll-free at 1-800-248-SPAY.
- Check with your local humane society. They're a great source of referrals and information
for spay and neuter services in your town. Check our Project
Happy Birthday page or look in your local phone book.
- Talk to your vet. Many vets offer special prices, as well as
"family plans" for folks with many pets. Return
to archive index
Organize your pet transportation
- Keep leashes on hooks near a door.
If you have a large home, you might store two sets of leashes--one
near the front door and one near the back door.
- Hang a supply of plastic bags on a
hook with the leashes so they'll be handy for clean up during
- Don't store crates disassembled. They
take up a bit more room "built up," but they're ready
when you need them.
- If you use a ramp to load pets into
the car (a good idea for your back and for theirs) try a piece
of plywood covered with carpet. You can make it yourself for
very little money, and you can store it on its side behind the
front seat of your vehicle.
We think these are good ideas for a
few reasons. First, if you have an "escape artist"
in the house, grab the leash or crate when you're on the way
out the door to retrieve the runaway. It'll make it easier to
bring your pet safely home. Second, should you ever need to evacuate
your home, you'll know exactly where to find the equipment you
need to take your pets with you. Return
to archive index
A spring holiday plea: Please, remember: Chicks, ducklings, and baby
rabbits aren't toys. They're living beings. If you want to give
a child a special gift this spring, choose a stuffed animal.
Then take the child to the park to feed the ducks. Some fresh
air and sunshine are sure to do you both good. Return
to archive index
Perimeter check: If you're like many of us, you get up in the
morning, feed your critters, and then let them outside to enjoy
the sunshine. A secure outdoor area is good for your pet's well-being,
if you ensure that your yard is safe. Here's how:
- Take a walk around the edge of your
yard. Is the gate closed? Are any fence boards loose?
- Check for toadstools. Springtime is
toadstool time, and they can be deadly to pets. Remove any that
you find. They can sprout up overnight, so be sure to check every
- Do you see anything unusual in your
yard? Has some debris or trash appeared overnight? Worse yet,
has some evil person tossed something into your yard that could
harm your pets? If you see anything that doesn't belong, remove
- The morning check is a good time to
remove any waste from the day before. Sanitation is important
to your pet's good health.
- Is your pet's outdoor water supply
fresh and clean?
It only takes a few moments to survey
your pet's play area each morning. The morning air is a great
invigorator for you. And after a few days, your pet will probably
accompany you on your rounds. You'll have extra peace of mind
knowing that your pet's environment is safe, and you'll enjoy
the morning tonic, as well. Return
to archive index
Pet therapy, or pet-assisted therapy,
programs provide well-behaved pets (and their humans) to visit
hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, schools, and other similar
institutes. The premise behind pet therapy is that people benefit
by contact with pets.
Is your pet a candidate? Here's a brief
list of qualifications:
- Therapy pets remain calm in new environments
and welcome interaction with all kinds of people.
- Therapy pets are clean and healthy.
- Therapy pets are well behaved.
- Therapy pets enjoy being petted and
talked to by strangers.
- Therapy pets are not spooked by wheelchairs,
walkers, or other apparatus.
- Therapy pets belong to people who are
willing to spend some time to help others enjoy the benefits
of contact with pets.
People who volunteer their pets for
therapy work will accompany the pet to the assigned location
and visit the people there with the pet. Humans involved in this
work report that the rewards are incredible.
To get more information about pet therapy,
call your local humane society or search the web under the keyword
"pet therapy." You'll find a wealth of information.
Return to archive index
for pet first aid:
also called the medicine plant or the burn plant, has long been
recognized for its ability to sooth damaged skin. It makes a
good choice for pets because it provides temporary relief on
contact for hot spots, bites, clipper burns, and many other skin
irritations that our pets may occasionally experience. Aloe vera
is also nontoxic, so we needn't worry about our pets ingesting
it if they lick their owies.
Which brings us to the second reason
why aloe is a good choice: it has a bitter taste. Thus, an application
of aloe vera may discourage your pet from licking at the irritated
skin. Licking can slow healing, so any easy ways to discourage
licking are welcome.
We grow aloe vera in our yard and cut
a leaf open to use the gel inside when any of the family members
(two- or four-legged) has a skin problem. The plants are easy
to grow and hardy. If you live in an area where the plant won't
thrive, or if you're not a gardener, you can buy pure aloe vera
gel at most any health food store. Return
to archive index
Be a good neighbor---and
help your pet to be one, too:
- People who don't own pets (and many
of us who do) get really annoyed by folks who don't clean up
after their pets. If your dog does her business on the neighbor's
lawn, or on public property, pick it up.
- Double ditto for roaming cats. The
big complaints here are dug-up gardens, urine smells from cats
spraying doors or exterior walls, and footprints on cars (in
about that order, according to our not very scientific survey).
Help your cat to be a better neighbor by restricting his access
to other people's property.
- Our dogs' happy voices may be music
to our ears, but our neighbors, apparently, don't appreciate
the sound as we do. If you have a barker, figure out the problem.
Is the dog bored? Lonely? Then fix it. Your neighbors will thank
you. By the way, people mention daytime barking as often as they
do nighttime barking. Many people work nights or have toddlers
- Is your pet a neighborhood celebrity?
Along with the complaints we hear from households without pets,
we have a surprising number of people who stop by to tell us
about the neighborhood dog that stops on her daily walk to greet
them, and how it makes their day to visit with the pooch. Or
they'll tell us about the neighborhood cat who's added their
home to his evening "buffet line" and how much they
look forward to his visits. Your pet could be doing therapy work
right on your own street!
It's worth paying attention to our neighbors'
complaints. People who've had an unsatisfactory relationship
with a neighbor's pets are most likely to argue against public
dog parks and push for limits on numbers and kinds of pets that
we may keep. The truly sick amongst them may harm or even kill
your pet. Help your pet to be a model neighbor. The rewards may
surprise you. Return to archive index
Homemade and very efficient pooper-scooper:
- Acquire (buy, barter, search the garage
sales) a metal dustpan with a hollow, round, metal handle.
- Bend the hollow round handle up so
it's at nearly a 90 degree angle to the dustpan itself.
- Insert an old broomstick in the handle.
- Use an old hoe to scoop the poops from
the yard into the dustpan. Then you can easily deposit them in
a trash receptacle.
We've used lots of different products
designed to make yard clean up easier. In our humble opinion,
this homemade jobbie (we actually bought ours at a swap meet,
all put together, for a dollar) is easier to use than any of
the fancy gadgets we've tried. Return
to archive index
Managing the multiple pet household:
- Respect their hierarchy. At our house,
Gracie is top dog. Ti'i
is top cat. But Ti'i can still boss Gracie around. Animals
work out their pack structure, sometimes even across species.
Don't try to alter it.
- Don't intervene in minor squabbles.
Let the pets establish their social order. Do be prepared to
step in if a squabble turns into a real fight with threat of
- Develop routines with each animal.
Make special time for every one. Ti'i and Opie
like to share morning newspaper time with their mom. Glory
looks forward to an evening snuggle on the couch. Hina
looks forward to her humans' bedtime as a special quiet time
with her people.
- Routines that involve more than one
of your pets at a time can also help them bond. Gracie, Glory,
and Opie line up for "fruit time with dad" most every
evening. They look forward to a piece of apple or a grape and
they're learning that everyone gets a treat with a bit of patience.
This ritual works only with close human supervision.
Don't set up a situation where your pets compete for food. In
our home, the dogs eat on the front porch, the cats eat on the
kitchen counter, the pig eats in his little sleeping pen, and
the tortoise eats in her terrarium. If the dogs or cats weren't
good "sharers," we'd provide each dog or cat with a
"dining room" separate from the other.
- Provide enough bedding for each pet
to have its own favorite sleeping place.
- If you have cats, make sure they have
some privacy at the litter box. We use baby gates (the cats jump
over them) to keep the dogs and pig out of the cats' "bathroom."
This approach also prevents dogs from snacking out of the litter
box, which can pose a health hazard. You may need more than one
box if you have a two story home or more than one cat.
- Alter your pets. They'll get along
better. If you have more than one of the same species, have them
altered at the same time so they're both "recuperating"
and one isn't being disturbed by the other's attempts to play.
- Although each of your pets will win
a special place in your heart, and you may have a secret favorite,
try to be evenhanded in doling out walks, affection, play time,
and all the other goodies that our pets crave from us.
- If you scold as a form of discipline,
make it clear that you're scolding only one individual so the
others aren't confused as to your expectations.
- One of the real joys of opening your
home and heart to more than one animal, or to more than one species,
is that we gain a greater appreciation of their individuality.
Don't expect them all to be the same.
- Be extra vigilant about sanitation.
Wash your hands often, and keep your pets' living spaces clean.
Otherwise you may spread internal parasites or other bad things
between the animals. Return to archive
Keeping your pet's outdoor environment
- Clean up the poop. This simple step
provides an environment that's healthier for your pet and more
pleasant for everyone.
- Keep clean water available at all times
(this goes for outside cats, too).
- Make sure your pet has a warm dry place
- Include a soft place for your pet to
lie down. Lying on concrete or other hard surfaces is hard on
a dog's joints. An old blanket, sleeping bag, or extra dog bed
helps to keep your dog comfortable and healthy. Even if the dog
is free to come in and out and has a bed indoors, provide one
- Make sure that fences and gates are
secure so that your pet is safe in your yard.
- Remember that dogs are social and need
to be with their people. Please don't leave your pet outside
all the time. Return to archive index
Giardia lamblia or Giardia intestinalis are two names
for the same critter. Both people and pets can be infected with
giardiasis if the protozoan is consumed. People usually catch
giardiasis by drinking stream water (backpackers and hikers are
at special risk). Dogs and cats tend to pick it up from the environment.
One to two percent of pets shed the cysts that carry the protozoan
without any sign of infection themselves. In many-animal environments,
like shelters and kennels, the rate increases to about 10 percent.
Pets pick up the cysts that other animals have passed in their
feces and may become infected as a result.
The signs of giardiasis in pets are
a pale, soft, foul-smelling, greasy-looking stools, weight loss,
and loss of appetite. A specific diagnosis can be difficult,
because the cysts are shed in the stool intermittently. Some
vets will treat for the disease if they suspect it--improvement
of symptoms following treatment is seen as a validation of the
A vaccine is available against giardiasis
in dogs. If your dog spends a lot of time in an environment where
the risk of infection is increased (dog parks, kennels, on hikes
with you) you may discuss this option with your vet. Return
to archive index
pet dishes clean:
A quick little tip to promote good health:
when you do dishes, don't forget your pet's dishes. Bacteria
can grow in bits of food left behind, creating an unhealthy dining
experience for your buddy. Wash food and water dishes often--bowls
used for wet food should be washed between each meal. Use hot
soapy water and rinse thoroughly. This task is easier if you
have a good supply of dishes on hand. Look for them on sale or
order in quantity, so you have enough to keep clean bowls handy
for your pet.
While you're at it, be sure to disinfect
the cat's litter box each time you change it. A weak bleach solution
in water does a great job. Be sure to rinse thoroughly with plain
water after each cleaning. Return to
suggestions to promote healthy weight in your pets:
- Measure your pet's daily food ration.
Don't just "eyeball" it. It's easy to overfeed when
we estimate the daily amount we're feeding. Keep a measuring
cup with your pet's food supply for convenience.
- Make a walk or a play session part
of your daily routine. Your pet will enjoy the attention, and
you'll both be healthier for it.
- Eliminate "people food" from
your pet's diet.
- Make sure the food you're offering
is appropriate to your pet's age and activity level.
- Read labels. Know what's in your pet's
- Check with your vet before making any
drastic changes in your pet's diet or routine. Return
to archive index
toys and equipment for your pets:
Many of these things are either already
around your house or easy to find for next to nothing at a thrift
shop or tag sale. Take a look at our list--you're sure to find
something your pet will enjoy.
- Bean bag chairs--we have a few of these
around the house and the office. The dogs and cats love to sleep
on them; Opie the piglet likes to burrow beneath them. They're
covered in vinyl, so they're easy to clean. Our dogs especially
like to turn around in them a few times to make a comfy nest
for a nap.
- Paper bags and cardboard boxes--universal
favorites of cats. Sprinkle a little catnip inside for a special
- Treat balls--start with a clean, empty
plastic gallon milk carton. Punch a few holes through the plastic.
Toss some kibble or treats inside and replace the cap. Dogs will
push this toy around and around, waiting for a morsel to fall
out. Check to see that the holes will permit the treats to pass
- Frozen wash cloths--these make a nice
teething toy for puppies (or piglets) and adult pets often enjoy
them too. Just wet an old washcloth, roll it up, and put it in
the freezer. When it's frozen, offer it to the pet.
- Ice cubes in the water bowl--Our cats
will play for hours with ice cubes floating in their bowl.
- If you have a bird feeder, place it
outside within view of your housecat's favorite window. It's
like theater for cats.
We hope our little list has you thinking
of fun things for your pets that won't cost you a bundle. Send
us your suggestions and we'll post them here. Return
to archive index
a quiet moment with your pets over the holidays:
This week's tip is short and simple:
Remember to stop amidst the holiday buzz and give your best buddy
a little extra love. It'll do you both good. And keep your furry
friends inside on New Year's Eve, as fireworks could frighten
them (and "celebratory" gunfire could kill them). Best
wishes for a healthy and happy 2001 from the FTI
critters and their humans. Return
to archive index
Many cats enjoy a bit of "salad"
now and then. For your house cat (or your cat who goes out but
whose green buffet line is buried under snow) you can grow greens
for your cat. It's easy!
- Start with raw, whole grain as your
"seed." We've had good luck with barley, wheat, and
rye. You can buy these in bulk (you only need a little bit) at
a health food store if your local nursery doesn't carry these
types of seed.
- Select a pot and fill it with sterile
potting soil. Don't use soil with chemical fertilizer additives.
- Sprinkle the seed thickly over the
top of the soil.
- Moisten the soil, cover with clear
plastic wrap and place in a sunny window.
- As soon as the seeds sprout, remove
the plastic wrap. Keep the soil moist.
- In just a few weeks, you'll have a
stand of "greens" for your cat. Just set the pot down
where your cat can get to it.
- Start pots at two week intervals if
you want a steady supply.
- Catnip can be difficult to start from
seed, but most nurseries carry it in the herb department. A small
pot should only cost about $1.39.
- Keep this one where your cat can't
- Harvest leaves, spread them to dry,
and offer them to your cat.
- If you never take more than 1/3 of
the leaves at a time, the plant should live a long time. Catnip
is a perennial.
- Repot your catnip plant if it becomes
rootbound. Return to archive index
suggestions for ID tags:
- If your pet wears two ID tags, such
as a license and a tag with personal information, attach them
to the collar with separate d-rings or s-hooks. Our Gracie's
d-ring broke not long ago. She was at home at the time, so we
were able to retrieve both tags, but the hunt through the yard
would have been shorter if we'd only been looking for one tag.
And of course, if she had been lost, losing both tags in one
swoop would have been a disaster.
- No matter if it's one tag or more,
make sure that d-ring or s-hook is sturdy. You can bet we replaced
Gracie's tags on separate, more durable d-rings.
- If the noise of tags jingling disturbs
you, tape them together (information side out) to quiet them.
- If you have a pager or a cell phone,
list that number on your pet's personal identification. That
way, if the worst should happen and your pet becomes lost, you
can be out looking and still receive calls from people who've
seen or found your pet. Return to archive
about pets as holiday gifts:
- If you're thinking of a new pet for
your own family, good for you! They're a wonderful addition to
family life. Maybe the children have been begging for a puppy,
or your spouse has grown wistful over memories of a childhood
feline friend. But unless you're a hermit, please wait until
after the new year to bring the new pet home. Holidays are
busy, stressful times. Puppies and kittens need constant supervision
and you'll be up in the night to provide proper care. Is this
a burden you can meet during this hectic time of year? If you're
planning to adopt an adult pet, bravo. But even grown up dogs
and cats need extra TLC while they adjust to a new home. Both
babies and adults need special training to learn the rules at
your house, and if you wait to begin training until after the
holidays, the animal has had a week or so to learn habits that
you may not like. This makes the pet's job of learning the ropes
at your home much more difficult. Do everyone a favor and add
the new fur-face after the holiday season is over.
- If you're considering giving a gift
of a live animal to a friend or family member, be absolutely
certain that the recipient would welcome the specific animal
you have in mind. Are you willing to keep and care for the pet
for its lifetime if the recipient doesn't want it? If you're
not, better to choose another gift. Even if you're certain the
pet will be welcomed, you'll want to wait until after the holiday
to offer it to your intended recipient for all the reasons listed
So what's the solution? Present your
kids, spouse, partner, or friend with a stuffed animal representing
the gift and a "gift certificate" for an outing to
your local shelter (or other source
of pets--but we hope you'll start at the shelter) to choose the
new animal after the holiday is over. This way, you can present
your gift on the holiday, but the wonderful task of integrating
a new pet into the family is delayed until life at home has returned
to its routine. Return to archive index