Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cats: Indoor - Outdoor

Cats love the great outdoors. But humane associations agree that an indoor life is far healthier for them--they're safe from outdoor hazards, and their people tend to pay closer attention to them and notice signs of health problems earlier. The upshot? A much longer life span. An all-indoor cat lives an average of 10 to 14 years, whereas a cat who's allowed to roam is likely to survive just two to five years.

The one absolute law when making the indoor-outdoor decision: Declawed kitties should be kept inside. They can't defend themselves from dogs, other cats, or predators, making the outdoors even riskier. But if your kitty's got his claws and you're still on the fence about whether to let him outdoors, here's what to consider.

Indoor cats: drawbacks and benefits

Indoor cats won't:

  • get hit by a car
  • get lost
  • be attacked by dogs, other cats, and predators
  • eat poison left out by unthinking or malicious neighbors
  • pick up parasites like fleas and ticks
  • catch diseases spread by other cats

But there are disadvantages, too:

  • they're more likely to get fat, which is bad for their health
  • boredom can make them destructive, depressed, or lazy
  • they don't get to enjoy the pleasures of the outdoors

Outdoor cats: Drawbacks and benefits

Cats with outside privileges can enjoy:

  • more exercise
  • more stimulation from the outside world
  • the pleasure of fresh air and sunshine

But there are plenty of serious down sides:

  • getting hit by cars
  • getting lost
  • attack by dogs, other cats, or predators
  • poison left out by unthinking or malicious neighbors
  • parasites like fleas and ticks
  • diseases spread by other cats

Safety tips for outdoor cats

Your best bet is to build a large enclosure in your yard where your cat can enjoy being outside, watch birds and squirrels, and do some climbing, yet be safe from all the risks of the outdoors. You can find ready-made enclosures at Kittywalk systems or Wild Whiskers.

If you want to let your cat enjoy the whole yard, you can install special fencing to keep him safely enclosed, such as the Purrfect Fence or Cat Fence-In.

If you let your cat roam outside, microchip him for identification and outfit him with a reflective, breakaway collar and current identification tags.

Keeping an indoor cat entertained

To liven up an indoor cat's environment, give him access to at least two of the following:

  • a floor-to-ceiling cat post for his climbing pleasure
  • at least one windowside perch that gives him a view of a bird feeder or other outdoor wildlife
  • an aquarium that he can enjoy watching but not fall into
  • interactive toys that require him to use his brain and his physical skills to acquire treats
  • daily playtime, petting, and training
  • a tall, heavy-duty scratching post that allows him to stretch, sharpen his claws, and leave his signature scent from the glands in his paws

Bottom line:
Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives, but if you want to let your kitty outside, there are safer ways to do it.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dogs Need Toys

Dogs Need Toys

Dogs were originally bred to hunt, yet most of our household pets seldom get the chance to do more than bark at the mail carrier. In order to prevent your pooch from ruining your new stilettos, invest in some fun dog toys!

Toys give your dog the chance to chew, tussle, pull and chase without harming your household. They can save you big money and headaches. Plus, they're fun!

Some dog-toy tips:

  • Look for toys that are the right size for your dog. A big dog can get small toys lodged in its throat, while a small dog may become frustrated at trying to chew or carry a toy that's too big.
  • A young, active dog will likely destroy many toys. Supervise playtimes and take away any toy that begins to fall apart, to prevent swallowing stuffing or other parts. (And take heart -- many dogs get better at preserving their toys as they get older.)
  • One excellent toy is a hard rubber cylinder. To make it more appealing to your dog, fill the inside with broken-up treats or peanut butter (or both!). The dog will have to chew vigorously to get at the yummy things inside, and can stay busy for hours with this.
  • If you have to spend several hours a day away from your dog, wear an old T-shirt for a few hours, long enough for it to get your scent, then place the shirt in the dog's bed before you go away. The dog may chew holes in the shirt, but will find it comforting and pleasant to have your scent around.
  • Keep a few new toys around for days when the weather won't let your dog exercise outside. On those days, the dog's "workout" can involve finding or fetching a toy.
  • Play with your dog every day. It helps keep the dog fit, cements the bond between you and you might find it's a very good stress reliever as well!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Some truths about dogs

Can a Chihuahua and a Great Dane mate? Why do dogs lift their leg when they pee? or How toxic chocolate is really? These are just some of the questions that we sometimes asked. Find out what were the answers from the common pet lovers and find out the answers from animal experts from this video.