Hazards in the House to Watch out for Cats

 

1. The washing machine and dryer

If you have laundry equipment in your house, it’s a prime target for curious cats looking for a snug spot for a nap. Because front-loading washing machines need to be kept open in order to avoid mold growth, this is a particular hazard. In order to keep your kitty safe, check inside your washing machine and dryer before throwing clothes in and starting a load of laundry. If possible, keep the door to your laundry room closed.

2. The oven

If you leave your oven open even a crack after you’ve finished baking your favorite meal, food-motivated cats will probably find a way to sneak inside, risking burns and even entrapment in search of a tasty morsel.

3. The refrigerator

It’s astonishingly easy for a cat to sneak past you and hop in the fridge while you’re putting food on the counter. If the seal on your fridge door is dirty or worn, a cat could find a way to open that door and hop inside — and once the door closes, he may not be able to open it again.

 

4. The cleaning-equipment cabinet

Like small children, cats just have to get into everything, and the stuff you use to clean your house is just as poisonous to cats as it is to kids. To prevent toxic tragedy, consider installing childproof latches on your cabinets that contain cleaning products and other hazardous materials.

5. Unfinished construction

If you’re remodeling your home, be sure your cat can’t get into the work area. I’ve known more than one cat that crawled behind wall board or into exposed roof rafters and curled up in a nice soft bed of insulation, only to find that they had been trapped once the renovations were finished.

If your cat goes missing indoors, look in any of these enclosed locations first. Then move on to closets and bureaus, and behind and under furniture.

 

Check Your Car

When the temperature drops, our outdoor and feral feline friends will be looking for comfortable and warm sleeping places, making car wheel wells or hoods particularly cozy nesting spots.  Before starting your car, tap on the hood, check the wheel wells and honk the horn.

Even cats that primarily live outdoors shouldn’t be exposed to the extreme elements and temperature drops.  If possible, try to transition your outdoor cat to indoor living a few months before the cold weather begins.  Some cats, including ferals, only feel safe outside and cannot be transitioned to indoor accommodations.  These guys still need a warm, dry shelter once temperatures dip below freezing.  Shelters can be as simple as a cardboard box lined with blankets or old sleeping bags, or a little more luxurious like a store-bought pet bed.  Try to place the shelter in a somewhat warmer location like the garage, a covered porch, or beneath a carport.  Preferably, placing the shelter off the ground will keep it warmer than if placed directly on the cold ground.  Always check the shelter’s bedding at least once a day to make sure it isn’t wet or frozen.

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How to Exercise Your Dog in Cold Weather

Wintry weather is no excuse to slack on your dog’s exercise. Dogs need physical activity every day, or else she’s at risk of becoming stressed, under-stimulated and overweight. If you don’t provide your pup with outlets for energy, they may develop behavioral problems such as whining, excessive barking, digging, chewing, biting or playing too rough, according to WebMD.

This doesn’t change just because Mother Nature turns down the thermostat. Some dogs have no problem braving the cold and snow, but others need encouragement to embrace chilly days and chilly play. Talk to your veterinarian about how strenuously and for how long you should exercise your pet. Your dog’s age, general health and characteristics of their breed’s physiology affect what she can comfortably and safely do.

 Make Time Outdoors           More Exciting

Upgrade a standard backyard romp to a trip to the dog park, a nature trail or another enticing locale. Or, just walk a different route than you usually do. Changes in scene excite and mentally stimulate your dog. You probably can’t go somewhere new and exciting every day, so introduce novel forms of play in your own yard. Pick up a few new toys or use items from your home and yard to design a doggy obstacle course. Also, arrange to take your dog out with other dogs, or hire a dog walker if necessary. When you go out, bring a few treats and use them to reinforce a positive cold-weather outdoor experience.

Know When It’s Too Cold

Providing fresh air, exercise and stimulation for your dog during the cold weather is important, but there is such a thing as too cold. As a general rule, if it’s too frigid for you, it’s probably too cold for your dog, too. Remember, young and senior dogs and those with conditions such as arthritis struggle even more in the cold. Watch for signs that your pooch can’t handle the deep chill; they can include shaking, cowering, repeatedly lifting up her feet and continuously trying to go back inside.

Indoor Exercise Options

For when it’s simply too cold out, or when other inclement weather or dangerous conditions won’t let you and your dog get outside, turn to indoor activities that encourage movement and stimulation. If you have a long enough hallway you can clear out, use it for a game of fetch or tug-of-war. Playing fetch up and down a stairway works well, too. Or, play hide-and-seek or put out a trail of treats for your dog to sniff and follow. Don’t overlook indoor options away from home, either. Pet spas, heated indoor dog pools and doggy exercise or yoga classes offer physical activity, mental stimulation and socialization, even when the weather outside is frightful.

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How To Teach A Cat Tricks with Treats:

Before you start the training session, there are a few things you need to know.  Always train your cat before he eats.  The reason for this is that you will be giving food treats to your cat as a reward and if he has already eaten, he will lose interest in earning the treat.

Be sure to choose your cats favorite treat as a reward.  If your cat doesn’t like the treat he is being given, he won’t give a lot of effort with the training.

Training Success Tips:

Train your cat in a quiet place.  You don’t want any distractions during the training session.

Be sure to keep the training sessions short.  Your cat doesn’t have a long attention span and will get bored or tired if you try teaching him tricks for too long.  Try to keep your training sessions within 10-15 minutes.

Be consistent.  Use the same trainer, same signals and same treats.

What Tricks Can I Teach My Cat?

The Touch Here Trick–

The goal of this trick is for your cat to touch an object with the command “touch.”

Supplies needed: You will need a table for the cat, an object such as a book and a reward.

  1. The first step here is for your cat to sit on the table. Place your object at the edge of the table in between you and your cat.

  2. Hold the reward in front of your cat.  The object should be in between the cat and the food.

  3. As your cat reaches for the food, if he steps on the object, tell him “touch, good touch.”

  4. If your cat does not touch the object, try to move the reward around so he will bat at it.

  5. Keep repeating until your cat touches or steps on the object several times in a row.

The Sit Command Trick-

The goal here is for your cat to sit on command.

Supplies needed: You will need a table for the cat, a positive signal such as the word “yes,” and a reward.

  1. Place your cat on the edge of the table and gently pat him so he is happy.

  2. Show your cat the treat and then give him the command “Boo Boo (your cat’s name), sit” and move the treat back and over his head.

  3. He will then tip his head back and will automatically sit to keep his balance.

  4. When he sits, say ‘sit, good sit.”  Then give him his treat.

  5. If your cat does not sit on his own, you can gently press down on his hindquarters.  Then tell him “sit, good sit.”  It may take several tries depending on how stubborn your cat is.

Remember, it’s also important to make sure your cat has enough items in their environment adding enrichment to their daily lives. This helps to ensure they aren’t becoming bored and having enough healthy stimulation throughout the day. Which will definitely help them to be able to focus more when it is time for them to focus during their training time with you.

Dogs and Music

 

I truly never knew that dogs listening to music was a thing until I started dog-sitting in L.A. As an owner left me with her poodle, Jimmy, she asked me to play Beethoven for him, especially if he started to bark or pace back and forth. As soon as she left, Jimmy indeed barked. And barked. And barked. But when I turned the music on, he stopped and laid on the couch. Magic. (“Moonlight Sonata” was his favorite — he’d go lie down in his bed for it — and I can’t listen to it now without thinking about him.) When Beethoven would end, Jimmy would bark, and we’d listen to it again.

As it turns out, Jimmy’s not the only dog who likes to relax by listening to music. One 2017 study from Psychology & Behavior even reported which types of of music dogs love most. It found that two genres, soft rock and reggae, caused dogs to be more relaxed and less stressed than others.

Just like with humans, it’s not only genre that matters for dogs, but volume. “Music can soothe, upset, or put your dog in a playful mood, depending on the type of music and the volume,” she explains. “Also, remember that dogs’ ears are much more sensitive than humans’, so be sure not to play any music too loudly.”

When choosing music for your dog, Bukovza also says to keep in mind that, since an adult dog has approximately the intelligence of a human toddler, a good rule of thumb is to consider whether you would play this music for a baby. “Pay attention to your dog’s reaction when you’re around. Some dogs have been known to howl along to their favorite songs,” he says. “If your dog shakes, whimpers, or pants as music is played, it’s making them anxious and needs to be changed, lowered, or turned off.”

She suggests playing classical music to relax your dog if they’re anxious, having separation anxiety, or need to sleep. If you need to drown out loud noises like construction or fireworks, however, reggae or classic rock may work better since they tend to have louder bass in their songs. Dr. Ochoa agrees with Bukovza, adding that music types can be used interchangeably, as long as the music you choose is louder than the noise you’re trying to drown out.