In “5 Keys to Decoding Your Cat’s Body Language,” an article at Vetstreet, “Because feline communication signals are easily misread — or missed altogether — cats are often incorrectly labeled as temperamental and moody.”
Learn to detect your cat’s behaviors by being in tune to various signals. The article talks about five ways to help you figure out what your cat is trying to say:
- The tail is a good way to measure mood. A loose tail usually means content while a tail held high can mean happy. A tail that slightly moves, twitches or wags can be a sign of interest, and a fast-moving more forceful tail can mean agitation.
- Forward ears and slightly to the side mean your cat is most likely relaxed. When they prick forward they are interested or excited. Nervous cats may have fast-twitching ears while a fearful cat may pin back her ears.
- A content cat’s pupils will be of normal size. When at ease your cat “may make eye contact and will hold the gaze for a while,” the article said. When your cat is aroused, the pupils may change shape.
- A relaxed cat’s “whiskers are set out from her face, where they are less noticeable,” the article said. The whiskers might move out and forward if the cat is interested.
- Relaxed cats breathe slowly and claws are tucked away. When a cat becomes more agitated, her muscles are more tense. Cats who are scared may slow down and “drop low to the ground” but “may speed up … in an attempt to get away.”
Keep in tune and learn how to read your cat; the more you know the better your relationship.
When taking your pet along for a car ride, whether it’s a short trip to the vet or a longer road trip, safety must come first. There’s a number of things to keep in mind. You don’t just want to throw your pet in the back seat. Not to mention, not all animals like to travel, so sometimes it can be stressful for you and your pet.
Here are some tips as suggested from the ASPCA’s article “Travel Safety Tips:”
- For long trips, get your pet adjusted by taking her on shorter rides before the big one, and increase the length each time. Be sure to take vaccination records if going across state lines.
- Secure your pet’s safety in a carrier or crate with proper ventilation. Ensure the crate is large enough so your pet can “stand, sit, lie down and turn around in,” the article said. Also make sure the crate is secure so it cannot shift or slide. Never allow your pet to ride freely while sticking her head out the window. Research proper harnesses or restraints if forgoing a crate.
- Bring your pet’s food, bowl, leash, plastic bags, medications and first aid kit. Take your pet’s toys, grooming supplies and lots of bottled water. Feed your pet about three to four hours before departure.
- Never, ever leave your pet alone in the car. “On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop,” the ASPCA article said. “In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.”
In addition, find important information about pet seats and rule out the ones that do not work. Go to the Center for Pet Safety.
Dog parks can be all the rage for some dogs and pet parents, but they also can be a nightmare for others. While many dogs love to run around and play with other canines in a social setting, it’s just not for everyone.
In the WebMD article “Dog Park Safety: What to Know Before You Go,” Susan Nelson, DVM, clinical associate professor at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, discusses how dog parks are great places for dogs to exercise and learn important social skills.
Before you let your dog off leash, ensure he will be safe by checking out the park first, the dogs and owners that attend and see if it seems comfortable. Nelson advises to check out fencing, making sure it’s sufficient and to look for anything at the park that can hurt your dog. In addition, Nelson suggests dog parks that have separate areas for small and large canines. Large dogs can easily hurt the smaller ones, and “may see small breeds as prey, not playmates,” the article said.
Nelson also said that is it very important that your dog is well-socialized and not fearful. A dog who is scared will not have fun and the situation could be scary. Also, never take a dog in heat to a dog park.
Other tips for the dog park include:
- Pick up after your dog.
- Bring fresh water.
- Keep a watchful eye on your dog at all times and leave the park if you detect any sign of a problem with another dog.
- Ensure your dog is up to date on vaccinations.
- Consider flea and tick control as they can be prevalent at parks. Discuss this with your veterinarian.
Keep your eyes and ears open, and you and your dog can have a great park experience.