You have finally decided to bring home a new cat. What special things should you do to prepare your home and your feline friend?
Remember that “cats are very much creatures of habit,” according to the PetEducation.com article, “Bringing Home a New Cat or Kitten.” You will be bringing your cat into a new environment. “To make the transition as smooth as possible, take things slowly and give your cat plenty of time to get used to his new home.”
The article recommends the following:
• Make a veterinarian appointment and have your new cat checked, especially if bringing him into a home with other cats.
• Ensure you have a sturdy crate for travel.
• Place your cat’s food, water, scratching post, litter pan and toys in a quiet room where your cat can adjust before slowly introducing him to the rest of the home. “Cats are curious and most will soon come out to explore their surroundings,” the article said.
• When introducing your cat to the family, take it slow and bring in everyone separately.
• Slowly introduce other cats in the new home but first keep them apart.
“Don’t throw your pets together in a sink-or-swim situation and just hope they’ll work it out,” according to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) article “Introducing Your New Cat to Other Pets.”
Feed the animals on either side of a closed door to get used to each other and their smells. The HSUS advised to gradually move food “dishes closer to the door until your pets can eat calmly while standing directly on either side of the door.” Spend quality time with both old and new pets.
“The introduction process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, or even a few months in extreme cases,” the HSUS article said. “Be patient.”
With so many pet foods and treats out there, how do you know what is best for your pet? Couple that with various pet food recalls and the pet food industry can seem pretty scary. The best way to arm yourself? Research and check ingredients. Find out where your pet food is made and be aware of recalls.
Nowadays, convenience is important, but it isn’t always best. “By providing their pets with commercially available dry and moist foods and treats, owners are lulled into a false sense of security that their pet’s best health is being served,” Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMD, wrote in the article, “Pet Food: The Good, the Bad, and the Healthy,” at Petsafe.net. Mahaney, a holistic veterinarian, focuses on “quality of nutrients” and whole-foods diets at human-grade for his patients.
More pets consume high-processed foods and an overabundance of calories that lead to health problems ranging from obesity to diabetes, the article said. From recalls to toxic treats made in China, pets continue to get sick.
Mahaney said that more commercial dog and cat food is considered feed-grade making it lesser in quality to human-grade.
In the article, Mahaney recommends looking for the following in dry or wet food:
• Natural preservatives or none
• U.S.A. made
• Human-grade ingredients (not found on kibble)
The article advises to avoid the following:
• Corn and wheat gluten
• Meat and grain meals and by-products
• BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
• BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
• Food Dyes (Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6, 4-MIE)
• PG (Propylene Glycol)
• Rendered fat
According to the article, “What Pet Food Makers DON’T Want You to Know…” make a difference “by simply ignoring the labeling claims on commercial pet food.” Remember that “the longer the ingredient list, the more potential for filling your pet full of stuff that is biologically inappropriate, probably allergenic, and possibly toxic.”
Summers can be tough when it comes to keeping pets active, especially when temperatures are in the 90s and above. Many outdoor activities can be dangerous for pets in the excessive heat. However, it is still important to keep your pets moving, so what are the options?
Start with some fun indoor activities for your pets. In the article, “5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Active Indoors,” at Vetstreet.com, the following can keep your dog active in hot weather (or rainy and cold weather, too!).
• Inside games: Play different games using a variety of toys. Games can include tug, fetch or chase, especially if you have a basement or recreational room.
• Scavenging: Stuffed Kong toys are a fun choice. Or toss treats and ask your dog to “find it.”
• Play dates: Schedule times for your dog to play at another dog friend’s home or vice versa.
• Indoor agility course. “Create obstacles for your dog to navigate, much like he would on an agility course.”
Swimming may seem like an obvious active choice for the hot summer months. However, note that not all dogs like water or to swim. For those who do, here are some tips to keep your dog safe, according to the article, “Dog Swimming Safety Tips,” also at Vetstreet.com:
• Never leave your dog unsupervised near a backyard pool, pond or creek.
• Teach your dog to swim and show him the steps so he can get out safely.
• Provide a flotation device for dogs who are not great swimmers or who are old.
• Be aware of your dog, as he may tire and could become in danger of drowning.
• Provide enough drinking water.
Even when it’s hot, there are ways to ensure your dog can be active and have a great time.