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It’s an age-old question, but one that gets asked time and again. Should your cat be indoors or outdoors?

Some say allowing cats to roam outdoors allows them to be free, get exercise, breathe the fresh air and explore, while others say it can put cats in extremely dangerous situations.

How do you know what’s best? And can you protect your outdoor cats? Not to mention how can you ensure your indoor cats get the exercise and fresh air they seemingly only get from being outside?

First things first: Because of the likelihood for danger outdoors, indoor cats are safer. “The consensus among veterinarians and organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is that it’s wiser to keep cats indoors,” according to the WebMD article “Should You Have an Indoor Cat or an Outdoor Cat?”


Outdoor cats are at risk for a variety of potentially life-threatening situations such as being hit by a car, attacked or eaten by a predator, becoming severely injured or contracting disease, or being stolen.

Many cat owners are under the assumption they are doing what’s best for their feline by allowing him or her to roam free under the guise that it’s good for their cat to be outside. Many people even believe their cats won’t stray too far. But that’s just asking for trouble. There’s no way to predict what a cat might do in any given situation.

Some owners believe their cat could never become one who is indoors. “Many cats have successfully gone from outdoor-only or indoor/outdoor to indoor-only. The key, again, is making sure the indoor environment is just as interesting as outside — and being vigilant about preventing escape attempts,” according to “6 Reasons You Might Let Your Cat Out, And Why Not To.”

Then there are allergies, which some people use as an excuse to keep their cats outside. First find out from your doctor if that is true. You also want to ensure your cat is not bringing home anything you may be allergic to and “you can reduce the allergens in your home — even when your cat is indoor-only,” according to the article.

The safest place to keep your cat is indoors, and you can make your home a fun place for your feline. According to Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats, you can:

  1. Get another cat as a companion.
  2. Bring home some interactive play toys for physical and mental stimulation.
  3. Cats love to scratch, so make sure they can by providing enough scratching posts.
  4. Provide enough climbing places and perches.
  5. Got box? Cats love to hide, so simple boxes will fill that need.

If you really want to provide an outdoor environment, get creative and build our own indoor/outdoor cat atrium or catio attached to your home. This will allow your cat to be outdoors, but also be safe at the same time while under your watchful eye.

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Have a Heart And Ensure Your Pets Are Safe From Heartworm Disease

Heartworm is not something to be taken lightly, which is probably why there’s a special month to recognize what can be a very deadly disease if not caught early enough and treated. 

And April is that month. During National Heartworm Awareness Month, there is no better time to get educated about the disease and steps you can take to prevent it. 

Affecting dogs, cats, ferrets and some other mammals from coyotes and sea lions to even humans, which is rare, “heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world,” according to the American Heartworm Society. “It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body,” the website said. 

The American Heartworm Society offers important information: 

In Dogs:

1.      Dogs are “a natural host for heartworms.” The heartworms become adults, then mate and then have offspring. Without treatment the situation escalates and dogs can have hundreds of worms, which ends up in damage to the heart, lungs and arteries.

2.      Signs can include decreased appetite, weight loss, mild persistent cough and fatigue after moderate exercise. As the disease progresses, pets may experience heart failure and a swollen belly because of extra fluid in the abdomen.

3.      Have your dogs tested annually for heartworm, even if your dog is on heartworm prevention medicine. 

In Cats:

1.      Cats are an “atypical host” and the disease is different in them than it is in dogs as the worms typically do not mature to adults. Often it goes un-diagnosed. The immature worms can cause damage. The condition is heartworm associated respiratory disease. Remember, cats cannot use the same medication that dogs use to treat heartworm, so prevention is important.

2.      Either subtle or dramatic, signs in cats can include lack of appetite, weight loss, coughing, vomiting or asthma-like attacks.

3.      Much more difficult to detect in cats than in dogs, heartworm screening includes an antigen and an antibody test. “Because there is no approved treatment for heartworm infection in cats, prevention is critical,” the website said. 

The best thing you can do is discuss a heartworm prevention program with your veterinarian. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Heartworm is deadly and you don’t want to put your beloved pet in harm’s way.

Celebrate National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day And Adopt A Furry Family Member

Every day thousands of dogs and cats in local shelters across the nation are looking for homes.

Due to that sad fact, National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day was established every April 30 to bring awareness to those animals. It’s a way to try to get people to go out to their local shelter and adopt a dog, cat, puppy, kitten or even a bunny.

The “unofficial” holiday is hopefully catching on as an important day not only to bring the homeless pet problem to the forefront but to also attract more  people to shelters to adopt pets. 

According to the ASPCA, “There are about 13,600 community animal shelters nationwide that are indepenedent; there is no national organization monitoring these shelters.” In addition, according to the website: 

·         There are roughly 7.6 million companion animals who enter shelters yearly in the U.S.: 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats.

·         Every year 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats are euthanized.

·         About 2.7 million animals in the shelters are adopted: 1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats. 

With those numbers, it is plain to see there are so many more animals needing homes. It’s a great idea to have a holiday to remind people to go out and adopt a shelter pet.

To try to help make National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day a national holiday, you can send a letter to the President. Click here for more information.

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What’s Good For You Isn’t Always Right for Your Pet

Our pets mean the world to us. They make us happy; they make us whole. It is easy to get carried away with how much love we want to give. But it’s imperative that we keep them safe at all times. Sometimes we don’t realize all the poisonous things our dogs and cats can get into just around our own homes. There’s no better time to remind us of prevention tips than in March, Poison Prevention Awareness Month. From plants and household cleaners to food and even chewing gum, your own home can be hazardous to your pet’s health. 

The ASPCA has poison prevention tips so you can keep your pets safe. The following are some important tips to alert you to what’s OK and what’s not when it comes to your furry family members: 

·         Plants are beautiful, and with spring just around the corner it’s time for lilies. Did you know that many lily plants are toxic to cats? It’s better to be safe than sorry; so check for the ones to keep away from your pets, along with other plants that can be toxic.

·         Here are some of the foods to keep away from your pet: alcoholic beverages, chocolate, avocado, macadamia nuts, raisins and grapes, yeast dough, coffee, fatty foods, onions, salt, and moldy or spoiled foods, and chewing gun containing Xylitol.

·         Say no to ibuprofen and other prescribed people meds. They can be deadly.

·         Do your research on flea-control products and their proper use, and never use one on cats that is meant for dogs and vice versa.

·         Anti-freeze can be deadly so keep it away from your pets.

·         When tending to your lawn, ensure your pets don’t get into insecticide or weed killer. Read the labels and follow directions!

A comprehensive list of products along with a 24-hour emergency line is available through the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC). Stay on top of things to keep your pets safe.


Hope Springs Eternal Allergies: Get Your Pets to Stop Scratching that Itch

Coughing. Sneezing. Teary Eyes. Yep, it’s that time of year. Allergy season is upon us. However, it’s not just people who experience seasonal allergies that can start in the spring and hang on until the fall. Our pets are susceptible as well, although they often experience different symptoms. 

There are 10 signs that your dog may be suffering from allergies. Take note so you can be aware and get your dog the help and relief necessary:

1.      Itching

2.      Irritated and red skin

3.      Constant licking

4.      Rubbing face on objects

5.      Hair loss

6.      Hot spots

7.      Red and smelly ears

8.      Shaking the head

9.      Red skin

10.  Puffy eyes 

If you notice any of the above signs, it is important to take your dog to your veterinarian for a checkup to find out the cause and then discuss solutions. 

Signs to look for in cats with allergies include:

·         Scratching leading to skin conditions “due to the release of an immunoglobulin called IgE.”

·         Hair loss

·         Scabs

·         Open sores

·         Ear discharge

·         Excessive scratching 

Before you do anything, and that includes medicating with an antihistamine, stop right there! Never administer meds before consulting your veterinarian as it can prove dangerous to your cat. Your cat could also be allergic to flea saliva, but again, consult with your vet.

In all manner of treatment for your pets when it concerns allergies, defer to the experts and discuss with your veterinarian about the right plan to get your furry family member back on track and feeling better.


Make the Right Litter Go a Long Way

Right from the start cats know instinctively to do their business in a litter box. It is one of the great things that comes along with having cats. It is also important to remember that cats are finicky. How can we forget? We can’t. They remind us every day. They can even be fussy about their litter box. Keeping the perfect litter box is not only good for your feline, it is also great for you and your home, too. 

From cleanliness to location of the litter box, there’s a lot to take into consideration. Here’s some litter box tips from The Humane Society of the United States: 

1.      Location is key. The litter box doesn’t have to be in some remote, dark area. The litter box should provide privacy and convenience. Don’t place it near “noisy or heat-radiating appliances.” Never place near food or water bowls. Place a litter box on each floor of your home. If it’s behind a door, be sure the door is kept open.

2.      With all the different cat litters out there, do your research. “Fine-grained litters” are popular with cats and are softer to the touch.

3.      Forget the scented litter as it can be a turn off to many cats. “A thin layer of baking soda placed on the bottom of the box will help absorb odors without repelling your cat.” The best thing you can do is to keep the box regularly clean.

4.      How many boxes? It depends on how many cats in the home. “The general rule of paw is one litter box for each cat in the home, plus one more.”

5.      To cover or not to cover… Some cats won’t even use a covered litter box, so give both a test run.

6.      Your cats are clean, so keep the litter box up to par. Scoop out daily. Replacing litter depends on how many felines are in the home, number of boxes and the type of litter.

7.      Never punish your cat if litter box problems arise. First things first: Rule out medical conditions with your veterinarian. 

Great litter box care equals a happy cat, and a happy home.