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Courtesy of Ingrid KingImage

“Cats have a reputation for being low maintenance, which is probably one of the many reasons why they have surpassed dogs as the most popular pet in America. Unfortunately, because of this reputation, many people think cats don’t need as much attention as dogs do. They couldn’t be more wrong. 

Play is vitally important to a cat’s mental and physical health, and it’s especially important for indoor cats. Even though cats may sleep up to 16 hours a day, when they’re awake, they need stimulation, and the best way to accomplish this is with play. In the wild, when lions, tigers and other wild cats aren’t sleeping, they’re either hunting, or teaching their young to hunt. And play is nothing more than channelling your domestic tiger’s hunting instinct into play.

Benefits of Play

  • Exercise. Obesity is the number one health problem in cats. According to a recent survey, 55% of America’s cats are overweight or obese. In addition to feeding a species-appropriate raw or canned diet, exercise is the best way to keep your feline charges fit and trim.
  • Relief of boredom. Cats who don’t get challenged or entertained get bored, which can lead to depression. This can be a problem especially for single cats. I learned this the hard way when Amber died shortly after I adopted Allegra as a 7-month-old kitten. We both learned together what it takes to keep a single cat happy.
  • Stress relief. You may wonder what our pampered house cats could possibly be stressed about. Feline stressors range from changes in their environment to picking up on stress from their humans. One of the best ways to counteract stress in cats is through regular playtime.
  • Help with behavioral challenges. If you watch Jackson Galaxy on My Cat from Hell, you will have noticed that “play therapy” is part of Jackson’s recommendations in almost every case he tackles.
  • Increase of the bond between cat and human, and between cats in the same household. Cats chasing each other and playing with each other is a great way to build a bond between cats in the same household. Playing with interactive toys is a wonderful way to increase the bond between you and your cat.

Creative Playtime for Cats

Toys that simulate play and satisfy a cat’s innate hunting drive will be most effective for creating a fun play experience for your cat that also helps her burn off excess energy. Even though there are lots of cute little catnip filled toys on the market, simply placing one in front of your cat and hoping that she’ll play with it doesn’t work with most cats. Interactive, fishing pole type toys such as theNeko Flies or DaBird are the best way to get your cat playing with you, and to satisfy her hunt/prey instinct. 

Certified Cat Behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett provides wonderful advice on how to make all the right moves with interactive toys in her article on Interactive Play Therapy:

How you move the interactive toy is important. Don’t wave it around frantically just to give your cat an aerobic workout. That’s not how cats naturally hunt. Stick to what’s natural for your cat. In the wild, a cat would stalk her prey while staying as quiet and invisible as possible. She would inch closer and closer and then, when she gets within striking distance, she would pounce. Cats don’t have the lung capacity to chase to exhaustion so don’t conduct marathons throughout the house. Move the toy like prey, alternating between fast and slow motions so it gives your cat time to plan her next move. Here’s a tip: movements that go away from or across your cat’s visual field will trigger her prey drive. Don’t dangle the toy in her face or move it toward her.

 

Interactive puzzle toys can be a great way to keep your cats entertained and mentally stimulated when you can’t play with them. The toys are designed to be filled with treats, and they challenge kitty to retrieve the treats through varied openings in the toys. 

Rotate toys in and out. Don’t keep the same toys out in the same spot all the time – this will almost guarantee that your cats will get bored with them. Put some toys away for a week or two, and then bring them out again. Your cats will think they got a brand new toy. Of course, you don’t want to do this if your cat has a favorite toy that she plays with all the time. I’ve turned my family room into a giant kitty playroom. There’s is no human furniture in the room, only cat trees, scratchers, and a ton of cat toys. Every once in a while, I’ll take some things away, bring out others, and rearrange everything to keep Allegra and Ruby interested. 

Cat toys don’t need to be expensive. To a cat, almost everything can become a toy: grocery bags with the handles cut off, boxes, toilet paper rolls, milk carton tops, tissue paper – in a cat’s mind, these were all just made to be played with. Some cats enjoy chasing bubbles, or batting Q-tips around the bathtub. Think like a cat, and you may be surprised at the things you already have in your home that make the purr-fect cat toy. 

Make time for one or two play sessions, 10-20 minutes in length, each day. You and your kitties will find that you’ll look forward to these session every day.   

 

©Ingrid King 2014. All Rights Reserved. 

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Santa Baby- Tabitha the Kitty

Another wonderful picture of Tabitha the Christmas Kitty!

This Tracker uses advanced GPS, an accelerometer, and wireless technology to help people locate and track the activities of their pets. Apps are available on your phone.

(Re-Print Courtesy of abc-news) http://www.pettracker.com/community/articles/abc-news

September 23rd, 2012

“Dogs now have the Tagg. Okay, well maybe humans now have the Tagg to track their dog’s fitness activity,” explains Joanna Stern from ABC News. Stern notes how Tagg—The Pet Tracker’s Activity Tracking feature captures a “24-hour view of the dog’s fitness activity” by using an accelerometer in the device which tracks the intensity and duration of the activity, from running to sleeping. Tagg’s Dudley Fetzer also provides commentary to this article, saying the feature “gives owners a way to engage with the product and is something you can also talk to your vet about.”

Your Neighborhood Pet sitter supports all products that protect your dog and increase the opportunity to recover a lost pet.  We offer daily dog walks and exercising in the Greater Atlanta area.  Give your pet a nice break while you are away working Monday through Friday. 

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Zip codes served in Georgia
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30338  Dunwoody
30350 Sandy Springs, Roswell
30075 Roswell
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Turkey Tips for Pet Owners from the ASPCA

Reprinted courtesy of ASPCA http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/thanksgiving-safety-tips.aspx

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

‘Tis the season for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also for possible distress for our animal companions. Pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink.

Check out the following tips from ASPCA experts for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too.

Talkin’ Turkey 
If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

Sage Advice 
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delish, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough 
Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake 
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Too Much of a Good Thing 
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

A Feast Fit for a Kong 
While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

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Sunday, October 21st was a clear, cool and beautiful day for the Furkids Picnic and Party to benefit small dogs adoption and their no kill shelter!  There were contests, lots of dogs, plenty of food and more.  Your Neighborhood Pet Sitters met Max, PIctured above in a crate.  Max is adorable and ready for adoption!  The picture on the right is the adorable Lilly, who is a Furkids rescue alumni.  She was wearing the perfect sundress and bows for the occasion an looking so cute!  Put this Atlanta event on your calendar next year and maybe you will win the raffle or find a new member for your pet family.  To find out more about Furkids, visit, furkids.org

http://www.yourneighborhoodpetsitter.com

 

ImageRead

A must Read and enjoy, the Huffington Post Reviews Seth Casteel’s new coffee table book “Underwater Dogs”.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/14/underwater-dog-photos-seth-casteel_n_1277404.html

 

 

One of my weekly dog visits is with an adorable six month old German Shepard Chow rescue mix.  Her name is Addy and she is very bright.  Her “mom and dad” are first time adult puppy owners.  Recently they brought home a smart squirrel toy for their dog.  http://www.ihelppets.com/Products/Hideasquirrel.html.  Addy has taken to this game with amazing enthusiasm and concentration.  The game has three adorable squirrel toys that are hiding in a plush “squirrel tree”.  Addy’s job is to get the squirrels and remove them from the tree.  It is so much fun to play with her when I visit her for her daily pet sitting walks.  The puzzle solving dog game helps develop intelligence and keeps her young mind busy. She is challenged to focus on the task at hand and in the process fun, entertainment and bonding take place between humans and canines.

All animals can benefit from smart toys and smart play and you don’t have to spend money.  I know that every pet owner can relate to what I have experienced with my kitten, Jasper.  I buy a toy and bring it home, completely excited…and sadly she wants nothing to do with it.  Instead she wants to hang out on my vanity when I am primping and steal my hair scrunchies.  I have given in and now refer to one of my velour silver hair scrunchies as “her baby”.  I place the scrunchy on faucets, door handles and more and encourage her to find a way to remove it.  Which she does and proudly prances away with the pitifully stretched scrunchy dangling from her mouth.  Purina offers advice on their blog about puzzles and smart play.  http://www.petcentric.com/Read/Articles/Smart-Active-Cats.aspx?articleid=89c401d6-3362-432a-b475-3c3ae00e3f79

“In addition to the usual cat games, where you dangle a cat toy or pull something on a string, try some games that make her think. Dangle a favorite cat toy over a high surface, so she has to figure out how to get up there. Hide treats in places that are a little difficult to get to. Start simple, by placing one under a can or cup. Work your cat’s mind up to solving more complex problems such as getting a treat out of a small box with an easy-to-remove lid. Hide small treats in various places throughout your house.”

If you want to hire a sitter or pet trainer in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area, visit www.yourneighborhoodpetsitter.com

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