Most people believe that cats are generally stressed out.
The truth is that a cat’s normal state shouldn’t be stressed. She should be happy and relaxed! If kitties are constantly showing signs of stress and anxiety, we should do everything that we can to help them feel better.
How can you tell if your feline is stressed? Generally the signs are subtle. Oftentimes, it’s a slight change in behavior that may not even seem to be related to anxiety.
Some of the more common signals include:
NOTE: Understand and be aware that these signs and symptoms are symptomatic of other medical conditions as well, so don’t be too quick to assume you’re dealing with feline anxiety. Always check with your veterinarian if you are not sure.
Hypothetically, let’s say your kitty is exhibiting one or more of the above signs of anxiety. You’ve brought her in for a check-up and medically, everything checks out. What next?
First, try to pinpoint sources of the stress and eliminate them, if possible. Humans tend to view these changes through our own lens, so it’s important to remember that unexpected things can be at the root of your cat’s stress.
The most obvious reason is physical pain. Some other obvious reasons include changes in living conditions such as a divorce, family relocations, introduction of a new companion animal, or an arrival of a new baby. There are also smaller changes that trigger anxiety: new furniture, a neighbor’s dog barking, a dirty litter box, denial to access to their favorite location, a neighborhood tomcat, even music they don’t like! So there are many things big or small that can cause anxiety.
Boredom is a constant stressor for housecats so it's easy to provide lots of vertical space for exploration. Most all cats love being elevated. Home-built or store-bought cat trees are an easy solution. Puzzle feeders are also a good source of entertainment because the puzzle feeders appeal to their hunting instinct. Some people use pheromone diffusers or sprays that can have a calming effect on some facts.
Lastly, make sure your kitty is getting daily interaction and enrichment directly from you. Being a good kitty parent builds your kitty's confidence and forms deeper bonds and connections.
Believe it or not, many feline behaviorists recommend clicker training as a fantastic way to bond with your kitty. This gives kitty a sense of control over her environment and offers the promise of a yummy kitty treat. Cats can learn amazing tricks with clicker training. (See Video below that I grabbed off the internet. It's general but you can get the idea how easy it is to clicker train a cat.)
(I clicker trained my black Kitty named Naughty. Naughty learned how to weave through obstacles, jump over hay bales, run through a tube, crawl under a bar and much more. For a different blog post and speaking of clicker training, I also clicker trained my Indian Runner Ducks.)
Always set aside some one-on-one time bonding time with your cat in the space where she is most relaxed. Learn to bond every day at the same time because cats are true creatures of habit. Bond with no distractions which means leaving your phone in another room and turning off the TV. Brush, pet, sing, clicker train just do whatever pleases your cat the most. It’ll be good for both of you!
A happy cat will make you happy too! If you feel that your cat is suffering from stress or anxiety, try some of these suggestions to help them live a more “purr-fect” life.
One of the best ways to minimize the likelihood of chronic medical conditions is to feed your cat a high quality, appropriate diet.
We recommend two great cat food and kitty treat brands that you should check out:
(I would like to thank the fine people at Life's Abundance for providing some of this important information.)
Learn How to Clicker Train your Kitty
Why Feed Grain Free Dog Food
When you eat well, you feel well. The same is true for our canine friends.
Chances are you know at least one person who has gone gluten or grain free. But what about our best furry friends?
A Brief History of Grain-Free Dog Food
Years before dog food was dished up from a bag into cute doggie dishes, dogs would hunt and capture raw, protein-rich meals.
Just like the theory behind the human Paleo Diets, protein-based, grain-free dog foods more closely mimic a dog's natural or “ancestral” diet as a carnivore.
With the introduction of mass-produced dog food kibble made available around the 1940's, inexpensive fillers like corn, wheat and barley were added to dog food to create bulk and keep costs down.
All these years later, commercial dog foods still list corn or wheat as one of the main ingredients.
The canine digestive system is still fairly primitive. Dogs have little natural digestive support to break down and metabolize complex carbohydrates and cereal grains so most of the fibers and grains remain somewhat undigested within the dog's digestive system relying mainly on fermentation to break them down. Over a long period of time, this type of digestion may damage the lining of the digestive system, resulting in bowel inflammation disorders, food sensitivities, food allergies, leaky gut and obesity.
So with the above in mind, doesn't it make sense to feed your best furry friend a grain free diet?
We recommend Life's Abundance All Life Stage Grain Free Dog Food
This grain-free food is special in that it is formulated for all life stages. It's packed with nourishing, wholesome, high-quality ingredients. It is perfectly balanced with all of the proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients your pet kid needs to thrive -- without the grains.
Here's just a few noteworthy facts about Life's Abundance Grain Free Dog Food.
What to do if your Mature Dog is Showing Signs of Aging
(Dr. Jessica Vogelsang from Life's Abundance take an in-depth look at how canine cognition changes as dogs age, and provides tips to help keep them healthy and sharp.)
I can't tell you how often I ask pet parents about their senior dog and the response is she is okay, but I guess she's just getting old.
I love this conversation opener, because it tells me two things. One, the pet parent is paying enough attention to know something has changed, even if they don't think it's anything to be concerned about. Two, there's probably something I can do to help!
All living things grow old. The aging process is complicated and messy, encompassing a variety of genetic and environmental factors. Some we can control, others we can slow down, and the remainder we just manage the best we can. The good news is, there's almost always something we can do to make a companion animal feel better.
When we think about what it means to be old, most of us jump to the most obvious complaint of age aches and pains. The body stiffens, the joints dry out, the discs in our spines shrivel up, and we end up shuffling around like Carl from the movie "Up". Almost all senior dogs develop symptoms of osteoarthritis, which is one of the reasons I recommend joint supplements for seniors. If a pet parent says, He won't climb the stairs anymore; or, He doesn't want to go for long walks, then I know we are likely dealing with pain.
But what about cognitive dysfunction, the age-related decline in neurologic function? Referred to as canine cognitive dysfunction; in veterinary medicine, some laypeople call it doggie Alzheimers. While the symptoms can be similar to what humans experience, it's not exactly the same thing.
Unfortunately, cognitive decline is quite common in senior dogs. More than half of all dogs over the age of 11 show at least one clinical sign. Since we don't know for certain all the biological changes that occur in an aging brain, we describe canine cognitive dysfunction as a collection of symptoms:
For many years, we simply accepted this condition as a price for living a long life. However, we are learning that there are ways we can actually decelerate cognitive decline in dogs.
One way veterinarians manage cognitive dysfunction in dogs is through medications. Certain drugs that increase the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine may improve brain function. In fact, the same drug used by dogs can also be used to treat Parkinson's.
The other way we manage cognitive decline is through the nutrition and personal attention we provide our dogs. New and exciting research is showing that certain types of antioxidants and dietary ingredients can positively impact the brain function of senior pets!
I love this because these are safe, easy changes we can use to improve the aging process for all our senior friends:
Why Fee your dog pawTree pawTreats?
Unlike most dog treats on the market today that are made up of empty calories and fillers which are high in carbohydrates, pawTreats are made with real meat and complementary fruits and vegetables. They don't contain any fillers. None whatsoever!
pawTreats are all natural and completely grain free.
They are available in freeze-dried or dry-roasted varieties to preserve the goodness of the wholesome ingredients.
pawTree Treat Benefits
Why why we believe that pawTree® is a better dog treat:
More about the Freeze-Dried Process:
Freeze-dried is the closest to real food that you can get in a shelf stable form. pawTree freeze-dried treats are minimally processed so all the goodness stays in. First the meat is ground and fruits and vegetables are mixed in. Next, the ingredients are formed into their shape and then frozen.
Freeze drying is the process where the product is put into a frozen state and then into a freeze dryer -- a large chamber that is pressurized and takes the meat directly from the frozen state to a dry state (skipping the "wet" state). The product is taken to a very dry level where it is shelf stable, and resistant to rancidity or growth of bacteria or mold.
More about the Dry-Roasted Process:
Dry-roasted treats are similar to jerky treats. The meat is ground and formed and then put into a dry roaster. It takes about 15 hours to fully dehydrate the meat to the proper consistency to meet pawTree's standards. These dry-roasted treats are 100% meat - 100% goodness.
pawTree Treats can be ordered directly from pawTree.
What to do if you are switching your dog's food from one brand to another.
Don't switch your pet's food all at once. Here's why! Some pets have a sensitive stomach and switching cold turkey is not always best.
Changes to your dog's diet should be made gradually. It is recommended taking about 7 days to mix increasing amounts of the new food in with decreasing amounts of the old brand to reduce the chances that your dog will develop an upset stomach or refuse to eat.
This tip goes for cat's too!
Lets Celebrate Kitties and their love for catnip.
Most cats love catnip. In fact, they go crazy for it.
Many cat toys contain catnip. How can you as a kitty parent tell if its fresh?
One simple to determine if a catnip is fresh is by color and fragrance. Fresh milled catnip is greener in color and it has a fresh minty fragrance. If catnip is dull gray green or gray in color it's not fresh and it's likely been in the warehouse or sitting on a shelf for a very long time.
CityCats.biz offers a fresh, organic catnip. Organic means that it does not contain pesticides or herbacides like other non-organic catnip. No herbacides or pesticides means that it is not chemically harmful to "the one you truly" love.
CityCats.biz catnip is grown organically in Washington and packaged in Montana by a family owned business. Learn more about it by clicking one of the links below.
Life's Abundance Dog Food Samples
Paws Up for Life's Abundance Dog Food. It's by far the most favorite pet food for all the dogs and cats at Rose Creek Ranch.
It's special because it has never, ever been on a recall list. It's made with fresh, wholesome ingredients to promote your dog and cat's health.
Don't believe me! Try a sample now. They cost about $1.00 per sample.
You don’t like to eat the same thing every day, and neither does your dog or cat. Pets crave variety, but changing their food daily may lead to an upset tummy.
"pawPairings Superfood Seasoning" allows you to give your best four legged friend a different taste sensation at every meal WITHOUT stomach upset! pawPairings is a delicious topper you sprinkle on their food that adds a boost of delicious nutrition and variety to every meal. Each variety includes a delectable freeze-dried single-source protein (either meat, poultry or fish) and a concentrated source of 8 fruits and vegetables that are truly Yappetizing!
Now you can easily change up their meals every day. So give your pets a break and just shake, shake, shake!
pawPairings is Recommended for:
If You are interested in learning more, visit: PawTree.com/orders
Informative pawPairing Superfood Seasoning Video
If You are interested in learning more, visit: PawTree.com/orders
Mr. Darcy is not just any Mini Donkey!
We think he is pretty special and he has brought happiness and joy to our family and friends. He has provided so much fun and a lot of good times into our lives for over 12 years. Seriously, we don't know what we would do without him.
Is a Paleo Diet Good for Dogs?
(Portions of this blog post were provided by Dr. Jane from the Life's Abundance Blog)
Pet parents know how overwhelming it is to choose the right food for their dog. There is so much conflicting information:
Paleo diets have been in the news for human nutrition for the past few years. While there isn’t any one definition, the general idea is that if a caveman didn’t eat it, neither should you (or in this case, your dog). In its most basic sense, paleo diets avoid processed foods such as cereals, pastas, and added sugars. The paleo diet limits carbohydrate sources to those occurring naturally in vegetables and fruits.
Because there is no one true ‘paleo’ definition, we can review the basic concept. Paleo diets are nutrient-dense with every ingredient chosen for a purpose. The carbohydrates chosen are those that cause less peaks and valleys in blood glucose and energy levels. A paleo food is going to be void of processed carbohydrate fillers, artificial colorings and flavorings.
According to Dr. Jane in a recent Life's Abundance blog post, "Limited ingredient diets came about due to a wave of pet parents being concerned their dogs had food allergies. The number of dogs who actually have food allergies is not as large as the number of dogs who have food allergy symptoms (there are complex reasons for this, which perhaps I’ll cover in a future post). Regardless, the idea for limited ingredient diets is to limit intake to novel proteins (meaning an unusual source that a pet has not eaten before), and novel carbohydrates, the diet is less likely to trigger a dog’s food allergy symptoms. This is how we ended up with diets like kangaroo and oats, or duck and peas. The most common food allergens in dogs are beef, chicken, lamb, wheat, corn, and egg. This correlates to the most commonly used ingredients in pet foods, which makes sense."
Dr. Jane further states, "If your canine has a true food allergy, he or she is probably going to need to undergo an elimination trial and all sorts of testing to see what is going on, and then move onto a special diet for the rest of his or her life. But if he or she has some minor symptoms of food intolerance or if you are just trying to avoid the major allergens in dog foods, it can be cost prohibitive to put your pet on a novel protein diet; many are prescription-only or are not meant for all life stages. Some diets are based on hydrolyzed soy, which is as appetizing to dogs as it sounds! It just doesn’t make sense to seek out one of these diets if you don’t have to due to medical necessity."
Even though a dog may not have food allergies, a dog parent may still want to choose to avoid the common allergy triggers by feeding high quality, novel proteins that taste delicious and support optimal health.
And it’s with these needs in mind that Life's Abundance developed the newest addition to their family of dog foods -- Pork and Venison Grain Free Recipe.
This amazing formula holds to the paleo idea of being grain-free. The carbohydrate sources are peas and lentils which are an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. The protein sources are pork and venison, which are very rich, nutrient-dense protein sources that taste amazing. Canned foods are great for triggering the appetite because they have more potent appetizing smell. This new canned food is formulated to be appropriate for all life stages, from weaning puppies to geriatric seniors, even if they’re missing some teeth.