The 8 Most Popular Man-made Animals

Popular Man-made Animals and more!

Man-made animals are real live animals!… not animal wannabes like chia pets, furbies, or virtual pets.

Some of the most popular and favored animals that we encounter everyday are basically man-made. These animals are not a new phenomenon; many have been around for thousands of years.

Today’s domestic pets are some earliest animals to be developed. Yet for some of the most popular man-made animals, the original species are no longer found in nature. In fact there are contrary opinions on some, about which species they even originated from.

Since the time when the first wild dogs began skirting human encampments to catch snacks and waste to fill their bellies, the crafting of animals began. Man with his incredible creativity took specific species, domesticated them, and then began to develop them to fill all sorts of needs. They were selectively bred for optimal forms and vocalizations so that they could provide protection, aid in hunting, carry loads, and even be a food source.

Man then took the next step and began to craft animals for more than just practicality. Select breeds began to be developed for unique appearances and for song. New body shapes emerged as well as longer or shorter limbs and tails along with unusual and attractive skin coverings of feathers or fur. But a favorite development has been, and still is, the incredibly beautiful new color forms.

Popular man-made animals are mostly developed from a single species, selectively bred for particular traits. There are also hybrids and mutations. Hybrids result from crossing two closely related species while mutations result from a change in a gene or a chromosome.

Looking at the history of any particular group, however, you will find that a number of breeds are also now “extinct.” Those are animals that lost favor for one reason or another, so were no longer developed.

The 8 most popular man-made animals:

  1. Dogs
    Dog BreedsDog Breeds

    The dog Canis lupus familiaris is the first domesticated animal. Although there are varying studies, it is believed its domestication could have started as early as 34,000 years ago. Other closely related dog types are wolves and foxes. At one time was a popular belief that the ancestors of today’s domestic dogs were wolves, but that lineage has pretty much been disproven in more recent studies.

    There are well over 300 breeds of dogs, not including all the newer designer dogs being developed today. The breeds we see today however, are at most only a few hundred years old.

    The categorization of dogs differs slightly between breed registries. In the United States we usually follow the groupings as set by American Kennel Club (AKC). These groups are the herding dogs, working dogs, hound dogs, sporting dogs, non-sporting dogs, terrier dogs, toy dogs, and mixed dogs.

  2. Cats
    Cat BreedsCat Breeds

    The domestication of cats is believed to have started at least 8,000 years ago. This is indicated by a cat jawbone found on the island of Cyprus in 1983, which dates back to about 6000 B.C. The first record of domesticated cats is from about 3000 to 1450 B.C.

    The African wildcat Felis silvestris lybica is the ancestral subspecies from which domestic cats are descended. In Northern Africa, somewhere around 7000 to 5000 B.C., these small, tabby-striped wild felines arrived in human settlements and started the process of domestication. The domestic cat was first classified as Felis catus by Linnaeus in 1758, but can also be called by its subspecies name, Felis silvestris catus.

    Today there are not only the natural breed cats, but also hybrid cat breeds, cat breed mutations, and exotic cats.

  3. Horses
    Horses and PoniesHorses and Ponies

    The modern horse is the direct descendant of the Eohippus, which lived about 60 million years ago. Their domestication began around 4000 BC and is believed to have become widespread by 3000 BC.

    There are three types of horses, medium sized light breeds that originally evolved in the southern hemisphere, large heavy (draft) breeds that evolved in the northern hemisphere, and the shorter durable Pony breeds that evolved in both.

    The horse breeds can further be divided into three groups based on temperament; the light horses are the “hot bloods” known for speed and endurance, the heavy or draft horses and ponies are “cold bloods” used for heavy work, and the “warm bloods” are crosses between the two with a focus on riding.

    Today there are more than 300 breeds of horses, each developed for particular uses. There are also a number of wild horse populations, called “feral breeds”, in numerous countries around the world.

  4. Rabbits
    Pet RabbitsPet Rabbits

    Rabbits have been around for at least 3 to 4 million years. All domesticated rabbits are descended from the European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus. This is the only species of rabbit which has ever been domesticated. They were first domesticated in Spain, but then became widely distributed by the seafaring Phoenicians. Still today wild European Rabbits can be found in countries all across the world.

    Rabbits have a great capacity to multiply themselves and so can be readily raised. They have been domesticated and used for many different purposes. Today there are at least 40 known breeds and around 130 varieties. There are also 10 or so varieties that are now extinct.

    Pet rabbits can be categorized into four broad groups; fancy breeds, lop breeds, fur breeds, and rex breeds.

  5. Canaries
    Canary VarietiesCanary Varieties

    All domestic canaries are descended from the Atlantic or Island Canary Serinus canaria. Since 1478, when the Spaniards conquered the Canary Islands, these canaries became favored for their beautiful song, coloration, and feathering.

    Today there are basically three breed types of domestic canary and numerous varieties in each breed and there are many mixed breeds. The breed types include: the Color Canary bred for various colors, the Song Canary bred for their song, and the Type Canary bred for distinct characteristics of shape, feathering.

    Some canary types that were popular at one time are no longer available, having made way for new varieties and the varieties that are currently popular.

  6. Goldfish
    Goldfish TypesGoldfish Types

    All the goldfish of today originated from Central Asia (Siberia). They are descendants of a wild carp fish known as the Prussian or Gibel Carp Carassius gibelio (syn: Carassius auratus gibelio).

    Goldfish are one of the first aquatic animals in recorded history to be kept as pets. They were originally developed in China, beginning somewhere between the years 265 – 420. They were then traded to Japan in the 1500’s, to Europe in the 1600’s, and to America by the 1800’s.

    The results of this century’s long endeavor are the wonderful goldfish varieties we see today. They have been developed for body shape and form, finnage, and a wide variety of beautiful colors. It is estimated that there are over 125 types of gold fish.

  7. Guinea Pigs
    Guinea Pig VarietiesGuinea Pig Varieties

    The Guinea Pig Cavia porcellus, is also called the “Cavy,” and is a species of rodent. The popular guinea pigs of today are believed to be the result of the hybridization of three closely related cavy species. They were domesticated between 9000 and 3000 B.C. by the Incas of Peru, and were used for their fur as well as used for food. English and Dutch slave traders took some of these guinea pigs to Guinea (thus the name “guinea”) and then to Europe, where they became popular pets.

    There are many breeds of guinea pig or cavy that have been developed to become very appealing pets. The English or American Short-haired, Abyssinian which has a rough-coat, and the Peruvian which has a long-coat, are the three “core” breed that the others were developed from. Today there are at least 13 recognized breeds, a number of unrecognized breeds, and many color varieties of each breed type.

  8. Pigeons and Doves
    Dove and Pigeon TypesDove and Pigeon Types

    All domestic pigeons and dove have come from a single species of wild pigeon, the Rock Dove Columba livia. There is no scientific separation between them, but in general the term ‘pigeon’ is usually applied to the larger species and ‘dove’ to the smaller species. They are generally recognized as one or the other by the common names given to them over the years.

    It is not known when these birds first became kept in captivity, but they have been bred and hybridized for various purposes for thousands of years. They have been crafted for specialized traits such as the homing instinct, aerial acrobatics, and unique feather structures. There are over 200 domesticated pigeon and dove breeds with at least 1250 varieties of these breeds.

There are all sorts of other animals that have also been developed through selective breeding. They include not only mammals, but also birds, aquatic species and reptiles. A lot of exciting new varieties being crafted today, yet they still represent only small a handful of animals when you consider the hundreds of thousands of species found throughout the Animal World.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Photos and collage images provided courtesy of Animal-World.com contributors on Dr. Jungle’s Pets and Animal Photos and Classroom Clipart.

The Cat’s Meow, When cats talk people listen!

September 12, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

People listen when cats talk, and most experts agree that this is precisely why cats are to so talkative towards their human companions!

Some cats are quite chatty while others scarcely make a sound. Some of that’s genetic but there is also the individual personality. Along with vocalization cats use a combination of scent and body language to communicate.

In a cat world without people, adult cats primarily use scent and body language. Cat-to-cat communication is a symphony of subtle symbols and they may also use a variety of vocalizations, but they seldom meow at each other. Meows are pretty much reserved for that special relationship between a mother and her kittens.

Well in a cat-to-people world scent obviously doesn’t work, nor are humans particularly adept at body language. Cats quickly learn that their particular humans simply don’t “get it” and that the only way to get direct communication is through conversation.

In her book “Cat Wrangling Made Easy,” Dusty Rainbold says that one researcher, Nicholas Nicastro, believes that cat vocalizations aren’t even a true language. Cats have simply learned that sounds manage our emotions and they become extremely skilled at using their vocalizations to manipulate us. So cats talk to communicate with us, and that’s why we listen.

How does your cat talk?

In conversations with your cat you’ll hear a wide range of chatters, murmurs, chirps, trills, and kitten-like squeaks. On occasion you may hear growls, spits, and caterwauls as well. But of course our favorites are the purrs and meows.

Cats can make all sorts of sounds, with a lot of variations of the simple meow. Rainbold says that a 2002 Cornell University study documented hundreds of different cat vocalizations, ranging from soft purrs to tomcat battle yowls. Yet what all those sounds mean is a mystery to us.

The sounds domestic cats will make can be grouped into four distant types:

  • There are the vowel sounds that are variations of a “meow.” There’s also that sweet, open-mouthed “silent meow” which is so high pitched the human ear can’t hear it.
  • Chirps and chattering are types of articulated patterns that express frustration.
  • There are the softer sounds of murmurs and purring.
  • Then there are strained intense sounds such as hisses, growls, and screams.

You’ll want to get familiar with your cat’s usual vocal patterns, and then pay attention to any changes. If a silent cat suddenly starts talking up a storm, or a pleasantly chatty cat changes to yowling, it could be trying to tell you something. My Siamese cat is often quite talkative, but when she really wants to be fed, her meow gets loud. If she doesn’t get fed right away, it becomes even louder and sometimes starts to get a little reverberation going.

What’s your cat saying?

You are listening to your cat, so now let’s figure out what your cat may be trying to say. Each type of sound is your cat’s way of communicating its particular need or mood.

  • Meowing
    The meow is very versatile and can have a surprisingly wide range of variations. Meows are mostly your cat asking for something. They can range from kittenish, coy, and shy to forcefully demanding your attention.

    The “silent meow” is basically an ordinary meow. It does make a sound but is pitched above your hearing. Cats can detect sounds up to 50-65 kilohertz, while our hearing is limited to approximately 18-20 kilohertz. We find this meow so adorable that cats quickly learn that it’s highly effective for getting what they want.

  • Chattering
    Chattering is an odd sound your cat will make while watching birds outside a window. It is a rapid click-click sound they make with their teeth. Although there are mixed ideas of what this means, it’s generally thought to be an expression of excitement or a frustration at not being able to pounce on a prey. It is almost always in response to birds, while watching rodents cats will be silent.

  • Chirping
    A soft trill or Chirping sound is used to greet other cats or humans. It is a sweet, friendly vocalization that falls between a meow and a purr.

  • Purring
    The purr is everybody’s favorite cat sound. The purr is often attributed to a contented cat, and cats do purr when they are happy. But it is actually an overflow of any emotion. Cats may purr when content, happy, frightened, furious, or even in pain. In the more distressed situations purring is thought to be a self-soothing and self-healing mechanism. Research has shown that the frequency of the purr aligns with the same frequency that aids in pain relief, wound healing, fracture healing, and bone growth.

  • Growling and Yowling
    These are some of the loudest and most intense sounds a cat can make. Growls, wails, howls, and snarls are warning sounds. These are dramatic and often effective ways to ward of potential combatants or competitors. Cats will growl at each other or at humans as a warning to back off.

  • Hissing
    The hiss is a sound of annoyance, and depending on the situation, is mixed with fear or a lot of bluster. It can also indicate pain or stress, but in all cases it means “back off.” If you’re petting your cat, stop and give him a chance to calm down, and then try to determine the cause. If he hisses every time you touch him in a certain spot, he could be injured or ill.

Cats are wonderfully diverse in their ability to communicate with us. When they talk, people listen. It does makes you wonder, who’s domesticated whom! Visit our World of Pet Cats to learn more about these fascinating animals, or to find your special breed!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

World Cat Day 2014, a Journey Eons in the Making

August 8, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Pet Cats

See all types of catsAnimal-World Celebrates World Cat Day 2014!

A celebration of cats is what, World Cat Day August 8, 2014 is all about.

We humans are simply enamored with cats and have been for thousands of years!

Today we honor our wonderful feline friends with a World Cat Day, yet their recognition spans thousands of years. Around 7000 to 5000 B.C. a few small, tabby-striped wild felines arrived in human settlements in northern Africa. It was with these small creatures that the process of domestic cat breeds began, resulting in some of the most intriguing types of cats seen today.

People often talk about owning a cat, but in reality I think cats own their humans. I’ve had cats throughout my life. Many were adopted mixed cats and some were breeds, but others simply showed up on my doorstep, fully expecting to come in and make themselves at home. Some cats will hang out with you constantly and even come when you call, while others will simply seem to ignore you, until its feeding time.

Cats of all kinds, whether a breed or not, are simply adorable, sporting many shapes, sizes, colors, and “flavors” of personality. These little felines can be beautiful and exotic with fur that is solid or multi colored, fluffy or smooth. An affectionate feline may sit on your lap or simply enjoy your company. An occasional petting as often it’s perfect reward. Others may be aloof and independent, clumsy or smart (or both!), and even a little sassy or evil.

Although all cats are, well cats, there are definite differences in cat breeds. Each breed has a unique set of qualities. Breeds can range from easy to more difficulty in handling, with personalities ranging from gentle and cuddly to aloof or reserved, and wanting less handling. In body form, they can be slender to cobby or robust, as well as combinations. Cat breeds can also be described by their color coat markings or patterning. When looking at their fur, you would think a long haired cat would shed more than a short haired cat, but that too is breed dependent rather than the length of the fur.

Finding a cat that best suits you, you can start by looking at breeds with the personality and behavior traits that you desire. These breed traits will also carry over in mixed cats.

Here’s a short cat breed guide:

  1. Undemanding Cats:
    These types of cats can be described as quiet “lap cats” include the Birman, Bombay, Chartreux, Havana Brown, Nebelung, Russian Blue, Scottish Fold, and Selkirk Rex.
  2. Easy going, friendly cats:
    These are cat breeds that are good with children such as the American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Maine Coon, Manx, Norwegian Forest Cat, Ragdoll, Scottish Fold, Snowshoe, and Turkish Van.
  3. Active cats, people oriented:
    These cats love attention but can demanding, and include breeds like the American Curl, Balinese, Burmese, Colorpoint Shorthair, Javanese, Korat, Siamese, and Singapura.
  4. Active and athletic cats:
    These are energetic cats such as the Abyssinian, Bengal, Ocicat, and Somali.
  5. Grooming Intensive cats:
    These are long haired cats that will shed a lot, such as the Himalayan, Persian, and Turkish Angora.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

5 Best Pets for Small Spaces

December 19, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats, Reptiles, Small Pets

5 Best Pets for Small Spaces

Guest Post by Michael David

The Pet Rat

There are many health benefits that come with owning a pet. They lower allergy risk in children, help you stay social, lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, help you get more exercise, and boost your mood. But not everyone has the space for horses, a monkey sanctuary, or even a 150 lb Great Dane. Here are a few pets that will do wonderfully in a small apartment or home with a little yard.

  • Aquatic
    Fish are a hands-off pet, require no training, and can be left alone all day and not cause trouble. Studies have also shown that watching a fish swim around for 10-15 minutes a day will lower stress levels. You don’t even need a huge aquarium or a school of fish; a couple of goldfish or a Betta in a small tank sitting on your desk will work just as well. They are also good for those on a tight budget; goldfish and small aquarium supplies can be quite inexpensive.

    You could also find a hermit crab for something a bit more exotic. They are very social, and so keeping at least two together is recommended. They do not need a lot of space, and can be quite happy simply with some sand to dig into or rocks to climb on.

  • Small and Scaly
    In this category there are quite a few options – geckos, box turtles, small frogs, and snakes. These are also more solitary animals, content with a stick or a couple rocks to climb around, although once you have gained their trust they will let you hold them for a while. They do well with being left alone for long periods (as long as they’re fed), and are fairly easy to keep clean.

    Be sure you know how large your chosen pet will grow to be, though; if you only have a small space available for a snake, you don’t want to be surprised later on when it grows to eight feet!

  • Small and Furry
    Guinea pigs, hamsters, chinchillas, and small rabbits can be good for apartment living because they can stay in a smaller, centralized area that can easily be cleaned and maintained. They are more hands-on, cuddly, and social than fish or reptiles, but also can be left alone during the day while you’re working. If you have time for more maintenance, a ferret would also be a good option. They like having the run of the house and are temperamental towards visitors however, so keep those points in mind.

  • Cats
    Cats are more costly and time consuming than your other small furry pet choices, but also do very well in small apartments. They are easy to train to use a litter box, are very independent, which makes them great if you are gone all day, but can still be playful and interactive.

  • Dogs
    Dogs are the most hands-on pet on this list, so if you are hardly home or have no time to play, then it may be best to choose a different pet. Dogs are playful, social, and always happy to see you. They like to play outside and go for walks, so a small grassy area or nearby park would be good for them. Larger breeds will have a much harder time living in a small apartment, but smaller breeds will do just fine. Some of the smaller breeds to choose from include the Pomeranian, Corgi, Cocker Spaniel, Yorkie, Pug, Boston Terrier, or Chihuahua.

When choosing your new animal companion, be sure to put forth some serious thought before going out and buying the first thing that catches your eye. Make sure your apartment permits that type of pet and that you have enough time, funds, and knowledge to properly care for your pet.

Pets provide many wonderful benefits from health to companionship, and anyone can enjoy a pet no matter how small your living space is.

Author Byline
Michael David is a freelance journalist and blogger living in New York City. Michael loves writing about DIY projects, home improvement, and garden-related topics. He has recently been writing for Big Al’s Pets.

Keep your Pet Safe and Happy this 4th of July

June 30, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

4th-of-July-dog_med

Do you dread the Fourth of July for fear of how your pet will react to loud noises and bright lights?

Many people can attest to having their dogs and cats go bonkers while fireworks are going off, and then having to deal with the “damage” afterwards. In addition to having a scared or injured dog or ruined furniture and broken windows, there are other, less obvious hazards to watch out for this July 4th.

Keeping your Pet Safe

1. Keep them away from the noise. This is probably the most important thing you can do for your pet. The best idea is to keep them indoors in a familiar and safe place. Close all doors and windows to reduce noise. Consider even turning on music or television to keep things feeling normal to them. Don’t bring them to festivals where there will be lots of other people and fireworks going on. This will also prevent them from running away or getting lost. Fact: Did you know that after the 4th of July, there is a 30% increase in lost pets? That’s scary! Do what you can to prevent losing yours!

2. Don’t let them near fireworks You may get a great YouTube video, but the risk is not worth it. Not only can your pet become burned or otherwise injured by getting too close to the fireworks, they can also suffer serious internal damage from eating them. If you do decide to let your dog outside while letting off fireworks, it is advisable to keep them on a leash and far away from where the fireworks are being stored and let off.

3. Keep them away from other pets. This is especially true if you will be celebrating with other people who will have their pets around. Fireworks can make your dog on edge and be more prone to getting in fights with other dogs. This can result in injury or even death for your dog.

4. Keep non-pet items out of reach! This includes alcohol, lighter fluid and matches, oils, and anything else that could be hazardous if ingested. Many animals are poisoned or injured from ingesting chemicals.

5. Don’t use non-animal approved items on your pet. Many people like to dress their pets up on holidays. This can be fun and safe! However, don’t put items on them such as glow sticks which could be harmful to their health if ingested. Likewise, don’t put substances which are safe for human use, such as sunscreen, on pets. This is because they could lick and groom themselves and ingest the substance. This is not good for your pet!

6. Don’t give your pet human food! Just because you are eating barbecued hot dogs and s’mores doesn’t mean your pet should! It can be tempting to “celebrate” with your pet by allowing them to eat unhealthy human food. But this is just plain unhealthy for pets and could cause bigger health problems for them.

7. Consider using anti-anxiety medication. If you know that your pet is one of those who becomes terrified with 4th of July fireworks, it might be a good idea to plan on giving him some anti-anxiety medication to help him get through it.

8. Act normal! Signs that your pet is feeling anxious and scared include them howling, shaking, running around frantically, and trying to hide. If your pet is obviously having a hard time, remember to act normal around them. Show them you aren’t scared by petting them, talking soothingly to them, etc. If they see you acting normal and unafraid, it will help them to calm down.

What are some experiences and tips you have to share on keeping your pet safe and healthy this 4th of July?

Saving the Jaguar

June 26, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Pet Cats, Wild Animals

Jaguar
The Jaguar Panthera onca

Photo Wiki Commons
Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Licensed under Public Domain

The jaguar gets its name from an old Latin American word ‘yaguar’ which means ‘he who kills with one leap’. This refers to the fact that they kill their prey quickly, sometimes instantaneously with only one bite. They are at the top of the food chain, and are vulnerable only to Anacondas or Caimans when young. Jaguars are very large exotic cats. In fact, they are the largest cats that inhabit North, South, and Central America! They are the third largest cat species in the world, being smaller only than tigers and lions.

It is believed that jaguars will become endangered if conservation efforts are not undertaken soon. Right now, they are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List.

The Jaguar Panthera onca is one of several large cats belonging to the Panthera genus. Other commonly known cats in this genus are lions, tigers, and leopards. The Jaguar and the Leopard look very similar and it can be hard to tell apart. The Jaguar is the only one living in the Western hemisphere however. So if you run into a large spotted cat in North America, you can be sure it is a jaguar and not a leopard!

Jaguars can reach 350 pounds, 6.5 feet in length (excluding their tail), and 2.5 feet in height. Being great swimmers and loving water, these cats usually prefer humid environments, such as rainforests and swamplands. However they can also be found on grasslands and in drier forests. An Interesting Fact: Jaguars have very strong jaws! Even for large cats, these guys have quite the bite. This enables them to easily and effectively kill their prey. These powerful jaws are also useful in piercing the shells of reptiles, such as tortoises and alligators. They are carnivores and their diet consists of just about any animal they can get their jaws on. Larger prey is usually preferred if available, however. Jaguars are solitary creatures as adults and spend most of their time in territory they have staked out for themselves.

Concern for Jaguars is steadily increasing. Three main problems are the cause of declining Jaguar populations.

1. Their natural habitats are shrinking. This is mostly due to fragmentation of their environments. As deforestation happens more and more to create room for agriculture and homes, and more major highways are constructed, the jaguars’ homes are compromised. They are no longer able to travel over large areas or breed as effectively because their access to other jaguars are restricted. This also leads to not as much diversification in the gene pool. In the United States, most Jaguars are already gone. However, there is believed to be a breeding population in Southern Arizona. In 1995, Jaguars became protected under the Endangered Species Act in order to stop people from shooting them for their pelts.

2. Their supply of natural prey is shrinking. People hunt many of their prey animals, such as deer and pigs, which reduces their availability to the cats. The prey animals are also losing their habitats, for much the same reasons as the jaguars are.

3. Jaguars are being killed by people. The reasons vary, from farmers/ranchers killing them for preying on their livestock, to Jaguars being deliberately poached to sell their pelts for profit. But these deliberate acts of killing jaguars are contributing to their decline.

Some organizations have recognized a need to project large cats everywhere and have taken steps to set up programs to do just that. One such organization, Panthera, has set up a program called the Jaguar Corridor Initiative. The primary purpose of this Initiative is to provide “corridors” or protected areas through human developments to connect one wild area to another. These corridors can be through a variety of different areas. Agriculture plantations, ranches, and people’s personal properties can all act as corridors. So far, this program seems to be producing positive results. Jaguars are able to safely pass through developed areas to hunt, breed, and live.

Panthera has another program, the Pantanal Jaguar Project. This one primarily focuses on educating local farmers and ranchers who reside in the Pantanal flood lands to help them reduce conflicts between the Jaguars and the cattle. This theoretically helps reduce the rates at which the cats are killed. Panthera is working with many of the South and Central American governments to monitor Jaguar populations and take motions to conserve them. The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve was opened in 1986 in Belize with the help of its government. This sanctuary helps protect around 200 Jaguars who live in the area.

Jaguars, like all large wild cats, are part of this world and help keep our ecosystems in check. There is great benefit in making sure they are protected and do not go extinct!

References

1. Kollus, Brad. “Corridor to the Future.” Cat Fancy March 2013: 28-29. Print.

Are You Struggling with Pet Allergies?

June 19, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Are You Struggling with Pet Allergies?

If so, you may be searching for some remedies to help deal with them. It is estimated that as much as 10% of the United States population suffers from animal-related allergies. And many of these sufferers love animals, which often makes it difficult or impractical for them to own pets.

What Causes Pet Allergies?

Allergies in general are caused by your immune system reacting to perceived irritants in the world around you. Besides pets, irritants such as pollen, dust, and chemicals can all cause a flare-up in allergies.

Allergy symptoms from dogs and cats are very similar to allergies arising from other irritants. These usually include a range of symptoms from itchy watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing, an itchy throat and coughing, to even rashes breaking out wherever your skin is exposed.

Dog allergies are actually caused by the dogs glands releasing a certain protein rather than from their fur or dander. This protein is called Can f 1 (Canis familiaris). This protein shows up in a dogs dander, urine, and saliva.

Cat allergies are caused by a similar protein secretion in their saliva. It is called fel d 1. Cats love to groom themselves by licking their fur. This then spreads the fel d 1 to their fur and dander. The dander flies off and can accumulate on surfaces all over the house.

Tips to Help Reduce Allergic Reactions

Depending on whether you have a dog or a cat, these tips can help more or less.

1. Groom your dog or cat outside daily. In the case of dogs, plan on bathing them regularly as well (twice a week would be optimal). Brushing your pet everyday can significantly reduce the amount of dander which accumulates on their skin and then is released into the air. Another good idea is to make a habit of wearing a mask when bathing or grooming your pet.

2. ALWAYS wash your hands immediately following any contact with your pet. Try to start washing them more frequently throughout the day just in general and especially before you touch anywhere on your face.

3. Keep up on housecleaning. This includes washing bedding frequently, washing surfaces that accumulate dust regularly, and cleaning and vacuuming floors, sofas, and curtains/blinds. Consider covering couches and chairs with easily washable covers or make it a rule that pets are not allowed where people sit and sleep.

4. Replace carpets and rugs with vinyl or tile.
If this is practical for your home, it might be a good idea – especially if your allergies are particularly bad. This will keep allergens from accumulating on these hard-to-clean surfaces.

5. Designate certain areas of your house as pet-free areas.
I would recommend declaring your bedroom a pet-free area. Because you sleep in there (which is a significant amount of your life!), this is a great place to keep allergen-free. It is also not a good idea in general to sleep with your pets. As an extreme to this, you may also consider keeping your pets primarily outdoors. Depending on where you live and varying weather conditions, this may or may not be an option. But the less time they spend in the house the less dander is going to accumulate.

6. Consider buying and installing vacuum and air filters. High-efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA filters) in particular really help people with pet allergies. Purchasing them for your vacuum is a must. If you have the money, buying them for your home as well can provide even more benefit.

7. Consider getting treatment.
Many people will take over-the-counter antihistamines. In addition to this, some people with pet allergies can enjoy long-term relief by receiving allergy shots from their doctors.

Do you suffer from pet-related allergies or know someone who does? Do you have any helpful tips on how to reduce or eliminate them?

References

1. Wargo, Meredith. “Clean Getaway.” Dog Fancy March 2013: 30-34. Print.
2. Shirreffs, Annie B. “Keep It Clean.” Cat Fancy March 2013: 22-23. Print.

What is a Feral Cat?

June 14, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

What is a Feral Cat?

You may have heard the term before but weren’t sure what it meant. Here are some facts about feral cats and how to recognize these felines.

Domestic cats have been around for centuries. They have been revered by rulers who worshiped their kind. To modern humans, they are treasured companions. But not all cats fit into this category.

Feral Cats

To put it plainly, a feral cat is one that has never been socialized into society with humans. In fact, they avoid humans if they can. Not having the social skills to deal with people, they act wild and untamed when people try to get close to them.

These cats, as you might have guessed, live on the street as strays. In fact, many strays have turned into feral cats as a result of many unfortunate circumstances. Here are a few:

1. Family moves away and leaves the animal behind

2. Unwanted new kittens

3. Cats that have run away

4. Cats that have gotten lost and never found their way back home

It’s to be understood that kittens, after a certain age, will shy away from humans if they are not properly introduced to people. Pet owners will not be able to socialize them to a home no matter how hard they try.

This can become even more of a lost cause when the cat joins in with an established cat group called a “colony.” It is a community of feral and stray cats that live together. Often they are drawn together in an area that has been good for acquiring food, water, and other needs.

The Problem with Feral Cats

Because these cats can’t be tamed, they may cause something of a problem for people. They are often found outside of businesses and on the streets. Coming in contact with people can lead to a less than happy confrontation.

The existence of feral cats is less than ideal. They spend their lives dodging cars, avoiding fights with other cats, trying to survive illness, and giving birth to more unwanted kittens. This has fueled a lot of talk about what to do with them. There are definite benefits to feral cat programs.

The biggest issue is the birth of more animals that will also not be socialized to living with people. A cat can give birth to as many as three litters a year. Living on the street for several years can result in ten or more litters in a short life span. Most feral cats don’t live long because of the rough conditions.

They may look sweet and innocent when you first meet them but animal instincts can kick in. Bites from cats are particularly dangerous to humans. Infections that are not taken care of can lead to a spread of disease.

How can you tell a feral cat from a lost one? Well, a feral cat will be quite skittish around areas where people dwell. A lost cat, on the other hand, will seek out human companionship as they try to get back to their home.

Feral cats are not sociable and interacting with them can be difficult or dangerous.

Traveling with your Pet

June 10, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Traveling with your Pet?

When it’s time to hit the road, what do you do with your pet? Some board at kennels but others like to have their favorite four-legged companion by their side. Here are some tips to help you have the best trip possible when traveling with your pet.

Pets make great companions. They love to be with the people who care for them and care about them. But, what happens when it’s time for a trip? Most pets are not used to going from one place to another unless they are on the end of a leash or being carried in your arms.

Unfortunately, many pet owners find out that their pet doesn’t have their “traveling legs” the hard way. Cleaning up vomit is not a pleasant thing to do. And, there is often a lot of red tape when it comes to traveling by airline with pets.

Tips for Making the Trip

Here are a few tips to help you prepare your pet for that trip you have coming up. Take them to heart because they may help you avoid a lot of trouble.

1. Take a test run – Before the big day, help your pet become acquainted with traveling. Even if you are going by train, a car will simulate the same type of movement they will experience. Take a few short trips in the car. Situate your pet the way they will be positioned – in a pet carrier in the back seat, on a pet mattress or even in a crate. Practice traveling with your pet in the crate or carrier at home first before putting it in the car.

2. Talk to your vet – If you really want your pet to learn to travel, maybe your veterinarian can help. Nausea medication or sedatives can help your pet travel better without harming them.

3. Develop a feeding schedule
– Feed your pet several hours before travel so they won’t have a heavy meal on their stomach. Also, this may help them feel sleepy and rest during the majority of the travel.

4. Make plans in advance – If pets need vaccinations or paperwork filled out for overseas trips or domestic plane rides, take care of it so there are no surprises on departure day. Carry a copy of vaccination records in case they are needed.

5. Travel with care – Bring along a first aid kit and care package for your pet. Have everything you might need if your pet gets injured. Include any medication they might be taking at the time. Consider a microchip for their collar in case your pet gets lost.

Many of the tips we could give are common sense but often we don’t think about them. Do all you can to make your pet comfortable on a fun family trip! Traveling with your pet can be a great experience!

Pet Supplements for Optimum Health

June 1, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Horses, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Guest Post by Drew Kobb

We love our pets; let us all just admit it. A pet is not merely some animal. Pets are part of our family. We love them, we play with them, and they help us when we are sad or distressed. They keep us company, and we take care of them. We want what is best for our dogs and cats, but sometimes we do not always know what all we can do to make their lives better.

Did you know that one of the best things we can do for our furry friends is to give them pet supplements? Just like humans, sometimes animals’ diets just aren’t giving them all that they need. Different breeds are susceptible to different injuries and sicknesses, and they may need just a little extra help to keep them healthy.

There are many different types of supplements you can get for your pet. There are specific types for each stage of life: puppy/kitten, adult, as well as senior, with a specific recipe of nutrients for growth and development and maintaining overall health. For your brand-new pets, supplements can help with proper joint and cartilage formation and good mind development. Taking supplements will also strengthen their immune system, and give them a good foundation of health. Then, just like humans, pets need a little extra care when they get older. Supplements can keep old joints lubricated to help them move easier, boost the immune system, and give them the extra vitamins and minerals they need.

If your pet has a specific need, there are supplements for that too. You can get pet supplements for bone and joint health, heart and lung health, digestive health, and cognitive health. There are also some made specifically for those who are quite athletic to help with stamina, more intense muscle and joint support, and a recovery aid to help avoid injury. Some help to reduce the symptoms of allergies and skin conditions, as well as boost the immune system. There are supplements to help calm your pet, whether they are prone to anxiety or are just having a time of stress. There are also weight management supplements to keep your pet at a healthy, happy weight so that they can get the most out of life.

Many pet supplements are very easily mixed with your pet’s regular food, which makes it simple to give your pet the nutrition they need. You can start giving your pet supplements as soon as they are able to eat solid food as well as start supplementing your pets food at any time during their life. It is never too late to start. Supplements are not only used as a preventative measure either; they can help existing problems as well.

There are not only pet supplements for us and our dogs and cats, but also for our beautiful horses. Our horses need supplements to give them the health, strength, stamina, and performance agility that they deserve. The supplements for horses have the same options as cat and dog supplements, with a few extras, such as hoof support. While the supplements are very similar, they are created with the genetic makeup of each species in mind so that it has a greater effect than if it were a “one size fits all” supplement.

We care about ourselves and want to have the best life we can, so we take vitamin, mineral, and other types of supplements. Why not do the same for our four legged family members? We all need them for a little health boost to keep us living long happy lives. Cat and dog supplements and horse supplements can be one of the best things to give our pets.

Drew Kobb loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch.

Next Page »