How to Choose a Veterinarian

January 8, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

How to Choose a Veterinarian

When it comes to your pet, you want the best care for them that is available. That begins with your choice for a veterinarian. Here are a few things to ask to make sure you are getting the best person for the job.

It is the job of the veterinarian to work with the pet owner to keep their beloved animal in great health. While we treat our pets like members of the family, they are first and foremost, animals. This means that they have different health needs and concerns than we do. In order to meet all of their needs, we need the help of someone who knows all about pets.

When do you choose a veterinarian? Well, this process begins before you even adopt or buy a pet. As soon as you acquire a new family member you will want them to see a vet right away to make sure that they are okay. Even if you don’t have one at the beginning, waiting until your pet is sick is not a good idea.


Finding the Right Person for the Job

So, what are the criteria for choosing a good vet? That depends on the type of pet that you have and their unique needs. Keep reading to find out a good place to start.

1. Ask for referrals – If you have friends who own pets, they more than likely have a veterinarian. Pick their brains to see who they would recommend for your pet.

2. Call around – If you don’t know anyone who can help, look in the phone book. Start with vets in your immediate area. Ask about the types of animals they see in their practice. Some vets, believe it or not, may specialize in a certain type of animal or large animals as opposed to everyday house pets.

3. Make a few visits – Before signing up with someone, check them out. Visit the office and look around. Is the waiting room clean? Do they require cages for certain pets to avoid commotion? Is the staff pleasant and friendly? Do they take drop-in appointments?

4. Schedule a time when you can take a tour – Ask to have a tour of the facility. Visit the kennels and the wards where they would care for your pet. Are they clean? If pets are there, are their cages clean?

5. Ask for credentials – What type of schooling does your vet have? Ask them about any professional organizations that they belong to and if they are board certified. It is not necessary that your vet be board certified but if they are it says that they have taken the extra steps to specialize in a certain area of veterinary medicine.

6. Ask questions – If you have any concerns about your pet’s needs, ask. This is the time. Don’t be afraid to get the information that you need. It’s for your pet.

A veterinarian is your partner in the care of your pet. Make the right choice by being informed.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Maine Coon Cat!

October 21, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Cats

The Maine Coon

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Maine Coon Cat!

Maine Coon Cats are notorious for being large, plush, and beautiful cats! I have been to a few cat shows where I have gotten to hold and pet these cats. Most of them have been quite lovable and their owners always give good reviews of them! Their personalities can vary depending on the individual cat (just like humans!), but in general, they are praised for being friendly cats. Words often used to describe them include mild-mannered, gentle, affectionate, easy-going, and pleasant.

The true background of the Maine Coon Cat is unknown. There are several theories on how it came to be, however. The most accepted theory is that house cats and Angora cats were bred together in the state of Maine. It is just a theory though, with no proof. Other less plausible theories include breeding between a house cat and an American Bobcat, that they are descended from Norwegian Forest Cats, that they are house cats which became semi-feral living outside and evolved into stockier bodies, and that they are house cats bred with raccoons (which is obviously impossible!). Other names these cats go by include the American Coon Cat, the American Forest Cat, and the American Longhair.

The most obvious feature of these cats is their size. They are huge! At least huge for house cats. They can be anywhere from 9 to 22 (or more) pounds. They have long, plush fur which needs moderate grooming care. They also have large tufted ears and a long, plumed, bushy tail. They have squeaky little voices and come in a variety of colors and patterns! Their “common” pattern is a tabby pattern. This cat can live to be over 13 years old as well.

The Maine Coon Cat is a very popular breed to show. They were actually the very first cats ever shown! In the early 1860’s people started showing Maine Coons in New England at the Skowhegan Fair. Shortly after this in 1871 was the first official cat show in London. They were shown successfully in the first American show as well, in 1895. In 1976 they were officially recognized as a breed by the Cat Fancier’s Association!

The care and feeding of these cats is similar to most house cats. They can be fed a regular, good quality cat food and should be provided with fresh water. They enjoy outdoors time, but it is not a necessity. They can be good indoor cats and/or apartment dwellers if given plenty of attention and room to explore and play. They should be groomed regularly to keep their long coat looking nice and mat-free, however they don’t need as much grooming as some other long-hair cats. Once a week should suffice for a Maine Coon Cat. They do shed a lot during hot summer months and may need more grooming during that time.

Health problems are few for these cats. They are generally healthy if taken well care of. This breed can suffer from Hip Dysplasia, however, especially if they are on the larger side. Other common cat diseases that can affect them are a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), but these are not specific to the Maine Coon.

Generally you will have to pay to obtain a Maine Coon that is licensed. They can range anywhere from $200 to $1000 depending on the breeder, location, color, and other characteristics.

To read more on Maine Coon Cats, follow-up on the Maine Coon page!

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

Cat Breeds: The Maine Coon

September 6, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Aggressive Cat Behavior

Are you looking for a fluffy, friendly companion? Then consider the Maine Coon cat. He may look like a more aggressive breed of wild cat but he is more like a pussycat.

Origin

This cat is actually the second most popular breed in the United States. As its name implies, it is believed to be native to Maine. This cat has been roaming the area for at least a century. Its thick furry coat makes it well-equipped to last during the long Maine winters and also the weather in the rest of New England as well.

Temperament

This cat may look menacing but he is as gentle as they come. They are quite playful and may even do some tricks if prompted. They love to play fetch with their owners and generally enjoy their company.

You may find that your Maine Coon never meets a stranger. They are easy-going with those they meet for the first time just like they have learned to be with their family. Some refer to them as “gentle giants” because of their size and their tendency for goofing off.

A Maine Coon is equally at home in a quiet house or an active one that has children. It is not a lap cat but will get in the habit of following you around the house. When they speak, their voice is a high chirping trill. They may use their “words” to coax you to play.

Care

The Maine Coon is a large sized tabby cat. They are often brown or brown and white tabby. Some are even chocolate or lavender. It is not uncommon for males and females to grow to between 16 and 20 pounds on average.

Their long coat stands close to their body. Don’t forget their long bushy tail and large tufted ears. They are reminiscent of the appearance of a lynx cat.

The thick coat is made for withstanding the harsh weather but you need to take care when grooming him. Being too aggressive can hurt your cat. Their coat is actually easy to manage as long as you give it a good combing twice a week. This reduces the amount of shedding they do, as well as hairballs and matting.

What about a bath? This cat doesn’t mind it if you make it a regular part of the cleaning process from their kitten days.

Training

If you start young, your Maine Coon can be taught to do a number of things. As we said, they love to fetch. They can also learn to stroll around outside on a leash for leisurely walks outside.

As with any cat, training them early can prevent behavioral problems like scratching and biting.

If you are looking for a new pet for your family, consider the second most popular cat breed in America, the Maine Coon.

How to Deal with Aggressive Cat Behavior

August 28, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Aggressive Cat Behavior

Is your cat nipping at your house guests or worse, you? There could be several reasons behind your cats biting and scratching phase. Keep reading to find out what you can do about it.

Cats are quite self-sufficient animals. They make a great house pet for the person who doesn’t have a lot of time to spend with their pet but still wants a companion. Though they don’t need you around all the time, they still need training to keep them from displaying aggressive cat behavior.

A Few Cat Facts

Cats are most likely descended from more feral ancestors. They use their claws to survive. Cats, in the wild, need to know how to defend themselves and also find food.

Even though your cat is domesticated, they still have their instincts to serve them well. This means scratching and biting as a way of communicating as well as protecting themselves in fearful situations.

Cats may not realize that scratching or biting is hurting you. If they are doing this playfully (ouch!) then it is up to you to set them straight.

How to Deal with Aggressive Cat Behavior

When your cat is drawing blood from you on a regular basis, something definitely needs to be done. Here are some tips to help you understand your cat better and get them to stop hurting you, intentional or not.

1. Train your cat from the kitten stage – One thing that kids do is use their hands as instruments when they are playing with their cute little kitten. This is a big no-no. Never use your hands as toys. Cats are used to being aggressive with their toys at play time. Your hands will bear the brunt of this play once their claws grow and they get bigger. From a young age, teach them not to bite you through training techniques.

2. Trim their claws – This can avoid the bloodletting that you are currently experiencing. There is no need to remove their claws as it can be considered inhumane (by some people) and takes away your cat’s defensive tools.

3. Know your cat’s behavior – Cats may react differently if they feel threatened. Aggressive cat behavior could be due to a trauma they have experienced. Try to remove that threat by removing the person or object that reminds them of the trauma.

4. Discipline him like a baby – When cats discipline their kittens, they grab them by the scruff of the neck with their teeth. You don’t have to use your teeth but you can still grab them firmly behind their head and push them towards the ground so that they get the hint. At the same time, use the word “no” to help drive the point home.

5. Use a squirt bottle – This is one of the techniques that helps when training at the kitten stage. A firm squirt on the nose when they scratch or bite as well as using the word “no” will help break aggressive cat behavior habits in your cat.

Check out Animal-World’s Cat Care page for other cat care tips!

Shelter Cat Adoption: Where and How

August 18, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Shelter Cat Adoption

You often hear about people who have kittens they are giving away or kittens that are on display in the pet store, but what about adopting an older cat from a shelter? Here are some things you need to know.

The Cold Hard Facts

There are two types of shelters: regular animal shelters like the Humane Society, and kill shelters. We have all heard about the former. These are places where animals go when they lose their homes to due to disinterest or death of the owners. Some advertise on television and in flyers that there are cats that need a loving home available for adoptions.

Kill shelters are often referred to as “open admission” shelters. Unlike the Humane Society, these shelters take all strays that are picked up off the street. Because of this, many cats are not in the shape that they need to be to attract the eye of someone looking for a cat. And, when the shelter gets full, residents who have been there the longest are put to sleep. It is an almost guaranteed death if the animals have been there for several months or longer.

Finding a Shelter Cat

The good news is that you can find a shelter cat that needs adoption pretty easily. Finding one that is compatible for you and your needs might be a bit harder.

Search online. The internet is great for locating a shelter cat who needs a good home. If you are looking for a cat with specific qualifications (minimal dander, older cat, disabled, certain breed) you can save yourself a lot of legwork by letting your fingers do the walking first. And while it is a good idea to search online, it is not so good to buy your cat this way, sight unseen.

Visit a local animal shelter or pet store. Here, you can interact with the cats to see which one is best for you. If you have other animals in the home, they can also get a glimpse of their potential new companion before you bring them home. If the cat has any issues or you notice something about them, you can ask questions right then.

It may take a few visits to find the cat that you want. Don’t despair. Always bring a cat carrier with you so you have a way to house your new pet if you find him. And, have a veterinarian lined up who can examine your cat before you bring him home. Shelters or pet stores may have history on your cat so you will know what shots or treatments they have already had.

Adoption

There are a few things you will need to have to adopt a shelter cat, so be prepared. First, you will be charged a fee. The fee amount depends on the age of the cat and if any services are performed for the cat before you take them home.

Secondly you will need proof of age and residence. They want to know that the cat is going to an actual home. Other information will be taken so they can follow up with you.

Receive post-adoption instructions. You may be given fact sheets telling you how to care for your pet and what you need to make them comfortable in their new home.

Adopting a shelter cat is a noble deed. You are saving a life so choose wisely.

5 Reasons to Adopt an Older Cat

August 10, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Adopt an Older Cat

Most people looking for new pets always go for the babies. They want puppies and kittens. But, there are several reasons that an older cat would make a great addition for your home.

Cats are quite self-sufficient creatures. They love affection but also crave time alone. Sounds like some humans that you know huh? It’s no wonder they get along with most people who adore them.

Unfortunately, kittens do grow up and become older cats. Older cats are not as desired as younger ones and often end up in shelters or worse, on the street. This increases the unwanted animal population. What usually happens then is that they are either killed on the street or euthanized in the shelter to make room for younger kittens that people might want to adopt.

Save a Cat’s Life

If you like cats and are looking for a pet, before looking at kittens, consider the older cat in your local animal shelter. They still have a lot to offer. In fact, here are five very good reasons for you to adopt one.

1. They are already housebroken – Even though cats are easy to train, it does take time to get them to use their litter box. With an older cat, the hard work is already done. Simply show them where the box is and they will take it from there.

2. They won’t end up back in the shelter – It’s a little known truth that many cats end their days in an animal shelter because their owners have died. There was no one else to care for them. Cats do live pretty long lives but if you are a younger couple and you adopt a seven or eight year old cat, chances are that you will outlive them. The same goes for an older couple who wants companionship.

3. Children can play with them – Kittens are cute but kids can be rough with them. An older cat can stand up to tough loving and come out a winner. Also, these cats are often socialized well so they don’t mind other pets in the home either.

4. Can entertain themselves – Many people avoid pets or get rid of their current pets because of the time commitment. Kittens do require a lot of time with their owners until they are older. Adult cats can enjoy quiet time without being destructive. They are perfect for singles or couples that are away from home a lot but love to be greeted at the door by an old friend.

5. Good for multi-cat families – Some older cats are stressed by kittens running around and over them all day. Introducing another cat about the same age as your first cat is a better match overall.

Considering a cat for your home? Why not adopt an older cat? They come with wisdom and a loving heart.

The Tabby Cat

June 21, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Tabby CatsTabby Cats
“Most people have owned a Tabby Cat at one point or another! Typically they have striped coats but can also have blotched, spotted or patchwork quilt patterns!”

Tabby Cats with stripes are the original pet cat coat designs!

The Tabby Cat is a well-known cat, with very familiar coat markings. There are actually five coat patterns for these cats. The striped Tabby Cat is the most popular and common type, called the Mackerel Tabby pattern. Other types include the Spotted Tabby, Ticked Tabby, Blotched Tabby, and Patched Tabby. The only striped coat pattern in domestic cats is actually the Mackerel Tabby pattern. Exotic Cats or wild cats also have members who have striped coats.

Tabby Cat markings have the classic dark and light banded hairs mixed with black hairs. These black hairs help create the tabby pattern by being clustered in “stripes” or clusters. The Mackerel Tabby has a light background with dark stripes on top. When stripes occur, they appear mostly vertical, thin, long and somewhat curved. The stomach and sides of the cat usually break the stripes into short bars… Read More

More on Tabby Cats!

How to Determine if Your Cat is Sick

May 4, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

How to Tell if your cat is sick

Cats are very independent pets. They mostly groom themselves and can also occupy themselves for hours with a toy. It will take a practiced eye to tell if they are sick.

You may think that your cat speaks to you in meows and purrs but it is a foreign language. There is no translation to let you know when they are in pain or not feeling well. So, how will you know if your cat is under the weather?

One way is to pay attention and listen. You are around your pet every day. From the time you get them home with a clean bill of health, take note of their usual behaviors. Vets can give you instruction and literature on normal cat activity and body functioning. Now, you are armed with the tools you need to identify when something is not right with your pet.

Signs of Sickness

For many cat owners, they don’t know that something is wrong until it is too late. This doesn’t have to be the case with you and your cat. Here are some signs that you can be on the lookout for.

1. Appetite – Your cat usually eats all of his food but now he is eating less. It could be that he doesn’t like a new food that you are offering. On the more serious side, he could have a digestive ailment that has changed his appetite. Use this measure. Grasp the skin between your cat’s shoulder blades. If it bounces back into place once you let go then he is well-hydrated. If not, your cat could be dehydrated. Offer him more water to drink each day.
2. Litter box business – This is kind of stinky but you might have to check the litter box droppings if you notice any changes in appetite. Think of it this way – you scoop out the droppings when you clean the litter box anyway. Next time, pay closer attention to the droppings. If your cat is eating more but eliminating less, that is a sign of possible illness. Also, if stools are loose or hard with traces of blood, this is another indicator that something is wrong. Check the color as well.
3. Eyes – The eyes have it. Cats have three lids: upper lid, lower lid and nictitating membrane. It’s much like a lizard where the third membrane comes across the eye and back as the other two close. You don’t normally see it because it closes so fast. If you can see halfway covering the eye, take him to the vet. Notice the normal coloring of your cat’s eyes. Any cloudiness to any area of the eyes could signal ulcers, cataracts or other problems.
4. Coat – Look for bald patches or a dull sheen to the coat. It could signal an allergic reaction, stress in your cat or a flea or other infection.
5. Ears – Take a look. Are they perky as usual? If there is a bluish or yellowish tint to them, it could signify a problem with oxygenation or liver damage.

Is your best friend feeling down? Use these guidelines to determine if you need to raise the alarm or just give your cat a little bit of loving.

Serval Cats

March 28, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Serval Cats as PetsServal Cats as Pets
“Are you thinking of acquiring a wild cat as a pet? Serval Cats are considered one of the best exotic cats to own – and here are the basics of their care!”

The African Serval is not an overly large exotic cat species, and it has long ears!

Serval Cats, also known as African Servals originate from Africa. These are popular exotic pet cats because of having similar characteristics to typical house cats. They are very loving towards their human owners, however they have a much more wild side than domestic cats and act on their instincts much more strongly. Servals are relatively small for wild cats – ranging from 18 to 40 pounds, with males often being larger. They are larger than most domestic cats, but in comparison to the largest exotic wild cats, such as the Siberian Tiger which reaches 400 to 760 pounds, they are small.

Seven different small wild cats are kept as pets, however the African Serval is the most popular and the most distinctive in looks. Although they look similar to cheetahs they are actually a completely different cat species. The Serval has a reddish to yellowish brown coat with dark stripes and spots which makes it stand out. The Black Serval and Woodland Servaline are two Serval varieties whose patterns include significantly smaller spots. Servals bodies are long and lean with long back legs that are somewhat longer than their front legs. They also have narrow heads and long ears… Read More

More on Serval Cats!

Cat Breeds: The Devon Rex

March 13, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Devon Rex

Kittens are cute as buttons. But what if you could have a full grown cat that is still cute as a button? If that appeals to you, then you could be the owner of a Devon Rex in the near future.

Origin

If you’ve ever seen a Devon Rex kitten, then you know why they have such appeal. The first Devon Rex was found in England. It was the offspring of a tom cat and a straight haired calico cat. The owner of the calico noticed that one of the kittens had a short curly coat much like its father. It was surmised that the two cats were related since a curly coat is a recessive trait in the Devon Rex. For a recessive trait to be portrayed it has to be present in both parents.

It was believed to be related to the Cornish Rex but subsequent breeding proved otherwise. The first of this breed to hit America happened in the 1960s. It is now recognized as a breed by American cat associations.

Temperament

This cat is loving, playful and gentle. It has a high activity level and would love the company of an active family with children. They are highly intelligent and curious. Wherever you are, they will want to tag along and see what you are doing.

If you like cats who love to be around you then you have found the right breed. This cat loves to drape across your shoulders and also command your lap. If you let them, they will sleep with you and then wake up in the morning to your hugs and cuddles.

They like active play. If you throw a toy they will retrieve it, ready for you to throw it again. To cut down on their energy, play time each day is essential.

Care

The Devon Rex has a short curly coat. It is composed of three different hairs: guard, awn and down. The hairs on this breed can break off easily. It is not uncommon for them to develop bald patches. These bald spots are not a sign of alarm. The areas fill in when the next hair cycle rolls around. Very little brushing is needed to keep it in line. Simply use your hand to stroke him and he will be groomed.

Often called a “poodle cat” this breed gets a look or two. Besides the tight curly coat, they also have saucer size eyes and large ears that could double as satellite dishes. As kittens they are often thought of as alien cats or pixies. This cat is not prone to a lot of health problems in the breed.

Training

If you don’t mind your cat crawling all over you then you won’t have a problem. Besides normal household rules for your pet, there aren’t any identifiable behavior problems.

Are you looking for an unusual cat that will shower you with love? Consider the “poodle cat” – the Devon Rex!

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