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!

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

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Types of Cats

June 15, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Types of CatsTypes of Cats

"The relationship between human and feline is much different than the master/owner relationship between man and dog!"

Cats come in many breeds with many different personalities, making them wonderful

companions for many different types of people!

A huge variety of cat breeds and cat types are in existence and available to choose from. Being very unique animals that are kept as pets, cats can bring a good vibe to many homes. Over time cats have become domesticated all over the world and are now primarily house pets. People have observed their unique characteristics and behaviors and grown to really appreciate them. Overall, cats are affectionate, clean and playful pets. They also have a side that comes across as very courageous, patient, and dignified in the human world. In America, cats are now the most popular pet, even more popular than dogs… Read More

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