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Feline Frolics

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 9:42:00 AM EST by Cam Day

Eleven Magic Methods to Amuse Your Manic Moggie

You all know about curiosity and the cat. While many a cat is a lazy Couch Slouch, others are active, curious party animals. When they are out and about, the Party Animal Puss Cats are looking  for a good time. These rascals are set for a night on the tiles, travelling like roaming Romeos looking for mischief in all the wrong places and sticking their noses into other peoples' business.

Cool Cat SmallestEven within the home, some cats are devils on four furred feet. Owners regularly report that, as they walk through the house,  their cat will ambush them and will spring like a caged leopard to attack their legs. These cats then run off to hide, their black eyes shining with evil intent.

If your cat fits into the 'party animal' category, giving it things to do apart from ripping living human flesh from passing legs will be of immense benefit.

The Feline Frolics techniques described below will allow you to play with your cat without being attacked. It will also give your cat lots of other things to do in a day to enrich its lifestyle and to blast away boredom. Even for normal, friendly cats, playing games with them and providing a variety of toys and stimuli will give additional richness to their lifestyle. And, if you have decided to confine your Party Animal Puss Cat to the house and/or a garden cattery, the techniques below will compensate for the fact that you feline fiend can't get 'out and about'.


The Feline Frolics List:

1.  Fan Fare

If you have an overhead fan in your house, then providing fun for your cat is easy. Attach a length of elastic with a piece of  folded paper, or a cork with feathers glued to it, to the hub of your fan. Turn it on to a slow speed and let your cat chase the 'clattering paper mouse' as it flies around the room. Remove any delicate china first! As the cat learns the game, move the elastic further out along the blade of the fan so that it moves faster. Just be sure to monitor the game for safety.

2.  Patty Pan Party

Hide titbits of tasty food in and around the house so that the cat has to hunt for them. This appeals to their hunting instinct, stimulates exploration and fortifies the notion that the house is a fun area to be in.

Do this by securing half a dozen paper cake patty pans in various high and low locations around your house. Place a blob of blue-tac under each patty pan so that they don't move.

Now place a small quantity of your cat's normal dry food in each and a 'cherry' on the cake by also including a flavoured dry food treat such as a Whiskas Craver or similar. There are lots of taste varieties 

As the cat mooches around for the food, he or she will find a different reward for their exploratory exploits each time it unearths a new patty pan.

3.  Kong Toys               

Kong Toys are wonderful. They are rubber, cone-shaped 'balls' that resemble the Michelin Man without his arms and legs. Due to their shape, they roll around the floor and bounce unpredictably. Cats find that stimulating. The Kong also has a hole in the middle. This can be packed with food rewards such as dried liver treats or dried fish or you can smear Anchovette Paste or Liverwurst in the hole. The cat's job is to work out how to get the food out.

4.  Magic Milk Carton  

A milk carton can mimic a Kong Toy. Cut the bottom off a plastic 2 litre milk carton. Open the cap and smear Liverwurst or Anchovette paste inside the lid.

catfoodreward200

Replace the lid and watch the cat attempt to lick and find the food treat by jumping head first into the milk carton. You can also cut a paw-sized hole or two in the side of a milk carton and place food treats inside. The cat will roll the carton around trying to work out how to get the food out. Try putting a rubber band from the base of the carton through to the cap. Place a paddle pop stick or a feather or two in

the rubber band. The paddle pop stick should be long enough to just catch the edge of the milk carton. Wind it up the rubber band and when Puss puts is paw in the hole to get the food the paddle pop stick will move a few times. Puss will be fascinated.

5.  Frozen Cows

Next time they are on special, buy several lactose-free milk packs from the pet section of your supermarket. Throw them in your freezer. As you leave for work, cut a large slash in the carton and leave it in the cat's food dish. The milk will slowly melt into the dish and provide a delayed release reward for the cat.

6.  The Food Sprinkler

From your pet shop, purchase a Cat Mate automatic pet feeder. There are several similar products, and they all operate on the same principle. They contain a food tray which is sealed with a flap. The flap is controlled by a timer that will open the flap and give access to the food at the time you set. That's interesting for a bored Puss Cat. However there is a deluxe version. Use velcro to fasten the unit upside down under a table or on a beam inside your house. Now place a rubber door mat (the type with big holes in it) under the unit. Why Because when the flap opens some hours after you leave, the food will drop to the mat and sink into the holes. Puss will be delighted with the challenge that you have presented!

7.  Carton maze

Make a maze from some old shoe boxes or other cardboard boxes. Have some 'poke and peep' holes in each box. Poke pencils through the holes or pull a piece of string with a paper  mouse on the end through the maze. Your  cat is likely to chase the mice, attack pencils placed through the holes and generally have fun exploring. Put some food titbits in the maze to stimulate exploration.

8.  Paper Bag Park

Scatter a selection of paper bags around the house. Have holes in them for 'peeping and poking'.

9.  Laser Light Leaping

If you have access to a laser pointer, flash this around the walls to get your cat to chase it. Commercial versions of this are now available for cats. Just be sure not to shine the laser into the cat's eyes.

10.  Weasel Whumping

If you can find one, purchase a wiggly Weasel Ball. These act like a 'virtual-mouse' for your cats. The weasel is attached, by its nose,  to a ball containing a battery, and when turned on, the ball rotates and rolls around the house with the weasel attached, looking like it is being chased. They are made by Dah Yang Toy Industrial Co., Ltd  and are identified with the code number 8038H.

11. Paper Mouse Mauling

This is the old, but effective, standard cat game. Attach a paper 'mouse' to a piece of string and drag it through the house. Some creative folk attach these to a radio-controlled car and drive the mouse around the house. Feathers on corks are also much loved.

If that doesn't satisfy your Puss Cat, visit your local pet shop. You will find a range of cat toys designed to satisfy the most fastidious and fanatic of fractious felines - but meanwhile, don't forget to hug your pet.


Click here to go to the Aggressive Cat Pet Pick

Santa Claws is Coming!

Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 12:45:38 PM EST by Cam Day

Santa Claws Applause

If you need a Christmas gift for your favourite pet lover, or even for your favourite pet, the choice this Christmas is bigger that it's ever been. Use this list to get your Santa's sack bulging.

Groomed for Success

Woman and catAs pet owners, we love the look and feel of our pets. So, why not give your favourite pet person a real treat and have their pet professionally groomed? See your local grooming parlour for a gift voucher. Picture this! You could go a step further and have the pet's portrait taken and present the framed photo to the owner for Christmas.

Health Enhancers

Without doubt, one of the best things you can do for a pet-lover is to ensure their pet is healthy and happy. The pet's vet is sure to have a gift voucher that would, for instance, cover the cost of having the pet's teeth cleaned or having the pet vaccinated and while you're at it, ask the vet to add a Once-A-Year heartworm injection into the gift.

Hamper the Pet's Health

A Christmas hamper for the pampered pet is a wonderful idea and the local pet shop or veterinary surgery will help you to select the right goodies.

Consider a flea preventative such as Frontline Plus or Advantage and a good quality hypo-allergenic shampoo. For itchy pets, try an oatmeal shampoo. Add some pet toothpaste and a toothbrush, and a new lead and collar with a whiz-bang, engraved name tag and then throw in a bag of liver treats and you will be forever popular - the pet will like you too!

Better to be Better Behaved

When a pet misbehaves, the turmoil caused by that behaviour is a constant worry for any pet owner.

So, solving that behaviour means a better lifestyle for the pet AND the owner.

Now, you can give your relative or friend the gift of a well-behaved pet! (Or be selfish - give yourself the gift - just don't let anyone else know!)

If your mum or dad or your daughter or son has a problem pet, the best thing you can do is to get personal assistance from Dr Cam to have that problem zapped away.

Leading the Way

If your pet-person has a pooch that is impossible to walk on the lead because the pooch pulls too much, then ask Santa to give the pooch's owner a certificate for an obedience course. A little training goes a long way!

When its being walked, perhaps your friend's dog resembles a cross between as runaway freight train and a turbo-charged yo-yo after a caffeine hit. Well, lead them to success by giving a Gentle Leader as a present. These devices are like a head-halter used on horses. Attach a lead to the Gentle Leader and it operates on the principle that where the head goes, the body must follow. No more freight-train Fido foibles!

We all know dogs are not allowed to exercise off lead in public but an extendable lead is a good alternative. Extendable leads are similar to a builder's tape measure. The lead is housed in a canister from which it extends when applicable or springs back if the dog needs to be short-leashed when passing pedestrians or other dogs.

Tons of Toys

Honey sitting with the Wobbler

There is no end to the range of toys you can buy for pets. For puss cats, there are motorised toys a plenty that will keep a cat

 

 

amused, including the Cat and Mouse. This is a motorised plush mouse that scampers inside a circular maze.

There are many versions of cat teasers that resemble fishing rods with feathers or plush toys attached to the end of a string, or you can make your own from a bamboo garden stake, piece of cotton and a cork with two feathers attached.

If you haven't yet caught up with the rang of self-feeding dog toys such as the Kong Toy, the Giggle Ball or the Buster Cube then you are really behind the times. Most dogs delight in the puzzle that such toys provide and they are great brain fodder for bored dogs that are left alone during the day.

If you prefer to make your own dog and cat toys, then search for information on my No Bored Dogs and Cats routine on www.pethealth.com.au.

Lightening Lightning Fear

If your favourite pet person has a dog with noise fears, I have just the present. My Frightful Noises Audio CD and its sister the Frightful Noises E-book. These resources will make light work of thunder, lightning and fireworks fears.

The audio CD contains more than one hour of sound advice on solving noise fears with dogs. The Brain-E-book has over 50 pages of advice and also includes the Fear Factor Calculator that helps to assess how serious a dog's noise fears are. It also links to a variety of useful video clips on my web site.

Give a Dog A Bone

The simplest things are often the best. So, this Christmas, why not "give your dog a bone"?

A raw meaty bone, such as a piece of ox tail to suit the size of your dog, a marrow bone (cut in half width-ways not lengthways, so the fatty marrow is not available), a chicken wing or neck or a lamb shank, makes an ideal treat. A bone will alleviate boredom and will also help to keep your dog's teeth clean. Chicken wings and necks and the smaller ox tails are ideal for cats too.

A bone doesn't have to be messy. Rawhide chews and pigs' ears are suitable for those pets that bring their bones into the house.

Boredom Blasters

Honey sniffing WobblerBoredom is the modern scourge of dogs and cats. The Christmas boredom-blaster that tops my list is the Kong Toy. Kongs are cone-shaped, rubber toys that resemble the Michelin man. They also have a hole through the middle into which you can hide a variety of healthy food treats. Give this to your pooch when you leave for work and it will have something to entertain it for the day.

A Roller Ball or Treat Ball is a similar idea. These balls are hollow and have a submarine-like hatch that allows you to place dry food inside the ball. As your pooch pushes the ball around, the dry food falls out and provides an instant reward for your dog's efforts. My hairy hound loves her Treat Ball. Similar versions are also available for cats.

Other boredom-blasters that are new this Christmas include a range of chewable toys which incorporate movement-activated, computerised noises. Some make the sound of a fire engine, others make the sound of a telephone and there are many other stimulating noises to bowl Rover over.

Bored puss-cats have not been forgotten. There are many motor-driven toys that will drive your cat crazy. Some have a plush mouse that circles around inside a chamber. Paw holes allow your cat to attempt to catch the mouse as it circles.

Also examine the range of carpeted climbing frames and scratching poles that are available. With hiding holes and bouncing attachments, these are a cat's dream.

Litter Perfect

Now down to man's business. Guys, if you're the sensitive, new age type, for a really romantic present for your cat-fanatic lady, why not give her a Litter Maid reallycutetabbycat200- an automatic, self-cleaning cat litter tray. So considerate!

While you mind the fur-ball for a short period (when the footy's on), your dearly-beloved will find it is so much easier to clean the litter tray. This intelligent litter tray uses a motion detector (!) knows when the cat has visited and automatically activates a cleaning comb ten minutes later. The comb moves through the clumping cat litter and scoops the soiled bits out and deposits them in a disposable waste container.

Yup - now that you've mastered the toilet seat bit, you can even help with the cat's toilet manners.

Speaking of entertaining a puss-cat, look for a new device called a Kitten Mitten. Being a caring cat owner, I have bought my Hair Ball one and he thinks it is so much better than the old "Mouse-on-a-Rope". A Kitten Mitten is a glove with extended fingers tipped with cat nip bobbles. It resembles a mutant cross between Edward Scissor Hands and a Joker's Hat. Place the mitten on, wiggle your fingers and your cat will become a fascinated flipped-out feline.

Fish and Tips

For those who are considering an aquarium, I am really taken by the Eclipse systems. These aquariums are much better-looking than the normal square glass tanks. They are made from attractive curved glass, and come complete with a coloured hood, flourescent light, and a bio-wheel power filter and the total package costs around $180.00.

Bird-brained Presents

buzzLet's not forget our feathered friends. If you are feeding your birds a standard seed mix, your fussy feather-face may pig out on its favourite seeds, thus selecting a diet that is not balanced.

The answer is to feed your bird prepared food pellets, much as we do nowadays for dogs and cats. There are many varieties, but the product, Nutriberries, is one variation. This clever product provides an excellent source of nutrition for birds. It combines essential seeds and vitamins, thus providing a balanced diet with each mouthful. The feathered folk think it is wonderful.

Twinkling Teeth for Christmas?

If you have a friend whose pet has 'death breath', give them a big hint by presenting their pet with a toothbrush and toothpaste for Christmas. Your vet and pet store have a pet tooth brush that fits over the end of a finger and a tube of toothpaste that goes with it. The toothpaste comes in unusual flavours like malt and poultry! Essence of postman is the next flavour on the list, especially for Rottweilers and Dobermans!

For cats and dogs, there are a variety of dental chew treats, including Greenies. Rawhide chews are available for dogs and fish base chews for cats.

For pooches and puss cats that are young or for those that are lonely at night why not try a Snuggle Pet? These plush, furry pets come equipped with a vibrating heart that gives off a comforting and rhythmical beating sound that mimics the heartbeat of a companion.

Happy shopping!

 

Eliminating Easter Escaping

Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 1:30:50 PM EST by Cam Day

Banish Backyard Boredom this Easter

We ask much of our 21st century canines. We confine and constrict them to a minuscule morsel of mother earth in our back yards, thinking little of their yearning for the freedom of the open spaces that were once the provinces of their ancestors eons before.

We leave daily for work, always at the same time and always in the same manner, with Fido watching every repetitious move. The poor old pooch is left alone, day after day, in the same old back yard, in the same old way, at the same old time.

You probably take Fido for walks along the street, even on a daily basis. Fido will enjoy that for sure, but on your return, you discard Fido in the boring old back yard again. The street is interesting, stimulating and changing, associated with adventure, fun and excitement. The backyard is ..... dull, boring, routine and uniform, associated with the hum drum 'normalness' of life.  Nothing changes, nothing happens, no excitement occurs.

And some dogs even hate their back yard because of the traumas they have experienced.

Escaping from Back Yard Boredom Blues

Considering so many of us work 50 - 60 hour weeks, it is far from surprising that backyard boredom is an increasingly common ill with dogs. It is also not surprising that the wanderlust often strikes and Fido flees for the freedom of the fiords, to explore, have fun and to enrich his own lifestyle!

However, if you allow Fido such freedom, problems are bound to arise. Dogs which are allowed to roam usually Beagle_Pup_escaping-SMLhave a short life span and are never popular. They are often seriously maimed or killed by cars. They are commonly baited or shot because of the nuisance they cause and they often roam so far that they become lost or stolen, never to be seen again.

Good Fences Prevent Escaping

You have several solutions that you can utilise to prevent your dog from roaming the street.  The easiest and most obvious solution is to construct a fence that is secure enough to keep your dog in your own property and out of your neighbour's. However, you should also think about the boring nature of the backyard and do all you can to solve that problem and whether having the pet neutered will help.

A good fence will solve most problems and the rule the 'bigger the better' is a reasonable one.

'What not to use' is the first consideration. Chicken wire is not suitable for a dog enclosure as it is too weak and barbed wire should never be considered. Mesh with wide gaps is also a danger as a dog that has a need to escape can often stretch the mesh sufficiently to get its head and neck caught. The results are often very dangerous.

A chain mesh and pipe fence is the standard type of dog fence, and is probably the cheapest. It should have a tension wire at ground level to which you should securely attach the mesh, and another at the top. Ideally, you should install a horizontal pipe at the top of the fence as this will give additional strength.

A picket fence makes a good dog enclosure, especially as it partially obscures visual access to the street outside, thus reducing barking. However, there is a significant danger with picket fences. Dogs which try to jump fences often get their paws lodged between the pickets at the top of the fence. I have known dogs that have died from being caught in such fences when their owners were away. You can easily prevent this danger. All you need to do is to cover the gap between each picket at the top with a horizontal paling, running the entire length of the fence.

Special Fences for Ballistic Barkers

For dogs that are chronic barkers, a solid fence, usually a wooden one, is well worth consideration. The common 'good neighbour' fence is ideal.

Dedicated 'Pavarotti Pooches' also benefit by being secured away from the boundary fence  facing the main cause of  barking. This is usually, but not always, the street. Such fences commonly extend from the side of the house, leaving a dog-free front garden and a doggy back yard. Having achieved this, enriching the back yard environment is very important. This is discussed later. When distanced from the continual stimuli of the street, many previously noisy dogs become surprisingly quiet and peaceful.

Fences for Escaping Experts

Some dogs are so intent on escaping that they will do all they can to find a weak portion of a fence. If they can't find one, they will create it.

Sad_dog_at_fence-SMLThe problem with such dogs is that the more they escape, the more they are reinforcing their own behaviour. For such dogs, the escaping routine can be very difficult to solve.

For such dogs, a secure fence is vital. A concrete footing at the bottom of the fence is easy to construct and will prevent the dog from digging under the fence to escape. It is ideal if you bury the bottom of the fence in the cement, or for pipe and mesh fences, if you can place a horizontal footing pipe just above the concrete footing.

The best dog fence by far is a solid wooden fence, where the horizontal supporting beams are on the opposite sides of the fence to where the dog is housed. Many dogs are able to use the horizontal beams as a ladder to help them get over the fence.

For those escape artists that jump or climb the fence, sometimes making the fence higher is not the answer as they still manage to jump or climb. The best solution is to construct a 'lean-too' section on top of the fence. This is an attachment, angled at forty-five degrees and facing inwards. You can construct this easily by attaching angled steel to each post and placing chain netting between each angled section.

The effect is that the dog cannot climb the fence due to the angled section, and cannot jump the fence because of the appearance of width the fence now has.

For human safety, ensure that the angled sections are above head height.

More information

Does Neutering Have any Effect on Escaping Behaviour?

 Neutering male dogs is an important consideration. One study has shown that, in 90 percent of entire male dogs, roaming is solved after castration. This is because roaming is often induced, at least initially, by the attractive scent of female dogs on heat in the neighbourhood. The territorial perception male dogs develop by urine marking trees and posts while roaming is also important. The more they roam, the more they mark and thus the more they perceive the neighbourhood as their owned territory.

Relieving Backyard Boredom

The routine nature of a suburban dog's life, as discussed earlier, is a modern day ill. For barking and escaping dogs, providing an enriched lifestyle in the backyard is vital.

Honey sitting with the WobblerOn a daily basis, you should play with your dog in your backyard by giving it daily aerobic exercise, 'brain work' or mental stimulation and also giving welcome cuddles and companionship. This is a formal program I call the ABC's Technique and is available here.

Briefly, throwing Frisbees and balls in the backyard is good and just running and jumping with your dog is good exercise for both of you.

I often advise my clients to use a special dog toy called a Kong Ball. The ball bounces unpredictably and resists a dog's chewing too. It has a hole in the middle in which small amounts of food can be placed to create even more interest. 

But what's better than the normal Kong is the KONG Wobbler. This one is hugely popular, and is weighted on the bottom so that when your dog knocks the toy over to get a treat, the Wobbler bounces straight back up into the standing position popping out food treats at the same time.

Free express post delivery on Kong Wobblers for  short time.

Brain work involves a fun training routine in which you teach your dog to do different things for no reason other than for fun. Teach it to walk along balance beams, to climb over garden furniture and other obstacles, to roll over, crawl and to 'play dead'. Also encourage your dog to play 'hide and seek'. For this game you place your dog in a 'down and stay' position and encourage it to 'seek' you, other members of your family or even tidbits of food hidden around the back yard.

Have you seen our No Bored Dogs Routine yet?  We have developed many cheap cheats to help with boredom relief. More information on that here.

Some Escaping is Abnormal

Some escaping has nothing to do with boredom.  In our world as behaviourist, we see dogs escaping because they are suffering from mood disorders. The commonest of those are separation anxieties, separation panic disorders and noise phobias.  Some escaping behaviour is best described as cause by back yard ghosts.

If your dog is distressed while he or she is trying to escaping that's something you should never ignore. Contact us for advice on that or jump the queue and book a behaviour consultation online here.

Remember, escaping behaviour can be a fatal condition.

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