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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

Hot Dogs and Cool Cats

Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 12:53:30 PM EST by Cam Day

Hot Dogs and Cool Cats

FINAL COOL CAT


We have wonderful weather in this Sunshine State and over the holiday period we are likely to be out and about more with our pets.

However, the sunshine can cause another state - heat stress.  You need to be careful that you don't put your pets at risk over the next few months.

Helping your pet to keep its cool this summer is vital and there are some 'tricks of the trade' that will help you to do just that.


The Hair of the Dog

It's easy for us to shed unwanted clothes in summer but not so easy for long-haired dogs and cats to shed their coats.

Having your pet clipped now is a good idea and there are many grooming parlours around town that will do the job for you.

Most pets are shedding their coats at this time of year and daily grooming to remove unwanted hair will make your pet more comfortable and will help it to shed excess heat.

Grooming aids, such as Slicker brushes, that are designed to strip loose hair from your pet's coat, can be found at your pet shop and veterinary surgery.

A Cool Abode

It is essential that your pets have adequate shade to rest in at this time of year. It's the afternoon sun that's the killer and therefore you should ensure that a dogdrinkingshady spot is provided on the eastern side of your house so that the house itself provides shade. Kennels on the western side are nothing but hot boxes.

The coolest area in your home is underneath the house, and thankfully our Queenslander and Colonial houses provide just the spot for a pet's afternoon snooze.

This is the spot where your pet's water bowls (more than one) should be situated so that they remain cool.

Icy Solutions

To help your pet keep its cool while you are at work, provide some frozen treats for it.

It's a good idea to freeze a cup or two of water and place them in your dog's water bowl in the morning to keep the water cool.

Also, in a plastic lunch box, margarine container or similar, make a nutritious soup by placing a pet multivitamin mixture into some Vegemite broth. Then throw in some chunks of fresh meat, some liver treats and a few veges and freeze the whole lot.

When you go to work, remove the frozen delight from its container and place it into your pet's bowl. It will provide your pet with a stimulating and nutritious boredom blaster during the day that will also keep your hot dog cool.

Pooling Resources

2860090A clam shell sand pit in a shady spot is a great summer treat for a hot dog. Fill one half of the sand pit with sand and wet the sand in the morning. This will give poochie a cool bed to snooze on. Fill the other half with water and poochie can drink it, sit or paddle in it or play in it, just like a kid at the beach.

Now suspend a hose above the sand pit and connect it to a clockwork hose timer on the tap. Set it to turn on during sprinkler times and the oscillating hose will cool your pooch and provide a watery wonder world.

Heated Arguments

Apart from keeping your pets cool at home, be very careful about their care when they are out and about with you because mistakes are too easy to make.

The saddest mistake of all is when a dog dies in a hot car.

The rules are simple. At this time of year, your dog should not travel with you if you are going to stop anywhere other than at your final destination. Many say "But I'm only going into the shop for a litre of milk - I'll be just a minute". The 'just a minute' extends very quickly if the shop is busy or if you happen to meet a talkative friend.

The highest temperatures are reached in cars of dark colour and with large glass areas. Hatchback cars are the worst, with temperatures quickly exceeding 70 degrees centigrade. This is lethal for any living being, including children, as we have seen recently.

Short nosed breeds of dogs, such as Bull Dogs, Pugs and the Pekingese, are very susceptible to heat stress.  Obese dogs and cats are at risk too, especially 'small fat' dogs. Dogs or cats with poor circulation and dogs with any respiratory disease are also susceptible.

Jogging Dogs walkingadog210

I cringe when I see people cycling or jogging with their dogs struggling behind. A dog is so faithful that it will try to keep up when it should stop and rest. The owner knows when he or she is getting too hot. However, the dog is so faithful it will ignore the messages from its body that say 'stop'.

The dog's tongue is dangling in a futile attempt to cool its body and it is obviously struggling to keep up. Dogs like this often collapse from circulatory failure.

Heat stress is a major concern over summer but a little common sense is all that is required to help your pets keep their cool. Please be careful.

A Carton of Magic

Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013 at 12:59:51 PM EST by Cam Day

The pet-toy market is flooded with so many different types and makes of toys. So it can be difficult to choose the right one.

But have you ever considered making your own dog toy using standard throw-away items you would normally put in your recycling bin!

That's where the Carton of Magic routine comes in!

How Can a Milk Carton Provide Hours of Fun for a Pet?

There is one gift for a pet that is the cheapest and best of them all. It's one that you have already but I bet you don't realise its value - the milk carton!

A milk carton, plastic or cardboard, is magic for dogs, cats and even for birds.

The Daily Rabbit

For instance, try the Daily Rabbit for an entrée. 

What self-respecting wolf ever eats its meal from a stainless steel bowl? Their 'daily rabbit' appears at random and the wolf delightfully chases the rabbit, catches it and eats the poor little bunny.

There is a way to mimic that without risking the welfare of any small critter. Use a milk carton with a hole in the side. 

VIEW A VIDEO OF THIS ROUTINE HERE

 So, take a one or two-litre plastic milk carton and, using a knife and a sturdy pair of scissors, cut a nose-sized hole in the side about half way up. Smooth the edges of this cut surface by running a flame from a match quickly around rim.

Now, place a small quantity of your dog's dry food inside the milk carton and give it to your pooch just before you leave for work. Pooch will be perfectly puzzled trying to work out how to get the snack out of the carton.

This mimics the natural tendency of a dog to want to eat their prey animal such as it's Daily Rabbit.

To answer a common question - no this does not cause a dog to develop aggression to small furry animals!

You can do the same for cats, and even for a pet bird such as a Cockatoo.  Alter the size of the hole to suit the size of the pet.

Carton of Magic Extreme

Two and three litre milk cartons can also be made into exciting brain expanders for dogs and cats by hanging them from the rafters of your Pagoda or the beams under your house.

Run a dog lead through the handle of the milk carton by placing the clip end through the hand loop, tighten the loop around the handle of the milk carton then attach the clip to a strong bungee cord or a tension spring that you can purchase for a few dollars from a hardware store.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

The KONG WobblerKONG Wobbler

The KONG company are famous for their brain-expanding toys but they have really excelled themselves with the KONG Wobbler. 

The Wobbler can replace your dog's food bowl and exercise your dog's bored brain in an instant.

We regard the Wobbler as being one of the best behavioural toys currently available.

More Details Here

Paw Propellor

For cats, make a Paw Propeller. Using a milk carton again, stretch a rubber band from the cap to the base and in the middle of the rubber band secure a paddle-pop stick like a propeller so that is just wide enough to catch on the edge of the bottle. Wind up the rubber band and when puss places a paw inside the hole, its paw is likely to activate a few turns to the 'propeller'. That'll keep it guessing.  

The Cunning Carton Cruncher

The Carton Cruncher is another alternative. Place dry food inside a cardboard milk carton with a hole in one side or you can also employ a toothpaste box for small dogs and cats or a cereal box for the big dogs. A toilet roll core is also useful - put food treats inside and fold the ends over like a bon-bon.

Would you like a sneaky way to feed your cats during the day? Try the Tricky Bickie Feeder. Get a one-litre plastic milk carton and cut a 20-cent-sized hole in the bottom edge. Fill the carton with dry biscuits but include a small number of highly flavoured dry treats such as Whiskas Cravers, to add some interest. Secure the bottle upright with a rubber band looped onto a chair leg or similar.

The Perplexed Puss will soon work out that a paw placed inside the hole will scoop out some biscuits. As it learns the technique, make the task slightly more difficult by cutting a small 'door' in the bottom rather than a hole. Make the hinge of the 'door' at the bottom, so that when puss pulls at the door, the spring effect is likely to shoot a biscuit or two into the air.  Puss will be happy!

The Sneaky Leaky Milk Carton

For dogs and cats that are bored during the day, the Sneaky Leaky Milk Carton is a devious treasure.  Use a drawing pin to place a hole in the bottom of a milk carton. It will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes for 250 millilitres of water to leak out of this hole. Place the leaking milk carton on the end of a DVD case high on a ledge where your dog or cat can't get to it. Now place a Milk Muncher or a Carton Cruncher on the other end of the ruler. When enough water leaks out, the leaking bottle will be too light to counter the weight of the gift on the end and the gift will then be delivered to your delighted pet.  

Bucket of Fun

And now for the Bucket of Fun. Make a Sneaky Leaky Milk Carton from a two or three litre milk bottle - one with a handle on the side. Tie a two the three metre length of nylon washing line to the handle and run the line though a pulley secured to a beam on the roof of your pagoda. On the other end of the line, suspend an ice-cream bucket at head height. (The metal clasp from a dog lead serves nicely as a pulley.) Now place some food treats, a bone or your pet's favourite toy in the bucket. In the leaking carton, place 250 millilitres of water to act as a counter-balance. When enough water leaks out, the heavier bucket will slide down to the ground, thus delivering the day's delights to the pooch.  

Water Treat

The Water Treat is also a useful idea. If you want to be sure your dog's water is always fresh, fill a two litre milk carton with fresh water and place a hole, the size of a knitting needle, three to four centimetres from the bottom of the milk carton. Be sure the cap is secured. Place the carton into the dog's water bowl and secure it upright to a post on your deck or pagoda with a belt or rope. When your dog drinks the water below the level of the hole, air will be allowed inside the carton and water will leak out until the hole is covered again.

When using a milk carton, safety is important. Where necessary, remove the lid of the milk carton and the plastic sealing ring in case you pooch tries to swallow it. Be sure the size of any hole you make is not large enough for your pet to get its head stuck inside!  Also, don't use any of these techniques if your pet is likely to chew and then swallow bits of the plastic.

Halloween, Australia, and our pets

Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 12:10:01 PM EST by Cam Day

Halloween, Australia, and our pets

6836-101413-gs6836

Halloween, the 31st of October, is a time bound deep in American history. Traditionally, it is the time when Americans remember those who have passed, and ‘laugh’ in the face of death. Although it has long been an American holiday, it is becoming bigger and more popular in Australia with each passing year.

Today, Halloween has lost most of its original meaning, and the day is instead a time to delve in to the humorously macabre by watching scary movies, telling scary stories, and dressing up in all manner of ghouls and ghosts.

While that may be fun and exciting for us humans, it can be a completely different story for our beloved pets.

Pets and Superstitions

Take superstitions for example – we’re happily told from a young age not to walk under a ladder, crack a mirror, or even to let an innocent black cat cross your path.

Now, I have a big soft spot for black cats. I have two of my own and I love them to bits – my family calls them black panthers. They’re gorgeous. However, black cats are popular targets for sick ‘celebrations’ of Halloween traditions. A lot of black cats are abused, tortured and even killed on Halloween. In America, it has become common for people to adopt a black cat a few days prior to Halloween, only to return it a few days later, once the day has passed – these are considered the ‘lucky’ cats. Some American shelters have even banned black cat adoption during the entire month of October to prevent this from happening.

What do I do?

If you’re worried that your pet may be targeted, keep your pet out of harm’s reach.

  • Temporarily restrict your dog’s access to boundary fences
  • Keep your cat inside until the frivolity of the day has passed

Celebrating Halloween – Australian style

Australians love to have a good time, whether it’s a simple barbecue at the park, a beer with a friend, or dressing up in crazy costumes just because you can. Halloween in Australia is no exception.

6842-101413-gs6842With multiple parties at various entertainment and private venues celebrating everything Halloween, people are going to be acting and dressing differently. For instance, we already know that the family barbecue is a trigger for serious Resource-Guarding Aggression problems. So combine the barbecue with people in crazy costumes, people acting differently, and people under the effect of alcohol, and it’s a recipe for disaster for the family pet.

There may even be noisy celebrations such as fireworks and firecrackers. For anxious pets, this can all be cause for concern. Pets don’t understand that it’s just a bit of fun and games for us humans and that everything will be back to normal the next day. Pets don’t understand that fireworks aren’t going to hurt you, that they’ll be gone in just a few minutes. Pets don’t know that people are deliberately walking weird (as zombies), hissing (vampires, witches), or howling (ghosts, ghouls, werewolves). To pets, these loud noises are catastrophic and these people really are the monsters they are imitating, and it’s all very scary.

Scared and fearful pets are unpredictable. This is where the age-old notion of “fight/flight” comes in to play. If pets can’t run away, which they likely can’t if they’re confined in an area that has easy access to these “monsters”, they can become aggressive and that’s when disaster strikes.

What do I do?

If you’re having a get-together, have a plan in place to ensure your pet’s happiness and your visitors’ safety.

This can include:

  • Creating a sound-proof den if fireworks are going to be used nearby
  • Using a calmative if needed, such as Adaptil or Homeopet Storm Stress
  • Restricting your pet’s access to food preparation and eating areas
  • Keeping your pet away from the activity and ‘scary’ people
  • Ensuring your pet’s identification is up to date, in case they do escape your home

Trick or Treating

The most well-known part of celebrating Halloween is Trick-or-Treating. Kids of all ages dress up in their spookiest garb and travel their Puppy on cushion sad.jpgneighbourhood in packs, targeting their friendly neighbours with the cry “trick or treat!”

While this is great fun for humans, the constant traffic to and from the front door and the repetitive ringing of the doorbell may cause increasing levels of mood arousal, stress or anxiety in some pets. Combine this with the known factors of young children in costumes and crazy get-up and you could be in for a tough night.

And while we’re on the topic of Trick or Treating, just be mindful of the types of treats that could be within reaching distance of your pet.

What do I do?

While not every neighbourhood will be brimming with costumed kids wanting treats, it’s best to again have a plan in place.

  • Make the entrance area to your home a “no-go” zone for the night by closing doors or using baby gates
  • Place your pet in another part of the house where the sounds of the front door are muffled
  • Keep chocolates and other human treats away from your pets

Further reading:

The Denning Principle

Noise Fear Pet Pick

Resource-Guarding Aggression

Changing Moods

Human Foods that Poison Pets

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