Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Just a Perfect Friendship

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This is a bit of a departure for us but it serves as a reminder: wild animals are not house pets! Thanks to the our friends at HooplaHa, we can share a special story with you that points this out.

Less than a year old, little Morgan the Bobcat was found, of all places, in a room at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in California. One of the workers had brought her across the border and realized she was too much to handle so he left her in a room. The story quickly spread and actress Morgan Fairchild took it upon herself to find a place for the little Wildcat, hence the Bobcat's name, Morgan. She quickly found her a home at The Wildcat Sanctuary in Minnesota. Meanwhile, Shalico, a Canadian Lynx, was also bought as a pet by a college student whose father said this was not a pet. She, too, quickly found a new home at The Wildcat Sanctuary.

Since both wildcats were young at the time, the workers decided to introduce them. Cats of different species don't often co-mingle but this turned out to be the exception, especially since they were young. It was love at first sight and they soon became inseparable. A happy ending to what might of been a disaster.  Here's a video of Morgan and Shalico, perfect friends forever.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Knots of Fun for Your Dog

All Photos Courtesy of Lisa Kamer
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 A few years ago Lisa Kamer was an executive with a food company. She had a position any businesswoman would envy yet something was missing although she didn't really admit it. Then the company was sold. She let fate take its course.

She and her husband brought home a 12-week-old Corgi puppy. Leo was not her first Corgi. The puppy was teething and actively chewing through everything in sight. She realized several years ago that her dogs could chew through the most chew-proof toys.  

One day she had a brainstorm and gathered some strips of fleece. She was sitting in her backyard, no career plans, and almost mindlessly braiding the strips of fleece, creating a toy for Leo out of strips of braided fleece. She gave it to Leo and watched him chew it, suck on it, throw it, lie on it and sleep. He was a happy boy. And so a business, Knots of Fun was born.

"I never verbalized to anyone that I was happy that my company was sold, not because it was a financial gain for me but because I felt that the corporate world was never really me." Lisa said as we sat in her living room having coffee after some cuddle time with the exuberant Leo, who is now an adult, and his new little "sister," 7-month-old Jenny. They were very happy to greet a visitor and I was happy to have a lapful of two Corgis. 

The toys were so easy to make that she thought children might enjoy making them. They certainly did! The first children to make the toys was students at the Perkins School for the Blind. They loved doing it and then they sold the toys at a school fundraiser where they were a huge hit. Making Knots of Fun turned into one side of Lisa's then fledgeling business. Since then, other schools have taken up the fundraising project. Lisa created kits that she sold to the schools. The only stipulation was that they not sell the toys anywhere that Lisa sold them, they couldn't compete with her with her own product.

You can choose from three different types of toys. They're very colorful but trust Lisa to choose the colors.  The toys are machine washable but are not meant to be chewed. They are designed for interactive play with the owner. Put them away between play sessions.  Your dog should be supervised at all times when playing with a Knots of Fun toy. If it becomes shredded or worn, replace it immediately. It is not to be consumed. 

The human-animal bond is something to which I am dedicated and I'm pleased to say that that is exactly what these toys foster since they are meant only for interactive play.
"For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an entrepreneur," said Lisa. "My puppy, Leo, became my muse. It was bringing him home after the death of my two dogs that inspired me to start Knots of Fun. It's really a dream come true to be able to work for myself and to manufacture a quality toy that is made right here in Massachusetts."

Handmade in America. What a nice thing to be able to say!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Meet This Little Piggy....

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This is a first for PerPETually Speaking. I usually talk about dogs or cats since they are the popular companion animals and I know more about them.  That said, I couldn't resist the opportunity when our friends at HooplaHa sent a link to a video about a pet pig, well, who could resist?

I remember when Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pigs were all the rage but they didn't necessarily say small and that was a problem for many people. I don't now what kind of pig this is but his pet parents, Kristen Hartness and Jay Yontz love him. They named him Ziggy and they've been a family ever since.

Ziggy's entire story is here for you to enjoy. Who knows, with as much as Ziggy travels you may meet him someday.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Cats Need to Visit their Veterinarian

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Photo Courtesy of Lisette Brodey

It hurts my heart to think that cat owners don't realize that their cat needs to see a veterinarian exactly as much as a dog does. I can't imagine why they don't think of it but so few cats have ever seen a veterinarian, have an annual check-up, vaccinations, etc. that it's startling.

There are some interesting facts that lead me to this conclusion and I'm happy to share them with you.
In the United States there are 86 million owned cats and 78 million owned dogs yet nearly twice as many cats than dogs never visit the veterinarian. Think about that for a minute. What's wrong with this picture?

41% of cats only go to the veterinarian for vaccinations and 39% of cat owners say that they would only take their cat to the veterinarian if it was sick. 83% of cats are taken to the veterinarian within the first year that they're owned but over half of them do not return. That's a sad fact. 
Photo Courtesy of Claire Clayton

Why? 60% of cat owners say their cat hates to go to the veterinarian, 39% only take the cat to the veterinarian if the cat is sick and 38% report that the thought of taking their cat to the veterinarian stresses them out.

This really is an issue that's easily resolved but it seems that few people have sought help, or even information that could help them. Yet a full 56% of owners say they would bring their cat to the veterinarian more often if they knew it could prevent problems.

Wellness started in human medicine and then moved to veterinary medicine. Preventive care is as important for our pets as it is for us. That yearly visit to the veterinarian can help prevent disease, or catch it early before it becomes advanced and more difficult to treat.  Your veterinarian can also teach you to brush your cat's teeth. Healthy teeth and gums are as important for our pets as they are for us. All sorts of germs can leech down from dirty teeth and cause a wide range of health problems.

My cat, Aimee, is now 16 years old. When she was about 12  I took her for her first Senior Wellness Exam. It included a full range of blood work and tests to see what her baseline is so that her veterinarian can tell if something is changing and catch it early. Senior cats should visit their veterinarian twice a year.  Putting off veterinary visits is a case of pennywise and pound foolish. If kitty really gets sick it will cost you more in the end to try to fix the problem, and it will be harder on both you and your kitty.

Photo Courtesy of Shara Rendell Smock

Cats are experts at hiding illness and Feline Practitioners are experts in feline health.  Please don't wait until kitty is really ill.

The sad thing is that only 18% of cat owners report that they have received instruction teaching them how to transport their cat. Transporting a cat isn't all that difficult. Cats are extremely intelligent and they only need to learn that their carrier is a wonderful place to be.  Bring the carrier out, leave it open and put a soft towel, or pad or snuggly blanket in there. You might want to add a toy. Let kitty get used to going in an out. There is a product called Feliway that will help calm the cat.  You may have heard of it as a plug-in room spray, or as a spray can but it also comes in the form of wipes. You can wipe the inside of the carrier, especially before the trip to the veterinarian, to help calm kitty.

Photo Courtesy of Frank Incremona
When you arrive at the veterinary hospital, hopefully there will be a separate waiting room for cats but whether there is or not, keep kitty's carrier on a chair next to you so it's elevated. Cats like higher places. Turn the carrier toward you so she's not making eye contact with other cats or curious dogs. You may opt to put a towel on top of the carrier and drop it down over the door for privacy which can make kitty feel more secure.

My veterinarian sees all manner of pets in her practice but she's also a Feline Practitioner. The American Association of Feline Practitioners is an organization of veterinarians who are dedicated to cats and their health. Their website has a special section for pets owners with  downloadable brochures to help you and your kitty as well as a listing of members so you can locate a Feline Practitioner near you. You can find them at: www.catvets.com

If push comes to shove and you really can't take your cat out to the veterinarian, seek out a mobile veterinarian who will come to your home. There really is no excuse for not having your kitty seen annually by a veterinarian, twice a year for senior cats. 
Photo Courtesy of Anthony James

Here are some helpful links:

Getting your cat to the veterinarian: 

Signs and Symptoms of illness:

Getting Your Cat to the Veterinarian Brochure http://www.catvets.com/public/PDFs/ClientBrochures/Cat-to-VetHandout.pdf

More educational brochures are available on the website. Spend some time looking around.  It's a great resource for cat owners, whether new or experienced.


American Association of Feline Practitioners: www.catvets.com

Ownership Statistics in the U.S.: http://www.statista.com/statistics/198102/cats-in-the-united-states-since-2000/

Statistics Simplified: https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Statistics/Pages/Market-research-statistics-US-pet-ownership.aspx

Petxpert Podcast with Dr, .Jane Brunt of The Catalyst Council: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JsGafbkLNw

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Let's Clean the Air!

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Aimee and I were sitting at home, alternately sneezing for no discernible reason. I was going through my e-mail, a never-ended - or so it seems - activity. I suspect every blogger gets pitches for all sorts of things. Some are suitable for their blog, many are not. It's a veritable crapshoot. Sometimes you open an e-mail and bells go off in your head. Such was the case in early December. I opened an e-mail about a new model air purifier from Guardian Technologies. Hmmm. The angle concerned people who are allergic to pets. Well, okay, but I wrote back and asked if they had ever considered pets who were allergic to their environment.

Although I get offers all the time, I don't often test products. This, however, was something I wanted to try for myself. U.S. readers of a certain age will remember the old saying: I'm from MO, me you gotta show.

I offered to review the new product but not without testing it. I tell my readers the unvarnished truth. If something is really bad, I choose to ignore it. It's really as simple as that.

The publicist asked about the number of my blog readers and came back saying that one would be sent to me and I could test and then keep it. That was generous.

I honestly don't know what I was expecting but imagine my surprise when a large box appeared on my driveway.

I needed a little help from a friend in getting it out of the box. Most people can do it by themselves. The cat will only be interested in the box so don't look for any help there. It's ridiculously easy to set up. If the cat had opposable thumbs she could have plugged it in. The controls are easy to see and easy to use. I was determined to give it a good, long try. It's white, has clean lines to blend with any decor.
Nice clean lines that go with any decor

It runs for 6 hours before shutting itself off. You can also select 2 or 4 hours of running time. You can also easily select the fan speed and whether or not you want the ionizer on. It comes with very clear instructions on how to change the filters, how to install or remove the UV-C bulb. Instructions are not only clear, they provide illustrations that are just as clear. Show and tell.

On it went. Okay. Even at the highest speed it's pretty quiet which is great for a writer who lives in a very quiet house and likes it that way. My kitchen and den are connected in an open floor plan. It sits in the den, quietly doing its job.
Photo Courtesy of Mary Slaney

It didn't take too long before I realized the change in the air. It was even more apparent after 6 hours when it shut itself off and the regular air began to replace the purified air.

The new The GermGuardian® AC9200WCA High Performance True HEPA Ultra-Quiet Air Purifier System with UV-C Allergy and Odor Reduction really lives up to its name. If it were human, I'd marry it!  The True HEPA filter relieves allergies by capturing 99.7% of dust and allergens as small as .3 microns in size. I'm no scientist but that sounds pretty small to me. The larger carbon filter inside catches household odors when you cook, as well as dander from pets, etc. The UV-C light is a chemical-free way of reducing germs on surfaces, in the air or water. Hospitals and water treatment plants use UV-C light, destroying 99% of microbes including fungi and mold as well as such germs as staph, influenza and rhinovirus. The Ionizer Option boosts Allergen Control.

If you have someone with allergies, it's perfect. It was designed for people with pets who are allergic to animals. It also works for pets who are allergic to their environment. Aimee and I are now happily breathing clean, fresh air.  I'm breathing deeply. I highly recommend this top-of-the-line model. What it has done for my home is priceless. 
Photo Courtesy of Nancy Ross

How happy am I with this product? Very. Instead of going to the drug store for a new humidifier, I will go, instead, to Guardian Technologies, LLC website and buy one of theirs. If this is an example of their quality, I want another one of their products. Anything else might be penny wise but, in my opinion, pound foolish.

NOTE: I received a new GermGuardian® AC9200WCA High Performance True HEPA Ultra-Quiet Air Purifier System with UV-C Allergy and Odor Reduction to test. I was not paid for this review. The opinions in this review on my blog are my own after weeks of testing to be sure it was doing what I thought it was doing.

For anyone who is interested in finding our more about this product or one of their other products, please go to their website:  www.guardiantechnologies.com