Stages of Kitten Development

“Laitche-P013″ by Laitche-Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Just like humans, though on a smaller and shorter scale, cats go through a series of developments and changes from birth to adulthood. Whether you are having a kitten from its birth due to your cat being pregnant or bringing one home from a young age, the more you understand about kitten development, the easier it is to understand your pet.

 Birth to six weeks

The first six weeks of life for a kitten are the busiest times. They are born weight usually around a few ounces with eyes and ear canals closed and the umbilical cord still present on the stomach. They can’t move much and the sounds they make consist of weak mews hunting for their mothers. At this stage, they don’t have teeth either.

Mother’s milk will give them immunity to a lot of diseases through the colostrum that is produces for the 24-48 hours before producing milk. This immunity will sustain them until they are ready for their first vaccinations.

The mother cat stays near the kittens at this early stage and uses her body heat to keep them warm as well as encouraging them to process their waste. By the end of the first week, they will have doubled their weight.

During the second week, eyes open and will be blue, though this can change several weeks later to their adult colour. Their vision is poor and bright lights should be kept away. By the third week, the mother will spend more time away from the kittens but will still groom them. At this time, they will begin to purr and their ear canals will be open with ears being upright.

By the fourth week, they will begin to walk, interact with others in the litter and explore their environment. Just a week later, an energetic ball of fur that never stops will have replaced the tiny, helpless little kitten of weeks before. This is a good time to start your kitten on canned food, especially designed for kittens, to start and get them used to their future diet.

It is around this time that the cat litter box should be introduced though a natural litter is advisable rather than clumping clay types at this age. Use a shallow box so they can get in and aren’t intimidated. At six week, the first set of vaccinations are given, along with worming and an interest in toys and their world is developing.

Weeks seven to twelve

Development begins to slow at this time with week seven seeing the weaning process continuing and the use of a scratching post being introduced to avoid them decided to use the furniture. By week eight, the teeth are fully-grown and will be fully weaned within this period or the following week. A second course of worming is done at this point.

At nine weeks, the average kitten will weight three pounds, their eyes will be the adult colour and they will be ready for the next set of vaccinations. By ten weeks, they are fully weaned and no longer reliant on their mother.

The first few months

After the first few months, kitten development is less dramatic but still very interesting. It is during these later months of their kitten lives that their personalities come to the fore; they learn to socialise with you and others in the household, hone their hunting skills with socks or balls of paper and become a part of the family. There can be times where they will drive you mad running up the curtains or chewing a book corner but these will be few compared with the pleasure of watching them develop into an adult cat.

How to Make a Career from Being an Animal Lover

Exotic Veterinary Care at Colorado State UniversityMany of us are animal mad and are devoted to our pets but can you make a career out of this? Are there degrees out there that can learn you to use this affinity to get a job? The answer is definitely yes and some of the jobs out there don’t need a formal education to get involved with them.

Degrees

If you are considering your education path then the obvious route is a veterinary course to work at a vet’s practice or an animal hospital. This allows you to work with animals, help them when they need it most and learn about the biology of various pets. An AAS degree in Veterinary Technology can be achieved in just two years and training as a Vet assistant takes just a year to accomplish.

If you watch CNN Student News, you will often see protests around animal rights and animal welfare and if this is something you are passionate about, then this too can lead to a career. One path is as a humane law enforcement officer where you can work with abused and neglected pets, a heart-breaking job that is also hugely rewarding with the good you can do, but may not be for everyone. Other areas of this aspect may be working in Animal Policy and Advocacy, Animal Sciences or Humane Leadership.

Volunteering

Whether you are a student, looking to get into a new career working with animals or simply looking to do your bit to help, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities. One of the most common is at the local Animal Shelters where you can care for animals and help get them into an appropriate new home. Similarly, working with the ASPCA is another worthwhile cause that can always use more volunteer help.

Jobs without formal education

If you are not looking to go down the university route or are perhaps looking for a career change a little later in life, then there are plenty of jobs available where you can work with animals and make a real difference. Two such jobs are animal caretakers and kennel workers. Both of these jobs do not require formal education to get involved with.

There are even some quite fun jobs such as pet grooming, dog walking, pet sitting and animal training that you can become involved with. Pet stores are another job opportunity that allows people to work with animals to some degree and also help out those with animals.

Conclusion

Not all animal jobs will suit all animal lovers – some people can’t bear to see an animal that has been abused or is sick so some of these jobs won’t be for them. But no matter what type of job you are looking for, there are always options available to help you combine a career with the animals that you love. You may even find an affinity for a type of animal you would never have considered before – you never know until you meet them.

Having A Better Run

Running with your dogYour medium sized to larger breed dog loves a good run, and it’s sad if the human partner can’t keep up. For a pet exercise is a essential need as this promotes not only physical health, but keeps a dog or cat from having too much pent up energy, which leads to frustration. Animals do have the benefit of always having their workout gear from the perfect pad and foot shape made for running to fur types that guard against taking a chill from the damp or cold. We, however, have to find suitable gear, and locate the best running shoes. Having what’s needed to hit the running trail or jogging track ensures your furry friend won’t have an abbreviated or lackluster workout because you can’t keep up.

 

Running Clothing

 

With the variety of warm weather and cold weather running clothing it’s almost always possible to find something that fits well, and works with a budget. The most important aspect of workout clothing is “breathability”. Materials that allow moisture to escape rather than collecting on the skin or trapped inside the clothing allow a runner to stay on the trail longer. Even in winter it’s best to have this type of material worn close to the skin rather than fleece or wool, which will overheat the body.

 

Runners Versus Trail Runners for Women

The best running shoes for women are lightweight, but still offer firm support. Road running shoes are designed for urban environments where the runner will spend the majority of the run on pavement. These shoes should have support for arches and the ankles, and have cushioning for the parts of the foot taking the biggest pounding. The sole of the shoe should have flexibility in order to take strides on a hard even surface, and still manage well with the occasional regularity in the pavement such as holes, or small obstacles.

Trail running shoes should be slightly heavier, and have firm support of the ankles and cushioning for the arch. Running shoes are usually made with a more breathable outer layer than the trail running shoes, because the latter is constructed for a more rugged and unpredictable path. The best running shoes for women and men will have a breathable quality, but in running through a trail where small obstacles could compromise the outer layer of the shoes the trail runner or even hikers are the better choice.

Men’s Runners and Trail Shoes

For most men it’s possible to sacrifice some ankle support in favor of a lighter runner with more cushioning and support for the arch. A breathable outer mesh is another feature most men will find the best choice, and long with firm support for the top of the foot and the toes. Trail runners however, should be much heavier and have a thick sole and tough outer layer offering protection from the occasional rock, root or other obstacle along the path.

Running Along Side

Trails and paths are meant for a nice long run, and a four-legged companion will appreciate the human who can keep up.

 

Can Birds Live Happily With a Cat in the House?

You can have a cat and a bird in the same houseYou think of combining a cat and a bird in the same house and immediately images of Tweetie Pie and Sylvester come to mind, mad chases through the house, a cat with a mouthful of bird feathers and an empty large bird cage

But it doesn’t have to be like this, provided you as the responsible adult/owner take some basic precautions. This isn’t to say you can overcome natural instinct but you can help them control it a little.

Supervision

So here’s the scenario; you have a large bird cage in the corner of your front room with a colourful and cheeky parrot in it. The cat starts stalking up to it, doing what comes naturally to him. What do you do?

Majority of cats hate water, especially when sprayed at them unexpectedly. Keep a spray bottle handy and when the cat is in prowl mode, a good spray with cold water will stop them in their tracks. Once you’ve done this a few times, the cat will come to associate approaching the cage with a cold, wet shower and will think twice.

Instinct

One mistake people make is assuming that if a cat has been raised since a young age with the birds, that it will have overcome its natural instinct and befriended the bird. It may be that this is the case but never take the chance. Never leave them together unsupervised as disaster can strike. Not only that but the bird will instinctively be afraid of the cat and that kind of fear can actually kill it, even if the cat doesn’t actually come into contact with him or her.

Misdirection

A tactic one multiple pet owner tried was to combine taking the cats attention away from the birds whenever he tried to get close to them. By using a toy or a paper ball, this would attract the cat away and also make it move around quickly. This in term alerted the birds so that they didn’t become complacent around the cat. Because while the household’s cat was never going to get a chance to get near them, another may sneak in and it could be fatal if they don’t see cats as the threat they really are.

Separation

Another approach is to have the place that the birds occupy as a no-cat zone. Keep the door shut and learn the cat that there is no way he or she is going in there. They will try and you will have to be diligent about it, but it can be done. Added to this, if the cat rarely sees the birds and should happen to get in, the unfamiliar noises and surroundings may give them the hesitation to let you get control of the situation once more.

There are no doubt lots of people who have positive experiences of having a cat on the lap and a bird on their shoulder but it is always best to err on the side of caution. No matter how much your cat loves you and seems fond of the bird, sometimes instincts just kick in and the result can be devastating.

Importance of Exercising Your Dog

Regardless of the size of the dog who is a member of your family and whether they are old or young, exercise is crucial.  Some breeds have special requirements, but every dog needs some level of exercise to live life to the full.

Why is Exercise Important?

The Importance of Exercise For Your Dog
Exercise Your Pet

If a dog doesn’t get activity, it can get bored and frustrated.  It can also become unhealthy, and this can have an effect on lifespan.  Just like in humans, exercise gets muscles into tone, forces the metabolic system into action and even gets the mind going.  Humans like to go jogging, swimming take a ride on their favorite bike on jump on their longboard deck.  Dogs like to run, walk, sniff and investigate.

But can your dog have too much exercise?  The average recommended is between 30 minutes and two hours activity each day.  Hunting dogs or those that work or herd (Labrador, retrievers, collies, for example, ) will be at the highest end of the scale.  These dogs need 30 minutes strenuous activity following by 1-2 hours of general exercise.

Mixed breed dogs can be a little more complicated to categorised.  A short nosed breed such as a Bulldog doesn’t need a huge amount of exercise, and a walk around the neighbourhood should do the job.

Dog body language

Often your dog will tell you when he is ready to go for a walk or when he’s had enough.  Learn to read his body language so that if he is lying around and showing no interest in going out, he probably just needs a short walk.  But if he is pacing about and raring to go, he’s got lots of energy to use and will be up for a long walk.

As dogs get older, they experience health conditions just like humans.  Achy joints and muscles or a bit too much weight can all slow a dog down so take these things into consideration.  Just like we all get older and haven’t got as much energy, neither has your dog.

If you are very concerned about getting the right balance of exercise for your dog, you can always consult a vet who will give you an exercise plan personalised to your canine friend.

Mental stimulation

Physical exercise is vital but so it mental stimulation.  When you go out for a walk, don’t always follow the same paths or take along a toy to break up the routine, perhaps even playing a game as you go.  Dogs can get bored with the same scenery just as humans can so to keep him interested and alert, don’t forget to mix it up.

Conclusion

The fact that a fit dog is a happy dog isn’t just a cute idea, it’s a fact.  When we exercise, we get the body working to its maximum and feel better for it, and the same applies to our dogs.  They need the exercise for their brains, as well as their bodies, and by keeping them active, they can live a long and happy life with you.

Cats: The Most Popular Animal On The Internet

There’s no doubt been times when you’ve been on the internet with a mission at hand. You’re doing something like strategically reading reviews online of the best stainless steel cookware by Angela, looking intently on what new pots and pans you’re going to purchase to cook a feast for Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter/New Years that the in-laws will never forget, and suddenly you feel yourself distracted to Facebook.

cookware by Angela on islandpetcare
Courtesy of E. Robert Vickol

You log on and see a cat video someone posted. You watch it, laugh hysterically, and then before you know it two hours have passed and your cookware is no longer a priority, only cute kittens who play with yarn and lick their sleeping owner’s faces mater. Don’t feel bad though, as it turns out you’re not alone. Cats are by far the most popular animals on the internet, and for good reason: they’re hilarious.

 

Anyone who’s owned a furry feline knows that they’re funny creatures. At times they seem to have split personalities. They want to do nothing but sleep, lounge, and eat one day, then the next they meow and run around the house like a maniac with a knife is chasing them. They usually save the latter for 3:00 in the morning on a day when you have something important to do. We’ve all known these things, but we just didn’t know how much everyone else loved these nuances until the advent of the internet.

 Grumpy Cat

If you love cats and don’t live under a rock, you no doubt have heard of Grumpy Cat. Grumpy Cat is a mixed breed cat who has a form of feline dwarfism which makes its face appear to have a frown because of a jaw deformity. The cat has spurred so many internet memes that the fur ball won the Internet’s Favorite Feline Meme Award at the Minnesota State Fair’s Internet Cat Video Festival, as well as the Golden Kitty award (basically the Oscar of cat movies) in 2013. Yes, there is actually an entire festival dedicated to rewarding cats on the internet. I was surprised, too.

 

In fact, Grumpy Cat is so popular that she’s been in a movie, penned a New York Time’s best seller, and even has a coffee line named after her. The cat’s owners are now millionaires. Talk about a pet that deserves a new toy.

 Cat Selfies

But Grumpy Cat isn’t the only popular cat on the internet. In fact, chances are pretty good that if you put up a funny or cute cat picture, it will get a lot of views, likes, and shares. For example, in the United Kingdom there are more shared cat pictures than there are selfies; 3.8 million cat pictures are shared every day as compared to just 1.4 million selfies. Yes, Brits actually like cats more than they like themselves.

 

In America, the percent of American internet users who post cat videos has skyrocketed. In 2009, 14 percent of all internet users in the US shared cat videos; in 2013 that number has more than doubled to 31 percent. The number of people who watch them is even higher. In 2009 it was 68 percent, and that number is now 78.

 

Funny cat and baby videos are also the most watched videos in America. What’s numbers through four? How to videos, educational videos, and music videos, respectively.

 

In reality, we loved cats way before the internet was ever thought of. Cats are great friends to keep us company, and their personalities are just really funny. So be sure to love your cat a little more today. Who knows, someday they may make you a millionaire.

 

Photo courtesy of Emilian Robert Vicol.

 

Do you have a Sick Cat?

Unfortunately, cats are well known for beings ones to hide their illnesses for as long as Calicopossible. Many time owners do not notice how bad their sick cat is until it’s serious. While there’s no substitute for the expertise of your veterinarian, you can keep tabs yourself on your cat’s health by looking at some of the most common areas that cause concern for a sick cat.

Food and Water

Make sure to keep tabs on how much your cat is eating each day. Do they seem uninterested in the food and refuse to eat any of it? Or do they act interested but sniff at is and walk away or only take a few bites? A cat that is not eating well may is also likely to not be drinking enough. The major concern here is dehydration. Likewise, if your cat begins drinking more water than normal that is also not a good sign and should be checked out. Keep an eye on what comes out of your cat as well as your vet is likely to ask you about how your cat’s waste looks in regards to what they are eating and drinking.

Coat and Skin

tabby cat sick cat
Cats are diligent for the most part about personal hygiene, so is your feline friend is not taking care of himself and keeping his coat clean then that should be a big signal to you that something is off. A lack of energy or concern for how they look signals something is wrong and chances are you are dealing with a sick cat. On the other hand, grooming nonstop can also be a sign that something is not right. Excessive grooming can be caused by irritants such as insect bites and allergies. If you notice a lack of grooming or excessive grooming from your cat or you see skin and coat issues such as thinning or bald spots, talk to your vet about what can be done to get your feline friend feeling good again.

Coughs and Colds

sick cat sneezing
Cats will sneeze and sometimes cough as a normal reaction to irritants in the air. After playing with old toys or using the litter box irritants might cause your cat to let out a few sneezes or a cough or two. If this happens now and then, it’s probably nothing that you should be overly worried about. Coughing up hairballs is a natural part of being a cat and coughing or hairballs on their own are not a reason for concern. Recurring or constant bouts of sneezing or coughing, however, are generally a warning sign that something is wrong. Sneezing accompanied by a “runny nose” is a sure sign of illness, as is any swelling, discoloration, or watering of the cat’s eyes.

This is by no means a complete list of symptoms or areas to watch out for, but it is a start and points out some of the most common and most easily observed signs that you may have a sick cat on your hands.

Make Your Own Homemade Cat Food

Many people are surprised to find out how unnatural the store bought cat food they are feeding their cats actually is. Some people consider whether it is worth the time and effort to make their own cat food. Making homemade cat food is not difficult and Island Pet Care homemade cat foodcan show you how. While getting started can be a bit of challenge and the process is a little time consuming it can be well worth the time invested.  You can make enough food at one time to be frozen and stored to give you a few month’s supply before you need to make more. Even though the food will likely keep if frozen for up to a year, try to keep it for no more than three months in the freezer. This is because nutrients will quickly break down and degrade after this marker, even in the freezer.

Content

The content of the cat food you make depends on what you want to buy and what your cats like to eat. In general though, you will follow the same basic process: grind up meat, bones, sEggs homemade cat foodkin, and some of the gizzards.  You will need to supplement some nutrients and the most common ones are vitamin B-complex, vitamin E, fish oil, taurine, and iodized salt. You should check with your vet about how much of these nutrients you should add. You can add other special treats that cats love into the mix such as a few eggs, and you can leave some of the meat in chunks to help with their dental health by giving them something to chew on.

Calcium To Phosphorus Ratio

One of the most critical things you need to remember if you want to make your own homemade cat food is the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.  Bones provide calcium and the meat provides the phosphorus. When a cat catches a bird, mouse, or other critter in the wild for food, they usually end up eating the entire thing. They get meat and bones this way, which is essential for their health. Always remember that you cannot skip calcium as it is essential and you must add some sort of calcium to your homemade cat food. 

Litter Box Habits

A final point that you need to keep in mind is that if you feed your cat these homemade meals, they will not pass feces in the same volume, consistency, and frequency as you would see if they were eating traditional store bought food.  The store brand foods are high cat litter boxin fillers and low in nutrients so there is a lot left over for the cat to pass. With a natural homemade food, more of it is used and there is less to pass. Cats on this sort of low residue diet may not have a stool every day.  Also, the feces of a cat eating these homemade cat foods will be drier and crumble easier than what many cat owners are use to.

Island Pet Care is committed to cat health and wellbeing. If you are interested in trying homemade foods for your feline, talk to your vet about the pros and cons before you start. They can give you recommendations on how to do is safely and effectively so your cat gets the most out of it.

How Many Years Does a Cat Live?

A popular misconception when it comes to cat life expectancy and how long most cats live is that cats age seven human years for each calendar year that they are alive. In fact, feline old cataging is faster and more severe during the first two to three years of life. A cat is about 15 years old in human terms when it is one year old, then 24 when it is two years old. Each year thereafter, the aging is about four years per every one calendar year. With this formula in mind, a 5-year-old feline is actually around 36 year old in cat years.

How to Tell a Cat’s Age

If you have adopted a stray or a cat from a shelter whose age is unknown, there are some ways to get a general idea for how old your new feline friend is.

The Teeth: Teeth can be a very reliable indicator of a cat’s age. Older cats usually have more staining and wear and tear than younger cats. If the cat has permanent, fairly white and healthy looking teeth, the feline is probably about one year old. Some yellowing could place the feline between 1 and 2, and tartar build-up and wear and tear can indicate an age of around 3 and 5. Missing teeth chipped teeth or sever damage may mean the cat is very old.

Muscle Tone: Younger cats are stronger, faster, and more agile so they have greater muscle definition and tone. Older cats tend to be bonier and may have sagging skin or protruding shoulder blades. If the joints look swollen or bulging that is the sign of a senior cat that may have arthritis and other bone and joint issues along with severe muscle deterioration.

The Coat: Cats that are younger usually have silky full smooth coats, whereas an older cat will have coarse stiff fur and may have fur falling out in patches. A senior cat may have abnormal grays or patches of white where color once was.

The Eyes: Bright, clear eyes that have no matter build up or wateriness are common in younger healthier cats. A cat with some cloudiness or discoloration to their will be 10+ years old most likely. Senior cats will have pronounced discolorations, cataracts, growths, or blindness.

A Cat’s Life Span

Cat life expectancy can vary greatly depending on a number of circumstances such as breed, care, location, breeding history, and other factors. There have been a few documented cases of cats living as long as 30 years, but this is far from normal. Typically, tiger catindoor cats average between 12-20 years with a good number of them surviving into the early 20s. Outdoor cats face greater challenges with care, predators, and injury and average only about 10 years for a life expectancy. It is very rare for an outdoor cat to live as long as an indoor cat. A cat that is both indoor and outdoor will usually average somewhere between these two ranges.

Easy Breakdown

To make it easier for you to remember the age progression of your furry felines here is a helpful little guide for cat life expectancy:

  • Kittens (birth to six months)
  • Adolescent kittens,(six to twelve months)
  • Adult cats (one to seven years)
  • Early senior years, (seven to twelve years)
  • Late senior years (more than twelve years old)

How to Control Odor in the Litter Box

One thing all cat owners will struggle with at one time or another is the litter box odor. Having one cat is enough to make any litter box smell but the more cats you have the more best cat litter for odor controlyou need to find the best cat litter for odor control. There are many options available and it can be a bit confusing at times. So here are as few suggestions that can get you started. There are four basic types of litter that you can find in most pet supply stores: clumping, non-clumping, crystal, and natural.

Type and Brand
Details
Odor Rating
Yes/No
Clay-Based: Clumping

Ever Clean
Extra Strength Premium Clumping
Absorbs liquid waste quickly and easily to form clumps that are easy to remove

Relatively mess-free

Excellent odor control when clumps are removed on a regular basis

Recommended to remove clumps daily for best results

Replace all of the litter in the box monthly and start with a fresh batch
Maximum Odor control

Dust-Free

Easy Cleanup
Yes
Clay-Based
Non-Clumping

Tidy Cats
Long-Lasting Odor Control
Absorbs liquid waste however it doesn't form easy to remove clumps

Makes daily cleaning more time consuming

Available in scented, unscented brands as well as several dust-free formulas

Odor control varies depending on how many cats and how often the litter is changed

Requires more frequently replacing than clumping litter
Moderate Odor control

Dust-Free
No
Crystals

ScoopFree
Litter Tray Refills
Made from a special blend of sand

Absorbs liquid waste with no clumping or scooping

Absorbs and controls odors by locking it into the crystals

Dump all litter and replace with a new crystal litter tray

Can be expensive, especially when multiple cats mean more frequent tray replacements
Moderate Odor
Control

Dust-Free

Easy Cleanup

Non-toxic
No
Natural and Biodegradable

Purina Yesterday's News Original Paper Pellet Unscented
Made from biodegradable materials such as pine shavings or bark, paper, wheat, or corn husks

Available in both standard clumping and non-clumping

Good for cats and humans who are allergic or sensitive to litter dust and other allergens

Many are flushable and all are biodegradable
Maximum odor control

Dust-Free

Easy Cleanup

Biodegradable

Flushable

Non-toxic
Yes

 Best Cat Litter For Odor Control

As you can see, there are plenty of options available when it comes to cat litter. Choosing the best cat litter for odor control is a priority for cat owners. You want something that litter box odorworks well and is safe for your feline friend and will help keep your home smelling fresh. These are just some of the options that are available to you and sometimes a little trial and error is needed to find the one that is just right for you, your cat, your family and your specific needs. But this review is a good start!