National Disaster Preparedness Month

Disasters happen and they’re terrible, but you, as a responsible citizen, can take steps to prepare for such situations in case they do occur. As a responsible pet owner, you should also include pets into these plans. Here are a few action items to consider:

Proper identification. Microchip your pets and ensure they wear identification tags with current, easy-to-read information.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Evacuation destination. Know where to go where you can take your pets with you. Have a list of options and contact numbers ready.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Stay together. Make sure your dog is leashed when you are transporting them and a few days after a disaster in order to keep them away from harm. Put cats in carriers for their own safety, as scared cats can bolt and hide in unbelievably small spaces.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Emergency pet kit. Make like a Boy Scout and be prepared! Essential items for your kit can include: food, water, extra medication, vet record copies, poop bags, cat litter and pan, leashes, collars, first aid kit (useful for humans too!), list of pet friendly hotels and evacuation centers, dishes, and toys.

Check out additional disaster preparedness tips from FEMA (preparing your pets for disaster, protecting your pets, evacuating with your pets), Ready.gov, Pet Sitters International, and the ASPCA.

Happy Cat Month

I’m sure that Happy Cat Month occurs at my house every day (or at least I truly hope so)! The CATalyst Council created Happy Cat Month to educate cat owners about what they can do to ensure their fur person is indeed happy, healthy, and thoroughly loved. There are four themes throughout the month, as follows:

  • Happy Healthy Cat: September 1-5
  • Happy Enriched Cat: September 6-12
  • Happy Multi-Cat: September 13-19
  • Happy Valued Cat: September 20-30

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Isn’t that neat and comprehensive? For more information, check out the CATalyst Council’s Facebook page!

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National Holistic Pet Day

When we humans think about our health, we think of mind, body, and spirit or heart. We strive to be healthy and find fulfillment in our lives. As responsible pet owners, we can extend that kind of thinking to our pets as well. When I say “holistic”, I’m talking about the whole, as in the mind, body, and spirit or heart of your pet.

Holistic health begins with good nutrition, physical exercise, and mental stimulation. Is your pet at a healthy weight? Does your pet get enough exercise? Do you think your pet is bored? These are only three questions to consider. As a caring and responsible pet owner, having a healthy and happy pet probably means that you’re happy for your pet too. Everyone wins.

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Here are some activities you can do today to celebrate National Holistic Pet Day:

  1. Have an adventure. Take your dog to a new park. Arrange a playdate with a new doggy friend. Bringing your dog to new places, combined with reinforced training, help your dog to be well-socialized and more confident.
  2. Play, play, play. Exercise can be therapeutic for pets and beneficial mentally as well as physically. By regularly playing with your pet, you strengthen pet-owner bonds, let your pet hone skills (fetching, tracking, pouncing, hunting, etc.), and reduce stress.
  3. Enrichment. Mixing things up a bit and encouraging pets to use their minds as well as their paws and noses can help pets, especially indoor ones, stave off boredom. Consider these ideas: food-dispensing puzzle toys; sensory enrichment (i.e. window perch for birdwatching, pet-directed videos); climbing posts, trees, and shelves for cats; novel objects like boxes, paper bags, pop-up tunnels, and bacon-flavored bubbles for dogs. Seriously!

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National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day

August 22nd is National Take (or Bring) Your Cat to the Vet Day! I’m sure cats across the world are saying, most emphatically, “NOPE!” but please bear with me. Part of responsible pet ownership or guardianship involves ensuring your pet is healthy, up to date on shots, and given appropriate medical care, and that any health or behavior-related questions or concerns are addressed.

Side-eye alert. Garrus is never thrilled about going to the vet but he certainly appreciates being able to eat normally now that his stomatitis is under control.

Why is regular veterinary care so important? Here are a few reasons to remember:

  1. Cats age faster than humans. A one-year-old cat is the equivalent of 15 in human years and a two-year-old is 24. After that, cats age 4 “cat years” for every calendar year. So much can happen in one year, so that is why an annual checkup at the vet is crucial.
  2. Cats hide illness and pain. Many cats are true stoics and don’t let on that they’re sick. By taking your cat to a vet at least once a year, any problem that may crop up can be treated early.
  3. Fat cat. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, over 50% of cats are overweight or obese. This extra weight can put cats at risk for diabetes, arthritis, heart, respiratory, and kidney disease, and more.
  4. Something’s up. If your cat’s eating patterns or litter box usage suddenly changes, that can indicate a health issue. Note changes in weight, activity level, sleeping patterns, socialness, mood, etc. and share any concerns you have with your vet.
  5. Preventative care. Having a baseline and an up-to-date medical history can help avoid medical emergencies and allow vets to detect and treat health conditions earlier rather than later.

Mau lets everyone know his name once we put him in the carrier. He does NOT like traveling in the car but he too needed to go to the vet to address his dental disease.

National Immunization Awareness Month

Did you know that August is National Immunization Awareness Month? This campaign applies to both humans and their fur people! While I’m certainly not a fan of needles and I’m certain my cats do not like getting poked either, getting annual vaccinations and keeping them up-to-date IS crucial for their health.

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Keep in mind, laws pertaining to mandated vaccines differ from place to place. For example, some places require annual rabies vaccinations while in others, this vaccine is required every three years. The ASPCA and PetMD provide a thorough breakdown about immunizations for pets.

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Have more questions about vaccinations for your pet(s)? Talk to your vet.

International Homeless Animals’ Day

In 1992, the International Society for Animal Rights created International Homeless Animals’ Day (IHAD), celebrated worldwide. This year, the 27th annual International Homeless Animals’ Day will be observed on Saturday, August 18th.

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This campaign is intended to raise awareness of the plight of thousands of homeless and abandoned animals across the world and educate the public about pet abandonment, feral animal overpopulation, and the benefits of neutering/spaying pets. Check out ISAR’s website and Facebook page for more information.

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