Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pet Policies: Pleading Your Case Successfully

by: Dan The Roommate Man

I was spending the evening with friends, a married couple who had just moved into an immaculate, upscale apartment community in North Dallas. Their two "children" were a good-natured cat and a very large, yet friendly dog who claimed the apartment's second bedroom for herself. "How did you get the leasing staff to agree to let you keep her here?" I asked, motioning to the dog. The couple exchanged a knowing look as one of them said, "Well ... I showed them a picture of her when she was a puppy."

That's certainly a creative solution to a common dilemma. Most apartment complexes who do allow pets have weight and size limits. But for some of us apartment-hunters, it seems to be Murphy's Law. You find the apartment of your dreams: spacious, great layout, all amenities included, reasonable rent, easy commute to work and local resources. There's one catch, however. You can't have pets. That includes not only dogs and cats, but also hamsters, gerbils, birds, anything that has wings or more than two legs. While such policies are probably fewer in number these days, landlords and leasing companies reserve the right to establish no-pet policies. Another friend who resides in a no-pet building in New York decided that she and her large dog would have their cake and eat it, too. Every time he needed to be walked, she smuggled him out through the freight elevator, out of the doorman's sight. Clever. Risky, but clever.

Must of us pet-owners have enough common sense to take Fido out on a regular basis or keep a clean litter box for Sylvester, but that doesn't stop pets from acting out when they're lonely or bored. And many of them exhibit a remarkable regression in good training habits in the event of a move, which can be a very stressful event for them. A new home means that your pet is being introduced to a completely different environment. The layout is different, the scents are different, even the water is different. So it's understandable both that a pet might react negatively under such stress, and why a savvy landlord might opt to forbid pets on his or her property. If you're moving into an apartment,
surely you feel better knowing that a dog with bad habits didn't live there before you arrived.

But for those of us who do have well-behaved pets, are these policies fair? Sure, we can look elsewhere, but today more than ever, people realize the positive impact that pets have on our
lives. They reduce stress and lower blood pressure, provide companionship, teach responsibility, cheer us up and can even help us meet other people. Rather than throw a towel over Fido and attempt to smuggle him into a no-pet property, you might want to consider pleading your case to your prospective landlord.

Most local branches of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals maintain a list of landlords and Realtors who help prospective renters and homeowners who own pets. The SPCA can help you locate specific properties that rent to pet-owners, and some branches even list specific apartments for rent (and whether they'll accept dogs and cats or just cats), along with a contact phone number for your convenience.

The Massachusetts Chapter of the SPCA recommends that prospective renters "market" themselves as responsible pet owners while they're apartment-hunting. What does that mean? For starters, it means avoiding any property that clearly states a "no-pet" policy. You're not going to change the policy or twist anyone's arm to make an exception. Your best bet is to open your local
newspaper or apartment guide, or online apartment guide, all of which will tell you whether or not pets are accepted on premises.

When you start making phone calls, call smaller properties -- those that probably have a landlord as opposed to a management company -- before the large ones. Your chances of success are better at smaller properties. Mention your pet only when asked. In other words, you don't want to start the conversation by asking, "Do you accept pets?" rather than stating "I'm calling to find out about the apartment for rent." It's not being dishonest; it's just knowing when to introduce the subject. And don't make your pet the focus of your conversation with your prospective landlord; you don't want to give the landlord the impression that he or she should be wary about you and your pet. If the landlord never asks you if you own a pet during your phone conversation, bring it up when you go see the unit and meet the landlord in person. Be completely honest (no puppy pictures allowed). The landlord will appreciate your honesty. Waiting until moving day to spring Fido on your landlord will get your relationship off to a very bad start, and it could end your relationship with Fido in a big hurry.

When you meet your prospective landlord in person, bring along "letters of reference" from your former landlord or apartment management company, as well as your veterinarian and fellow
neighbors, which state that you're a responsible pet owner. The San Francisco SPCA offers a "pet resume" service, a clever way of showing off your pet's attributes and good behavior. You may
consider creating your own while you're on the hunt for a new apartment. You can even offer to have your prospective landlord meet your faithful pet at your current residence, so that he or she can see in person how well-behaved your pet is, and how well you maintain your current property. And you may consider offering to put down a "pet deposit" if the landlord hasn't already established one. Last but not least, tell your landlord that you will pay for any damage incurred by your pet during your lease -- no questions asked, and put your promise in writing to assure your landlord of your word (make sure you also state in writing how such damages would be assessed, so that you're not

So before your landlord questions you about the moving beach towel with four legs who accompanied you outdoors this morning, state your case clearly to every prospective landlord with whom you communicate during your apartment search. Honesty now can save you innumerable headaches later.

Since 1989 Dan The Roommate Man has helped 1000's people find roommates. Need help? Contact him at 800-487-8050 or http://www.roommateexpress.com/

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Chicken Gizzards And its Role In Preventing Cystitis In Cats

Author: Sarah Smith
Cystitis is a very common problem encountered in the cat community. Typically there are signs of blood in the urine, straining to urinate or even worse, a blocked bladder. If your cat has ever had a blocked bladder you will know that this is a life-threatening emergency. You need to get your beloved puss up to your vet as quickly as you can.

In my practice this condition is very common. It is more serious for males than for females in that the male cats urine outflow pipe, the urethra, is very fine. It can easily become blocked by blood clots or crystalline sludge. Typically there is a dietary history of feeding dry cat food. One thing we always advise is to stop feeding the dry food. Some cats are addicted to eating dry food and refuse to eat anything but dry food. These cats do better if they swap to a prescription diet designed to be lower in the minerals that cause the crystals that cause the blockage. They also contain a urinary acidifier to reduce the chances of minerals forming together to create the crystals. Some cats will still have problems regardless of what they eat.

One of my interests as a veterinarian is to look at alternative ways of treating these common, often frustrating and frequently life threatening conditions.

In my reading around the subject of cystitis in cats and possible approaches I came across an interesting thought.

In traditional Chinese medicine the development of cystitis and crystals in the urine is considered a form of DAMPNESS. Dampness is correlated to the presence of food allergies or sensitivities and incomplete digestion. Many of the Chinese medicines used specifically for the treatment and dissolution of bladder stones or crystals contain the inner lining of chicken gizzards, also called ji nei jin.

Chicken gizzard lining has been used for over 2,000 years in China. Initially it was used in the treatment of diarrhoea. Later it developed a reputation for promoting digestion and astringing fluid discharge. The digestion promoting effects were prominent on both meat and grains. The astringing effect was found to actually break down kidney and urinary stones.

An active principle, named ventriculin was named as the component that gave chicken gizzards its medicinal effects.

In the wild situation one of the main food sources for cats is birds. Obviously not chickens but chickens are birds and all birds have gizzards. I have to say I'm not entirely sure about what goes into the moist style of cat food in a can but I do wonder how much chicken gizzards are incorporated. I doubt that there are any in the dry form of cat food and I often wonder just how digestible it really is anyway.

It makes sense to me to consider adding chicken gizzards to our cats dinners. The eating of birds by cats is greatly frowned upon in many circles. It is especially unacceptable in the National Park where I live.

Obtaining chicken gizzards is at best a challenge. It can however, be readily accessed in its medicinal form of ji nei jin.

Given that it is a natural component of the wild cat diet and its historical use in Chinese medicine as a treatment for cystitis, urinary stones and digestive disorders in humans it seems logical to consider supplementing cats diets with ji nei jin especially if they are prone to urinary tract problems.

Sarah Smith is a student with Success University. Her online studies are teaching her to create a healthy work and home life balance. She is learning the secrets of attracting success in ALL areas of her life. Sarah is a student with Success University. Learn to Create a Successful Home Business Collect your FREE E-book

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cat Care - The Best, the Easiest, the Most Natural

By Madeleine Innocent
Raw Food Diet - Photo: © Alison007 (Flickr name) reproduced under creative commons

Caring for your cat is easy when you try to remember her origins. Being domesticated doesn't mean you should abandon how she would live in the wild. Cats have evolved in the wild over millennia. They have been domesticated for a mere trifle in comparison.

This means that their nutritional and emotional needs remain identical to those of their forebears. In attempting to provide the best cat care means looking at these needs. Lets look at their nutritional needs first.

Wild cats hunt on their own. They hunt small animals, sometimes up to about their own size, but mostly smaller than themselves. They rarely eat anything other than freshly killed meat. Contrasting this with a typical domestic cat's diet of dried pellets and you realise how off the mark commercial pet food is. Even if dried pellets were made with the best cuts of meat (which they aren't), the meat is still not fresh or raw. So, if you're trying to provide the most complete cat care, what should you feed your cat?

In my opinion, the best cat food is raw meat and bones. You can't completely duplicate a wild cat's diet, but you can come so close as to not compromise her health. Cat care starts with food as this is consumed daily. Something done daily has much more impact on our health than say something that only happens once a year.

When a cat eats her prey, she will eat all the meat, including the bones. Bones are the best source of calcium for a cat. And meat can only be properly digested when it is consumed with bones. After all, all carnivores eat meat with bones. Not only that, crunching up on bones is the best way of keeping her teeth and gums healthy, as long as they're not too big. No dried pellets can do that as well, despite the promises on the label.

Some think that giving a cat raw meat will trigger their hunting instinct. In my experience, it does the exact opposite. Because raw meat is nutrient dense, your cat will be satisfied and won't feel the need to supplement her diet as when fed a nutrient deficient diet.

Natural cat care also means providing your cat with her basic emotional and physical needs. Cats are intelligent and inquisitive. They need visual stimulation. This is best served by being outdoors, where nature provides an abundance of stimulation. If it's impossible or too dangerous to let your cat outside, do make sure she has access to safe stimulants, perhaps in the form of toys. Make sure you play with her to ensure she gets adequate exercise.

Sun is an important aspect of good cat care. Cats love the sun and it is essential to good health for all of us, not just your cat. Regular outdoor access will allow her to choose for herself. For confined cats, make sure there are times when you can open a window (safely) to allow the sun's rays in, unhindered by glass or plastic.

Easy cat care really means allowing your cat the freedom she desires. Confining cats indoors is going against good animal husbandry, I am also of the opinion that declawing cats is not only painfully inhumane, it deprives the cat of the natural joy of stretching. If you are considering declawing your cat, maybe you should also consider having a cat is not for you. Cats have already adapted a great deal to live with us. Putting them through an unnecessary, inhumane and painful operation is purely for your benefit, not your cats.

Cats provide us with an abundance affection, love and enjoyment. To provide even adequate cat care, we should at least do the same for them.

Madeleine Innocent has been a homoeopath, a natural health therapist, since 2000. She treats both people and animals and finds that when the diet of her patient is addressed, to one that is more in keeping with natural laws, at the same time as her treatment, enormous strides in the resultant good health are made. To underestimate a good, natural diet is to play Russian roulette with life.

For more information, click on this website:-

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Valentine’s Day Tips

Valentine’s Day can be as much fun for pets as it is for humans if dangerous foods, flora and other items are kept out of paws’ reach. Each year our poison control experts see a rise in cases around February 14, many involving chocolate and lilies, a flower that’s potentially fatal to cats. So please heed our experts’ advice—don’t leave the goodies lying around on Lover’s Day.

Pet-Safe Bouquets
Many pet owners are still unaware that all species of lily are potentially fatal to cats. When sending a floral arrangement, specify that it contain no lilies if the recipient has a cat—and when receiving an arrangement, sift through and remove all dangerous flora. If your pet is suffering from symptoms such as stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea, he may have ingested an offending flower or plant. Use our online toxic and nontoxic plant libraries as visual guides of what and what not should be in your bouquets.

Forbidden Chocolate
Seasoned pet lovers know the potentially life-threatening dangers of chocolate, including baker’s, semi sweet, milk and dark. In darker chocolates, methylxanthines—caffeine-like stimulants that affect gastrointestinal, neurologic and cardiac function—can cause vomiting/diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an abnormally elevated heart rate. The high-fat content in lighter chocolates can potentially lead to a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. Go ahead and indulge, but don’t leave chocolate out for chowhounds to find.

Careful with Cocktails
Spilled wine, half a glass of champagne, some leftover liquor are nothing to cry over until a curious pet laps them up. Because animals are smaller than humans, a little bit of alcohol can do a lot of harm, causing vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, tremors, difficulty breathing, metabolic disturbances and even coma. Potentially fatal respiratory failure can also occur if a large enough amount is ingested.

Life Is Sweet
So don’t let pets near treats sweetened with xylitol. If ingested, gum, candy and other treats that include this sweetener can result in a sudden drop in blood sugar known as hypoglycemia. This can cause your pet to suffer depression, loss of coordination and seizures.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Don’t let pets near roses or other thorny stemmed flowers. Biting, stepping on or swallowing their sharp, woody spines can cause serious infection if a puncture occurs. “It’s all too easy for pets to step on thorns that fall to the ground as a flower arrangement is being created,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine for the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. De-thorn your roses far away from pets.

Playing with Fire
It’s nice to set your evening a-glow with candlelight, but put out the fire when you leave the room. Pawing kittens and nosy pooches can burn themselves or cause a fire by knocking over unattended candles.

Wrap it Up
Gather up tape, ribbons, bows, wrapping paper, cellophane and balloons after presents have been opened—if swallowed, these long, stringy and “fun-to-chew” items can get lodged in your pet’s throat or digestive tract, causing her to choke or vomit.

The Furry Gift of Life?
Giving a cuddly puppy or kitten may seem a fitting Valentine’s Day gift—however, returning a pet you hadn’t planned on is anything but romantic. Companion animals bring with them a lifelong commitment, and choosing a pet for someone else doesn’t always turn out right. Those living in the Manhattan area can let their loved one choose their own cat with a gift certificate to adopt from the ASPCA. If you’re not from New York, check your local animal care facility or take a romantic trip to the shelter together.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tips For Spotting 5 Hot Cat Health Symptoms Needing Immediate Attention

No matter how much love and attention you give, felines experience cat illnesses. Recognizing cat health symptoms is challenging because, unlike their human caregiver, cats are rather stoic soldiers. They don't go around grumping when they have a belly ache.

Here are 5 Hot Cat Health Conditions that should alert you that your feline is fighting off sickness or injury.

1 - A Loss of Appetite

Train yourself to be a responsive and observant caregiver. Take notice when a cat has stopped eating or skipped a meal. If your cat experiences trouble eating, drinking or swallowing, then there is a cause for concern. It is a big RED, FLASHING LIGHT that something is wrong.

A change or lack of appetite can happen slowly or suddenly. Recognizing a change in appetite can be complicated if food is left out for cats to share in a multi-cat household. Her appetite may be off because she is struggling with a hairball or she ate a bad mouse. Far worse, she consumed a poisoned mouse and she is now poisoned, or she is in the early stages of a serious illness like kidney disease or fatty liver syndrome.

When your cat misses a couple of meals it is time for a visit to the vet. Do not wait to see if she is going to suddenly start eating. The sudden drop in food intake causes damage to the liver. This turns into a vicious cycle where the cat won't eat because her liver is sick and no food intake aggravates the liver damage.

2 - She Is Lethargic

A noticeable change in your cat's energy levels is also a good indicator that something is awry. Cats do sleep a lot, as much as 18-20 hours a day. However, if you notice she has zero interest in her beloved toys or catnip, she is quietly telling you something is wrong. She has pain or a fever and feels lousy.

3 - She's Losing Weight

She probably isn't eating well. When cats are sick they stop eating. When you lift your cat does she feel lighter than normal? Weight loss goes hand-in-hand with loss of appetite, but it can also be a sign of kidney disease, thyroid disease, diabetes and cancer. Weight loss is considered a serious sign of cat illness and should prompt an immediate trip to the veterinarian.

4 - She's Drinking A Lot of Water (Urinating A Lot Too!)

Does she fall to sleep while drinking at the water bowl? The good news is that she's still drinking. A increased need for water leads to an increase in urine. Obviously the two are linked together. After all, if she takes a lot of water in, it has got to go out sometime. Common causes of excessive thirst and urination include kidney disease, diabetes and elevated thyroid levels.

5 - Urination Is Painful or Interrupted

When a cat strains using the litter box, has accidents outside the box, squats for a long time, cries, or repositions herself over and over, you have spotted a problem indicating one or more cat illnesses. If you could view her urine under a microscope, odds are you would find traces of blood.
Male cats may lick at the tip of the penis or suddenly lose his appetite, vomit or become very vocal during urination. More than likely he is experiencing a complete blockage. A male cat that is straining during urination is having a fire-alarm emergency. Get him to the vet pronto.

When a female cat strains during urination it may not be a complete blockage because her urethra (the tube that drains the bladder to the outside) is wider than a male cat's and is less likely to clog. However, if she can't urinate that means she can't eliminate her body's liquid waste. A blocked cat becomes ill in 24 hours and can die in 72 hours -- don't wait for the weekend to pass!

Your veterinarian can unblock the urethra by inserting a catheter. This removes the obstruction allowing the urine to drain. It is most easily accomplished with early detection of the problem.
Urinary problems can be caused by a number of things, including bladder stones in the urethra, dietary causes, bacterial infections and the least understood problem, feline lower urinary tract disorder (FLUTD). This illness can be related to stress or a virus similar to a human's cold sore.
Some cat illness can be handled with gentle care and love at home, but other conditions are potentially life-threatening requiring immediate medical attention. As a feline caregiver, there is a certain amount of on-the-job training, but delaying a trip to the vet or waiting to see if things improve can be expensive or even cost your feline her life.

Your relationship with your cat is what helps you get through your personal trials and rough times. If you lost her because you failed to recognize a life-threatening, but treatable condition would you always regret your ignorance? The answer is obvious isn't it?

Bottom line: Don't be shy about calling your vet. Also, find a trusted resource to coach you through cat behavior or cat care questions and your chances for having a delightful, loving and long-lived feline partner become a whole lot better.

Kate Rieger has been owned by 15+ cats and is a champion of spay and release for her feral cat neighbors. She is partnered with the Kentucky S.N.I.P clinic and together through adoptions, education programs and spay/neuter efforts, they provide affordable solutions to reducing the pet overpopulation crisis in the Kentuckiana region. Never one to be short on opinion, she is on good behavior during her speaking engagements at local schools, organizations and on local and national radio talk shows. Drop by and pick up more free tips on using natural remedies to treat
cat health symptoms and naturalize your pet care today at http://www.Pet-Natural-Remedies.com

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Monday, February 9, 2009

A Guide to Holistic Cat Care For Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

By Darlene L. Norris

Have you ever wondered if holistic cat care would help with feline lower urinary tract disease, or FLUTD? Many cat owners who have had a long and frustrating battle with feline cystitis wonder if natural feline urinary support would help.

What Is Holistic Cat Care?

Holistic care involves looking at your kitty as a whole, as an alternative to focusing on her kidneys and bladder when she has cat urinary problems. Instead of just treating the symptoms of FLUTD, a holistic practitioner will want to know about your cat's diet, and stress in her life. Natural remedies for pets are often used, too.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease And Your Cat's Diet

Many cat owners don't realize that there's a direct link between their cat's diet and feline lower urinary tract disease. Ads on tv and in magazines tell us repeatedly how great dry food is for our cats. It has all the nutrients your cats needs, yes. But that's not the whole truth.

In the wild, cats don't drink much water, for the simple reason that they've been designed to get most of their water from their food. All people and animals are over 90% water. A cat who eats mice and other prey animals will almost completely satisfy her water requirements.

It's a different story for our kitties. We want to do the best for them, so we feed them what we have been told is the best possible diet. But dry cat food has a moisture content of less than 10%. This is good for a long storage life, but it's not so good for your cat's health. A cat who eats only dry food is probably a chronically dehydrated cat, since it's hard for her to drink enough water to make up the difference between what's in her diet, and what her body needs.

Did you know that kidney failure is the leading cause of death in older cats? It can be the result of a lifetime of chronic dehydration.

It's also been proven that the best way to prevent FLUTD is to increase the amount of water going through your cat. A more than adequate water intake flushes impurities out of your cat's body and his urinary system. Be sure your kitty always has access to plenty of clean fresh water.

Cat Stress Is Linked To Feline Cystitis

Most of us would think that our cats lead a charmed life. Wouldn't it be great to just lay around and sleep all day?

Well, maybe not. Cats face a lot more stress than most of us realize. Just being an indoor cat is a stress on an animal that's meant to be outside hunting, and slinking around in the dark. Add a lack of exercise, too much of the wrong food, not enough water, annoyances from other cats and pets, and just being cooped up inside, and you can see that maybe life isn't quite as easy as you thought for your fur ball.

Feline interstitial cystitis has been linked to cat stress. If your vet can't find any reason for your cat's bladder inflammation, maybe you should be looking for hidden stress in your cat's life.

Natural Feline Urinary Support

You may be interested in one of the many natural remedies for pets available now. You should look for one that contains the herbs uva ursi and barberry, along with the homeopathic remedies Cantharis and Staphysagris. These remedies work together to provide natural feline urinary support to keep your cat's urinary system working well.

Your goal now? To use holistic cat care to keep your cat healthy and to prevent feline cystitis.

Darlene Norris has combined her long-time interest in natural healing with her experience working at a vet clinic to bring you her new website, Natural Pet Urinary Health. Learn more about holistic cat care, and find the best place to buy herbal pet remedies at http://naturalpeturinaryhealth.com/

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