Thursday, May 31, 2007

Why Cats Purr

Animal communication is always fascinating. Here are some theories I found about why cats purr.

Above all, the purr is probably the cat's way of communicating to others (cats and humans) that it is in the mood to be sociable. The purring sound is frequently made at the same time that other 'sociable' signals are made, e.g. erect tail, slightly closed "contented" eyes. Naturally, in most situations, this will also be when the cat is feeling contented, but it need not necessarily be so. Humans usually interpret the purring of a domestic cat as an expression of some type of friendliness or contentment. This assumption is based on the observation that cats often (though not always) purr when being stroked by humans, combined with the experience that human children tend to enjoy stroking by their parents and interpret it as a gesture of affection. Consequently, most humans enjoy listening to or holding a purring cat.

It is, however, not entirely clear to scientists whether this really is one of the cat's reasons for making the sound; it is well-established that a cat also purrs when it is uneasy, nervous or in great pain, perhaps to comfort itself or to express submission. Other theories suggest that a cat purrs when it wants, needs, or is receiving attention, whether it be affection or medical treatment. Purring may also reduce pain, help a wounded cat to heal, or even help to keep a cat's bones strong. When cats purr while also lightly clawing the ground it may mean they are trying to relieve stress or comfort themselves. An example is when a female cat is nursing kittens; as humans may find with children, cats may also become stressed from the attention of their young and therefore start to purr and lightly claw the ground. This may also be associated with "kneading" behavior, in which the kittens' pawing helps release milk from the nursing mother's teats.

Trackposted to Pet's Garden Blog, The Pink Flamingo, Blog @, The Random Yak, Right Celebrity, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Menu Foods details costs of pet food recall

This Reuters article comes as no surprise. However, I do feel bad for the many investors who have lost or are losing money in both Menu foods and in other pet food related stocks. These investors thought there were investing in top notch, responsible companies. People who are not part of the daily grind of this industry could not know what potentials there were for this to happen and how bad the regulation of the industry was at the time.

They also couldn't know how bad this crisis would be handled by these companies. As soon as there was any evidence of any problem, all foods should have been recalled at once and Menu foods should have taken responsibility. It seems they still think only a handful of pets were harmed by their food. Come on, the number is in the thousands based on everything I've read.

I originally found this Reuters article on Check out their comments on the situation as well. Good stuff.

Although there is no bringing back anyone's pet, here's hoping that these owners will at least get something for their troubles and vet bills.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pet Rats

At a recent visit to the big chain pet store, I became intrigued with some furry little black creatures playing about in an enclosed display area. Not realizing what they were at first, I glanced to the sign, and to my dismay, they were RATS!

Yup, those same animals that plague Taco Bell and other restaurants across the world. RATS. But yet, here I was, actually enjoying watching them run about. These same creatures that people generally think of as PESTS are there being sold as PETS.

Well, after a little research, it looks like rats do have some popularity as an “exotic” pet. Apparently they are social, intelligent animals that make wonderful pets. They are relatively easy to care for, very curious, and require some interaction and exercise outside of their cage (at least an hour a day).

They are very social animals that like to be housed with other rats and some rat owners say their little creatures provide the same companionship as a dog. Now while I’m not sure if I could agree with that statement, I am never one to judge others on their choice of pets. And after watching them in the store, I can understand how someone can enjoy owning rats. The toughest part for me is getting over the notion of rats as PESTS and embracing the thought of rats as PETS.

Technorati Tags:

Trackposted to The Pink Flamingo, The Bullwinkle Blog, The Amboy Times, Adam's Blog, Big Dog's Weblog, and Conservative Cat, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Summer Safety Tips

Fist off, happy Memorial Day to everyone. It's a great time to thank those who fight for our freedom and our way of life.

With this weekend also being the unofficial start of summer, I thought it was important to share some basic summer safety tips. Some of these are common sense, others are reminders and still others might be some new advice. I found this on the Humane Society website.

Here is the link:


Never leave your pet in an unattended car. On warm days, the temperature in your car can rise to 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even with the windows slightly open.

When you bring your pet along on a car ride, use a pet safety harness. If an accident were to occur, a pet safety harness can ensure that every passenger is protected.

If your dog must ride in the back of a pick-up truck, make sure that he or she is in a crate that is secured to the bed of the truck. If you were to suddenly hit the brakes, swerve or be hit by a car, it could result in serious injury not only to your pet, but to other drivers.

Do not travel with your pet on an airplane unless it's absolutely necessary. If you plan on bringing your pet on vacation, consider driving to your destination. Otherwise, think about leaving your pet behind under the care of a pet sitter or boarding kennel.


Only use veterinarian-approved flea and tick control products. Over-the-counter products may contain ingredients that have been found to harm pets. For more information about what chemicals to avoid, click here.

Make sure that your pet is protected from heartworm. Dogs and cats are at higher risk of contracting heartworm during the summer because there is an increase of mosquitoes, which transfer the disease. Contact your veterinarian in order to determine the best schedule for heartworm testing and preventive medication for your pet.

Protect your pet from the heat by providing him/her with large amounts of fresh water and keeping them indoors with you and providing plenty of shade when they are spending time outdoors.
On hot days, limit your pet's exercise to the early morning or evening hours. Also, keep in mind that the hot asphalt can burn your pet's paws.

Learn to identify the signs of heat stress: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue. If your pet does become overheated, immediately lower his/her body temperature by applying cool (not cold) water over his/her body, and giving small amounts of water or ice cubes. Most importantly, get immediate help from a veterinarian.

Teach your dog how to get out of your pool. Like people, many dogs like cooling off in pools. Even if your dog can swim, tragedy can occur if he/she does not know how to exit the pool. This can be prevented by showing your pooch how to enter the pool via the stairs and guiding him or her back out. Never leave your pet unattended around a pool.

Make sure that your pet is always wearing a collar with an updated identification tag. Even if your pet has an implanted microchip, as of late 2003, animal shelters and humane societies may not have a universal scanner that can read every brand of microchip.

Trackposted to A Blog For All, Dumb Ox Daily News, Maggie's Notebook, Big Dog's Weblog, On the Horizon, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cat Biting

Our feline friends are constantly being studied. Their behavior fascinates us and keeps us guessing why they act the way they do. Here is some research I found around the web about why cats bite us.

Cats will bite out of playfulness or aggression. When a cat is content, a cat will playfully nip, which is a type of bite which is weak and harmless. A common misunderstanding about the motivation behind a cat's bite is that it is a form of affection. People most likely assume this because a cat will sometimes bite suddenly while it is being petted. A petting-induced bite is not a form of affection, but rather a mildly aggressive signal to inform the human to stop petting. While this behavior may seem unexpected to humans, a cat will usually give other subtle indications, such as "tail-lashing or thumping, skin rippling, growling, cessation of purring, ear flicking or rotation sideways, or shifting of body position" to announce that it does not wish to be petted.

Cats also have sensors in their teeth, and biting could indicate curiosity, similar to a human baby's exploration of their environment by inserting objects in their mouths.

Interesting stuff. Why does your cat bite?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dear Non-Pet Owners

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and Like to Complain About Our Pets:

1. They live here. You don't.

2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"nitur e.)

3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.

Remember: In many ways, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

1. Eat less

2. Don't ask for money all the time

3 Are easier to train

4. Normally come when called

5. Never ask to drive the car

6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends

7. Don't smoke or drink

8. Don't have to buy the latest fashions

9. Don't want to wear your clothes

10. Don't need a gazillion dollars for college.

And finally,

11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children

Increasing Blog Traffic

Came across this great article about increasing blog traffic through Technorati. Good stuff.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Dear Dogs & Cats

This was from an email forward that is perfect for pet owners. Must be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door - nose height.

An open letter to our pets.............

Dear Dogs and Cats,

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food.

Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack.

Beating me to the bottom is not the object.

Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort.

Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, and try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years -- canine or feline attendance is not required.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt.

I cannot stress this enough!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tropical Fish Auction

I'm assuming most people haven't been to a tropical fish auction. Basically, it's organized by an aquarium society as a fundraiser. Fish hobbyists and enthusiasts who breed fish in their home aquariums can bring their "babies" (or any other fish they no longer wish to keep) to the auction. Other fish fans bid on the auctions. The money collected is split between the host society and the people who brought the items to sell.

In addition to fish, there are a ton of "dry goods" including food, filters, books, and other supplies. For anyone interested in the hobby, finding a local auction is definitely worth your time. I came home from one today and scored lots of goodies including 5 new Angel Fish, plus lots of food and water conditioner. My pets always seem to eat better then I do, and the fish are now set for at least several months.

The benefits to buying fish at auction rather then at a store is that in general, the hobbyists breeding the fish take more care and pride in the health and wellness of the fish then most pet stores would. Most of these people are breeding more for the hobby aspect then for the money. Anyone doing out this out their homes is most likely operating at a loss, so its more about the challenge and fund of breeding then it is about the value of the fish at sale.

Another reason the auctions are fun is because there are a lot of fish you don't normally see at a store. Some are rare, some are tougher to maintain, and some just aren't profitable for the store to carry.

In addition, most of the time at an auction, you can get fish and dry goods for much cheaper then what you'd spend at a store.

I know it might sound a bit nutty to spend a Spring afternoon at a fish auction, but if you enjoy this hobby, it might be worth your time to check one out.

Trackposted to The Pink Flamingo, Webloggin, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, and Big Dog's Weblog, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I hate matter if it's for humans or pets. Today, we had Rocco "altered." It was somewhat of a typical day at any hospital. Just like when humans have an operation scheduled, I got to the vets office at the scheduled time of 8:30AM and had to wait forever for our turn to see the "nurse," or in the animal world, a surgical technician.

So we meet with a very nice young lady, get our dog prepped for surgery, and go on with our day waiting for the vet to call.

We received the call around 1 PM that the surgery went well, and we were told to come back after 6PM to pick up our pup. Seemed like a long time in the puppy recovery room, but no sense in worrying.

When we went to pick Rocco up, we were met with another "nurse." She gave us the post-operation procedures, told us what type of potential problems to look for, and sent us on our way with a written list of things to know. Never once did we see the vet. At least for human surgeries, you see your doctor at some point.

So now Rocco is home recovering, and has to get his rest. How do you get a dog to rest? I'm not sure, but I have to find a way to keep him from running for at least a week. No jumping either. Should be interesting.

So now I have an "altered" dog who won't get prostate cancer and won't be having any litters of his own. But, I'm told this is the responsible thing to do, so I guess I'll have to suck it up for a week and figure out how to keep my dog from running and jumping.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wal-Mart's Tropical Fish

Why is Wal-mart still allowed to sell live, tropical fish? As much as I like shopping at Wal-mart in general, this store does a terrible disservice to the tropical fish industry. Not all Wal-mart stores sell fish, and that's a good thing! As for the ones that do, never once have I've seen a Wal-mart store with healthy looking tropical fish. The employees working the pet area have absolutely no training or knowledge in regards to fish.

When buying fish, it's always good to make sure the type you're buying are compatible with the fish in the tank where you plan to put these new fish. A good pet store, or even an average one for that matter, will have general knowledge of fish compatibility. Good luck getting any type of answers when at Wal-mart.

For the sake of your tanks, you're betting off avoiding the purchase of fish at Wal-mart or any other pet store where the fish look sickly or the staff has very little knowledge about caring for fish. Bringing a sick fish home to an already established tank can be hazardous to your current fish. Introducing new fish could mean introducing new diseases and killing the fish you already have.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Before & After

Before Haircut

After Haircut

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Sloth

On a recent trip to my favorite pet store, the owner was showing off a furry little creature that was brand new to the store. It looked a bit koala, a bit ape, and nothing like what I’ve ever seen before. This animal was a sloth.

Now the only time I ever heard of a sloth was in the "Ice Age" movies. But the talking animated version of a sloth was nothing like the real mammal. Although the sloth wasn't for sale, the owner was caring for it and displaying it in his store for a while. What is a sloth?

The sloth is a slow-moving mammal that lives in trees. Sloths spend most of their lives hanging upside-down from tree branches; they eat, sleep, mate, and give birth upside-down in the trees. They hold onto tree branches with strong, curved claws that are on each of their four feet.

Male sloths are solitary, shy animals. Females sometimes congregate together. Sloths are nocturnal; they are most active at night and sleep all day.

Sloths are plant and fruit eaters with a thick brown coat and are about the size of a cat (roughly 2 feet = 61 cm long). They have a short, flat head, big eyes, a short snout, a short or non-existent tail, long legs, and tiny ears. Sturdy, curved claws are on each foot; they use these claws to hang from trees. Some sloths have colonies of green algae encrusting their fur, both adding to the camouflage effect and providing some nutrients to the sloths, who lick the algae.

Sloths have a low metabolic rate and a low body temperature (91°F). This keeps their food and water needs to a minimum. Sloths have small molars which they use to chew up their leafy food. Their stomach has many separate compartments that are used to digest the tough cellulose (a component of plant material that they eat).

Sloths are hunted by jaguars, harpy eagles, and people. A sloth's main forms of protection are its camouflage (greatly increased by the coating of algae growing on its fur) and its very slow movement; these adaptations make it virtually disappear in the rain forest canopy.

They only rarely venture to the ground and walk on the ground in an upright position. It only goes to the bathroom about once a week. The animal, so as not to be heard by their predators, will come down from the tree in order to excrete wastes.

Adult females produce a single baby each year. They give birth upside down hanging from a tree branch.

Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, The Magical Rose Garden, A Blog For All, and The Random Yak, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dog gets medal for saving kids;_ylt=AibEvk2dWFJF5B0cJz.rHBsDW7oF

This Jack Russell, George, won fame after defending five children from the pitbulls in the small North Island town of Manaia (New Zealand) a week and a half ago. The two pitbulls rushed at the five children on the street, prompting George to charge the much larger dogs as the children escaped.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Animal Fighting Gets Felony Status

Friday May 4, 2007 4:31 AM


Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush signed a bill Thursday adding felony-level penalties for activities that promote or encourage animal fighting.

The Senate adopted the bill last month, after it was approved by the House.

``With this law, we can clamp down on these cruel, inhumane practices,'' said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the bill's chief Senate sponsor.

Reps. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., had introduced the House version.

Dog fighting is banned throughout the United States and is a felony in 48 states. Cockfighting is a felony in 33 states and legal only in Louisiana.

Many anti-animal-fighting laws carry a punishment of no more than a year in jail. Violators of the new federal law would face felony-level penalties and up to three years in prison for knowingly buying, selling or transporting animals across state or international borders for the purpose of fighting.

The law also would make it a felony to knowingly sponsor or exhibit an animal fight, or to buy, sell or transport knives, gaffs and other weapons used in cockfighting.

Animal-welfare groups had long urged Congress to adopt stronger penalties on blood sports such as dog fighting and cockfighting, centuries-old traditions that most lawmakers and animal rights advocates now label brutal.

``Animal fighting is a barbaric and inhumane practice, and it is fitting and appropriate that we now have a national policy condemning and criminalizing this form of organized animal cruelty,'' said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, which led the push for stronger penalties against animal fighting.

The new law should substantially curb the transport of fighting animals across state and U.S. borders, Pacelle said. The Humane Society is already seeing some major breeders of fighting roosters cut back on production, he said.

Blumenauer called Bush's signature on the bill a great victory.

``After being held up for more than five years, today's approval by the president marks a significant milestone for all of us who worked so hard to stop this barbaric crime and hold accountable those who perpetrate it,'' he said.


The bill is H.R. 137.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pet Allergies

This is a great article I found by the humane society of the United States about allergies to pets. What a cruel world it is that people can be allergic to our furry friends. I know the feeling….I’m allergic to cats and went for allergy shots (as mentioned in the article) to help lessen the burden. Though I can be around cats for a little while without too much reaction, long-term exposure causes issues for me and therefore I can’t have a kitty. I’ve read that children who are brought up with pets have less issues with allergies, but it didn’t work for me as we always had cats and dogs around. Luckily, I can still have a dog with no issues.

The article is long, but worth the read.

Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Leaning Straight Up, The Random Yak, Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker, Big Dog's Weblog, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Old Mother Hubbard Brand

As a pet owner, we've always tried to feed our dog the best possible foods. Top notch quality food with no table scraps was what we were told by vets(though we've bent that a bit at times).

Over the last year, we've tried a variety of the premium brands, and to our dismay, many were on the recall list. One of the premium brands that hasn't been affected (at least not yet) is Wellness formula by Old Mother Hubbard.

We came across this brand at our local pet store and gave it a try. The company makes a variety of wet and dry foods as well as treats. The foods are said to be all natural, and they do not contain any by-products or wheat gluten. They also claim their treats are home made and again, with all natural, healthy ingredients.

Our dog has been eating these brands on and off for about a year, and exclusively for the last three months. His coat is shiny, he's full energy (a bit too much energy sometimes :-)) and has gotten a clean bill of health from the vet. Even more then this, he eats it all up. My pup can be finicky sometimes, especially with the wet food, but he loves wellness formula.

I get nothing out of endorsing this product except that hopefully it might help someone who is looking for a dog food to trust.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

"Pets Need A Voice Too"

I came across this site recently as I was doing some searches. I was intriguied about the fight they are wagering against the pet food industry.

You can feel the passion the writers of this site have for this cause and I applaud their efforts. The story about what started the fight is so sad (found in the about us page). It's worth the read, but I'll write the brief synopsis....Jen Hoeflein, the founder of "Pets Need a Voice Too" had a cat who suffered liver failure last November. Unfortunately, the cat could no longer survive.

A few months later, the pet food recalls came out. Jen did her research, and sure enough there is more to this story then just a cat with a bad liver.

Again, I don't do the site justice, so please check it out. The story touched me enough to share it with everyone and I hope you can share it too.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Tips for Choosing A New Name for your Dog

Keep in mind that a dog's name is for the long-term. Here are some things to consider when choosing the best one for your new pet:

-What ever you do when you choose a dog's name, make sure it's a name that brings up a positive image in your mind. You don't want to name your dog something like "Killer." When you tell someone your dog's name is Killer, right off the bat people will think he's a bad dog and may try to avoid your pet.

-Keep in mind that you're going to be saying this name a lot. From training, to calling him, to telling others the dog's name, you want something that rolls off the tongue with ease. Long, hard to say names make it tougher for the dog to learn, and for you to constantly say.

-You don't want the dog's name to sound like a command. A common command is "sit." If you name your dog "kit" you're just asking for problems. Think of other dog commands. With our pup, we use shake (for giving his paw), sit, stay, lay down, and do your business, to name a few.

-You don't want the dog's name to sound like other pets or people in the house. This will confuse the pets (and perhaps the people too!). Calling your son Blake to dinner might confuse your dog Jake to thinking you're calling for him instead.

-You want something that will fit the dog's size and personality when it gets older. It's the equivalent of calling a kid "Billy" who then wants to be referred to as William when he's all grown up. Same with dogs. Do you want to call your dog a name as an adult that doesn't fit his size and personality?
Coming up with a name for your special new pet can be a lot of fun, and the possibilities are endless. Avoid these pitfalls and you won't regret whatever name you pick.

Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Adam's Blog, The Amboy Times, Cao's Blog, The Bullwinkle Blog, , Pet's Garden Blog, Rightlinx, Woman Honor Thyself, Pirate's Cove, Blue Star Chronicles, The Pink Flamingo, The Right Perspective, Right Voices, Gone Hollywood, The Yankee Sailor, and OTB Sports, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

How Cats Purr

Cats have been studied for scientists for years to determine how exactly they purr. Despite being one of the world's most universally recognized phenomena, the exact mechanism by which the cat purrs has been frustratingly elusive for scientists. This is partly because the cat has no obvious anatomical feature unique to it that would be responsible; and may also be partly because a cat placed in a laboratory for examination is unlikely to make the noise.

One theory is that cats produce the purring noise by vibrating their larynx, or voice box, in a particular manner. A timing mechanism in the brain sends neural messages to a muscle in the larynx, rhythmically opening and closing the air passage approximately 25 times per second. Combined with the steady inhalation and exhalation of air as the cat breathes, a purring noise is produced with strong harmonics.

Another possibility is that another area of soft tissue or muscular tissue in the neck or torso (e.g., the diaphragm) similarly vibrates.

Cats that roar lack the purring vocal cords, and use the vocal cords in charge of roaring and growling instead, making a noise similar to growling when they purr. As a result, the two sounds are often confused. The roar in these cats is a very loud growl with respect to the production method. Additionally, because these cords can only be used while exhaling, the purring equivalent sound can only be made while exhaling.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Great pic of our dog on a "play-date" with Coco

Tropical Fish Health Hints

Good little blurb in Aquarium Fish Magazine (yes, it does exist, and yes, I do read it) about signs of poor fish health.

-A cottonlike material on a fish's mouth could indicate cottonmouth disease, which is contagious.

-Unless a fish is normally pale, paleness indicates unhealthiness.

-Signs of fish parasites include rubbing against aquarium objects, erratic swimming, and white worm infestations

-Red streaks in fins followed by abnormal lightening of fin edges often indicates fin rot, a bacterial infection.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Tainted Food Could Impact Humans
38 poultry farms in Indiana given tainted feed

This was bound to happen sooner or later. Looks like tainted poultry feed was fed to chickens, some of which may have entered the food supply for humans. Another reason to boycott these companies and demand an overhaul of the entire system.

A quote from the article: " The agencies also said there was a “low-risk” to humans and no food recalls were expected at this time. They are uncertain how many chickens were involved, how many entered the food supply or where they went."

It's good to know that it is low risk to humans, but there is no way of knowing who might have had some type of reaction from eating tainted chicken since no one was really looking for the melamine at the time.

Plus, I have a hard time really believing there is no effect on humans. From the beginning of this whole mess, there have been all kinds of lies told to consumers. It's hard to trust anything right now in this industry.