Author Archives: Hadley Rush

Find a cat whose personality will make you purr

A young man holds a cat.

Not long after moving into my first apartment, I decided that I wanted to adopt a cat. I had never had a cat before, but I believed the hype. “Cats are easy,” I heard.

They’re independent and make great companion pets. So I scoured Chicago cat rescue shelters until someone stole my heart: a brown tabby that bonked his head against the glass every time I looked at him.

Charlie was the sweetest little 11 month old cat when I brought him home. He cuddled with me all night long, and quietly sat beside me or followed me around the apartment all day. Aside from wishing I’d purchased pet insurace when I took him to his first vet appointment, I learned that he had an infection from his neuter surgery and he was put on antibiotics. After he began feeling better, I saw the real Charlie: he was a devil cat.

I was not ready for the surprise ankle ambushes or the attacks on my head from behind the couch. Any attempt to correct him or remove him from a situation resulted in hisses and bloody scratches. Nobody liked Charlie, not even me. But he was my cat, and I loved him.

At the age of three, he calmed down a lot. Not completely, but a lot. Over the years, we learned to live with each other. He is now the love of my life.

Still, looking back, had I been more prepared with knowledge of cat personality, I would have asked more questions about the cats I was looking at at the shelters. Now I know that some cats are independent and some stick to you like glue. Some are inquisitive and some are laid back. Some are cuddly and some are aloof. But all are worthy of a wonderful home and have the potential to fit perfectly with the right family.

Shelter employees and volunteers get to know the resident cats so well; they are a wealth of knowledge. Ask them questions about the cat’s personalities, what kinds of supplies you will need, and what’s the best pet insurance when you go to adopt. And remember, not all cats are on their best behavior while in a cage, so don’t believe all you see. Tell the shelter what you’re looking for, and let them guide you to possible matches.

No! Bad myths! Three shelter dog myths

A dog waits to be adopted.
If you’re deciding between adopting from dog rescue shelters or a breeder, you may have heard some misinformation from well-meaning friends. I’d like to shed some light on the life of a shelter dog.

Myth #1: Shelter Dogs Have Behavior Problems
These helpless, innocent dogs—often some of the best dog breeds out there, like Labs, Boxers and good old mutts—are at the mercy of everyone around them. The reasons why they ended up at the shelter are as varied as the dogs themselves.

“Ironically, many of the dogs are there because of their owners’ behavior problems, not their own,” wrote Marion S. Lane in the book, The Humane Society of the United States Complete Guide to Dog Care: Everything You Need to Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

Some of them were off-leash, got lost, and their owners never came to get them. Some were abandoned in foreclosed homes or left in a public place to be found. Some even had wonderful lives until their owner died or lost their source of income. They don’t deserve what they’ve been through, and they want to prove it to you. And remember, many shelters do not make a dog available for adoption until it has been temperament tested first.

Myth #2: You Can’t Bond With an Older Shelter Dog. Start Off Right With a Puppy
Many pet owners who have had both rescue dogs and purchased from a breeder feel that their rescue dogs appreciate them more. A shelter dog has been through more life experiences. As nice as it is to know exactly where your dog came from, and that it was raised underfoot by an attentive family, that doesn’t always mean the dog will be loving and well behaved. In fact, such dogs might be a little aloof simply because they never experienced going without anything.

Shelter dogs have seen a lot in life. Sometimes this can make for a very well-rounded pet who is comfortable in many different situations. Every day, abandoned rescue dogs are adopted and trained to become companion pets for special needs centers, the elderly, and hospitals.

Myth #3: All the Good Dogs at the Shelter Were Probably Adopted Already
New dogs find themselves in shelters daily. If you didn’t fall in love with any yesterday, visit again.

Once you find the perfect match, it’s a good idea to begin looking into pet insurance for your new friend. Not only can dog insurance help to ensure you won’t be in financial distress if something unexpected happens, but some plans also help pay for a portion of wellness and routine care.

Cat health: Pet food ingredients to avoid

Posted by: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
A cat enjoys a bowl of food.
Do you practice preventive care for your cats? Like any good cat owner, you probably do the basics: flea prevention, vaccines, and cat insurance. But what about the food you feed them? Do you believe that all cat food is the same? Are you intimidated by pet food ingredient lists?

While most cat owners research medications and cat insurance options in depth– many don’t spend nearly as much time looking into pet food.

Veterinarian of over 30 years, Greg Martinez DVM is part owner of the Gilroy Veterinary Hospital in Santa Clara Valley. Dr. Martinez wishes his clients would pay a little more attention to what they feed their pets.

“30% of my medical cases are related to common allergenic commercial ingredients in pet food,” wrote Dr. Martinez in an email.

Allergic reactions from pet food can appear as a variety of cat health symptoms. These include diarrhea, ear infections, and dry, itchy skin.

Hyperallergenic ingredients in cat foods that cause the most cat health care issues include wheat, soy, corn, beef and even fish. These are general ingredients you should seek to eliminate from your cat’s diet. Taking that step will be more beneficial than ruling out “by-products.” The term “by-product” simply refers to different parts of an animal, when in fact this is what cats are supposed to eat.

Cats are carnivores, meaning they need to eat animal-based protein. Pet food companies often rate their protein levels from plant-based proteins like grains, corn, and rice. These ingredients are often used to keep prices low, but they also keep the quality of nutrition low.

Starting at home, paying more attention to the ingredients you feed your cat can help him overcome or prevent issues that often result in stressful vet visits.

Pet health: Common household toxins

A small dog sits in a bucket filled with cleaning supplies.
Your pet’s safety should be one of your top priorities. Did you know that there could be pet health dangers lurking in your home?

Another reason pet insurance is a good idea: according to the Pet Poison Helpline, there are several household toxins that you should be aware of to protect your pet.

Keep pet health a priority by keeping household toxins out of the reach of your pets. Here is a list of some common household items that are potentially poisonous to pets.

1. Human medications: Ingestion of human medications can be avoided by ensuring that the medication is kept out of the reach of pets. Human medications should never be given to pets.

2. Other pets’ medications: Pets should never be given medications prescribed for other pets. Dog flea and tick preventatives should never be used on cats as they can be fatal.

3. Household cleaners: Use caution when using chemicals and cleaners around your pets. Make sure pets are not near you when using these products. Keep toilet lids closed, especially if you use an automatic toilet bowl cleaner.

4. Rat & mouse poison: Avoid using rodenticides near pets. The toxins that are fatal to rodents can be fatal to your pets as well. Use live traps as a kinder and safer alternative.

5. Household plants: Avoid having household plants that are toxic to pets. Cats enjoy chewing on plants and can be easily poisoned by toxic plants.

Ingestion of any of these toxins is considered a medical emergency. If you think your pet may have ingested a toxic substance, call the Pet Poison Helpline poison control center at 800-213-6680 and contact your veterinarian immediately.

Not sure where to adopt a cat? Here are some options

Two cats curl up in a red blanket.
Apparently, the country is catching on to what cat lovers have known for years.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, “there are more cats with homes than dogs in the United States,” (as quoted in the article, “PCP: The Cat’s Meow”).

The reasons for this are clear in the October article:
Cat health care and feeding is more affordable on average than dogs, who are usually larger.
Cats are easier to live with in apartment settings, as they are litter trained and get ample indoor exercise.
Cats are independent and need less training.

Those considering cat adoption have many avenues to explore to find “the one” (or the pair…cats do great in pairs).

Pet Adoption CentersThis option includes local animal control, a.k.a. “the pound,” which is usually run by the city. At this type of cat and dog shelter, animals usually have a short time to be claimed or adopted before facing euthanasia. Adopting from the pound means a life is truly saved.

Another type of cat shelter is a humane society, which is often a “no kill” or a “no time limit” facility. “No time limit” shelters often house cats that have been waiting for homes for weeks, months, or even years. Sometimes the cats are fostered. Adopting from a humane society often means obtaining much more information on the cats’ personalities, habits and temperament for other animals.

Cat & Kitten Rescue
Similar to a humane society, rescues are largely run by volunteers and the adoptable cats are usually kept in foster homes. The advantage of a rescue is that there are many organizations devoted to specific breeds; great for those who love a certain breed but don’t want to, or cannot afford, adopting from a breeder. Shelters and rescues often rotate available cats at local pet stores for the public to meet.

Respectable breeders concentrate on advancing the health and lineage of particular breed. These cats come with official papers, their entire history is known, are often raised underfoot and come with health guarantees.

Adopters should be careful to avoid “back yard breeders.” These individuals breed with limited experience, no papers or guarantees, and sell the pets for profit.

After adopting a cat, it’s also a good idea to look into pet insurance, as accidents and illnesses come in many forms. For more information about cat insurance, talk with your veterinarian or visit

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