My afternoon at a no-kill cat shelter

A group of cats at Simply Cats waits for loving homes and cat insurance coverage.

By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance

Here at Pets Best Insurance, we were in need of some new pet photos for our website and marketing materials. Anyone who’s browsed a stock photo site knows the pickings are slim, so we’ve been handling things ourselves. For the dog photo shoot, we scheduled a play date one evening and took pictures of pet insurance employees’ dogs running, jumping, chasing, and later snoozing in the grass.

Obviously we couldn’t do the same for cats, so we scheduled a photo shoot at Simply Cats, right here in Boise, Idaho. Lucky me, I got to spend two hours with some of the sweetest, funniest cats I’ve ever met!

Simply Cats is a no-kill shelter that houses cats together based on cat health, age and personality. There are about a dozen spacious rooms with large windows, soft blankets, scratching posts, sleeping trees, boxes, beds, food, mega-litter boxes and even kitty doors to outdoor patio areas. All the cats seemed very happy and comfortable.

As soon as I arrived, resident cat Memphis followed me to the first cat room and dutifully sniffed along every edge and corner of all my belongings. I started photographing in the special needs/FIV+ room, worked my way to the barn cats, young adults, seniors and then the kittens. I even got a behind-the scenes look at cats receiving veterinary care and three-week old kittens not yet old enough to be visited by the general public. Too cute!

Cats are generally easy to photograph, and these guys were no exception. Some struck poses when the camera came out, and some trotted to the portable lighting to check it out. Some purred loudly and climbed into my arms, and a few rascals snuck out before being scooped up by staffers and returned to their rooms. When all was said and done, I’d taken hundreds of photographs and gone through about a quart of hand sanitizer – a good dose is required between each room to maintain pet health and prevent the spread of infections and illnesses.

I’m now following Simply Cats on Facebook and it’s great to see how many cats find their forever homes each week, freeing up space for even more kitties who deserve to be in a loving, no-kill shelter. Check out the pictures above, and make sure to visit Pets Best Insurance pet insurance page to see even more cat photos in the coming weeks.

Pictures above on the right, from top to bottom: A beautiful Tortie poses dramatically for the camera; Freeida and Argonaut hanging out in the kitten room (both adopted); Oliver yawning to kick off a cat nap; Cantebury sitting with his toy; Sweetgrass receiving veterinary care (recovered fully and adopted!)

National Pet Fire Safety Day: Protecting pets and owners

A dog with pet health insurance is safe near fire.

Posted by: H.M.
For Pets Best Insurance

For 2011, July 15th has been designated as National Pet Fire Safety Day. This holiday is designed to help safeguard pets against the devastating physical effects of house fires while simultaneously protecting the owners against serious financial and emotional loss.

Maintaining dog and cat insurance can help to defray the veterinary costs of injuries sustained in a fire, but prevention is the best way to ensure the pet health and well-being. The helpful advice provided by pet welfare organizations can help reduce both the threat of fire and the potential risks to dogs and cats in the event a fire does occur.

Fire Safety Measures
Pets are often fascinated by fire. As a result, pet owners should never leave open flames or hot objects like stoves or candles unattended when pets are present. This is especially true in the case of puppies and kittens who typically behave in a more impulsive fashion. Covering or removing loose electrical and electronic wires is also essential in order to protect the pet health. Many fires start with frayed, chewed wires that can cause electrical shock and injury to pets as well. In the event a fire does break out, ADT offers a free Pet Alert window cling that informs firefighters of the location of pets within the home. Information on this offer is available at

Protecting Pets
One of the best ways to protect pets is to purchase dog or cat insurance from a reputable provider. This insurance covers necessary veterinary services to ensure the cat or dog’s health needs are adequately provided for. Additionally, dog and cat insurance companies often offer valuable tips on pet safety and strategies for raising happy, healthy cats and dogs in a safe environment. Finding the right pet health insurance for cats and dogs benefits both pets and owners alike by ensuring that the animals receive the veterinary services they need and that owners can more easily plan for the costs of those services when they become necessary.

Lifesavers in Disguise
Sometimes, pets are the ones doing the protecting thanks to their keen senses. Liz O’Connell of Red Hook, New York discovered this one night when her three-year-old German Shepherd persistently prodded her and insisted on going outside, even though Liz was in bed. “As I walked barefoot across my kitchen floor, it was hot underfoot,” said Liz. “I peeked down the basement stairs and saw the glow of a fire on the walls. I grabbed my dog and immediately left the house and went to neighbors to call the fire company.” Liz lost her home, but credits her dog with saving her life.

Cat Pulling Hair and Flea Infestations

Hello, I’m Dr. Jane Matheys from The Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital and Hotel in Boise, Idaho. Today I’m here to answer a few questions from the Pets Best Insurance Facebook page.

Our first question is from Alexandra. She writes, “My cat keeps ripping his hair out. Every time I go to the vet, they give him a shot. He stops for a week and then I’m out $400 and he’s still ripping out his hair. He doesn’t have fleas, either.”

Alexandra, I can certainly sympathize with you. Having a pet with a chronic condition can be both frustrating and expensive. It sounds like your cat may have allergies and I suspect that the shots that he’s getting are steroid shots. Work with your veterinarian to try to determine whether he might have food allergies or whether he could have allergies to something that he’s breathing in, either in the home or outside.

If he does have inhalant allergies, you can give him a pill about every other day that will keep him comfortable during the allergy season. That would certainly be a lot easier on your pocketbook and it would be easier and safer for your kitty to not get repeated steroid injections.

The next question is from Katie. She writes, “I have two 5-year-old sibling indoor cats. They never go outside and we have no other pets, yet they have fleas year-round. One cat in particular gets just infested. We use Advantage or Frontline on a regular basis. What else can we do?”

That’s certainly an unusual problem. I haven’t really had any incidences of the Advantage or the Frontline failing. I would definitely think about where the fleas are coming from. I’d recommend that you continue to use the Advantage or Frontline once a month as you’re doing right now. In addition, I would recommend that you treat the house with a spray that kills both the fleas and is going to work on killing flea eggs for many weeks. This should help get things under control. Your veterinarian can help guide you as to the best products to use for the problem.

Pet insurance in Texas

A dog with Texas pet insurance rides on a horse with his owner.

Southern states can present pet health issues. Hot, humid climates have challenges, especially for pets that are not used to the extreme temperatures. Wildlife, pests and plant life indigenous to the state can be serious health threats. This is true of pet health in Texas, which is why it’s a good idea to check out the best pet insurance and coverage options in Texas.

Texas Pet Laws
• Rabies: Texas, like most states, has particular laws that pet owners must abide by. Rabies is an ongoing concern in most states, but due to so much uninhabited land in Texas, rabies is a very real threat to pets. Texas requires that cats and dogs, age 12 weeks of age or older must be vaccinated against rabies and have a certificate that reflects that. The rabies vaccination must be given every three years.

• Spaying and Neutering: Texas requires that all animals up for adoption in shelters must be spayed or neutered before they are adopted. Some pet health insurance companies offer limited coverage for spaying and neutering.

• Quarantine: Any pet entering the country that is less than three months of age must be confined at home until it reaches three months and can have its rabies vaccination.

Pests and Toxic Plants
Like many southern states, Texas has mosquitoes. As mosquitoes carry diseases affecting both humans and pets, it’s important to be proactive in preventing diseases in pets. Heartworm is very prevalent in southern states because it is spread by mosquitoes.

Ticks are also a problem in Texas. It’s important for you to be diligent about your yard maintenance and watch for ticks on your pets. Pets are naturally curious and will investigate interesting wildlife like snakes. They will also eat vegetation that could be poisonous. Be very careful when using any pesticides, however, as they can be poisonous to animals. Read the labels carefully.

Hot climates usually influences more pools. Most people in areas of the country with extreme heat have at least a small pool in their yard. Pools can be life-threatening to pets, as not all pets are good swimmers. If pets are not used to a pool and fall in, they may have trouble getting out. The sides are too slippery for them to negotiate and they may quickly become exhausted and drown. Chlorine and other pool chemicals can be poisonous, too. Never leave your pet unattended around a pool.

Texas Pet Insurance Coverage
Check into pet insurance coverage in Texas as there may be items that are particular to the state or different areas of the state.

Hot Spots on Dogs, Injection Stress

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a veterinarian at Idaho Veterinarian Hospital. I’m at home today answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page.

The first question comes from Riley the Labrador. “What do you recommend for a dog with hot spots?” Hot spots are areas of dermatitis or infected skin that are usually self-inflicted. They can be related to underlying allergies, so first and foremost you’re going to want to see your veterinarian in case your dog needs to be put on antibiotics or other medications.

In the future, what you can do to prevent the hot spots would be try to find out what’s triggering them, if it’s underlying allergies to food or the environment. Sometimes boredom can play a part, too, so dogs that are crated or confined for a while can be affected. You can try special shampoos. Antihistamines are sometimes helpful. Probably starting with your veterinarian is going to be the best choice for you.

The next one comes from Jennifer. “I have to give my dog two shots a day and she fights so hard. I’ve tried everything I can think of and nothing seems to work.” This is a tough one. Dogs that are diabetic or need allergy shots will sometimes be required to get injections.

The best thing you can probably do is to try and distract them so make it a two-person job. Have somebody feed the dog treats or praise them or pet them while you’re doing the shots behind. Distraction is probably going to be your best option. Also, reward the dog. They know what’s coming, so if they know that there’s going to be a treat afterwards, it may make it a little bit better.

Dogs that receive insulin are usually given shots that have really small needles so pain is pretty negligible. I wonder if your dog may be picking up on your stress from administering the injections as well. If you could try to make it a more relaxed environment and sort of a less stressful time for the pet, they might do a little better.

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