A watched cat never toils

A watched cat never toilsIt’s generally agreed upon that when the cat’s away the mice will play. But what do cats do when their owners are out at work? Naïve pet lovers may think that their felines simply lounge all day in the sun and maintain a reputation as expert "cat-nappers" – but the pets may be up to more than you’d think.

To find out, animal behavior scientist Jill Villareal fitted 50 housecats with collar cameras which took a picture every 15 minutes, the Indiana Gazette reports.

Villareal studied the 777 photos taken to determine that cats look at a television, computer or other media 6 percent of the time and hide under table 6 percent of the time – as many of their owners feel like doing at work.

However, the behavioral scientist was stunned most by the cats’ liveliness during the day. While the animals studied spent 6 percent of their time sleeping, they interacted with other family pets 12 percent of the day and spent 8 percent climbing on furniture.

"What surprised me was how active the cats were. I believed my three cats were sleeping during the day,” Villareal told the news source.

According to the U.S. Humane Society, there are approximately 88.3 million owned cats in the country.

Top holiday pet dangers

The holidays are a time for people to gather with family and friends to celebrate and give thanks. But it can be a hard time for our pets, with extra household hazards that may cause accidents or illnesses, especially when it comes to inappropriate foods.

During the holidays we often experience increased claims due to pets having access to holiday treats, rich foods and inappropriate foods. Here are some of the most important pet care tips for keeping your pet healthy during the holidays.

Gastroenteritis from ingesting too much food, or from eating foods pets not meant for pets, can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Keep your pets on their normal diets and avoid the temptation to give them tidbits of holiday foods. Consider buying safe approved treats to satisfy your need to give them something special.

Make sure to keep holiday food and treats, even wrapped ones, out of pets’ reach. Also, instruct guests not to give food or treats to your pets; while a single treat may not cause a problem, multiple people giving treats can.

Remember to make a special effort to keep garbage inaccessible. The smells can be alluring and pets who rummage through trash often end up eating items like string, tin foil, paper and excess bones. This can lead to gastroenteritis or even blockage of the bowels, which could mean emergency surgery!

Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, can develop from ingesting bones, fat, ham and other rich or fatty foods. Pancreatitis can be life threatening to your pet and at the very least will result in a costly emergency visit.

Chocolate poisoning is common around the holidays and Easter when chocolate treats are laying around within a pets grasp. Chocolate is toxic to dogs in certain amounts, especially dark chocolate which contains more of the toxic compound methylxanthine. In many cases it can lead to death.

Other poisons to watch out for include raisins, coffee beans, macadamia nuts, onions, and Xylitol (a sweetener used in candy, pastry and gum). All of these common holiday foods can be toxic to your pet.

Also important during the holiday season, make sure to have a quiet area for your pets when you are entertaining holiday guests. If your pet is crate trained, their crate is a great way to keep them pet safe and calm when there is a lot of strange, new activity and guests coming and going. They’ll be less stressed and less likely to get into trouble.

We hope your pet does not have an accident or illness from these pet perils, but if they do, seek veterinary attention immediately. If your vet does not take emergencies after hours or on holidays, make sure you know where the nearest pet emergency hospital is located. Follow your veterinarian’s advice and know that we will be there for you by paying 80%, after any deductible, for unexpected accidents and illnesses during the holidays and throughout the new year.

Study: Pet health a concern among some smokers

Study: Pet health a concern among some smokersThe millions of American smokers doubtlessly know of the health risks and social stigma associated with the habit, but often need extra motivation to quit. For a large chunk of this population, pet ownership may provide the impetus to kick the sticks once and for all.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), cats who live with smokers are about twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma, a potentially-fatal disease, CatChannel.com reports.

Furthermore, Dr John Reif, professor at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, told the news source that second-hand smoke doubles a dog’s risk of developing lung cancer.

"I’m hoping that by publicizing this information that … the love of their pets will inspire [people] to finally kick the habit," Reif commented.

New research by the AVMA suggests that Reif’s hope may be realized. In an online survey of more than 3,000 pet owners, about 28 percent of those who smoke said they would try to quit if they know their habit endangered their dogs and cats, JAVMA News reports.

A Pet Industry Strategic Outlook report from the research firm Dillon Media found that U.S. pet owners spent about $10.5 billion on veterinary pet care in 2005.

City honors health official for work on pet population control

City honors health official for work on pet population controlVeterinarians have noted that some dog owners hesitate to spay or neuter their pets because they want to protect the animal’s personality or sexual identity, preserve the option of breeding or prevent their pet from becoming lazy. However, industry experts are debunking these claims and promoting the benefits of fixing dogs to both households and communities.

In recognition of contributions to control of the pet population, two national nonprofit organizations, Adopt-A-Pet and Pets Are Worth Saving (PAWS), will honor Dr Bain Cate and the Victoria Animal Shelter, the Victoria Advocate reports.

Cate, who heads the Victoria, Texas, health department, worked this year to obtain a grant from the Texas Animal Friendly license plate program, which allows pet owners using government assistance to have their animals spayed or neutered for no charge.

"We want to thank Dr Cate and his staff on behalf of all pet lovers for the work they did to implement the program that helped reduce pet overpopulation tremendously," PAWS president Cindy Schneider told the news source.

Will Armstrong, Victoria’s mayor, is expected to declare Wednesday "Dr Brian Cate Day" during today’s health department board of directors meeting.

The U.S. Humane Society estimates that 6 to 8 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters each year.

Actor Russell Brand seeks passport for cat

Actor Russell Brand seeks passport for catCats are like the explorers of the animal kingdom. Even the most domesticated housecat will lurk around all corners of the home, charting the treacherous cellar stairs or venturing beneath the shadows of the bed. Now, the availability of pet passport will let the true feline voyagers become cats of the world.

The British comedian and actor Russell Brand has announced his plan to get a passport for his beloved cat, Morrissey.

The star of the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall said his relationship with American pop star Katy Perry means that he and Morrissey will be traversing the Atlantic and going through customs frequently in the coming months, according to the Associated Press.

An element of the Pet Travel Scheme, a pet passport allows owners to travel with their dogs, cats and ferrets to and from the UK, U.S., EU and several other countries without being quarantined, the USA Today reports.

To qualify for the program, animals must be implanted with a tracking microchip and must be vaccinated, blood tested and treated for tapeworm and ticks.

Brand told the AP, "[Morrissey] hissed at me yesterday. I tried to explain to him but he doesn’t understand concepts such as international travel and work."

In the U.S., Pet Airways provides flight accommodations for dogs and cats traveling to and from Ft. Lauderdale, New York, Washington DC, Chicago and Los Angeles.

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