Category Archives: Cats

Fun Times


Life has been pretty busy recently, and a blog post done in a rush or without my full attention is not something I want to do. I enjoy my blog posts, and I hope anyone reading them also enjoys – so I won’t post something not done properly.

Instead, check out some fun animal-related videos on YouTube. Please note that I am in no way affiliated with any of these videos; they are not mine, or posted by anyone I know. I am just guilty of watching them too often online!

I love this video, “Cat-Friend vs Dog-Friend” – I think is a a funny (and kind of accurate) depiction of dogs and cats in the home.

I also love this video, “Dog wants a kitty” – apart from the owner of this frustrated pooch being scarily accurate in matching his voice-over to the dog’s behaviour and mouth movements, I think it would be just ace to be able to have conversations like this with your pooch! Wonder what voice your pet would have? Also check out the related video, “Ultimate Dog Tease” – poor thing is just hungry!

And one for the musically inclined, “Hamster on a piano” – not quite sure what I love more in this video; the fact the hamster is nomming popcorn, or the fact that (s)he is just so not bothered about what’s going on because (s)he has popcorn!

Have you got any fun animal-related videos I have missed, or you just feel the need to share? Please post a comment below, or via one of my social media pages…
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AnimalFreak24)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Cheetahs and Leopards


In response to a question posed to me, this post will compare the similarities and differences between two of my favourite species – two beautiful, large, wild cat species – the Cheetah and the Leopard.

First of all they look (in my opinion) quite different; sure they both have black spots on sandy fur, but…

Cheetah Leopard

The Cheetah has black lines running from the tear duct down to the top jaw, at the edge of the mouth; also a thinner black line/ spots running from the outer edge of the eye, over the cheekbone, and down to the neck. Small spots dabble the head and face, with a pale and plain bottom jaw and neck. No spots in between the eyes, above the nose. Small, oval ears and a small, black nose.

The Leopard has big, round eyes lined in black. Odd shaped spots cover the whole face and head; except between the eyes, above the nose. Nice, round ears; nose can be black or pink.

Now, the Cheetah has small, round, full spots. The Leopard, on the other hand does not have full spots; except on the head and face. The Leopard has (almost) loops with darker fur filling the middle, and sometimes a small spot at the centre too… this is called a rosette.

Leopard Spot
Leopard Spot

Cheetahs do not roar, but rather have a range of other vocalisations, such as; purring, growling and a variety of chirping calls.
Leopards will growl, and purr – however they also have various other kinds of vocalisations including a ‘rasping cough’ vocalisation, to make their presence known to other Leopards.

Cheetahs typically have 3 cubs in a litter. A Cheetah mother will leave their cubs to hunt, before returning to their solitary lair to nurse. Cubs will stay with their mother, learning from her until they are 2-3 years old.
Leopards tend to have  2-3 cubs in a litter. A mother Leopard will not wander from her territory after giving birth, until their offspring are old enough and capable enough to accompany her. Cubs will stay with, and learn from, their mother until they are 2 years old.

Cubs

Cheetah females raise the young alone, with no input or help from the males.
Leopard males do not help with raising the young either; however they do patrol the territory and provide security for the female and their cubs, from rival males.

Cheetah males will live in small groups of 2-3 as adults; often brothers. Female Cheetahs are solitary as adults.
Leopards of both genders are solitary throughout their adult life.
(With the exception of mating – both species.)

Cheetas have a wild lifespan of 10-12 years.
L
eopards have a wild lifespan of 12-14 years.

Cheetahs live in sub-Saharan Africa, north Africa, south Africa, East Africa, and Iran.
Leopards live in sub-Saharan Africa, north-east Africa, Central Asia, India, and China. (Snow Leopards found in the mountain ranges of these countries.)

Cheetah subspecies – African Cheetah, and Asiatic (Iranian) Cheetah. Cheetahs are of the same colouration.
Cheetahs

Leopard subspecies – Amur (Asian) Leopard, African (Indian) Leopard. Leopards range from the standard colouration, to the paler Snow Leopard, and the Black Panther (a Leopard with dark black rosettes on lighter black fur).

Leopards

Cheetah – the fastest land mammal. Reaching speeds of up to 75 mph! However Cheetahs are sprinters, which can make hunting difficult; after the sprint of energy (of approx. 20-60 seconds), the Cheetah soon tires – so they must hope for a successful hunt! Cheetahs will devour their kill as quick as possible, as they will back down easily if challenged for it.
Leopards can reach speeds of approximately 35 mph – however  they tend to make a kill by stealth rather than speed. Leopards often drag their kill up into trees to prevent other carnivores from stealing it.

Both species are brilliant, awesome creatures (in my opinion) – unique in their own ways, surviving the wilderness each day in their own way!


If you have any questions or comments, or would like any more information or advice regarding this post; or if you have anything specific you would like me to cover in a future post, then either contact me through this site or leave a comment below, or contact me via one of my social media pages:-
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AnimalFreak24)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

 

National Pet Week: 4th-10th May


This week is National Pet Week – a week to remember your loving pets; past and present.

All the companion animals that made their way into our hearts; the members of the family that we can’t live without. From large to tiny – no matter what species, pets are held close by their families.

Here are some photo’s of “People’s Pets” shared via various (Ali’s Answers) social media pages (if you want your pet adding to this post, share via the social media options at the end of this post:-

Picking a Pet


There is plenty to consider when you think about getting a pet… I doubt I will cover anything but I hope to get across some of the main things in this post. So I’ll just dive right in…

What kind of pet is right for you?
Species, breed, age, lifespan, lifestyle requirements, environment – these are all important factors to consider when thinking about a pet.
– what sort of pet would fit in with your lifestyle?
– is your home suitable for the pet you want?
– what type of pet is your home suitable for?
– do you have time to give the pet the attention and care it needs?

Chilean Rose

Think about what pet you want. Think about whether or not you can commit. Can you commit to…
–  walking a dog daily, often multiple times daily?
–  ensuring a cat is exercised daily?
–  cleaning the glass, substrate, decor and filter of a fish tank?
–  cleaning a rodent cage multiple times a week?
–  the lifespan of the pet you desire?
If you cannot commit, either choose a different species or consider waiting until you are in a positions to commit fully to the pet you desire. If you do not have the time or the space for the kind of pet you want; then you may need to look into either waiting, or consider a different species/ breed.

Horses

There are many things to consider before adding a pet into your family.

Consider your finances – can you afford the pet you want? – Not just the one off payment for the pet and accessories; but the regular payments towards food, healthcare, replacement bedding, etc.

Space – Where will the pet live? Does it require specialised housing? Will it have free run of your home/ garden? Is your home suitable for the pet you want? Does this pet require large housing building/ buying? Do you know what housing type is best for the species you want?
Consider the positioning of any specialised housing – not near busy thoroughfares, or in direct sunlight/ under bright lights,  anywhere too dark, too cold, too hot, etc. Does the housing need to be outside? Do you have enough outside space to accommodate the animal?

Socialisation – Do yo need to buy more than one due to the animal being of a social species? Does the animal need socialising outside of the home? What is the best way to socialise the species?

There are many things to consider! So do some research, ask a professional (nb. not every person who works in a pet store, etc. is a professional!), check out a few different individuals of the species you want, and be as prepared as possible before diving in to pet ownership!

 


If you have any questions or comments, or would like any more information or advice regarding this post; or if you have anything specific you would like me to cover in a future post, then either leave a comment below, or contact me via one of my social media pages:-
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AnimalFreak24)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Pet Travel Safety


People don’t think about safety during travel with regards to there pets, as much as they should; especially with dogs in cars. Travelling with our pets is something we almost all do at some point – even if it’s just a trip to the vets.

Safety is important when travelling – smaller pets ought to be in a safe, secure pet carrier; suitable for the size of your pet. Someone ought to securely hold the small pets in the carrier, or the carrier ought to be secured in your vehicle; so that the carrier does not move about too much or tip over.

Hamster in carrier

Larger animals can be in larger pet carriers and crates/ cages, and secured in your vehicle. This can be a carrier that is mobile, or fitted in your vehicle.

Dog in crate
Dog in crate

Alternatives for larger pets, such as dogs and cats, are pet seat belts. These consist of harnesses and some way to fasten them into the seat belt buckle; some plug straight into the buckle plug, others have a loop in which the seatbelt goes through and plugs in as normal.

Dog Car Harness (loop)
Dog Car Harness (loop)

What is important to remember is that it’s not just your pet you put at risk by leaving them loose during travel. They could be a distraction and cause an accident without meaning to, and they are a weight that can be thrown into a person or out a window/windscreen if you get into a crash. Now my little Bedlington, in the image above, is 17″ to the shoulder and weighs upwards of 10kg – if he was lose in my car and there was an accident, 10kg slamming into a person could kill them; 10kg shooting out the window/windscreen could kill your pet too…

It is one of my biggest pet peeves (no pun intended) is seeing pets loose in a vehicle – the danger for the pet and people is greater than we tend to give credit to.

World Animal Day


4th October 2014 – World Animal Day

Also known as International Animal Day or World Animal Lover Day. World Animal Day is a day for remembering all animals; by the people who love and respect them.

So enjoy the following animal images…

Common Behavioural Problems: Spraying (cats)


Behaviour Banner

Spraying – a form of communication, territorial marking, to signal mating status, indicator of health, and to show dominance. Spraying is a naturalnormal behaviour. It becomes a problem when it becomes excessive, and often in inappropriate places.

Cats will back up to a vertical surface (wall, table/chair leg, couch, door, bed, television…) twitch tail, and spray urine against the vertical surface.

Potential Causes:-
(a) Territorial Behaviour:
– another cat brought into a single-cat household
– a multi-cat household
– moving house/ getting an extension
– redecorating
– new cat(s) in the neighbourhood/territory

(b) Anxiety
– lack of owner attention (for attention)
– jealousy of other pet(s)/children/etc.
– change in routine
– social stressors
– environmental stressors
– new/unusual, (fairly) consistent smells (even as simple as new air freshener)
– negative encounters
– not enough litter trays for amount of cats

(c) Underlying Medical Problem
– consult vet ASAP
– urine crystals
– cystitis
– urolithiasis; struvites (urinary tract stones)
– other…

Cat Zoe
Happy Cat

Treatment Options:
Firstly, determine whether or not this is being caused by a medical issue, and your vet will be able to determine the best course of treatment. If there is no medical issue, then it is likely to be a behavioural issue. Successful treatment of this requires identification of the cause, and fixing of the cause or acceptance (from the animal) of the cause.

If you have a multi-cat household, to reduce the likelihood of unwanted spraying behaviour (and unwanted defecation), ensure that every cat has its own litter tray, and that there is a spare litter tray (or multiple spares for a larger group of cats). Ensure litter trays are in quiet places, not busy or open places; cats like privacy when going to the toilet.

Neutering is a big help, but will not eliminate the problem. Spraying is less common in neutered cats, but it will not prevent spraying. Males also spray more than females, but females do spray.

Feliway pheromone diffuser plug ins and sprays are also available. The release of pheromones helps to calm and reassure, especially in multi-cat households; it can relieve tension between cats.  The pheromone release relieves stress and can help stop your cat spraying; stop the behavioural issue.

Acceptance of the cause; teaching your cat(s) to accept a new addition – whether this is another cat, a dog, a rabbit (i.e. another pet), or a new baby or even just a new couch. You can help this by not comforting your cat when it initially freaks out. Do not berate your cat for this either. Just act normal, like the new addition is completely normal. If you comfort your cat, (s)he will believe (s)he’s being comforted because there is a reason to be freaked out and anxious about this new addition. Normal behaviour on your part will help your cat realise (s)he can behave normally despite this new addition too.

Multi-cat household
Multi-cat household

Cats that get along are less competitive, and far less likely to spray. You can encourage cats to get along by playing with your cats together; giving each one equal attention. Feed them together, and try to encourage them to sleep near to each other – not necessarily sharing the same bed, but within the same room. Provide differently levels for your cats within the home; the more dominant cat will sit higher up than the subordinate(s) – being able to show dominance/ hierarchy in this way is likely to reduce other dominant displays.

Try to keep routine, at least for your cat even if not for yourself – because, let’s face it, we quite often need to mix up our routine; but cats, no, cats like routine. They will patrol the same bit of their territory at (roughly) the same time, daily.  They will sleep, hunt, etc. at (roughly) the same times each day. Feeding, grooming/brushing, and other activities your cat requires you for should be kept in some kind of routine for your cat too.

Although spraying is a very obvious behaviour; know your cat(s) and learn to tell when (s)he is acting out of the ordinary so as to pick up on behavioural issues early.


If you have any questions or comments, or would like any more information regarding this post; or if you have anything specific you would like me to cover in a future post, then either leave a comment below, or contact me via one of my social media pages:-
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AnimalFreak24)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Common Behavioural Problems: Introduction


What is a behavioural problem?
(a) A natural behaviour that is undesirable to the owner, but very desirable to the animal.
(b) A natural behaviour that us undesirable to both owner and animal.
(c) An abnormal behaviour exhibited (and often done in repetition) that suggests the animal has an inability to cope with something in its environment (known as Stereotypical Behaviour).

Common Behavioural Problems:
– Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D.)
– Coprophagia (eating faeces – not abnormal for certain species)
– Aggression
– Excessive Vocalisation
– Scratching/ biting/ kicking/ rearing/ bucking
– Anxiety
– Tail Chasing
– Feather Plucking/ Fur Pulling
– Chewing (things that they are not meant to chew)
– Hyper-excitability
– Excessive Grooming
– Wind Sucking/ Cribbing

Stereotypical Behaviours:
– Pacing
– Weaving/ Swaying
– Head Bobbing
– Circling
– Neck Twisting
– Bar Biting
– Rocking
– Self-Mutilation
– Vomiting (and then eating it, and vomiting again)
– Coprophilia (playing with faeces)
– Coprophaga (repeated)

How can behavioural problems be approached?
(1) Educating the owner
(2) Modifying the environment
(3) Modifying the animal


I will be doing some follow up posts on some of these behavioural problems, and some ways to tackle them. If you have anything specific you would like me to cover then either leave a comment below, or contact me via one of my social media pages:-
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AnimalFreak24)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Pet Health Check: Body


As a response to a message asking to know more about health checking your pet at home, here is some information… part two:

Last weeks post covered the face, this week will cover health checking the rest of the body – as a continuation from the face/ head…

SPINE:
From feeling for lumps, nicks, cuts, etc. on the head and face of your animal; run your hands gently down the spine, feeling all along for anything out of the ordinary.
– check the spine is straight, not sticking out at any odd angles
– no lumps or swelling around the spine
– check the skin around the spine is not punctured or wounded (open)
– feel gently, slowly, and carefully

TAIL:
– same as above, just continue down the spine to the tail, checking the same things
– if your pet is a tail chaser, check that your pet has not caught its’ tail and done damage (with their teeth)

ABDOMEN:
– gently apply a slight pressure, to check for any pain
– feel for any internal lumps

RIBCAGE:
– check it feels normal for the species, not oddly shaped
– gently apply pressure, checking there is no pain (nothing feels broken)
– no lumps or swelling

LEGS/ WINGS/ HIPS/ SHOULDERS:
– no lumps, swelling, cuts, nicks, etc.
– free from pain when gentle pressure is applied
– joints bend normally; no pain or stiffness

FEET/ NAILS/ HOOVES:
– not too long; curling
– not flaking or split
– clean and free from dirt, debris, stones, etc.

FUR/ FEATHERS/ SCALES/ SKIN:
The fur patterns on your pet tend to match up with the skin colour; i.e. black patches of fur will have dark skin beneath, white fur will have pale skin beneath, brown fur will have brown skin beneath (etc. etc.) so know what your pet looks like all over so you can tell if anything is unusual. Know what is normal for your pet in terms of fur/ skin/ feather/ scale type, note any benign abnormalities so that you are able to ascertain when anything unusual occurs.
– skin: free from dryness/ crusting; fur/feathers: free from dandruff/ debris
– fur free from matting/ knots
– feathers should have a healthy shine
– fur should be soft and shiny
– wire hair/fur should not be brittle
– scales ought to be normal; not raised, or discoloured
– free from parasites, abrasions, lesions, infection

Male Bearded Dragon

Pet Health Checking: Face


As a response to a message asking to know more about health checking your pet at home, here is some information… part one:

First and foremost, wash and thoroughly dry your hands. Ensure you are clean before health checking your pet. If you feel the need, wear thin medical gloves.

Start with the eyes. Always.
If there is anything anywhere else on the body, you don’t want to transfer it to the eyes accidentally; staring with the eyes will avoid this.

EYES:
– free from discharge
– free from foreign bodies
– not red, bloodshot, or discoloured in any way

Next move onto the nose.

NOSE:
– free from excessive and/ or unusual discharge
– clean and clear
– watch also for excessive sneezing

Then the mouth.

MOUTH:
– gently lift up your pets lips to check the teeth
– small animals with split lips can have one side of the lip lifted at a time, the bottom lip can be gently pulled down to check the bottom teeth
– check for tartar build up
– know the colour your pets teeth ought to be, so you are able to tell if there is any discolouration (e.g. rats have yellow teeth, cats have white teeth)
– check gums are not discoloured or bleeding
– rabbits and rodents; check teeth are not overgrown (or likely to cause damage)
– check tongue is normal size/ shape and not discoloured (e.g. Chow-chow dog has a blue tongue unlike other breeds)

Next check the ears.

EARS:
– check the external ear is free from cuts, nicks, lumps, not extreme temperatures, and not painful when in normal motion
– check there is no excessive wax build up
– no unusual odour (dogs ears smell pretty bad normally, ensure you do not mistake this for infection)
– no mites, fleas, ticks, or other parasites

GENERAL FACE:
– free from cuts, nicks, lumps, and pain
– fur/ feathers not matted and free from debris
– skin is not dry or infected


Look out for the corresponding post next week, covering the rest of the body.