JustOneMorePet

Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Animal Shelter Becomes Envy With Adoption Rate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mt. Juliet once had no shelter at all for stray or abandoned animals. The new facility has become the envy of other cities – not for the building but for their adoption rate.

The people who run the shelter are even surprised by the early success.

“There’s a national movement right now perhaps due to the Vick episode, but people are now coming for rescued animals,” said volunteer Jon Gray.

Gray, a retired minister, is one of nearly 300 volunteers who helps run it.

“They have no voice,” said Gray. “There’s nobody to speak for them and they’re part of God’s creations.”

The facility has an unheard of euthanasia rate. Out of 500 animals they have had to put down 23 of them.

“Our euthanasia rate is so low, it’s, so many other shelters have made comments, how do you do this? How do you keep the euthanasia rate so low?” said animal control officer Jill Hart.

City leaders said animal control officer Hart was one of the reasons. She has thousands of contacts easily receiving 20,000 e-mails a week.

The contacts have helped families as far away as Colorado and Connecticut adopt Mt. Juliet’s stray cats and dogs.

The volunteers like Gray know people too. They are responsible for attracting donors who have given the facility rooms full of supplies.

“The secret is we have a clean, modern, state of the art, people come in and like you told me this morning, there’s no smell here,” said Gray.

The cats are up front, the dogs in the back and nearly all of them can count on finding a new home.

The Mt. Juliet animal shelter said they never turn down donations. They are accepting supplies including dog and cat food.
Mt. Juliet Animal Control

Posted:  Just One More Pet

November 28, 2009 Posted by | animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Success Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is There Leftover Pie???

Hope You All Had a Safe, Blessed and Yummy Thanksgiving

And a Second Piece of PUMPKIN PIE before someone else got to it -  Too cute not to pass on, even a day late

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And have the pie while listening to the: The Turkey Blues

November 28, 2009 Posted by | Animal and Pet Photos, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, pet fun, Pets | , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving From the Doggie Corner… Photos from Last Year

These are photos from our Thanksgiving Celebration Two Years Ago…

(We had 6.5 people and  8 doggies…)

We cooked a Thanksgiving Dinner early this year for our Korean Company last week so we volunteered at a local food band and soup kitchen in our area on Wednesday and Thursday instead of cooking again.  It is such a great way to spend the holiday!!

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We ended our day with a walk at the harbor with our 4 since they were good and patient while we were gone.

November 27, 2009 Posted by | Animal and Pet Photos, Just One More Pet, pet fun, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | , | 1 Comment

Easy Tips for A Pet-Safe Holiday Season

Tips for a Pet-Safe Holiday Season Easy Tips for a Pet-Safe Holiday Season
There’s nothing more scrumptious than gathering with friends and family for the holidays, but many of the ingredients in human fun can result in distress for pets. As we kick off this season of lights, parties and yummy treats, the ASPCA wants to remind pet parents of the potential hazards certain goodies and décor can pose to our furry friends.
“As you prepare for your holiday celebrations,” says Dr. Steven Hansen, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Animal Health Services, “remember to be wary of foods and traditions that can bring potential dangers to companion animals.”
In honor of the joyous season to come, ASPCA poison control experts offer these essential tips for having pets at the party in a safe way:
Avoid Too Much of a Good Thing
While the holidays are a time for giving, there are some foods you should not share with your furry friends. A taste of mashed potato or a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, alcoholic beverages, coffee, onions, fatty foods, yeast dough and macadamia nuts can all lead to stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. A special no-no is chocolate, which if ingested can lead to death. And you may want to skip sharing the turkey—poultry bones can splinter and cause blockages.

 

Put the Meds Away
One of the most common holiday-related emergencies is the consumption of human pharmaceuticals. Make sure all your medications are securely locked away, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.

That Holiday Glow
When you leave the room, put the candles out! Animals can easily knock lit candles over, causing a fire, and curious cats are particularly at risk of getting burned by candle flames. Also, be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on stable surfaces.

Decorations Can Be Dangerous
Holiday decorations such as breakable ornaments, string, ribbon and dreidels should be kept out of paws’ reach. These traditional decorations can cause choking or severe intestinal problems if swallowed. All holiday light strands, loose wires and electric cords can also pose serious dangers to your pet, especially puppies, who may chew on them.

Go Tinsel-less
Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

Forgo the Flowers
Be careful with holiday floral arrangements. Lilies are commonly used this time of year and all varieties, including Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Stargazer and Casa Blanca can cause kidney failure in cats. In addition, common Yuletide plants such as mistletoe and holly berries can be potentially toxic to pets. Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Safe alternatives include artificial flowers made from silk or plastic.

Oh, Christmas Tree
Cats often see trees as fabulous climbing posts. Be sure to securely anchor your tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. Also keep in mind that tree water may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset if ingested. Stagnant tree water can also act as a breeding ground for bacteria, and, if ingested, a pet may suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

New Year’s Noise
As you count down to the New Year, be alert to any pet hazards such as noise-makers and confetti. Noise-makers can frighten your pets, causing them to bolt out an open door or window. Confetti, if ingested, can wreak havoc on the digestive tract.

Holiday Travel
Before traveling with your pets by car or plane, make sure they have all the required vaccinations and are wearing identification tags or are microchipped. If you’re traveling by car, be sure to secure your pet safely with a seatbelt harness, crate or barrier and make frequent stops, allowing pets time to exercise and relieve themselves.

If your dog or cat accidentally ingests any potentially harmful products and you need emergency advice, please consult your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 (a fee applies) or www.aspca.org/apcc.

Posted:  Just One More Pet

Related:

Sharing Thanksgiving With Your Pets

A Poison Safe Home – Some Tips For the Holidays and All Year Round

November 26, 2009 Posted by | animal behavior, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s In A Name – Tonka

Several friends have asked me about Tonka’s name. Tonka is our “prison dog” (now out on parole), the little character we adopted last spring from the Colorado Correctional Industries K-9 Companion program.

Tonka was a stray found on the eastern plains of Colorado near Lamar, where he was given over to a local rescue organization. I wrote to the woman who fostered him to ask how they decided on his name. Of course we have all heard of Tonka toys and trucks, but I also read that Tonka is a Sioux word meaning “great” or “big.”

Donna from the rescue group said she wished it was something neat like a Sioux word. She said they name hundreds of dogs and she just picked a name. Sometimes the names are chosen for an attribute or character of a dog but in Tonka’s case, apparently that name just came to mind.

She also said that sometimes names get chosen because it has to sound different than the names of other foster dogs in the home at the time. That way when you call them, they know who is being called. She said she usually has a litter, several adult fosters, plus her own dogs at any given time. Bless her!

Anyway, I’m sticking with Tonka’s name being a Sioux word. Tonka’s vet has already started calling him “Tatonka” because she likes the Sioux reference. We found this online:

The Buffalo (Tatonka) holds deep meaning for the Sioux and generally represents Mother Earth and all she provides and offers. There are legends concerning the White Buffalo as well.

Posted:  Just One More Pet

November 26, 2009 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Success Stories | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Poison Safe Home – Some Tips For the Holidays and All Year Round

Dog looking to the right

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate (all forms)
  • Coffee (all forms)
  • Fatty foods
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Onions, onion powder
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Salt
  • Yeast dough
  • Garlic
  • Products sweetened with xylitol

Warm Weather Hazards

  • Animal toxins—toads, insects, spiders, snakes and scorpions
  • Blue-green algae in ponds
  • Citronella candles
  • Cocoa mulch
  • Compost piles Fertilizers
  • Flea products
  • Outdoor plants and plant bulbs
  • Swimming-pool treatment supplies
  • Fly baits containing methomyl
  • Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde

Medication

Common examples of human medications that can be potentially lethal to pets, even in small doses, include:

  • Pain killers
  • Cold medicines
  • Anti-cancer drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Vitamins
  • Diet Pills

Cold Weather Hazards

  • Antifreeze
  • Liquid potpourri
  • Ice melting products
  • Rat and mouse bait

Common Household Hazards

  • Fabric softener sheets
  • Mothballs
  • Post-1982 pennies (due to high concentration of zinc)

Holiday Hazards

  • Christmas tree water (may contain fertilizers and bacteria, which, if ingested, can upset the stomach.
  • Electrical cords
  • Ribbons or tinsel (can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction—most often occurs with kittens!)
  • Batteries
  • Glass ornaments

Non-toxic Substances for Dogs and Cats

The following substances are considered to be non-toxic, although they may cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some animals:

  • Water-based paints
  • Toilet bowl water
  • Silica gel
  • Poinsettia
  • Cat litter
  • Glue traps
  • Glow jewelry
    Source:  ASPCA  - Posted:  Just One More Pet

November 26, 2009 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Saving Molly… and Other Animals From Similar Laws

This story was updated today on CBS-2 News.  This couple is still fighting this nightmare of paperwork and conflicting laws between the city and state.  Legislation will finally be introduced in January to hopefully stop the insanity…

CHINO–Under state law, dog-owning residents are required to get their dogs vaccinated for rabies in order to prevent the spread of the disease, but one Chino Hills couple is refusing to do so for fear it might cost their dog’s life.

“I’m not a person trying to buck the system,” said Sam Gadd. “I’m just trying to save my dog. This is a legitimate fight and it has become a passion of mine.”

Sam and his wife Cecilia are the proud owners of five-year-old Molly, a brown English Springer Spaniel, who suffers from auto-immune disease, which enables her immune system to kill her red blood cells. The Gadd’s say they believe Molly received auto-immune disease after receiving her first rabies shot about three years ago. They say another shot may kill her.

“It is my medical opinion that any vaccination of Molly could potentially be detrimental to her health, and may incite another recurrence of her Immune-mediated disease,” wrote the Gadd’s veterinarian, Heather Mineo.

The Gadd’s have received a citation from the Inland Valley Humane Society, which contracts with Chino Hills for animal control services. Gadd says he won’t get the shot and will do whatever it takes to save his dog, even if it means putting Molly into hiding.

“The shot is lethal to my dog,” he said.

Gadd said he would have liked the city to approve a contract amendment or an ordinance that would allow an exemption, but city officials say their legal counsel has advised them to comply with state law.

“Really our legal staff says no they say state law prohibits any type of exemption,” said Councilman Ed Graham. “The county has said that Chino Hills would provide an exemption (for sick dogs) because they allow it in the county, however the humane society and our legal council says that that is incorrect. Our people and the Inland Valley Humane Society has said this correction would have to be done by state law.”

Although it does not offer lifetime exemptions, the Inland Valley Humane Society offers 30 to 90 days extensions to owner’s who are told to fulfill a rabies shot requirement, and those are based on medical review by the humane society’s staff. Bill Harford, executive director of the Inland Valley Humane Society, said his staff has reviewed Molly’s case and he did not agree that Molly would die if she were to be given a rabies shot.

Harford said allowing an exemption would open up his agency and the city to litigation.

“What if that one dog that lives in Chino Hills came in contact with a rabid bat or a rabid skunk and contracted rabies and then bit a baby at a local playground,” Harford said. “Who is liable? The rabies shot is a buffer between the wild community and the human community. We’re safeguarding our responsibility to safeguard the public to make sure we fulfill the local rules and regulations pertaining to rabies control.”

The Gadds say they will do all they can to lobby state lawmakers to change the law. The Gadd’s are encouraging residents statewide to write their legislators to allow an exemption on rabies shots for special cases involving rabies vaccinations that may prove lethal to a dog.

“This is not our fight anymore,” Gadd said.

neil.nisperos@inlandnewspapers.com

(909) 483-9356

By Neil Nisperos – Staff Writer

1 Comments

Councilman Graham received incorrect information from his legal staff because state law DOES include an exemption. This is to be found in the “Compendium of Rabies Control and Prevention, 2004″ (available on the California Department of Public Health’s rabies page, click on CA Rabies Compendium, 2004 to download the document):
http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HEALTHINFO/DISCOND/Pages/rabies.aspx

From Part I on page 6 of the Compendium is to be found this language:

“6. Rabies Immunization Exemptions:

A rabies immunization exemption may be issued by the local health officer upon the written recommendation of a California-licensed veterinarian where illness or a veterinary medical condition in a dog warrants. The exempted animal shall be maintained in strict rabies isolation, under conditions that are at the discretion of the local health officer, until such time as the medical condition has resolved, and the animal can be rabies immunized.”

Also someone might want to check into the Rabies Challenge Fund for additional information:  http://www.rabieschallengefund.org/

October 8, 2009 1:08 AM

Posted:  Just One More Pet

November 24, 2009 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sharing Thanksgiving With Your Pets

“Holidays Are Great and Fun To Share With Our Pets, Who Love To Be Part of the Family Activities, As Long As We Avoid the No-No Foods”

clip_image002While giving your pets Thanksgiving leftovers or scraps from the table can be a heartwarming experience for you and an exciting experience for them, it is important to be aware of which Thanksgiving leftovers are pet friendly, and which ones should remain in your fridge and away from your pets’ food dish.

To help you decipher which Thanksgiving leftovers are safe for your pets to eat, we have compiled two lists below — a “safe” list and a “not safe” list — that you can use as a quick reference during your Thanksgiving meal. But be sure to pay attention to the pets mentioned in the lists, and how the food should be prepared; just because something is safe for a dog doesn’t mean it’s safe for a cat.

If you, or your family, eat a food during the Thanksgiving holiday that is not mentioned on the lists below, do some additional research or talk to your local vet about the safety of the food in question.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips For Pets

‘Tis the season for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also for possible distress for our animal companions. Pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink.

Check out the following tips from ASPCA experts for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too.

Sage Advice
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delish, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough
Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Too Much of a Good Thing
Boneless pieces of cooked turkey, some mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie or cheese cake shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, especially if you don’t normally cook for your pets, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, if your pets have sensitive stomachs, it is best to keep them on their regular diets during the holidays with just some table scraps added to their food.

A Feast Fit for a Kong
While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them rawhide strips, Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

The “Safe” List

Cranberry Sauce

While cranberry sauce is safe for most dogs, it has the potential to make them a little wild or give them an upset stomach if they’re not used to fruit or foods high in sugar. So if you want to give your dogs a little cranberry sauce this holiday season, start out slow and see how your dog reacts. Cranberry sauce should also be safe for cats and potbellied pigs, but again, only in small portions.

Green Beans

Safe for cats, dogs, potbellied pigs and guinea pigs, green beans that are low in sodium (try using unsalted ones) can actually be good for your pets when served in moderation. As long as the green beans you have leftover this Thanksgiving don’t have anything extra added (no green bean casserole!) they are pet friendly Thanksgiving leftovers.

Ice Cream (Dogs Only), a Few Licks of Pumpkin Pie, Cheesecake or Carrot Cake Without Nuts

While it is not a good idea to give your cat, guinea pig, potbellied pig, or any other common pet type ice cream this Thanksgiving, ice cream is safe for dogs to eat in small amounts as long as it contains no chocolate.  A few licks of pumpkin pie, cheesecake or carrot cake without nuts are also fine.

Macaroni and Cheese (Dogs and Potbellied Pigs Only)

As long as you don’t give you dog or potbellied pig too much macaroni and cheese, it is safe for them to eat on occasion, but not all the time.

Mashed Potatoes

As long as you don’t add anything extra to your mashed potatoes (such as cheese, sour cream, or gravy) mashed potatoes should be safe for dogs, cats, and pigs. But again, remember portion control: don’t give them too much, and consider mixing a little bit of mashed potatoes into their dry food instead of giving them mashed potatoes by itself.

Turkey

While leftover turkey can be safe for dogs, cats, and potbellied pigs, make sure that the turkey does not have any bones, and that any excess fat and the skin has been removed. Also be careful about portion control, not giving your pets — no matter how big they are — human sized portions of turkey. It will be very rich for them, and could cause them to be sick if given too much.  If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

The “Not So Safe” List

The following foods are not safe for dogs, cats, potbellied pigs, or guinea pigs. Never give the following foods or beverages to your pets:

  • Alcohol of any kind
  • Anything with Caffeine
  • Bones from Ham, Chicken, or Turkey
  • Candied Yams
  • Casseroles (unless you absolutely know that none of the no-no foods are in them)
  • Chocolate and Cocoa (this includes things like brownies and chocolate chip cookies) and dark chocolate is the worst
  • Jell-O Molds
  • Macadamia Nuts (this includes things like cookies and pies) and go easy on nuts in general
  • Pecan Pie
  • Potato Skins
  • Pork Products because of the nitrates
  • Stuffing (it usually contains onions, which is very harmful to pets)
  • Anything with onions in it  (and garlic should be fed in moderation)
  • Anything with Xylitol in it
  • Grapes or raisins
  • Raw eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • Baby food if it contains onion powder
  • Milk (and American Cheese) can be a problem for some dogs. They can be lactose intolerant like some people.
  • Avocados – especially for birds and cats

Poinsettias:
These plants are probably the most popular holiday plant and are easily recognizable by their large red, white, pink, or mottled leaves. These plants also contain a thick, milky irritant sap. In general, it would take ingestion of a large amount of this plant to see possible clinical signs in your pet. Signs could include vomiting, anorexia and depression. The symptoms are generally self-limiting and treatment is rarely needed. Your Vet may recommend limiting food and water intake for 1 or 2 hours if your pet is suspected of becoming sick after ingestion of poinsettias.  Ingestion of poinsettias will not kill your pets, but keeping them out of reach is a good idea; and fake ones might be even a better idea!

Thanksgiving Pet Recipe of the Day

Simple Roasted Organs

(This is a great recipe to make up for Thanksgiving to feed your canine friends… you can substitute chicken for the turkey and add a few turkey scraps at carving time, or just bake the liver and giblets and add the warm turkey as you carve… just go easy on the skin and watch for bones.)

This dish can actually double up as a treat, or healthy topping to your pet’s usual meal. Turkey giblets (hearts, livers and kidneys) are available from butcher shops and many natural food markets – and also come included with most Thanksgiving turkeys!

This recipe is super-simple and just about all pets love it! Since this recipe is cooked, turkey necks should not be used.

Ingredients

Up to 1 lb Turkey scraps, organs/giblets (don’t include bones)

6 tbsp Olive Oil

½ tsp Dried or Fresh Rosemary

1 Clove Garlic, crushed or finely diced (optional)

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the organs on a baking sheet. Slowly pour on the olive and gently shake the pan so that the oil is evenly distributed. Sprinkle on the rosemary and crushed garlic. Place in the oven and cook for about 35 minutes, until golden brown. Cool before serving and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 3 days.

For cats, dice the organs finely with a sharp knife before serving. This technique also works well to create bite-sized training treats that are a little bit different.

Posted:  Just One More Pet

November 23, 2009 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Fish Story… Always Be Kinder Than Necessary!!

A Fish Story……..for all of you

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A  guy who lives at Lake Conroe

(50  miles north of Houston ) saw a ball bouncing

around  kind of strange in the lake and went to

investigate.

It  turned out to be a flathead catfish

that had

apparently  tried to swallow a basketball which

became stuck in its mouth!!

The fish was totally exhausted from trying to
dive, but unable to, because the ball would
always bring him back up to the surface.
The guy tried numerous times to get the ball out,
but was unsuccessful. He finally had his wife cut
the ball in order to deflate it and release the hungry
catfish.

You probably wouldn’t have believed this,
if you hadn’t seen the following pictures:

 

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Be kinder than necessary because everyone bites off more than they can chew sometime in life…

Posted: Just One More Pet

November 20, 2009 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Success Stories, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , | Leave a comment

Cats Are Trainable – and That’s Not a Punchline

Program teaches layabout felines to work for their food

Image: Cat

Having your cat touch your hand with its nose on command is one of the easiest behaviors to train, Chan says. If you hold out your hand, most cats will naturally sniff it. Reward with a treat until the cat is doing it every time you present your hand. Then, start repeating a word like “touch” every time.

This trick can then be used to get the cat to move where you want it by placing your hand in the desired spot. “You can use it to ask them to get off the couch, or teach them to jump through a hoop by putting the hand on the other side of the hoop,” Chan says.

Another useful behavior is entering the cat carrier on their own. Sandy Lagreca, a volunteer at the Michigan Humane Society, says that this is great for both cats and people: “They go in without having to be picked up and shoved into the crate, which can be traumatic for the owner.”

Patience, repetition and a treat
All this requires is patience, repetition and a highly desired treat. Throw the treat into the crate (and if your cat is already suspicious of the carrier, step away). Let the cat go in, eat the treat, and leave, repeating until it’s completely comfortable going into the carrier. Then, start to close the door and leave the cat inside for increasingly longer intervals. Again, repeat till the cat is comfortable before you try to pick up the carrier.

Chan says that people often don’t think cats are trainable because they lack a dog’s desire to please, “but we have things that cats want. That’s all that matters.” Figure out what your cat will work for — it may be a little tuna, a bit of canned food on the end of a chopstick, or maybe a toss of a toy mouse.

Connelly says to keep training sessions short — she recommends no more than five minutes — and varied. “Teach something else when they get one thing right,” she says. “Cats get bored easily.”

In addition to the specific useful behaviors, Bentley says, training can help prevent problems by changing the terms of your relationship with your pet. “The animal learns, when I do this, you’re happy and I get a piece of food, I guess I should focus on making you happy,” she says. “Teaching our cats to successfully do what we like and get rewarded makes them more inclined to do what we like.”

And it’s also rewarding to see that your cat is capable of so much more than lying on the couch. Says Lagreca, “It’s fun to watch the progression and see the lights go on — when they make that connection it’s a magical moment.”

To the evaluator’s surprise, Storm passed the test, successfully performing commands like sit, stay, come, down, and walking on a leash.

Storm is a cat who does some of these things for a living. He helps Connelly train lost pet search dogs in Maryland by hiding and waiting to be found.

But training cats isn’t just for professionals — human or feline. The Michigan Humane Society has a Pawsitive Start program that uses volunteers to train cats in their shelter in useful and fun behaviors like the high-five and walking into a carrier.

“A lot of people look kind of funny at us when we say we train the shelter cats,” says CJ Bentley of the humane society. Cats need more than just playtime outside the cage to be well-adjusted in the shelter environment, she says.

Problem-solving power
“It’s not just all about the physical, it’s the mental as well,” says Bentley. “To teach them to be able to solve problems on their own can reduce the stress. It gives them control over a situation.”

It’s not just shelter cats that need more, though. People expect pet cats to “just hang out, which isn’t realistic,” says Melissa Chan, behavior specialist at the Houston SPCA. Cats are naturally active animals, she says, and “one thing I wish I could tell every cat owner: Cats want to work for their food.”

Capable cats: Share photos of your smart kitty

Having your cat touch your hand with its nose on command is one of the easiest behaviors to train, Chan says. If you hold out your hand, most cats will naturally sniff it. Reward with a treat until the cat is doing it every time you present your hand. Then, start repeating a word like “touch” every time.

This trick can then be used to get the cat to move where you want it by placing your hand in the desired spot. “You can use it to ask them to get off the couch, or teach them to jump through a hoop by putting the hand on the other side of the hoop,” Chan says.

Another useful behavior is entering the cat carrier on their own. Sandy Lagreca, a volunteer at the Michigan Humane Society, says that this is great for both cats and people: “They go in without having to be picked up and shoved into the crate, which can be traumatic for the owner.”

Patience, repetition and a treat

All this requires is patience, repetition and a highly desired treat. Throw the treat into the crate (and if your cat is already suspicious of the carrier, step away). Let the cat go in, eat the treat, and leave, repeating until it’s completely comfortable going into the carrier. Then, start to close the door and leave the cat inside for increasingly longer intervals. Again, repeat till the cat is comfortable before you try to pick up the carrier.

Chan says that people often don’t think cats are trainable because they lack a dog’s desire to please, “but we have things that cats want. That’s all that matters.” Figure out what your cat will work for — it may be a little tuna, a bit of canned food on the end of a chopstick, or maybe a toss of a toy mouse.

Connelly says to keep training sessions short — she recommends no more than five minutes — and varied. “Teach something else when they get one thing right,” she says. “Cats get bored easily.”

In addition to the specific useful behaviors, Bentley says, training can help prevent problems by changing the terms of your relationship with your pet. “The animal learns, when I do this, you’re happy and I get a piece of food, I guess I should focus on making you happy,” she says. “Teaching our cats to successfully do what we like and get rewarded makes them more inclined to do what we like.”

And it’s also rewarding to see that your cat is capable of so much more than lying on the couch. Says Lagreca, “It’s fun to watch the progression and see the lights go on — when they make that connection it’s a magical moment.”

Source: MSNBC/Pets

Posted: Just One More Pet

November 18, 2009 Posted by | animal behavior, Just One More Pet, Pet and Animal Training, pet fun, Pets, Success Stories | , , , , | Leave a comment

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