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Walking Your Cat Tips

Photo by the UCLA Shutterbug

Most housecats, given the opportunity, enjoy being outdoors.

Living inside isn’t an entirely natural environment for felines.

It’s hard for your kitty to express his innate urge to explore, climb and hunt prey from his perch at the window or on the back of your chair.

Unfortunately, letting him run around loose outside is unacceptably risky.

Cats with free access to the outdoors are much more likely to be exposed to viruses and other disease-causing agents … not to mention poisons, predators, and speeding traffic.

Indoor cats need environmental enrichment, and one of the ways to broaden your kitty’s horizons is to get her outdoors on a harness and leash.

Walking your cat on a leash offers her the best of all possible worlds in the form of safe access to the great outdoors.

An ideal lifestyle for your kitty would be one in which she has challenging outdoor adventures (every trip outside is challenging to an indoor cat) that enrich her otherwise comfortable, if un-stimulating indoor existence.

10 Tips for Training Your Cat to Walk on a Leash

  1. Know thy feline. Most cats, and especially kittens, can be trained to walk on a harness and leash.

    Most will appreciate the opportunity to safely explore a new, exciting outdoor environment. But that is most cats … not all. If you suspect your cat would never in a million years be agreeable to walking on a leash, you’re probably right. But it can’t hurt to try.

  2. Purchase a harness for the leash, not a collar. If your cat runs up a tree, a standard collar could strangle him, and a breakaway collar will detach. In addition, kitties are extremely flexible and able to fit through tiny, awkward spaces. It isn’t uncommon for cats to make like Houdini and find a way out of their collars. You don’t want this worry while you’re outdoors with your cat.

    There are harnesses designed for cats, as well as walking jackets1 and kitty holsters2. The leash attachment is toward the middle on these harnesses rather than at the neck, which is much safer and less stressful for your kitty. (If you fear your cat will never take to walks outdoors but you want to give it a try, buy your gear from a retailer with a liberal return policy.)

  3. Start slow, take baby steps forward, and expect setbacks. As anyone knows who is owned by a cat, they are not dogs and will do what they want, when they want, for however long they want. But what many cat lovers don’t realize is most kitties do actually respond to food treats, verbal praise, and praise in the form of head pats and ear scratches.

    Do your training sessions when your cat is hungry. Break treats into very small pieces – your kitty’s level of cooperation will decrease in direct proportion to how quickly her tummy gets full. Cats don’t have a desire to please their humans like dogs do, so food treats are their primary incentive. To insure you don’t overfeed, limit treat-giving to training sessions.

  4. Before you even think about stepping outside you must get your cat used to wearing the harness and leash. Put the harness on your cat, making sure it’s snug but not too tight. The second you’ve got the harness on, before you let go of her, give her a treat. If she takes a step in the harness, give her a treat, praise her and pat her on the head. Repeat the treating and praising if she continues to move about in her harness.

    If instead kitty drops to the ground, wait to see if she moves and give a treat if she does. If she seems frozen in place, or if her way of freaking out is to run and hide under something, remove the harness and give a treat as a peace offering. Try leaving the harness near your cat’s food bowl at mealtime and near her favorite napping spot for a few days to get her used to seeing it in places she associates with good things.

    You can also hold the harness and a few treats and when/if kitty sniffs the harness, give her a treat. Next hold the harness against her body and offer a treat. As she sniffs the treat, slowly pull the harness away and let her eat the treat.

    Giving treats immediately is crucial because your cat has an attention span of mere seconds, and you want her to connect a desired action with getting a treat.

    As your cat learns to tolerate the harness and leash for longer periods, give her a constant stream of verbal praise, head pats and food treats while she’s wearing it. When she’s obviously done with a training session, meaning she’s dropped to the ground, her tail is switching, ears flattened – whatever signs she normally gives that she’s no longer enjoying herself – remove the harness immediately. You want to end the session with kitty feeling confident and in control.

  5. Once your cat is walking around in his harness and leash in a normal manner, you can step outside the door. Depending on your pet’s temperament, you could easily spend the next month just getting down the front walk or onto the grass. Or … you could be taking kitty on real nature walks in 30 days. It just depends on how easily your cat adjusts to being outdoors and tethered to you.
  6. If your neighborhood has lots of traffic noise, dogs, or other distractions that your cat views as threatening, try taking her to a quieter area where she’s less exposed to frightening sights and sounds.
  7. Coax your cat a little farther on each outing. When he’s eagerly exploring a new area with his tail up, take another baby step.
  8. Make sure your kitty doesn’t pick up anything in her mouth or lick anything. And no tree climbing for leashed cats. It’s too dangerous.
  9. Don’t tie your cat’s leash to something and leave her outside, even for a minute. If something spooks her, she could get tangled in the leash. If she’s threatened by another animal or even a person, she can’t get away. Your kitty should never be outside unattended for any reason.
  10. Expect setbacks. Your cat might be okay in a new area on Monday and when you take him there on Tuesday, something freaks him out. Step back to the last place he was comfortable, and start moving forward with baby steps again. And unless your kitty is in harm’s way, resist the urge to pick him up if something spooks him. It’s better for his confidence if you can leave him on the ground.

By Dr. Becker

References:

Source: The New York Times December 28, 2011

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March 8, 2012 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets | , , , | 1 Comment

Cloner’s Ark: Ten Notable Cloned Animals

 

Researchers in Dubai made news this week by announcing the arrival of the world’s first cloned camel, a singular achievement in a region where top racing camels are prized.

Iran followed two days later with the birth of the country’s first cloned goat, though many other cloned goats have been born elsewhere.

Most cloned mammals now lead regular lives, but as recently as 10 years ago they often died young of lung malformations, a problem that appears to have been largely overcome. Healthy cloned dogs and cats are the most recent significant achievements.

Many researchers are getting closer and closer to human cloning by trying to clone monkeys.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, all attempts at cloning monkeys from adult donor cells have failed, with one researcher deeming the resulting embryos “a gallery of horrors.” (Splitting newly formed regular monkey embryos does work, but that can be seen as just inducing natural twins.)

The following is a list of significant animal species cloned from adult cells, in chronological order — plus one that’s even more remarkable.

Frog: The first amphibians cloned from adult cells were made in 1962 by John Gurdon, a British biologist at Cambridge University. His experiments showed that cloning adults was theoretically possible (clones made from embryonic cells had been created a decade earlier).

But his tadpoles didn’t survive to full adulthood, and it wasn’t until years later that he was able to get cloned frogs that lived full lives.

Carp: Way back in 1963, a Chinese researcher named Tong Dizhou apparently created the world’s first cloned fish when he transferred the genetic material from an adult male Asian carp into a carp egg, which developed and was born normally, and even sired children.

But since his work took place behind the “Bamboo Curtain” at the height of the Cold War, Tong’s achievements went unheralded in the West. He died in 1979.

Sheep: The famous Dolly was born on July 5, 1996, in Edinburgh, Scotland, the first known mammal of any species to be cloned from an adult donor. She was the only one of 277 cloned embryos to survive.

She quickly became a media sensation, yet went on to live a short but quiet life, bearing six lambs naturally. Cloned cattle, genetically similar to sheep, followed within the next year.

In February 2003, suffering from a virus-borne form of lung cancer common among sheep, Dolly was put to sleep. Some experts wondered whether she was already “old” at birth, due to her genes coming from an adult animal, but her creators disputed that.

Goat: The world’s first cloned goat was born on June 16, 2000, the result of work by scientists at Northwest University of Agriculture and Forestry Science and Technology in Xi’an, China. Unfortunately, the kid, nicknamed “Yuanyuan,” died after a day and a half from lung defects.

On June 22, 2000, another cloned goat was born in the same facility. Named “Yangyang,” she lived at least six years and had kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.

Housecat: CC, or Copy Cat, the world’s first cloned domestic cat, was born Dec. 22, 2001 on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Though she was the clone of a calico, her surrogate mother was a tabby, and CC’s coloring was a mixture of the two.

She currently lives in the household of one the scientists who worked to create her and has had naturally conceived kittens of her own.

White-tailed deer: The same Texas A&M team responsible for CC the cloned cat also created the world’s first cloned deer, which was born on May 23, 2003. Dubbed “Dewey,” he was cloned from a dead buck. Three years later, he became the father of female triplets, who were conceived the old-fashioned way.

Horse: Five days after Dewey, the world’s first cloned horse was born in Italy. A female named “Prometea” — presumably after Prometheus, the god who gave man fire in Greek mythology — news reports from the time indicate she was healthy.

Dog: Snuppy, an Afghan hound born April 24, 2005, was the world’s first cloned dog. He was created by a team led by Korean genetics researcher Hwang Woo-suk, who also claimed to have cloned human stem cells, later found to be untrue; Snuppy was the sole part of Hwang’s work that was untainted.

Snuppy has since fathered 10 puppies through artificial insemination of two cloned female dogs.

Pyrenean ibex: The world’s first extinct mammal to be “resurrected” was a subspecies of the more widespread Spanish ibex, or mountain goat. The last known Pyrenean ibex was found dead in early 2000, but tissue samples that had been taken when it was alive led to a joint Spanish-French cloning program.

After hundreds of failed attempts, a live Pyrenean ibex was born in January 2009, for the first time in more than a decade. The surrogate mother was a domestic goat. But the achievement was short-lived; the kid died 9 minutes after birth due to malformed lungs.

Camel: Injaz, the world’s first cloned camel, was born April 8, 2009 in Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates. Her name means “achievement” in Arabic, and she likely won’t be the last cloned camel, as camel racing is very popular in the Gulf states and certain animals are prized.

However, Injaz won’t ever get to know her older “twin” — the donor animal was slaughtered for its meat in 2005.

And last but far from least:

Fatherless mouse: Japanese researchers went beyond cloning in 2004 to create the world’s first fatherless mammal.

The mouse, nicknamed Kaguya, was born in 2004 and was a “parthenote” — she literally had two mommies. Genetic material from two mouse eggs was modified and combined so that one “fertilized” the other.

Kaguya has almost certainly died of old age since, but bore at least one litter of naturally conceived pups.

Source:  Fox News

Posted:  Just One More Pet

May 22, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment