Archives for January 2017

Did You Adopt a Cat Over Christmas?

How to Adopt a Cat and Live Peacefully Afterwards

If you are ready to adopt a cat or recently adopted a cat we bet you know cat adoption is rewarding, fun and life saving. Congratulations on bringing that kitty home with you! Here are some tips to get everything off to a great start.

adopt a cat

Chester getting a drink

Socialization  First of all recognize that cats do like human companionship. Although they like to hunt alone they are not the solitary creatures we once envisioned them to be. Be sure to take time to teach your cat to play and interact with you. Pam Johnson-Bennett offers great advice in her book CatWise regarding socializing with other cats, with dogs and with humans.

Declawing  If your new family member has not been declawed we urge you to forego that procedure. Declawing is the amputation of the first joint of all the cats’ digits and is extremely painful. Some cats suffer tenderness in their paws forever. If your cat has been declawed, please don’t let him outside.  He can no longer protect himself without claws.

Scratching  So what to do to protect your furniture from being shredded after you adopt a cat? Recognize that cats scratch to get good shoulder stretches, when excited about something pleasant and to displace tension.

Purchase or make a sisal covered scratching post. Make sure the scratching post is tall enough for your cat to fully stretch his shoulders. You may find it helpful to place the post near the corner of a sofa so it’s handy for your kitty. There are also scratching pads that hang from a doorknob and corrugated cardboard scratching pads that sit horizontally on the floor.  

Litter Boxes  If you live in a multi-level home be sure to have at least one litter box on each level. It’s also a good idea to have one more litter box than you have cats.  Recognize that cats are fastidious creatures and don’t like to use dirty litter boxes.  It’s ideal to scoop the litter two times a day, but please scoop at least one time each day. Remember that cats’ noses are sensitive so unscented litter is the best idea.

Exercise and Nutrition   A fat cat is not healthy so give your cat opportunities for exercise. Did you know you can even clicker train your cat to walk in a kitty harness on a leash? Think vertically so your cat has places to climb and to feel safe. Jackson Galaxy in his book Catification offers lots of innovative solutions. 

Arden Moore writing in her book Fit Cat reminds us that cats need encouragement to remain hydrated. Bubbling water fountains encourage cats to drink water. Canned food or sodium free broth added to kibble will encourage cats to get greater water intake. Cats are obligate carnivores so need protein from chicken, beef, lamb, salmon, turkey or tuna. Avoid meat or poultry by-products.

adopt a cat

This is a cool product

Indoor Happiness In addition to vertical spaces and scratching posts, consider adding a kitty garden and toys to your cats’ space. There are multiple options available but we like SmartCat Kitty’s Garden. Toys run the gamut from crinkled foil and cardboard boxes to tunnels and feather wand toys and laser pointers.  Allow your cat to “catch” the prey to provide satisfaction. Remember to provide a variety of kitty beds and leave her carrier out. If she can go in and out of her carrier at will she will be less likely to hide when it’s time to visit the vet.

Veterinary Care Cats need routine veterinary care for a variety of reasons. Your cat can live a long healthy comfortable and happy life with regular check ups, necessary vaccinations, and dental cleanings. It’s a lot less expensive to be proactive than reactive too. 

Pet Sitting  When you initially adopt a cat it’s best to let your cat become accustomed to her new environment and comfortable in her surroundings. Try not to travel too soon after you bring your new kitty home.  But eventually we know you will need to travel for business or pleasure.  We recommend you hire a professional pet sitter so your cat can stay in the comfort of home.

We offer cat sitting in your home. Our service area includes all of Mooresville 28115 and parts of Mooresville 28117, parts of Mt. Ulla, Davidson and parts of Cornelius. If you reside out of our service area check out the pet sitter locators in Pet Sitters International and National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.

adopt a cat

Where to Adopt a Cat

If you are ready to add a cat to your family please choose adoption. If you live in the Lake Norman area we recommend the following places to find sweet and needy cats.

Iredell County Animal Services

Catering to Cats and Dogs

Lake Norman Animal Rescue

Lake Norman Humane

Cornelius Animal Shelter

What Happens In Vegas…Comes Home to Coddle Creek (Dog Training)

Episode II – Mikkel Becker

Dog Training

Mikkel Becker with Interested Dog

January is “Train Your Dog Month” and we are delighted to tell you about the workshop and live demonstration with shy and fearful dogs that Mikkel Becker presented at the PetSittingOlogy Conference last October. For those of you not familiar with her work Becker is a certified cat and dog trainer who specializes in the use of reward based training and behavior modification with cats and dogs. These techniques are the epitome of great dog training.

If Mikkel Becker’s name is familiar to you it may be because she is the daughter of Dr. Marty Becker, DVM “America’s Veterinarian.”  Dr. Becker founded the Fear Free movement to help pets be more comfortable in the vet’s office. The apple certainly didn’t fall far from the tree in this instance. Mikkel Becker has earned an impressive list of credentials.

Dog Training

Becker demonstrated her knowledge and skill for us over a 3 hour period of time. A shelter located in Las Vegas provides opportunities for local female inmates to work with dogs to prepare them for adoption. The rescue brought several dogs to the presentation and Becker demonstrated her techniques.

The first dog on stage was a little guy who was fearful. Becker patiently ignored the dog while talking with us and intermittently tossing treats to the dog.  He was quickly eating out of her hand.

Of course there must be a “doubting Thomas” in every crowd and this crowd was no different. One of the participants asked Becker to demonstrate her techniques with a more difficult dog.

A volunteer with the shelter attempted to guide a larger dog up the steps on the side of the stage. The dog steadfastly refused. Becker slowly moved to the front edge of the stage and sat down with her legs dangling over the edge of the stage. She remained focused on the audience and talked in a very calm voice.

Without looking directly at the dog Becker calmly tossed treats on the floor, gradually tossing them closer to her position at the edge of the stage. She continued talking with us about her techniques while answering our questions. The dog moved closer to her until he and the volunteer were able to walk in front of Becker and on to the steps on the other side of the stage.

Becker moved to the other side of the stage and still using treats calmly guided the dog up the steps and sat down next to the dog. In the photo posted at the top of this article you can see the dog next to Becker.

This entire episode took a little over 11 minutes. We know how long it took because Arden Moore timed the episode.  Granted the dog does not have a totally relaxed posture, but clearly is interested and not aggressive.  We call that a win-win-win.  This is a perfect illustration of why we encourage you to use positive reinforcement dog training techniques with your dogs.

Resources for Dog Training

The most effective way to train your dog is a little bit every day.  It’s more fun for you and your dog if you break training into short segments. Feel free to visit our Doggy Page for recommended local trainers and some of our favorite resources. Just scroll to the bottom of the page.  Get going and make January the best month yet for you and your dog.