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Posts Tagged ‘cats’

postheadericon Common Sense Critter Care

Over the years, we’ve learned many things about caring for our pets and farm animals. We’ve developed our own little rules of common sense critter care, just like you should. By using our brains and relying on experience, we can usually prevent any mishaps and most illnesses our animals may come across.

We’ve always had our veterinarians’ phone numbers on the fridge or on speed dial, but we want to avoid having to use those numbers. 

Common Sense Critter Care at Red Barn Blue Skies

We want to keep our animals happy and healthy. Our hope is for you to do the same, so today we’ll share a few of these easy tips for common sense critter care.

Fresh Water – Number 1 Priority

Always have fresh water available. Many new (or irresponsible) pet owners think that as long as the animal has some dirty water left in the dish or a puddle in the yard, it’s acceptable. While it’s true any water is better than none, a clean fresh bowl of water is the absolute best for your pet’s optimal health.

(Letting them drink from the toilet bowl or swimming pool is NOT a good choice. There are lots of bacteria and chemical residues that can harm your animal.)

Feeding Your Pet

Discuss the best food options for your pet with your veterinarian. Each animal is different and their needs will also vary. This is especially true as our animals age. There are many very good commercial foods out there, you’ll just need to do your research to fit your individual situation.

Poisons and Toxins

Have the pet poison control number (888) 426-4435 posted somewhere prominently on your fridge along with your personal veterinarian’s numbers. Programming them in your speed dial is also a good idea. Valuable time can be lost searching for these numbers in an emergency.

Keep any type of chemicals, medicines (human and animal), cleaning supplies, automotive and garden products or other possibly toxic substances out of reach of your pets.

Better yet, try to use natural products in and around your home that are both pet and child safe. This is especially important on your floors. Most animals lick their paws and will ingest residue from whatever cleaning projects you use on the flooring.

Common Sense Critter Care ASPCA Poison Hotline Red Barn Blue Skies

Deadly Plants

Find out HERE if any of your houseplants and/or garden plants are toxic to animals. It is always surprising for new pet owners to find that plants such as aloe, ivy, and dieffenbachias can cause serious problems for our beloved animals.

Just as you childproof a home when a new baby is coming to live there, you’ll want to do the same for your animals and pet-proof it. This includes keeping an eye on electrical cords as some animals love to chew on them, kittens especially.

Spay and Neuter Your Pets – Not Just Because Bob Barker Said So

Bob Barker always ended every episode of “The Price Is Right” with the words:

“Help control the pet population, get your pets spayed or neutered.”

He offered the daily reminder because getting your pet spayed or neutered is extremely important for so many reasons. Fortunately, Bob’s successor, Drew Carey has continued this tradition in the hopes it will prompt people to take appropriate action. This country has a problem.

Your pet’s health is the primary goal. Altering your animal will help keep them from becoming aggressive and makes for a much calmer, happier animal. Contrary to belief in certain demographics, your animal really doesn’t need or want to experience parenthood. And testicles do not make for a more macho dog. Snip ’em.

There are many programs available to assist with this much-needed procedure. Contact your area’s local animal shelter or animal control. Many veterinarians also have their own programs to assist with the cost.

Please help lower the unwanted pet population. Listen to Bob and Drew – they preach common sense critter care on a daily basis.

Common Sense Critter Care at Red Barn Blue Skies with a Scaredy Cat

Quality Time

Spend as much quality time as you can with your pet. They love you unconditionally and crave time with you. Even if you’re just weeding in the garden, your dog will enjoy laying on the ground next to you while you work. Your cat would love to curl up on the couch with you while you watch that movie. Togetherness is very important for your animals.

Playtime is also a pet favorite. Our cats love to chase anything and everything. We have several that play fetch with us, bringing the toy back time and time again for us to throw. The dogs also play their own game of fetch with a large ball or a Frisbee.

Just be sure to not tire your dog out – many dogs that are very play driven will run themselves ragged for playtime. Cats are easier as they’ll just stop playing and start ignoring you.

Hot Feet, Cold Feet, Short Legs

If you walk your dog on city streets or anywhere with hot ground, please keep in mind that the heat will burn the pads on their paws. I’ve seen people standing on a hot, city sidewalk talking away while their poor dog is doing a dance as his little feet are frying. Hot sand at the beach can also burn sensitive paws. Owners forget that the dog isn’t wearing any shoes. Severe burns and blisters can be a result of this neglect.

Attention to your dog’s feet is also important in the winter for areas where salt and chemicals are put down for ice control. These substances can cause burn and irritation problems for the dog’s feet as well. There are doggy boots/booties made just for this situation. 

Another note, little dogs can’t jog as far as humans or run forever behind a bicycle – their legs just aren’t quite as long. Keep your animal’s limitations in mind when you’re out and about. You may need to carry the little guy home if you travel far.


Dog in Hot Car Red Barn Blue Skies Common Sense Critter Care

Hot Vehicle

Never, ever leave your dog in a hot vehicle. It only takes a couple of minutes to cause irreparable damage leading to your dog’s death. The temperatures inside a car can quickly go over 100 degrees – even with the windows down. It can become an oven in there and your dog will be breathing superheated air within minutes.

If it is hot outside, leave your dog at home where they are either inside a cool building or have air, adequate shade, and water outside. This is common sense critter care at its best.

 

Kids

Be sure you monitor any kids with your pets. Many people assume their animal will love children and this sometimes is just not the case. Kids tend to come at animals quickly, startling the pet and often putting them into defense mode. Children need to be taught how to approach animals and how to properly care for their pets.

They must learn to be gentle with their pets and not hit, pull hair, or drag the animal around. Adults must be diligent in making sure that the kids feed and water their pets as they do tend to forget.

Common Sense Critter Care Girl and her Bunny

Common Sense Critter Care Starts with Education

Educate yourself and your family on the type of pet you have or are thinking of acquiring. You can find information on just about any kind of animal online or at the library.

Research the care and needs of a pet before getting it. The more knowledge you arm yourself with, the happier you will be with your newest family member. The ASPCA offers a wealth of information to help you and your pet(s) have a happy, healthy life together.

The most important tip of all – enjoy and love your pets! Treat them like the family they are. What are some of your common sense pet tips?

postheadericon Landmines and Hairballs Oh My! The Benefits of Proper Nutrition from Pet Food

I’m sitting here tonight going over our monthly and annual budgets. We’ve been doing pretty good at saving some money wherever we can in our goal to move to another state next year. I’ve worked at slashing our spending and am surprised at the savings I’ve found in one important area – pet food.

 

By pets, I’m not including the poultry, horses or cattle. Strictly dogs and cats – 3 pooches and 7 purrers. Even though we are now feeding a higher priced feed to both cats and dogs, we have actually been saving quite a bit of money. It all comes down to a better quality feed and the animals eating/needing less to be healthier and more satisfied.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Adolph and pet food

 

Even though I am fairly well versed in animal nutrition, I used to be bad about watching sales and using coupons for my cat and dog food. Whatever seemed to be decent pet food for a decent price AND had coupons available prompted me to try to save a buck. Unfortunately, my critters paid for it with poor coats and up/down weight issues. So I went to the other extreme and bought really pricey, overly hyped feeds. I think probably more to assuage my guilt than anything else. This also didn’t really benefit my animals or my pocketbook.

 

Flash forward to last winter when I went to work part-time for our new Tractor Supply. I chatted with a few of the nutritionists and feed reps to see what they were feeding their own animals. I found it very interesting that most of them were using the TSC brand “4 Health” pet food. It’s priced pretty much in the middle of the scale and the ingredients seem to be exceptionally good. So I gradually switched my crews over to the age or issue-appropriate formulas and I am thrilled!

 

4Health Mature Dog Food at Red Barn Blue Skies Pet Food

Both cats and dogs have all done very well with these feeds. Their coats are thick and glossy, they all maintain healthy weights, fewer hairballs for the cats and a large bonus overall – less poop. That may seem funny or trivial to some, but when you have a 125 pound hound, you want much smaller landmines and way fewer of them. Since there are so many less fillers and more of the good nutrients, the animals utilize the feed better and need less to be happily full.

 

So I’m curious what kind of pet food do you feed your furballs? Anyone else use 4 Health?

postheadericon Ernestina Hemingway – Our Polydactyl Cat

Just a quick post to introduce you to the baby of the house.  “Ernie” is a polydactyl cat with extra toes on each of her paws.  She actually has little “thumbs” on her front feet which makes her two times the menace of  the other cats ~ she can open drawers and latches like a person!  I’m baby-proofing several cabinets now.  I did try to get a better photo of her feet, but she kept swatting at me so I’ll wait until the monster is asleep for that.  You can see a bit of her thumb in the second photo.

 

As for her name, it obviously stems from a beloved and well-known figure in American history.  What isn’t quite as well known is that the Nobel prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway had a his house full of these “abnormal” polydactyl cats.  In fact, even decades after his death his home in Florida is still a haven for the descendants of his original six-toed cat that he received as a gift from a ship’s captain.

These type of cats are said to be much more common on the East Coast than here in the West.  I personally hadn’t come across one until we adopted Ernie after someone dumped her at our non-pet friends’ house.  At the time we had a hard time telling if she was indeed a girl, so I called her Ernie and Mr. MoonCat was calling her “Hemi”.  Got a little confusing since we already have a “Hammy” in the house.

postheadericon You Are My Sunshine – Sunday Selections

I’m famous in our family for my lack of singing ability. It’s a sad fact that I was absent when talent and tonality were being handed out. Of course, this hasn’t stopped me from belting out a song now and then – much to the delight chagrin of my critters. You Are My Sunshine happens to be a favorite.

You are My Sunshine, My Only Sunshine

You Are My Sunshine with Toot, Celie, and Hammie

Toot, Celie, and Hammie

You make me happy….when skies are gray

Kitties in the Sunshine at Red Barn Blue Skies

Lily, Celie, Porkchop, Toot, Hammie

You’ll never know dear…

Porkchop at Red Barn Blue Skies for You Are My Sunshine

I swear, Porkchop really is a cat – NOT a potbelly pig

How much I Love You

 

Sheena at Red Barn Blue Skies for You Are My Sunshine

Sheena aka Sha Nay Nay aka Old Lady

Please don’t take… my sunshine away.

 

You are my Sunshine at Red Barn Blue Skies cats on quilt

Badger, Tory, and Bugsy

For those that may not enjoy the melodic renderings such as mine, here are a few other ways to enjoy the song and the message.
          

postheadericon Feeling the Love

I am so grateful for those lovely readers who have commented and emailed me regarding that last post/rant/scream.  You are wonderful!  It is amazing how much a simple “you’re not alone in how you feel” or just plain “you’re not alone” can mean to a person ~ to me.  Thank you all so much for being there.

I’m actually feeling a tad bit better and poor Mr. MoonCat is like a little kid about sparkly decorations, so we’re going to get with the program and try to cheer it up around here.  He is of the opinion that I will feel even better if I have pretty things to look at.. (If you have seen Chevy Chase’s movie “Christmas Vacation”, you’ll have an idea of what Mr. MoonCat’s vision of decorating entails….Mine is closer to the Charlie Brown version.)

Of course, my agreement to go ahead and decorate has now spawned arguments about the tree.  He wants a GIANT tree

while I would prefer a smaller, more manageable tree.

His theory is that we have a giant ceiling in the great room so we should have the GIANT tree.  My counterpoint is that the big tree will cost 3 times that of the one I like and just because we have the space, doesn’t mean we need to fill it!

Plus, I have a vision of the tree sitting in the lower-ceilinged corner with goodies all around it ~ off of the floor where lions and tigers roam.  I have an old corner tv stand that we’re not using similar to the one below:

I think it would be really cute to put the lighted Christmas village on the shelves behind the glass doors.  (It will be much, much safer for the little villagers to be ensconced behind the glass ~ we have large monster kitties that roam freely in this home!)  My stand isn’t as nice as the one above, but I think it will do ~ for nowhint, Mr. MoonCatI like the one above..

So what do you think?  A 12ft-ish tree or a more modest, manageable, magnificent tree of about 4 or 5 feet sitting on a pretty stand with a village nestled below?  Whichever way we go, you know it’ll have to be made secure from the ferocious felines…

**Are you getting the impression that everything we do around here comes back to the critters?  How will it affect them?  What kind of destruction and havoc can they wreak?  Gotta love ’em or else….