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My Cat Is Having Litter Box Issues


Cat napping-Your Pets List article on Litter box issues

Litter box issues is a common problem pet owners face with their indoor cats. It is frustrating for pet owners when their cat stops using the litter box and prefers to relief somewhere undesirable (like your chair). Once a cat chooses their location training them out of it takes a lot of time, leaving unwanted messes throughout the house.


The reason your cat doesn’t want to use their litter box could be one of the following:


  • You are not cleaning their litter box enough (cats are very hygienic and go where it is cleaner);
  • There are multiple cats in the home and not a litter box for each cat (cat’s are territorial);
  • Your cat is uncomfortable with the size or opening of the litter box or its location in the home;
  • You constantly rearrange the placement of the litter box(es) in the home;
  • There is too much or too little litter in the box (about 2 inches is enough for them to relief and dig)
  • Your cat dislikes the smell or texture of the litter;
  • Some trauma had occurred around the litter box ritual that makes your cat associate their litter box with pain or discomfort;
  • There is an underlying medical issue your cat is having during elimination.


Cats, like dogs, prefer to find that certain spot to use. It is important that you try to use a litter box and litter they prefer to make sure they are not being enticed by your laundry or bedding instead. Their paws are extremely sensitive so little pebbles in their toes might deter them from wanting to use their litter box. Shop around for a couple brands to find a litter your cat does not mind using.


If your cat lives with other animals they might develop litter box issues for several reasons. There should be a litter box for every cat in the home. Cats are territorial and prefer their own spot when using the litter box. In some cases when you bring in a new cat the older one will become jealous and block the new cat from using a litter box. Cats prefer having privacy while using the litter box. If you have a dog or kids in your home who like to bother your cat while they are in the litter box your cat will become uncomfortable with that area. Having a litter box with a cover will not make it better if your dog is sticking their head inside to find the cat. Put the litter box where your cat will find it but is away from prying eyes.


Cats with a poor diet or are older develop litter box issues when using the bathroom. Every time they use the litter box they may feel pain, feel burning, or pass blood. Your cat will begin to associate the litter box as a place of pain. As you clean their litter box look for abnormalities. Consult your veterinarian if you believe your cat is having a medical issue.


How to prevent litter box issues:


The best plan of action to stop litter box issues is to fix it before it happens. Clean the litter box once a day and scrub it down with baking soda once a week. Some cats don’t like cat liners or litter box covers so know what makes your cat feel comfortable. Use an unscented clumping litter and do not put more than 2 inches of litter in the box.


It is important to watch how your cat uses her litter box. If she seems to avoid it try buying a couple more litter boxes and filling each one with a different litter. See if your cat will take to a particular one. Sometimes cats develop a liking for a certain area or texture in the house to relieve themselves. If so, make that spot unappealing by having a motion sensitive light, double sided sticky tape, aluminum foil, or sand paper. This will train them to avoid that area.


These tips are excellent for understanding your cat’s litter box issues and learning to communicate with your pet. However, some cats have a deeper behavioral issue with their litter box. Cats that are use to the outdoors or have had some trauma take time and require a lot of observation to find the best way to train them. In certain cases a pet owner may feel it is time to call an Animal Behaviorist to help them understand their cat’s litter box issues. If you feel this is necessary, it is wise to find a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (ACVB) to assist you with your cat’s litter box issues.



September 9, 2014 |

What Should Be My Cat’s Diet?


Picture of Cat licking lips for the What should I feed my cat articlePet parents who have experience with both dogs and cats understand that cats act nothing like dogs!

But did you know they eat nothing like dogs, too?

While our dog needs a balanced diet in plant and animal proteins, it is crippling for a cat’s diet to eat a plant heavy diet. Your cat requires a nutrient called Taurine which is found in meat. Without a diet consisting of Taurine cats fall ill from blindness and heart disease.

So where do you get a meat friendly diet for your cat?

Veterinary nutritionists have determined that canned food is far healthier than dry cat food. While pet owners try to save on money and purchase dry food their saving efforts has a toll on their cat’s health. Dry food is cheaper because it has more plant ingredients (plants are cheaper than meat), but cheaper is not always better. Some dry food companies have found a way to inject synthetic Taurine into dry food to make it a balanced meal. While this meets the requirements by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) that is not satisfactory for your cat’s digestive system.

Dry food is highly processed, created under high temperatures that breakdown much of the needed nutrients. Secondly, dry food is usually kept in the home sitting there for weeks until eaten. The fats in the bag are likely to rot, causing bacterial and fungal growth. Pet owners may not always realize when a bag goes bad. We can smell our food and know when it smells delicious or when it turns rotten, but to us a fresh bag and a stale bag of dry cat food both smell unappetizing.

Another factor when considering a cat’s diet is the water content. Your cat’s genealogy derived in desert lands (think ancient Egypt) and like many desert animals they have a low thirst for water but still require it for survival. The water cats would find were from the fluids of their prey. Your house cat today may drink from their water dish but not in healthy amounts. Canned food is a wet food close to the 70-75% water found in a cat’s prey. Dry food, however, only carries 5 to 10% water. Low water concentrates lead to kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and kidney failure.

Canned food is a better alternative for cats who do not hunt for their prey. Pet parents need to understand the importance that what is good for one species is not always suitable to the next. Your cat, unlike your dog, needs a heavy animal-based diet.

Remember not to overfeed. Americans discuss the topics of obesity in our population, however, we are not always aware that the same issue has crossed over to our four legged friends. House cats burn far less calories than outside cats. It is important that you do not overfeed your pet. Obesity will lead to heart failure, arthritis, and diabetes. On a daily basis feed your cat 24 to 35 calories for every pound your cat weighs to keep them at a healthy weight.

If you have concerns about switching your cat’s diet from a dry to wet food or switching brands it is important to consult your veterinarian. A good vet keeps up with the latest pet foods out there being marketed to pet parents like yourself.


September 8, 2014 |

Freshwater Fish Aquarium Setup


freshwater fishOne of the first choices you make when purchasing freshwater fish is finding the right aquarium setup. While you may want to buy an aquarium suitable for your home, it is equally important to make sure your choosing one that will not harm its inhabitants.




The first step to choosing the right aquarium setup for your freshwater fish is whether to purchase either a glass or an acrylic aquarium. An acrylic aquarium is a better insulator where temperature fluctuations happen slower. This is great for maintaining a stable environment. Acrylic aquariums allow for a wide variety of shapes found in modern style aquariums, however, their surface is more vulnerable than glass so special cleaning pads must be used. The biggest disadvantage in purchasing an acrylic aquarium is the cost. Glass aquariums are 2 to 3 times cheaper than acrylic so for those of you who are starting out as fish owners you may want to purchase inexpensive equipment if your uncertain about your commitment. Keep in mind glass aquariums are purchased through pet stores since handling them through online shipping would cost more than the aquarium is worth.




The bigger the better. For the best aquarium setup that will leave less headaches in the future choose the largest aquarium that fits your space and your budget. A large aquarium  is more stable making it easier to maintain healthy fish. The amount of oxygen available for fish to breath in is determined by the amount of surface area of the aquarium. This is because oxygen enters the water from the surface. Supplies such as air stones or a power head is also helpful to have as these move water from the bottom of the aquarium to the surface where oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide. Note that the more fish that populate your water will require more surface water.



There are three types of filtration needed for maintaining freshwater aquariums: biological, mechanical, and chemical. Today, manufacturers include each of these three main types of filtration.

In the beginning of your aquarium setup it is important you have researched and purchased the necessary filtration systems for your aquarium. Fish release ammonia from their gills which, if not removed from the aquarium, will poison and kill off your population. In nature, the bacteria Nitrobacteria breaks down the ammonia waste. The types of filters that carry out this nitrification process are sponge filters, under gravel filters, canister filters, canister filters, standard power filters, and advanced power filters. All of these biological filters will undergo the nitrification process where they maintain the level of bacteria introduced to breakdown the ammonia.

The second type of filtration system is mechanical water filters. These are usually canisters and power filters which force the water through a floss or pleated cartridge. The gravel at the bottom of the aquarium is also useful like a mechanical filter as it traps debris that you can remove when replacing your gravel.

The last type of filter if the chemical filter which is used to remove things that are dissolved in the water. These types of filters are useful in removing the yellow color that often develops in aquarium water over time.


Your initial aquarium setup is the most important step in keeping freshwater fish. If your initial setup has all the features needed for easy maintenance than your fish are healthy and happy. This makes it all the easier for you to maintain their environment, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful fish in your room.

July 16, 2014 |

Types of Live-Bearing Fish


Live-bearing fish means fish that retain their eggs and give birth to free swimming young. These types of fish are great for beginners to fish breeders since they are easy to feed and are larger making them less vulnerable to predation.


Most members of the Live-bearing species is the Poeciliidea family. The below fish different species in the family that are great beginner pets.


live bearing fish- platy

1. Platy

The Platy reaches a little over 2 inches in length and is considered an easy to maintain fish. They live in groups that are often bought together. They are peaceful so bringing in new members is fairly easy.


live bearing- swordfish

2. Swordtail

This live-bearing fish is very active and requires plenty of space to swim. The females can grow up to 6 inches long and they around found in a beautiful array of colors an fin sizes. They prefer to eat of diet of small crustaceans, insects, and annelid worms. They can live in both freshwater and brackish waters.


live bearing fish- guppy

3. Guppy

The Guppy is a durable fish that can live in either freshwater, slightly salted water, or brackish water. They live well in pairs but must be separated from their young to keep them from feeding on them. They feel comfortable in a habitat with plenty of plants to hide in.


live bearing fish- black molly

4. Black Molly

This is another live-bearing fish that can live in various water conditions. Males are sexually driven so it is best to have one male to a few females to keep any one female from being overly harassed. Mollies also feed on their young so it is wise to remove babies from the tank or have plants where they can safely hide.


Live bearing fish can co-exist with other non aggressive fish and bottom feeder such as the Kuhli Loach or catfish. For more information on setting up a freshwater habitat, maintenance, and feeding consult your local fish store. Fish breeders and hobbyist are able to give you great tips on creating the perfect fish habitat for your home.



June 16, 2014 |

Smartest Dog Breeds


No matter what kind of breed or Rover is we love him for his unique personalities, loyalty, and love they share with us. There is much debate, however, if mix breeds or purebreds are smarter and which breeds are smarter than others. While you and I consider our dog smart for who they are, dog specialists and fanciers have researched how breeding has played a role in a dog’s intelligence. Every dog is different, yet, pure breeds tend to share common personality traits with other of their kind.  Because of these traits that were intentionally developed within a breed or a byproduct, a dog’s mental development depends on their breed.  A key factor in brain development stems from the inbreeding and crossbreeding that occurs among purebreds as well as mix breeds.


The American Kennel Club has conducted their own research on who are the smartest dogs breeds. Below is a list of potential brainiac of the doggie species.


smartest dog- border collie

Border Collie

Border Collies were breed as working dogs with extraordinary instincts, agility, and perseverance. They did well to perform with little to no command. Research has shown that the smartest dogs can learn up to 2,000 words of the human language and has a mental development equivalent to a three years old human child.


smartest dog- german shephard

German Shepherd

German Shepards has shown their excellence in tactical and rescue operations. The breed is used as a police dog, in military operations, and as a guard dog.

smartest dog- bloodhound


Bloodhounds have outshined themselves as tracking dogs. Their noses have highly sensitive scent glands which makes them highly effective in search and rescue operations, homicide cases, and hunting.

smartest dog- beagle


Another great little detective is the beagle. They are exceptional at following scents and are used commonly by exterminators because they can detect infestations such as bed bugs.

smartest dog- labrador retriever

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is the smartest guide dog and America’s most popular breed. They have been used as seeing eye dogs as they are great at helping their owners get around without ease and warn them of potential hazards. If a dog is trusted to be your eyes, they must be one smart breed!

smartest dog- newfoundland


Newfoundlands are intelligent and easy to train. They were breed with a water resistant coat, webbed feet, and a large lung capacity to handle long distance swimming. The breed outshines in their ability as search and rescue dogs in water.

smartest dog- belgian shepherd

Belgian Malinois

This breed is considered an extremely effective military dog. They are naturally protective, strong, and confident. What makes them even more desirable in military efforts is they are quick and eager to learn.

smartest dog- siberian husky

Siberian Huskies

Siberian Huskies have worked alongside man in Northeast Asia to transport cargo, as a mode of transportation, and as rescues dogs during winter storms. They have amazing endurance, strength, and instincts in the wilderness. They usually worked in large packs as sled dogs to move hunters and travelers up and down snow covered hillsides.

smartest dog- golden retriever

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers, like Labradors are great assistance and guide dogs. They are patient and eager to please which them smart at what they do.


smartest dog- saint bernard

Saint Bernards

Originally bred along the mountainside of Italy and Swiss, these massive dogs were bred to rescue travelers during severe winter storms. They are highly intelligent and primarily self taught from one other how to rescue travelers with little to no help from their human pack leaders. They are reported to be a patient and loyal breed.


smartest dog- australian shepherd

Australian Shepherds

This is one breed that lives for its job. They have a strong natural instinct to herd various animals and to do so with little to know help from another dog or human. They have a high amount of energy and are quite adaptable to their environment.



June 16, 2014 |

How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Deaf


deaf cat

What Are The Signs That My Cat Is Deaf

Cats can suffer from temporary or permanent deafness which is sometimes hard to catch without carefully watching your cat’s movement. Below is a list to help you determine if your cat is suffering from hearing loss:
• Your cat doesn’t react to loud noises;
• Your cat seems disoriented;
• Your cat isn’t aware you’re in the room until you pet them (his/her might get startled upon touch);
• Your cat has an unbalanced walk.

Other noticeable signs that there is an issue with your cat’s ears are reddened ear canals or black or yellow discharge from the ears. If you suspect that you have might be partially or deaf in both ears consult a veterinarian right away.

What Causes Deafness In Cats
There are various reasons why your cat has suffered hearing loss. Temporary deafness is usually the result from a severe ear infection, due to certain drugs, genetics, ear mites, congenital defects, old age or injuries. Medications known to cause hearing loss are amino-glycoside antibiotics given to shelter animals to battle disease and diuretics which is used to treat cats with liver or kidney disease.

Ear mites is another cause of deafness in cats. Mites are hard to see and travel deep into the ear canal and cause damage to the tissue and nerves. Without a regular checkup an infected cat can suffer from temporary or permanent hearing loss as a result from ear mites. If your cat seems irritated and scratches their ears constantly you should have your cat checked for ear mites. Genetics play another role in hearing loss in cats. Breeds with all white fur and blue eyes are often born deaf.

How To Keep My Deaf Cat Safe
If your cat received an assessment from the vet and is partially or fully deaf it is important to make him/her as comfortable as possible. A deaf cat should not be allowed outside. They can easily harm themselves or fail to react in time to dangers around them. Attaching a bell around their collar is a good idea for you to find your cat as he/she will not be able to hear your calls. As you enter or exit a room your cat is in you should gently touch them to let them know where you are. This keeps them from feeling nervous, anxious, or confused in their environment.

If you need to get your cat’s attention tossing a ball in their line of sight is a good idea. Waving your hand in front of their face might seem like a threatening to your cat. Communicating with your cat will take time but isn’t impossible. Deaf cats have learned commands with sign language or can be trained with devices light switches to catch their attention.


June 16, 2014 |

Pekingese- Dog Breed Info



Pekingese is a toy breed that resembles a lion. They were a favorite breed to the Chinese royal dynasty. The Pekingese lived in the Forbidden City in Peking (Beijing) where the dog received its name. In order to create this lion dog several breeds were crossed with several toy breeds to get their unique look. Possible ancestors of this ancient breed are the Chinese Spaniel, Chinese Happa, and the Peke-a-tese. Inbreeding to keep the genetic line pure has caused the breed to develop several health problems. Modern genetic testing on the breed confirm the Pekingese is one of the earliest dog breeds, closely related to the wolf. The breed was kept closed off from the outside world until the Second Opium War of 1860. British occupation in the Forbidden City lead to the interest in the breed in Western culture. Pekingese puppies were exported to various royal families of the west including Queen Victoria. By the 1900s the Pekingese became a popular breed and entered into the Kennel Club.


Physical Characteristics

This 2000 year old breed has hardly changed throughout the ages. Pekingese have either a long hair or a spaniel wavy hair, although, most breeders and fanciers prefer longhair dogs. They have a flat face, large eyes, compact body, and low legs. The legs are bowed slightly giving them an unusual gait. This trait was purposely developed by the Chinese royalty to keep the dogs from wandering off from the city. Their coat comes in a wide variety such as gold, red, sable, bream, black, white, and slate grey. They have a black mask around the muzzle, nose, lips, and eyes.


Personality and Temperament

Pekingese are brave and affectionate dogs. However, do not let the dog develop Small Dog Syndrome. If they try to become pack leader over their human companions several behavior disorders develop including aggression, excessive barking, and jealousy. The right training and socializing along with daily exercise will keep your Pekingese healthy and friendly.


Activity Level



Possible Medical Condition

The breed suffers from herniated disks, dislocated kneecaps, Trichaiasis (lashes growing towards the eyeballs), breathing problems, and heart problems. Females have difficulty giving birth. Otherwise, healthy Pekingese can live 10 to 15 years.




June 6, 2014 |

Cairn Terrier- Dog Breed Info


Cairn TerrierCairn Terriers

Cairn Terriers are one of the oldest terrier breeds of the Scottish Highlands. They were originally bred as working dogs, commonly used for hunting and burrowing prey among the cairns. A cairn is a man made pile of stones all across Scotland as markings used for religious ceremonies, geographical markings, astrological markings, as well as used in hunting and defense. The Cairn Terriers were originally known as the short-haired Skye Terrier but conflicts in the name in the Kennel Club lead to their modern name. The cairn terriers is closely related to the Skye Terrier. In the 1900s three versions of the Skye Terrier were bred into different groups, making the Cairn a close relative.

Physical Characteristics

The Cairn Terrier has a soft undercoat and a rough outer coat which is weather resistant in the cold climates. Their colors are black, tan, red, grey, white, or brindled. A unique trait of brindle Cairn Terriers is that the coat will continuously change colors throughout their life. They are in the small dog group, weighing between 10 to 15 pounds and standing 9 to 13 inches tall.

Temperament and Personality

They are highly active, although they can do well indoors or outdoors to occupy their time. However, a fenced in area is best if they roam outdoors. Behavioral training and socializing are considered extremely important with this breed. Cairn Terriers are said to be extremely stubborn and develop behavioral problems if they do not learn to communicate and take commands from their human companion. Some breeders will only sell their puppies to someone who will promise to train them in order to avoid the dog becoming destructive. They are highly intelligent and if trained properly, Cairn Terriers are create at performing tricks.

Activity Level


Possible Medical Conditions

The Cairn Terrier is a healthy breed, living up to 17 years old. However, some breeders have found that a small percentage have suffered from hereditary diseases such as Krabbe disease (Globoid cell leukodystrophy), Craniomandibular osteopathy (Lion Jaw), Soft Tissue Sarcoma (STS), Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome, or Von Willebrand disease. Note, the diseases rarely show up among certified breeders who take care of raising healthy Cairn Terriers.


June 2, 2014 |

Great Pyrenees- Dog Breed Info


Great PyreneesGreat Pyrenees

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog, known as the Great Pyrenees in North America, originated in a region between southern France and northern Spain. They were used to herd and guard livestock then received attention by the aristocracy in the 17th century. In the early 19th century, the Great Pyrenees were used to protect and drive livestock into mountain town to sell in the market. They have great night vision which helped them to keep trespassers away from the livestock.


Physical Characteristics

The Great Pyrenees is a large dog, weighing up to 120lbs and standing up to 30 inches. Their body is longer than their legs, with a wide head and muzzle. Their thick skin, dense muscles, and wide chest is ideal their native mountain region. Their triangular shaped ears hang to the side and their eyes are almond shaped. The double coat is a water resistant coat meant to keep them warm in the high altitudes and harsh winters. It is long, thick, and coarse along the body with a mane feathering around the neck, shoulder, and tail. Their colors come in solid or with patch of white, tan, wolf-grey, reddish-brown, or pale yellow.


Personality and Temperament

Highly devoted to family and great with children, the Great Pyrenees makes for a protective and loving dog. They are weary of strangers and need obedience and early socialization. A firm owner is needed to keep this breed from becoming too aggressive or destructive. They look up to their pack leader but if they sense weakness a Great Pyrenees is destined to try to force their way as pack leader. The breed is great with other animals, especially cats, and will have childish personality well into 2 years of age. Despite their playful side, the breed is made to work as they love to explore and find ways of keeping busy. Note, this makes them difficult to train off leash as some may wonder to find mental stimulation. Large acres of land and cold climates are ideal for their environment.


Activity Level



Possible Medical Conditions

As with most large dogs, the Great Pyrenees is prone to Prone to bloat, hip dysplasia, bone cancer, and luxated patellas. For dogs living in warmer climates they can develop skin problems. The usual lifespan is between 10 to 12 years.




May 29, 2014 |

Bracco Italianos- Dog Breed Info


Bracco ItalianosBracco Italianos

Bracco Italianos originated in Italy, dating back to the 4th and 5th century. They breed was primarily used both as hound dogs and gundogs. It is believed the breed came from a Segugio Italianos and an Asiatic Mastiff in order to create a dog that can point in hunting and have stamina for the role it played in hunting down feathered game. There are two breeds of Bracco Italianos: the Piedmont Bracco and the Lombard Bracco. Their difference is in the coat colors (the Piedmont being lighter) which helps them in their native terrain.


Physical Characteristics

The physical appearance of a Bracco Italianos is quite unique. They look like a cross breed of a German Shorthaired Pointer and Bloodhound. The body and head is large with a square look. Their muzzle is narrow and bends slight downward at the tip with drooping lips. The mouth and eyes give them a sorrowful look. The long ears are set low and droop down their neck. Their thick, muscular legs, and powerful frame makes them durable for the hunting terrains. Their coat is short, dense, and somewhat hard with the exception of the ears, throat, and legs. The most common colors are white-orange, roano-brown, chestnut, or amber. They tend to have two to three colors in their coat.


Personality And Temperament

Common among hounds and gundogs, the Bracco Italianos is master in the game, yet extremely loving and gentle to young children and animals. They are smart and very stubborn so obedience training is important to make sure your not pushed around. Overall, they are a gentle and attentive dog so harsh training techniques will not work well. Daily exercise is necessary to keep a Bracco Italianos from being destructive or depressed.


Activity Level



Possible Medical Conditions

The Bracco is usually a healthy breed, with a lifespan between 12 to 14 years.



May 29, 2014 |
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