Tag: cat

Travel with a Pet: Plan Ahead for Success

Should you travel with a pet? This is not a rhetorical question. You should ask yourself this before every trip.  Not every trip is pet-friendly, and not every pet is travel-friendly.

If thinking about leaving your pet with another caretaker for a week or more leaves you with hives or a deep sense of guilt, remember that everyone needs a break now and then.  A short pause from the routine of pet care may be just what you and your pet need.  Even if you aren’t feeling overwhelmed, letting go of daily pet care for a short time can help you be a better pet parent when you get home

Should you travel with your dog?

Will your trip include activities suitable for your dog?  Dogs make lousy luggage.  If you take your dog with you, do it for the right reason:  to include your dog in the vacation.

Always check ahead to make sure that your destination is dog-friendly. If you are traveling to a National Park, for example, consider leaving your dog home.  Dogs are not allowed on most trails in US National Parks.  I recently visited Yellowstone and saw many dogs hanging out in the car while their owners hiked.  Trust me, your dog will not enjoy this, and as the summer heats up it will be downright dangerous.  (The trails can be downright dangerous for pets, too, especially while bears are active).

Should you travel with your cat?

This is entirely up to your cat.  If your cat doesn’t mind getting into a carrier and loves to experience novel situations, she may make a better travel partner than a dog.  If not, so many things can go wrong, including stress-induced illness or destructive behavior at your destination.

The best way to ensure that your cat is travel-friendly is to acclimate him to a carrier and car travel, just as you would crate train a dog.  This should be done slowly, making the experience positive and gradually increasing the amount of time he spends in the carrier and in the car.

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Road trip vs air travel

Are you considering taking your pet on a plane?  If your pet will fit under an airline seat, travel in the cabin may be possible.  If not, remember that travel outside the cabin is stressful for pets and can be dangerous. Unless your stay will be more than a couple of weeks, it may simply not be worth the expense and the risk to take larger dogs with you via plane.

If you are taking your pet as a carry-on, be sure that your pet is comfortable in the carrier.  If your pet is unable to sit quietly in her carrier in an unfamiliar environment for a couple of hours or more, she is not a good candidate for air travel.  Airplanes are close quarters, and you may be seated next to someone who fears or is allergic to dogs or cats.  And nobody wants to listen to a whining cat or barking dog on a flight.

If you travel by car, there are some things to consider.  If your trip will take  more than a few hours of driving, think about what you will do with your pet when you stop for meals.  You may need to pack a picnic lunch or use a drive-through and eat outside where your pet can join you.  Does your dog do well with long car rides?  if not, breaking the trip up into shorter drives may help.

Planning your trip

If you have carefully considered and planned a trip that includes your pet, the following planning tips will help you make the journey safely and conveniently.

Two to six months before you leave:

  1. Book a pet-friendly hotel.
  2. If you are planning foreign travel, check up on requirements to bring animals into your destination country.
  3. Plan several pet-friendly activities in addition to your human-centered vacation fun.
  4. Make arrangements for local dog daycare at your destination if you are planning any activities in which your dog can’t take part.

One month before you leave:

  1. Ensure that vaccinations and flea/tick/heartworm preventatives are up to date.
  2. If you are traveling out of the country, get your pet’s required health examination
  3. Have your pet microchipped if he isn’t already.  Keep your microchip information with you.
  4. Get an identification tag and make sure your pet wears it.
  5. Copy your pet’s medical records and license information to take with you.
  6. Identify a veterinary practice and emergency practice near your destination.  Save the contact information and keep it with your pet’s records.
  7. Refill medications if needed

Packing your bags

Bring these items to ensure hassle-free travel

travel with a pet travel with a dog, suitcase, dog travel, pet travel

  1. Food and measuring cup
  2. Food water bowls
  3. Portable water bowl for road stops and hiking
  4. Medications,
  5. Toys
  6. First aid kit
  7. Brush and grooming tools
  8. Your pet’s favorite blanket
  9. Travel carrier with a blanket or pad to go underneath
  10. Dog poop bags.
  11. LItter box

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


Your House Cat May Be a Champion

The MoKan Cat Show is coming up in March.  If your cat isn’t pedigreed, no worries!  Your house cat may still be a champion in the Household Pets category.

Showing your house cat

Is your cat one of a kind?  The great thing about mixed-breed cats is the almost unlimited diversity of coat length, markings, size, and disposition.  If your cat is unusual, beautiful, or even just sweet, you might consider putting him in a Cat Fancier Association (CFA) cat show.  There are no standards that cats in the household pet category must meet.  However, the CFA requires that cats not be declawed.  If over 8 months, cats in this category must be spayed or neutered.

If your cat meets these requirements and is in good health, she may be ready for the spotlight.  It’s important to plan ahead for the cat show.  There are some items that you will need to prepare, and if you’re coming in from out of town you will need to make reservations at a local hotel.  Preparation and participation can be a great project for the entire family.

Each show is different, so your first step should always be to contact the show organizers.   Some shows may not have a household pet category, and entry fees will vary. You will find a listing of shows on the CFA website.

Getting started

The show will provide a cage and chair for you.  According to the CFA, you should ask for a double cage when you register.  A single cage is 2 x 2 x 2 feet.  A double cage is twice as wide to provide more room for your cat to move comfortably.  You will need to provide cage curtains for the sides, back, and top of the cage.  Making cage curtains doesn’t have to be difficult, but you can let your creativity shine!  These curtains can be as simple as bedsheets, but they can be as elaborate as luxury draperies.   You can find instructions for making curtains online, even if you don’t sew.

In addition to curtains, you may want to decorate the top of the cage.  Many shows have a theme, and organizers will award prizes for the best cage decorations. Bring a towel to cover the bottom of the cage, and a cat bed. Bring your cat’s food, litter, and bottled water, plus litterbox, food bowl, and water bowl.  You may also want to bring your cat’s grooming supplies.  If it’s your first show, let the show clerk know.  You will most likely want to show up early for set-up.  You will find more information about showing your cat at the CFA.

Meow Madness 2018 MoKan Cat Show

This year the MoKan Cat Club will host their annual show on March 10.   The theme is “Meow Madness,” reflecting the college basketball championship season.  Prizes will be awarded for the best basketball-themed cage decorations.  The show will highlight 40 breeds of cats, and categories include the household pet.  It’s a family-friendly event.

Catch the Fever

Showing your cat can be a rewarding year-round hobby.  The CFA offers a Household Pet Recording Program.  Once your cat is recorded, he will be eligible to accumulate points and work towards more significant awards like Grand Household Pet.

Come out to the MoKan Cat Show and share your obsession with your feline friend.  And share your story with us!  We would love to see your favorite photos.


Featured image: Shutterstock


Diabetes in Dogs and Cats, Part 3: Treating Diabetes

For many pet parents, the thought of treating diabetes in their pet is overwhelming.   Up to 40% of cats and 60% of dogs will be euthanized within a year of diagnosis.  Treating a diabetic animal is challenging, but pets with diabetes can have an excellent quality of life with proper care.

Initial stabilization and treatment

The period of time immediately after a pet is diagnosed with diabetes may be particularly challenging.  Pets with complications of their diabetes, like ketoacidosis, or pets that also have other diseases may need to be hospitalized.  Most veterinarians put newly diagnosed pets on twice daily insulin injections.  With some types of insulin, once-daily injections may be possible.  Veterinarians adjust the dose based on blood glucose control.  Control is assessed using blood glucose curves.  This means that your veterinarian will assess blood samples at various times after your pet is fed and treated with insulin to determine how long the insulin is acting iand how well the dose controls the peak blood sugar.  Glucose curves may be done in the clinic or at home.

Just as it is in people, diet is a very important part of treating diabetes in pets.  Your veterinarian will most likely recommend a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet for a cat, or a high-fiber diet for a dog.  Exercise is also key.  Exercise helps your pet’s body use glucose more efficiently.  Increase your pet’s activity level gradually once diabetes is stabilized.

For the initial treatment phase, you will need syringes and insulin, and perhaps a blood glucose monitor and strips.  You may need to purchase a special diet for your pet.  Be prepared for frequent visits to your veterinarian during this time.  This period can be expensive, but there are options to decrease costs.  Pets with Diabetes is a good resource for parents of diabetic pets.

Treating diabetes in the long term

After your veterinarian stabilizes your pet and the dose is adjusted, you will need to continue to monitor your pet’s blood sugar frequently.  Some cats will experience diabetic remission.  This means that they will no longer require insulin.  Dogs will need to remain on insulin for life.  There are some non-insulin, oral therapies available for people with type 2 diabetes.  Unfortunately, no oral treatment has been approved for animals yet.

A number of other diseases may affect your dog’s response to insulin.  For this reason, it is necessary for your vet to monitor your dog’s health closely.   In  both cats and dogs, diabetes can lead to other health problems that pet parents should watch for.  Even welll-controlled diabetic dogs may develop cloudy eyes, or cataracts.  Cats may develop weakness in their legs, especially the hind legs. .Although it is commonly believed that a well-controlled diabetic dog or cat may have a normal life expectancy, there isn’t a lot of research on this topic.  It is certainly true that both cats and dogs with diabetes may live a full and happy life, just as people with this disease do.

If you dog or cat is diagnosed with diabetes, talk to your veterinarian and share your concerns openly. Your vet can help you find the support you need to provide the best possible treatment for  your pet.

Image, Adobe Spark

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