As rescue cat parents and rescue advocates, we know firsthand that every cat has a unique story to tell. But some cats truly stand out and make their mark on the world. Nanny McPhee, a rescue cat who recently came into the care of the Cats Protection Warrington Adoption Centre. It’s not the way this sweet girl came into the shelter or her life before that has everyone talking… It’s a VERY unique physical feature – her nose, or “noses,” in her case! The sweet kitty lived in a loving home for the first four years of her life. Unfortunately, her previous owner had to make the difficult decision to contact a rescue due to health and financial reasons. When Nanny McPhee first arrived at the rescue, volunteers and rescue workers noticed a few things about the tuxedo kitty. First, she was a very gentle lady with a love for attention.“She has proven to be a gentle lady who adores a fuss and a cuddle, and we are hopeful her new-found fame will mean she will have no shortage of potential adopters,” shared shelter manager Lindsay Kerr. “She really does deserve a home where she can settle down and become the center of a loving family.” Second, they noticed she had a surprisingly large nose. It was this unique feature that led to her being named after the popular children’s character. But that signature sniffer was hiding an even bigger secret. A check-up with a local veterinarian revealed that the cat had not one but TWO noses, creating the appearance of one large snout. When asked about the discovery, senior field veterinary officer Fiona Brockbank explained that it was the first time they had seen this but that the cat’s unique appearance resulted from a congenital malformation. Other more common examples of this include cleft palates or cleft lips. These conditions can be inherited or caused by an incident during development in utero.
The dreaded nail clippers – a source of stress and occasional doggy drama in our home as well as for many dog parents. You see, our youngest pup, Lucifer, and I have been on quite the journey to conquer his fear of nail trimming. If you’ve ever found yourself in a similar situation, you know the struggle all too well!But fear not, because in this article, I’m sharing our personal tale of progress and a toolkit of tips we’ve picked up along the way to help overcome your dog’s fear of nail clipping.So, let’s swap nail-trimming anxiety for confidence and cooperation, one paw at a time.Why Does My Dog Hate Nail Trims?The first step to overcoming a fear of nail trims is understanding why the sight of nail clippers is a source of anxiety for your dog. After all, the clippers themselves aren’t frightening or intimidating.For many dogs, the fear of having their nails cut is rooted in a desire to protect their paws. This is a survival instinct, as they need their paws to survive in the wild, both to escape predators and be able to catch food. They haven’t been taught that the process of having their nails cut or their paws handled isn’t going to cause harm.If your dog was previously okay with having their nails trimmed and suddenly changes their mind and lashes out when you try, this is a sign of trouble. Have you recently cut your dog`s nail and accidentally nicked the quick of the nail? If so, your dog may associate the experience with the pain and discomfort they felt at that moment.This could also indicate that your dog feels pain in their leg or paw. Watch for other signs of distress or discomfort, like lameness, limping, or excessively licking the area. If you suspect your dog is in pain or if your dog has shown a behavior change that you can’t otherwise explain, contact your veterinarian. They can run the tests necessary to help diagnose the problem and recommend ways to provide effective pain relief.For us, with Lucifer, we are overcoming a reaction due to previous pain. He suffered injuries to his front paws before he was rescued and adopted out to us as a puppy. While we have worked with specialists to help him heal and move on from these injuries, he is still more protective of his paws and dislikes having them handled. What Happens if You Wait Too Long to Cut Dog Nails?Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed and cared for is an integral part of grooming. How often you need to trim their nails will vary, depending on their breed, age, and lifestyle. Some dogs will naturally wear down their nails from walking and running on rough surfaces, as they would in the wild, while others don’t engage in these activities frequently enough to keep up with nail growth.When a dog’s nails become overgrown, they interfere with their ability to stand and walk properly, reducing traction and potentially causing injuries in their feet and tendons. This is because the nails contact the floor before their paw pads. Over time, this can also lead to long-term injuries, deformities in the paw or leg, or arthritis. This can also cause older dogs to slip and fall due to losing traction and unsteadiness on their feet.
Relationship therapists have long used the concept of “Love Languages” to encourage better communication among couples. It defines how we express and receive love and sorts these behaviors into five categories – acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation, gift-giving, and quality time. But did you ever stop to consider how your pet may fit into this framework? The folks at Nulo Pet Food did!Recently, the brand partnered with OnePoll to survey 2,000 cat and dog parents to better understand the secret to your pet’s heart.The survey found that quality time is the most popular love language among cats and dogs (27%). This refers to showing affection by giving your pet your undivided attention, with this increase in attention leaving our pets feeling loved and cared for. For 62% of respondents, this meant allowing their pet to sleep in their bed each night, while 40% reported that they would include their pet in their daily plans whenever possible.Of course, food still scored high in offering a path to a pet’s heart despite not technically being part of the original five love languages.53% of pet parents said they showed love by providing their pets with high-quality meals, which could technically fall under both acts of service and gift-giving. Dedicated to their pets' overall well-being, 47% answered that they showed love by prioritizing their pet’s health and nutrition over all else, and 32% focused on adding variety to their diet.“With 69% of respondents willing to put their pet’s dietary needs before their own, the data clearly shows just how important a role pets plan in their people’s lives,” explained Heather Acuff, Ph.D., Nulo’s Director of Research & Development. “Not only are pet parents speaking their pet’s love language, they’re going above and beyond to provide optimum care and nutrition to ensure the healthiest and happiest lives for their pets.”What inspires us to prioritize our pets so highly in our lives? These furry family members hold an important role in our lives, with 47% of pet owners believing their pet views them as a best friend and 42% stating that their pet sees them in the same way.This data gives us an insight into the dedication that pet parents show in providing quality nutrition to their dogs and cats. When asked why they feed their current diet, 50% said they strongly believed their pet enjoyed the food, 35% chose the diet for its high-quality ingredients, and 29% decided on a diet based on their budget.How important is variety in our pets’ diets? Only 48% of those surveyed believed they could survive eating the same meal every day for three months. It highlights the importance of products like food toppers that allow us to provide variation and make mealtime interesting while still prioritizing feeding a well-balanced diet. This includes commercial food toppers and pet-friendly human foods like pumpkin puree, Greek yogurt, and more.Ultimately, the data reveals that food is one of the most significant ways we express our love and affection to our pets – possibly even making it the sixth love language for pets and pet parents!
If you hike or adventure with your dog, you have likely encountered wild mushrooms during your travels – especially now that we are entering the autumn season. But here’s the problem: they’re not always safe for our furry friends. As dog parents, it’s our responsibility to learn about the dangers that wild mushrooms may pose to our dogs and how to keep them safe. In this blog post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about wild mushrooms, including how they could spell trouble for your dog and what you should do if your pup decides to chow down one of these potentially toxic fungi. Recognizing the signs of mushroom toxicity and knowing what steps to act promptly could make all the difference. So, let’s dive into the world of wild mushrooms and get you prepared to protect your canine companion. Can Mushrooms Harm a Dog? There has been a lot of talk recently about the benefits of medicinal mushrooms for both humans and pets. While studies and research are still being conducted to fully understand the impact mushrooms can have as a supplement or alternative treatment option, it’s clear that some fungi can be incredibly helpful. Still, there are also a few that are highly toxic both to us and our furry friends. The challenge when discussing wild mushrooms is that most dog parents aren’t foraging experts with a knowledge of which mushrooms are edible and which are not – and our dogs certainly aren’t educated on the topic! If you are out hiking and your dog discovers a mushroom on the side of the trail, you likely aren’t going to know in advance whether it’s toxic or not. In fact, if you have a high-energy dog like we do with our pup Lucifer, you may not even have the opportunity to see the mushroom enough to identify it before it has been ingested. This means leaving the possibility that it could be a toxic variety up to chance. For this reason, it’s safer to steer clear of wild mushrooms entirely. Does this mean that your grocery store mushrooms are dangerous? No. If you have purchased mushrooms to cook up for dinner and you want to share one with your dog, they are safe. They are healthiest when offered raw, but if you do cook them, ensure they are unseasoned, as the seasoning could upset your dog’s stomach. They can also be found in some foods, treats, supplements, and bone broth products. What Does Mushroom Toxicity Look Like in Dogs? While we have established that allowing your dog to eat wild mushrooms is unsafe, the hard truth is that we can’t always control the situation. Simply looking away for a matter of seconds may be all it takes for your dog to find and grab a mushroom on the side of the road, on a trail, or even in your backyard. For this reason, we must ensure that we are familiar with the signs of mushroom toxicity to recognize the problem and react as quickly as possible. There are four categories of toxic mushrooms: GastrointestinalMushrooms in this category primarily impact your dog’s digestive system. They act quickly, showing signs in as little as 15 minutes after ingestion. These are the most common signs your dog has ingested a gastrointestinal mushroom: Excessive drooling Upset stomach Abdominal pain Vomiting Diarrhea NeurotoxicThese mushrooms cause neurological symptoms and, if not addressed quickly, can often be fatal. Signs often show approximately 30 to 90 minutes after ingestion. The most common signs that your dog has eaten a neurotoxic mushroom include: Digestive upset Weakness Agitation or anxiety Loss of coordination Unsteady gateAppearing confused or disoriented Tremors Seizures HepatotoxicThese mushrooms are significantly more dangerous than the first two categories. They are slower acting, with symptoms appearing as long as 12 hours after eating the mushroom. They begin by upsetting the digestive system and may be initially mistaken for a gastrointestinal mushroom. However, after time, they will start to impact the function of your dog’s liver, leading potentially to liver failure and death if not addressed. Nephrotoxic Finally, this category is very similar to hepatotoxic mushrooms in that it begins as a digestive upset. If unaddressed, these mushrooms can cause kidney failure or acute renal damage. What Do I Do if My Dog Ate a Wild Mushroom? If you notice any of the above symptoms of mushroom toxicity in your dog, contact your veterinarian or the nearest emergency clinic as soon as possible. If there are multiple mushrooms in the area and you can take a sample for identification, it may help provide valuable insight. While no treatment can instantly fix the toxicity, your veterinarian can provide your pup with supportive care. This will begin with inducing vomiting and/or giving your dog activated charcoal to remove or cancel out the poison and prevent further damage. The vet will monitor your dog while providing supportive care to address symptoms or complications of the toxicity, such as IV fluids to prevent dehydration and anti-nausea medications to settle digestive problems. This takes the unnecessary strain off the body, significantly boosting your dog’s chance of survival.
As the sunshine starts to fade, replaced by the cool autumn winds, cat owners may notice an interesting change in their furry friend’s behavior. Cats are often known for their boundless energy and curiosity. However, as we move into the fall months, many cat owners will notice their pets are slowing down into a new, more laid-back routine.In this article, we dig into the reasons why cats slow down in autumn, including answering the question: “Do cats experience seasonal depression?” We will also share some tips and tricks to cheer up your sad cat and help them enjoy the colder months ahead.Do Cat Behaviors Change with the Seasons?The short answer is yes. Many cat owners report that their feline friends act differently during the fall and winter months. Some common changes include a difference in your cat’s sleep patterns, appetite, and overall mood.For outdoor cats or indoor cats that are leash and harness-trained, the arrival of a new season means new experiences, including new smells, sights, and sounds. Anytime cats are faced with something new or different, the possibility exists that their reaction to their environment may change as well. But this isn’t the only impact on your cat…From season to season, we see two key changes affecting a cat’s behavior – the temperature and the amount of daylight. A drop in temperature triggers a natural survival response in which your cat will slow down to conserve energy, allowing its ancestors to stay warm on the bitter cold nights in the wild. Meanwhile, a change in daylight has been shown to impact hormone levels.Each of these factors will impact every cat differently. If you have multiple cats in your home, you may notice one slowing down considerably while the other doesn’t alter their behavior much at all – and that’s okay! Just like people, no two cats are the same.Can Cats Get Seasonal Depression?There currently is no research confirming that cats suffer from seasonal depression. However, many experts suspect they may suffer from a similar struggle to their human counterparts because of the shorter days and loss of daylight. This low mood and depression may also occur due to (or be escalated by) the lack of exercise that cats experience during the colder months.Are Cats Less Active in Fall? Have you noticed your cat lazing around or sleeping more during the autumn months? If so, you’re not alone! As we previously discussed, the temperature change often triggers a survival response to conserve energy. Your cat may prefer to spend their time curled up in their favorite cat bed, napping through the day, or cuddling in your lap, soaking up your body heat. Keep your eyes open for any other signs of concern. But if you do not see any other reason to worry, the cozy fall attitude is normal. Enjoy the extra cuddle time with your best friend. How Can I Tell if My Cat is Depressed? As cat parents, we all want to provide the best life for our feline friends, both physically and mentally. This starts with learning to recognize when something is “off” or if there is something that we should address. Like us, our cats can suffer from mental health struggles like depression, which isn’t always easy to spot. Here are a few signs your cat may be suffering from depression: Sleeping more than usualLoss of appetite Weight loss Becoming more vocal Failure to keep up with grooming needs Loss of energy Hiding or retreating from family membersOut-of-character aggression or fearfulness If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian and discuss your concerns. They will likely ask questions about your cat’s home life and whether they have recently experienced any changes that may have triggered their mental health struggles. This can help to guide their treatment recommendations. Mental health problems are not always treated with medications. In fact, many of the most effective treatment options are things that you can do at home.
Do you have a dog that loves to play with socks? Does your dog steal your socks from the laundry basket or even right off your feet? While many dog parents will view that as troublesome behavior, one family recognized that a dog’s love for removing socks might be a golden ticket to something more. Daiquiri, an Australian Shepherd from Canada, recently claimed a new world record after successfully removing the most socks from people’s feet in a minute. The adorable record attempt was held on the set of the TV series Lo Show Dei Record in Italy. Here, Daiquiri went person to person, removing 21 socks from the feet of 11 women as they sat in a row in front of him. He was given three attempts at beating the record previously held by Lilu and Briana from California (20 socks). His owner, Jennifer Fraser, wasn’t allowed to touch the pup at any point during the attempts, but she could guide and encourage him through the process. On his first try, Daiquiri tied the existing record. On his second try, he beat it by a single sock!
The fall colours are out on full display, and temperatures are starting to dip, but for many cat parents, this time of year introduces another interesting change – their cats are starting to shed much more than usual. But if you’re suddenly noticing a trail of fur around your house, you have a few questions, including: Why is my cat shedding in October? Is it normal for a cat to shed more during the fall season? When should I be worried about my cat’s shedding? Don’t worry. We have you covered! This blog post will discuss seasonal shedding and how it may affect your cat. Plus, we have assembled a list of tips and tricks to help you deal with the increased shedding during fall, ranging from how to help your cat stay comfortable to keeping your house clean (or as clean as can be expected). Let’s dive in… Why Do Cats Shed? Whether you are a first-time cat owner experiencing shedding for the first time or a lifelong cat lover who simply hasn’t explored the reason why our cats shed – let’s talk about why this occurs. After all, isn’t losing hair a sign of illness or disease in humans? Shedding is a natural process in animals like cats where dead or damaged hair falls loose. This is essential for your cat’s skin and coat health. The amount of hair your cat sheds will depend on several factors, including the breed, age, overall health, and the time of year. That’s right, the time of year does have an impact on the shedding cycle…Is it Normal for Cats to Shed in the Fall? There are two times each year when you may notice an increase in hair collecting around your house. Commonly referred to as “shedding season,” this heavy shedding activity falls in the spring and the fall as your cat’s coat adapts to the change in temperature. The heavy winter coat is shed in the spring to make way for a lighter summer coat. Then, the reverse happens in the fall as they set themselves up for the best chance of survival during the cold of winter. Check the temperature – if it’s starting to drop and there are colder days ahead, you can expect to see the shedding activity pick up in the coming days.
Can you believe it is already winter, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner? As the holiday approaches, many dog owners may wonder how to include their furry family members in the festivities safely. While Thanksgiving is best known for being a time to indulge in delicious meals, we must remember that not all human foods are safe to share.In this article, we will look at the most common Thanksgiving dinner options, ranging from turkey and ham to veggies and desserts, creating a list of holiday treats your dog can enjoy safely (excluding others).Let’s get started on planning your dog’s ideal Thanksgiving feast…Should I Bring My Dog to Thanksgiving Dinner?For some families, including the pets in their holiday gatherings is a decision that is just as natural as any other member of the family. But there are a few essential questions that you should ask yourself before packing up your dog’s favorite toys and heading out on a holiday family road trip.Who is hosting the holiday gathering? Have you asked them if dogs are welcome?Does your dog have good manners around the table (not begging, counter surfing, or trying to steal food)?Is there a quiet space for your dog to go if they feel overwhelmed?Will there be other dogs there? Have they met previously, or will they be meeting for the first time in a busy/noisy setting (not advisable)?Will all family members respect your boundaries regarding what they can/can’t give your dog?Is your dog comfortable with large gatherings and high-energy spaces?While we understand wanting to have your dog by your side, many dogs would be happier at home in their cozy bed or on the couch – and that’s okay! When your dinner is over and you head home, you’ll have a loving companion waiting to greet you.What Not to Feed Dogs on Thanksgiving? Few things will ruin the vibe of your family Thanksgiving dinner like a trip to your local emergency veterinary clinic. Unfortunately, every holiday weekend, an influx of dogs come through the doors due to toxicity and poisoning – the result of eating unsafe foods (stolen or given to them) from the Thanksgiving dinner table. Here are a few items to keep safely out of your pup’s reach: Stuffing or Dressing Thanksgiving dinner isn’t the same without this traditional dish, but stuffing is made with several ingredients that could make your dog sick. Onions and garlic are in almost every traditional stuffing recipe, but these members of the Allium family can be extremely dangerous if ingested. They damage red blood cell membranes, causing a decrease in the red blood cell count, which can trigger serious health complications such as kidney damage. In the most severe cases, ingesting onions and garlic can be fatal. Plus, stuffing or dressing is often made with a variety of spices that can upset your pup’s stomach!
Does your dog growl every time you get near their food dish? Do they snap at any other dog that tries to touch their favorite toys? If so, you may be dealing with resource guarding in dogs. The number of dogs exhibiting this behavior is hard to track, but one thing is certain – you are not alone! This is a natural behavior that dates back to your dog’s ancestors, but it can be changed. Addressing and breaking this behavior isn’t easy and can take a long time to work through. In the meantime, you must manage the situation to keep your dog and everyone around them (especially children and other pets) safe. In this article, you will learn what resource guarding is, the potential triggers that may cause your dog to act this way, and how you can start working towards a solution today! What is Resource Guarding? If you have stumbled across this article, you may be wondering: what exactly IS resource guarding anyway? At its core, the term “ resource guarding” refers to an attempt by a dog to protect or assert ownership over something they deem important or valuable. Often, when we talk about this behavior, it is associated with food, treats, or toys, but it can extend beyond that. Some dogs will become protective over a shared water dish, bed, or even their favorite person. There are many ways your dog may communicate this ownership. Some dogs will stiffen and stare hard at the perceived threat, while others will growl, bark, lunge, or even try to bite if someone (human, dog, cat, or other threat) is getting close to their valued item. In the wild, this behavior allowed your dog’s ancestors to boost their chance of survival by holding onto any necessities they have collected. Unfortunately, in a domesticated dog, this behavior can be incredibly problematic. Is Resource Guarding Always Aggressive? While it could be argued that resource-guarding behavior isn’t always “aggressive,” it always has the potential to escalate to aggressive behavior. Some dogs will communicate a warning by stiffening their body, placing themselves between the perceived threat and the valuable item, covering the valuable thing with their head or paws, or staring intensely at the perceived threat. These behaviors may not seem concerning at the time. After all, your dog is not actively trying to cause harm to anyone around them. But a warning should always be taken seriously. If the situation is not addressed, your dog may feel they must move to the next stage to protect what’s theirs.
We often talk about the health risks associated with the most extreme temperatures – heat stroke during the summer months and hypothermia in the winter. But we have to remember that there are risks and concerns throughout the entire year – including the possibility of developing Seasonal Canine Illness during the brightly colored season of autumn.If this is your first time hearing about this seasonal illness in dogs? Don’t worry; We have you covered! In this post, we’ll take a close look at the most important details you need to know about this illness as a dog parent, including what it is, the most common symptoms to watch out for, available treatment options, and tips for keeping your pup safe.What is Seasonal Canine Illness in Dogs?Unlike many other health conditions we face, Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI) is relatively new, with the first case reported in 2010. But being newer doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take it seriously, especially with the growing number of us spending time outdoors in the woods to see the changing fall colors – which is where this condition is believed to be contracted.As with any new illness or health condition, a lot about SCI remains unknown. Initially, it was believed that it was caused by algae or fungi in woodland areas, both triggers that could be more prevalent during the fall months, which would explain the timing. However, these potential causes have since been disproved. This has left veterinarians and researchers searching for a new explanation.After comparing many cases of SCI, another potential answer has been brought to light – many of the dogs diagnosed with this illness were exposed to harvest mites.This could be the revelation experts are looking for, or it could be a coincidence. So, what DO we know? SCI is a rare condition. However, there is enough of an increase in cases every autumn for veterinarians to refer to the condition as fall-specific. Dogs that contract the illness will show signs approximately 1 to 3 days after spending time in a woodland area.What Are the Symptoms of Seasonal Dog Illness? There are no vaccines or preventatives to protect your dog from SCI. Instead, the best thing we can do as dog parents is learn the warning signs we should watch out for. You can get your pup to a veterinarian for early treatment by recognizing an illness early. The most common symptoms of Seasonal Canine Illness include: Vomiting (Often Containing Blood)Diarrhea (Often Containing Blood)Loss of AppetiteAbdominal Pain and SensitivitySevere DehydrationFeverMuscle TremorsLethargyRash on the Legs and Underside of the Body (Occasionally)Research has found that as low as 2% of SCI cases are fatal IF the dog receives prompt treatment. However, data shows that fatality could increase to as high as 20% if left unaddressed. If you notice any signs your dog may have SCI, contact your veterinarian and make an appointment as soon as possible.
Walk through your local pet store, and you will likely see a small assortment of cat collars, including many different colours, styles, materials, and sizes. But do cats really need to wear a collar? Should cats wear collars, or are they more of a fashion statement?There are both benefits and potential challenges to introducing a collar to your cat.It’s a conversation that isn’t discussed often enough in the pet space. After all, how are you supposed to make an educated decision if you don’t have the information? But don’t worry, we have you covered! In this article, you’ll find both the benefits and risks of cats wearing collars for both indoor and outdoor cats. Plus, we’ll help you find the best collar for your cat (if you choose to use one).Let’s get started…Benefits of a Collar for Your CatJust like with dogs, there are many benefits to encouraging your cat to wear a collar. First, and most obviously, is the ability to add identification if your cat ever gets lost. While most experts encourage cats to be microchipped, an identification tag can speed up the process of someone identifying your cat and reaching out to you if they are found. This may not be relevant if you are caring for an outdoor community cat. But there’s a good possibility that not all your neighbours will be familiar with your indoor cat if they wander onto their property. Another benefit directly related to that situation is the ability to identify that a cat has an owner waiting for them at home. With the growing number of stray cats in most towns and cities, your missing kitty can easily be mistaken for another street cat and be overlooked. Unfortunately, indoor cats don’t possess the same level of survival skills outdoors that a cat raised living outdoors will have. The longer they are outdoors trying to fend for themselves, the greater the risk of something tragic. However, if someone spots a cat with a collar, they look out of place, drawing attention to them. Many collars incorporate reflective elements. If your cat spends time outdoors regularly, a collar may provide much-needed visibility at night to help reduce the risk of being hit by a vehicle.Finally, as we learn more about the impact of outdoor cats (whether living outdoors full-time or spending time outdoors), we have discovered that cats can have a significantly negative effect on the biodiversity in an area. Why? By killing off birds and small animals, like mice and squirrels, they upset the balance in that ecosystem. Placing a bell on your cat’s collar will warn potential prey that your cat is coming. This also means your cat is less likely to catch and ingest the animal, reducing the risk of parasites or diseases. Are There Risks to Wearing a Collar? There are risks to consider when it comes to putting a collar on your cat BUT these risks are primarily caused by a collar that isn’t fit properly or using a collar that lacks the necessary safety measures to make it cat-friendly. If your cat’s collar is too tight, it can cause chaffing and irritation. The discomfort of the collar putting pressure on their neck due to its size may also encourage your cat to paw at or scratch at the collar, increasing the risk of getting their nails snagged in the collar’s fabric or even their entire foot caught under the collar. Like fitting a collar to a dog, you should always ensure you can fit two fingers inside the collar when it is fastened on your cat’s neck. They can also get the collar stuck around their lower jaw, especially if it is too large, preventing them from closing their mouths. This can lead to the cat experiencing extreme stress or anxiety as they try to free themselves from it, causing an injury during the struggle.Many well-meaning cat owners will grab a small dog collar for use on their cat, but these collars are missing the critical safety feature that sets a cat collar apart – the breakaway mechanism. If your cat gets their collar stuck on an object like a fence post or furniture in your home, they may strangle themselves trying to escape. As cats often wander unsupervised away from us, indoors or out, and tend to hide, they are far more likely to get snagged somewhere without us realizing it. However, purchasing a properly fitting cat-specific collar with a breakaway mechanism can significantly reduce or eliminate these risks.
It’s a stereotype we’ve seen in movies, cartoons, and television shows: the age-old view of the dog chasing the mailman. This has led to (understandably) more rules and restrictions regarding what is permitted and when a postal worker can deny mail delivery due to safety concerns. But what if that safety concern isn’t a dog at all? What if it’s a naughty cat keeping the postal workers away? This is the reality for a couple in Staffordshire, England. Lee Haynes and Jo Woodley’s three-year-old tabby Ernie’s antics have recently led to a letter from Royal Mail advising they will suspend mail delivery if the situation isn’t addressed. The letter stated: “I’m writing to let you know that we’re experiencing difficulties in delivering mail to your address because of the actions of at cat at your property. Your cat is behind the letterbox clawing at mail and fingers. The risk of injury requires action be taken by you to ensure the safety of our delivery staff.” It goes on to state that the couple has 14 days to install a mail cage behind the letterbox, arrange an alternative delivery point, or take steps to keep the cat away from the letterbox during mail delivery. For those who share their hearts and homes with a tabby cat, this may come as a surprise. While some cat breeds are known for their sass and trouble-seeking personalities, tabbies are generally seen as friendly, affectionate, and happy cats. But, like any stereotype, there will always be those that exist outside the box. When asked about Ernie’s behavior, Haynes said the cat wasn’t trying to cause trouble or harm anyone. He saw mail delivery as a game. “Ernie spends most of his time lying down but he’s fascinated by the letterbox,” Haynes explained. “As soon as he hears it he’s there like a lightning bolt. His paw comes out the letterbox to try and grab whatever’s there, but maybe he’s accidentally grabbing the postman’s fingers. He doesn’t use his claws, just the pads of his paws to try and grab the letter. But I wonder if the postman thought he might scratch.” The couple purchased and installed an external mailbox in response to the threat of their mail delivery being suspended. However, they report that Ernie is quite disappointed that his favorite game has come to an end.