Posts Tagged ‘cat’

5 reasons my cat wins my heart every time

My sister Kathleen and I were talking the other day about all of our cats over the years—and their very unique personalities. Her first cat, a spunky tortie, ultimately gave birth in our garage to my first cat, a tender-hearted orange-and-white tabby. Oh how we miss them! There have been other special kitties over the years, too—each one unique in his or her own way.

Like my own cat right now, a big ball of fluff tabby Persian named Paddington. No matter what else is happening in my life, no matter how busy I am, he always manages to win my heart! Here are five of his heart-winning habits. Any of them familiar? I’d love to know how your cat wins your heart!

1. Chill factor: Paddington is always super chilled out and relaxed. Nothing seems to make this cat nervous. Whether I’m walking him around the yard on a leash, putting his carrier in a wagon and taking him on long walks around the neighborhood, letting toddlers loose to poke and play with him, having large groups to dinner or even flying him under my seat on an airplane, nothing ruffles Paddy’s stripey fur. He’s always open to new experiences and people, and I just love that about him!

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2. Hunter extraordinaire: Even at age 6, Paddington still loves to play. He loves to chase me, my hubby and son around the house and will always follow a piece of string if I drag it behind me. To Paddy, everything is a toy to be explored—including snowflakes falling from the sky, which he tries to attack from the closed window.

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3. Sweetness overload: Without a doubt, Paddington is the sweetest cat I have ever known. He’s never in a bad mood. He loves making biscuits, is a complete purr-monster and is always up for cuddles. He gives lots of “head butts” (kisses) to everyone in our family, follows me around the house all the time, and keeps our bed warm at night, too. He is happiest when snuggled up on my lap.

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4. Athletic like a pro: If Paddington were human, he would be the star goalie for any soccer team. He will catch any and every ball thrown his way, no matter how fast or high. Nothing gets by this cat. In our last house, when we used to let him loose in the yard for some supervised sunshine time, he pretty much every time ended up jogging by with a huge lizard in his mouth. (And lizards are difficult to catch!) He looks like a calendar kitty, but Paddington definitely has that tough hunter cat DNA.

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Photo copyright Jenner Rose Photography

5. Watchful guardian: Paddington keeps tabs on everything in this house. He knows whenever any of us is sad and immediately pads over to offer emotional support. This was especially sweet to witness as my baby grew up into a toddler; anytime he fell or bumped his head, Paddington was always there to make sure everyone was OK. He also has an internal clock and knows exactly the moment the clock turns to 7:30 for dinnertime. Even when the clocks change for daylight savings, it just takes him a day or two to adjust. If you’re even one minute late, he’ll jump onto the counter (in your face) and meow like a starving kitten!

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{Photos © Charlotte Jensen unless otherwise noted}

5 most inspiring animal amputees

I’m so amazed by the work being done by innovative prosthetists and veterinarians for amputee animals. Their forward-thinking work—often in the face of complaints such as, “Why would you spend so much time and money making a prosthesis for an animal, anyway?”—not only saves animals’ lives, but also often leads to new discoveries that help human amputee patients, too. With countless success stories out there, here are five beautiful animals and their amazing prosthetics:

Derby the dog:
Try not to cry tears of joy while watching this beautiful Husky mix with deformed legs run in his new feet. Once in line to be euthanized, Derby is now happy in his forever home. He even has a Facebook page! You can learn more about his special prosthetics here.

Oscar the cat:
Oscar lost his back feet in an accident, but thanks to supervet Noel Fitzpatrick (whom I’ve mentioned before on this blog) and his heartful humans, Oscar can now live a normal, happy cat life on all four paws.

Beauty the bald eagle:
You almost wouldn’t know this beautiful bald eagle has a 3D-printed beak; it looks that realistic. But after surviving a shot to the face by a poacher and being nursed back to health from the brink of death, Beauty’s beak was reconstructed by a team of scientists. The prosthetic beak now allows her to drink water on her own, groom herself and, basically, live a normal life.

Allison the sea turtle:
Following an attack by a predator, Allison lost all her fins but one and could only swim in circles. But thanks to a helpful intern and the “ninja suit” ultimately designed for her, Allison the Atlantic green sea turtle can now swim like a pro. Click here for a closer look at her awesome prosthetic fin and jacket.

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Winter the dolphin:
The movies “Dolphin Tale” and its sequel are based on the story of Winter, who was found caught in a crab trap. Her prosthetic tail, which now allows her to swim normally, is made of silicone and plastic. Human amputees are now benefiting from the lessons learned in building and fitting her with this device.

{P.S. For a few more inspiring stories of animal amputees, including an Appaloosa-Shetland pony who lost a leg, check out this striking photo essay in Wired.}

Coolest tech gadgets for your pet

This stat kind of surprised me: Did you know that the market for high-tech wearables for pets is going to explode over the next 10 years? According to a recent report by market research firm IDTechEX in Cambridge, England, the market for wearable tech for pets is expected to hit a staggering $2.6 billion by 2025.

My dog is pretty low-tech at the moment, but perhaps that will change in the future. Especially after discovering these amazing new high-tech products! Though not all of the techy products below qualify as “wearables,” one thing’s for sure: Companies are finding smart ways to keep us better connected to our animals, whether we’re at work or traveling. And some are even going that extra mile to help us keep a watchful eye on their health and wellness.

Binatone Scout 500 dog tracker: This product is so much more than your average pet collar; it’s more like a smartphone for your dog. The Scout 500, available this summer for $199, provides GPS tracking, a microphone for voice commands so you can talk to your dog no matter where they are, and video streaming so you can see what they’re up to.

FitBark : This dog activity monitor syncs to your smartphone and tracks your dog’s activity levels (rest, active and play time) 24/7. The FitBark, available in a variety of colors, attaches to your dog’s existing collar and lets you set health goals, compare your dog’s activity levels to other dogs, and notice important changes in your dog’s behavior. Cost: $99.95; available in March 2015.

Petcube Camera: Video chat with your pet? Yes! When you’re at work or out of town, you can use the wireless Petcube Camera to stay in touch with your favorite furry friends (and even play laser games with them!). Features an HD camera, two-way audio and smartphone compatibility. Cost: $199.

Petnet SmartFeeder: This high-tech food dispenser lets you manage your pet’s meals from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. You can adjust feeding times, manage portion sizes and even the speed at which you want food dispensed; you’ll also get notifications with meal confirmations, info about food inventory and more. Cost: $249 (for sale in Q4), or pre-order for $199.

Tagg GPS Plus Pet Tracker: This techy pet tracker, which attaches to your dog’s existing collar, aims to prevent your animal from getting lost. Once you create a “safe zone” around your home, the product offers 24/7 animal monitoring, real-time notifications if your dog runs away, nationwide GPS pet tracking and a temperature sensor. Cost: $99.95.

Voyce: This waterproof “smart collar” is basically a wearable computer for your dog. The Voyce monitors your animal’s health, sharing vital signs like resting heart rate, respiratory rate, activity levels, calories burned and so much more. All that info grabbing lets you see wellness trends over time, which can then be shared with your vet. Cost: $299 plus $9.95/month membership plan; available in March 2015.

What do you think? Are you ready to fit your animal with high-tech gadgets?

How to practice mindfulness with your animal

This fascinating article in The New Republic declared 2014 the year of mindfulness. Because meditation is such an important (and beneficial) part of my life, I love that it’s starting to take off in such a big way and that people in general seem more open to this idea than ever before. But the article left out a very important factor: animals. In my work with Reiki, I’ve realized they just “get” meditation and the idea of living in the moment more than we ever will. In fact, by following their lead, it’s easier than ever to find that mindful “ideal” we’re all striving for.

With that in mind, here are some easy ways we can all practice daily mindfulness with our animals (a.k.a. our best meditation teachers):

1. Savor the sun and smell the roses. Yes, it’s cliché. But next time you’re on your daily walk with your dog, instead of rushing through so you can get back to your next task, take a few moments to experience everything around both of you in nature. Smell the salty air, breathe and feel the sun on your skin. Resist the urge to do your daily walk on autopilot. You can even wander in a new direction; the two of you can just enjoy the moment and see where it takes you. If you’re more of a horse person, take the same approach on your next trail ride with your horse.

2. Give 100 percent full attention to your animal. This isn’t always easy. Next time you cuddle with your cat and talk sweetly to her, do so without any other distractions—no TV, laptop, phone, magazine or the like. When grooming your horse, focus on the moment and truly take it in: the sweeping of the brush, his nickers, the shine of his hair. Sit with your dog and give him your 100 percent attention. Really try to feel and embrace every aspect of the moment—sights, sounds and so on—instead of letting your mind fall back on other distractions, like your to-do list or what you’re cooking for dinner tonight.

3. Practice mindful eating—for both you and your animal. We all know the benefits of thinking about what you put into your body. Support your health by eating fresh, wholesome foods—and support your animal’s health, too, by doing the same and serving natural, nutritious foods. Thankfully, due to consumer demand, premium and organic dog and cat foods are easier to find than ever before. And when you want to spoil your favorite dog, whip up some easy (and deliciously healthy!) homemade treats.

4. Meditate and “be” Reiki with your animal. I’ve created a special series of six 20-minute meditations to help you tune into and connect energetically with your animal, with the natural world around you, and with that deep inner space of peace and strength within yourself—all important ingredients to mindful living. Click here to get started.

5. Take 10. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or the very last part of your night, take 10 minutes to breathe, be calm and just “be.” If they’re not already, your dog or cat will probably end up in your lap!

How do you practice mindfulness in your daily life?

5 compelling reasons to adopt from a shelter

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years in animal shelters, so I know all about the misconceptions surrounding shelter animals. For instance: Many people think shelter animals are put there because of aggression or behavior problems. Wrong! According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, the top two reasons for an animal to end up in a shelter are (1) moving/financial and (2) landlord issues. Here, I’d like to clear up some of the myths and point to my top five reasons why adopting from a shelter is the absolute best decision you can make:

1. You’re saving TWO lives: You save the life of the animal you bring home, plus you make room in the shelter for another animal to take their place. This is true even if you’re adopting from a no-kill shelter. The no-kill shelters save animals from the kill shelters whenever they can.

2. You have a better chance of knowing the animal’s personality: Animals in shelters sometimes live there for months or even years. That time gives the caregivers a good handle on the dog or cat’s personality: if they’re sociable, loving, shy and so on. When you buy a puppy at a breeder or a pet store, you truly don’t know what you’re getting until they grow up and their adult personality emerges. Shelters are also invested in helping the animals find forever homes, so there will be many opportunities for you to spend time with the animal before bringing them home for good. (I encourage my readers to please not support pet stores. You can read about puppy mills here.)

3. Shelters offer more options: What do you want, a puppy or a kitten? A calm dog that has outgrown the tiring puppy stage? A cat in her senior years? A purebred golden retriever? Whatever kind of furry family member you’re looking for, you can likely find the perfect fit at one of your local shelters. You’re not limited to just puppies or kittens. And, yes, plenty of purebreds end up in shelters, too. Next time you go for an adoption, keep this startling fact in mind: Black cats and dogs are most often overlooked in shelters, so give special consideration to these little cuties, which are more difficult to rehome.

4. Shelters save other animals, too: Maybe you’re not a dog or cat person; you’d rather save a rabbit, hamster, ferret or bird. Yes, cats and dogs make up the majority of available animals at the rescue—but don’t forget there are other critters, too!

5. It’s less expensive and a good value: Breeders charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a single animal. When you adopt from a shelter, they’ve had a health checkup, their shots, may be spayed or neutered (or even microchipped!), come with a collar and ID tag, and sometimes they’re even potty trained.

I hear all the time that rescued pets make the best animal companions. Did you adopt from a shelter? I’d love to hear your story!