For all of you that went to see the movie “The Secret Life of Pets” over the school holidays, you can relate to what a fun movie it was, entertaining for the young and old! I personally loved Chloe the cat, struggling with willpower! It did get me thinking though, we are all aware of dogs like Max in the movie that suffer separation anxiety, I want to address the fact that cats can suffer from anxiety issues too. Stress and anxiety in cats is more common than you think and the signs of stress in a cat can be overlooked by owners. Some cats are very confident however some cats are timid and are more sensitive to stress triggers.
Anxiety in cats can be a;
• genetic component
• environment influence
• coping strategy
• learnt behaviour
Triggers for our feline friends to become stressed can be as insignificant to us as;
• change in litter or not enough litter boxes for multi cat households
• new furniture
• appearance of a strange cat in the yard
• new visitors to the house
• the addition of a four legged family member, (heaven forbid a dog!!)
Signs of stress your cat may display;
• loss of appetite
• excessive over grooming
• toileting outside of the litter box
• excessive vocalisation
The good news is we can help our feline friends feel more confident and less stressed!
First things first; a vet check is essential to rule out any underlying medical problems.
We as owners can help our cats feel less stressed by;
• giving them safe retreats
• clean, large litter trays,
(one for each cat in the household plus one)
• interactive play sessions
• environmental enrichment,
(toys and food dispensers)
• behavioural modification techniques
If you have noticed a change in your cats behaviour of recent times then please bring it to our attention next time you visit the clinic.
To wrap things up, if you have not seen the movie “The Secret Life of Pets” I highly recommend you do because it gives us all as pet owners a light-hearted insight as to how our furry companions may be feeling or thinking!
Till next time, enjoy your four legged furry companions!
When most people consider getting a pet, the obvious choice of animal is a cat or a dog, as they are well suited to the suburban setting, and make great companions. In Australia we are a pet loving nation with an estimated 36% of households owning a dog and 23% owning a cat. This equates to a population of 3.4 million dogs and 2.3 million cats. To add to the mix, plenty of people also enjoy owning rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, fish, birds and the odd miniature pig. Some people have a love for non-furry creatures and keep lizards, snakes, frogs, turtles and even hermit crabs, but that is about as unusual as it gets for us, as the importation of exotic animals into Australia is controlled by stringent laws set out by government departments and quarantine services. This restricts the ownership of exotic species such as monkeys and lions to licensed persons, usually only for exhibition or conservation purposes, so they cannot be sold for commercial purposes or kept as pets by private owners.
Similar restrictions apply to most Australian native wildlife species; they are protected and cannot be kept as pets, except for a few species of birds and reptiles, as long as they have not been caught from the wild. Special permits are necessary to house most Australian species (kangaroos, possums, wombats, koalas, magpies, kookaburras, many reptiles); usually only zoos and fauna parks are given permits to hold these animals.
However, outside of Australia, many countries have much more relaxed regulations. Privately owning exotic animals is currently still permitted in a handful of states in the USA with no restrictions, creating a crazy scenario where you will need a license to own a dog, but are free to purchase a lion or a baboon and keep it as a pet.
Some of the more popular species taking up residence in suburban homes are the Capybara, Serval, Sloth, monkeys, Chinchilla, Wallaby, Sugar Glider, Kinkajou, hedgehog, fennec fox, skunks, pot bellied pigs.
Most of these are bred in captivity for the commercial market, and although they are no longer completely wild, they are far from domesticated, which raises many issues relating to animal welfare and human safety. So while they are extremely cute and adorable, there have been countless incidents of human injury and death, and zoonotic disease spread due to these exotic species having close contact with people and living in environments not suited to their natural needs.
So in my books, even though a Fennec fox has a face to melt anyone's heart, dogs and cats still come up trumps as the ideal pets to share our lives with.
The summer holidays are over for another year. So it's time for a quick survey for you dog lovers out there.
1. How many of you had trouble finding kennels to put your dog in while you were away (that you were happy with and weren't packed to the rafters)?
2. Did you have to change your holiday plans or even not go because of the dog?
3. Did you worry about your dog when you were away?
4. Did you gaze longingly at the dogs racing with reckless abandon on the beach, wishing your dog could experience the thrill too?
5. Did you experience difficulty trying to find pet friendly accommodation and gave up?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions then you're a bit like me. Rather than putting this in the too hard basket, with a bit a research, creativity and planning ahead, your dog can soon be enjoying the holidays with you. This doesn't mean that you have to be staying in kennel like accommodation either. There are some great resources and websites to start you off:
• Holidaying with dogs- a Life. Be in it book. RRP $24.95. Also a great website www.holidayingwithdogs.com.au
• www.stayz.com.au Acommodation booking site- go to the pet friendly section. Most accommodation websites will now have a pet friendly section.
• www,dogsonholidays.com.au An accommodation booking site.
• www.lovemelovemydog.com.au Another accommodation booking site.
• http://www.big4.com.au/caravan-parks/pet-friendly The Big Four caravan park pet friendly section.
Some of the best holidays and memories we have were with our well travelled dog Matilda, and I'd love to share a few photos with you today and maybe provide some inspiration:
Canal boating holiday in Surrey, England where we lived for several years.
Campervan trip- just a matter of researching dog friendly caravan parks.
Venus Bay dog friendly accommodation. "Sunrise" booked through www.stayz.com.au
We'd love to hear and share any stories and photos you may have from a holiday away with your own dog. Also any recommendations on pet friendly accommodation you have come across.
That's all from me. I leave you with a photo from a very dog friendly caravan park in Slovenia. Happy holidaying with your four legged friend, Emma.