Friday, January 30, 2009

Matriarch of the World.

Pixie, one reader’s cat, is rather enthusiastic when she wants attention. She is a 15 year old tabby who took an instant dislike to her new owners when she was separated at 8 months from her first adoptive mother, who was emigrating. Pixie was a tiny little thing when her new owners took her, though, her temperament made up for her diminutive stature as she fiercely fought her way into our readers’ affections, biting when you lovingly scratch her ear, clawing when you tickle her chin and attacking for no apparent reason as you cross her path. (This is rather ironic as she is pitch black.)
Is the traumatic adoption the reason for this attitude, or is it just an aspect of Pixies personality?
Pixie had kittens when she was about a year and a half old. They were all pitch black, like her but unlike Pixie, they were much more approachable and loving. Pixie was not the best parent, though she never skirted her duty and kept the little ones in line, she never really showed much leniency and love for her babies. The readers kept one little fur ball and named him Panther. And now, at age 15 and 13 the two still fight and get into territorial skirmishes. Pixie, though, will always retain the title of matriarch, and her son loses more often than not, when these fights break out.
As she matured our readers noted a slight softening in her nature as she was not as aggressive and temperamental when given attention. She, like any other cat out there, demands attention on her terms though. She will come to you when she feels like a massage, whereas if you dare to approach her without consent, she will let you know that you are not worthy of touching her. Pixie lets everyone know, that when you enter her presence, it is an honour, one that should be cherished and revered. In that, she is not so very different from other felines.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Not so far Apart

It is one of life’s most pleasant and endearing moments when you see your pets give each other affection. The charming feeling cannot be suitably expressed in simple words for one is immediately in mind of Louis Armstrong’s song “What a Wonderful World”, and that delightful Dulux advertisement a few years back involving the frolicking elephants.

When your cat edges up to his friend and playfully head butts him insisting on attention, while the other cat willingly obliges and grabs him around the neck, starts grooming him and mischievously bites his ear when said cat starts enjoying himself too much, some primordial and instinctive affection for the arrogant creatures builds in you and it is nearly impossible to curb the urge to join in.

The act of cleaning and maintaining each others appearance is a form of bonding between the animals, and the reason we find the act so emotionally appealing is because we recognise the similar behavioural tendencies in our own species.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cheap Tips

Recently there has been a terrible rise in cat food prices and the steep incline has steadily been increasing throughout the last year. There seems to be no stopping the horrible eventuality of starvation. What steps could we as struggling pet owners take to ensure that neither members of our family waste away this year?

Firstly, it could be very plausible to try to substitute your expensive food with cheaper competitive products. There is always a product out there that contains the exact same ingredients, without the benefit of a label.

Another idea is to stick to dry food, for not only do we save money, but our cats’ digestive systems get an overhaul.

Take advantage of your vets sample counter. While you may feel slightly cheap, remember that you are viably testing out new products, purely for your cats’ health, with the benefit of cat nibbles for about 3 days.

Try these tips and you might just save a few rand this month.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Plague Away

Next time you complain about fleas it would be prudent to think about an age past when a simple bite could spell your immanent death. This is of course, the Bubonic Plague , better known as the Black Death.

This disease is historically one of the most notable diseases of the middle ages, killing one third of Europe’s population, a total of nearly 200 million lives. It is believed that the rats transported the disease filled critters through the London sewers, and then promptly bit humans who died within 4 to 7 days of infection.

So when next your children play ‘Ring around the rosy” consider the fact that they’re enacting the steps that claimed so many lives. As “posies” were flowers that kept the smell of death away, while “Ha-choo, Ha-choo, we all fall down” refers to the first sign of oncoming death, sneezing. So, it would be advisable to count your blessings as a bite is no longer deadly.

Friday, January 23, 2009

K9’s 30 Seconds

A feature that has recently been on Oprah showcased one of her favourite subjects, dogs. The renowned TV personality introduced us to numerous talented K9 friends, from a dog that lost both his front and back legs in a car accident, yet still retains full mobility, to the smallest dog in the world, weighing no more than a pound, and strongly resembling a very furry hamster.
The star of the program though, was a little Jack Russell who could add and subtract when asked simple equations. Everyone marvelled at the amazing feat as he taps out the answer with his paw, cocking his head when listening to the question in a very human-like manner. Oprah had numerous posters around her studio of adorable puppy faces, and later informed the crowd that each dog comes from a horrible puppy mill she featured on a previous episode. Each dog has been safely placed with a delighted new owner. She ended the show stressing the benefits of adoption.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Odour away

A little while ago a reader complained that a family member has a rather distasteful habit. They often invite guests over to their home and to our readers’ chagrin the outside entertainment area, while appearing presentable, showcases the cats litter box. It is left in the open, dirty, smelly and full of visible surprises.
The reader eloquently complains that it is a rather horrible experience trying to tactfully avoid grimacing at the offensive tray, but every time a slight breeze wafts by, the odour is at its most pungent, and one can’t help but gag in response.
To avoid embarrassing your family members and to keep a reputation of pleasant hospitality it is advisable to clean your cats’ tray at least once a day, if only by removing the clumpy bits. There are also various different litters to try, several of which cater to specific needs. The best, ultimately, for this family is the silica gel litter, a highly absorbent, odour eliminating miracle product.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Own You!

Cats are notoriously infamous for their selfish natures! It is no secret that you do not own a cat; the cat gives you the honor of enjoying his or her company and every so often he will deign to let you scratch his ears. As a reward he might bring you a gift that exemplifies his prowess and agility. This gift comes in various forms, from a butterfly to a bird and is usually left in a spot where the stains will remain as a constant reminder of his achievements. This pet is very much still in touch with his animal side. No cat has ever been tamed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

‘Tis the season to be Biting

December and January is here and so are ticks and fleas. It’s a rather expensive job trying to juggle the inflation of pet food and pet health with human food and human health as everything in our country has become more expensive. But despite the bills rising and the belts tightening it is still imperative to make sure that your furry companion is free of companions of their own for these blood sucking critters could very well creep into your bed and nibble on you, a prospect that is not very appealing, for either party. Hence, tighten that belt one more notch, and stay bug free.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tick Disposal

There are numerous ways in which to ensure that your pet is tick free, one of the ways where pet assistance is needed is to check his fur daily. This is an easy inspection as ticks are rather bulbous and easily spotted. When found it is common believe that the ticks should be burned out, but the animals seem to scare easily when a flame approaches them. Thus taking a tweezer and plucking the tick out is another option. Even if the head remains in the body, the tick dies and eventually falls out. To dispose of the body, dead or alive, either burn it, flush it or crush it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Garfield, here’s Monster

One reader has recently complained about her overweight cat, named Monster. The normal advice concerning cat health and feeding the animal a specific diet plan is not practical for she has four other feline companions who all share the same food source. The other cats are healthy and normal in their weight range. It has been suggested that Monster has an overactive thyroid gland and as for the solution to this problem, it is advisable that a vet is consulted as soon as possible. While Monster’s thyroid could be the problem it is just as likely that it’s a simple case of Garfield syndrome; a healthy appetite.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A healthy dog is mans best friend.

Everyone knows the old adage “a dog is mans best friend”. If you have a tail-wagging pet at home you’ll realize the utter truth of that statement for dogs to fully commit and bond with their adopted families. But as with all things in life there are definitely conditions to a symbiotic relationship that functions and benefits both human and pet. One of which is health, more specifically dog health, for a sick pet is more likely to resent and act out if they are neglected. This behavior can range from general disobedience to outright aggression. So it is important to take your best friend for all his check ups.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Handling the medical bills this new year

If you have already spent all of your money this festive season and you are starting to get a bit concerned about health insurance costs in your family, then you are in the right place. MediPet is the premier South African pet insurance company that provides life-long cover for your furry family member for less than half of what it costs to ensure one of your children.

Now you can get full cover for your dogs and cats when you choose MediPet, and all for less than R150-00 per month! Cats are insured for only R115-00 per month, and dogs are just R125-00 for full cover! Your pets will be in the best hands when you choose MediPet pet insurance to look after all of your pet concerns.

Best of all, MediPet SA offers you the quickest and easiest way to get pet insurance this year: just fill in an online form and you're 'a for away'! Getting pet insurance has never been this easy! Forget about going through a special insurance agent who takes an additional market increase: with MediPet you get direct, easy pet insurance cover that costs you just a small amount every month for complete peace of mind and assurance that your pet is going to get the best medical attention should anything happen to them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fun Summer Times: Pet Picture

What a funny Summer picture! This is Molly, the Basset Hound: she's bounding about playing with her new owners and her new toys! Welcome to SA Pet Lovers, Molly!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Indoor Cats

If you are thinking about buying a cat this year then there is one big decision that you have to make: are you going to have an indoor cat or an outdoor cat? If you live in a big apartment block with lots of cars and roads nearby, then perhaps the best option for you is to choose an indoor cat.

Indoor cats need a few special items to make living inside a bit easier. These include:
- A good, clean litter box that will be emptied and cleaned out every day. You want to make sure that your indoor cat is always comfortable if they have to use their litter tray.
- Clean and fresh water in a clean bowl. You should clean your cat's bowl on a daily basis to ensure that no grease or germs are present.
- Healthy food in a clean bowl, which will also need to be cleaned on a daily basis. You might consider putting cat pellets into a separate bowl from other wet foods to ensure that the bowls both remain clean and in good condition, and that excess wet food does not go hard and spoil the pellets.
- Lots of toys! If your kitty is going to spending a lot of time inside, then you need to give him or her a lot of fun toys to keep them occupied! Catnip, fake mice, balls, and fun food dispensers are always good ideas.
- A cat scratching post. This is essential because your kitty needs to make sure that their nails are kept 'under control', and you don't want your furniture to act as a scratch post!
- Finally, you should invest in a nice, comfortable bed that your cat can nap in. This is a good idea, even though your cat will probably sleep on everything else as well. It's just a place to call 'home' for him or her.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Puppy Training

If you've recently had a new furry addition to your happy family this holiday then there should only be two words on your lips: PUPPY TRAINING! Dogs who are not properly trained in the early stages can be a complete handful later on, ruining your furniture, destroying your property, and generally being a nuisance. Luckily for you, help is on hand! Puppy training is relatively easy and just takes a short period of time every week. Puppy socialising and training classes usually happen on a Saturday or Sunday morning so that you can easily fit it into your working schedule. Your puppy gets introduced to other puppies its own age, and learns to interact playfully with other animals which will assist in preventing hostile behaviour at a later age. You, as the dog owner, and your puppy will also learn all of the important tricks that will ensure a long and happy relationship with your new dog. Puppy training can teach your dog how to sit, how to stay on a lead, how to do its 'business' outside, and how to quell its barking. Puppy training is a two-way street that requires a bit of effort and homework practice from you as well, so be sure that you are committed in the early months to ensure a long life of happiness and good behaviour from your new best friend!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Choosing the Right Pet

It's getting towards the end of school holidays and your children are all probably asking for a new family pet this year – why not give in and help give a dog or cat a happy home? It is essential that you think very carefully about what kind of pet you want before you go and get one, as a pet is a long-term commitment and will inevitably be a part of your family.

ADOPTING A PET: if you want to adopt a pet then you should go down to your local adoption agencies, such as the SPCA, TEARS or DARG, and have a look around at all of the dogs and cats that are kept there. You will probably find a pet that you bond with instantly! While you are being shown around, be sure to ask your adoption agent what type of dog they'd recommend for your particular circumstances (the size of your home, your family and your budget) and they'll help you to make the right decision.

BUYING A PET: if you want to buy a specific pet then it's time to get on your thinking caps! Do a lot of homework to ensure that you know exactly what kind of dog or cat suits your family, your home and your budget. You then need to find a breeder near you, and visit that breeder to have a look at their puppies/kittens and to have a good chat about whether or not that particular breed is ideal for you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Late Holiday Tips

The Christmas/New Year's holiday rush has just come to a close, people are starting to go back to work, and some of us are lucky enough to get leave! Having a late holiday is great for missing out on all of the holiday traffic and hurly burly, even though this year when traffic officials have stated that holiday traffic is down by more than 10,000 vehicles! If you are planning a late holiday (but early January) getaway, then here are some pet tips for you!
- Be sure to book a kennel spot in advance for your pet, and go to visit the kennel before leaving to make sure that it is exactly what you are looking for. Never settle for second best pet-sitters just because all kennels are full. This is a good time to go away on holiday because most kennels are emptying out as people come back from their festive celebrations.
- If you are taking your pet away with you in the car, be sure to have the necessary secure seating arrangements for maximum travel safety. You should get a comfortable cat traveling basket for your feline friend, and invest in a special car harness for your dog (which looks much like a baby harness and seat, although it is designed for four-legged family members instead).
- Be sure to take with plenty of healthy snacks and extra water for your pets as traveling can be very stressful for them.
- It always helps to bring with a pet bed or special pet blanket when you are going away; it's a little bit of home that calms down a restless traveler!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Thinking About: Lassie Dogs

Who can forget that adorable dog who delighted our television screens so many years ago? Lassie was made popular by author Albert Payson Terhune in 1938, and has been the world's best loved pooch ever since! Lassie is better known in the dog world as a Rough Collie, and is considered to be one of the best family dogs. Rough Collies have a fantastic temperament, and are excellent companions for other dogs and even small children. They are said to have no fear, which is why they are fiercely protective of their owners and will always rush in to save them from any danger.

Rough Collies come in four beautiful colours that range from a beautiful caramel colour to a sleek black-and-white. Their faces are always lighter than the rest of their bodies, and are favoured by breeders for their particular shapes – the Rough Collie facial profile is long and neatly rounded, running from its cute ears to its little black nose.

Collies are very active dogs and so they need a lot of attention and exercise. It is advisable to never leave a collie unattended outside as they will become easily bored and will bark a lot which will annoy neighbours. If you are thinking about owning a collie then you should be sure that you could walk your Collie every day for at least 45 minutes. You might also consider getting your collie a furry friend so that they can entertain each other when you are at work and your children are at school.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Molting Cats

Your cat is probably going to be leaving a lot of hair lying around this summer as they begin to shed their winter coat – why not give your kitty a helping hand and get them a fun soft brush to help with the grooming process? Your cat will love all of the extra attention!

When choosing a brush it is important to get one that is soft and comfortable, and will get all of the extra molting hair out of your cat's fur without hurting them. You can get a brush that is on the inside of a glove, so that it feels like you are just stroking your cat, or you can get one that is more traditional and features a bristle head mounted on a handle. Either way, both types of brush are available from your local pet store. A few months ago you will remember a blog entry on a clever corner-brush that your cat can use himself – go back and have a look for a really great idea that is inexpensive and easy to make!

Your cat might put up a bit of resistance when you are brushing him or her, so be gentle and don’t force anything. Your cat will appreciate a soft, rhythmic brush with gentle talking and reassurance. Gradually ease your cat into a brushing pattern over a few days, and be sure to reward them at the end of a brushing session to ensure positive associations with this grooming technique!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of our favourite blog readers! Thank you for your support, comments, pictures and stories this year and remember – anything that you want to know or share with us, your emails are always welcome! Email us at with your pictures and stories to have them published here, and with your questions so that our trained pet experts can assist you with everything that you need to know.