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help-shelter-pets-cofounder-dj-geribo-with-her-pomeranians-and-their-cousin-webOn July 3 (Jim's and my anniversary), my sister's little dog, Jasmine, aka Jassy, passed away. She was the sweetest little Papillon and I was very sad to hear of this news. I had just seen her on Monday of that week. She had been diagnosed with collapsing trachea the previous year but apparently an enlarged heart is what finally did in her little body. She was always the best girl and had tail wags and kisses to greet you. She was beyond adorable when, at Christmas, she pranced around in her "Christmas dress" fully aware of how cute she was - the applause and laughter she got were probably a clue, too.


Jassy was almost 11 1/2 years old. She left us way too soon and she will be greatly missed.




Jassie with red sweater when she was a pup.



MoneycatTerriGsI recently read an article in the Huffington Post that talked about a 'new study' that was conducted to find out who was smarter, dog people or cat people. I always question these studies, and ask questions like, who paid for it, and what did they want to find out, and why? Who actually benefits from this study? As someone who loves both dogs and cats, (we have dogs, no cats, only because my husband is allergic) my intellectual abilities were not in danger, so I read on.

The survey, based on the findings of 600 college students, found that cat people tended to be introverts and therefore stayed home and read a book with their cat curled up in their laps. They were also considered to be more open-minded than dog lovers and more sensitive, tending to be non-conformists and people who did not follow the rules.  Dog people were more extroverted, getting out to walk their dogs and socialize more with others. They were more outgoing and tended to follow the rules more closely (not sure how that conclusion was made.) Dog lovers were looking for companionship from their pets and cat lovers wanted affection. People may also choose pets based on their own personalities. Cats are seen as more independent and keep to themselves.

This study sounds more to me like it is determining not so much if cat people are "smarter" than dog people but if cat people are more introverted than dog people. And based on what I read in this article and the findings that they shared, I would say that is a yes! Also, one would have to wonder, do these findings change once we leave college?

(Yes, he is on top of a cabinet, head next to the ceiling - looks pretty introverted to me!)


Kitsu Lounging in BedWhenever you ask someone how old their dog is in human years, they are likely to figure it out based on the old formula of 1 year for a dog equals 7 human years. This isn't really true though. It is actually based more on the kind of dog it is. Most of us know that small dogs live much longer than big dogs, with 10 years for an Irish Wolfhound or Great Dane being old age. But for a much smaller dog, 10 years is more like middle age and they have many more years to go, as long as you give them a reasonable amount of exercise and a diet better suited for seniors. I've had Pomeranians, mostly, and my Kameko, at 12 1/2 is still playful and does a 2 mile walk, with hills, without barely breaking a sweat. When a friend, a few months ago, asked us her age we said, 11. He asked, 11 months? At the time she was running around his office, barking, and greeting everyone who paid her just the tiniest bit of attention.

As for cats, since there isn't the size difference thing that there is with dogs, there is a formula that pretty much works for determining their age. Once cats are into young adulthood, say two years old, you can add four years for every year of life so that a four-year-old cat will be about 32 human years and an eight-year-old cat will be about 48 human years. And as with dogs, keeping your cat on a healthy diet with minimal treats and a fair amount of exercise will help them survive into old age (that's 20 years, or 96 in human years).

brittany-original-5x7-acrylic-painting-by-dj-geriboIs your pet having trouble climbing the stairs? Or going for a walk? Or jumping up on the sofa? If your pet is at an age where she is now considered a senior, it could be a touch of arthritis that is holding her back. If your pet is fairly young and healthy, it could be a weight problem.

We know that when we are putting on the pounds that we need to lose, not only to feel better and to climb those stairs without huffing and puffing at the top, but because we know it is better for our general health to lose the extra weight, when we start an exercise program we begin to see and feel the changes in our bodies. Well, it works the same way for our pets. These days, most people have busy lives and are constantly on the go: working, playing with kids, driving kids to practice, shopping, house cleaning, sports activities, etc.  The list is long. All of that running around keeps us in pretty good shape. But think what you would look like if you layed around all day, eating and napping, with minimal exercise. Well, that is what your pet's life is like.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), "An estimated 54% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese." (57.6% of cats and 52.6% of dogs) Although certain breeds are susceptible to obesity (Labrador, Cairn Terrier, Dachshund, Basset Hound, and Beagle, for example - there aren't any cat breeds that are predisposed to obesity) female and middle-aged animals are at risk, also. Bad diets, obviously, are largely responsible for the majority of overweight animals. Neutering also increases the risk. And lack of exercise, as I mentioned above, plays a large part in a pet's overall health.

Feeding a diet that is lower in fat and higher in fiber along with an increased exercise plan are two steps you can take to get your pet on the right track. Also, a pet that is overweight could have a health problem, such as a low thyroid level or another disease. If your pet has any symptoms that might lead you to believe there is a weight problem, consult with your veterinarian to set up a proper diet and exercise program.

Orangecatinwindow2If you have a male cat, you've probably experienced their territorial rite of spraying. As I was moving out of an apartment many years ago, a neighbor's cat wandered into our place, walked through the rooms, and proceeded to spray a beautiful framed 18x24 photograph my husband had given me one year as a Christmas present. I was quite upset because not only was there no way to fix the damage but I did not think something like this would happen. We did have a cat in heat while we were living here and so her odor, I'm sure, was still spread around. But I had never witnessed this action from a male cat before (I grew up with a male cat in our home but he was an outdoor cat and again, I never saw him spray).

I recently read an article about cats spraying and found that yes, this is a territorial thing, especially if there was a cat in the home (could even have lived there before you). If your cat is having difficulty urinating and is instead missing the litter box, this could indicate another problem. Your cat could have bladder inflamation or cystitis. If the cat is older, arthritis could be making it difficult for your cat to urinate, especially if she is in a lot of pain. As always, consult with your vet if you suspect there may be a problem.




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