Posted tagged ‘Cats’

Tips for Keeping Pets Safe at Halloween

October 26, 2021

Halloween, while a fun holiday, is also a time to take extra precautions to keep pets safe. Here are some helpful tips from the ASPCA and

Keep all candy out of reach of all pets. I discovered our cat Zombie likes candy corn and also the little chocolate miniature bars, so no more leaving them out in open candy dishes on the table. Make sure trick or treat bags of candy are also safely stashed. A good idea, in case someone manages to still find a forbidden treat, is to keep the ASPCA Poison Control number posted in an easily accessible place, like the refrigerator door. 1-888-426-4435.

If at all possible, keep pets inside in the days leading up to and the day and night of Halloween. There are many tales of animals being mistreated by cruel tricksters. Some may be urban legends, some may be true, but it’s best not to take any chances. Many shelters and rescues will not adopt out black cats right before Halloween for this reason. The many myths surrounding black cats are explained in detail at the Billings Animal Family Hospital website. As the owner of a black cat, I found it interesting to find out why they’ve been so misunderstood and maligned over the ages.

Untended candles and pets can be a recipe for disaster. If lighting up your jack-o-lanterns with candles, make sure to keep them away from pets. Better yet, if the pumpkins are inside, maybe use battery powered tea lites to make them glow.

Make sure pets are not able to escape out the door when greeting trick or treaters by putting them in a separate room or at least blocking their access to that open door. Increased foot and vehicle traffic on Halloween make the outside world unsafe for pets that night.

If your pet likes to dress up, make sure their costume is not constricting and that they can see and also relieve themselves with no trouble. If you plan to take them trick or treating with you, please keep them on a leash of no more than six feet and have some reflective material on their costume. Also, consider how your dog reacts to people in scary masks and costumes. If they are easily intimidated or may become upset perhaps it’s better to leave them home with a special treat of their own.

We all want Halloween to be a safe and fun time for everyone. Taking these few precautions will help keep it that way. 

Looks like maybe Zombie has found a place to hide out till Halloween is over!


Our Pets and COVID 19

May 18, 2020

Well here we are on the fourth month of talking about COVID 19, and the end seems to still be nowhere in sight. There is so much information and misinformation floating around that it’s often hard to tell the difference between what’s true and what isn’t anymore. But here are recent guidelines that have come to us from the Center for Disease Control regarding pets and the novel coronavirus. They were issued after two New York cats and several tigers at the Bronx Zoo tested positive.


  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside your house.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least six feet from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

If you or one of your family members are sick with COVID-19, the CDC recommends doing your best to restrict contact with your pets, just like you would do with people. It also suggests the following:

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
  • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.


There is no doubt the virus has affected pets in other ways, too. Some dogs are afraid of the masks, so it’s a good idea to be mindful of this if you’re approached by a strange dog while wearing a mask. Pets that are used to their owners being home everyday may feel abandoned when people start going back to work, especially if they were adopted or fostered during the pandemic, and could start showing signs of separation anxiety. Pets can pick up on our feelings of frustration, as well, and become anxious themselves or even extra clingy. Don’t be surprised by any unusual behavior but for sure talk to a veterinarian about it and how to best handle it.

Something else reported is the rise in scams of all sorts, and one of them is to steal from those seeking to adopt a new pet. The scammer advertises on a website with pictures of pets that are up for adoption, allowing potential adopters to choose the pet they want. Money is sent and then the adopter waits…for a pet that never arrives because it was all a scam. If you do think this is a good time to bring a new pet into your home and life, please work with local shelters and rescues, and not unfamiliar websites, to help you find that special furry friend. And while many shelters emptied out when folks began to quarantine at home, some are now seeing an uptick in pets coming in due to their owners passing away from the virus, leaving their pets alone. It is all the more reason we should have a plan in place should we become unable to care for them in any case.

Let’s hope that next month there is more cheerful news to report. For now, stay safe and take extra special care of yourselves and the furry members of your family. In the meantime, Sandwich is not too sure about social distancing when it comes to keeping Mom company while she’s writing. But it’s good to have those faithful friends.


Some Simple Things

November 30, 2019

This time of year our thoughts often turn to how thankful we are for the good things in our lives. Do you ever wonder what our pets would tell us they are thankful for, if they could talk? I have to think it would be some of the following: A warm place to sleep at night; a full tummy; fresh water; plenty of hugs and pats on the head; vaccinations that keep them healthy; walks with time to sniff, and the hope they will never have to end up in a shelter or worse yet, alone on the street. If these sound like simple needs, they are, and yet so many animals are not fortunate enough to have even the basics. In this season of thankfulness and giving, be thankful if you are able to provide for your pets and perhaps consider a donation to those animals, who for whatever reason, are left homeless. Some basics that most animal shelters need are laundry soap, bleach, floor cleaner (non-pine-scented please) and air freshener. BOGO items like dry and canned pet food make it easy to donate. When you buy them for your pets, donate the free items.

In the weeks to come, there will be many opportunities to show our love for our furry friends. Most shelters and rescue groups hold holiday parties and are happy to accept donations then. When looking for a new furry friend, remember senior pets can make wonderful companions. They’re past the chewing stage and may already be house-trained. Any one of them would be very thankful for a new home in which to spend their golden years.

As we creep ever closer to winter, please make sure that outside pets have a warm dry shelter and easy access to water that isn’t frozen. Check with your vet about maybe adding extra calories to their diet. When the temperature dips into the single digits, leaving any pet outside can become a dangerous situation for them. Remember, if you’re cold when outside, they’re cold.


From Ace, Foo Foo, Zombie, and Sandwich, a very Happy Holiday Season to all!


The Newcomer

March 19, 2017

His name is Ace and he’s a little over a year old. He’s full of puppy energy and terrier mischief, and now he lives at our house! He came to us from Seven Star Sanctuary and Rescue,  and in just a short time he has become a member of the family. There was a little period of adjustment, as Foo Foo the Pomeranian and the cats Zombie and Sandwich learned to accept the newcomer, but now they are all friends and get along quite well. Sometimes there is a little craziness, as when cats decide to tease and lead Ace on a merry chase around the house. Then mom and dad have to get involved because he hasn’t quite learned how to control himself yet and ends up sitting on a cat. Sometimes there is yelping, when a cat has had enough and puts out a claw, but for the most part it’s all fun and games.
Ace looks forward to walks around the neighborhood and playing in his big backyard. He wasn’t too fond of the snow, but he loves to chase a tennis ball, though he hasn’t yet figured out he’s supposed to bring it back. He also enjoys chewing things, so we try to keep his rawhide bones and toys handy to discourage him from turning to less desirable targets. He’s learning little by little and we just need to have patience. Since we don’t know anything about his background, it’s hard to know what was expected of him in his early months…or not expected. He’s still a bit leery of other dogs, but he’s eager to learn how to fit into his new household.


All in all, he’s a good boy who just wants to be loved, as do all pets, and we’re glad he found his way to us. If you’re looking to add a new pet to your family, please remember to check out local rescues and shelters where many more pets are waiting for their forever homes.

Never a Dull Moment

September 25, 2014

When I was growing up, cats were hardly ever allowed in our house. Since we lived in the country, they were kept as mousers in the barn and I can’t really recall ever having one as a pet. Maybe that was because, as outside cats, they unfortunately didn’t have very long lifespans.
Fast forward to the time when suddenly cats wandered in from seemingly nowhere or were dropped off at our house by people who no longer wanted them. We cared for the ones we could, others we took to the humane society. It was always sad to have to do that, but it was better than leaving them to wander about the countryside. Then there were the kittens brought home by my kids when the strays stopped showing up. One of them produced a litter of six kittens when we didn’t have her spayed in time and she managed to escape to answer nature’s call. We were able to find good homes for them all, but that was the last time any of our cats multiplied. Not wanting to add to the cat overpopulation in the world, we made sure to have them spayed or neutered as soon as they were old enough. It really did seem to be the best way to make sure they lived longer, healthier lives. It also made them much pleasanter pets to have around the house.
The cats we have now were all rescues in one way or another. Spider was a shelter kitten who came to us as a skinny youngster. He is now going on 15 and it’s easy to tell that his favorite time of day is dinnertime and that dinnertime should be all day long. He’s never been outside much (except inside the fence he’s too old and creaky to climb) and if he’s not eating he’s probably napping. In spite of his love of food, he’s managed to live longer than any of the other pets that we had when he first came to live with us. He’s repaid us by ridding the house of mice on a few occasions, although we often joke that he may have just laid on them and smashed them.
The other two, Zombie and Sammie, were rescued from the streets as babies and now live a pretty cushy existence. Of course they would love to once again escape into the wilds and they often sit in the window or at the sliding door and look longingly at the outside world. I would like to construct what is known as a catio or cat patio for them where they could spend some time in the yard without worry of them disappearing, but as inside cats they have a much better chance of living as long as old Spider.
Maybe because they are inside cats they are most definitely people oriented. They love to be with us and never get tired of sleeping on a lap, sharing a recliner or simply hanging out wherever there is people action going on in the house. Of course that sometimes means cats lying on your laptop when you’re trying to work, cats thinking they should share your snacks, and a paw in your face in the morning when it’s past breakfast time. There is the plus side of never having a dull moment and never getting lonely, but every now and then I can’t help but find myself saying, “Please, just give me a dull moment!” I’m sure anyone who is owned by a cat finds them self saying the same thing.



Keeping the Peace

September 24, 2013

kitty in a basketAs anyone who lives in a multi-pet household knows, it is sometimes a little like living in a zoo, or with small children. The best way to keep things running smoothly is to keep to a schedule as much as possible. If mealtimes, backyard play, walks, and downtime are pretty much done at the same time every day, it all seems to go much better. Pets come to expect things to happen at the same time and if they don’t, it can become chaotic. Since our dogs have a large, fenced-in backyard to run around in, we usually only walk once a day. Recently, I had the thought that with the weather turning cooler and in the interest of getting more exercise, we should add a second walk. While Zeke and Foo weren’t averse to going, they did seem a bit confused. “Why are we getting leashes on now? Why isn’t Dad here? (Zeke only likes to walk with him.) Are we going for a car ride? When they found out it was only for a walk, they decided to spend most of it stopping to sniff and let everyone else know they’d been in that spot. We didn’t get far and they were more than willing to turn around and head home. Wrong time of day for a walk I guess. So much for exercise.

We are fortunate to have pets that get along together quite well. Sometimes dogs have a spat over a chewy (we both want the same one) or Foo is just so excited she has to pick on Zeke, who does his best to ignore her. It usually sounds worse than it is, but Mom still has to restore law and order. I’m glad the cats get along the best because I have no desire to ever wade into a cat fight. Ever. I’ve seen one and it was not pretty. Cats have claws and humans rarely come out on the plus side of a cat fight. But these guys are pretty cool with one another, and even Spider who was the lone cat for many years, is tolerant of the younger ones’ antics. Tolerance is probably the key word in having more than one pet. The pets not only have to learn to tolerate but humans do too. Sometimes things will get a little chaotic, but if animals come to understand what’s expected at certain times of the day, it does help a lot to keep the peace.

The September issue of the Animal Aid newsletter is now online. You can find it at In 2014, this local rescue group will celebrate 35years of rescuing and re-homing pets. Please check out their website for more about them and what they do.

Those Darn Cats

August 21, 2013



By Zeke Kubash

 August is half over already, and it’s been a busy summer for this Jack Russell. As usual, I’ve done my best to keep the squirrels and bunnies on the run, especially when they visit the bird feeders. After all, I am saving Mom some dollars when I don’t let those critters hog all that expensive bird seed. My favorite thing to do when chasing those troublesome squirrels is to run along when they’re doing their high wire act, waiting and hoping one of them will fall. It hasn’t happened yet. The bunny likes to visit under cover of darkness, and he’s pretty good at finding that spot where he wiggles under the fence to escape. But I’ve given him a good run for his money a few times. My sister Foo Foo is a faithful companion who often helps me in the chase but sometimes just stands on the porch and cheers me on. She’s a good little cheerleader, that Foo Foo.

I guess the thing that keeps me the most on my toes is the cats are back. Yes, Zombie and Sandwich, those two irascible rascals, have come to stay at our house for a while (perhaps a long while) and it’s given Foo and I a new responsibility—keeping them in line. You see, Foo and I both grew up knowing only one other cat in our lives, Spider, and to put it mildly, he doesn’t and never did get around much. He’s one of those cats that just like to hang out and visit his food dish and lay on Dad’s shoes when he’s not wearing them. He’s caught a few mice in his time, but that’s been some time ago. At his age, I’m not sure he could move fast enough to catch one anymore. These other two guys are something else. They want to be in on everything that is going on, be it Mom cleaning house or working at her computer or Dad reading the newspaper or watching TV. They want to watch the water go down the drain, for Pete’s sake! They want to “help” with whatever is happening, run up and down the stairs, back and forth through the house, sneak out into the garage, and then crash with whoever is sitting at the moment. Foo and I have found it necessary to become snitches, if you will, and let Mom know when something inappropriate is going on.  It’s a tough job but we’re up to it, and the guys do provide some amusement when we are otherwise stuck in the house.

You might remember that Sandwich is a bit disabled with only three legs, but you’d never know it by the way he races around the place. He does move rather like an inchworm, though, and can curl up in some small spots. I guess Sandwich was a good name for him, because he can “sandwich” himself in just about anywhere. Zombie wants attention, now, this minute, and all the time. He has become Mom’s new little buddy, or should I say pest? Both cats like to sit in the window sill and watch what’s happening outside. I’m sure if they could help us chase those pesky squirrels they’d be glad to do it, but Mom says the guys are safer staying in the house. She knows she’d have a hard time catching them if they did get out.

So summer is racing by and the days are getting shorter, but for Zeke the Jack Russell life is never boring and it’s always on to the next adventure.