winter

Winter Weather Tips to Help Community Cats

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Community cats (feral and stray cats) are pretty resilient, but they can definitely use help getting through the cold winter months. “Cats live and thrive outdoors in all kinds of climates,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “But a little extra help during the winter months can go a long way for protecting community cats.”

The following tips to make outdoor life more comfortable for community cats are offered courtesy of Alley Cat Allies:Continue Reading

Ruby’s Reflections: Tooth Brushing

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Hey you guys – it’s Ruby! It’s been too long since I’ve written something here!

I’m having the best winter. Normally in the winter, our windows are closed most of the time, but it’s been so mild here lately that there have been many days when Mom could leave the windows open for part of the day. Allegra and I enjoy the breeze wafting in while we sit on our window perches. We both love the one in the bedroom, because on sunny days, it’s in the sun almost the entire afternoon.

Since we both love that perch so much, we alternate between it and the bed. We’re good sisters! I know Mom wishes that we’d just figure out how to cuddle on it together, but if you ask me, that’s a little too much togetherness. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sister, but I love her just fine at a slight distance.Continue Reading

Allegra’s World: Losing Power

We’ve had some excitement around here since I last wrote!  I was just going about my business yesterday when all of a sudden, there was this loud noise against the windows, roof, and side of the house.  I know what heavy rain sounds like, and I don’t like it at all, but this was worse!  Mom said it was sleet, she said it’s what happens when it gets so cold that the rain freezes.  I don’t know what freezing is, but I do know that that noise scared me, and I hid under the sofa.  As if that wasn’t enough, there was thunder, too!

But that wasn’t all.  When I finally came out from under the sofa and looked out the window, there was white stuff falling from the sky!  A lot of it.  Mom said it’s called snow.  I watched it fall, and everything outside changed really fast.  All I could see was white!   Lots of big white flaky things swirling around!   I tried to catch them, but my paw kept bumping against the window, so after a while, it stopped being fun.

And then, all of a sudden, just after I had finished my dinner, our whole house went dark, and very very quiet.  It was really strange.  This was a different kind of dark from how it gets dark when Mom and I go to bed.  Mom brought out a flashlight.  Oh, it was a new game!  I love flashlights!  I love chasing the dot of light!  Wee!!!  But she didn’t seem in a mood to play with me at all.  I didn’t understand, and chased the flashlight dot anyway, but it wasn’t as much fun because Mom wasn’t having fun.

Mom said that we lost our power.  I don’t know what this power is, but it seemed to upset Mom that it was gone.  She said there was nothing else to do but go to bed.  Silly Mom.  It was too early to go to bed!  I went back into the living room to look out the big window.  It was getting whiter and whiter out there.  All of a sudden, there was a really loud crack that sent me running for cover.  It got Mom out of bed, too.  I was wondering whether she would come hide under the sofa with me, but after she looked out the window, she said it was just a pine branch that broke off the tree outside.  She said I shouldn’t worry, we were purrfectly safe inside.  I decided to stay under the sofa just a big longer anyway.  Just to make sure.

Meanwhile, the house was getting colder and colder, and I went to join Mom in bed.  I figured she was probably cold, too, and maybe I could help warm her up a little.  I know she loves when I sleep right next to her, so I snuggled up with her.

A few hours later, Mom and I woke up to the sound of the heat coming on.  I felt Mom relax, and we both went back to sleep.  Then a horrible scraping noise outside woke me up – it sounded like the big scary trucks that come by our house a lot, only a hundred times worse!  Mom said it was a snow plow, and that it was moving some of the white stuff out of the way, and that I didn’t need to be afraid, but I wasn’t having any of it and I hid under the bed for a while.

Eventually, I jumped back on the bed to be with Mom.  When it started getting light out, we got up, and everything looked different!  So much white!  It almost hurt my eyes, it was so bright.  Mom said she had to go outside and shovel so that she could go away in her car.  I don’t like when she goes away in her car, so I told her she should just stay inside with me, but she went outside anyway.  When she came back inside, she was really tired, and mumbled something about being so over winter.  I don’t know what that means, but I was glad she was back inside with me.

But the best part of this white stuff so far has been that there are way more birds at our birdfeeder than ever before.  I’m having so much fun watching them!  I wish I could figure out how to catch them!  But that would mean I’d have to go outside, and I’m too smart for that.  I know that I’m a lucky kitty because I don’t have to be out in the snow and cold like those birds.

So that’s what was happening at my house.  Did any of you get that white stuff at your house, too?

Winter Health Tips for Your Pets

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Do you enjoy winter and love to play in the snow, or would you rather curl up in front of a warm fireplace with your favorite feline?  Regardless of your preferences for this cold season, being aware of the challenges this time of year can bring for your pets can help keep them safe all winter long.

1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.

2.  During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.

3. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm – dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.

4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.

5. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.

6. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.

8.  Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him in tip-top shape.

9. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Poison Control Center for more information.