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Taking Care of Our Pets: Simple Solutions to Common Problems

Taking Care of Pets the Holistic Way: Simple Solutions to Common Problems

There are often easy answers and simple solutions for some of the most common problems associated with owning a pet.

Laura Simpson and the Global Psychics Team offer some valuable insights on taking the holistic approach to caring for our animals and for nature.

Squirmy Cats and Kitty Love Bites

Dear Laura, Thank you for the reading on Smokey. I was looking for reassurance that she’s happy with us. She’s not vocal at all and is sometimes hard to “read”. She doesn’t like to be picked up and cuddled but does like to be stroked and will sit on your lap but it’s very much on her terms. I was wondering if she hadn’t been petted much as a kitten and wasn’t comfortable with it?

She’s also a little skittish. I’m not sure if this is just kitten play or she’s been frightened by something at some point. She came to us at 8 months old and is now just over 2.

She doesn’t suck on my fingers, it really is a nibble which can turn into a full scale bite when she gets too enthusiastic. A simple “no” usually stops her.

Can you give me clarification on the above? Carole

Smokey is an ultra sensitive cat. This problem is actually more common than folks realize. Most people just think the cat is a bit stuck up and don’t recognize that there is actually a physical problem. When Smokey’s touched, there is a current that she feels when she is cuddled that is uncomfortable for her. When she chooses touch, she is prepared for the energy and knows it is with love. Some cats are wired like this. It does not come from past trauma. I have a cat like this whom I got at 2 1/2 weeks old. I had to bottle feed her and her brother. I know what’s happened to her every day since. But she struggles and shows her discomfort if I try to pick her up. In fact, she did this as a baby when I held her in my hand and tried to cuddle with her after her feedings. So, be patient with her, try to send her a telepathic warning message ahead of time, when you want to touch her, then give her a chance to adjust. Many cats will squirm and move away when you first approach, but if you give them a chance to come back on their own terms, they will often accept at least a few good loving strokes – most of them want it, but because at first it is physically uncomfortable, so they need a chance to settle and relax with you – in their way.

The nibbles that can turn to a bite are kitty love bites. This is an instinctive reaction. It sounds like you’ve figured out the sign that lets you know when “the chomp” is coming. It’s not in meanness, it’s just part of the animal’s survival mechanism. It’s connected to the mating triggers. The male and females often fight and bite each other after mating. They are a wild bunch! Some cats will use these little love bites to get your attention – this is the way they would get the attention of another animal, especially one of their parents, offspring or siblings, so it is a natural way for them to communicate with us. But most cats can’t help themselves when it comes to these little kitty bites… if you pet them in certain places – like their bellies, after a time, they just have to react. Sometimes these are warning bites, telling you to back off from a sore spot, but most often they are simply reacting on instinct. Hope this helps clarify. Love, Laura

Pet Rivalry

We have two cats–Buddy was about 3 weeks old when a friend found him in a housing project and brought him to us; Magic was at the Humane Society and we adopted her. Buddy is mainly white and Magic is a tuxedo cat. Buddy is social and outgoing, Magic “disappears” whenever people come over. We had Buddy for about 2 months before we adopted Magic. Buddy is bonded with me and Magic is bonded with my partner. Sometime Buddy pounces Magic and appears to be aggressive with her. I spray him with water and spank him. I hate doing this, and I need to know how to ask him to stop this behavior. When he does it for an extended amount of time, Magic seems to get depressed. My partner and I both work and we have separated them in different parts of the house when we leave, but I don’t think either cat likes this arrangement. What do I do with Buddy? Belle

You need to stay out of their tiff! By becoming involved you escalate the tension. Save the water bottle for when they jump on the counter or claw the furniture!

By spraying Buddy for the behavior you’ve made Magic become an easy victim for Buddy to get negative attention. You need to let them work it out and leave the room! You might hear a lot of screaming and caterwauling, or you may hear nothing. Why nothing? Because you and your partner aren’t there for Buddy’s entertainment.

Cats won’t kill each other over affection shown to others, which is the crux of the whole matter. When you, Buddy’s person, attack him with the water as he exerts his dominance (which is a normal behavior), you have told him you care for Magic more by “defending” her from his play and jousting. They may well become friends and curl up together if left on their own to work out the pecking order. cats can become quite comfortable in community when they are allowed to work out their own rules.

Give it a try. You and your partner go for a walk and let them work out their differences. Love, Laura

Dogs Who Don’t Travel Well

There are some simple solutions to make your car rides more enjoyable for everyone, including the dog….

Bear uses a “frantic” whine and tries to get as close as possible to either the driver or the front seat passenger. On their lap would be “best” but he is a 100 lb. male! We do need to take him in the car on occasion or he won’t be able to go to his boat (which he loves). Help. please, Diane

I would try either a dog seat belt, which you could find in a pet catalog or a cage partition – like the cops have, to save Bear from himself. He a dangerous rider in a vehicle! KV Vet Supply is a good source of quality pet products that are affordable. Their number is 800-423-8211. I know they have the dog seat belt and partitions.

Also, talk to Bear about where you are going, send him images of the boat and his being comfortable on the boat. Send him a lot of pink and green light – represents love and should tend to calm him. I am picking up several interesting bits from Bear tonight, will be keen to know if any of these fit or help… here’s a list of things he says you can do to help him:

  • There’s some music you play that he especially likes, he says if you play it in the car, it might help to distract him.
  • Be clear with him about where you are going… and try to take the same route there every time…. he says he gets confused in the car; sometimes you take him to a place he doesn’t like much, he’s never sure where you’re going… and sometimes when he’s sure you’re going to the boat, he gets so excited he can’t contain himself. He wants you to stop more often.
  • The biggest thing is that he doesn’t feel secure in the car, and I think the cage/partition may be the best idea, it will give me a sense of security, a space that’s all his own.

That said, he says he can’t promise to be good, cars scare him. (You might try to avoid heavy traffic areas, slower routes.) The best thing is for him to feel someone close to him, so if you should use the partition, be sure there’s someone close by to pat him regularly. Given the strength of what seems to be a very real phobia, it would not surprise me if Bear had been in a car accident in some previous incarnation.

Try some Rescue Remedy for his Hysteria in the car or go to the herb store and pick up some valarian tincture in glycerine, not alcohol. Another solution would be the Calms Homeopathic formula. They are a natural solution and non toxic. It’s worth a try only in combination with the seat restraint when you feel you need to travel with him. He does like the boat but not the car. Hope this helps, Laura

How To Bathe A Cat

By Jeffery LaCroix

(Note: Jeffery LaCroix is a veterinarian with an office in Wilmington. He writes a column for the Morning Star called “From Paws to Tails.” Here is his response to a letter regarding bathing a cat:)

Dear Dr. LaCroix: I’ve heard that cats never have to be bathed, and that they have some sort of special enzyme in their saliva that keeps them clean. This doesn’t sound believable to me because there are definite “kitty” odors on my couch and dirty cat paw prints on our white hearth. Is this true about the saliva? If we do decide to give “Nice Kitty” a bath, how do we do that? – NSP, Wilmington

Fortunately for you, several years ago a client gave me a written set of instructions about cat bathing which I am privileged to share with you:

Cat Bathing As A Martial Art

Know that although the cat has the advantage of quickness and lack of concern for human life, you have the advantage of strength. Capitalize on that advantage by selecting the battlefield. Don’t try to bathe him in an open area where he can force you to chase him. Pick a very small bathroom. If your bathroom is more than four feet square, I recommend that you get in the tub with the cat and close the sliding-glass doors as if you were about to take a shower. (A simple shower curtain will not do. A berserk cat can shred a three-ply rubber shower curtain quicker than a politician can shift positions.)

  • Know that a cat has claws and will not hesitate to remove all the skin from your body. Your advantage here is that you are smart and know how to dress to protect yourself. I recommend canvas overalls tucked into high-top construction boots, a pair of steel-mesh gloves, an army helmet, a hockey face-mask, and a long-sleeved flak jacket.
  • Use the element of surprise. Pick up your cat nonchalantly, as if to simply carry him to his supper dish. (Cats will not usually notice your strange attire. They have little or no interest in fashion as a rule.)
  • Once you are inside the bathroom, speed is essential to survival. In a single liquid motion, shut the bathroom door, step into the tub enclosure, slide the glass door shut, dip the cat in the water and squirt him with shampoo. You have begun one of the wildest 45 seconds of your life.
  • Cats have no handles. Add the fact that he now has soapy fur, and the problem is radically compounded. Do not expect to hold on to him for more than two or three seconds at a time. When you have him, however, you must remember to give him another squirt of shampoo and rub like crazy. He’ll then spring free and fall back into the water, thereby rinsing himself off. (The national record for cats is three latherings, so don’t expect too much.)
  • Next, the cat must be dried. Novice cat bathers always assume this part will be the most difficult, for humans generally are worn out at this point and the cat is just getting really determined. In fact, the drying is simple compared with what you have just been through. That’s because by now the cat is semi-permanently affixed to your right leg. You simply pop the drain plug with your foot, reach for your towel and wait. (Occasionally, however, the cat will end up clinging to the top of your army helmet. If this happens, the best thing you can do is to shake him loose and to encourage him toward your leg.) After all the water is drained from the tub, it is a simple matter to just reach down and dry the cat.

In a few days the cat will relax enough to be removed from your leg. He will usually have nothing to say for about three weeks and will spend a lot of time sitting with his back to you. He might even become psychoceramic and develop the fixed stare of a plaster figurine.

You will be tempted to assume he is angry.

This isn’t usually the case.

As a rule he is simply plotting ways to get through your defenses and injure you for life the next time you decide to give him a bath.

But at least now he smells a lot better.

On Giving Your Pet a Pill

How To Give A Cat A Pill:
  • Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat’s mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.
  • Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.
  • Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.
  • Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right fore-finger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.
  • Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.
  • Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat’s throat vigorously.
  • Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.
  • Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.
  • Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply band-aid to spouse’s forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.
  • Retrieve cat from neighbor’s shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.
  • Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus jab. Throw Tee-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.
  • Ring fire brigade to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil-wrap.
  • Tie cat’s front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.
  • Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.
  • Arrange for SPCA to collect cat and ring local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.
How To Give A Dog A Pill:

1) Wrap it in bacon. (Or almost anything else.)

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