Back Problems and Your Pet

Smaller longer bodied dogs like the Dachshund, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, and Beagles are usually more likely to have back problem but back problems can effect most animals they are less prominent in cats but can still occur.

Pain can be caused by several different conditions ranging from cancer to an enlarged prostate. The most common problem is a slipped disc. When the gel-like cushions called discs protect the spinal-chord bulges out putting pressure on the chord causing inflammation of the nerves it can cause pain and other symptoms.

Lower back and neck are most common areas for disc problems to occur. In the lower back they will often arch their back or hold a rigid position. Your pet may be reluctant to move and may even cry out if the spine is flexed and sometimes even touched. The rear legs can become weak or unstable and they may also lose control of their bladder.

The neck area can be stiff causing your pet to hold their head at an odd angle and may also have weakness, instability while also having muscle spasms. Weakness and instability from this area is usually less severe than that of the lower back area.

If you notice any discomfort, stiffness, strange spasms or unexplained actions discuss with your vet so a thorough exam can be done. An x-ray can show any calcification or signs of the narrowing of the discs.

Treatment varies with the severity of the case along with the cause. Usually an anti- inflammatory is used in conjunction with pain medicine and bed rest. Spinal injuries need time and patience to heal.

If it keeps recurring it will sometimes result in a needed surgery to remove the old disc material and long term physical therapy.


Crazy Questions a Pet Sitter Needs To Ask

There are your standard questions that every pet sitter needs to ask before caring for your pet like do they have any allergies? or is your pet other pet friendly? However because of situations that may arise in our day to day adventures we may consider for the safety of you and the pet asking a few crazy and maybe bizarre questions.

1) Has your pet ever jumped out a window? Yes this may seem very odd but have you ever seen a dog like this Bermese Mountain Dog jump out of one of these Cabin Window better

2) Another question may be; does your pet swim? Now this is very important especially if the dog is elderly or just in the habit of darting straight for every body of water known to man.

3) Is your pet in the habit of eating even the smallest of road kill and what actions should you take?

4) Does your pet know or listen to ANY commands? This is very important to clarify especially when you are told they do know simple commands because when the pet is darting off to the body of water completely ignoring your every stay, sit, stop NOOOOOOO command and they are swimming out to where the boats go and you are fully clothed with no means of getting to them if there should be a problem.

5) Does your pet have any problems with a particular gender, color, type of clothing, hat or vehicle or other type of animal?

6) Does your pet experience any kind of anxiety when you leave?

7) Does your pet have an off button? This is essential especially if the pet likes to bark non stop when you arrive even in the middle of the night and the neighbor starts yelling to shut that thing up!

8) Does your pet like to use their paws and mouth for anything other than the obvious? When a large or small animal wraps themselves around one of your limbs and just hangs on and nibbles on you as you try to remove the dangling animal it is important to know how to detach them.

9) Is your pet in the habit of eating acorns? And if they make a meal of this despite your every effort of giving tasty foods what should you do so they do not become sick?

10) Does your pet know their name? Truly? This is important for both recall and locating the pet.

11) This one relates to the last question but in the event your pet likes to play hide and seek…. where would they hide? And yes will they come when called?

12) Does your VERY large pet have small dog syndrome? Do they believe that your lap will hold their entire body and ask what’s wrong with you when they don’t quite fit?

13) Is your pet into sneak attacks? This is very important so that we as pet sitters can be prepared for any leaps and bounds out of no where. It helps us stay on our feet not on our butts.

14) Is your pet in the habit of making chase at the site of anything in particular? Again this keeps us on our feet not being dragged up a hill like a rag doll.

15) Is it normal for your dog to climb things like a cat?

16) Does your pet know how to open doors?

17) Is there a particular ring tone for a phone that freaks your pet out? I do not recommend having the theme song for Nightmare Before Christmas……

18) Does your pet like to roll on their back even when up on a bed, sofa or sofa top where they forget that YES they will roll off and blame you for shoving them instead?

19) Does your pet know how to take a treat gently? And if they need reminding what is the catch phrase other than “g– D@#$ son *& a b*^#@!” ?

20) Does your pet have a habit of pouncing on your child’s ball and popping it freaking them out beyond consoling?

These may seem silly but put them in perspective, the basis of these questions may just save the pet you are watching or at the very least keep you from having heart failure.

Are Cats Loyal?

Meet Taz, Jasmine and Precious, They are the ones that prompted this question and my research into “Are cats loyal or can they be loyal”, it is one of those debates that it depends on who you ask.

Let me start by describing these three and their personalities because I think that even by the end of this some people will still question the possibility. Precious is approximately 13 and a half and I say this because the day she adopted me I had no idea how old she really was, I am thinking she may be older but I will never know.  It was a warm day late in February maybe early March and she was hiding under my car while I was picking up my kids and like an animal sucker that I am had to get her from under the car and of course pat her, but in doing so my children who were quite young at the time had to pat the kitty too. No harm no foul, so I thought.

After getting her to come out, she was a tiny skinny thing, a calico and so very sweet and loving. As we turned to get in the care she sat there and looked at us with the most pitiful face as if to say “where are you going, don’t leave me”, However I had to shake that off and chalk it up to me just being a mush for animals. Little did I realize that was not the case. As we got in the car and started to close the door she came over putting her front paws up on my lap while standing on her hind legs and I tried to explain to her that she had to go home because we had to leave now. But I barely got the sentence out when she jumped up into my care and hid under the dash looking at me with a face that said “please don’t leave me to fend for myself I need you”.

As the story goes, I really did try very hard to find her owners because there was no way that this beautiful and sweet girl could be a feral cat. I went to neighbors of where we happened to be to ask if she was his because there only happened to be at least fifty cats all over his yard and three of them looked identical to Precious. He insisted she was not his. Yeah Right! So being the responsible person I still posted flyers and called local shelters, vets and animal control and was told over and over “no no-one has been looking for this cat but if no one claims her she is yours if you want her”. Guess what? Yeah she came home with me and stayed, but she also had a surprise for me unbeknownst to me.

A few weeks after she made our home hers she started to act funny and was in a cat cubbie we had for my other cats and was acting protective of the space so of course I had to investigate to find out what was going on so I reached in my hand and let out a yelp so loud that I think I woke the dead, the whole while all I could keep saying is “OH MY GOD I think there is a rat in there!”

To say the least is was not a rat but four little kittens born on my son’s birthday! You’ll never guess but gee we just HAD to keep one. OH Mom we HAVE to keep one it is my birthday! So enters Taz, he was the runt of the litter and was the sweetest little thing right from the beginning. He took after his momma. But he also had some mental and health issues. Like any other child you sucked it up because you love them and worked with the hand you were dealt and made accommodations. Besides how could you not help an animal that is helpless and so sweet?

After this I immediately called the vet to arrange an appointment when it was safe to have Precious spayed. Due to the fact that she was originally an out-door cat she was a Houdini about getting out of the house and to say the least she came home pregnant again and second time she looked slightly like she was chunky and when the vet seen her she looked at me and said “I am sorry but we can’t do the procedure because she is pregnant” My face dropped and defeated took her home and sure enough a baby was born but at the time not knowing much about litters of kittens when there was only one I picked up the phone calling the vet in a panic thinking I somehow lost the rest of the litter only to be told that it was common in older cats to only have one kitten. Here enters Jasmine. Again the extremely sweet gene must have run through from Precious. However, Jaz seemed to have a bit of mischief in her.

Now it has been thirteen years since Precious came into my life and there have been adventures along the way. The new additions got along very well with my male cat Zach but not so much with Harriet because Harriet was a very sweet girl but had earned the nick name “the bitch”. I know not very nice but Harriet had a very vindictive side to her and my ex found that out on several occasions when he got on her bad side and peed on his clothes. She NEVER did this to me only to him. She got along well with Jaz almost like Jaz had two Mommas instead of one. She also mothered Taz but Zach took over those responsibilities. Cleaning him, making sure he ate with him, he played with him. You would have thought that Zach was his Daddy but they became the best of friends. So much so that when Zach died suddenly in his old age Taz went into a deep depression that triggered his Diabetes.

Taz was shunned at first from the girls Precious and Jaz, Harriet passed away from old age before this, because of his illness. In case you wonder why, cats follow a very strict survival of the fittest hierarchy. Once we finally got Taz’s diabetes under control the girls finally took him in like family once again. Taz since Zach’s passing has become very attached to his human family. He would follow us around meowing and purring whenever we enter the room. Always wanting to be with his family both humans and cats.

After all of this somewhere in these stories was to show personal experiences with my own cats to show the loyalties but one more about Taz may help you realize that cats are loyal and protect their own.

Taz’s human Dad was folding laundry and Jasmine was in one of her typical feisty moods and kept swatting Dads feet and biting his toes to get him to play. The whole while telling her to stop that hurts, when out of the corner of his eye he sees a black flash of fur running across the room only to pounce right on top of Jasmine saving Daddy!

Unfortunately this is neither hard proof nor scientific proof but what is fact is the fact that cats are very family oriented and their survival instincts are strong while survival of the fittest is part of that hierarchy.