American Bobtail

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American Bobtails have only been around for the last 40 years. They are rugged-looking, sturdy, medium-to-large sized cats named after their bobbed tails. Their coats can either be short and dense or long and shaggy. Male Bobtails can easily reach 15 pounds in weight! (Females are slightly smaller.)

American Bobtails do not originate from wild bobcats or lynx. A male brown tabby kitten with a bobtail was found on an Indian reservation in the Southwest United States in the late 1960s. He was bred with a long-tailed (normal) female. This first litter formed the basis for the breed and the bobbed tails are a naturally occurring genetic “flaw.”

Owners describe Bobtails as “fun, friendly, talkative and amazing climbers.” American Bobtails make an excellent addition to any family because they make great companions for other pets (dogs too!) and children.

Airedale Terrier

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Group: Terrier

Size: 40 – 65 pounds

Colors: black and tan or grizzle and tan

Health problems: hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, gastric dilatation-volvulus

Life span: Up to 12 years.

Named for the valley of Aire in England, the Airedale terrier developed from a smaller terrier that is now extinct (the Waterside or Bingley terrier).

Originally Airedale terriers were hunters, messengers or guard dogs.

The largest terrier in the world, Airedales are full of energy, very brave, square in stature with deep chests. Smart and protective, Airedales can become unsociable and unruly without proper patient and consistent training. However, they do better with older children.

Airedales have wiry top coats with a soft undercoat. They are not known to shed excessively, but their coats do require a lot of attention — regular haircuts and brushing.

With a high energy level, Airedales require a lot of exercise. The more you can handle, the better. Keep in mind, with this high level of physical activity requirement, they also need the same amount of mental stimulation.

Common Behavior Problems and Solutions (Cats)

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URINE SPRAYING
There is still much debate on the purpose of urine spraying, but it is generally considered to be a form of territorial marking behavior. The thing is when another cat smells the markings, the cat doesn’t retreat. (So stop doing it!!) It is very normal for outdoors cats to spray. But if your feline is an indoor cat, there’s a problem with him: he doesn’t feel secure, is experiencing stress or there may be a health problem that requires diagnosis. Common problems causing indoor elimination are actually the litter boxes: they’re too dirty, there aren’t enough or there’s a problem with the placement of them. If this is the problem, this is the easy to fix. The first thing to do is to take your cat to the vet and get a checkup to rule out a medical condition. If not, tinker with the litter box placements or try adding more. If that’s not the problem, it’s best to find a behaviorist and try to get to the bottom of the problem behavior.

SOILING INDOORS

If a cat is ill, trapped in a room or suddenly frightened, usually this will be a one-time problem. If this is becoming a chronic problem, you need to get your car to a vet because there is most likely a health problem somewhere.

Punishment (for soiling or spraying) is never the answer; your cat will only become more fearful and make the problem worse. Putting down deterrents will only cause him to move to a new location. The only solution is a vet visit.

SCRATCHING

Scratching can be another form of marking territory. There are scent and sweat glands between the pads of the feet that mix and produce a unique smell. It can be a sign that kitty wants to play or wants some attention. Of course, cats also scratch to sharpen their claws. Generally, if the majority of scratching occurs around windows or doors, your car is experiencing insecurity. The easiest way to deal with scratching is to provide plenty of scratching posts. If your cat is kept strictly indoors, trimming his nails can help this problem as well.

AGGRESSION BETWEEN CATS

In a multi-cat household, there will always exist a potential bully. When a “victim” responds to the threats, the more the “bully” will engage in aggression. The best way to handle strife is to remove the primary trigger of the aggression. If your cats are simply incompatible, you’re going to have to take steps to re-introduce them as though one cat is new to the household. Ensure that each cat has its own water and food dish, litter box, toys, bed, scratching post, etc.  is a necessity whether your cats get along or not. (Competing for the “best” resources can trigger aggression.) If these don’t help, consult a cat behaviorist.

Keep in mind that all adult cats continue to engage in play fighting (like they did as kittens). Play fighting is usually silent, happens in bursts, claws are retracted and any biting is done gently. It can escalate to include hissing. You can tell the difference by observing the cats during “normal” times. If there doesn’t exist a level of tension regularly between them, they probably engage in play fighting.

AGGRESSION TO HUMANS

Cats aren’t naturally aggressive. If they’re acting aggressive, it’s usually a sign of an emotional disturbance. The first thing to do is to take your cat to the vet to rule out a physical cause. The next step may be to take your cat to a behaviorist. However, if your cat is only aggressive with you at playtime, you’re probably playing too rough. (This type of play actually encourages aggression.) Play gentler games and whenever he gets aggressive, stop playing. If your cat hisses at you when you approach, he’s afraid. The best thing to do is let your cat initiate contact and keep your responses brief in reply to him. When your cat has had enough, he will leave; don’t take it personally. Don’t force social situations on him, if he wants to stay hidden, let him hide.

Perhaps aggressive cats didn’t receive enough human socialization during kittenhood. You can retrain an adult cat, but it’s a slow process that requires time, patience and dedication — and consists 100% of going at your cat’s pace, but it is possible.

OVER-GROOMING

If your cat has bald spots, he most likely is suffering from a skin condition or is in pain. Take him to his vet for a checkup. If there isn’t a medical cause, it’s possible your cat may be under some stress. Your best bet is to take him to a behaviorist to help you identify the stressors.

PICA

For many Siamese, Burmese, Tonkinese and Oriental breeds, there may be a genetic component; for some reason, these breeds enjoy “wool eating.” Pica is described as consumption of non-edible materials. Any ingestion of any material can cause obstructions in the intestine which will require surgery. It is quite possible for a cat to recover fully but they most likely will continue to engage in pica. Make sure that you’re providing as stimulating an environment inside as you can. If it’s feasible, let your cat outside into a secure garden or fenced in area outside. Remove any materials that your cat consumes. Switch to a high fiber diet or provide your cat with softened hide sticks dipped in fish oil for your cat to chew on.

It is also possible that there is a medical condition like hyperthyroidism, feline infectious peritonitis (a fatal viral disease) or cancer. A vet check-up should be your first step.

BEREAVEMENT

Some cats who had no particular bond may not show any symptoms, while other cats make it painfully obvious. There are generally three stages of feline bereavement. The first stage is usually very brief where the cat actively looks for the deceased. They may vocalize more and may sniff while walking from room to room. In the second stage, cats tend to become withdrawn or inactive. Some cats may develop appetite loss. The third is acceptance. Your cat may permanently change his habits. He may become more friendly and attentive (or less) and other resident cats who may not have actively grieved may “blossom” after a housemate’s death. In a multi-cat household, feline hierarchies may change. Unfortunately, there’s nothing really we can do, it’s best to let your cat figure it out and work through his grief on his own time. The only intervention needed is to ensure that your cat does eat if he experiences appetite loss.

ANXIETY

Unfortunately, most baseline anxiety is an inherited trait and the amount of human socialization that kitten gets in infancy will play a role in the cat’s level of anxiousness as an adult. You can’t change genetics or the circumstances in the past, but if you have an adult scaredy cat, the best thing to do is to act naturally and be relaxed with him. Let him dictate your relationship, let him seek you out. Give your fraidy cat an air of “invisibility,” let him move freely without focusing your attention on him.

If you’re in a new relationship and your cat is fearful of your partner, you can “bribe” the cat into a relationship with treats. Go slowly and be patient. Never force your cat to do anything he’s not comfortable with, he needs to feel in control.

There are synthetic pheromones that can be sprayed throughout your home to help him if he’s nervous or in your carrier when he has to go to the vet. However, if it’s a sudden change in behavior, there could be a medical cause and he’ll need to have a check-up.

If you would like to avoid contacting a behaviorist (due to the cost), but would like the advice of one, check out the book The Cat Whisperer, written by Mieshelle Nagelschneider, a cat behaviorist; it’s a wonderful book full of how to help your cat with common behavior issues. In fact, the books covers all the problems listed here and provides a multitude of solutions. Proven solutions that work!

Abyssinian

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Looking at an Abyssinian is like looking at an ancient Egyptian cat. The exact history of Abyssinians are shrouded in mystery. Abyssinians are the oldest breed of cat and is assumed to be one of the earliest descendants from the African wildcat, the ancestor to all domestic breeds of cats.

Abyssinians are medium sized cats that move with lithe and grace and have long, slim, well-defined muscular legs. Abyssinians have slightly rounded heads with big ears. They are lively and active. If you provide ample play, they will love you for life. But don’t expect an Abyssinian to be a lap cat. Abyssinians LOVE water.

They are very interested in all that goes on around them. Abysinnians want to participate in your activities and will reward you with so much love and affection.

Pippy’s Career

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In Pippy’s bio in the “Stars” section, I mentioned how Pippy would make a great race car driver because of the speed that he races through the house when that particular mood strikes him. But, Pippy also has another career option available to him. He would make a great ear doctor, not so much an ear, nose and throat, nope, Pippy would specialize in just ears. Here’s why.

He spends a great deal of time cleaning other cat’s ears. His favorite bonding activity with his late older brother Boots was to clean his ears. Without Boots, that hasn’t stopped Pippy from cleaning ears. He regularly engages in the activity still. Sometimes I wonder if he’s disappointed that no one (since Boots is gone) returns the favor and cleans his for him….

Cooper Reflects on His First Year

Snowy Cooper
I recently had my very first birthday. My Mom gave me a big bone and a hug. She makes me happy. It did get me thinking about the past year I have had….
When I was small I remember meeting my people parents for the first time, I was sooo excited to meet them that I ran right up to the man and nibbled his toes; I wanted them to pick me over my puppy sister and brothers because I knew these were my people. (It worked too because they picked me.)
My people parents are awesome! They always say how cute I am. I am a beautiful boy, my mommy says. My daddy is a bit more strict with rules but I have learned that if I look at him with my eyes he can’t be mad at me anymore. They play with me all the time with all my toys. I go for walks with them; some are long and some are short. I love car rides now that I am old enough to look out the window (but only when we drive slow). I can smell so many different things when I sniff out of them and my ears flap in the breeze.
My big brother Horton is now my best buddy. He didn’t like me much when I first got here. But I grew on him. Now we play all the time. Plus I learned how to get him going just right. I do tend to tease him just a little bit. I have other play buddies too. Lego comes to stay with us sometimes; he was bigger than me last summer but now that I am all growed up, I can have more fun with him now. Mindy and Marvin are my camping friends, I can’t wait until we go camping together again.
I went to the vet doctor a few times to for my vaccinations, to get…what was the word they used … neutered.  A while ago my ears got really sore and we had to go see the vet doctor again. The doctor also took my blood for a heartworm test. I didn’t like that; it hurt!
Overall I had a great first year. I’ve learned so many things and seen a lot of different stuff. I’m as happy as can be with my daddy, mommy and Horton.

Peanut and Nose at Play

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Peanut, Nose and Pippy love to play with those plastic balls with bells in them. (Although, technically, they much prefer the balls to have the bells removed.) Pippy never carries them around, but Peanut and Nose do. The interesting part is that when Peanut carries it, she meows while doing so (much the same way that Socks meows when carrying around stuffed animals). Nose never makes a sound.