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  • Behavior Problems? We have answers.

    Learn about behavior from our team of experts. Whether you have cats, dogs, reptiles, horses or birds, we can help you learn to live with them. Read More
  • All About Horses

    Learn about equine science, whether you're an aspiring rider or a long-time owner, we have the latest in products, breeds, and more. Read More
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  • All About Reptiles

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  • 10 Pet Related Tax Write-Offs You Should Know About

    Every year, I ask my CPA if there is a way to write off my pets. Every year, he laughs at me. It makes me feel like Scarlet from Gone with the Wind...

    "But, sir,” I plead. “I am the only form of support for these animals! I feed them, provide shelter, give them training, pay for doggie daycare, make sure they are clothed; why, I even cover their medical expenses!"

    Like Scarlet’s father, my CPA stares at me with his piercing blue eyes. “Now, Ms. Stacy, it’s just that the IRS don’t see animals that way. To them, those animals are just plain ol’ property - the same as that tree over yonder.”

    “Do you mean to tell me that these creatures mean nothing to those awful tax people? That land and money is the only thing worth fightin’ for? Worth dyin’ for?”

    “Why, land and money is the only thing that lasts, Ms. Stacy,” says my CPA. “Now, you go on home and let the menfolk take care of this. Taxes just ain’t fit for a lady as gentle as you  to be fussin’ over.”

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    We hope you'll share with your friends who are also spending Valentine's Day with their pets. 

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  • Products for Cat Health #PetsWeeklyWags

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    Today, we're focusing on cats and some products that will help keep them healthy (in honor of February being Cat Health Month). 

    Here's a look at some of the impressive things we've seen this week. Look for these to be in future articles with a closer look on how you can use each of them in your cat's daily life.

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  • 8 Ways to Stop A Dog from Barking

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    Most people never even know their dogs are being a nuisance while they are away at work. If you're the neighbor of a barking dog, there are certain steps to take to stop the behavior.

    To begin with, it's important to let your neighbor know and give them a chance to resolve the problem before calling authorities. If you're the owner of a barking dog, you need to understand that some people have napping children or work from their home, and so this can be a big problem.

    But, let's focus on how to stop the problem once you've established there is one.

    First off, you will need to determine why your dog is barking... 

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  • 5 Questions to Ask Before Getting Chickens

    There is a lot of interest in chicken keeping these days. With the cost of food skyrocketing, chickens can be a huge benefit to you and your family, even if you have no plans to eat them.

    They provide fresh, organic eggs. They even provide natural pest control, can help rid a garden of parasites (but watch your produce!) and they can be very affectionate! 

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    But, before you jump into chicken-keeping full-time, ask yourself these five questions... 

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5 Questions to Ask Before Getting Chickens

There is a lot of interest in chicken keeping these days. With the cost of food skyrocketing, chickens can be Read More

Keeping Pets Safe from Coyotes

No matter where you live, you’ve likely had to deal with wildlife. Whether its mountain lions and coyotes, or squirrels Read More

5 Ways to Help Birds in Winter on #NationalBirdDay

January 5 is officially National Bird Day and we're looking at ways that we can help our feathered friends during Read More

Getting Old Sucks - Cognitive Dysfuntion in Dogs (CCD)

As most of you know, we have a dog who has just turned 15 years old. He’s half blind, almost Read More

Teaching Children to Approach Horses

I have a problem with parents who just allow their kids just run up to strange animals. In fact today, Read More

Disaster preparedness with pets

September is National Animal Preparedness Month. Some natural disasters require that you evacuate your entire family, pets included. Wildfires, floods, Read More
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One of the best home security systems requires no monthly contracts or electrical wiring and may go unnoticed by crooks. Thanks to innovative new research, cat fur is helping to identify and convict miscreants, from robbers to murderers. As a result, your purring lap kitty could one day save your belongings -- and maybe even your life. Inspiration From TV Crime Shows
Dr. Leslie Lyons, one of the world’s leading experts on cat genetics, pioneered the research. She enjoys watching certain television crime programs. “I’m a big fan of ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,’” she says, which included two episodes where cat fur was part of the evidence. Lyons, based at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, was already compiling information on cat DNA when a lightbulb moment struck her. Lyons and her colleagues then created a DNA database that forensic science experts can use to help identify the source of cat fur. “Because cats incessantly groom, cat fur may have nucleated cells, not only in the hair bulb, but also as epithelial cells on the hair shaft deposited during the grooming process, thereby generally providing material for DNA profiling,” Lyons and her team report in the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics. So each strand of fur shed by your cat might contain DNA-rich cells at the root end or even DNA-containing skin cells stuck to the hair shaft itself.

How Cat Fur Catches Criminals
Lyons, who shares her household with four cats, suggests that a perpetrator might not be able to control one detail, if breaking into your house. “I can’t come out of my house without cat fur on me,” she says, adding that the same can happen to unwanted visitors. Anyone who enters a house where a cat resides leaves with one or more cat hairs stuck to his (OK?) body, clothing, bags and shoes. If the criminal is later detained for questioning, or is caught pulling a similar stunt, the cat fur might then go to a lab for analysis. Thanks to the new DNA database, researchers can usually tell what general region and population the cat fur originated from. While the data isn’t firm enough to say something like, “This fur came from Miss Fluffy, a calico at X Street in Kansas,” it can help to eliminate individual criminals from the list of possibilities, strengthen existing evidence and identify probable suspects. Cats Have Already Put Criminals Behind Bars
One of the most publicized cases, Beamish v. Her Majesty’s Court, P.E.I., involved a Canadian murder. “Investigators linked the perpetrator to the crime scene by STR (a certain type of DNA) identification of a single cat hair found in the pocket of a discarded jacket,” report Lyons and her team. Consider Having Your Own Cat’s DNA Tested
If you keep your cat’s genetic information on file, that can help facilitate any forensics process, should a crime ever take place in your home. DNA tests also can:

  • confirm your cat’s lineage
  • provide additional information about your cat’s family history
  • offer info about your cat’s coat type and color
  • detect certain inherited diseases

Lyons suggests breeders of cats might consider such testing. Persians, for example, can be born with genetic defects that may cause blindness or kidney disease. The DNA information might even one day help to cure similar problems in humans, since both humans and cats are mammals and sometimes suffer from related disorders. Above all, cats are also “good to have on your lap and just lower your blood pressure,” says Lyons. “They’re good all the way around.”

About the Author

Jennifer Viegas is the managing editor for The Daily Cat and has authored over 20 books on animal, science and nature topics.

 

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