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  • Behavior Problems? We have answers.Behavior Problems? We have answers.

    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 HorsesAll About Horses

    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
  • Traveling with PetsTraveling with Pets

    Traveling with Pets

    Be sure to check this section out before you hit the road with your pet! We've got a look at pet-friendly hotels, the guidelines of air, train, bus and auto travel, and much more. Read More
  • All About CrittersAll About Critters

    All About Critters

    Take a look at what it means to have ferrets, rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs, and more. Read More
  • All About ReptilesAll About Reptiles

    All About Reptiles

    A look at our cold-blooded friends and discovering how to care for these fun loving creatures! Read More
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  • Life in Arizona: An Environment Trying to Kill You

    Tell someone you live in Arizona and they immediately think about resort life, retirement, year-round golf, moderate winter temps, and sunshine for 350 days a year (even Arizona gets clouds a few days each year).

    The only thing that is better than our daily intake of Vitamin D is our freeway art - we do have some of the most beautiful freeways in the world.

    What people don’t always know, however, is that life in the desert can be a challenge. Mostly because we have the only environment in the world that is actively trying to kill you.

    I’m sure you think I’m exaggerating, so let’s compare your state to Arizona...

    Read More
  • The Many Benefits of Cat Grasses

    Benefits of cat grassBenefits of cat grassBenefits of cat grassDespite being obligate carnivores, cats still require greens to stay healthy.

    Summer is upon us and that makes the perfect time to grow some grass for your finicky feline. Whether you grow organic oatgrass, wheatgrass, catnip or any other type of cat-centric plant - your cats are sure to appreciate the effort!

    Theories on why cats enjoy munching down on fresh grasses vary. Some experts consider cats’ grazing to be a behavioral trait, while others believe it to be an instinctual response and consider it an important part of their cats diets. But most believe it’s their way of increasing their intake of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber, to help get all that hair they groomed from themselves moving out of their digestive tract.

    (Grass eating usually equates to more hairballs, so here are 10 Creative Uses for Hair and Hairballs!)

    Whatever the reason for making grasses available to cats, there is no denying that most enjoy some fresh grass. (Failure to provide it means your houseplants are likely to fall victim!)

    Read More
  • 15 Strange Uses for Shedded Dog, Cat and Horse Hair

    If you're anything like me, (and I suspect you are or you wouldn't be reading this) dog, cat and horse hair and fur is an ongoing problem.

    For people like us, shedding "season" is every single day. Long haired cats, short-haired dogs, horse mane and tail hair; there is no shortage of this highly renewable resource!

    So we decided to take on the challenge of finding useful ways to dispose of it.

    Here are fifteen unique (and often a bit disturbing) ways to utilize your pet's excess fur. (And if that's not enough for us, we have 10 more ways to use fur in 10 Creative Uses for Hair and Hairballs and even some creative ways you can use hairballs in this article, 15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Hairballs!)

    But here are our favorites...

    Read More
  • How to Keep Your Dog Out of the Koi Pond

    I know I’m not alone in slowly assembling a veritable menagerie. Most animal lovers would have a zoo if it were practical!

    But sometimes our pets aren’t excited about making friends with other animals. When it comes to dogs, their natural prey drive can cause some problems in our pursuit of a peaceful co-existence.

    Dogs enjoy chasing cats, pouncing on rabbits, snatching birds out of the air and diving for fish in the pond.

    So can you enjoy other pets if you have a dog? Of course! In particular, let’s take a look at how you can have the koi pond of your dreams without your dog snacking on those beautiful fish.

    Read More
  • Tabby Cats and Their Patterns

    Tabbies are a big part of our lives.

    If you follow us on Instagram, you probably know that we have three beautiful full-time tabbies: CassieKyra The Cog and Alexandra. We also have one vocal foster cat we call Kreature. Each of these cats is magnificent and it's about time someone came up with a holiday celebrating their beauty.

    And so, in Celebration of #NationalTabbyDay, we're talking about a few fun facts you may not know...

    To begin, a tabby is not a breed of cat, but a general way of referring to a coat pattern. In fact,  usually “tabby” means stripes, swirls or spots on a cat that is orange, brown, white or grey colored cat.  In fact, the word tabby is often used as a generic term for "cat" (just like "hound" is often used as a general term for dogs). Tabby cats are found in a variety of different breeds.

    Let’s take a look at the four basic types of tabby coat patterns.

    Read More
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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 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

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

How to Keep Your Dog Out of the Koi Pond

I know I’m not alone in slowly assembling a veritable menagerie. Most animal lovers would have a zoo if it 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

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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The sign on the mailbox post was hand-lettered on cardboard and read “FREE KITTUNS”. It appeared there two or three times a year, sometimes spelled this way, sometimes that, but the message was always the same.

In a corner of the farmhouse back porch was a cardboard box with a dirty towel inside, on which huddled a bouquet of kittens of different colours, mewing and blinking and waiting for their mama to return from hunting in the fields. The mother cat managed to show them enough interest for the first several weeks, but after having two or three litters per year, she was worn out and her milk barely lasted long enough for her babies to survive.

One by one, people showed up over the next several days and each took a kitten. Before they left the woman who lived there always said the same thing, “You make sure you give that one a good home – I’ve become very attached to that one.” One by one, the kittens and their new people drove down the long driveway and past the sign on the mailbox post, “ FREE KITTUNS.” The ginger girl kitten was the first to be picked. Her four-year-old owner loved her very much, but the little girl accidentally injured the kitten’s shoulder by picking her up the wrong way. She couldn’t be blamed really – no adult had shown her the proper way to handle a kitten. She had named the kitten “Ginger” and was very sad a few weeks later when her older brother and his friends were playing in the living room and someone sat on the kitten.

The solid white boy kitten with blue eyes was the next to leave with a couple who announced even before they went down the porch steps that his name would be “Snowy.” Unfortunately, he never learned his name and everyone had paid so little attention to him that nobody realized he was deaf. On his first excursion outside he was run over in the driveway by a mail truck. The pretty grey and white girl kitten went to live on a nearby farm as a “mouser.” Her people called her “the cat”, and like her mother and grandmother before her, she had many, many “free kittuns,” but they sapped her energy. She became ill and died before her current litter of kittens was weaned. Another brother was a beautiful red tabby. His owner loved him so much that she took him around to meet everyone in the family and her friends, and their cats, and everyone agreed that “Erik” was a handsome boy. Except his owner didn’t bother to have him vaccinated. It took all the money in her bank account to pay a veterinarian to treat him when he became sick, but the doctor just shook his head one day and said “I’m sorry.” The solid black boy kitten grew up to be a fine example of a tomcat. The man who adopted him moved shortly thereafter and left “Tommy” where he was, roaming the neighbourhood, defending his territory, and fathering many kittens until a bully of a dog cornered him. The black and white girl kitten got a wonderful home. She was named “Pyewacket.” She got the best of food, the best of care until she was nearly five years old. Then her owner met a man who didn’t like cats, but she married him anyway. Pyewacket was taken to an animal shelter where there were already a hundred cats. Then one day, there were none. A pretty woman driving a van took the last two kittens, a grey boy and a brown tiger-striped girl. She promised they would always stay together. She sold them for fifteen dollars each to a laboratory. To this day, they are still together … in a jar of alcohol. For whatever reason – because Heaven is in a different time zone, or because not even cat souls can be trusted to travel in a straight line without meandering – all the young-again kittens arrived at Heaven’s gate simultaneously. They batted and licked each other in glee, romped for a while, and then solemnly marched through the gate, right past a sign lettered in gold “YOU ARE FINALLY FREE, KITTENS.”

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jwillis
Author: jwillis
Contributor
About the Author
As a "voice for the voiceless," Jim Willis touches human hearts as deftly as he bonds with the animals he rescues. His writings have inspired animal lovers around the world in over a dozen languages. Now, with publication of his collected writings, the Author has made a generous arrangement with the publisher that can benefit the fundraising efforts of all animal rescue, conservation and environmental groups. Visit Jim Willis at his website and order his novel, Pieces of My Heart: Writings Inspired by Animals and Nature at Amazon.

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