Top Tips for Keeping Your Pet’s Heart Healthy

* From my partners at katzenworld.co.uk

The heart is one of the most important organs in the body, not only for humans, but for our furry family members too. It’s therefore crucial to keep it strong and healthy – anything that stops the heart from functioning as normal, such as changes in size, shape or rhythm, can cause problems.

PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing, said “Heart problems can be fairly common and cause a wide range of symptoms – some animals can live with a heart condition for years with minimal impact on their life, while others may have severe, life-threatening symptoms. There are several things you can do to support the heart health of your four-legged friend.

Watching out for symptoms 

“There are important signs of heart disease to look out for in pets which, sadly, may worsen over time. While heart disease can’t be cured, there are treatments which can help to manage your furry family member’s symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Things to look out for include your pet stopping or slowing down while exercising, breathing faster than normal when they are sleeping, taking a while to catch their breath after exercise, low energy, panting for longer or more often, coughing or, for cats in particular, breathing with an open mouth.  Pets struggling with a heart condition may also collapse.

Maintaining a healthy weight 

“If your furry family member is carrying extra weight, their heart has to work harder, which adds a lot of strain. Making small changes, such as weighing out their food, cutting back on unhealthy treats, and not giving in to puppy dog eyes at the table, are small changes you can make to help them maintain a healthy weight. Talk through any concerns about your pet’s weight with your vet – they may suggest a weight clinic to help support you.

Getting enough exercise 

“Exercise is a key part in keeping your pet’s heart healthy. Making sure your pooch is going for daily walks, suitable for their size, weight, and fitness ability, is really important. In between walks, have fun and play games together to help keep dogs moving.

“Cats enjoy playtime too – even if your cat is active and enjoys roaming outdoors, they will still enjoy special time with you, which will motivate them to exercise, and it’s great for bonding. If they are slightly overweight or more reluctant to move around, short play sessions are a great way to introduce a new exercise regime. You can increase the length of activities, as your cat gets fitter and more enthusiastic.

“Engaging your cat with toys, such as balls, teaser toys, wind-up chase toys, will also encourage their natural hunting instincts.

Regular vet checks  

“Catching heart problems early can make a big difference to your furry family member’s long-term health. Regular check-ups with the vet, where they can listen to your pet’s heart, can help pick up a problem before it develops.

“If you are concerned about your pet’s health, or they display any worrying symptoms between check-ups, always book an appointment so your vet can offer advice and treatment to keep your pet happy and healthy.”

Gus & Bella’s Halloween Box

* Originally written by me for Katzenworld

It’s October and that means it’s time for Gus & Bella’s Spooky Halloween Box! This has to be my absolute favourite of all their themed boxes.

And good news for those of us who are more lazy about trick-or-treating: Gus & Bella have us covered. There’s a super cute and warm pair of black cat slippers, black cat earrings and chocolate. I’m all set for Halloween!

The food in this box is from Arden Grange. I am a big fan of these sample packages of cat food because we all know how fussy cats can be about their food. Sometimes it takes a little while to get them used to new food so you can mix the new with the old. Sample size bags can also help you decide which one your cat likes best or needs (perhaps they have a sensitive tummy or are a little bit overweight). It’s always good to try before you buy.

One thing Dirk tried (and I will definitely have to buy) is the Arden Grange Tasty Liver Treat. Careful, because the claws will come out for this treat! Dirk absolutely loves it.

Now, the best part: the cat toys! Gus & Bella always put much thought into choosing toys for different types of play behaviour. This box contains a cuddle toy, a toy to chase or bat around and a feather wand which is ideal for interactive play and hunting behaviour. Perhaps needless to say they are all Halloween themed.

Some cats have a preferred style of play of type of toys, others like all of them. In any case, it is good to switch toys every now and again because that is more stimulating and will keep your cat entertained for longer. The cuddly toy has Valerian which helps keep cats calm, not a bad idea with Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night coming up!

To get your box or order one for a friend or loved one check out Gus & Bella’s website.

Benefits of raised water and food bowls

* Adapted from katzenworld.co.uk

It is becoming increasingly popular to elevate cat bowls. But is there any real benefit to doing so? Does elevating a cat‘s water bowl or food bowl make sense? The answer is yes!

Of course, some cat owners choose elevated bowls just for aesthetics, but vets now recommend them to help prevent indigestion, vomiting, and strain on your cat’s back and neck.

Raised bowls are especially beneficial for cats with swallowing issues, older cats or cats with arthritis. They find it much more difficult to bend down to the food or water bowl.

Check out some great ones in the Katzenworld shop!

How to Build the Best Cat Towers

* From my partners at katzenworld.co.uk

Building a cat tower requires doing some research and understanding your cat’s behaviour. It’s not an easy task. In fact, there may be instances where you build one, only to tear it down after you’ve seen how your cat is using it.

Here are some tips for building the best cat tower for your pet.

1. Research

It’s always a good idea to do some research on any project that you set your eyes on. Take some pictures, analyse reviews and talk to cat owners who own towers to gain some insight and advice. By researching, you can find design inspirations, determine which colours to use, and identify which structures you can add. The best cat trees are those that take your cat’s needs and behaviour into account, and also complement your home’s interior décor.

2. Determine The Size Of Your Home

One of the most important factors when making your decision to build a cat tower is the size of your home. You need to determine how big your walls are, how tall the trees surrounding you are, as well as the buildings around you. If you build a tower that’s too small relative to your space, your cat may be more interested in climbing taller and bigger objects. If the tower is too large compared to your space, you may feel cramped up in your space, considering it will share space with your furniture. Articles that discuss pet guides and product reviews can give you more insight into these essential considerations.

3. Determine The Tower Structure

Cat towers and houses are available in a variety of sizes. Some pet owners prefer to build them in tandem with a cat fence so that the cats will have a place to go to relieve themselves.

Most cats like to climb objects, which means that the structure you’re building needs to be tall enough for your cat to climb up and down comfortably. Your cat shouldn’t need to jump from one level to another, but the tower should help your feline companion improve their climbing skills. It is a good way to teach them to trust their paws and not use their claws when trying to climb.

4. Tower Material

The material used to build the tower can determine whether your cat will enjoy the tower. Materials such as rope, reed and thatch may be irritating for some cats because their claws get stuck in the material. Other materials used to make cat towers include wood which may be wrapped in cloth. Stay away from certain fabrics like cotton, because they may quickly become torn by the constant movement of your cat.

5. Consider The Size Of Your Cat

The best cat tower is one that can effortlessly hold your cat’s weight. You don’t want your cat to topple over or for the tower to give in to the weight. This can hurt your cat as well as the space in which the tower stood. Make sure to use a material that’s strong enough to hold your cat to avoid potentially dangerous scenarios.

6. Preferred Tower Location

Where you decide to place your cat tower is largely determined by your cat’s preferred location in the house. Some cats enjoy spending time with others in the lounge area, while others seem to prefer a quiet window corner. You may decide to place a tower where you’d prefer to see your cat, but if your cat hardly spends time in your preferred locations, then he or she may not fully enjoy the tower.

7. Rebuild

If you realise that your first attempt didn’t come out as intended, don’t be shy to dismantle and rebuild. Perhaps you’ll notice that it’s wobbly when your cat is on it, though it may appear steady. You may also notice that your cat struggles to navigate the tower because they’re too big for the tower. You simply have to observe your cat and fix the tower accordingly.

Conclusion

Before building your cat tower, you need to do some research. Gather design inspirations and building tips online. Consider the size of your home, your cat’s behaviour, and the size of the tower. Place the tower in a space that your cat enjoys. If you realise that there’s something wrong with the tower, you can always dismantle and rebuild. Wobbly towers or ones that are too small for your particular cat can cause dangerous scenarios where your cat may fall or knock the tower over. Also consider the type of material that you use to build the tower.

The Different Types of Pet Owners

Adapted from katzenworld.co.uk

Pets provide unconditional love and support to their owners and many care for their pets as if they’re family members. As you embark on this journey, keep in mind that pet ownership is a huge responsibility.

Your bond with your new pet develops over time, and soon you will discover your parenting style. From showing your furry friend unconditional love to finding the best ways to care for their needs, there are many different ways you can function as a cat owner.

Lemonade defines three archetypes of pet owners to help you figure out which one you are or strive to become.

1. Newbie Nyomi

For all our first-time pet owners, we know this is a challenging time. Being a new pet parent means you might be spending a lot of your day focused on your pet’s health and wellbeing. You might be researching the best cat food or how to train your cat to come on command. These are just a few of the many questions you might be asking yourself as a Newbie Nyomi.

Don’t feel bad about being a newbie — It’s often best to do plenty of research before adopting your new companion. Try reading the latest cat owner tips and tricks to prepare yourself. Keep in mind that since this is your first pet you will probably have to buy a lot of supplies to care for your new family member.

2. Helicopter Hayden

Pet parents who identify as a helicopter Hayden are constantly near their pets ready to solve any problem that may arise. Being overprotective isn’t a bad thing, especially as a pet owner because your parenting style can increase your bond with your furry friends. Think of helicopter parents as velcro — they are fastened to their pets. You might even notice a helicopter pet parent running errands with their emotional support cat in a purse or stroller.

3. Spoiler Sayuri

Another common type of pet owner is the spoiler Sayuri, who provides zero boundaries or rules when it comes to their four-legged companions. Of course, getting attached to your new cat is normal, but spoiling them is a whole new territory. Spoiling your kitten with new toys and endless love is fine, but ignoring bad behavior or not setting boundaries in your home can lead to unhealthy habits. If you are a spoiler Sayuri, “no” might not be in your vocabulary. Before your cat takes up more than half of your space, it might be time to reevaluate your spoiling practices.

How To Become a Better Pet Owner

As you embark on your pet parenting journey, keep in mind these tips to become a better pet owner.

  • Reward good behavior with treats
  • Clean up your cat’s litter box to eliminate harmful bacteria
  • Create a healthy diet with a proper feeding schedule
  • Monitor cat’s health and schedule routine check-ups
  • Establish healthy boundaries in your home
  • Obtain pet insurance to cover your cat in case of an emergency

As you enter this new and exciting chapter of pet ownership, make sure you pay attention to your habits to find out your pet owner traits.

Still unsure which type of pet owner you are? Check out Lemonade’s website.