Cardboard Boxes is a Comfort Cat Zone

I have had cats for years, Abyssinian Cats.  They all have loved sitting in a box.  So, when I got a package I would put the box on the floor for them.  They all sat in them and looked very satisfied sitting in their comfort cat zone.
If you have a cat, or have even been around a cat, you know they have a propensity for trying to fit into spaces far too small for them. Many a box has been ruined by a cat with a misguided sense of her size. From shoe boxes to refrigerator boxes, cats zero in on cardboard and make it their own. The question is, why? Is it because they know how adorable it is? Or do they get a thrill from making sure we have to keep climbing over whatever random box they have made their home for the day? Well, science has finally (possibly) found the answer!

Cats and Stress

It turns out, according to a new study from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, that cats use a cardboard box for stress relief. Researches took 19 cats that were new to shelters and gave 10 boxes, while the other 9 did not. Over a 14 day period, the felines with boxes showed far less stress on the Kessker and Turner Cat-Stress-Score (CSS), and adjusted to the shelter environment far better than their box-less cohorts.
Cats are also awful at resolving conflict. If you have more than one cat, pay attention to where they go after a squabble, or to avoid one. Chances are, they are hitting an enclosed space, most likely a box. Hiding out in them helps them ignore whatever is stressing them out. That’s assuming your other cats don’t try to follow into the same box.
Outside of stress relief, a cardboard box also provide something every cat needs: extra warmth. Cats prefer to  stay between 86 and 97 degrees Fahrenheit, about 20 degrees higher than the average temperature of homes. Since cardboard is such a great insulator, curling up in boxes helps them maintain their comfort temperature. The same goes for cats curling up in a sink, or in a corner of the basement when they are too hot. They don’t do it simply to be cute (probably).

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

 

Heartworm Prevention in Dogs

 

Today’s topic is heartworm.  I came across this blog from the ASPCA discussing prevention treatment.

Madonna, a three-year-old pit bull mix with a sweet disposition, arrived at the ASPCA last May, part of a group of eight dogs rescued by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). All of the dogs were in extreme stages of neglect and were suffering from skin and ear infections, intestinal parasites, dental disease and other illnesses, but only Madonna tested positive for heartworm.

Heartworm is a serious disease: The spaghetti-like worms, which can grow up to a foot in length, live in the hearts, lungs and associated blood vessels of infected animals. They are carried in a microscopic form (known as microfilaria) by mosquitoes that transmit the worms when they bite other animals. They can circulate in the bloodstream, mature, multiply and can eventually obstruct the flow of blood to the heart and lungs. If not treated, heartworm can be fatal.

While dogs are the most common hosts for this parasite, they can also be found in other species, including cats, ferrets, foxes, even wolves and horses. Dogs can live for years without symptoms after infection, but the heartworms’  long-term effects in an untreated dog may cause lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and arteries. Cats may develop chronic respiratory disease and, unfortunately, the first signs in infected cats can be sudden collapse or death.

Fortunately, the ASPCA caught Madonna’s case early. She was successfully treated for her infection and subsequently tested for both adult heartworms and microfilaria. Today she is in a happy home and takes a monthly preventive medication.

Heartworm treatment for dogs is a multiple-step, three-to-four month process that involves injections and oral medication to kill the heartworms, as well as prolonged periods of exercise restriction. Since it is very challenging to treat cats for heartworm disease, it is essential to prevent the disease in the first place.

“The best way to avoid heartworm disease is to give your dog heartworm preventive, a once-a-month oral or topical prescription medication,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospitalin New York City. Prevention comes in several formulations and your veterinarian can advise you as to the best choice for your pet. Heartworm preventives commonly also treat a variety of other internal and external parasites.

Puppies should start on preventives no later than eight weeks of age without a test, but should be tested in six month intervals after the first dose and then yearly after that.

Heartworm infection is harder to detect in cats, because they are less likely to host adult heartworms. Cats should be tested before being put on medication and re-tested as vets deems appropriate to monitor exposure and risk.

Heartworm symptoms in dogs include persistent coughing, fatigue after exercise, decreased appetite, decreased desire to exercise, and weight loss. Heartworm in cats can cause wheezing and respiratory symptoms, as well as vomiting, loss of appetite and weight loss.

April is National Heartworm Awareness Month. Visit our Pet Care section to learn more about heartworm in dogs and in cats.
Hoped this provided some helpful information.  Remember heartworm is nothing to ignore.  It can kill your dog or cat.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372