Why is my pet behaving oddly after storms? Monday 15 May 2017 @ 08:57

catThe weather can affect everyone differently, even once it seems as though everything should be back to normal. This point remains true not only for humans, but for our furry friends too. Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed how we can keep our pets warm and safe during a storm, and some of the best ways to keep an eye on them in the event of an evacuation. Today, we want to talk about how a storm can influence your pet’s behaviour even after the weather improves.

Storms can make a whole lot of changes to your pet’s world, which can lead to a great deal of confusion. In extreme weather, the familiar landmarks and scents by which your pet navigates his world can be altered by the rain or wind. Think about our post about the magical item that is your dog’s nose:

“Sometimes it’s hard to understand how dogs can relate to the same world so differently to us, but dogs are built to interpret the world through their sense of smell. Dogs rely on their sense of smell as much as we rely on our vision.”

Short Coated Dog Between Wooden BoardsA massive amount of your dog’s brainpower is devoted entirely to interpreting the smells that surround him. While humans have a seemingly generous 6 million sensory receptor sites in our nasal cavity, our dogs hold over 100 million receptor sites, with the part of their brains dedicated to analyzing scents around 40 times larger than that of a human. So you may think your dog smells bad sometimes, but he actually smells somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 times better than you do! A dog’s sense of smell is so powerful that, should he go blind, he will be able to adjust to his new world with significantly greater ease than a human.

Stories are shared often of pets who have managed to find their own way home from from incredible distances, but did you know that this homing instinct relies on their sense of smell? Dogs have a peculiar superpower that allows them to move each of their nostrils independently, allowing them to identify easily the direction from which an odor is coming. This means they can use their noses like their very own built-in compass!

Black and White Kitten on Brown TextileCat owners needn’t worry, however! As Lost Pet Finders user Bryna discovered, our feline friends also have a knack for tracking down their families:

“As it turns out, the night Chloe wandered off and didn’t come back, she managed to find her way back to their old house. The family had moved two streets over last October, and it would appear that Chloe was missing her old home. Discovering another cat had taken over her territory, Chloe had taken it on herself to reclaim what was once her land!”

dog, garden, outsideWith the landmarks changed and identifying scents removed, you will need to be extra-careful for some time after the storm to keep an eye on your cat and take note of any signs of stress or confusion. Similarly, when you take your dog for a walk, be sure to keep him on his leash until you are certain he feels familiar with his environment. Something as minor as a shrub or an old pot you had completely forgotten about might have been your pet’s only way of telling his home apart from any other. With it gone, you may as well have remodelled your entire home as it could be completely unrecognizable.

When you are confident that your pet has grown accustomed to his altered world, you should still exercise great care when you allow him outside. Your neighbourhood may have suffered more damage than you realise, and you can trust children and pets to discover any dangerous changes in the most painful ways possible. After a storm, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) advises that you “beware of damaged power lines, bridges, buildings, trees, and don't enter floodwaters.”

White and Tan English Bulldog Lying on Black RugAlways keep in mind that while a storm may have been simply inconvenient for you, it might have been traumatising for your pet. In this case, your pet’s coping techniques may be very different to yours. Following a storm an animal will sometimes feel as though their territory has been invaded and grow defensive or aggressive as a result. Try your best to be as patient as your can with this behaviour, and try to be aware of it until you’re sure your pet can be trusted outdoors.

If you follow these tips and your pet still goes missing after a storm, be sure to create a Pet Listing on Lost Pet Finders and check out our other pet-finding tips. Don’t panic: often, animals that go missing during or after major storms can still reappear a few weeks later.

Reunions

Above all else, our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with families who will love them and give them all the care they need no matter what, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!

simba


Simba
“his dady spent six hours roaming the streets to find him, 8 cats and one bunnie rabbit later he found him :) but the comfort of knowning a service like this exisits and the tips it gave on locating a cat were really valued”


maxMax
“The flyer was a great way to spread the word. We met many people walking around the neighborhood who had grabbed my number just in case they spotted Maxi.”

sox


Sox
“Sox has come home. Thank you for a wonderful service was reassuring to know that people in the area were made aware of my missing cat and nice to get some emails wishing me luck. Thank you”


amarniAmarni
“I had a lovely woman message me at 5:39 in the morning because she had noticed a dark cat that she doesn't usually see around run past her drive way and she called me incase the slight chance it was Amarni and it turns out it was, he had been running away back to our previous house that was only two streets away from our adress we are at now.”

millieMillie
“Along with the help of some locals who were alerted by LostPetFinders and a LOT of letterbox drops within a 1km radius, Millie was reported found to us by a lady to whom I dropped the third-last leaflet one km away :)
We are overjoyed.
She is injured and not eating yet, but we have only just come home from the vet moments ago.
My heart goes out to all those people who are missing their beloved animals. The pain for us was excruciating. Thank you Tony for your encouragement and your advice, and to the kind neighbours who phoned and texted me and urged me not to give up.”

by Tabitha Buckley on May 13

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How do I keep my pet safe during an evacuation? Monday 08 May 2017 @ 08:20

Tan Pug Covered With Brown BlanketWhen the weather gets stormy, it becomes extra-important that we keep our furry friends as safe as we possibly can. Last month we discussed how to keep pets safe and happy during a storm, but sometimes that just isn’t enough: When the storm gets bad, it’s time to evacuate. As we’ve already discussed, a house that isn’t safe for you and your family is equally unsafe for your pets. We know that there are lots of great places for pets to stay - friends’ homes, animal hotels, friends’ homes and animal control centres, for example - but we need to do more than knowing these things. We need to be prepared.

First of all, we can’t know exactly where we’ll be when a storm hits. If you happen to be at home at the time, that’s very fortunate: you can find out if you need to evacuate and put your evacuation plan into action. If you are away from home, however, and can’t get back in time, you need to know in advance who you’ll call to secure your pets until it’s safe for them to go home. Make a point of knowing some of your neighbours and arranging in advance to look after each other’s pets when necessary.

catWhoever ends up with the responsibility of looking after your pet will need to have access to your home and a spare key, so make sure it’s someone you know you can trust! They’ll also need to be familiar with where they can find your pet and how to handle him, so your pet also needs to have a bond with - or at least trust - this person.

A healthy pet is a happy pet. This is why experts at the National Hurricane Centre advise that pets should be kept up-to-date on all of their immunisations and paperwork. In fact, some shelters even require proof that your pet has had all of his vaccinations before they will offer you a place. To avoid the risk of your pet running off, make sure that his collars, leashes and carriers are perfectly strong and secure, and that your pet has all of his necessary identification on him at all times. And in case the worst happens and your pet does go missing, also make sure that you have a recent photograph of them so that you can make posters, ask around or make a post on Lost Pet Finders!

Black and White Kitten on Brown TextileDon’t let the first time you do all of this be during an evacuation. In order to carry out a smooth, safe and successful evacuation, you’ll want to try a few evacuation drills so that your pet can get used to the process and won’t panic too much when disaster strikes. Check that your pet’s carrier is big enough to travel safely. Even if they don’t have enough room to play and explore, they should at least have space to stand and turn around. It might seem like a lot of preparation, but it’s worth it if it means you don’t have to allow for a stroppy and uncooperative pet when you’re already short on time.

White and Black Short Coat Puppy on Black Window Car((Blogger’s note: If your animal is one which can’t be evacuated or sent somewhere safer easily - for example horses or other farm animals - you may have to leave them at home. In these scenarios, if the storm poses a risk of high winds and airborne debris, your animal companion’s best chance at surviving will be if you let them out of their barn or stable so that they can’t get trapped.))

Reunions

Above all else, our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with families who will love them and give them all the care they need no matter what, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!

LilyLily
“Thankyou so much for the service, your support and valuable advice meant we were doing all the right things to find our cat so when she was spotted, everyone involved knew what to do!”

Barbie


Barbie
“Thanks so much for all the shares everyone! Members of Lostpetfinders saw a found listing on Facebook and messaged me!
Glad I joined the network and can also help others have their happy ending in the future!”

Sissymama MissySissymama Missy
“My girl and I have been reunited thanks to this service. Members of the community alerted me to her location and I was joyous to have her back, thanks so much, without this service I would be still looking for her”

Arlo



Arlo
“your service was great my friend seen my listing”


RhoRho
“Thank you for all your help and the wonderful reaction from the community. Rho came strolling in this morning, nonchalant about the stress he caused.”

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How do I make sure my pets are safe during storms? Sunday 23 April 2017 @ 09:38

CatDuring a stormy season, it is vital that you have a plan to help you keep your family safe and happy at all times. This means every family member: whether they have two or more legs, fur or feathers, hands or paws. In short, don’t forget to include your pets in your preparations for severe weather.

If you find yourself anticipating a cyclone or storm, you need to stop seeing your pets as independent characters and start recognising that they are domestic creatures who rely on you for protection. Be safe and considerate, but also be patient. Many animals are strongly attuned to unusual weather and can grow agitated before we even notice the first signs of the storm.

In light of recent storms, we’ve put together a few tips on keeping your cuddly companions as safe and happy as possible when it becomes time to set up a base in your own home or begin an evacuation.

Tan Pug Covered With Brown Blanket:What do I do if I decide to stay home during the storm?

If you decide your best plan is to stay at home and weather the storm, you’ll need to keep your pet as calm as you possibly can. Pets are very good at sensing and imitating their owner's mood and behaviours, so you must make sure to remain calm and comforted yourself before trying to help them. Once you’re ready, it’s time to pet them, cuddle them and reassure them - doing this can also have the effect of soothing you, so this is extra-important!

Soothing storm-related anxiety can become a little easier if you take the time to set up a safe-zone for your pet in your home. Depending on the type of space you have available, this can be anything as compact as a snug crate or as generous as a small room towards the centre of your house. If your house has a basement, this would be perfect as the storm will be less noticeable below ground.

CatWith your safe-zone ready, your next step should be to try and distract your pet from the stress of the storm, especially where other excitable animals are involved. Turn on the TV or radio to something that your pet finds soothing - calming music or gentle viewing - and close your curtains if you can. Don’t make your pet sit through the storm on their own: feed them, cuddle them, play with them and make sure they know you appreciate their good behaviour.

Remember that it is NEVER a good tactic to punish your pet’s bad behaviour during times of stress, such as storms. A storm is frightening for everyone, but especially for those who do not entirely understand what is happening around them. Your pet isn’t being scared, jumpy or anxious just to annoy you. They simply don’t have the variety of ways to vocalise concerns that we do.

What do I do if I decide to evacuate?

Black and White Kitten on Brown TextileIf you have somehow come to the conclusion that leaving your pet at home when it’s not even safe enough for you to stay there, try to give it a little more thought. Although they may seem like it at times, our pets are not superheroes. If your house isn’t safe for you, it definitely isn’t safe for them!

Trying to evacuate yourself, your family and your pets in a time of crisis may seem like a disaster waiting to happen, but it’s actually very manageable. Animal control centres, friends’ homes, special pet shelters and even animal hotels (if you feel like really treating your pet to a luxury evacuation) are all potential safe spaces for your pets to stay until the storm is over.

Make sure you bring your pet to their place of refuge with all of their necessary equipment: their cage or carrier, plenty of food, a bowl to eat from, information about specific care requirements, bin bags and old newspapers to keep the place clean, any medications they need along with information on dosage, their leash and their collar with all of the proper identification and information attached. It may sound like a lot of stuff, but it’s worth it for peace of mind. Above all ensure you and your family are safe.

Reunions

Our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with families who will love them and give them all the care they need no matter what, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!

Chinook Nanook and ZuniChinook Nanook And Zuni
“Although Pets Lost did not directly help, the checklist of things was a great guide in what to do. Also, it was obvious from the Facebook coverage that it did get out to a number of people. Small dollars well spent!”

ToecutterToecutter
“Thankyou so much lost pet finders !!
Your alerts helped immensely
Toecutter was seen on site and through alerts.
Thankyou also to the awesome girls who promptly rang me and reunited our boy.
Very much appreciate all the help and so happy and relieved to have toecutter home.”

BlossomBlossom
“The advice you gave to put up flyers in the immediate area ASAP and to keep calling her name whilst doing so, helped as it was whilst I was walking down the back lane 500m away from where Blossom was lost, that I heard a familiar meow coming from a back lane garage in the distance. We finally got her out of there and a jumpy but repentant Blossom followed me back home :) I'm so happy to have my darling cat back.”

Miley


Miley
“Found on lost pet finders in 2 hours, thank you”



ArchieArchie
“This evening we got the call he turned up in the local area to where he was lost. The story given, truth or not is irrelevant - hes back with loved ones and thats all that matters.
Did LPF help, you bet. Everyone of the many who helped spread the word and got Archie's disappearance out there to the many eyes, ears and snouts are responsible for bringing him home. Thanks cant begin to express the gratitude. A very happy family member of Archie's!
Tim”

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De-Mat That Cat! Sunday 16 April 2017 @ 08:55

RussiaLast month, we discussed some important parts of kitty care including combing and brushing your long-haired cat and keeping him calm during bathtime. These posts were prompted by one of the pets we supported through Hunter Animal Rescue - Russia, a 4kg Domestic Medium hair. This week, we’re going to continue our set of tips for caring for these fluffy superstars. It’s time to unmat that cat!

How do I remove mats from a long-haired cat?

Cats who are elderly, ill or overweight can struggle to reach certain parts of their bodies when grooming. However, these aren’t the only felines at risk of getting matted! Any cat, even those with shorter coats, can get matted hair as a result of a buildup of dander or dust. Most of the time a mat will come out with just a simple bit of brushing, but extra work can be required for harder mats.
For those new to kitty care, a mat is a clump of hair which has grown knotted or tangled over a period of time. Some of these mats form as a result of the everyday actions of your cat, while others build up over a longer timeframe on cats who aren’t groomed properly. If they are left without grooming, these mats can become sore or irritating to your cat’s skin, even causing an infection in some cases. This may cause your cat to emit an odor which could make you think about bathing it, but there’s a high chance this will only make the matting worse. Always check your cat for mats before bathing him, and try to remove these first to avoid worsening the tangle.

Ginger cat grooming itselfKeep your cat’s fur dry. Allowing the coat to get wet can result in the mat setting tighter, making it even more tricky to remove. If necessary, you can use an anti-static spray or purpose-bought detangling product. These, however, are not generally needed.
If you do decide to invest in a detangling product, it is vital that you remember only to use products which were specifically designed for the animal in question - not, for example, a children’s detangling spray. Unless the product was created with cats in mind, there’s a strong change it’ll contain something toxic to your furry friend, and it’s not worth taking that risk for the sake of a dollar!

Begin by trying to comb the mat out. Most mats and tangles can be removed by simple brushing, and regular brushing is important to the health of your cat’s coat anyway! If the mats are too thick or tight for your regular comb, try using a wide-toothed comb or a more gentle brush. Cats with thick undercoats can benefit from special undercoat combs, which have two sets of teeth which are of different lengths. Hold the fur that’s closest to your cat’s skin with your fingers before brushing out the mat to avoid pulling your cat’s hair and to maintain control.

White catFor the best possible results, start at the bottom of the matted area and work your way up towards the roots. However, if the mat is simply too dense for regular combing, it may be time to cut the mat out. For this, you can use a razor comb or mat comb. These are purpose-made brushes with built-in blades which will cut your cat’s hair as you brush it. Razor combs work well if you’re able to get under the mat, but again remember to hold your cat’s fur carefully to avoid tugging.

If none of these methods help your cat’s matting problem, you could use an electric razor to carefully shave the mats away. If possible, pay a professional groomer to do this for you as you do not want to risk injuring your cat. If you have no choice but to do it yourself, be very careful and hold your cat’s skin tight and flat so you do not cut him.

catYour cat’s skin is very fine and will be sensitive to the heat produced by an electric shaver. When removing mats, press the razor against your arm first to make sure it isn’t warm. Continue checking for heat every now and then until you are finished.

Reunions

Above all else, our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with families who will love them and give them all the care they need no matter what, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!

MillieMillie
“Along with the help of some locals who were alerted by LostPetFinders and a LOT of letterbox drops within a 1km radius, Millie was reported found to us by a lady to whom I dropped the third-last leaflet one km away :)
We are overjoyed.
She is injured and not eating yet, but we have only just come home from the vet moments ago.
My heart goes out to all those people who are missing their beloved animals. The pain for us was excruciating. Thank you Tony for your encouragement and your advice, and to the kind neighbours who phoned and texted me and urged me not to give up.”

MirkaMirka
“Your service was fantastic, thank you so so much. Thanks for all your alerts and all your tips.
She reappeared last night very skinny, quite injured and spent the night at the vet emergency clinic.
If anything, it has been a great moral support knowing your members were aware and on the lookout for her. Thank you once again”


SmokeySmokey
“He came home on his within minutes of me listing with your site! But I did follow the advice to keep calling his name and he just answered and came home so happy”

Cleo


Cleo
“I was so glad that your service was available, I was about to send out an alert after Cleo was missing for 18 hours but she was found.”

Teco


Teco
“Great tips on what to do list to help find your loved ones eg poster, ring vets and put add in other sites.
Thank you for your help and great ideas.”

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How do I keep my cat calm at bath-time? Saturday 18 March 2017 @ 00:00

RussiaLast week we talked about how to go about combing and brushing your long-haired cat after meeting Russia, a 4kg Domestic Medium Hair. Russia was our Pet of the Month for February, and is currently on trial in Booragul with thanks to Hunter Animal Rescue. He was born back in March 2013 and has grown into a happy boy with a great love of smooches. The only thing bigger than his heart is his stunning hair, which needs a fair amount of brushing and pampering in order to keep it from getting matted. This week, we’re going to continue our discussion about caring for cats with a longer coat, just in case you ever end up with a cat like Russia.

Bathing a Long-Haired Cat

Wait! Cats clean themselves, they don’t need baths!

Well, sometimes they do. Many cats don’t actually end up with the best hygiene regardless of their natural tendency towards grooming. Cats with this problem can end up struggling with sticky, greasy coats. Furthermore, if your cat has a weight problem, they’ll only be able to groom the areas they can reach. Without regular baths, the back half of a fat cat can become matted, causing their skin to flake and get infected.

Russia

There’s a good chance your long-haired friend may need to be bathed, as they can end up with feces, litter and other undesirables stuck in their fur. Certain cats, such as many Maine Coons, will love being bathed if you get the water warm enough. However, it’ll come as no surprise that a lot of cats will hate the experience and may claw and bite you for trying. You’ll find you get the best results if you introduce the experience of bathing to your cat when they’re just a kitten.

It’s generally necessary to take a couple of precautions before you try to bathe your cat. Always remember that no matter how sweet and friendly your cat usually is, surprising things can happen when they get stressed or upset. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to ask for help when taking on this task - after all, two heads are better than one! As the bath will be a stressful experience for both you and the cat in question, it’s also a good idea to set up everything you need in advance, rather than expecting your feline friend to sit and wait in the tub patiently for you to find your supplies.

cat

If your cat is likely to be particularly anxious about the bath, it can be a good idea to use a product like Spirit Essences’ Scaredy Cat or Comfort Zone’s Feliway Spray - products which soothe and calm a worried cat. These can make the task a far less stressful experience for both of you.

The ideal pet-bathing setup would involve a raised tub, which would allow you to wash your cat without risking back pain. Most pet owners do not have access to a raised tub, but you could consider using your kitchen sink as a handy replacement which will save you from bending over to use your bathtub.

catIt’s also a great idea to lay something down on the bottom of the sink or bathtub so that your cat will be able to sit and stand on a less slippery surface. This doesn’t need to be an expensive piece of equipment: an old hand towel will suffice. The water you use should be only slightly warmer than room temperature so as not to scald your cat or startle it with cold water. Make sure you also have a second, dry towel to hand so that you can dry your cat as soon as the bath is finished.

When you’re picking shampoo for your cat, you need to make sure you use one that is cat-friendly. It should be one with no added colour or scent, no sulfates, no additives at all. Keep an eye out for shampoos that are mild and gentle, preferably organic and always designed specifically for cats. Never use a shampoo designed for humans, as you need one with the correct pH balance for your cat.

catIf you put all of these precautions in place and your cat still flips out, you need to just let them go. A distressed and angry cat will do all it can to get free, and those claws and teeth can do some real damage. Your safest plan is to step back and try again when your cat has calmed down.

Reunions

Above all else, our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with families who will love them and give them all the care they need no matter what, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!

Timmy Puss Puss


Timmy Puss Puss

“I felt at ease that over 200 people were notified. One if my Neighbour's that I handed the flyer to got the notification so I was very happy with the service”

 

PetuniaPetunia
“Thanks for your help. Petunia has now been found safe and well.
Thank you so much.”

George


George
“Fantastic service.
He was found inside a neighbours house a few doors down.”


CasperCasper
“I used your tips and the people rang me after identifying Casper on the council website- he had spent several days/ nights on their roof. Thank you I think you provide wonderful guidance when faced with the predicament of a lost family member.”

AlfieAlfie
“Thank you for your wonderful service, Alfie has returned home after being missing for 30 hours, he is in perfect health. Thanks again for your support. Sharen xxoo”

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