Going Away Without Your Cat Tuesday 17 July 2018 @ 11:04

catRecently, we asked our followers a question: What is the one piece of advice you’d give to someone going on a trip without their cat? We’ve already discussed how to go about massive moves with cats and dogs, but what if you’re only going somewhere for a few days? One thing we’ve learned is that everyone has their own little way of going about this.

Before we kick off the post, we need to thank everyone who got in touch with their incredible tips. Once again, we’re going to put together everyone’s great suggestions and unique ideas into a handy checklist so that readers can get advice from loads of people at once. You never know when this information will come in handy for you or someone you know, so make sure you save it somewhere it’s ready to share! So without further ado…

Lost Pet Finders’ Guide to Leaving Your Cat Alone

THE LIVE-IN PETSITTER. If you’re comfortable with letting someone else live in your house for a few days, finding a live-in petsitter is a great way of making sure your cat is cared for and doesn’t get lonely.

Karen Anne (WA) does just this when she has to leave h

er cat alone for a couple of days: “Pet sitter. We have a 19 year old cat with dementia, would never take her away from her home environment. Sitter sleeps in spare room so cats regular sleeping in our beds is not disturbed. Bed linen not changed before we go so it still smells like us. We tell them what we do and say as we leave the house etc so they can do the same. First day have them come with take away chicken to encourage friendship. Cat is purely inside cat.”

Barb Bradshaw (TAS) also recommends this: “House sitter. Animals are happy in their own domain”

Woman Lying on Sofa With Cat by Her Foot

THE CATTERY. If you can’t find anyone who’s able to stay in your house while you’re away, a cattery might be a good option for you. Your cat will have plenty of professionals on hand (er, paw) to cater for their needs, so you won’t be the only one going on holiday!

As Meegan Bennett (VIC) explains, “Mine go to the best cattery ....it's so good they come home happy and relaxed.”

Meegan’s personal recommendation is “Catshack” in Narre Warren, because “Nic and Simon have the perfect set up, highly recommended by myself and many others”. However, there are many other great catteries to choose from all over Australia and New Zealand.

Jackie Wallis (TAS) adds: “Board at my Vets” – definitely something to consider if your local vet offers that service!

Group of People Sitting on White Mat on Grass Field

THE VISITING PETSITTER. Catteries may not be for you, and that’s alright! A visiting petsitter will also do a good job. Get a professional petsitter – or even just a friend or relative – to call in and visit your cat every now and then.

“Ideal is probably to find someone reliable who will attend your home and continue feeding your cat and changing her litter according to the same schedule as you do so as to disrupt your cat's routine as little as possible.” - Stephen Alevras (VIC)

“I have a great cat sitter who comes in every day to feed and have a cuddle with my little one. I find this is best for us as my girl freaks out in boarding. She is in her own home with all the familiar things and her usual food and treats.” - Pauline Battersby (ACT)

GET ON FACETIME. An added bonus that comes with a live-in or visiting petsitter is that you can ask them to let you facetime your pet through their phone.

Cat lover Em Jay says, “Facetime them when you miss them. Take a lock of their hair with you so they are always close by. What am I saying? Just don't do it. I can't handle being away from my babies.”

If you’re in the market for some special tech, you could consider buying a pet camera like the Furbo, Pawbo+ or Petcube Bites. These gadgets also have great bonus features like two-way speakers, motion detection and treat dispensers.

adorable, adult, animal

LEAVE YOUR CAT WITH EVERYTHING THEY NEED. Some cats are startlingly independent and need us a whole lot less than we might think. If you trust your cat to behave, eat the right amount and not mess up your house, try giving them the independence they obviously think they deserve.

Penelope Cohen (WA) has this down to a fine art: “Lock in the house with access to plenty of food and fresh water, more than normal amounts. Extra litter tray if necessary too. Leave a radio on or programme your tv to turn on/off. Leave some old clothes near where they might sleep so they are reassured by your scent. Have someone you trust with them and you trust not to accidentally let out, come by once a day to change their water, top up the biscuit bowls, put down fresh wet food if using and clear the litter trays and any vomit. Don't make the task too onerous for your helper; keep the tasks simple and quick. Leave the number of your vet on the fridge and leave plenty of food in the cupboard for them. Make sure they know where you keep the cat carrier. Buy them a present when you return if not paying them.”

Nicole Harrison remembered to do all of this when she went away, and her cat was definitely grateful… “We leave ours home alone for up to 4 days. He has an automatic cat feeder and a water fountain so he's cared for. We have a friend who he loves go around once a day and give him pats. We also make sure our sheets haven’t been changed recently and leave our robes around on the floor for him to smell. Seems to work. And when we return he seems less than impressed That we are ruining his peace haha”

KEEP THEM SECURE. Whether you go for a petsitter, cattery or kitty independence, it’s important that you make sure your cat is somewhere safe while you’re away. After all, you won’t be there to know if they’re just on an adventure or they’ve gone missing entirely.

Maryann Morrell’s plan is simple. “We lock our 4 in the house. Have lots of small boxes with kitty litter in it. Lots of water and tiblets in containers. My sister visits every 4th day and tidied up. They are content and safe inside. I am content with not worrying and enjoy my holidays.”

Because what’s the point in going on holiday if you’re just going to worry all week?

White and Black English Bulldog Stands in Front of Crackers on Bowl at Daytime

Need more information?

There’s loads more information about pet care on the Lost Pet Finders Blog! Here are a few that might come in handy when you’re thinking of going away:

Anything to add?

Do you have any important tips that you feel we’ve left out here? Let us know in the comments below!
Once again, we’d like to thank community members like Karen, Barb, Meegan, Jackie, Stephen, Pauline, Penelope, Maryann, Em and Nicole, without whom this article would not have been possible.

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Moving House with Your Dog Monday 09 July 2018 @ 00:00

Recently, we asked our followers a question: What is the one piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s moving house with a dog? We’ve already discussed how to go about this with cats, but dogs have a completely different nature, so the advice is completely different. One thing remains the same, though: moving house can be very stressful for everyone involved, and that includes the pets.

Before we kick off the post, we need to thank everyone who got in touch with their incredible tips. Once again, we’re going to put together everyone’s great suggestions and unique ideas into a handy checklist so that readers can get advice from loads of people at once. You never know when this information will come in handy for you or someone you know, so make sure you save it somewhere it’s ready to share! So without further ado…

Lost Pet Finders’ Guide to Moving House with a Dog

Close-up Photography of White Poodle FINDING ACCOMMODATION. If at all possible, try leaving your dog in a kennel or with a family member or friend while you’re moving.

As Julie Cartwright (NZ) explains, “Leave your dogs at friends, family or the kennels, until you have moved everything and the house is set up, beds are out and furniture is in place. The worst thing to do is take the animals with you while people are carrying things in and out. They can easily slip out the door without being seen.”

Allison Anderson (NZ) did just this when her family moved house: “Was great for him and far less stressful for us knowing we didn’t have eyes in the backs of our heads worrying about where out pup was or him getting under people’s feet.”

adorable, adult, animalMAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS SAFE AND SECURE. When you reach your new house, you’ll want to make sure it’s completely secure before letting your dog off their leash. The last thing you need right now is a prison break!

Teby Carrillo (NSW) recommends: “Keep your pet indoors for a few days after moving to a new place. Make sure there are no gaps for them to escape, make sure all members of the family know the rules regarding keeping doors closed at all times. On moving day you can leave them with the vet for the day - you pay a bit of money but they will be safe during all the hassle of the removal.”

Elizabeth Chapman (NZ) adds: “First and foremost make sure your garden is secure and that your dog cannot escape! While doing the move, close the dog up in a room or garage to make sure it does not escape while everyone is busy!”

Man In Blue Long-sleeved Shirt Carrying DogTAKE TIME OFF WORK. If at all possible, taking time off work makes a calm, happy move way easier. Your dog will be stressed out by the move, and having you around will be really soothing.

“Move the pooch last if possible. Stay home with the pooch for a few days after the move.” - Meegan Bennett (VIC)

“Totally agree with the above. If possible, take some time off work after moving so that the pets can settle in.” - Brigitte Arianne (NSW)

UPDATE PERSONAL DETAILS. If the worst happens and your dog does go missing during the move, they’ll need the right information to find their way home.

Shannon Rosenberg (VIC) reminds: “I like the new address tag to be on their collars immediately and don’t forget their microchip needs to be updated too!”

Isabella Elsley (NZ) remembered to do all of this when moving house with her dogs! “We shifted one year ago with four dogs who seemed as excited about the new place as we were. I think as long as they are with us they are happy wherever that might be. But we did make sure their microchips were all working by having them checked at vets and have their names and phone numbers on their collars just in case.”

White and Black English Bulldog Stands in Front of Crackers on Bowl at DaytimeCONSIDER KEEPING INDOORS. As much as your dog may enjoy running around the garden on a normal day, we’d strongly encourage you to keep your dog inside at all times, at least for the first few days in your new home.

Heidi Campbell (WA) explained her moving rules as simply as possible: “Just close the door and make sure they are inside? Have them microchipped and registered? Use common sense?”

The move may seem daunting, but that’s really all there is to it. So long as you use your common sense, it’s pretty likely things will go just fine!

“Keep him close till he gets used to his new surroundings,” adds Joanne Kearney (VIC).

Linda Ledwell (VIC) also says: “Let him come inside to know this is their new home and you love them, and make sure he or she is safe and happy.”

Group of People Sitting on White Mat on Grass Field SET UP THEIR SPOT. Once you’ve established your dog’s new personal space - complete with their old favourite bed and toys - it’ll be much easier for them to get settled in.

Djardi Sutcliffe (WA) reminds us: “Set up a quiet room with a bed a blanket and a toy, food and water. Then on moving day they can go without anxiety.”

Amanda Powers (VIC) says: “Tell them EXACTLY what is going on weeks before it happens. Explain to them that you are ALL moving, make it very clear that they are a part of the family and where you go they go. Tell them repeatedly and on the day let them know that is the day. When you arrive, put their bed where it will go when you move, and tell them this is their new spot in your new home. Tell them what a great new adventure it will be, just explain it all.” (What a lovely way to put it!)

Did we miss anything? Tell us in the comments!

Finally, thanks once again to everyone in the Lost Pet Finders community who shared their tips to help us put this guide together!

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Scaredy Pups: The Fear of Random Objects Tuesday 19 June 2018 @ 12:13

White and Black English Bulldog Stands in Front of Crackers on Bowl at Daytime Phobias are irrational, so it can be hard to understand why your dog is afraid of something and even harder to work out how to help with that fear. Over the last couple of months, we’ve discussed the most common fears a dog might experience, and how to deal with those fears. Our most recent phobia was the fear of cars, which can make it pretty difficult to go anywhere and do anything with your pup.

Some of the other common doggy fears you may wish to learn more about might include…

Group of People Sitting on White Mat on Grass Field We’ve finally come to the end of our fear list, but there are still other fears out there! If your dog has a fear we haven’t covered and you’d like more information on that phobia, don’t hesitate to get in touch. While we wait to hear from you, let’s talk about the last item on our list: dogs who are afraid of specific objects.

Is your dog afraid of your vacuum cleaner? Do they run and hide or bark constantly when you bring out the halloween pumpkins?

Do they get jumpy when you try to move the furniture in your house? These are telltale signs that your pooch has a phobia of certain items.

Why Is My Dog Afraid?

Man In Blue Long-sleeved Shirt Carrying DogAs we’ve already discussed, a dog can develop a phobia for any number of different reasons. With fears of specific objects, it often comes down to the dog being afraid of something they aren’t familiar with.

A key example of this comes when you decorate for holidays, whether that’s Halloween, Christmas or someone’s birthday.

Suddenly, there are flashing lights, balloons, shiny objects and sometimes even foliage. Your dog clearly doesn’t know what day of the year it is, or why you’re putting a random tree inside your house.

Dogs can sometimes develop phobias as a result of negative experiences. For example, if you accidentally put a chair down on your dog’s paw or close their tail in the door, this can easily lead to a fear of these objects.

It’s also pretty common for a dog to be afraid of objects that make strange and unpredictable noises. For example, some teddy bears have mechanisms inside them that cause them to play a song or make a laughing noise. This can be surprising and terrifying to a dog who as just about become accustomed to teddy bears as inanimate, silent objects. Your dog can develop a fear of this toy as a result, and that fear may even pass onto other stuffed toys. This can also be the reason for a dog’s fear of hair dryers, washing machines and other loud household appliances.

Fear Periods

adorable, blur, childBetween birth and adolescence, many dogs experience two different “fear periods”. These periods are temporary, but can result in permanent phobias if dealt with incorrectly. At these points, a dog will often begin exhibiting a fear of objects, people or situations they were previously comfortable with. For example, they may suddenly start acting shy around new people, or begin to growl at the sofa.

The first fear period is the “fear impact period” where your puppy is beginning to learn about the difference between dangerous and safe things, and this generally takes place between the ages of eight and twelve weeks. At this time, your dog is trying to make sense of the weird world that surrounds them, so every person and item needs to be re-evaluated.

Your dog’s experiences, whether they’re negative or positive, will stay with them for the rest of their life. A good way to help them is to provide as many positive social experiences as you can. Some important ideas include…

  • Avoiding scary or new environments;
  • Using positive reinforcement to reward and congratulate your pup;
  • Remembering to keep calm as much as possible, because your pup will mirror your reactions and your anxiety will quickly become their anxiety;
  • Encouraging planned socialisation with people and other dogs.

Desensitizing Your Dog to Objects of Fear

adorable, adult, animalThe kindest and simplest way to help your dog through their fear of random objects is to help them see the item as a good thing instead of a scary one. This is called desensitizing. This is the same technique used to help dogs afraid of loud noises.

Take, for example, a dog who is afraid of fast food wrappers.

  • Begin by gathering a very generous amount of small, tasty treats that are easy for your dog to swallow. Things like chunks of cheese, hotdogs, cold cuts or leftover roast are perfect. Just make sure that whatever you choose, it isn’t likely to upset your dog’s tummy.
  • Avoid weight issues by counting the treats you use as part of your dog’s meal. They won’t mind!
  • Begin by placing the fast food wrapper far enough away that your dog is not yet reacting to it.
  • Begin throwing treats in the direction of the wrapper, so that they create a trail your dog will slowly follow closer to the item. If your dog starts getting nervous, slow your progress by throwing the treats at shorter intervals.
  • Try to give your dog a training “break” every now and then. For instance, if you began 20 feet from the wrapper and have managed to work up to 10 feet from the wrapper, toss a few treats at the 15-foot mark to let your dog relax. It may seem counterintuitive, but taking these breaks can really speed up the process.
  • Only carry out this training for about 5 minutes at a time, making sure to always finish in high spirits. You can do this once per day, or even several times each day. Just make sure your dog always has at least 5 minutes to rest between each session.
  • Once your dog is happy to take treats right next to the wrapper, try moving it a little bit with your foot while dropping lots of treats at once.

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REUNION OF THE DAY: Cookie the spoodle from Melbourne VIC Tuesday 12 June 2018 @ 13:00

spoodle dog lost found reunited Melbourne VIC Australia

 

 

REUNION OF THE DAY: Cookie

"We want to thank you for helping to reunite us with our beloved Cookie.

The Brimbank Veterinary Clinic contacted us after seeing our Pet Alert to inform us that a good samaritan had dropped Cookie at their place very shortly after he went missing from our house.

We are so thankful to everybody involved.

Here are a few pictures of our reunited family!

Warmest Regards from us all." - Gilbert, Tidi and Tommy

 

 

 

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Moving house with your cat Monday 11 June 2018 @ 08:00

MOVING HOUSE WITH YOUR CAT

Moving house with your cat

We recently asked our followers about one piece of advice they would give to someone who is moving house with a cat. We all know that the process of moving house can be very stressful for territorial animals resulting in increased risk of them going missing.

Thank you, your response was truly amazing! We received so many great tips and valuable suggestions, that we decided to combine them all into one handy checklist that contains the wisdom and experience of so many people. It is a must-have for every family sharing their home with feline companions. So share it around and print/save it into your cat’s personal file (don’t have one? Time to make one) for future reference. Here we go…

“Moving house with your cat” guide.

CATTERY ACCOMMODATION. If you can afford it, place your cat with a cattery for a few days while moving.

Hazel Luckstedt recommends: “It is a good idea to put them in a cattery on the day the removal man comes. The removal of the furniture and the strange men really freak out most cats. I leave mine in the cattery until the furniture is safely in the new house. When you bring them home to the new house there are familiar things and smells which help to settle them in their new home.”

“We too put ours in a cattery. They are indoor cats and don't want them escaping through open doors during moving.” adds Wendy Goffage

 

KEEP THINGS UNDER CONTROL. If cattery is not a option, try following these steps provided by Toni Farlow:

“3-4 days prior to moving leave [your cats’] carriers out for them to get accustomed to.
On the day of moving, keep them in a room that won’t be accessed until you finally go.
Put them in carriers and take to new home. DO NOT LET THEM OUT YET!
Put them in a room that won’t be accessed while shifting furniture. Shut the door and leave them in the room in their carriers until all removalists have left. The cats can be let out of their carriers now but DO NOT LET THEM OUT OF THIS ROOM. Let them become accustomed to this room and its smells over 2-3 days. This gives them time to regain confidence after moving from their old home.
Depending on your cat’s confidence level, gradually let them explore more rooms a bit at a time. This could take 1-3 days or 1-3 weeks! ONLY THEN CAN YOU LET THEM OUTSIDE IF THEY ARE ALLOWED.” - Toni Farlow

Clare Dolphin also reminds you may need to “Wear earplugs for the drive…”

 

TAKE TIME TO ADJUST. So many of you have emphasised the importance of giving your cat enough time to get used to the indoors first by keeping them in for at least 2 weeks before allowing them to explore the outdoors.

Jan Kelly says: “I always keep them inside until they are comfortable in their new environment. Depending on the personality of the cat this could be any time between 4 - 14 days”

Christine Vimini adds: “Do not be tempted to let them outside, no matter how much they’re used to going outside and no matter how much they whinge. They must bond to the new place & that can take time. Depending on your cat, at least 2 weeks, up to 4 indoors.”

“If you think you’ve kept them inside for long enough, give it another week” suggests Kimberly Skilton

 

EXPLORE THE OUTDOORS. Once your feline friend is used to the new house, you can take him or her outside to start exploring the surroundings:

Samuel Merlino says: “carry them around the block a few times or take them on a lead, if they don't like the lead then walk alongside them keeping an absolute HAWK eye on them so they don't get out of your reach… They should get familiar with the smells and the route home IF they do ever get out. And believe me, cats will find a way to get out! The thing is to make sure they are familiar with the territory so they know the way home and the safe places to hide if they get scared.”

Gill Youngleson also points out that “If other cats come into his new territory, you need to help your cat establish his by clapping loudly and frightening other cats away. It’s worked for two big moves.”

Deborahlea Harrison adds: “be on the lookout for other neighbourhood cats that may have already staked the place as territory as this is when cat fights happen.”

Another great idea is provided by Cathy Donaldson-Serkin: “get to know your neighbours asap. And tell them about your cat family member”

 

ESTABLISH A ROUTINE. Once you are confident about your kitty going outside on their own consider this advice:

Judy Lidstone says: “don't feed before letting out feed when they come back inside”

Anna Purgar also adds: “When you finally let them outside don't pick them up and place them in the middle of the lawn. Just open the door, sit with them so they can explore and feel secure.”

 

HELP TO RELAX: Many people reported to have great success with the following handy tricks:

Vivienne Timmins says: “Mum use to smear butter on their paws, her logic always was that they can't stand the feeling of it on them and will automatically groom and lick to clean off, which leads to being tired followed by sleep and thus starts the acclimatising to their new surroundings, new smells and noises that are in the background as they sleep.”

Christine Gillie explains: “Supposed to work because the logic is they lay back and clean themselves… so relax and accept it as home. I have always done it immediately on bringing them into the new home”

Samantha Moreland also adds this tip: “Cats have glands on their cheeks, rub a face washer on their face and then rub their scent in your new house, will help them settle faster as it will smell like them”

 

BRING FAMILIAR THINGS. Bring to your new house as many things from the old house as you can.

Nola Squeak Brewer recommends: “Make sure you have their usual bedding for them to sleep on… don't wash it as they need familiar smells to help them settle and feel at home”

Diana Bassani also adds: “don't wash a sheet or blanket that has your scent on it for them to cuddle up with.”

 

PLENTY OF TLC. And of course don’t forget to give them love and attention throughout the ordeal.

Kat Katrijn says: “Don’t get so caught up in your own moving-stress that you forget about spending time with them. They need to be ensured that the bond you share didn’t stay behind in the old house.”

 

SUPPLEMENTS. Try special cat pheromones to help your cat feel more calm and relaxed in the new environment:

Sharon Young recommends: “Plug in some feliway. You can get it at the vet. Sprays happy pheromones into the air to help keep your cat calm. Also good when introducing new cats.”

“If they are very stressed get some Rescue Remedy and put it in their food. Works really well to calm them down.” adds Kellie Mayne

 

CONSIDER KEEPING INDOORS. We strongly encourage you to consider keeping your cat inside on a permanent basis or think about setting up an enclosure for you little buddy:

Mel Brown make a great point: “Moving to a new house is a great time to change the rules on the family moggie. Cats are protected from being hit by cars, fights with other cats potentially catching feline aids, attacked by neighbourhood dogs, being poisoned, stolen or lost. New homes, new rules, keep your moggie inside.”

“I built a cat run they aren't that expensive if u want kitty to have outdoor time” adds Fiona Mcdonald

Jenni Moore also says: “Keep them indoors ALL the time. They are safe & so is the wildlife outside.”

 

UPDATE PERSONAL DETAILS. And last but definitely not least, make sure everything is updated with your new details.

Jan Jolly reminds: “UPDATE ALL DETAILS!!! Before the move...microchip, vet, contact numbers etc…”

Did we miss anything? Tell us in the comments.

Once again, a heartfelt thank you to everyone for your insightful input in creating this “Moving house with your cat” guide.

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