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Happy February!

February the month of LOVE! How did a winter month get this distinction?

In looking at history it seems like the welcoming of Spring played a part in the choice of the month.

There were 3 different saints named Valentine, all of whom were martyred. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends of these 3 saints is murky, the stories all emphasize their appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and – most importantly – romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love.

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.

Enjoy the month and Valentine's Day! Do something special for a partner, friend, and of course your pet!!!!

Cat and Dog House Rules

Before bringing a new pet into your household, it's a great idea to sit down with your family and decide on the "house rules" for the pets and people. If the rules change after you get a pet, it's confusing for your pet and the people in your household. If you have a pet that currently "rules" your home, you can still teach your dog or cat new house rules as long as everyone is consistent with them.

Plan a meeting to talk about rules and make sure everyone is on board with them. Here are a few ideas of some rules you may want to discuss at your family get together.

Is your pet going to be allowed on the furniture? There are pros and cons to doing this. Many of us love a nice warm puppy next to us as we watch TV, or a cat curled up in our lap. But, there is no doubt that you'll end up with pet hair, drool, and dirt on your furniture. You can keep your pet super clean (hard), or keep your buddy off of the furniture (not that much fun), train your pet that she can only be on her blanket on the furniture (requires a little training but it's too hard), or you could order a few inexpensive blankets from Amazon and cover the furniture. Some people opt to let their pet on the furniture with no boundaries and clean the furniture now and then.

Will jumping be tolerated? This is by far easier to enforce if you decide on it before she begins jumping on you. You might decide on this issue based on the size of your pet. Not much harm is done when a 10-pound dog jumps up. But when your 70-pound dog jumps, it's an entirely different story. Most visitors won't mind if a cat leaps up to say hello!

Begging or feeding at the table; yay or nay? If you don't feed your pet from the table, they probably won't start begging, which can be annoying and dangerous if they start "table-surfing".

How much barking will be tolerated? First, keep in mind that barking is a natural behavior for dogs. They often bark when someone unexpected is on the property or at the door. So, it's a good idea not to have any punishment if your dog barks. Many people train their dogs to quiet down to limit excess barking. Cat purring is always acceptable!

Will you allow your furniture to be a scratching post? We don't know anyone who encourages this kitty behavior, but many people feel it is natural for a cat and they are correct; scratching is natural. But you can, especially if you start when they are kittens, teach them where to scratch.

Other house rules you may want to consider are where she goes to do "her business" (some small dogs are allowed to go on potty pads inside), drinking out of the toilet, chewing, sleeping arrangements, cleaning up, changing water, feeding, cleaning the litter box, walking, and if your pet will be allowed to eat people food.

Your family members may have completely different ideas, so it is important to establish these early and as a group.

Schedule a family meeting, have everyone brainstorm about what rules will work in your household, and be sure everyone agrees. Your entire household will be happier!

What To Do If Your Pet Gets COVID?

At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we were told animals couldn't get COVID. It turns out they can. The good news is very few pets have been infected. There is no evidence that you can get COVID from your pet, leash, collar, or even petting them. Pets are NOT spreading C-19 to humans.

If your pet is acting ill and has been exposed to a person with COVID, we suggest taking him to the vet to be assessed and to find out exactly what sort of illness he has. It could turn out to be a regular upper respiratory illness, so it's best to have him tested. Most pets will have very few symptoms and can be treated at home.

If your pet is diagnosed, you may want to set him up in a separate sick room for a week, just like you would with a person.

The symptoms of COVID in animals are similar to people, fever, coughing, shortness of breath, lethargy, runny nose, the runs, and sneezing. Do not use sanitizer, alcohol, peroxide, or any chemical disinfectants on your pet. Doing so could make your pet very sick or cause death. Also, NO MASKS on pets!

How will you know when your pet is over COVID? The current guidelines say that if your pet has gone 72 hours without medical management, or 14 days have elapsed since diagnosis, or has had a negative follow-up test - then your best friend can resume normal activities.

If your pet has been exposed and shows symptoms, it's time for a trip to your vet's office. Follow their advice, and your dog or cat will be back to normal soon!

Create More Living Space For Your Cat

It's easy to create more space for your feline, even if you live in a small home. Think outside of the box... you can create space that's interesting for your kitty.

Make the most of window space... most cats love to sit and watch the world go by (including birds and chipmunks). Put a bed on the window sill if it's large enough, or buy a window perch like these. Some people put a bird feeder outside the window for their cat's enjoyment.

Think vertical! Cat's love to climb, and there are tons of climbing options on the market for your kitty, and some of them you can easily make yourself. The easiest route is to buy a climbing kitty condo. They come in all sizes and price ranges. You can see some here on Amazon. Another favorite spot for many cats is on top of the refrigerator. If you don't use that space, put a cat bed up there; it's a warm spot and offers your kitty a great view of their kingdom

You can also buy or build a wall shelf for your cat that allows your kitty to literally climb the walls. They are easy to build. This man spent $35k to make his entire house cat friendly, but you can spend a lot less and make wall stairs and a skywalk for your feline. Click here to see some ideas for interesting cat skywalks.

This isn't the first time we've mentioned Catios, and probably not the last! They can be a simple box that screws into the outside window frame or an elaborate outside room for your cats to lounge in. Either way, most cats love them. See some simple and elaborate DIY catios here.
This company sells catios and plans!

Lastly, many companies like Ikea and Wayfair now sell "cat furniture." These are great ways to give your cat a lookout or hiding spot. Some are made to hide litter boxes too. See all sorts of cat furniture ideas here.

It's easy to make more fun space in your home for your kitty. Pick out a project or two and spice up your cat's life!

Great Pet Links!

Check out these great Valentine's reads!

February is:
Pet Dental Health Month
National Cat Month

February 3 - National Golden Retriever Day
February 14 - Valentine's Day
February 20 - Love Your Pet Day


February 2021 Newsletter