Travel Safety Tips for Cats

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Traveling can sometimes be a daunting experience for pets and their owners with so many things to consider.

Here are a few tips to help ensure the safety and comfort of your pet when traveling. 

1. Before leaving make sure the pet is up to date on all their vaccinations and that you have all current health records with you. (example rabies) 

2. Keep your pet in a carrier while traveling. Make sure that the carrier is large enough to fit a small litter box, food and water. We turn the box sideways for more room. 

3. Place a favorite blanket or towel in the front of the container for pet to sleep on comfortably. Carry extra bedding in case it gets soiled or wet. 

4. If possible secure the container/carrier to the seat. 

5. While traveling on a plane or bus (any vehicle) make sure that your pet always has access to their food and water. 

6. Watch the time.  If traveling a long distance make sure that your car has plenty of fuel by stopping at least every two hours. Keeping your vehicles doors closed, allow your pet to get out of the carrier and stretch for 15 minutes. To keep your pet from escaping, DO NOT open the doors and put pet back in carrier before opening vehicle doors.
Many pets have been lost during travel because owners don't adhere to this rule. Our pets have a harness and are on a leash at all times when outdoors. Even at our home they are on leashes. 

7. Maintain their schedule as much as possible allowing extra time for potty breaks in unfamiliar territory (even if it's in their own litter box). 

8. Pack a pet travel bag.  We always include their regular food, water, food bowls, water bowls, pet wipes, paper towels, medications, vaccine papers, toys, treats, blankets, pet bed, litter box, litter scoop, litter and small trash bags. Some prefer to use disposable litter pan liners. If you go that route and your cat has never used one, let them practice with one at home before you travel.  

9. Be sure your cat has a collar with an ID tag with your phone number on it in case you become separated from the pet. 

10. Be prepared for the climate.  Unexpected weather can happen, especially during winter months.  Always have warm bedding and clothing for the pet and be sure to keep their feet dry. 

11. Medications and Flea Treatments.  A few days before your trip, apply flea and tick meds. This allows you to monitor them for any reactions before traveling.  This is especially needed if going to warmer climates where fleas, ticks and mites are prevalent.  

12. Be wary of strangers petting your animal.  To you they might be friendly, but may not be with others.  If startled pets may react differently, than you are accustomed to, in an unusual situation by scratching or biting.  This is another reason why having medical records with you is important. 

Being prepared can relieve unnecessary stress on both you and the pet.  Enjoy your travel time with your pet by maintaining their schedule and adding in some extra TLC.  Bon Voyage!

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Arm & Hammer Litter Mat with Scatter Control Review

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Working with rescue animals we are always on the lookout for products that make life a little easier, and aren’t too expensive.   Thankfully one day while I was out shopping for pet food I came across this litter mat that seemed different than the others we have tried.  Yes, Arm & Hammer has come up with a floor mat that really does capture the scatter from your cat's litter box. 

No matter how hard we try any cat owner knows it’s an ongoing thing to keep the area around the litter box free from loose litter.  The A & H mat has been so helpful and that’s why I wanted to tell you about it. 

The mats are neutral in color and made of a rubber type material with hoops and loops on the face side.  Unroll the mat and after a few hours it will flatten out perfectly.  I placed it on a table on the reverse side first before placing it on the correct side on the floor. 

As kitty exits the litter box she/he steps on the mat and excess litter gets caught in the mat and not on the floor.  It doesn't catch all the litter, but it does a good job and is well worth the price. 

These mats come in different shapes and sizes and can be placed on any type of floor. Personally I would like to see some larger sizes that would give more area for the cat to step on before heading off to the carpet. The more time they spend walking across the mat, the less litter they carry off with them. 

Pro’s & Con’s Usage 

Even though some don’t like this about the mat, I like that they are light weight and that makes clean-up simple. Depending on the type of floor you have it may shift because it is lighter, but it still does the job for the most part.  For the record, all of ours do lay flat and don’t slide much if at all. 

Another nice thing about being lightweight is that it’s easy to take with you when traveling, especially if you have to stop at a hotel or are staying at someone’s house.   

This mat works extremely well for older cats, because they are so convenient and easily swapped out for when these seniors miss the box.  I love it for kittens as well, because they think the litter box is a playground.  It helps contain some of that “playfulness” they tend to do on a regular basis while in training. 

For general maintenance, just hold the mat by each end and shake the excess off into the litter box.  Every other day take it outside and give it a good shaking. You can even vacuum it if you like, but make sure it’s not wet. 

Cleaning the product isn’t a problem either.  Wash it in soapy water using a mild detergent and rinse until it is thoroughly clean.  Let it dry and it's ready for use.  

We have both the circular and rectangle shapes, but I still wish the mat was a little larger for multiple litter boxes. 

Half Circle: 23.5 x 14 x 0.3 inches
Rectangle: 23 x 13  
In the end, this is one of those items that I wish I had found years ago.  A good price for the product and it really does work when taken care of properly.  
Arm & Hammer Litter Mat
Buy it


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Holiday Tips for Pet Safety

Holidays are a special time for people to gather with their friends and family, but sometimes these same events bring stress on a pet.

Here are a few things you can do (that we’ve learned from personal experience as pet owners and foster pet parents) to help your furry friend enjoy the festivities without the trauma. 

Food Goodies 

Remember people food is for people only. Although it may seem harmless, giving pets food that is prepared for humans can be devastating to an animal and may be toxic.  

People food may not provide the proper nutrients or vitamins that your pet requires.  Plus giving meat with bones can cause an obstruction and choke your pet.   

Never give chicken or meat with bones in it.  They can split and get caught in the throat or cause internal damage.
Also, turkey is a big no-no, unless it is prepared especially for pets in their food. 

Never give a pet alcohol, starches, rich or spicy foods as they can cause digestive tract problems and blockages.  Cats cannot digest starches such as bread, chips, crackers or noodles.  Medical bills can be quite costly if they ingest these products. 
One of our rescues used to love eating these kinds of things. She would even grab Doritos and once ran off with an entire chicken thigh.  My husband snagged it from her before she got to munch down on it.  Although it was funny watching her make a run for it, the outcome could have been dangerous. 

Keep certain fruits like raisins or grapes, avocados, onions, garlic, caffeine, cookies, cakes and candy out of reach; never feed a pet chocolate or nuts. This includes trying to get the dog to eat that age old fruitcake!  Desserts with xylitol (an artificial sweetener) in them can be fatal. 

You may love those delicious dairy and meat trays, but many pets (especially cats) are lactose intolerant and it could cause severe bowel and digestive problems.  One more thing, if you think cats need milk, think again … your pet will be much healthier. 

A small treat such as a chunk of cheese or meat is equal to the size of a burger in their little tummies.  So while you are dining, it’s best to provide a super meal in another room away from temptation for your precious pet.  We make sure to have a special pet food or treats reserved only for holidays.  They love it and so do we … a win-win for everyone! 

For a complete list of toxic and unhealthy foods to avoid feeding your pet contact the pet emergency hotline in your area. 

Plants & Flowers 

Fresh flowers and plants really add to the overall ambiance of the holiday season, but take into consideration which ones you bring into your home if you have pets.  

Certain plants are poisonous; both the leaves and petals such as poinsettias, holly (and the berries), ivy, mistletoe, hibiscus, cactus and lilies.  Also some pets are habitual chewers and even artificial plants are dangerous. 
Keep these things out of range from your four legged buddies. For a more detailed list click on this link 

Holiday Decorations 

Avoid using tinsel, beads, garland or ribbon if possible.  When they are in use, place them where the animals cannot reach these objects.  Something you never want to see is a cat with well, how can I put it … their hind quarters decorated with tinsel and garland.   

When we first took in rescues we didn’t know how some pets eat string, ribbon and shiny things.  A lot of pets never outgrow this fetish either.  One of the babies had devoured some and instead of swinging its lovely long tail, there was a strand of wrapping ribbon coming out of her behind!  Thank God we learned this lesson quickly. 

The Christmas Tree 

Another thing that so many pet owners have asked me is how to keep a cat out of the Christmas tree.  When you figure that one out, would you please tell me?   

Seriously, the best way to keep pets safe is to have your beautiful tree in an “off pet” area.  However, if you plan on having a tree and pets in the same room, there are a few things to consider. Something that does work is to safely secure your tree to the wall or window.   


Be sure that the ornaments are safe.  Instead of using hooks or glass ornaments, replace them with plastic ones that can be fastened on with the branches themselves.  By the way, paper ornaments are still in fashion! 


Never leave your tree unattended and hide all the cords!  Cats in particular love to chew on them.  (Note the photo ... that was from our Christmas tree!) 
As for the lights, my dog took it upon herself to destroy all our outside lights by crunching the bulbs. 
When we discovered this we changed our decorating habits and locations.  Be sure to always unplug the lights when you are away from the house to avoid fire or electrical problems, and clean up any debris from live trees daily. 

Most of all …  

“A righteous man regards the life of his/her animal(s)…”
(Proverbs 12:10 NKJV) 

Finally, remember changes of any kind can stress your pet(s).  Re-arranged furniture, decorations, loads of people or visiting pets all add to unrest in a household.  Be sure not to get so caught up in your preparations that you forget to spend time with your pet.   

Disclaimer: Always consult with your veterinarian for the best advice for your pet.  

List of Items Poisonous to Pets

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