Bengal Cats; Comedians of the Cat World

A Bengal Cat looks like he's laughingOne of the best things about pet sitting is the amazing pets we get to meet. Bengal Cats definitely qualify in this category. We have several cat sitting clients in Redmond and Bellevue who share their homes with Bengal Cats and I’ve been really impressed by this uniquely charming and entertaining breed.

Bengals are a hybrid resulting from breeding Asian Leopard Cats with Domestic Short hairs. The result is a beautiful breed of intelligent, athletic, attention-loving cats full of mischievous energy. Their need for action and entertainment can make them a real handful. If their owners don’t provide stimulation, these clever, fun loving cats will find ways to make their own. Their long hind legs make them fantastic jumpers and climbers, able to reach places that would be unreachable for most cats.

Bengal Cats are also natural burglars, adept at turning doorknobs and opening drawers. Along with their intelligence and curiosity, this gives them the potential for a huge amount of mischief. One of our clients who shares her home with two Bengal cats says it’s like living with gremlins.

Two Bengal cats raiding a bookshelf

Tiki shows his brother Humu how much fun it is to knock books off the bookshelves.

Here’s what this Redmond pet owner means: Bellevue Pet Sitters provides pet sitting for her pair of Bengal Cats, brothers about two years old. Their treats are kept in a sealed Tupperware container which the cats routinely try to hijack and open. Once, while we were looking after them, they did manage to get into the box, eat all the treats and make themselves thoroughly sick. To prevent this happening again, their pet sitter hid the treat box on a top shelf in the pantry with the door closed.

The next day, the pet sitter found the Bengal brothers had mounted a campaign to find the missing box of cat treats. Most of the kitchen drawers and cabinets had been opened and searched. The cats had also opened the pantry door and climbed the shelves, knocking cereal boxes and soup cans to the floor. They found a stack of the kids’ school papers on one of the shelves. Naturally, hundreds of pages ended up on the floor. Judging from the paw prints and claw marks, the pages were then chased, batted, and pounced on until they were liberally scattered all around the kitchen. Having created a spectacular mess, they finally liberated the treat box. Fortunately, they couldn’t get into the box itself, possibly because they were exhausted from ransacking the kitchen, but the fun they had was probably reward enough.

Hijinks like this are the reason there are so many web pages devoted to funny stories about Bengal Cats. Why would anyone put up with this kind of mischief? Besides being a beautiful breed, Bengals are more like dogs in their affection and loyalty to humans. Their charming temperament and loving nature provides plenty of consolation for the mischief they get into. It’s sort of like living with the Marx Brothers in your home; wildly chaotic, but so much fun.

If you’re a cat owner, come back soon. All of us at Bellevue Pet Sitters look forward discovering and sharing more about feline habits and other entertaining cat behavior.

Bellevue Pet Sitters provides Dog Walking, Pet Sitting and other dog, cat and pet related services to Seattle Eastside pet owners.

Redmond Terrier Meets Blue Man Group

Buster

Buster

I really enjoy the occasional discoveries I make when walking Buster, a 3 year old Boston Terrier who lives in in Redmond.

Buster’s favorite route includes investigating the curved sidewalk and ivy vines next to the Redmond City Offices, where the city has an interesting Public Art installation

I’m glad he likes it. Personally, I like to believe our smart Terrier found the original the Blue Men Group.
Blue People Sculpture in Redmond
If you want to see this charming Redmond City Art. It’s half a block along NE 76th just East of 180th Ave NE. The metal art cut-outs feature 10 Redmond City employees from builders to office workers. If you take your kids, challenge them to see who’s first to find the hidden computer. The car traffic get busy sometimes, but if you use common safety, the walkway has a natural feel that any dog would enjoy.

I sometimes wonder why no service dogs are shown in the display. Maybe we should start friendly Redmond dog lover petition.

Summer Pet Safety: Don’t Leave Your Pets in a Parked Car

Summer, one of the glories of living in the Northwest, is finally here bringing warmer days and sunny skies. Because we’re used to moderate summers in this part of the country, we don’t think as much about the dangers summer heat can present to our pets. We tend to forget that most of our pets come supplied with a fur coat and can’t sweat to lower their body heat. They rely on panting as the primary way to cool off, so they are much more vulnerable to hot weather than we are.

Small dog locked in a parked car with the windows closed

Never leave your pet alone in a parked car

Never leave your pet alone in a parked car. Even on a moderate summer day, the sun can turn your car into an oven very quickly (see below). On a mild 70° day the temperature inside a car parked in the shade – even with the window “cracked”- can reach 89° in a few minutes; in direct sunlight it can reach more than 100°. Imagine being locked in a car wearing a fur coat in that kind of heat.  Passersby can escalate overheating if your dog gets excited or panicky as strangers go by. Different pets have different tolerances. Pets with short muzzles, like Boxers, Pugs or Persian cats are much more vulnerable. They can’t pant effectively and have a much harder time cooling off than pets with longer muzzles. Older pets and pet who are overweight are also at greater risk. But no pet can tolerate 100°+ temperatures for very long.

Temperatures in a Car Parked in the Shade
Outside Air Temperature
Inside Temp. After 10 Minutes
Inside Temp. After 30 Minutes
70°
89°
104°
80°
99°
120°
90°
109°
140°

 

Pets left in a hot car will not just suffer, they can fall victim to heat stroke resulting in permanent organ damage and death. Early signs of heat stroke are difficulty breathing with heavy, rapid panting. Tongue and gums become bright red and the pet may drool thick, ropy saliva. They may vomit and will become increasingly sluggish and unsteady. As the body temperature continues to rise, shock sets in, the gums and mucus membranes turn gray, followed by seizures and death. This is a pretty gruesome scenario, but thousands of pets –mostly dogs- die this way every year. Their owners aren’t necessarily monsters; they were only popping into the bank for a minute, or they cracked the windows and figured that would be ok, or they just didn’t think it was all that hot. The danger isn’t worth the risk; play it safe and leave your pets at home in hot weather.

Healthy Pet Treats

Healthy Pet Treats You Can Make at Home

It’s Easy, Healthy, and Less Expensive Than Store-Bought

Petco and Petsmart, the two largest retailers of pet supplies in the US, both announced this week that they would stop selling pet treats made in China because of persistent concerns that they are making pets sick. Since 2007, the FDA has issued several warnings about these products, although no specific cause for illness has been identified. Over the past few years, the agency has received more than 4,800 complaints about Chinese-made pet treats causing illness with another 1,000 pet deaths, mostly dogs, reported.

A French Bulldog with a jar of treats These announcements highlight how careful pet owners need to be about what they give their pets. There are so many different kinds of pet treats available, and they can cover a range from mass-produced dog biscuits to “gourmet” artisanal bonbons for pets. The problem with the mass-produced treats is that you really don’t know what you’re feeding your pet. The most well-known commercial brand, for instance, contains three dozen different ingredients the names of most of which are unpronounceable. Gourmet treats may have fewer mystery ingredients but with wheat-free organic sweet potato treats costing $18.00 a pound, they can be a pretty spendy.

The good news is that you can give your pets really healthy, delicious treats that are the ultimate in hand made artisanal yummies by making them yourself. Homemade pet treats are healthy, inexpensive and surprisingly easy to make, and the best part is you know exactly what’s in them. You can even customize your treats to meet your pet’s needs. For instance, if your dog has a case of puppy breath, just add some dried parsley to their treats to help freshen their breath.

Here are two easy recipes for healthy pet treats your pets will love:

LIVER & BACON DOG TREATS

These biscuits are so easy to make. Liver and bacon are flavors dogs love, and will make these your dog’s favorites.
Ingredients
½ lb. chicken or beef liver, raw
6 slices bacon, cooked
2½ c. oat flour*
1½ c. brown rice flour
1 large egg
½ cup water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a food processor, puree the liver. Pour the puree into a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Break the bacon into pieces and put them in the food processor and grind to fine pieces. (Take the time to wash your food processor’s bowl at this point. You don’t want the liver and bacon to dry in the bowl; it’ll be a real pain to clean out later)
  4. Combine all ingredients except the water in the mixing bowl.
  5. Mix the ingredients, adding the water a little at a time just until a dough forms.
  6. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to ¼-inch thickness.
  7. With a cookie cutter or knife, cut the dough into shapes.
  8. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the cookies on the sheet. They won’t expand much, so you can place them fairly close together.
  9. Bake 22-27 minutes or until golden brown. For crisper cookies, turn off the oven and leave the cookies to cool in the oven for 6 to 8 hours.
  10. Store the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

*Oat flour is available at Whole Foods and most natural grocery stores. You can also make your own oat flour with a food processor or blender. It only takes a couple of minutes and costs a fraction of what stores charge. Just put two cups of organic rolled oats in your blender or food processor and blend until the oats reach the consistency of flour.

CRUNCHY CATNIP TUNA TREATS

Ingredients
1 (5 ounce) can water packed tuna, no salt added, drained
1 cup oat flour*
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon dried catnip

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and blend until mixture forms a smooth dough. It should be pliable but not too sticky.
  3. Roll small pieces of dough into 1/2 teaspoon balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with baking parchment paper. Use a skewer to press an X-shape into each cookie ball and slightly flatten them.
  4. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes until they are dried on top and lightly browned. Cool completely and store the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Are These Pet Poisons Hiding In Your Home?

Most of us know that household items like chocolate and antifreeze are toxic to pets, but hidden in our homes are a surprising number of other products that can be just as dangerous. Here are three you might never have suspected.

Fabric Softener Sheets
Online, you can find a pet care tip that advises wiping a dog or cat’s coat with fabric softener sheets to remove loose hair and dander. This is a terrible idKeep Pets safeea; dryer sheets contain toxic chemicals including chloroform, benzyl acetate, and detergents known as cationics which can cause dangerous gastrointestinal irritations.
These chemicals are dangerous to all pets, but cats are particularly vulnerable. Rubbed on a cat’s coat, these toxins will be ingested when the cat grooms herself and can cause chemical burns in the mouth, drooling, systemic distress, pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), kidney failure and intestinal ulceration. Dogs are vulnerable as well. Contact with dryer sheets, can cause chemical reactions on the dog’s skin that can include redness and itching, swelling, hives and rash. Asthmatic or allergic dogs may inhale the chemical fumes and suffer potentially deadly allergic reactions.
The packaging for dryer sheets includes a warning to keep them away from children and pets. That’s definitely good advice. Treat these products as the pet poisons they are. Store dryer sheets where pets can’t get at them and when you take your laundry out of the dryer, take a moment to find and remove the dryer sheet and dispose of it safely.

Xylitol
Xylitol is a sugar substitute used as a sweetener in sugarless gum, chewable vitamins, toothpaste, mouthwash, and a variety of other sugar-free products. While it is harmless to humans, and National Animal Poison Control has no reports of xylitol toxicity in cats, it can be deadly for dogs. Xylitol triggers a release of insulin that results in a severe drop in blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) and can lead to liver failure. Shortly after ingesting, a dog may begin vomiting followed by lethargy, difficulty walking, and lack of coordination. Unless addressed quickly, collapse and seizures may follow. If your dog shows any of these symptoms or you suspect your dog may have ingested xylitol, it’s important to contact your vet immediately.

Raisins and Grapes
For humans, raisins are considered a healthy snack, and it’s hard to accept the fact that they could be toxic to dogs. None the less, this popular food found in almost any home’s pantry can be deadly for dogs. This includes raisins, currants, fresh grapes and as well as any food containing them such as trail mix, grape juice, and baked goods. The mechanisms that make raisins toxic to dogs are not clear, but there is no doubt that ingesting these products can result in kidney failure and possibly death. Early symptoms will include vomiting followed by diarrhea, lethargy, and increased thirst. Oddly, the toxicity isn’t necessarily dose specific. There are cases where dogs have eaten a large quantity of raisins with only moderate symptoms, and others where as few as seven raisins resulted in severe kidney failure. The unpredictable toxicity levels can lull dog owners into complacency. If your pooch has scarfed a raisin or two in the past without without harm, don’t assume he’s immune, he’s just been lucky. The consequences the next time could be very different.

At Bellevue Pet Sitters, we care about the health and safety of your pet, and we have great resources to help you know how to keep your pets safe. If you have any questions about keeping your pets safe from poisons, or if you’d like a comprehensive list of poisonous products that you might have in your home, let us know, we’ll be glad to refer you to the best resources. To help keep your pets safe, we recommend you create a First Aid & Pet Poison Safety Kit in case of emergencies. For a full list of what that should include, just email service@bellevuepetsitters.com

How Dog Walking Helps Keep Your Dog Sane

A great Dane and a Dachshund being walked

Big and small, all dogs need walks

We are a nation that loves to spoil our pets. Americans spend around $61 billion a year on our pets, and many dog owners are happy to spend generously on gourmet dog food, exotic treats and expensive toys. But some of those same pet owners may be depriving their dogs of a vital necessity for their health and well-being; daily dog walking.

A Basic Instinct

Wolves, the ancestors of all dogs, start every day with a walk to hunt, patrol their territory, and mark its boundaries. It’s a routine that’s essential for their survival. This instinct to step out and explore is a basic need that is hardwired into all dogs. As any dog owner knows, no matter how spacious your backyard, your dog is always more excited when it’s time to go for a walk around the neighborhood than they are when you let them out in the yard. The reason? To quote Caesar Milan, “To your dog, your backyard is like a large fish bowl in which they are trapped.

Wolves running

Hardwired to hunt

There’s No Substitute

So a romp in the backyard or even a free run in the dog park isn’t a substitute for a dog walk. That’s because the  mental stimulation they get from a walk uniquely satisfies a dog’s powerful instinct to hunt and explore their territory on the move; to sniff the smells along the route, mark their territory and keep an eye out for “intruders” like squirrels and cats. That’s why dogs love walks so much; they’re a basic necessity, essential for a dog’s mental well-being, and as important as food and water. As Monica Collins, the “Ask Dog Lady” columnist says, “Dogs need walks like flowers need rain… To deprive a dog of this daily reality check is inhumane.

No Time?

Time doesn’t need to be an obstacle to a good walk. Dog walking doesn’t require a long trek or a lot of time; a twenty minute walk for most healthy dogs will do the trick. High energy breeds, like Australian Shepherds or Border Collies, may need longer walks or more daily walks to use up their excess energy, while dogs with arthritis or joint problems may need a shorter walk. If you’re in doubt about how long a walk your dog needs, check with your vet. Then make dog walking a part of your daily routine. Your dog will be calmer, happier, and love you for it.

And, of course, if you just can’t find the time to take your dog on regular walks, you can contact us at Bellevue Pet Sitters. We always have time for dog walking, and we’d love to meet with you and your dog to plan out a regular dog walking program that will get your pup’s tail wagging

Google+