4. The bond between horse and man

 

 

 

EARLY USE

Belgian-for pulling wagons, carts 

At first, man considered the horse simply as a source of food and for hides. But soon man decided that the horse was more valuable as a hauler of early wheeled carts. The horse was one of the most important discoveries for early human societies.

Horses were used to pull wheeled vehicles, chariots, carts, and wagons. From 2000 B. C. onward, they were increasingly used for riding. The bond between horse and man began early and has remained strong through the centuries. Horses were used in war, in hunting and as a means of transport. The average age of the horse is between 25 and 30 years.

The oldest horse known to man was a barge horse named Billy. Billy was born in 1760 in England and lived until 1822, which made him 62 years of age.

Ancestry

Some 55 to 42 million years ago, the horse ancestors were dog-like creatures. Over time, they grew in size and adapted from a damp, forested habitat to a prairie habitat.

Early horse ancestors were specialized for the tropical forests. But as the land changed, the horse changed to life on drier land. Fossils show that the foot and leg anatomy adapted to a grazing habitat and an ability to flee from predators.

The horse belongs to the Order Perissodactyla (odd-toed Ungulates). All horses share hoofed feet and an odd number of toes on each foot. The horse’s lineage shows several adaptations, which eventually reduced the horse to one Genus, Equus.

wild horses

Around 3000 B.C. people began to tame horses and to domesticate them for carrying and pulling the carts and wagons man had invented for transport.

Scientists first believed that the horse was native to Europe. In reality, the horse’s ancestors came over from the Americas by way of the Bering Bridge over a million years ago. In the 1500s, Horses came back to America by way of Florida and Mexico. Christopher Columbus brought horses from Spain to the west Indies, and Spanish Conquistadors brought horses to Mexico.

The consensus is that the horses that remained in North America eventually became extinct and their ancestors were brought back by colonists.

BREEDS

There are too many breeds to mention here. I’m going to mention a few that are fairly popular with horse people.

Hand: is a unit of measure equal to 4 inches.

American Mustang–is a muscular, athletic horse– well liked by American riders.

American Quarter Horse--stands 14.3 – 16 hands–is a talented, dependable horse with a muscular neck and deep chest. Most are chestnut color.

American Quarter horse

 

Missouri Fox Trotter–developed in the Ozarks by settlers as a reliable riding horse. Stands 14-16 hands. This horse is a favorite of Forest Rangers. The horse has a tolerance for human company.

Agriculture, work breeds

Belgian Breed-is a heavy muscular horse–carriage pullers, good-natured creatures, stand 16-18 hands.

Clydesdale– from Scotland originally. A good-natured horse with the signature white feathered feet. Stands 16.2- 18 hands.

Percheron– stands 16-18 hands. Good on performance as well as pulling.

Racing Breed

Thoroughbred race horse

Thoroughbred– stands 15-17 hands. This horse was bred for racing and special events, jumping and competitions. The Horse is described as a long, lean, racing machine. Originally born in England.

Shetland Pony -stands under 11.2 hands. This is an especially good pony for children to learn to ride. These ponies are good family companions.

Therapy Horses

Therapy Horse

The horse is the most popularly used animal in therapy today. Horses respond immediately to the rider’s action or behavior. Horses also mirror the rider’s emotions. They react like human beings in their social and responsive behavior.

Professionals who work with people who have psychological problems prefer using horses in therapy sessions because of the natural, close bond between horses and humans.

You might say that a horse can read his human counterpart “like a book.” It’s easy for patients to establish a connection, or a bond, with his horse. The therapeutic value of horses is tremendous. Just being with a horse is therapy.

Horse Therapy isn’t about riding–it’s about just being with the horse. A horse can immediately pick up the emotional state of his human partner.

Working with horses can help people heal from a variety of psychological issues. People learn how to identify emotions and how to handle them.

Horse Therapy can be helpful for those who are recovering from substance abuse, trauma, depression, and a number of other problems.

Horses need a lot of care, and taking care of a horse can actually teach a person to develop a solid work ethic.

Horse Racing Industry

Horse racing is a performance sport involving horses ridden by jockeys over a set distance for competition.

Most ancient of all sports. Basic premise: to identify which of several horses is the fastest over the set course.

Industry Statistics-by Brandon Gaille

1. Horse racing is responsible for over 450,000 jobs.

2. Pays out over $1.9 billion in taxes every year to all levels of Government.

3. Contributes more than $100 Billion worth of spending to every level of the economy

4. The average horse owner owns 4 horses There are 9.2 million horses living in the U.S.

Only 10% are actually racing.

5. Seven million Americans are involved in the industry. 2 million are horse owners- a third of those make 75 K a year.

6. Over 16,000 horses are for sale.

Most horse owners take good care of their horses, train them well and provide for them in every way.

Trivia note: In 1973, at the Belmont Stakes, Secretariat won the largest payout ever at $103 million.

The downside of the Horse Racing Industry

A report from a writer for the New York Daily News, states that a racehorse is a genetic mistake- “it runs too fast, its frame is too large and its legs are far too small.”

Racehorses are victims of a multi-billion dollar industry that is rife with drug abuse, injuries and race fixing. Many horses’ careers, and lives, end on the track or in slaughterhouses because they have been medicated to keep them running, too many times, too fast.”

In a PETA report: Most racehorses are shipped from place to place without ever having a chance to bond with anyone human being or to consider any one place as home. Remember, one reason horses are so good as therapy animals is because they mirror a human’s necessity for an emotional connection with place and creature.

Horses run too many races in a year, PETA reports. They should not run every week without rest and time out.

Horses are medicated for soreness and injury, so they can continue to run race after race. A lot of people invest in horses as if they were stocks without considering that they are investing in a live, feeling animal.

Horses often become addicted to the drugs they are fed before every race. Even their Vets give them drugs to keep them running faster and faster. Trainers pump horses full of illegal drugs to keep them running.

One Colorado study found that out of 1,348 horses sent to slaughter houses, 58 were known to be former racehorses. You always hear the story that a horse that has just won a big race will be retired now and allowed to live out his life in a lovely pasture as a reward for winning his owner a big pile of money.

The reality is that it is very expensive to keep a horse that isn’t bringing in a lot of money. Even stud services won’t pay the bills.

Thousands of horses are sent to slaughterhouses in Canada, Mexico and Japan every year.

There are no slaughterhouses in the United States yet, but congress has approved funding for inspections should any try to open. That would pave the way for horse slaughter in the U.S.

If you feel that drugging should be banned for horses nationwide, there is legislation and you can contact your legislator and ask him or her to co-sponsor the: Horse racing Integrity Act.

The cost to care for a horse

Still want to own a horse? Well, Cow Girl magazine.com has calculated the cost to keep a horse, once you get past the upfront cost of just buying the horse. All these numbers are dollars, even if there isn’t a dollar sign in front:

Upfront cost:

Horse: 800 – 4000

  1. Pre purchase Vet Exam 25 -500
  2. Tack: 400 – 1500
  3. Stable Supplies: 50- 100

Monthly:

  1. Self Boarding: 250 – 500
  2. Field Boarding: 100 -200
  3. Farrier (6 to 8 weeks) 25- 100
  4. dewormer: 15

Self-care at home

  1. Hay 40 – 200
  2. grain 15 – 30 a bag
  3. Bedding 5 -12 a bag
  4. Fencing 500+
  5. Shelter 1200+

Annual:

  1. Vaccines; 50 – 100
  2. Emergency Vet: 250+
  3. Teeth Floating: up to150

There is a lot more you could buy: Apparel, truck, trailer, first-aid kit, rubber stall mats,—-

Owning a horse can cost roughly from 9800 to 27,000 a year.

BLM Roundups of wild Mustang

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is in charge of management of Public Lands for the use of Ranchers, mining interests, and other interests as well as management of wild herds of horses and Burros.

Land Management Poster

The law declares wild horses and burros to be “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the west”— BLM and the Forest Service are responsible for managing and protecting herds which were found roaming areas of the west in 1971.

Basically, the BLM rounds up wild horses and burros and puts them up for adoption to the public. Sounds good doesn’t it? A lot of people in the west who have observed these roundups, say otherwise.

In reality, the yearly roundup results in mass incarceration of approximately 150,000 wild horses stockpiled in long term holding facilities across the country with no place to go. However, they continue these roundups every spring, and as more are put in captivity, the pressure to sell them for slaughter builds.

Helicopter Roundup

People in the western states continue to complain that the BLM’s method of roundup leads to too many deaths. The BLM uses loud helicopters and land vehicles, which terrorizes the horses and causes stampedes that leave many of the animals severely wounded or dead.

BLM schedules these roundups in early spring when mares are birthing or foals have just recently been born and cannot keep up with a stampeding herd. There are also complaints that the BLM doesn’t report the true number of deaths from the roundups.

The Wild Horse Education.org group is “devoted to protecting America’s wild horses from abuse and slaughter, and to preserve our herds and land they stand on for future generations.” For more information, visit their website.

Conclusion

Horses create intense feelings in many Americans who see them as icons of our country’s history. Horses were a large part of this country’s early development. Many of them died in battle right along with their owners. Grown men broke down in tears when they had to put down their loyal friend.

Mustangs Run Free

The bond between horse and man is probably more apparent than in any other animal/human connection. Their ability to sense our emotions and respond to our feelings makes them, at least psychologically, more closely bonded to us than other animals might be.

Information for this article came from: World Atlas.com; Equine Heritage Institute; Wikipedia; Bel Rea Institute of Animal Technology; Pet MD; Psychology Today; PETA, The Horseracing Industry: Drugs, Deception, Death; Cow Girl Magazine.com; Bureau of Land Management; Wild Horse Education.org.

I’m Barbara Nelson. I hope you enjoyed this article. I learned a lot as I researched and wrote this. I would like to hear from my readers. Let me know what you think.

 

3. Is there a bond between felines and humans?

Intro

Cats at play

It seems logical that all mammals would have a certain bond that holds them together because of certain similarities. In the scientific world, Man is included in the animal kingdom in the class Mammalia.

We have the same attributes that other mammals have; that is, we bear young alive, and we produce milk for them. Continue reading “3. Is there a bond between felines and humans?”

2. An ancient Bond exists between Canine and Human

Intro

Black Lab

Both humans and dogs went through more than one period of domestication. In fact at least one scientist-with a bit of tongue -in-cheek- has suggested that dog may have domesticated humans instead of the other way around. Regardless, both humans and dogs have inhabited the earth for about the same length of time and have learned to cooperate for the same commodity–food. Continue reading “2. An ancient Bond exists between Canine and Human”

1. What is the Human animal Bond

Intro

Is there a human /animal bond? Is there a special psychological thread that connects humans and animals together? Why do so many of us insist that we need a pet to love and care for. That pet is usually a furry, cuddly cat  or dog.

Boy and dog

Or, why is it that a person will stop their car in the middle of a busy highway and grab a turtle, that is obviously going to be smashed by an oncoming car, to put it safely on the other side?

When my 10th grade high School class started in the fall of 1947, most of us had to take a course in Basic Biology- the scientific construction of plants and animals. We learned the Kingdom, Phyla, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species of all plants and animals. That entailed a ton of memory work. After all these years, very little has remained in the forefront of my brain.

Mammal

But studying all the kingdoms of plants and animals is not my intention . We are going to concentrate on one Species of animals- mammals to be exact. Mammals cover a huge class of animals and we are going to further concentrate on the placental species-the most common and diverse mammal species.

By definition, mammals are warm blooded animals with fur that nourish their young with milk.

There are a number of  different mammal species but all have these 3 basic traits. In addition,  Placental Mammals carry their young in a sac inside the mother’s body until birth.

There are 20 orders of placental mammals–the largest include rats, bats, dogs and whales. The most common mammals in this particular group are, humans, domesticated pets, livestock and rodents. Scientists consider placental mammals to be the most advanced species and the most recently evolved.

What are Human animal Characteristics?

Human Specialties

People have differing opinions about putting homo sapiens (scientific name for the human animal) into the same categories with other creatures that exhibit similar characteristics. Humans can walk upright. Over the centuries, our skeletons have adjusted- more growth here, less growth there, to be perfectly balanced to walk, stand, sit and lay down altogether differently than our animal brothers and sisters.

Humans have an opposable thumb. So do the monkeys- they can pick up, throw, hold, and make elementary tools that give them an advantage over other animals. Human hands have developed, with that opposable thumb,  the ability to pick-up, hold, mold, and handle tools to make all sorts of things for human benefit. With  two hands humans can build everything from skyscrapers to toys, to the most intricate machines.

Humans have learned languages. All animals make noises- meows, barks, squeaks, gutturals, grunts, wails, tweets, and more. Humans have taken sounds- which must have sounded somewhat like the sounds of other animal relatives- and began to form words, that could be repeated until they became a language.

learning to use language

Humans learned to put marks on leather, bark and eventually paper that became a written equivalent of a spoken language. Now humans could record history, as well as the present, and forecast the future.

Humans are not completely covered with fur, as were our animal cousins. Humans had to figure out a way to keep cool when the glaciers receded, and also keep warm when the glaciers covered much of our earth.

Humans learned to make clothes from the fur of animals they killed for food, and to build houses that could be heated, in order to live through extreme cold. Humans also learned to make light clothing and open shelters for comfort in extreme heat.

Humans wanted to travel everywhere, so horses were domesticated and taught to carry humans on their backs, then they were harnessed to pull carriages. As human learning expanded, humans built cars, trains, planes and ships. We even designed ships that could take us to outer space.

Humans have a brain that goes beyond instinct and basic learning skills. The human brain is remarkable. It’s doubtful any human being has used the brain to its full potential. The brain never stops- it works just as hard whether we are sleeping or daydreaming. The brain is our most valuable organ. It makes up for any degree of the senses and instinct that we may have given up as we evolved into a super animal.

Family outing

The human animal gave up or   exchanged some attributes  with   our animal counterparts. Most  animals walk on all fours- which does give them remarkable speed. Their hearing, seeing and sense of smell is elevated beyond that of the human.  They rely on instinct to figure out where they are and what to do in times of stress.

They learn simple commands and tricks because they want to please us and there usually is a food reward after they do what we ask.

Divine Nature

But is there more to the human animal? What about the Divine nature of humans? Most Humans believe in a Divine being that has made the earth, the animals and all things on and in the earth. Most also believe that human beings were created separately and in the image of the Divine and that humans were given charge of the earth and all things in it.

I’m not qualified to go into all things theological, but it seems to me that the qualities of love, care, kindness, concern and delight might be part of our divine inheritance, even though we sometimes exhibit anger and hatred – a part of us that is anything but divine.

These qualities along with the physical characteristics, make the complete human being. All these things together go into developing that special human bond that exhibits itself between the human animal and all the rest of creation.

When and where did Homo Sapiens Evolve?

Scientists who study mammals have concluded that there have been several species of man that evolved over a long time period. Like any other species of animals over the centuries, the early Homo Sapiens struggled for dominance of one group over another.

It’s the old Darwinian “survival of the fittest” theory. The stronger, the smarter, the more cunning, even the better looking, eventually vanquished their competitors until there was only one species of Homo Sapiens left.

Early Homo Sapiens evolved between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago. Modern Humans, the only and last homo sapiens to survive, originated in Africa, sometime between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago. Of all the animal species, this species had a highly developed brain and the capacity for speech and abstract reasoning.

As the species grew in number, they began to gather into small communities and then expanded into human settlements. When men started to live in more permanent gatherings, the domestication of certain animals emerged.

What was the first domesticated animal?

And which was the first of the domesticated animals to step out of the dim secluded wilderness into what would become our modern world? Many of you have guessed it .

Bernese- a big dog

About 13,000 BC, the first domesticated dog, supposed to have evolved from the ancestor of the Grey Wolf, became, probably, man’s first animal buddy. So, man and dog have lived together for thousands of years, cementing an unbroken bond of companionship.

The dog could be very helpful in tracking and finding animals for food. As man spread in to Europe, the dog may have become more of a herder as man had belongings; a family and perhaps a herd of animals to move.

When did the domestication of animals important to man begin?

Quite a few years passed before we begin to see the emergence of other domesticated animals. Goats, whose ancestor was the Ibex, was domesticated around 10,000 B. C., in Iran. Pigs were domesticated in China around 9,000 B.C. The pig’s wild ancestor was the Anatolian Boar. Sheep, with no known ancestor, were domesticated in Iran in about 9,000 B.C.

Cattle, both European and Brahman, appeared on the domestic scene in 8,000 B. C in China, western Asia, and India. The cat, springing from the North African wildcat, was domesticated in 8,000-7,500 B.C.  in the near East.

Chickens, whose ancestor was the Indian Red Junglefowl, was domesticated in 6,000 B.C. in India and S.E. Asia. Ducks, springing from the common Mallard, were domesticated in China in 4,000 B.C. Donkeys were domesticated in Egypt about 5,000 B.C. Horses, from an extinct wild horse population, were domesticated in Kazakhstan in 3,500 B.C.

Conclusion

All of these animals became extremely important to man as he began to develop his lands, his property, his home. They supplied food, clothing, bedding for his house, transportation, etc. He also learned that he had to produce shelter and food in return.

Service for service, man learned more and more about his animal cousins. Some animals became more important to him than others.

The dog became his fireside companion. In battle, his horse saved his life and often gave his life for his master. The cat kept the rodents out of the barn and the feed he had set aside for the cattle. It was a good reciprocal relationship between species.

Reproductive Cycle

One big difference between man and domesticated animals is caused by the reproductive cycle.

Humans usually have one offspring any time of the year. The child grows for nine months inside the mother and is born completely helpless. This helpless child will grow into adulthood in about 16 to 18 years.

Farm animals usually have a reproductive cycle of one year. Cattlemen look for a lot of new calves every spring. These young ones are born ready to follow their mothers on sturdy legs within minutes of birth. Pigs give birth to several piglets at one time, usually in the Spring.

All of these cycles can be managed in order to provide new animals to replace those sold or used for food or other products.

People have learned to manage animals for production of food and other uses so that, hopefully, waste is minimized.

Throwaway Pets

Animals that we consider pets, that is, cats and dogs, haven’t fared so well. All over the world, in cities and towns where humans gather, there are numerous cats and dogs, puppies and kittens, apparently homeless and scrounging for food, living wherever and however they can. In some countries, these poor animals  are even collected and sold for food .

Cats are solitary creatures. Mother cat goes off to find an isolated place for her brood. Dogs, however, run in packs and can be dangerous to humans. They are usually just hungry-and feeding them will calm them down but, if they are agitated or frightened, they can cause harm.

Mother dogs also find an isolated place to hide her pups. Cats and dogs can have two or even three litters a year.

The homeless pet situation is pitiful. Most of these animals are wild, frightened and starving. And still, a lot of pet owners will not have their pets spayed or neutered. This is not the complete answer, but it’s a good start.

There are pet shelters and people who offer their time in rescue efforts, but not all strays and throwaways can be saved. Time is always the enemy.

Pet owners must  take full responsibility for their pets . Pets are not garbage. They can’t just be tossed in the landfill.

I’m Barbara Nelson  and I hope you liked today’s post. It’s different . The bond between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom has been a topic I have wanted to explore. There will be more on this subject and more on pets other than cats and dogs. Share this with your friends.

 

Why do people abandon Pets?

Intro

One big reason there are hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs wandering the streets, vacant lots, rural areas, highways, etc., are the many owners who don’t properly care for their animals, or who think that their pets know how to take care of themselves.

Stray behind a wood fence

Family members grumble about how much time the cat or dog takes up during the day. The kid wanted a pet and now won’t take care of it. They are tired of putting up with the problem.

Female cats and dogs keep having litters and no one needs all these useless animals in the world. Puppies and kitties should know not to eat things that will poison them. No one has the money to waste on Vets. They want too much money for what they do.

The dog barks and digs holes in the back yard. The cat digs in the flower beds, and pees on a pile of newspapers in the back hall.

The boy wanted a pet, so he got a dog for his birthday. He promised he’d take care of him. Well, that lasted about a week. Can’t get the kid to feed the dog, take him for a walk, clean up the poop in the back yard. He was told that the dog would have to go if he didn’t take care of him.

In reality, a lot of people don’t realize the amount of time and money that goes into properly caring for an animal. They don’t know that a well cared for pet can be with the family for at least 10 or more years.

Parents must teach a child how to care for a pet. Children should not be expected to take full responsibility for a live creature.

Eventually, the subject of what to do with the cat or dog, comes to the surface. In conversation, the reference changes. A pet is a beloved creature who is part of the family, well-cared for, even spoiled. The “animal”, or “it”, is a problem or a nuisance.

The family seeks a way to rid themselves of an unwanted pet.

What Happens to Abandoned Animals?

Millions of dogs find themselves dumped on the streets each year. Literally thrown from a moving car or truck. If they are lucky, they aren’t hit by a passing car. Countless others are driven out into the country and left to live or die.

Female dogs, ready to have a litter, are left in a garbage dump. Sometimes, just the puppies are dumped. Many of these animals die a lonely, long, agonizing death. Some are rescued and taken to overcrowded shelters.

A lot of dog owners do not spay or neuter their pets. However, dumping female dogs will not slow down the large number of unwanted litters each year. Even abandoned animals will reproduce at least once a year.

It’s instinct. It’s nature’s way of replacing dogs that died. Dogs operate on instinct. They do not have a human’s ability to reason.

Nothing good happens to an abandoned animal. Abandoning an animal, a family pet, is about the same as killing it. They cannot find their way home or hunt adequately to feed themselves.

unwanted dog sleeps on street

They end up as street animals–with people and kids throwing things at them and yelling at them– or in a shelter along with too many other unfortunate creatures.

And that is just in the U.S. In many countries, abandoned dogs die in the cruelest ways–Electrocution, gassed, incineration, or poisoned. Any way to get rid of them.

Cats fare little better. They end up in garbage areas, abandoned buildings, overgrown areas, anywhere they can hide. Newborn kittens are very fragile. If they are left unattended for very long, they will die.

Mother cats are desperate to hide their newborn and are most protective. Even if an attempt is made to rescue them, the mother cat is a fierce opponent.

Why are Animals Abandoned?

There is no real honest reason to ever abandon a pet. Cats, dogs and even horses that have been dependent upon their owners for food, water, shelter, healthcare and affection should never be left without any way of survival.

Nevertheless, there are a number of situations when humans feel that they have no choice but to get rid of the four legged family members.

1.Illness: Some animals have, or develop, serious health issues and need special care. Some owners cannot handle the extra expense and do not have the time to care for them.

2.Behavior: Some animals exhibit destructive behavior, and owners are unable to curb that behavior.

3.Money: A pet is expensive to keep. There are Vet bills and the continuing cost of food and other incidentals.

4.Moving: The family is relocating and do not want the added problems of moving with the pet.

5.Age: Older dogs are more likely to be abandoned.

6.Boredom: Children often consider a pet a toy. When the child gets bored, the parents may consider abandoning the pet.

7.Illness or death of owner: The family doesn’t know what to do with the pet. They have many things to attend to with the loss of a loved one, and they just decide to abandon it.

8.New baby in the family: When the baby comes–the pet has to go.

9.Vacation time: Instead of finding a place or person to leave the pet for a week or two- they simply abandon it.

10.Unwanted litters: Owners don’t spay their female pets and when the litters come, they abandon both mother and babies.

11.No longer profitable: People who breed, race or fight animals, discard the older animals when they are no longer worth feeding and caring for.

Things to consider before adopting a Pet

A pet is a serious responsibility. It’s not a decision to take lightly. A pet depends upon its owner for love, shelter, food and health care. Pets give their owners unconditional love. They do not deserve to be abandoned for any reason.

There are a number of questions that people should consider before adopting a pet.

1st–take plenty of time to think about it.

2nd- Ask yourself why do you want a pet?

3rd-Have you consulted your spouse or significant other?

4th-Do you have the finances to care for a pet?

5th-Are you willing to find a Veterinarian for your pet’s health needs?

Animals need periodic checkups just like people do.

6th-Are you willing to take your pet to training classes-especially if you ‘re looking to adopt a dog or a horse.

7th-Do you accept the fact that your cat, dog, horse, need adequate shelter?

8th- Are you willing to commit to the years your pet may live?

A cat can live up to 20 years. A dog will live up to 16 years, depending upon the breed and size. A horse can live 25 years depending upon breed and level of care.

9th-If you find that it is absolutely impossible to keep your pet, because of finances, or illness or a move across country, are you willing to do everything possible to find your pet a new home, or at least leave it with the Humane Society, or a local reputable shelter?

What if the pet owner can no longer keep the pet?

Remember, a pet is a family member. Pet owners have an obligation to a living being. It is not a houseplant. Throwing it in the garbage is not an option.

First, check with family members and friends. One of them may be willing to take the animal and care for it.

Next, check with shelters that work especially with cats or dogs to place them in new homes. If there are local bulletin boards or weekly flyers, place notices on them or in them.

Check with local Vets. Most of them will put up a notice, or may actually know of someone who is looking for a cat or a dog. Some vets will take your pet and care for it themselves or until they can find a home for it. Check with the local Humane Society or Rescue Shelters. They try to find new homes for pets.

For those who live in rural areas, it may be harder to find helpful resources, but check with hardware stores, farm supply stores and Veterinarians for assistance.

Put a notice in the local newspaper(s) and on local radio stations.

Conclusion

To some people, all of this may seem like a lot of fuss over a cat or a dog. However, most people love their pets and believe that they deserve the best care. Animals perform a service to people. And they do it for a pat on the head, a good meal and a nice place to sleep.

Some dogs are taught to be service dogs and perform a valuable service to blind and handicapped folks. People who suffer from depression and other psychological distress rely upon their pets to give them a reason to live from day to day.

Dogs are trained to perform missions in war. They work with police and fire fighters to save people’s lives. Dogs and cats are wonderful visitors in hospitals and nursing homes. They bring much happiness to the sick and confined.

There is never a valid reason to abandon a pet to danger, fear, hunger, and a slow, painful death. People may tell themselves that someone will find them and take care of them, they’ll be all right. It very seldom works out that way.

Barbara Nelson-I did a computer search in my area and found several Rescue groups. Try a search in your area to find local animal rescue groups. All of them can use volunteers and donations.

Comments are always welcome-Tell me what you liked or didn’t like. I’ll answer.

My thanks to: ANIMALS:–A blog on  tips, care & everything related to the world of animals.

 

Pros and Cons of adopting a Pet

Introduction

Most all of us, at one time or another, have enjoyed the ownership of a pet. We may have grown up in a household where pets were just a regular part of everyday living.

The family had a big dog, because dad liked big dogs. Big dogs scared away trespassers and kept things safe. Sometimes, when we were little, a big dog scared us, and we couldn’t play with him because he might hurt us. Continue reading “Pros and Cons of adopting a Pet”

Understanding a cat’s body Language

Intro

My last post concentrated on the sounds and voices that cats use to communicate with each other and their humans. After finishing that post, I decided that I needed to go further and point out actual body language that cats use in conjunction with their voices.

Cats are complex creatures. There is nothing simple about cats. That most likely comes from cats being meat eaters and therefore predators by  Continue reading “Understanding a cat’s body Language”

Why Do Cats Act Weird?

INTRO: Why do cats act weird?

Fill my bowl, please

If you own a cat, and happen to have a friend that also owns a cat, the two of you may often start a conversation about the crazy things your cat does.

When human beings progressed to the point of raising animals for meat, fur and hides; they also discovered that dogs made good herding animals.

Humans also found that dogs would stay with them for food and a place to get in out of the weather. They discovered that dogs could be trained to herd animals and bark to warn for predators. Dogs could even be taught to attack certain animals and not others. Continue reading “Why Do Cats Act Weird?”

How to train dogs and cats to get along

How many families own both a cat and a dog?

Americans appear to be pet loving creatures. According to a recent Harris Poll, 62% of households own at least one pet. Of those households, 69% owned a dog and 51 % owned a cat. Yahoo reported that generally 2 out of 5 households owned both a cat and a dog. Continue reading “How to train dogs and cats to get along”

Choosing the Right Food for your Cat

Introduction

It’s rather easy to obtain a pet. Sometimes a cat or a dog will simply show up at your doorstep. And you, being a soft touch for those big begging eyes, open the door and let the creature in–to your house and your heart.

The other way to obtain a pet is to first decide what you want — cat or dog– and then go looking at the local shelters for that certain creature that will share your living space for ten to 15 years.

That is where I found my two cats. They are litter mates and I adopted them in 2007. They were about two years old and according to the shelter people their owner could no longer care for them. We went home and began the process of settling in.

Julie, a tuxedo(Black and white), ate whatever came her way, and turned the hallway between living room and bedroom into a runway. Janie, a tortoise shell was a willing accomplice to whatever Julie decided to get into.

It wasn’t long until I realized that Janie had food problems.

Julie and Janie in my big chair

She literally could not digest most food I set out for her. That bit of knowledge started a thirteen year battle with food–what could she eat ? what would she keep down? I have read dozens of food labels, numerous articles on food; we have visited vets, studied food allergies.etc.

I found out so much about cat foods, the best ingredients, raw foods, home cooked foods, specialty foods, cheap foods, expensive foods, brand name foods.  There are certain ingredients in foods that cats need for good health, good coats and long life. I began to realize that choosing the right food for your cat, and my cat, is more than price and advertising.

Choosing the right food for your cat- meat eaters

Simply put, cats are carnivores, more to the point, obligate carnivores-that is meat eaters. Originally, cats were tolerated  around the farm and in the barns because they were death to the mice.  Cats could live on small rodents and birds as their sole food before humans began to invent such things as mouse traps and poisons to kill rodents.

Years ago. I remember walking by the isles of foods with my mother and there was one all purpose food for cats and dogs labled Ideal dog and cat food. Mother bought several cans every week for our cat and dog.  A daily treat was milk. In addition, the pets got trimmings off chicken and beefs cuts.

Today, the dog and cat sections are separate, with all kinds of branded foods. Foods  of all kinds and flavors designed to take care of any and all kinds of special problems that your cat might have. We have all spent so much time time reading labels, so as to be sure we are getting the right thing for our beloved pet.

Reading labels-Selecting Brands

There are so many brand labels that it takes an expert to choose the right food for your cat. It takes a while to figure out what is inside the can. Two label sections that must be read carefully in order to learn what is inside the mystery can are the Ingredients and Guaranteed analysis.

Labels and ingredients on food cans

Ingredients:   Lists water, meats, veggies, vitamins and minerals in each serving. Ingredients are listed in reverse order of amount in each can. For instance, if water is listed first, then water(sufficient for processing) is the largest ingredient, then next largest amount is pork,then chicken,etc all the way down to supplements to trace minerals.

Guaranteed Analysis: lists protein, fat, fiber, moisture, ash, and other items depending upon what category the prepared food is designed for such as weight management, sensitive skin, digestive system, urinary tract, etc.

Somewhere on the label you should find that this food meets nutritional standards of AAFCO cat food nutrient profile. You will also find the manufacturer’s name and address. Look them up online for more details.

When shopping for cat food, protein should be the highest percentage. Fiber and fat should be lesser percentages and ash should be small percentage such as 1 to 2.5, 2.8% or at most 3.2 %. It is believed that  a smaller percentage of ash is better for keeping the urinary tract healthy.

If your kitty is a healthy, happy cat, that plays a lot, eats well, and gets a good health review from her vet, you should not have too much difficulty finding good healthy food for your furry buddy.  Grocery stores usually carry two or three brand name canned and dry foods.

You can usually find, for a moderate price, Friskies, Purina, Blue Buffalo, and other brands in your grocery stores. You have the information on the labels to help you select good food for your cat. You will also have the choice of dry or canned food.

Your cat may have a preference.   A lot of working people like the convenience of dry food. It can be left out all day and your cat can eat at will. Be sure you have a water bowl close by. Cats need to drink lots of water with dry food.

Pet stores carry more brands of cat food than all purpose grocery stores. Some carry their own brand which is a little less expensive than specialty brands. You will find a full line of Purina, Blue Buffalo, Hills, Royal Canin, and several others.

Of all the  brands you will find, my preference are the brands I have mentioned. I have always been able to find good nutritional food that my cats like with these brands.

But what about Janie and her special food problem?

Specialty Foods, Prescription Diet Foods

Choosing the right foods for my cat turned out to be a life-long search. I had an excellent Veterinary service in my town, and we went through numerous tests and trials of different foods. Nothing stayed down. It got to the point that I wanted to scream when I heard that retching sound that came shortly after she ate.

She was losing weight. Through tests we eliminated everything but the possibility of IBD (Intestinal Bowel Disease). Finally the vet suggested that we do an Endoscopy to see if anything was growing in the digestive area or a malfunction.

I left her overnight and came back for her the next afternoon. By process of elimination, the diagnosis was IBD. The vet suggested Hill’s prescription diet food.

I have to tell you, Janie is a fighter. She is a normal sized adult female cat with a normal weight of 8 to 10 pounds. She weighed just a lttle over 4 pounds when I took her home after her endoscopy. I made a bed for her on the foot of my bed. She stayed there for 3 days-only getting down to go use the litter box- then back up to the bed.

Hill’s Prescription Diet didn’t help and I decided I needed a different Vet with some different solutions.I found a Holistic vet that uses both natural remedies with latest trends.

First we did a check of food allergies-found out Janie was allergic to almost all foods normal cats eat! Beef, Duck,Lamb, potatoes, milk, oats, plus some additional items with very small allergic reactions. She wasn’t allergic to eggs, fish,chicken, turkey, rice, venison, peas.

That’s when I learned to read ingredients. The surprise for me was how many processed cat foods have potatoes as a base that holds foods together. We put her on venison- in fact Julie ate venison too- for a long time and Janie gained her normal weight back (10 lbs). I no longer heard that awful retching sound.

Janie did well for several years with Venison and other “wild” meats that I could get through my Veterinarian. We also had her on a probiotic and an Omega-3 fish oil. She began to build up an intolerance to the food that had worked so well and she was back to being unable to hold anything down.

By now Janie was 10 or 11 years old. My vet put her on prednisolone.

Janie curled around her water bowl

That is where she is today. The only thing that keeps her from vomiting everything she eats is the prednisolone. She is 15.

Choosing the right food for your cat- many choices for many situations

Some owners today want to tailor their pet’s diet for special nutritional needs:breed, size, health conditions and other defining traits. Personalized pet food is beginning to emerge as the latest trend in specialized diets.Big-brand names are looking at developing foods that address certain diseases that haven’t been included before.

Special grain-friendly foods are being developed to minimize allergies  and skin disorders. The food industry is also looking at special food formulas that will calm anxiety issues.

There is no end to specialized foods that are tailored for life stages and genetics.There are also plenty of dry foods available for pets , but some  owners are opting for fresh,human grade diets.

Most of these personalized food choices are for dogs at this point, but the demand for similar specialties for cats is in the wings. One company  —Smalls, out of New York,is offering fresh, freeze-dried,and kibble cat food subscriptions.

As long as we have cute little kittens and puppies that are looking for a home and people who fall in love with these adorable little fur balls, we will have companies working on foods that will appeal to the palates of these delightful babies, and also appeal to their owners.

I hope that the information in this article is helpful for people who have pets with dietary problems, as well as pets who just like to eat and entertain their owners. Keep reading those labels.

I’m Barbara Nelson and I would love to hear from my readers, Janie and Julie would love to hear from you, too.