Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Get your Priorities right!


Today I was accused of having my priorities all wrong, because I chose to adopt a kitten, and save a life. Instead of going to a silly birthday party that would have been a total of 90 minutes driving time.

J├Ąger and Sampson,
both adopted through HAART,
 already best friends.

It's the people who judge my priorities, when animals health, well-being and welfare are 100% top of my priorities which stop so many animals from finding a forever home. People like that, are why there is still a large number of cats and dogs still being euthanased because they never find a home.

I'm glad there are those that have their priorities straight, helping to home animals, adopting instead of buying from pet shops, would go one less meal to feed an animal, would go without a party because an innocent animals life is far superior.

It astounds me that people could possibly accuse anybody of having their priorities wrong, in choosing to spend money to adopt a cat, and skip out on a birthday party, which really is just an excuse to drink.

Adopting may not seem like the biggest difference sometimes, but it really is. Adoption of an animal, means that one more cat or dog has the chance to find its forever home.

I hope we can educate those that show no compassion, or at least make a better tomorrow for all the unwanted animals out there needing a home. A loving home.

Ways YOU can help:
  • Adopt a cat or dog through an approved organisation, some examples, HAART, SAFE, FOCAS, Cat Haven, Cat Refuges, Dog Refuge Shenton Park, GAP (Greyhounds as Pets), Greyhound Angels of WA, etcetera.
  • Foster cats or dogs, birds, or whatever other animal that needs a foster home.
  • Donate money, pet food, bedding or supplies to aforementioned organisations.
  • Spread the word about the organisations, encourage friends/family to adopt from an approved organisation instead of adopting from a pet shop, where you may inadvertently be supporting puppy farms, and poor breeding conditions.
  • Educate people on ways to help, reason for caring, teach children compassion and respect for animals, demonstrate compassion and respect for animals.
  • Commit to the decision you make to adopt an animal, if you adopt, it is forever, not just for now. Make sure you think seriously before making the decision to adopt a pet. Pets are for life.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Losing our Pets weight


If you can't maintain your own weight, chances are, you're also struggling with your kitty.

This is an unfortunate reality, but for those wishing to turn their lives around, why not let your kitty join the bandwagon. The average ideal weight for a cat is 4.5kg, however this can vary depending on your individual cat. Consult a veterinarian for a better idea of what weight your cat should be.

I have a male sterilised ginger cat, and when he was just 1 year old, I began to notice that he was gaining weight, and too much! I caught him in the early stages, but for our 5 year old cat, he was already 9kg.

To reduce their weight, I put them onto a special diet. Hills r/d. I used the Hills daily food guidelines, to decide the amount of daily food required. Every week I would weigh the cats at the same time of day, and record the data, to ensure they were indeed losing weight. Although it took a year for it to "fall off them" I succeeded. The key is persistence.

The other important factor is reducing meal sizes and feeding more frequently. My cats would have as much as 6 small meals a day. I also reduced how much canned food they recieved to a "One serve" can of food divided between three cats, once a week. Wet food has 70% water and therefore is of little nutritional value as compared to dry biscuits. I would also monitor intake/outake of water/urine at first, to ensure your cat is still drinking and urinating, so that he or she does not become dehydrated.

The importance of weight loss being slow, is to reduce any risk of disease, as losing weight too quickly is dangerous in cats, especially if they are obese. Do not feed unsafe human foods or any treats, if you wish to treat your cat, a dish of wet food can replace one of the dry food meals you normally feed. Also each individual biscuit can be used as a reward to the cat, as it's just exciting to get something when you wouldn't usually.

Once my cats both reached a healthy weight, whereby I could feel ribs, without them being too prominent (Ask your vets opinion for your own cat), I then changed them onto a low calorie diet, as one of my cats suffers from dental disease, I chose Hills t/d. Hills t/d is a specially designed food, that is large in size, whereby a cat is forced to chew before swallowing, as the cat chews, the biscuit pulls tartar off the teeth. This diet is also low in calories. My cat is now a healthy weight of 4.6kg.

This is the previously 9kg cat, here he is 6.3kg,
 the red line shows his waist curving inward, instead of bulging!

Good luck, and remember, the key is persistence!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Seeking Vet Nurse Positions Finally!

I'll keep this brief.

I've moved twice this year, but all with good purpose. I helped my mother before gaining more independence, and spreading my wings to an area south of the river. Time to leap into a world I have longed for, a job I am most passionate for, where I can wake up smiling, and go home still with enthusiasm for my job.

Yes, I am now looking for a part time or full time position as a veterinary nurse.

That aside, what else has been happening? My Twitter has reached over 100 followers, meaning at least 100 of them are veterinarians, nurses, suppliers, donors or animal enthusiasts. So thankyou to those who follow and support me as a veterinary nurse (stuck in retail for 18 months), at least I am committed to the job.

I've rediscovered all my veterinary nursing books and worksheets, and have begun revising, so I am well prepared to start as a veterinary nurse again.

So why did I move twice? In short, this second move is where I have intended to move for 2 years, and now I am close to a large array of veterinary clinics for all animals great and small.

This is why it's time to go jobhunting again!

I'm already excited, that soon I can practice as a Veterinary Nurse again.

Thankyou to followers, friends and family who support and acknowledge me as a veterinary nurse.




Monday, 14 November 2011

Been Busy: Now Some Important Advice!











Hi everyone, so I haven't made a blog post in a while, due to unfortunate events, namely, being busy amongst the real world. With a current aim to move, and looking after my pets instead of writing about them.

Things we need to talk about. Cars.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, between 2010 to 2011, there is 73% of the population with registered cars. 

While according to Petnet Pet Statistics, there are 63% of the 7.5 million households in Australia, that own pets. 


Now think about the last time you made a quick stop into the local chemist, post office, Bunnings Warehouse,  or other. The last time you left your dog in the car. Did your quick stop become longer than expected?

Now this is an approximate statistic, but on average, every 3 cars out of 4 that I see, containing a dog or two, the window is either completely shut or only has a gap of 2cm. This is not okay. If you think this is okay. Test it for yourself. Sit in a hot car, in the sun, with only a 2cm gap in the window. It's not comfortable is it?

If you wouldn't do it to yourself, don't do it to your pets. They're better off locked up in the backyard, with a bit of separation anxiety, but able to get to fresh water, fresh air, and lay in the shade. Separation Anxiety is a whole other issue, but in brief, if you don't want something being damaged, find somewhere else for it, and give your dog plenty of things to keep him or her distracted (though do be aware of small objects they may swallow).

So that is the first issue covered. Do not leave a 2cm gap in the window, if you can't put the window lower, leave your dog at home in the shade.

Second issue.

So 73% of the population to registered cars.

Cat's let out at night. No reflective collar. Roads and Motor Vehicles.

Do you drive at night with cats and other animals or even pedestrians to mind? Do you drive carefully, constantly looking out for anything that might run out onto the road? Just like on country roads, you should be looking out for animals in towns and metropolitan areas.

Pet owners: I hate to be honest, not everybody loves cats, not everybody loves your cat. Some people have no care at all for how your child may feel if they hit your cat. Some people are even so cruel as to deliberately hurt your cat.

Take heed of my advice, keep your kitty indoors or an enclosure, away from the dangers of the road and it's sadistic motorists. Get a reflective collar, like the one shown in the image below.

Another few tips for Pet Owners: A micro-chipped kitty, means dead or alive, we can reunite your kitty back with you. Collars with a name tag, address and contact number will assist in recovering the owner, and best care can be taken for the cat's well-being. It allows the motorist to help you, to get this cat to a vet, with the owner at hand. I have seen this happen. That man was an amazing and caring man

I keep my cat indoors at all times, this keeps him safe, and my mind at ease, every time I leave the house, or go to sleep.


Motorists/Drivers: Have heart. This cat could be some little girl or boys whole world. Even if not for the cat, for the owners. Please drive carefully, look out for movement, reflections and silhouettes crossing the road. If you hit a cat. STOP. You might think it is dead. Think again! Please people it is you that can save this cat. I am a vet nurse, and I have seen many cats from Motor Vehicle Accidents, which have recovered quite well. Even if the cat is beyond this point, the kindest thing to do is to take it to a veterinary clinic where they can alleviate the pain, or with the owners consent, euthanise it.

Simple rules to follow:
  • Wind the car windows down. Or leave your dog at home.
  • Sit in a hot car, get it comfortable, cool with fresh air. This is how it should be for your dog.
  • Always have fresh water available to your dog and cat.
  • Drive carefully, and watch out for cats or dogs.
  • Keep your pet collared with a nametag/contact details/address. 
  • Get your pet micro-chipped.
  • If you can keep you cat indoors, or in a suitable cat enclosure or decent aviary. 
  • Always stop if you hit an animal (much like you would a human).
  • Lastly -if you can- take the cat (dead or alive) to a veterinary clinic, this way maybe the owner can be recovered, and this avoids children seeing it and being traumatised.
  • I'll try cover some basic first aid in a later blog post :)

References: The Australian Bureau of Statistics Website and http://www.petnet.com.au/pet-statistics

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Acclimatising your Cat to a Confined Life. New Laws!

The old saying is "You can't make an outdoor cat, an indoor cat, but you can always make your indoor cat an outdoor cat".

I proved this wrong.

My cat was an indoor/outdoor cat for the first 2 or 3 yrs of his life. Now (5 yrs old) he is an indoor cat, if the door is open he won't run out. (Okay so on rare occasions he does. If he is scared by new people or ruckus, and sometimes he's just being mischevious). But for the most of it I can order him back inside.


Now. Because some local councils may require you to keep your cat confined to your property, it is a wise idea to get your cat used to being indoors, before those potential laws come.

If you own your house you are lucky, you can get approval from your local gov and build an enclosure for your cat, this way he may go outdoors still, but confined, the way the local gov wishes. Another option is if you can get permission from your landlord to build a cat enclosure, or more likely, have a large aviary, and fill it with levels, comfort, litter box, some trees (non-toxic to cats) and other outdoorsy things.

For a cat that has been eating, sleeping and roaming the outdoors, I'm going to say now, will be incredibly difficult to make indoors. So in this instance your best option is a cat enclosure or aviary. Of course, if you start introducing her to the indoors now, maybe she'll be 50% indoor by the time they bring in the laws. Or second best option is move to a suburb or town where they haven't brought this confinement law in.  : )

Indoor cats will need more enrichment, bring in some non-toxic plants for him or her to smell and play with. Some dangle toys, string, something to chew or bite, scratching post, and most importantly a high spot where he/she can get away from the kids, the barking dog, or the crazy cat loving friend that comes over and traumatises the poor cat.

When you first introduce your cat to The Great Indoors. Even if he/she normally is part indoor. I would recommend you put sheets, sand paper or stop-scratch things onto your furniture, reward kitty when she uses the scratching post, and always redirect her to it when she goes to scratch furniture, carpets, mats, etc. Keep in mind kitty may have been roaming 6 blocks beforehand, and now is confined in one little house. Wouldn't you go crazy too? This means exercise levels go down, so should the calories, you can get an indoor cat food or cut down the amount you are feeding (gradually).

You may also need to get kitty used to the litterbox again, put it in a quiet, low traffic area, (laundry's can be okay.. but the noises are scary to some cats). If kitty won't go when there is only litter in the tray, then place a small amount of dirt from outside in their, so the cat can recognise this as his/her usual toileting spot. Also do not put the litterbox on carpet, cats are messy, it can go everywhere, and boys especially may accidentally go on the outside of the box (sterilised or not).

Remember in all this re-adjusting your kitty. NEVER punish, scream, kick or hurt your kitty. This will only make your cat scared of you, scared to go to the toilet where you might see him/her, etc. So be kind, and always reward for good behaviour (cats are very fond of food, and train the best with food rewards, just use the same biscuits that you'll be feeding kitty for breakfast).

Now as far as my cat goes, I let him outside maybe four times a year, don't do this. Once the law comes in there will be no once a year "Cats can go outdoors" Day. He is always so happy, but it also means for weeks he is eager to get back out there. Guaranteed this is because of the smells and cats that come into our yard and have taken it as their territory.

Some cats are happy on a harness and lead, so this may be an option for having kitty out in the backyard with you, but you may also spend the money and find kitty never gets used to it, so don't get too excited about this option.

How to deal with kitty when he/she is running out the door? Always bring back in, do not allow the cat to stay outside if you can bring him/her inside, do it. Reward kitty once inside. If you have mealtimes instead of a bowl of food out all the time, then kitty is more eager for food, and more likely to come runnning back in if you shake the cat food box/bag/container. I have 250g containers, this covers 2 cats. They are a healthy weight and not losing any more weight. If your cat is fat, do not cut the food down instantly, this is dangerous, take it slowly.

I could ramble on about more tips for keeping an indoor cat all day. But if you haven't had a question covered, feel free to ask, and I'll do my best to give you an answer. : )

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Cat Bill 2011 Summarised

This is a summary of the Cat Bill 2011 for Western Australia:
By Louise

Microchip
What is it? This is the grain-of-rice sized chip that contains a unique code, which is held at the Australasian Animal Registry (AAR), where they can access pet and owner information to reunite lost cats to owners. It is placed between the shoulder blades, it can be done whilst conscious or at the same time as sterilisation under a general anaesthetic.

Cats aged 6 months and older will be required to have a microchip. If the cat does not, then the penalty is a fine of $5,000. If a veterinarian believes a microchip could adversely affect the health and welfare, then a certificate can be provided to exempt the cat from a microchip.

Where the word owner is used. The owner for legal purposes is someone living with the cat that is 18 years or over. Or it may be that of the guardian that takes care of the cat where it is being kept.

Local Council Registration Tag
What is it? This is a tag worn on the collar with a unique code held by your local council, you will need to visit a local vet or your council office in order to pay for and obtain one of these. The information obtained by your local council is also available to the public during daytime hours, read more in Public Records in Councils.

Cats aged 6 months and older will be required to be registered. With a time limit of 14 days to apply for registration if cat is purchased at 6 months and older. If the cat does not have one or is not wearing the tag, the penalty is a fine of $5,000. Any person/s that interferes with a microchip or registration tag in the aim to remove tag or chip may receive a fine of $5,000.

If there is reasonable belief and/or evidence that the cat may have lost its tag, then it may be possible to evade paying a fine of $5,000.

Public Records in Councils
Your cat’s details, your name, address and contact details will be available to the public. Only those cats under the specific councils registration are available on any given council register. This is the same as has been for years in the Dog Act 1976. If you have reasonable argument as to keeping your details private for safety reasons or concerns, then the local government will likely accede to your request. Certain details may be kept private for example the microchip number. 

Sterilisation and Tattoo
What is it? A surgical procedure that permanently makes the cat infertile, the tattoo is a unique shape that represents when a dog or cat has been sterilised and should be placed/found in the Left Ear. A person must not tattoo or cause a tattoo of the cat, if it is not sterilised. The penalty is a fine of $5,000.
A certificate of sterilisation should be provided once the cat has been sterilised.

If a veterinarian believes a sterilisation could aversely affect the health and welfare of the cat, then a veterinarian to exempt the cat from sterilisation can provide a certificate. Other reasons for exemption: Breeding (see below)

Owner Transfers
The ownership of a cat should be transferred when the cat has been sterilised (unless it has been prescribed as exempt and there is a certificate), the cat is used for the purpose of breeding, or a voucher is given so the owner can have the cat sterilised at a later time at no veterinary cost.
If this is not obliged to, then the penalty is a fine of $5,000.

Breeding
A person cannot breed cats unless the person is an approved breeder.
Penalty is a fine of $5,000.
If the person is not approved, then action may be taken to ensure all cats owned by the person are sterilised.
To become an approved breeder, you will need to apply to your local government, however they may refuse or refuse to renew, if the applicant is under 18 years of age, is not providing appropriate/ethical facilities for the purpose of breeding, or had made a convicted offence under 3 years time, of the Cat Bill 2011 or the Dog Act 1976.

Misc
Cats are not to be offered as prizes in a raffle or similar.
Penalty of $5,000.
In some local councils they can choose to strictly prohibit cats from certain areas and require a portion of premises to be enclosed as to confine the cat/s.

General powers of an Authorised person
Set traps for cats in or on any public place or any premises lawfully entered; 
Examine, including by scanning, a cat to determine if the cat is the subject of an offence against this Act; Cat Bill 2011 
A person must not delay, threaten, obstruct or otherwise hinder an authorised person in the performance of a function by that person under this Act. 
Penalty of $5,000.

Seizing of Cats
An authorised person may seize a cat, where there are grounds to believe there has been an offence against the act. They may enter a private property with permission, consent, request of owner or occupier or with a warrant in order to seize a cat.

When a cat has been seized:
  • All attempts are to be made to reunite the cat with it's owner.
  • If the cat behaves aggressively and is a potential health or safety risk, microchip scanning is exempt, and despite usual holding periods, the cat may be destroyed in a humane manner.
  • The owner is liable to pay any fees that have incurred in relation to the cat. 
  • A letter is sent to the owner, stating that after 7 working days, the cat may be rehomed/destroyed, and sterilised/micro-chipped unless proven within 7 days that the cat is exempt from either.
  • If no owner is found within 3 working days from removal and impounding OR after 7 working days the known owner does not claim the cat, then the cat holder can transfer the ownership of the cat, or destroy it in a humane manner.




This is not an official copy of the Cat Bill 2011 and therefore for legal purposes cannot be counted as the actual Act. If you are still unsatisfied with the information provided, visit: http://www.secureakat.com.au/1/post/2011/07/proposed-cat-bill-in-parliment-in-western-australia.html where they have a link to the proposed cat bill.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Getting a New Dog

Firstly think about what you want in a dog.

Lap Dog vs Exercise Dog
Small vs Large
Light Molting vs Heavy All-Year Round Molting
Lazy vs Energetic
Family Dog vs Solitary Dog
Lifespan length?
Fur length/Grooming needs
Breeds?
Amount of food they will need?

The list goes on and on, if you know the basics in a dog you want, and how much you can afford for food, veterinary bills, etc then you can get a better idea of a dog that will suit you.

Remember a dog is not a right, a dog is a luxury. There are things which happen and can cost a lot in veterinary bills. Particular breeds a predisposed to conditions that may also cost you lifelong medical costs.

The best way to decide on the right pooch for you, is to talk with a Veterinarian or Veterinary Nurse and friends with dogs. They can determine what type of dog will suit your lifestyle, so you don't choose a dog that can't handle your lifestyle and therefore be naughty or cost you a fortune.

This also enables you to learn about potential conditions that are breed specific. Plus the Veterinarians will know of good breeders where you won't get a half breed or sick dog. If we don't support the bad breeders, backyard breeders, puppy farms and pet shops, then gradually they will decrease in numbers due to poor profit, and save potential owners from buying what may be an unhealthy pup.

Once you know a few breeds you would be happy with, do some personal research on them, ask anybody you know with that breed, have a look at some down at the shelters, get to know the likely personalities.

Finally before getting a new dog, make sure you organise everything you will need:
(Always allow for the growth of the dog)



Collar
Lead (and Harness for toy dogs)
Food and Water bowls
Bag of Food
A collection of Toys (Wash without soap before use)
Dog Brush (Suitable for particular fur coat)
Dog Bed
Kennel?
Dog seatbelt for car/Dog carrier
Training/Toileting pads for pups
Jacket/Coat for cold nights (May need to purchase with dog for correct size fitting)
Ensure backyard/front yard area is well enforced so dog cannot run away
Keep money aside for Vaccinations, Worming, Micro-chipping, Council Registration and Sterilisation.

Good luck looking for the right pooch!
Remember to look in newspapers, the quokka, animal shelters, and certified breeders before looking in pet shops, puppy farms and backyard breeders.