Do you have an emergency plan for your cat?

Do you have an emergency plan for your cat?

Volcanic ash cloudDo you still remember the volcanic ash cloud? Yes, millions of stranded passengers were affected across the world by the flying ban caused by the volcanic ash crisis. I remember it very well because we had to help some of our customers who got stuck! Where were you when that happen? Were you stuck? Did you have a plan for your cat?

If the volcanic ash cloud didn’t affect you, how about 9/11? Sure everyone remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing what that happened.

I know what you are thinking… ‘these things don’t happen all the time, do they?’

No, they don’t.

But then how about the regular flood problem in Ireland that stops intercity traffic? Or even emergency situations like someone in your family got into an accident and you are staying with them in the hospital for a few days? Or you have to attend a funeral down in the country in short notice? The examples I have just listed here are real life examples that have all actually happened to my customers!

I remember the flood in Dublin on 2011? People only had 45 minutes to evacuate from their homes. Yes, two of the families are my customers. Thankfully they weren’t travelling but they told me their evacuation story afterwards. (I will tell you their amazing cat evacuation story another time…)

So my question is:

Do you have an emergency plan in place? What would I do if I needed to evacuate my home?

1. Safe house – Do you have a safe place for your cat to go? You need to have a ‘safe house’ in place because normally disaster shelters won’t allow pets. During the 2011 disaster, one of my customers went to another customer of mine. Do you have a friend who also have cats or a friend who don’t mind your cat staying in case of disaster? The other customer of mine went to the Hilton Hotel Kilmainham. They initially didn’t want to let them stay. But they explained to them there was a natural disaster so they finally accepted them but asked them to pay for a big deposit in case of ‘cat damage’. (I know…let’s move on, don’t have time to rant on this point.) A few possible safe houses are:

  • Family and friends
  • Hotels that allow household pet(s)
  • Boarding cattery
  • Veterinary offices with boarding facilities

There is a huge lack of pet friendly accommodation in Ireland but situation has definitely been improved in the past few years. A quick search on booking.com gives you 38 properties in Dublin who accept pets. You might want to take note!

2. Disaster kit – Do you have disaster supplies kit? A cat probably doesn’t need as much supplies as a dog, but do you know where is your carrier? Can you access to it quickly? Lots of my customers keep their carrier so well hidden away! They are usually behind the hoover under the stair or even up in the attic! You won’t be able to get to it quickly if you have only 45 minutes to evacuate and the water is coming up to your knees. According to Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Department of Homeland Security in USA, your emergency kit should have…

  • Store your disaster kit in an area where it can easily be retrieved.
  • Check the contents of the disaster kit twice a year when the clocks change for daylight savings.
  • Rotate all foods into use and replace with fresh food every 2 months.
  • Paper towels, plastic bags, and spray disinfectant for animal waste cleanup.
  • Extra collars and tags, harnesses, and leashes for all pets (including cats).
  • Copies of your pet’s medical and vaccination records. Boarding facilities may not accept your pets without proof of health.
  • A 2-week supply of medication, along with a copy of the current prescription.
  • A recent photo of you with your pet.
  • A crate or traveling carrier large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around. Label the crate with your pet’s name, your name, and where you can be reached.
  • First aid kit.
  • Manual can opener
  • Cat litter or newspaper
  • Muzzle or materials such as gauze for an improvised muzzle
  • Pet comfort items such as blankets and toys
  • A list of hotels and boarding kennels that accept pets
  • Detailed instructions for someone else in case you cannot care for your pet.

3. Back up person – What if you are not home when disaster happen? What if you are the other side of the city? You need to have a backup caretaker who have access to your house key. It could be your pet sitter or a neighbour. Make sure the selected person is aware of your disaster plan and can easily locate your cats (tell them the cat’s hiding spots!), carriers and disaster supplies kit.

4. Identification – Are your cats microchipped? You should always microchip your cat anyway but in a disaster situation, it’s more important than ever in case they run away. But don’t forget just microchipping is not enough, make sure your chip is registered! In Ireland, the following database are approved by the law.

If you are not sure if your cat has already been registered or you are not sure which database he/she has been registered, a quick way to find out is to check on the European database on Europe Pet Net.

5. Transportation – Ideally, you should look into training your cat to come when called. Don’t laugh! It’s possible. It’s a very long process but it’s possible. In fact, the Cat Behaviourist Sarah Ellis considers training as part of the cat’s daily care of a responsible cat parent. She has successfully trained her cats to come back in from the garden and go into the carrier. Full details on this training is in this book…

All the above preparation is for when YOU are conscious and be able to act on your cat. How about YOU are the one in an accident and are unconscious? Do you have a plan for that? You will need to appoint an emergency carer who could step in to help.

For this, I have designed a “Please Help, My Pet Is Home Alone” card so that paramedic would know who to contact.

emergency-card

And they are FREE! Get yours now here! You just need to pay for your postage.

Do you have an emergency plan? I would love to hear if you have other suggestion to add to the list. 

Why do you need a professional pet sitter?

Why do you need a professional pet sitter?

I don’t actually got asked this question anymore. In fact, I don’t remember when was the last time someone asked me that question. I would like to think the Maow Care website has been effective enough that people don’t feel they need to ask.

But in case you are someone who is not familiar with the concept or you are a pet sitter in an area with a population that is not familiar with pet sitting, here I will try to spell it out to you why we need professional pet sitters.

The benefit of using a pet sitter: 

  • Less stress for the pet, especially for cats – they don’t like new environment, they much prefer to stay at home
  • No transportation required, less stress for the pet, less stress for you. Especially if you live in Dublin and have no access to a car (which is the majority of my customers) going to a kennel or a cattery will be a logistic nightmare
  • One on one personalised service – follow your usual routine at home. It’s just like having you at home but it’s us instead of you…
  • Minimise risk of cross infection as your pets are not exposed to other animals.

The benefit of using a PROFESSIONAL pet sitter:

  • No more imposing on your friends or family who might not be a pet lover
  • Asking your friends and family is not actually free. You still need to get them something from Duty Free in the airport…
  • Knowing someone is a genuine pet lover and will notice anything unusual with your pet
  • Knowing that the person is trained to handle pet emergency
  • Knowing they will show up when they say they do! (We won’t call you to say we can’t make it because we got held back at work, child is ill or car problem, etc, we make damn sure we get there or send back up one way or the other!)
  • Knowing they will give daily updates (good luck asking your friend to send you cute cat photos every day…)
  • Contactable on the phone during the time your pet is under their care
  • Knowing there is a back up plan in case of emergency!
  • This one is very underrated – we are also trained to handle security issue of your home! We are trained to notice any usual activity in your home. The blind has been touched, we notice them, trust me.

Here are two videos to illustrate my points above in a more comical way. It’s funny now because you haven’t used these pet sitters. It’s not funny when they ARE your pet sitters…

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEcyze4yoj8]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzAijc0L6yA]

To find a REAL pet sitter, you can check out your local pet sitting directory.

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Make sure to check the followings:

  • Are they a registered business?
  • Are they insured? (Even though you might never imagine claiming anything but knowing they have spent money to set up their business properly means they take their job very seriously)
  • Do they give you a contract? (Again, you might think it doesn’t matter to you, but knowing your pet sitter is taking their job seriously also means they will take your pet seriously)
  • Are they trained and experienced in handling pets?
  • Do they have reference from other customers?
  • Do they have a back up plan in case they got into an emergency?
  • You can also download this checklist to help you with your research for a real pet sitter.

Do you use a pet sitter? How did you find your pet sitter? I would love to hear your story! Share on the comment below! 

Safety tips for a Maowry Catsmas

Safety tips for a Maowry Catsmas

It’s that time of the year again.

A quick reminder to watch out for our feline friends so that they can have a Maowry Catsmas.

Ok, let’s talk about the Christmas tree…

I know.

There is very little you can do to be honest. They ARE going to attack it.

It’s full of shiny dangling objects, it will be against their natural instinct if they just sit there and ignore them. NOT A CHANCE!

Instead, we need to damage control so that there is no vet visit, or GP visit (for you!).

  1. Try to stabilise the tree as much as possible. So at least when they jump on it, it’s not going to fall on top of your head!
  2. The water under the tree is a problem. Some people put aspirin or special chemicals to help keep the tree lasting longer. But those could be dangerous to cats. EVEN if you find some pet safe options, the tree itself is toxic when its sap leak into the water. You will need to find a way to cover the water so that the cat has no access to it, you need to cover the tray REALLY well!
  3. Tinsel and strings are EXTREMELY dangerous if swallowed by cats. Your cat will need major surgery to remove intestinal blockage.
  4. Glass ornaments are dangerous if broken. Not only to cat, but also to you if it falls on top of you.
  5. Lots of Christmas foliage are actually toxic to cats! Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, ivy, Christmas roses, AND the Christmas tree itself are all harmful to cats. I have seen pine needles getting stuck on cat nose. They smell the tree then one got stuck. Next stop – visit to the vet on Christmas Day. I know it’s not always possible, but try to hoover the needles up as often as you can.
  6. Candles are another problem. Cats go everywhere as you know, they can knock the candles over. My Larmlarm once nearly got his tail burnt, he was flicking his tail around, not knowing there was candle at that end!
  7. Stress! I don’t need to tell you Christmas is stressful to you. But have you considered the smell, the noise, the visitors are all stressful to your cats. Especially if you have an anxious cats or shy cats. This is a nightmare time for them. If you have a big party, unless you know for sure your cat is cool with that, prepare a room so he/she can go there if they want to avoid all the noise and action. It can be your bedroom or a spare room. Some cats have a favourite room they go snooze. Put up food, water, litter tray and a few bits. So that if they don’t want to come down where the party is, they don’t have to force themselves to go downstairs just so that they can eat or go to the toilet.
  8. Be careful with food thieves! You know your own cat. If they are thieves, be extremely careful. Bones from chicken wings can be fatal. Chocolate is toxic substances. Cigarettes is also toxic. Make sure you don’t have these things lying around for the cat who could accidentally rub on it. They might not intentionally eat chocolate or tobacco, but if they step on it, they will lick their paws, and you know the rest of the story. Try to make sure your guests know this, but my experience tells me people who are not cat lovers don’t GET it or just don’t care, so it’s useless to mention that to be honest. Hence, point 7 above. You might just get the cat away from the buzz altogether.
  9. Indoor cat can run outside accidentally because guests don’t remember to watch out for the door! Again, experience tells me people who don’t have cats don’t get it or don’t care to watch the door. They leave the door ajar and then when the cat runs out they go – ‘Oups sorry! I didn’t know they are that quick!’ No shit! That’s why I told you to be careful. Hence, again, back to number 7 above please.

Remember Christmas is festive time for us human but might not be so fun for cats. Be attentive to their needs and so they can also have a relaxed and comfortable Maowry Catsmas.

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Safety tips for Halloween – the worst day of the year for cats!

Safety tips for Halloween – the worst day of the year for cats!

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It’s that time of year again – Halloween.

Here is a confession – I most absolutely HATE Halloween.

Every year, so many cats (especially black cats) falls victims of the ‘holiday fun’. Cats being chased, tails being burnt. Or even just the general noisiness scare them to no end.

Before I talk further, first and foremost…

Please remember to keep your beloved cats indoors this Halloween.

They might not be happy and start whining at the door, but between them being whiny and them being tortured by some kids. You know which one to choose.

Now that they are inside, let’s talk about the danger around the house. Oh yes, there are dangerous are the house…

1. Costumes

Pet Halloween costumes are becoming more common, but before you play dress up with them, make sure the costume doesn’t impair their movement, hearing, sight, or ability to breathe, eat, drink, or go to the loo. Also make sure there won’t be small bits that they might be tempted to chew and choke themselves. Better yet? Most of them don’t really like costumes, (dogs generally do like them, however, but DO NOT compare them to dogs, pleeeeease…) Substitute elaborate cat costumes for a simple, festive bandanna – most cats can live with that!

2. Trick or treaters

The constantly ringing doorbell and knocking on the door can make cats very nervous and more prone to running away. Set up a room with food and water bowl and a lovely loo for the cats, far away from the main door. They would rather snooze in front of a fire than dealing with ghosts and goblins, trust me. You might also want to make sure your cat has ID tags in case he or she accidentally freak out and run out of the door (if your cats are not microchipped, what are you waiting for?)

3. Chocolate and sweets

Keep the candy dish, bulging trick-or-treat bags, and purses containing sweets way out of paws’ reach in case they accidentally chew on them out of curiosity.

  • Chocolate is extremely toxic to cats. Signs of a chocolate poisoning: vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination, heart rhythm abnormalities, and even seizures.
  • Xylitol is much lesser-known, but potentially fatal, toxin. It’s a sweetener used in sweets and cakes. Thank gawd it’s much less common in Europe. In cats, it can prompt a sudden release of insulin, resulting in low blood sugar, a condition known as hypoglycemia. Signs that your cat may have swallowed a product containing xylitol include a sudden lack of coordination, vomiting, lethargy and, eventually, seizures and possibly coma. Ultimately a cat that eats xylitol may end up with liver failure, resulting in death.

4. Hey! Watch where you are tossing those candy wrappers!

Those shiny and crinkly things are huge appeal to cats! If they chew them while playing and eat them by accident, it is potentially dangerous. It can make them sick and if you have a cat prone to chewing it could block their guts if they swallow a substantial amount of them.

5. Hallowmeow decoration

Nothing says “Happy Halloween” like an illuminated jack-o’-lantern. But I don’t think I need to tell you leaving a candle on without supervision while you have cats (or children for that matter) is asking for a disaster. Opt for LED candles for safer ambience. Another tips is this – if you don’t want your cats to ruin your decoration, you might want to keep them up high, as there is no way they are NOT destroying them. Full stop.

Play safe and happy Halloween!

(I still hate Halloween but I know some of you really enjoy it…so enjoy!)

Cat tips: how to give cat malt paste

Cat tips: how to give cat malt paste

Some cats are prone to hairball problems.

One of the solution to help with that is to give them malt paste.

Some cats LOVE those paste while some really don’t. If your cat suffer from serious hairball problems and you really want to get them to eat those paste. There is one secret solution I am going to share with you today.

Smudge paste on the back of their front paws!

Because we want them to do this…

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See where I am going?

Yes, problem solved.