How to Keep your Cat Fit


If your cat is an indoor cat, you might worry about whether or not they get enough exercise.  Cats, fortunately, have a much higher metabolism than humans which continues to work even as they gracefully lounge around the house.  This doesn’t take away from the fact that cats still need regular exercise to keep them healthy and fight obesity.

Unlike other common pets such as dogs, most cats can’t be harnessed to a leash and taken on lovely walks around the local park. (Larger breeds that are mixed with more wild cats such as Savannah Cats or Ashera can be leash trained if put through extensive training that starts right after infancy) It may take some forethought, but there are many different ways you can assist your cat in maintaining a healthy, active life.  Playing is a great form of exercise, and it’s fun for all involved. Let’s be real for a moment: we all love the cute cat videos of them chasing lasers.

Why should your cat exercise? Do they need it?

Activity is good for every living creature. It not only promotes a healthy body weight and combats the health issues associated with obesity, but it helps activate and sharpen the mind and build muscle strength.  Not to mention it’s fun for both you and your pets and encourages a stronger bond and more trust.   A great perk is that you don’t even have to spend money if you don’t want to when you play, and it also takes minimal effort.

Every cat is different.  Many factors go into what type of exercise is the best for your pet. Weight, interests, age, attitude, and temperament, as well as the environment of your home all, determine what activities you can do.  Cat posts and tiered cat play areas are a great addition to any home.  They take up relatively little space, and your cat can scratch, claw, jump and climb to their heart’s content all over it.  If you’re a DIY kind of person, you can even build a cat jungle gym with all sorts of levels, ropes, hiding spaces, feathers and jingly bits that will accomplish hours of entertainment and exercise for your cat even if you’re away from home.  If your cat isn’t much of a self-starter or is reluctant to be active, you’ll have to be more involved in the process.

Younger cats or kittens will be better about initiating or engaging you to play or will amuse themselves with the nearest box or object.  The younger the cat, the more likely they are to be amused easily and once started on a game, will continue to play long after you stop.  Older cats, especially ones that are overweight or have lazier tendencies are a bit trickier to engage in any activity.  Their endurance is lower than their younger counterparts, and they usually don’t have an interest in prolonged activities or playtime.  A bunch of short, playful bursts of activity is better for this type of cat, and they will get the same benefit as a younger cat with younger games.  Generally, if your cat spends at least 10 to 15 minutes a day engaged in some form of activity, then they are getting sufficient exercise.  If they play longer, then great! It can only benefit them in the long run.

Ok, exercising is important.  Is there a particular activity that is better than others?

Any activity that can stimulate a cat’s natural instincts is usually the easiest and safest bet.  Especially the hunting instincts.  Battery powered mice, feathers on strings, anything to simulate mock movements of common cat prey.  And if we can be stereotypical for a minute: what kitten doesn’t love a ball or string of yarn? A piece of thick ribbon or shoelace can be wiggled across the floor or beneath objects just out of reach to really get their energy up.  Lasers are a fun and inexpensive way to get them to give chase without the potential health hazards of strings or feathers. (if swallowed either could cause severe medical conditions) Lasers simulate the movements and look of small bugs. In the absence of a laser, a small flashlight will do the trick.  Be sure to avoid flashing the light or laser into their eyes.

Thankfully cats can make almost anything fun.  Crumpled paper is perfect for batting around, and empty boxes and bags are for exploring and crawling around.   Anything from scratch posts to stuffed mice can amuse your cat while keeping them healthy!  Which is what any loving pet owner would want for their pet. Give us a call 770-695-3096 Extension 0, and tell us how you exercise and play with your kitties.

Did you know at 2 Paws Up Inc we can provide cat sitting? 2 Paws Up Inc covers areas in Gwinnett County such as Snellville, Lilburn, Grayson, Loganville, and parts of Lawrenceville, Tucker, and Stone Mountain.

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How to Make Sure Your Cat Knows You Love Them

laughing-catCats are silly creatures.  They’re cute and cuddly one minute and standoffish the next. However, they have their unique ways of showing they love you. Bringing you “dinner” in the form of a miscellaneous dead creature, “helping” you with chores or work or reading, following you around (occasionally trying to dart in and out of your feet as you walk just to make sure you notice), and of course the coveted kitty cuddle are all common signs.  But how do you return the affection to them? How do you show them how much you love them?  Here are some examples that can help you express your affection and possibly make your cat love you more than they already do.

  • Be the Jerry to their Tom.

Cats have an inherent instinct to hunt and combat prey. They are naturally highly skilled hunters and crave an outlet to hone their combat skills.  What better way than with you as a training partner? There are plenty of options at your disposal for “training equipment.”  Laser lights, string, toy mice, feathers and jingly toys are all adorable and inexpensive toys that you can find pretty much anywhere.  (Be warned though: Although ultimate cuteness overload is a definite effect of this form of affection, if they are ingested, strings can cause medical issues.  So use with supervision.)

Playing in this manner will keep your cat healthy and fit by giving them some much-needed exercise as well as provide you with a healthy dose of one-on-one time.  Your cat secretly loves to spend time with you, especially if it’s playtime.

  • Environmental Factor

The feline species are incredibly anal about cleanliness and grooming.  They are incessantly washing, grooming and straightening their fur.  They prefer everything to be impeccably clean.  An indoor cat relies on you, their companion, to help keep their environment smelling sweet and clean.  Keep their litter box clean daily and make sure that your house is generally free of smelly debris and your kitty will be forever grateful.

  • Healthy Snacks

Snacks are amazing, and everyone has a favorite.  Your cat is depending on you to make healthy, responsible choices for their snacks.  Human food is unhealthy for cats, and some can even make them very sick.  Try out your local pet store or online and go for lean protein based snacks.  Dry pellets should be kept to a minimum.  They’ll devour the freeze-dried pellets of lamb or chicken.  The best thing is that those high protein snacks will give them energy, help keep their muscles nice and healthy, and assist them to live a longer and healthier life. One last note: Make sure to account for the calories in the treats you give your cat.  Putting on weight is far easier than losing it, even for cats.  Just like humans, overweight cats can have a slew of health-related problems that it would be better to avoid altogether.

  • Kitty Cuddles!

Who doesn’t love to snuggle up to their fuzzy, warm feline friend? Well, they love cuddling too.  (Even if they won’t admit it to anyone.) When your cat is in the coveted “snuggle mode,” try to find the time to snuggle back.  A small bit of petting or gentle ear scratching is a sure sign of your affection for your furry friend. The best part? Cuddling with animals is one of the major ways to destress yourself.  The power of touch, especially combined with the pure affection felt from animals, is proven to assist in relieving anxiety and depression as well as anger.   Therefore, snuggles are just as important for you as they are your cat!

  • L-O-V-E. L is for the way you look at me…

Earning a cat’s love is an entirely different thing than deserving it.  Cats, although cautious, do give their love completely and without abandon.  To earn and be worthy of this precious gift, we need to make sure that we do all that we can to provide and take care of them.  A warm, comfy and safe place to sleep inside is a definite.  It doesn’t have to be fancy: a cat bed, comfy cushion or even a box is all a cat needs to slip into dreamland. This combined with a high-quality food (with little fillers or by-products), kindness and love, and frequent visits to the vet as needed are all ways to not only ensure their well-being but to show how much you love your cat.

We have a pet sitter who loves kitties and will be ready to give cuddles, and some scratching behind the ears. We provide cat sitting in Snellville, Grayson, Loganville, Lilburn, and parts of Tucker, Stone Mountain, and Lawrenceville Georgia cities.

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Most Popular Pet Birds for Pet Owners

Care and Love for Your Bird

Birds are becoming incredibly popular now, and there are many reasons for this from the fact that there are over 16.2 million people who currently own them. They are great pets and are a lot of company. However, they can require a lot of upkeep and can even sometimes outlive their owners. What that means is that there needs to be a lot of thought before someone buys a bird as to the needs of the pet as well as what you plan to do if you have other pets as well. These are large animals, and they require to be cared for in the same way that cats and dogs do so that means that you need to make sure that you are ready for the commitment if you are planning on becoming a bird parent.

  1. Cockatiels

These are very popular birds that have a lot of personalities and that are also great for families that have kids. They are easy to get along with, and they are also great companions. These birds can live around 20 years, and they also can interact with their owners. They need to have a relatively large cage, and that will ensure that they can have many options as well as know that they can have fresh food and that there is food that is there for them. The birds also need to have exposure to light, and that is to make sure that they have enough vitamin D. In addition to that, they can live alone, and they do not need friends and other birds. They just need to make sure that they have stimulation from their owners or the radio or another source. That also means that these are great pets for people who live alone and they do not have a hard time being alone.

  1. Budgerigars

These are also known as Budgies or Parakeets, and they are small and easy to care for. They live at a maximum of 13 years, and they need a small cage. They are fun and enjoy play and a great with children. They only need to have pellet food, water, and some fresh fruit from time to time. They love to snack, and they need to have the sun to make sure that they can produce vitamin D. They are social, and they enjoy being able to play with other birds. They live well and want to ensure that they can be social. You want to make sure that you take them out of the cage at least 1x a day and play with them. They love to be with the family as well as entertain and whisper and chirp. They are also able to speak and repeat words which are a treat for all.

  1. African Grey Parrots

Parrots are great, and they are super smart, and that means that they need to be socialized and need to spend time with their families. It is important to make sure that they are out of their cage and that they can spend time with their family throughout the course of the day. You need to ensure that they can bond with one family member. They can live for over 40 years, and that means that they need to have a large cage as well as that they need to make sure that they have a lot of intellectual stimulation. They need to be cared for as well as they need to have access to many games and many other kinds of toys. When it comes to parrots, they do not like to share their cages, and they like to be alone in the house. That means that they need always to be treated like they are smart and they are valuable members of the family. They are great pets for those who want to spend time with them, and that means that they are great at crunching hard items like wood and also nuts. They are not a great pet for those who have small children. Parrots are a very long-term commitment, and that means that they need to be cared for as such, there is no reason that they should ever be thought of as anything less than a new member of the family.

What types of birds do you own, and tell us why in the comments below? Do you have a pet bird question? Ask, and we will do our best to find the answer.

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Keep your Pets Safe Everyday with These Medication Storage Tips

Keep-your-Pets-Safe-with-These-Medication-Storage-TipsIt’s common nowadays for pets to be on regular medications.  Many pets take medicine like monthly flea and tick prevention as well as monthly heartworm pills.  If your pup is in their twilight years, your list of medications can grow drastically between joint medicine, vitamins and pain medications.  They come in all forms- tablets, liquids, creams, injectables, vitamins, etc.

All of these medications help your pet stay healthy and happy and hopefully lead longer lives.  However, just like our own medications, they are nothing to fool around with.  Medications that are improperly stored can put your pets and even your family members (such as children or spouse) at risk.  Your vet should be the go-to expert on tips and tricks to keep your medications stored safely since your pet’s welfare is their chief concern. However, we have some recommendations that could help you minimize the dangers of your pet medicine.

  1. Store Medications out of Reach of your Children and Pets

It sounds like common sense, but it’s very important to keep pet medications stored in a secure location out of reach of pets and children. However, this can be tricky. What constitutes out of reach? Especially if you have cats that can get into the highest nooks and crannies with ease.  A high, closed cupboard is the most ideal for drugs that also need to be stored at room temperature. If you want to be extra safe, you can lock the cupboard, especially in the instance of extra curious pets or children.  If you have other animals, such as horses, cows or pigs, make sure you treat them in an area that your dog or cat can’t get to.  Smaller animals have been known to be accidentally killed after coming into contact with spilled medications or even eating the fecal matter of treated animals.

  1. Be Cautious of Flavored Medications

Most medicines are very unappetizing.  No one enjoys taking gross tasting medicine, so why would your pet be any different? Many of today’s medications contain flavoring to make them taste better than normal- especially for your pets.  If you have one of these medications and you hide it in a lower drawer or cupboard, your dog (especially if they have a good nose!) can rummage through the cabinet or drawer and find it and have a feast- with devastatingly deadly effects. Most pill bottles are no match for your dog’s teeth, and they can and will ingest it.

Toddlers or young children are often lured by medication flavorings that smell like candy.  It creates the potential for accidental overdose or exposure, which can have terrible consequences.  All the more reason to find a safe space that is out of reach of most pets and children.

  1. Mark your Meds or Separate them Completely from Your Pet Meds

Pet medications should be stored securely just like human medications.  Perhaps the best place to store them is in the same spot as your human medications.  However, if at all possible they should be kept in separate areas.  Confusing pet and human medicines is all too common of an issue, and it can make you or your pet very sick.   There are two easy steps to avoid this problem.  First, check the label every time you reach for meds.  This is a simple, quick way to ensure that no creature is getting the wrong medicine.  This is especially simple since many pet clinics are starting to add logos, or cartoon paw prints on the cap to help instantly differentiate bottles.  Secondly, if you keep your meds in a completely different area than your pet meds, you will never give them the wrong one.  It protects both you and your pet.

  1. Check Expiration Dates and Storage Instructions

Medications have a shelf life and storage instructions, just like your groceries.  If you don’t store them the way they need, they won’t work the way they’re supposed to, and in some cases, they can become dangerous with serious side effects. Some medicines need refrigeration, so check your vet’s instructions thoroughly.

If a medication is expired, it’s automatically off-limits to pets.  They can become dangerous or less effective because of chemical changes that have occurred over time.  Injectable medications that are expired have a high risk of bacteria growing in the vial.  Any drug that’s expired can become toxic.  Dispose of any expired medications to avoid confusion or accidental ingestion.

All of these things are simple and can keep you from seriously hurting your pet or your family.  Take appropriate actions to ensure medicine safety in your home.

Share what you know about keeping medications out of the reach of your pets in the comments below.

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Pet and Owner Connection

Pet-Connect-iStock_000001805516Small-150x150There can be no denying the fact that we get a pet that is similar to our own characteristics. Have you ever taken a few moments though and thought about what it was that made your pet ideal? If you think very hard about it you would be very amazed to realize that your pet is very similar to you, or at least to your thoughts of yourself. Half of the battle is determining what your traits are and how you want your pet to be.

When you were thinking about getting a pet did you ever sit down and write down a list of all of the characteristics that you give off? Do you like a pet that is going to be relatively low maintenance? Do you need a pet that will only need to be fed on a daily basis and does not require much upkeep? If you are on the road, you must consider that you need a pet that is not going to be taken care of too frequently. If you are a traveler you must plan for taking care of your pet and think about all of the long term needs that you are going to have whether or not you realize it. In addition to this it is extremely important to remember that you must also think about your family situation.

Do you have small children at home? If the answer to that is yes, it is very important that you also consider the fact that you must have a pet that is going to be friendly for children. That means ultimately that you must be considering what animals can interact with children. You do not need a large dog that is not known to be great with children if you have little ones at home. In addition to this you must also consider what your needs as a parent will be in the long term when choosing a pet. Are you looking for a pet that is going to be with the family for a long time as well?

If you have young children you must also be thinking about the life span of the dog you have. Some breeds live for 5-18 years, all depending on the breed of the dog. This is very important when choosing a pet because you must assure that you are able to keep the pet for the life of your child. This means that if you bring a pet into your home, your child is going to become very attached to it. For this reason it is very important to ensure that you are planning the right pet and that you have thought out the long term ramifications of what that pet is going to be for your family. If you have selected a breed which has a shorter life, you will find that you are going to be more challenged to explain the death of the pet to the child when it happens. For that reason finding the right fit for your family is as much of an art form as finding the right animal.

Another question you must ask yourself if you wish to have perfect harmony at home is how many animals do you also want to bring in? It is very important to ensure that you do not have too many cats or too many dogs in your home that will be competing for attention. For that reason as a parent to these pets it is also very important to ensure that you are planning out what it is that you want to do as well as also planning out how you will in fact be taking care of them well in advance. A happy home is a home in which all the members of the family are loved and valued and each one has its own place without being or feeling like a burden to anyone else.

Pets, in addition to requiring time, space, food, and love, also require medical attention. As much as you would take a child to the doctor you must also take your pet to the vet, Mandatory vaccinations must happen to ensure the health and the well-being of your animals. When you are thinking about becoming a mom or a dad to a new pet, make sure that you have thought about all of the long term ramifications and that you have made decisions which are both fair to the animal and which will benefit all members of your family.

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Tips for getting spring chicks

Baby-Chicken-150x150It’s spring again and you or someone you know might be thinking about getting some baby chicks. To help new chicken owners be prepared for the responsibilities of raising baby chicks, here are a few starter tips:

Be ready to make the time commitment. In their first few weeks, chicks require a high level of supervision and care. In the longer view, as with any pet, chickens will need consistent maintenance and attention. Be sure that you have the time and resources to embark on this new adventure of pet ownership.

Check zoning and neighborhood regulations. Before bringing your fluffy friends home, you should check the zoning for your area and any HOA ordinances that relate to keeping livestock. There are some areas where raising chickens is not allowed.

Start planning to build or buy a chicken coop. Baby chicks grow up fast and will need an outdoor coop before you know it! If you are planning to build a coop, it is best to start construction before the chicks come home. Alternatively, if you are thinking of buying a prefabricated coop, make your order early so you can be sure that it will arrive on time. You can find a wide variety of pre-made coops or DIY chicken coop tutorials online.

Select an indoor space for your chicks to live in. Baby chicks need a safe, well-controlled environment for their first few weeks of life. Plan to section off a portion of your garage or home, preferably away from high-traffic areas. An uncarpeted space will make for the easiest clean up. A plastic kiddie pool or a plastic bin is a useful baby chick home, or brooder. Plan to set aside about 2 square feet for each baby chick.

Prepare an absorbent lining for the brooder. Provide an absorbent lining material that your chicks can scratch and that you can easily clean up to keep baby chick mess to a minimum. Many recommend pine wood shavings or paper towels. You will want to change out the lining of the brooder once a week.

Obtain a good source of heat. Baby chicks like to be warm, very warm. In their first week, chicks like their temperature to be around 95 degrees. With each passing week, chicks will be comfortable at lower and lower temperatures until they’re finally ready for outdoor weather. A 250 watt heat lamp is best for creating and maintaining a well-heated environment. The position of the light should be adjustable so you can control the heat of the brooder. Follow the cues the baby chicks give you. If they’re keeping as far away from the light as possible, they’re too hot. If they’re crowded together under the light, they’re too cold.

Provide food and water. Your baby chicks won’t have the best table manners. They’ll most likely track their food and water around their home. Be ready to replace their water source regularly. A shallow water dish should do the trick. You should also take time to research the best chick feed for your chicks. If they have not been vaccinated, you will want to consider getting them medicated feed. Find out the best feed in advance and stock up!

Transition to the outdoors. Acclimate your chicks to the outdoors by taking them out when they’re in their 2nd to 3rd week. Make sure they’re in a safe enclosure and supervise them carefully. Your chicks should be ready to move outdoors in their 4th to 5th week.

A Personal Perspective:

I have been watching a baby chick saga unfold over Facebook. It all started when one of my friends posted a picture of a baby chick on his and his wife’s Facebook wall. The picture caption confirmed that, yes, this was in fact their new baby chick and not just a picture they had taken for fun at the local pet store.

A few days later there was another Facebook post. This one talked about how they were trying to corral the chick in a confined space and were frantically looking for cardboard to protect the floor from chicken scratching and mess. Next there was talk of where on earth to find the right food, and just what did chicks eat anyway?

The latest picture looks like the barricade scene from Les Mislerables: an improvised wall of boxes, furniture, plastic lining, and sheets blocking off a corner of the kitchen. This is the temporary chicken coop until my friend can finish building a permanent coop in the back yard. I’m hoping, for my friend’s sake, that it’s ready soon!

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Keeping Pets Happy at Home

dog-vs-cat-150x150aaa Pets have been domesticated since the Egyptian times; cats were first brought in to help us keep our homes clear of mice. After that in many cultures, particularly in Egypt the cat was then worshiped for its intelligence, intensity, and beauty. Egyptian women painted their eyes to try and look like cats, and they became one of the most exalted members of the family in every household. Animals would join their owners in the afterlife and would then serve them in the beyond. Jewelry was developed for cats and they were a part of the family as much as the children of the house.

Dogs, known as “Man’s best friend” were developed from wild wolves and joined us first in the hunting fields of the world. Tracking next to us and helping us to be able to find food when we were unable to grow it, it is easy to understand why they became such important members of the human family. Can you imagine the value of an animal that was able to track in a world that was before grocery stores and all other locations where it was possible to be able to get or obtain food? Until 35,000 BCE this was the state of our ancestors who had to bond with the dogs in the ability to find and source game 3 xs per day. Many people died because they were not able to do this in a way that was going to be effective as well as in a way that would ensure regular nutrition for all of the members of the family. One of the greatest challenges was being able to do this in a world where loyalty was highly valued and prized as well. With the constant pressures that face our ancestors it is easy to see why we bonded with dogs to ensure that we are able to have the best possible allies at our side.

When you go to the zoo now and you see those huge cats in the cages, prowling around like they may eat you it is amazing to think that your cat was once related to those animals. The powerful swagger of the backbones of the animals as well as the power of the size is something that is very difficult for us to imagine. How is it that our ancestors were able to make friends with and even domesticate these wild creatures?

When looking at wolves, the native ancestor of all dogs it is again amazing to imagine our ancestors hunting next to them with nothing more than sticks and rocks. A bond like that is truly amazing when you think that it might have taken years to form and in addition to that it might also have been done with great fear and with great amounts of training. Creatures like wolves, quite easily able to eat men if the situation were handled wrongly, again what an amazing accomplishment, Each species of dog that you see was created through the efforts of man and through the careful combination and breeding of different animals to ensure that the combinations are best for everyone and in addition to that, that the animals would be the strongest and the proudest that they could be.

In our pets now we still see the same long term effects of this breeding and this bearing. When you see cats go nuts and chase a mouse or you see dogs catch and fetch a stick. They are drawn to the movement, the color, and the visual aspect of the chase and hunt. As parents of animals with ancient desires we must understand, nurture, and encourage this arrangement for our pets. This means taking them outside so that they will be able to play on a beautiful afternoon, walking them when they wish to go out and ensuring that you are spending all of the time with them that you can.

There is an epidemic in this country of obesity; this is not something that is just for us either. It is a part of the lives of our pets as well. The main reason for that is because our pets do not get to play the way they used to and since that is the case they are not getting the proper amounts of exercise. Remember that when you take your pet for a walk it is benefiting you as much as it is benefiting the pet. Part of being happy is making sure that you have the right amount of exercise.

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