A Street Cat Named Bob

About a month ago a friend lent me a really heartwarming book.  I blew through it in a weekend.  I’ve never done a book review for the Pets blog before, but this seems appropriate.  The book is called “A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets,” by James Bowen.  Don’t worry: this isn’t a real tear-jerker of a book.  It’s a sweet, inspirational story of how a very special cat inspired a lost man to take control of his own life. James Bowen was a recovering drug addict in London.  He’d just … Continue reading

Microchip Law Passed in the U.K.

The British government has just passed a controversial new law: all dogs are required to have microchips by 2016.  After then, the owners of any dogs found without microchips will be fined the equivalent of nearly $800.  The government isn’t marching door to door testing dogs for microchips, but the owners of any unchipped dogs taken to shelters will face the fine when they come to pick up their dog. The move is controversial because it’s seen as the government interfering too much in private affairs, as an Orwellian move.  Officials say they have everyone’s best interests at heart.  No … Continue reading

Bird Basics: Finches

If you love birds but don’t have much time for a pet, or prefer to watch birds over handling them, then finches are the perfect bird for you.  They’re not too affectionate and don’t like being handled very much, so they’re the perfect pet for an observer. First a note: as with all birds, it’s best to purchase your bird from a reputable breeder.  Before bringing one home, make sure you’ve located a vet in your area that can treat your bird. It’s important that you get more than one finch, as they are social birds and will need the … Continue reading

Would You Lease A Pet?

If you’re thinking about getting a pet but aren’t sure you can handle the responsibility, you still have a few options.  Consider volunteering for a shelter, pet-sitting for a friend, or fostering a pet; there are even some short-term fostering situations.  If none of these appeal to you, or if you have a little extra money to spend on your pet, you now have another option: lease a pet.  MSN has the details. A company called Hannah’s Pet Society has started a new business: leasing pets.  Here’s how it works: interested parties go to one of the company’s two stores … Continue reading

Killer Cats on the Loose

One of the most popular news stories to break last week was a new estimation of the deaths attributed to domesticated house cats.  We’re not talking people deaths, but the deaths of small birds and mammals; that might seem insignificant, but the number is in the billions.  Researchers from the Smithsonian and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that although the worst offenders are feral and stray cats, one in three domesticated cats also kills animals in its neighborhood.  Those cats average two kills a week. When it’s well-fed, domesticated cats doing the killing, they’re not usually keeping these … Continue reading

Unusual Pet Products

On a recent MSN list of “unusual ways to make a buck,” 5 of the 21 items on the list were about pets.  That doesn’t seem like that many, but it’s the largest single category on the list.  The pet inventions are Pet Rocks, Doggles, Petite Amande, Pet Butler, and Neuticles.  Given the age of that first item, it doesn’t require much explanation; we all know what it is. Let’s look at the other pet products on the list in increasing order of ridiculousness.  That means Pet Butler is up next.  It might seem crazy – a butler for your … Continue reading

Meeting the Neighbor Dogs: Part 2

A month or two ago I wrote about how the neighbor’s dog began visiting our yard during the day.  I thought maybe interacting with him could help Chihiro calm down about other dogs.  Unfortunately, I think the opposite has happened. I really should have known better.  Chihiro has been wary of other dogs ever since getting attacked by one (even though she won the fight, because the dog that started it was a little Puggle), so when teaching her to feel comfortable again around other dogs, I should take her to neutral territory with dogs I know and trust. For … Continue reading

Why Cats Do Weird Things: Pawing Around Water

We know why cats play with their water: they paw it and lick it from their paws, to try to make their water ripple and thus seem fresher.  Cats love fresh water.  But I’ve noticed Cole sometimes do something a bit stranger than that: he paws around his water bowl.  He doesn’t actually dip his paws in, but he scratches at the floor around the water bowl.  Why is he doing that? There isn’t a clear answer as to why; a lot of cat behavior is mysterious to us.  But there are a few educated guesses out there.  The first is … Continue reading

What To Do about Neighbor Cats

I keep going back and forth on whether or not to let my cats outside.  Cole doesn’t have much interest, but Chrestomanci certainly does.  I know he’d be happiest as an indoor-outdoor cat, but I don’t know that I’d be happiest with him as one, and I don’t know that it’s worth the stress.  One day in the summer when we let him out with us, he wandered off.  He came back a few hours later, just as my husband said he would, but by then it was dark and I was very upset until he showed up again. Another … Continue reading

Driver Dogs Trained in New Zealand

I can’t drive stick.  I’m all right if there’s no one around me, but the second I’m at a stop sign and there are people behind me, I stall and can’t get the car to start again. So I’m feeling rather ashamed right now, because a group of dogs in New Zealand are doing what I can’t.  These rescue dogs have been trained to drive cars.  BBC News has the report. The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in New Zealand capital Auckland were tired of families surrendering dogs and saying that the pooches were too hard to … Continue reading