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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Traveling Can Often Stress Out Dogs

Owner Of Pet-Sitting Service Says Let Dogs Stay Home

SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio -- On the busiest travel day of the year, are you carrying your pooch with you to grandma's house or leaving your dog at home with a pet sitter?

During the holiday season, many pet-sitting services experience an increase in business because pet owners do not want to subject their dogs to stressful traveling conditions via vehicle or plane.

Read full story Travelling Can Often Strss out Dogs, Darlene Dunn, Staff Writer Travelgateways


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why Won’t My Cat Use Her Litterbox?

Your cat, for whatever reason, refuses to use the litterbox that you so lovingly prepared just for her. You spent half an hour in the store, perusing the different litters before finally picking what you thought was the perfect one. You also sacrificed a perfectly good spot in your garage, or maybe your bathroom, for the cat’s box.

Despite your best efforts, though, your cat refuses to go near the litterbox. She turns up her tiny, pink nose at the offensive thing, preferring instead to do her business on your floor or a pile of laundry.

Why, you wonder, is she being like this?

There are several common reasons for cats to do this. Whether your feline pal is a kitten or older cat, there’s probably a good explanation – and a fairly easy fix. Before you threaten to mail your cat to Abu Dhabi, try these solutions.

Make sure that your cat has easy access to the litterbox. Most cats like just a few inches of litter in the bottom. They also like having plenty of room to do their business, so make sure that the box is long and wide enough so that the kitty isn’t touching the sides.

Some cats like covered litterboxes, but others hate them. Try taking off the cover and putting it aside.

Try different types of litter. Some cats hate the finely-granulated stuff. Others loathe the clay version. You don’t necessarily have to spend lots of money on "premium" litter to find something that your cat will use, though: many brands are inexpensive but well-suited to your kitty’s tastes.

If you’ve had the litterbox for a while, it probably reeks of cat urine. Even if you’ve faithfully cleaned and disinfected the box, the plastic absorbs enough odors for your cat to detect. Try sprinkling baking soda in the bottom – before you add the litter – or just buy a new box.
Many people don’t know that you can actually clean the box too often. If you’re right there to scoop out any leavings half a nanosecond after kitty leaves her box, try waiting a while instead. Some cats respond better to their litterboxes when there’s a deposit or two left for a while.

You don’t, however, have to let things pile up for a week. Cleaning two or three times a day is usually enough to satisfy the kitty’s ability to tell that this is where she’s supposed to go. Cleaning this often is also enough to combat offensive odors.

Placement also matters. Many cats prefer a private area for this personal business. Keep the box out of high-traffic areas as well as places that are noisy, like the utility room on laundry day.
If you have several cats, you’ll need more than one litterbox. The maximum number is usually two or three cats per box. Otherwise, they can feel overcrowded.

Your kitten might not be completely litter-trained just yet. Be patient, clean up any messes as quickly as possible (to avoid letting the odors permeate – which can tell the kitten that the place on the floor is "the spot") and keep putting kitty in the box every now and then. She’ll soon pick up on the idea and run with it.

Older cats might not be as agile as when they were younger. They need a shallow box that’s as close to the floor as possible (i.e. not on top of the dryer).

Cats of all ages suddenly "forget" their litterbox training when they have a health problem. If your cat suddenly decides that she needs to relieve herself right in front of you, she’s probably trying to tell you that she has a urinary tract infection or some similar problem. Take her to the vet as soon as possible.

This is a frustrating time for you, but be patient and work with your cat. If all health problems are addressed and all space issues are solved, your kitty should soon be on her way to a long, happy life of faithfully using the litterbox, and only the litterbox, for her business.

Copyright © 2006, Ian White Access 2000 Pty Ltd

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Family Project: Indoor Cactus Garden

Not all cactus are alike. They come in many different colors, sizes and types. Some are great for an indoor cactus garden. A cactus garden is a great indoor project for the family. It can add green and other colors to an otherwise dull inside.

What is a Cactus?

Cactus are in the family of succulents which includes these cacti and other plants such as the aloe plant. Most cacti (plural for cactus) come from regions of little water, or arid regions. This includes the desert regions of the world. The cactus plant has adapted to these desert regions with several adaptations. Storing water in a succulent (thus the name given to the family) leaf is the main adaptation and growing spines for water retention and defense are important adaptations as well.

Choose the Type of Cactus

There are many types of cacti and succulents that are great for an indoor cactus garden. Some of these succulents and cacti are typically grown outside in hotter climates. They can be brought indoors for winter and colder months.

1. Christmas Cactus
The Christmas Cactus, also called the Holiday Cactus in some places, is well known for it beautiful flowers that bloom just before Christmas time. It is a winter blooming cactus and the blooms vary in color from pink to white to red. It tolerates light shade and does well as an indoor plant under artificial lighting.

2. Aloe
The aloe is a succulent, related to the cactus. It is a tropical plant that will not tolerate freezing. It is perfect for growing indoors because of its inability to withstand these cold temperatures. Aloe plants have been used for perhaps thousands of years as medicine for burns and cuts. It’s the sap inside the aloe plant that is used.

3. Old Man Cactus
This tall cactus is famous for its "old man" look. It has tufts of white "hair" covering the spines of the cactus. This hair is an adaptation to help reflect sunshine so that it does not get so hot. This cactus will bloom although it can take many years to do so.

4. Prickly Pear
These cacti are famous for their long protruding spines. The pads (or modififed leaves) and the fruits the prickly pear produce are edible.

5. Barrel Cactus
The barrel cactus is a good beginner’s cactus. They can be used in small and large containers alike. They are barrel shaped with yellow spines.

6. Organ Pipe Cactus
This very tall cactus plant is a good cactus for a larger container. It is a column shaped cactus that can grow very tall in the wild. It is the second largest cactus found in the United States, next to the famous Saguaro Cactus.

7. Jade Plant
The Jade Plant, known as Crassula (because of its scientific name) is a succulent plant native to South Africa. Jade plants, like the Christmas Cactus are winter bloomers and will bloom close to Christmas time.

Care of the Cactus

Most cactus plants and succulents need lots of bright sunlight. Growing them indoors can present a challenge because of the lack of sunlight. You may have to supplement them with artificial lighting sources if you do not have a window that gets sufficient sunshine. You can buy grow lights for artificial lighting at any home and garden store and most chain department stores.

Even though most cacti can thrive in arid (or low water areas like deserts) regions, they will need some water especially if grown indoors in containers. The amount of water depends on the species. But most cacti and succulents will need, on average, at least one watering each week. Make sure the soil in the container is completely dry before watering again. A great way to check the soil is stick the top two inches of your finger into the soil. If your finger comes out dry, the plant will need watered. If it is still damp, then wait a few days.

Since most cacti live in desert regions, the temperature is a factor in their growth. Most cacti thrive in dry hot climates. They will need a warm place to grow. A temperature of at least 70 degrees. But do not place them somewhere that is beyond 90 degrees. This will ensure they survive as they are susceptible to burning.

Choose a Container

The container you choose is an important step. Some cacti need room for the roots, even if their roots are shallow. Some cacti grow tall, like the Organ Pipe cacti and may weight a lot. A sturdy container may be needed for these cacti especially if they need to be moved often.
Choose a container that won’t dry out as quickly and will be sturdy enough to withstand direct sunlight. A pot made from clay would be an ideal choice. A clay pot will keep in warmth and will stand up to direct sunlight.

You can be creative in your choice of container. You don’t have to use the traditional clay or plastic round pots. You have other choices. An old boot, a basket and even old food buckets can be used for the cactus.

Potting Soil vs Cactus Soil

The soil you choose for your cactus does matter. Available on many market shelves is cactus soil. It is a mixture of potting soil and sand or other fine particles. You can also make your own cactus soil by mixing equal parts potting soil with equal parts sand.

Regular potting soil alone might be good enough for the cactus plant. But it can encourage over watering. Potting soil tends to retain moisture very well and could cause more problems with the cactus plant. Adding the sand adds air pockets to the soil loosening up the soil. It can help with drainage. Many cactus soils also add pumice or lava stone to the mixture. This pumice or lava stone helps with drainage and can help keep the right balance of moisture in the soil. Experiment with the soil to find the best soil for your cactus plant. You can always repot the cactus if the soil you have is not working out.

A Great Gift Idea and Activity

Cacti and succulents are a great present especially for the gardeners on your list. They are relatively easy to grow and care for. In fact, they tend to survive better when you leave them alone rather then tending them constantly. You can add a small tag on the container that instructs how to care for the cactus plant or plants that are in the cactus garden.
Use the winter months to grow a cactus garden indoors with your family. It will be a fun project and can take off some of that winter boredom.

Copyright © 2006, Ian White Access 2000 Pty Ltd

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pet Pampering Launches New Web Site, Offers Pet Sitting Services and Pet Products

Pet Pampering has been in existence for two years now and recently met with so much success its owners Sue Huss and Diane Sharlow have decided to share their knowledge on the Internet in the form of a new Web site that provides information on kennel alternatives and unique gift ideas for dogs and cats.

The Web site,, launched Oct. 1 and has been online for only a few shorts weeks but already has added new informative articles, a section on pet humor, a pet photo contest and more pet products.

Read entire article Pet Pampering Launches New Web Site

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Motorhome or Sleeper Van? Choosing the Right Vehicle for Your New Zealand Holiday

Finding the right vehicle for your holiday can be a daunting prospect, with many choices and differing terminology. Review the options and discover the pitfalls in choosing a rental vehicle for independent travel through New Zealand.

Read entire article Motorhome or Sleeper Van? Choosing the Right Vehicle for Your New Zealand Holiday

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Easy Ways to Increase the Security of Your Home

While home security devices may be the most obvious way in which to protect your home from intruders, there are other improvements you can make and practices you can employ in order to keep criminals away

Read Entire article - Easy Ways to Increase the Security of Your Home