Do you need a pick-me-up after this long and stressful week? Something positive to think about and a reason to make you smile? If so, I would like to introduce you to a great new Facebook Group called Feline Fairies! The idea for this group came to Weirdo Admin Hannah Schramm after seeing what a good time some of our other team members were having participating in surprise-gifting groups like D.A.M. Hannah thought to herself-this is fun, but, what if there was a group like this that was centered specifically around our love for our pets? And what if we could reach more people and go outside of just the surrounding Cleveland area? And from there, Feline Fairies was born!
Hannah hit the ground running in creating the Facebook Group, making the awesome banner graphic, and writing up the details of how the group would operate. She then kindly invited myself (Cassandra Bean Ungvarsky) and Mandi Stevens to help her keep an eye on the page and help our members have a great time participating! (Truthfully, aside from answering questions from our members about how to create and share their wishlists, this page doesn’t even need any moderating! It is filled with 100% positivity and love and good intent and it is a wonderful thing to see- especially in our current climate.) Hannah, Mandi, and myself played around with the group settings, collaborated in writing up the description of the group, and Hannah did a few trial runs with using and sharing an Amazon wishlist. Once we felt pretty confident that the page could run fairly smoothly we started inviting friends to join! And boy did they join!! Our group numbers doubled nearly every day for the first few days! We are now at a steady increase daily and we currently have 804 members- after just ONE WEEK! We are thrilled.
In a nutshell, the concept of the group is to surprise members by buying them items off of their Amazon Wishlists. It’s like a secret-santa type of game. Since we are centered on our love of pets, the Wishlists should only include items for our pets (toys, treats, food, accessories) or fun items for ourselves that show off our love for our pets (animal themed home décor, clothing, or accessories). Although the group name is Feline Fairies we do encourage parents of ALL pets to join our group. From hamsters to horses we want you to join!! The joy it has been bringing our members in receiving items they have put off buying for themselves or their pet is truly heart warming. It is such a great feeling to know that someone was thinking of you and wanted to bring a smile to your face! Members can sign their name to their gift or they can send anonymously. Mandi has also recently posted to try to organize Wishlists a little bit- we noticed that we have MANY members who work at or run a rescue, or foster animals, or who take care of feral colonies and may need a little extra amount of food or other resources.
On behalf of the Feline Fairies, I want to extend to you an invitation to join our group. I promise you won’t be sorry you did! We can’t wait to see you there and to spoil you and your fur babies! You deserve it! Click on this link to join! https://www.facebook.com/groups/2641283412827280/
-Cassandra Bean Unvgarsky
For cat lovers, one of the most common feline postures can be puzzling. We know that cats communicate not only with meows and purrs, but also with scent and body position. A comical posture of happy, healthy cats, something I call “elevator butt,” actually communicates different information depending on the cat.
The pose looks similar to the canine play-bow, and in some circumstances has a similar meaning. The cat lowers her front end toward the ground, while elevating her nether regions and tail. Kitty looks sort of like a race car revving her engines.
Top 3 Things Elevator Butt Means
The technical term for elevator butt is lordosis. The lordosis posture serves as the intact female cat’s romantic invitation to males as a mating display. Some cats (both girls and boy kitties) also use this position when urine marking, to spray their pungent urine higher or with better aim.
Play And Attention
Many pet cats, of course, are neutered and out of the mating game. And kitties typically offer this pose to humans, with no romantic strings attached. In these instances, “elevator butt” simply invites attention from the human, for interaction and play—or simply a pet at the base of the tail. My old lady cat, Seren-Kitty, does this to invite a friendly scratch.
You Can Sniff Me
Cats identify each other by their signature odor. A kitty who keeps her nether regions shielded is like a shy human hiding her face. That can indicate fear, stress, or anxiety. Conversely, offering the elevator-butt pose places the cat in a vulnerable position and could be considered a declaration of trust. That’s not to say your cat really expects you to take a whiff—but the offer certainly speaks volumes.
Elevator butt aimed at humans is a declaration of friendship and an invitation to come closer and interact. For that reason, the pose can be a great indicator of your cat’s emotional state. By scratching or petting your cat in response, you reinforce the behavior so the cat will repeat the gesture. Petting also tells the cat you accept the offer of friendship.
This article was reviewed/edited by board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kenneth Martin and/or veterinary technician specialist in behavior Debbie Martin, LVT.
Article courtesy of Fear Free Happy Homes. You can view the original article here:
Good morning, Weirdos! Grab your coffee and settle in – today’s topic is always important to brush up on, especially as we get further into our warm season!
As the seasons change and warmer months finally make their appearance, so do many plants, critters, bugs, and pests. Some of the worst for pet parents? Fleas and ticks. While these pests can persist throughout the year, they tend to be more prevalent during spring, summer, & fall. More wild animals are out and about, and plenty of them can be carriers for these pests. We’ll dive right into some information about these common pet problems, including signs, prevention, treatment and more!
Fleas may be one of the most common and well-known pet pests. It starts with a small scratch, but can quickly snowball into a full-blown infestation. If your cat (or other pet) has been scratching more frequently and there are no known allergies, it’s a good idea to do frequent flea checks. You can typically find fleas or “flea dirt” in higher concentrations at the base of the ears, tail, under “arm” pits, and other deep fur zones. Flea dirt presents as dark brown or black specks – this is a nasty mix of flea feces & blood, and you can test any dirt by combing some out, placing on a paper towel, and adding a couple drops of water – if it turns red, that indicates blood & your fur baby likely has fleas. You may also be able to spot adult fleas crawling through your cat’s fur, or hopping from surface to surface or critter to critter. They can be hard to spot, so keep in mind that they are just a few millimeters in size & brown/reddish-brown. You might think you are safe from fleas if your cat is indoor only, but fleas can be lurking in your yard, waiting to hitch a ride inside after hopping onto your shoe. This is especially true if you live in areas with plenty of local pets, strays, or wild animals. The best way to stay ahead of a flea infestation is prevention. With the use of trusted products, odds are high that you will never have to deal with the stress of an infestation. If you do end up with fleas, make sure to continuously treat the issue and implement additional cleaning routines (vacuum daily (always dispose of contents – ideally outside away from the home), and wash pet bedding often). You can find product suggestions & additional information about fleas in the links at the bottom of this blog!
Many locals & other sources are reporting that 2020 is yet another bad year for ticks. According to Pests.org, Ohio and the rest of the Midwest have an above average threat level of tick activity this year. Ticks can be more active during warm & humid months, and have many local hosts like deer, coyotes, squirrels etc. - all of which tend to be more active during these seasons as well. Several tickborne diseases have been seen throughout Ohio, the most common of which include Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Other tickborne illness include tularemia, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, and more. While some of these tick-related issues are more commonly seen in dogs, it’s important to know the signs as cat parents.
Ticks come in a variety of types, colors, and sizes; some are even as small as a poppy seed! Familiarizing yourself with local tick varieties can save you stress when trying to identify bugs, and help identify the best course of action if a tick attaches to your fur baby or you! Prevention is key in avoiding ticks and the diseases they carry. There are many approved products to use on your pet; and there are safe, natural repellents to use around the house & yard. Again, you can find more information about ticks & appropriate products in the links below.
You should ALWAYS check with a trusted vet for the best products, and make sure to do your research before using any products that claim to prevent and/or treat fleas & ticks! Even some well-known brands, such as Hartz, can cause severe complications and even death. We think it’s important to know that products by Hartz have caused many issues & severe cases in the past. HartzVictims.org is an ongoing blog full of stories from pet parents who have experienced negative results from these products – this includes the use of flea/tick prevention & treatment and shampoos/conditioners.
There is an abundance of information on fleas, ticks, and the products that are necessary for prevention and treatment. While we could probably go on all day, we don’t want to take up your entire Sunday! It is encouraged that you take some extra time to look into these issues so that you can always have the best up-to-date information for keeping your fur babies happy & healthy!
Below you will see some links with more information, sources that contributed to this write-up, and product recommendations. (Please note: the Weirdos are not affiliated with or sponsored by any of the products suggestions. We have simply found these items to be trustworthy & reliable.)
Happy Sunday, Weirdos! Today we wanted to tell you a little bit about our emergency vet bill assistance program and the guidelines we follow. As you know from previous blogs, one of our goals is to document policies and procedures for all areas of the non-profit. This allows us to ensure transparency and fairness is our dealings with all pet parents in need. It also helps us to make sure that we have a sustainable model that will keep things running smoothly for many years to come.
As you know, we are often called upon when a pet parent has a pet who falls ill suddenly or sustains an injury due to an accident, etc… Below are the policies and procedures that Leadership will be using in each instance. In all situations, until we have grant money coming in and our accounts are more substantial, we will create an emergency post, asking our Weirdo family for assistance in covering the emergency costs.
First, we need to determine if the member’s cat has an immediate emergency need. An emergency need is defined as an event which is life threatening and requires medical care within 24 to 48 hours. If the issue is determined not to be an emergency, the pet parent will be referred to our resource page to locate low cost veterinary care options or to find other support, depending on their need.
Moving forward we will ask that in all cases, members will be required to complete an emergency care application. If they are already at a veterinary practice when they reach out, a member of the Leadership Team will ask the questions of the pet parent, rather than having them fill out the application online themselves.
The Weirdos are happy to help our Weirdo family as much as possible, however we do ask that pet parents a) pay what they are able (this amount will be discussed and agreed upon up-front); and b) pet parents must apply for Care Credit and if approved, use that to cover whatever portion they are able. The Weirdos will discuss and determine what portion of the bill we are able to pay based on the needs of the cat, the pet parent’s financial situation and the cost of the procedure(s) involved.
A few other items of note, as it relates to emergency vet care needs are as follows:
If you have questions or concerns, please let us know!
Best Wishes & Purrs,
Happy May, Weirdos! As we start to see businesses open up and people return to the workplace, we may be at home less often, leaving our pets a bit confused as to what happened to all those extra snuggles and walks and all that bonus playtime.
Some animals can suffer from separation anxiety when their routine is broken. We may suffer from a bit of it ourselves after becoming accustomed to all this extra time we got to spend with our furry friends.
There are some things you can do to ease the transition back to being away from home, such as playtime and a rewarding treat before leaving the house. In dogs, most of the stress (and possible anxious behavior) happens in the first fifteen minutes after the human companion leaves. There are certainly feelings and intentions and general concepts that we express to our pets that they understand but “I’ll be back in eight hours” probably isn’t one of them.
Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy addresses both establishing a schedule for your cat to match your new circadian rhythms (wake-sleep cycle) from being home all the time (this is for you folks who will continue to remain home for work) and also how to return to something similar to the schedule you had before the outbreak in this video link: https://youtu.be/HrqSi-xr-pw
According to Petcoach and many other animal psychologists and researchers, making a big fuss over leaving and returning can be detrimental to the situation and to the animal’s emotional health. Some analogies I thought of were vivid memories of long, painful goodbyes to a family member or friend or when seeing someone for the first time in a long time perhaps at a gathering, it may be easier to have them mingle for a bit before coming to you so you have time to contain your emotions and greet them without feeling too overwhelmed. The immediate “on/off” (or “off/on” when arriving home) shower of affection in extreme contrast to solitude may be a lot for your cat (or dog) to process. More details, information and helpful tips can be found here: https://www.petcoach.co/cat/condition/separation-anxiety-1/
Lastly, there’s the chance that we will experience a bit of this ourselves, excessively worrying about our partners, children, and pets when we return to our old routines. We may find that we experience some anxiety leaving the comfort and safety of our homes, even as we had longed for a return to a less claustrophobic and sheltered existence. Some helpful tips can be found here:
Thank you to Robert Darkmatter for this blog!