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Pet Peeves Unmasked Blog Mission

Pet Peeves Unmasked Blog Mission is to give followers access to information they can trust and help them care for their dogs and cats
The Pet Peeves Unmasked Blog Mission is to empower pet parents everywhere

 

My Mission

When you visit this page, the first post you will see is Pet Peeves Unmasked Blog Mission. That’s because the whole purpose behind each and every one of the posts I write is to push you gently to become the best pet parent possible! That’s the blog mission. And, that’s my personal mission.   

 

“Perfect” Pet Parenting

Furthermore, I have written a book entitled “Perfect” Pet Parenting that covers all aspects of caring for dogs and cats. It is based on my personal experience as a pet caregiver and incorporates the expertise of professionals who focus on specific areas of a companion animal’s wellbeing. This blog site contains extracts from my book. 

One of the biggest advantages of managing a blog site is that posts can be edited, updated and published at any time and as quickly as needed. Blog followers are hungry for knowledge and like to have access to the latest information in a matter of seconds. Consequently, they are faithful followers when they have sources they can trust that give them the tools to improve their life and the life of those close to them. 

Your Empowerment 

Pet Peeves Unmasked Posts covers a very wide range of subject matter that is organized into groups. Each blog is then filed in a specific category which is located in the right hand column of this page. 

As you will notice, group topics are extremely diverse. Animal rights and adopting. Breeds and body language. Gentle leaders and leashes. Dry food and water bowls. Vaccinations and CPR. Walking and dog parks. Pet sitting and pedicures. Car rides, air cargo and boarding. And, I mustn’t forget to mention the heart-warming stories of some amazing, heroic dogs and cats. 

Our Bond

Lastly, I want to encourage you to leave comments and suggestions because when we all work together, we can all keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!

TRACKING PET FOOD RECALLS

Did you know that tracking pet food recalls is something you can do yourself? That’s right. No need to wait and hear about it from another source. You can find out right away what food item has been recalled, as well as when, and why, and where it was sold. Without a doubt, this is vital information and something that every concerned pet guardian would want to know. As soon as possible. And, before they could give it to their dog or cat.

Pet food sales are halted when the health of companion animals is at risk
Pet food sales are halted when the health of companion animals is at risk

Petful Tracks Pet Food Recalls

So, let me introduce you now to Dave Baker, the creator and publisher of Petful. This is a website where anyone can view the constantly updated lists of recalls for both dog food and cat food. Baker started compiling this highly valuable information some 10 years ago. What’s more, Pet Radio praised his work for being the best, most complete list of its kind online.

“Petful is a place where people can come to get information to give their pets the longest, happiest, healthiest life possible,” says Baker. “No big corporation has its muddy paws on us. We’re one hundred percent independent.” And, despite managing numerous endeavors, he proudly assures readers that all emails about the site’s recall alerts go directly to him. Not only that, he personally responds to each one. “I, and the entire team at Petful, we’re passionate about this,” Baker adds. Well, if that doesn’t inspire confidence in others, I don’t know what does!

What Exactly Is A Pet Food Recall?

Before looking at examples on the lists that track recalls for canine and feline pet food, I’d like to do this. Give an outline of just what’s involved in these kinds of recalls and why they happen.

Firstly, a food item can be taken off the market for a number of reasons. For instance:

  • Errors in formulation that could cause illness.
  • Presence of bacteria or toxic matter that have health consequences.
  • Detection of foreign objects, like plastic, metal or glass, that make the food unsafe to eat.
  • Improper labeling, including warnings about ingredients that can cause allergic reactions.
  • Incorrect packaging and labeling for a specific product.
  • Misleading claims. For example, stating that an ingredient will result in something that hasn’t been scientifically proven.
  • Unsanitary/toxic/hazardous manufacturing environments and procedures.

What Is A Voluntary Recall?

Secondly, we want readers to know who actually instigates a recall.

  • There are voluntary recalls when producers become aware of a problem. Consequently they take the initiative to stop manufacturing, delivering and allowing their food product to be sold. The detection will occur during internal inspections and product testings.
  • In addition, certain federal government institutions have the ability to mandate recalls. They may be either the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Regulation violations are found during an inspection at the food processing facility.

It’s important to point out that the USDA is involved only when a product is categorized as human grade pet food. That means, fit for human consumption. In all other instances, the FDA inspects all products classified as pet feed. 

Keep your dogs and cats safe by tracking pet food recalls as soon as they are announced
Keep your dogs and cats safe by tracking pet food recalls as soon as they are announced

These Pet Food Sales Were Halted

From the lists that track pet food recalls, I have selected three to summarize for you now. Two describe dog food and one deals with cat food. And, two made the lists earlier this year (2020) and one between January and May 2019.

Nature’s Menu Chicken and Quail Dog Food

  • Manufactured by Sunshine Mills Inc.
  • Announced by the FDA on August 24, 2020, for potential salmonella contamination.

Georgia (state) Department of Agriculture initiated the recall after testing a sample bag of the dry food product. Unfortunately, it was positive for salmonella. As a result of the findings, Sunshine Mills issued a voluntary nationwide recall, out of an abundance of caution. Later, the company announced that no other products were affected.  Neither were there any reports of dogs becoming ill after ingesting the food.

Natural Balance Ultra Premium Chicken & Liver Paté Cat Food

  • Manufactured by J.M. Smucker Company.
  • Announced by the FDA on July 3, 2020, for elevated levels of choline chloride, considered dangerous or even fatal if fed to cats.
  • It was distributed to pet stores across the United States and Canada.

By doing a little research on my own, I learned that choline is a necessary nutrient. It impacts liver function, brain development, muscle movement, the nervous system and metabolism. And, it is present in liver, eggs, salmon, broccoli and soybean oil, for example.

Most commercial pet foods contain choline chloride, which is the supplemental form. However, when a manufacturer adds excessive amounts to the feed, it is definitely harmful. Symptoms that may occur range from vomiting and difficulty walking to tremors and cardiac failure. 

The manufacturer admitted that, early on, they had been notified of adverse reactions in pets. Consequently, they suspended the sale of this particular pet food.  They also urged the public to immediately contact a veterinarian if their cat had become ill after eating this product.

Pet food sales are halted when the health of companion animals is at risk

Hill’s Science Diet and Prescription Diet Canned Dog Foods

  • Manufactured by Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc.
  • Announced by the FDA on January 31, 2019, plus updates on March 20 and May 15, for elevated levels of Vitamin D.
  • Multiple flavors were affected and distributed across the United States through retail stores and veterinary clinics.  

This recall only affected canned dog foods, not any dry dog foods or cat foods. 

At the time, the FDA stated that Vitamin D was an essential nutrient. However, it also warned that ingestion of elevated levels could lead to potential health issues.

Vitamin D And Dogs

As in the previous example, I did more research myself on Vitamin D and dogs. Vital information like this will give you a better perspective on the importance that tracking pet food recalls has.

This essential nutrient helps dogs regulate the balance and retention of calcium and phosphorus. It is necessary not only for bone formation but it also plays an important role in heart, muscle and nerve function.

When dogs ingest elevated levels of Vitamin D, they may exhibit symptoms. Some of these include vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.

The fact that Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, not a water-soluble vitamin, is what causes the most serious effect. So when a dog gets too much, the excess is not rapidly excreted in the urine. And, this can lead to kidney failure.

The media often announces alerts when pet food sales are halted and why

To Sum Up

At the time of publishing, the number of 2020 dog food recalls was 8, and 2 for cat food recalls, In 2019, there were 10 for dogs (plus one cautionary letter), and 7 for cats. And in 2018, the totals were 35 for dogs, and 11 for cats. Stats for prior years are also available.

More than 30,000 pet parents have subscribed to Petful recall alerts. It’s a service that’s free and fast, and some notifications arrive even before they are put out by the FDA. Click here to be—and stay—informed. https://www.petful.com/recall-alerts/

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe! 

For an introduction to those who fight fearlessly for healthy pet food, go to https://petpeevesunmasked.com/susan-thixton-exposes-pet-food/

If you’re concerned about the production of mealtime food, take a look at this: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/dry-pet-food-fiction/

Here’s why we think it’s time to ban the manufacture of rawhide bone chews: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/rawhide-bones-safety-warning/

If you want to know how marketing techniques influence choice, go to https://petpeevesunmasked.com/unethical-pet-food-marketing/

Another article related to this topic stresses the importance of meat: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/pet-food-meat-facts/

   

HOME CHECK PETS VITALS

PART 2

Excessive panting that doesn’t subside requires immediate attention Photo courtesy of Picasa
Excessive panting that doesn’t subside requires immediate attention
Photo courtesy of Picasa

Just like a mother monitors her child’s health, dog and cat parents can also learn to check their pet’s vitals at home. Your cat is vomiting. Your dog is panting excessively. And, you’re not sure what’s wrong. Certainly you are concerned and probably thinking, “Will it pass?” “Is it serious?” “Should I take it to the vet?” 

However, before you call the animal hospital, prepare yourself to tell the nurse or doctor what the vital signs are. And, if you are able to do that, it will save time and enable the experts to quickly advise you on what you should do next.

Monitoring Pet Vital Signs

In my most recent blog entitled Three Pet Vital Signs, https://petpeevesunmasked.com/three-pet-vital-signs/, I lay out the American Red Cross norms for measuring pet temperature, pulse and respiration. And, importantly, it shows how the rates vary between dogs and cats. So, if you missed the article, or want to refresh your memory before we move on, please take a look. 

As you will see, this is an introduction to what follows now. Right here is the information that will give you the knowledge to do these basic checks yourself. It’s concise, easy to follow, and will empower you to handle a situation calmly and effectively.

Tips To Always Home Check Pet Vitals

Keep An Eye On Pet Heart And Pulse Rates 

The first option to check your pet’s heart and pulse rates is place your hand on the left side of your pet’s chest, where the heart is located. Time the number of beats for a period of 15 seconds and multiply it by four. That will give you the number of beats per minute (bpm). 

A close up showing where and how to check your pet’s pulse rate

There are times when you may experience difficulty detecting the heart beat this way, but don’t worry. Try checking the pulse instead. You can do this by placing two fingers together on top of the femoral artery. This major artery passes through the groin, in the thigh area where the elbow meets the chest. But, please note that it can be quite difficult to feel a cat’s pulse in this manner.

Knowing how to home check your pet’s vitals is extremely useful
Knowing how to home check your pet’s vitals is extremely useful

Monitoring Pet Breathing Rates At Home

To measure the breathing rate, count the number of times the chest expands in 15 seconds and multiply by four. This will give you the number of respirations per minutes (rpm). You can either watch the chest rise and fall or else feel it take in oxygen by resting your hand on the pet’s chest. Taking a breath should not make any noise and, at the same time, should require hardly any effort.

Detect Abnormal Pet Body Temperature

There are two ways you can check your pet’s temperature. The first is by inserting a thermometer rectally. However, if you or your pet aren’t comfortable with this method, try an ear thermometer. 

Learning how to use a digital rectal thermometer for pets is not complicated
Learning how to use a digital rectal thermometer for pets is not complicated

Rectal Measuring

Ideally, you will be able to count on having another person there to hold your pet and help keep it relaxed while it is either standing or lying down. Use either an old-fashioned glass thermometer or a newer digital kind that is easy to read and beeps when it is ready to be removed.

It’s a good idea to check your pet’s temperature before you call your vet
It’s a good idea to check your pet’s temperature before you call your vet

Lubricate it with a water-based medical lubricant, or else a generic product such as petroleum jelly. Carefully insert it into the rectum—at least 2cm and no more than 1 inch— and leave for about two minutes until you get a good reading. When you remove the thermometer, make sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect it with ethyl alcohol. You could also use a disposable thermometer cover each time, which is very practical.

Ear Measuring

Definitely easier to use and less uncomfortable for your pet is the hand-held digital ear thermometer. The marketing pitch for the one shown in this photo actually focuses on pediatricians and mothers, but I have successfully used it for pets in my care.

You can also monitor your pet’s temperature with a digital ear thermometer
You can also monitor your pet’s temperature with a digital ear thermometer

Firstly, you need to make sure the probe tip and lens are clean and then put on a new disposable lens cover. Push the start button and wait for the ready signal beep. Next, fit the probe tip snugly into the ear canal and release the start button. A long beep will let you know when the measuring process is complete and the result will appear on the display screen. It’s that simple!

To Sum Up

Invest a little time to learn these techniques to monitor your pet’s vital signs at home, and put them into practice periodically. Depending on the circumstances, this knowledge will either help keep your pet well, or stable, or, simply put, out of danger.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

You might also like this. Take a CPR course online and learn how to save your pet’s life: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/learn-pet-cpr-now/

THREE PET VITAL SIGNS

PART 1

Your Pets Depend On You For Knowing This

Whenever you take your dog or cat to the animal clinic, there are three pet vital signs your vet will want to check out first. These are the heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature. 

Even though there are well-established norms, which I will share with you momentarily, what’s “normal” for your particular pet may differ slightly from another. For that reason, it is helpful for a pet parent to establish what’s typical for their dog or cat and use it as a point of reference for potential situations in the future. These could apply when there is an illness or an accident.

Flat-face (brachycephalic) breeds like the English Bulldog are particularly susceptible to overheating, so knowing the three pet vital signs is really important. Photo courtesy of Matitoe
Flat-face (brachycephalic) breeds like the English Bulldog are particularly susceptible to overheating, so knowing the three pet vital signs is really important.
Photo courtesy of Matitoe

Pet Temperature Pulse Respiration (TPR) Norms

In this section you will see the first aid norms that the American Red Cross has published in their guidelines for canines and felines. They make the point that the TPR norms for canines and felines do differ. And, in addition to that, they draw your attention to the fact that rates outside these ranges could signal a medical emergency.

Neither domesticated cats nor feral felines are used to frigid outdoor temperatures, so please don’t let them suffer from the deadly cold. Photo courtesy of Jacob Rush
Neither domesticated cats nor feral felines are used to frigid outdoor temperatures, so please don’t let them suffer from the deadly cold.
Photo courtesy of Jacob Rush

The Three Pet Vital Signs To Watch

Pet Pulse Norms

Normal Heart and Pulse Rates for Dogs

Puppy (less than 1 year old): 

120-160 beats per minute

Small, miniature or toy breed (30 pounds or less): 

100-140 beats per minute 

Medium to large breed (greater than 30 pounds):

60-100 beats per minute

Normal Heart and Pulse Rates for Cats

160-220 beats per minute

Pet Breathing Norms

Normal Breathing Rates for Dogs

10-30 breaths per minute

Up to 200 pants per minute (breathing with its mouth open and tongue out)

Normal Breathing Rates for Cats

20-30 breaths per minute

Pet Temperature Norms

Normal Temperatures for Dogs

A temperature of 100º-102.5ºF is normal

A temperature lower than 100ºF or greater than 104ºF is an emergency

Normal Temperatures for Cats

100º-102.5ºF is normal

A temperature lower than 100ºF or greater than 104ºF is an emergency

To Sum Up

The logical next step dealing with this topic is to explain how you can check your pet’s three vital signs at home. Actually, it’s not as complicated as it may sound. Moreover, it’s well worth investing a little time to learn these techniques and put them into practice periodically. It will give you peace of mind knowing that your pet is well and stable. 

In a few hours from now, the link to Part 2 will go live https://petpeevesunmasked.com/home-check-pets-vitals/. See you all again very soon!

You might also like this. Take a CPR course online and learn how to save your pet’s life: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/learn-pet-cpr-now/

Understanding pet vital signs is really important when dealing with hazards inside the home such as these: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/household-hazards-pets-face

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

DOGS DISCUSS HUMAN MUZZLES

Totally mystified by this curious sight, these two dogs discuss human muzzles and try to figure them out. So, it’s the puppy who starts the conversation by asking, “What in the world is going on?” As you can see, mom simply gives her offspring an abbreviated, no-nonsense answer. However, a fuller explanation would probably go something like this…

Humans have muzzles and dogs have masks, or is it the other way round?
Humans have muzzles and dogs have masks, or is it the other way round?

Mask-Wearing People Confuse Puppy

“Well, first of all, I feel rather bad for our two-legged companions. The thing is, one day they’re told they don’t need to wear these weird things they call masks. Then a few weeks later, someone says they absolutely must put them on to stay safe from dangerous germs. It’s sad, really. That’s why they don’t know if they’re coming or going!

What People Did

“But, the important part I need to share with you, little one, is that they disobeyed orders. Oh, yes. They were told to stay at home in case they caught this horrible virus and spread it around to other humans. Not only here, but everywhere on earth. Just think about that for a moment.”

Eyes And Nose

However, still eager to talk more about muzzles for humans, the brave little dog approaches one of these strange mask-wearing people. “Hey! You look a bit scary. I can only see your eyes. But, I have an awesome nose and I will know right away if I’m going to like you or not. Please tell me, is this the new norm?”

“Yes, it is, little Laz. You look Hungarian, so I’m going to give you this nickname. I hope you don’t mind!

What Doctors Are Doing

“We need to protect ourselves and other people. For now, this is the best we can do. But the doctors are working hard to make a vaccine. You know, like the one the vet gives you to keep you safe from parvo, and rabies, and diseases like that. And then, only then, will you be able to see our faces again, little Laz.”

“Woof! Woof! Thank you, ma’am. I like you. You smell okay and my mom agrees. We have to go now. It’s dinner time. Bye! Stay safe!”

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

KITBULL ANIMATED ANIMAL OSCAR NOMINATION

Kitbull is nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Short Film category
Kitbull is nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Short Film category

It already has 40 million views on YouTube, but do you think Kitbull, the animated animal Oscar nomination, actually has a chance of winning? The fans certainly believe it’s possible. Well, very soon we will know which of the five contenders in the category Best Animated Short Film came out of top. And, in the meantime, millions of us are anxiously watching the countdown to the 2020 Academy Awards ceremony that will take place this coming Sunday.

A single frame from Kitbull, the impactful Oscar contender in the Best Animated Short Film category
A single frame from Kitbull, the impactful Oscar contender in the Best Animated Short Film category

Kitbull Is An Animated Animal Story

This short is very special for a number of reasons. Primarily, it tells the story of a distrustful stray kitten struggling to survive alone. We see a dog (pitbull) suffering at the hands of a sadist. However, their fates take an unexpected turn. Viewers witness an unlikely friendship developing between the two. Then, finally, human compassion shines through. All of this in the space of just nine minutes!

The kitten gets close in an attempt to comfort the injured dog
The kitten gets close in an attempt to comfort the injured dog

Interesting Facts About Kitbull, The Impactful Oscar Contender 

1. Pixar Animation Studios are renowned for their pioneering digital animation. However, for this film, a product of their SparkShorts program, every single frame is hand-drawn and hand-painted.

This artist draws a rough sketch directly onto the screen
This artist draws a rough sketch directly onto the screen

2. Kitbull features 2-D animation instead of the usual 3-D.

In Kitbull, the animated animal Oscar nominated short film, KITten and pitBULL plan their escape
In Kitbull, the animated animal Oscar nominated short film, KITten and pitBULL plan their escape

3. There is sound but not a single spoken word.

In this shot the human who eventually cares for these creatures is barely visible
In this shot the human who eventually cares for these creatures is barely visible

A Voice For The Vulnerable

Through no fault of their own, community cats and kittens, also known as feral cats, are homeless. Nevertheless, they deserve and have the right to live. Rounding them up for slaughter, or poisoning them, are barbaric solutions to prevent population explosion. The Trap/Neuter/Return program is humane and, what’s more, it works. Also, another reason why animal lovers and activists are outraged is because of laws stating that to feed these defenseless creatures is a crime.

As you may or may not know, Pit Bull is not a recognized breed. Now, what  commonly occurs is that any dog with a bulldog- or bull terrier-like head, pure bred or otherwise, is discriminated against and horrendously abused. “Pit Bulls” are exploited to satisfy human greed in the form of dog fighting. It is our duty to report such operations so they can be shut down. Without exception and whenever rehabilitation is possible, these fighting dogs, breeding bitches and bait dogs absolutely deserve a second chance.

Animal Oscar Nominee Kitbull Is A Call To Action

There is no doubt that the purpose behind Kitbull, this impactful Oscar contender, is to create greater awareness of the tragic circumstances that affect the dogs and cats in our very midst. What brings about change. And how everyone can help right these wrongs in our society.

To Sum Up

Kitbull teaches us about selflessness and compassion as well as making a connection and having a relationship. Animal to animal. Between the same kind, or a different species. Animal to human. Human to animal. Enjoy the film! Spread the word!

To continue reading, we’d like to share an article about the first municipality in the world to enact a Bill of Rights for pets https://petpeevesunmasked.com/community-recognizes-animal-rights

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

HOW JUST ADOPTED DOGS REACT

This is how just adopted dogs react when they realize they have a home
The transformation is a joy to see!

From sadness to happiness. From anxiety to confidence. This image shows how just adopted dogs react when they realize their life is going to change. Words are barely necessary because the transformation is plain to see. 

We don’t know for sure why these two sweet souls ended up in a shelter. Had they lived together before? Or did they become bonded when they were put in the same cage because the shelter had run out of space? 

Whatever the circumstances, these homeless dogs realize that adoption is now a done deal. At least, for them.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe! 

KNITTING KITTY CUDDLE BLANKETS

People get it! They understand how stressed homeless pets become. And, that’s precisely why they are knitting kitty cuddle blankets for felines of all ages to use while they wait to get adopted. 

This knitting pattern is easy to follow and will make any kitty feel right at home and very special. Reproduced by permission of Sirdar Spinning Ltd.
This knitting pattern is easy to follow and will make any kitty feel right at home and very special. Reproduced by permission of Sirdar Spinning Ltd.

Did you know that if a cat (or dog) is able to relax and snuggle in something soft and soothing, its anxiety level drops? Well, that’s precisely what happens, and its personality will then start to shine. The benefit is that these pets will attract more attention from potential adopters. Consequently, the animals have a far better chance of transitioning to a loving home.

What To Expect

For this article we go first to a small rescue in Canada and after highlight a much larger organization in England. Then finally we are delighted to share with you a very special knitting pattern. And in addition to that, we’ll also talk about a long established business that’s known the world over for its high quality, innovative yarns.

Feral To Friendly Cat Rescue, Canada

To start off we go to Brantford, Ontario, where Celena Brooks-Ferraro and her team of dedicated volunteers rescue abandoned and lost cats. However, most of their work revolves around the local feral population. And this effort includes making sure that all the roaming cats and kittens benefit from the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program.

A tiny trio snuggles together in a large, handmade kitty cuddle blanket thanks to Feral To Friendly Cat Rescue, Canada
A tiny trio snuggles together in a large, handmade kitty cuddle blanket thanks to
Feral To Friendly Cat Rescue, Canada

Hand Knitted Cat Bedding

When it comes to the feral kittens, foster homes will take them in for socialization and then adopt them out as indoor cats.That is when a local resident in Canada, who posts on social media under the name Five Petal Lane, got involved in this endeavor. 

She realized that she could assist by using her crocheting skills to make bedding that helps fulfill the tiny felines’ comfort needs. Initially the blankets line the crates used to hold the kittens temporarily. Later the bedding is put out in other sleeping areas. That way, the little ones are sure to feel snug and safe all year round. 

Lying on something soft and soothing is restful and comforting, as shown here on Five Petal Lane FB page
Lying on something soft and soothing is restful and comforting, as shown here on Five Petal Lane FB page

On The Other Side Of The Atlantic

As I mentioned before, we’re also paying a visit to England. Now it’s pretty obvious that the title of this article focuses on kitty blankets. However, we thought you’d be interested to hear about two other aspects that are directly related to today’s main topic. 

So, please read on to learn what a shelter and a yarn manufacturer have been doing for quite a while. They care about animal welfare and make sure that knitters have the tools and the opportunity to make lots and lots of kitties happy. And, by the way, they’ve both been household names for around a century and a half! 

This temporary shelter resident is happy to show off the colorful handmade mice donated by caring knitters Photo courtesy of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
This temporary shelter resident is happy to show off the colorful handmade mice donated by caring knitters. Photo courtesy of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Battersea Dogs And Cats Home, England

Just south of the river Thames, not too far from where I grew up, is an institution that few Londoners have not heard of. Established back in 1860, it became a temporary home for lost and starving dogs. 

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is a shelter that cares for over 8,000 animals every year. Of this number, approximately 5,000 are dogs and 3,000 are cats. Importantly, all of them stay here until they are either reunited with their owners or are rehomed.

Knitted toys provide enrichment for the kitties waiting to be claimed by their owners or be rehomed Photo courtesy of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
Knitted toys provide enrichment for the kitties waiting to be claimed by their owners or be rehomed. Photo courtesy of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Some Battersea Stats

  • This organization, which, by the way, is not subsidized by the government, has a staff of around 300, in addition to 1,000 volunteers. 
  • They operate at three different locations, namely, London, Old Windsor, and Brands Hatch. 
  • The average stay for a dog is 36 days, and for a cat it is 27 days.

State Of The Art Cattery

In 2011, and at a cost of £2 million (2.5 million US dollars), Battersea inaugurated its new cattery. And, just what can a cat expect to find? It’s own private room where it is free to roam. A floor-to-ceiling window, heated flooring and full-size door so staff can walk right in. No more staying in a cage. No more being let out and put back in. And, last but by no means least, most of the beds have hand knitted snuggle throws. The whole purpose is to create an environment with the feel of a real home. And now this brings us back to knitting.

These kittens are having a ball playing at the Knitting Kittens Club monthly meeting. Photo courtesy of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
These kittens are having a ball playing at the Knitting Kittens Club monthly meeting. Photo courtesy of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Knitting Kitty Cuddle Blankets At Knitting Kittens Club

Whether you’re a novice knitter or someone with considerable experience, it makes no difference at the Battersea London Cattery. Everyone has a great time at the monthly knitting events, sharing a common interest — to create blankets and toys for the felines. What’s more, the kitties can roam around the same specially designated area. They actually supervise the knitters and make sure they don’t dropped a stitch!

At the three-hour sessions, visitors bring their own wool and needles as well as share patterns, ideas and skills with the other participants. They are free to take their work home for their own pet to enjoy or else donate to the ones awaiting adoption. And, by the way, when a cat or kitten is adopted, it can take the hand knitted cat bedding to the new home. 

What a great way to spend an evening. Knit for a while. Take a break to play with a kitty. Pick up the needles again. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, those with whiskers and those without!

You can click here for more on the Kittens Club https://www.battersea.org.uk/support-us/events/knitting-kittens-club

Two patterns for knitting kitty cuddle blankets in one leaflet. Reproduced by permission of Sirdar Spinning Ltd.
Two patterns for knitting kitty cuddle blankets in one leaflet. Reproduced by permission of Sirdar Spinning Ltd.

The Sirdar Story

When I was growing up, Sirdar was a household name, that is, if anyone in your family knew how to knit. So, when I was looking online for a knitting pattern that could help illustrate this story, I was delighted to find a great example.

But before you get out the needles, let me tell you a little about this great company founded in West Yorkshire, in the north of England. And, for those of you who may not know this, it’s a region renowned for raising sheep for wool, and spinning and weaving.

Known today as Sirdar Spinning Ltd, the company started off as Messrs Harrap Bros. Ltd in 1880 and was founded by siblings Tom and Henry. Tom’s son Fred took over in 1934 at a time when the company was selling its hand-knitting yarns to independent wool shops. 

Then, beginning in the 1960s and throughout the following three decades, Fred’s daughter, Jean Tyrell, grew the company (then Sirdar) by adding patterns to its product line. Notably, she received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her contribution to the industry. 

Three years before she passed away in 2010, three of the company’s directors took over operations. During that time the expansion continued and the range of yarns and patterns became available all over the world. 

In 2017, Sirdar became a part of DMC which is the largest needle-craft group of companies in the world. And thanks to the fashion-forward designs and yarns they launch each season, this English brand continues to maintain its position as a market leader.

For a glimpse at the variety of this brand’s yarns and patterns, click here: https://www.yarn.com/categories/sirdar-yarn and https://www.yarn.com/categories/sirdar-patterns

How To Knit the Fish Pattern Blanket and Garter Stitch Pattern Blanket

Here are the two patterns you’ve all been waiting for! And, when your work is complete, please take a photo of it being used so we can publish it here for everyone to see. Good luck and have fun knitting for the cats and kittens.

Cat blankets pattern page 1, what to know before you get started. Reproduced by permission of Sirdar Spinning Ltd.
Cat blankets pattern page 1, what to know before you get started.
Reproduced by permission of Sirdar Spinning Ltd.
Knitting pattern page 2, Fish Pattern Blanket, part 1. Reproduced by permission of Sirdar Spinning Ltd.
Knitting pattern page 2, Fish Pattern Blanket, part 1.
Reproduced by permission of Sirdar Spinning Ltd.
Knitting pattern page 3, Fish Pattern Blanket, part 2. Reproduced by permission of Sirdar Spinning Ltd.
Knitting pattern page 3, Fish Pattern Blanket, part 2.
Reproduced by permission of Sirdar Spinning Ltd.
Knitting pattern page 4, Garter Stitch Pattern Blanket, plus footnotes. Reproduced by permission of Sirdar Spinning Ltd.
Knitting pattern page 4, Garter Stitch Pattern Blanket, plus footnotes.
Reproduced by permission of Sirdar Spinning Ltd.

To Sum Up

Doing whatever you can to help the less fortunate dogs and cats in your neighborhood is a wonderful thing. And, because the interest in making bedding and toys for them is growing, we will be publishing more articles like this soon. So, please stay in touch.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

You’ll definitely want to click on this link to one of our most widely-viewed articles. Who’d have imagined how unwanted armchairs could end up helping dogs and cats get adopted? https://petpeevesunmasked.com/shelter-dogs-love-their-armchairs/

FELINE HERO MEETS JACKSON GALAXY

Tara first gains fame on YouTube. But after this feline hero meets Jackson Galaxy, she becomes even more of a celebrity. Here’s why.

Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy was determined to visit cat hero Tara and her human family
Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy was determined to visit cat hero Tara and her human family

Pet Parents Learn About Animal Heroism

If you’ve never seen a cat bodyslam a dog that is harming a child, you’re about to. This is an incident I wrote about last year but it actually occurred in May of 2014, several years before I even thought about launching a blog site. Although the main purpose of this endeavor is to help people caring for dogs and cats become the best pet parent possible, the range of topics has widened. I decided to introduce a little humor, as well as talk about working dogs and animal heroism. 

Now, when it comes to saving human lives, we usually think of dog heroes. However, what totally surprised me was discovering the stories of cats and their amazing heroic actions. And this brings me back to the story at hand.

A Timeline Of Tara’s Counterattack 

But before I show you the video of when Jackson Galaxy visits cat hero Tara, let me fill you in briefly about what Tara did exactly.

Four-year old Jeremy Triantafilo was happily riding his bike in the driveway of his home in Bakersfield, CA. A neighbor’s dog suddenly appears and is seen running up from behind the boy. It bites him in the leg and starts to pull him backwards. 

Adopted, indoor/outdoor tabby cat Tara hears the commotion and races into action. At full speed she runs towards the much larger canine and bodyslams it. Tara chases the dog away. Jeremy’s mother rushes outside to rescue her son. The little boy requires emergency medical attention. He needs 10 stitches to his left calf. But let’s remember one thing; the outcome could have been much worse.

For the very first time, a Los Angeles shelter’s Hero Dog award went to a cat!
For the very first time, a Los Angeles shelter’s Hero Dog award went to a cat!

Tara’s YouTube Sensation

As the above incident unfolded, it was all captured on the home surveillance video. Two days later, Jeremy’s dad decided to post it on YouTube and it was seen by viewers across the globe. In fact, it became a viral phenomenon for being the first video in YouTube history to reach 20 million views in just five days!

Renowned cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy was one of those viewers and saw the video multiple times. I am guessing he was so impressed by Tara’s split-second reaction and determination, that he decided he had to meet her. It was just a question of how to fit the trip into his exceedingly busy schedule. Finally he was able to work something out so that he and his crew could go to southern California.

Cat Hero Tara Meets Jackson Galaxy

So, eventually, three years later, Tara and Jackson meet and together they film a segment for the phenomenally famous television show on Animal Planet. Of course, Tara was not included in the behavior rehabilitation series called My Cat From Hell. Rather she now forms part of an exclusive roster of animal heroes in the section entitled My Cat From Heaven. It, too, is available on YouTube and here it is for all to see. Enjoy!

Jackson Galaxy went to California to film feline hero Tara so she could appear on his acclaimed Animal Planet television show in the segment “My Cat From Heaven”

Another Must-Read Article About Tara

Click here for the full story about Tara. It includes her appearance on The Today Show and some of the awards she has received for her bravery http://petpeevesunmasked.com/cat-hero-attacks-dog-attacking-boy/

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe! 

HOW SUSAN THIXTON EXPOSES PET FOOD

Since 2006 she is on a mission. Susan Thixton exposes pet food industry injustice and is a fierce advocate for all pet food consumers. That was the year she launched her website TruthAboutPetFood.com. And, in order to stay up-to-date on all aspects of this sector and keep us informed, she regularly attends industry seminars across the USA.

Susan Thixton exposes pet food industry injustice by talking to consumers across the USA
Susan Thixton exposes pet food industry injustice by talking to consumers across the USA

From A Personal Mission

When I met her recently, I asked why she is such a fighter. This was her answer. “When my Rottweiler, Sam, died from bone cancer in 1991, my vet Dr. Bruce Catlett said that the probable cause was her food.” He had mentioned the chemical preservatives in the food, principally ethoxyquin. 

“Sam and I had a mutual worship, we were best friends,” added Thixton. “One of those extra special dogs that could see into your soul.”

To A National Platform

When Thixton speaks, people listen. That’s because she is a pet food advocate who demands the truth. While traveling across the country she is educating pet guardians. The wide range of topics she covers includes harmful ingredients, production failures, manufacturer coverups, associations interference and government indifference.

High Profile Expo Participants

So, why do people listen to her? Because she has earned the respect of her peers. For example, she’s speaking at the next HealthyDogExpo to be held in Albany, N.Y. on April 4, 2020. Susan Thixton and others like her are determined to empower pet food consumers. By fighting for industry transparency and putting an end to negligence and deception, more companion animals will stay healthier longer. That is their goal.

She will be participating at this natural dog health education event together with well-known personalities such as:

  • Dr. Karen Becker, holistic veterinarian, the first vet in the world to give a TEDx talk on species appropriate nutrition 
  • Rodney Habib, film maker, award-winning blogger, founder of Planet Paws, the most followed pet health page on Facebook 
  • Dr. Kendra Pope, veterinary oncologist with extensive training in holistic modalities, and
  • Susan Garrett, world class trainer and agility competitor, and pioneer of online dog training

For more details, go to HealthyDogExpo.com 

The health risks caused by our pets ingesting contaminated food are real, and they are rampant
The health risks caused by our pets ingesting contaminated food are real,
and they are rampant

Susan Thixton Is Exposing Pet Food Contamination

Pet food consumers are worried, and they certainly have every reason to be. When our companion canines and felines ingest contaminated food —dry, canned, raw and treats — the health risks are real. And, sadly, they are also rampant. 

It’s an ongoing discussion I will be presenting to you in the coming weeks and months. For now, however, here are some snippets that will make you reflect and want to learn more. Because, if I haven’t already got your attention, that’s all about to change.

Food Or Feed?

All states in the USA regulate pet food as feed, yet Federal law says it’s food. For it to be called food, however, it must be human grade food made under USDA inspection.

Contaminated Grains

How do contaminated grains find their way into pet food? Quite simple. They can lie in a mound in an open field for three weeks, exposed to the weather, birds and animals.

Consumers Group Files Citizen Petition

The Association for Truth in Pet Food (ATPF) has filed a Citizen Petition in the regulatory system. It has requested that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stop allowing illegal ingredients in pet food.

This is how far 89 million cans of pet food contaminated with Pentobarbital would stretch
This is how far 89 million cans of pet food contaminated with Pentobarbital would stretch

Euthanasia Drug

In 2017 and 2018, the recalls of canned pet food that contained the euthanizing drug Pentobarbital amounted to more than 30 million pounds. Shockingly, this means that the ingredients came from animals that had not been slaughtered.

To Sum Up

Due to the fact that pet food is such a hot topic, please look out for many more articles like this on a regular basis. That way you can stay informed with news you can trust. 

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

If you want fast, accurate details on the latest recalls of pet food, you need to check this out: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/tracking-pet-food-recalls/

If you want to know how marketing is used to influence choice, go to https://petpeevesunmasked.com/unethical-pet-food-marketing/