Pet Advice, Pet News and Information

Saving One Big Cat at a Time
Stacey Balko - Tampa Bay Photography Examiner

Animal abuse is a big problem, not just for dogs, cats or even horses. Big cats are also abused, there are people that purchase these animals thinking they can handle them, but find out down the road that they are too much to handle and there for they let them live in horrible condition, whether it’s by physical abuse or lack of nutrition, but there is a place in Tampa, FL, that is helping these big cats back to a road of recovery. Big Cat Rescue has the world’s largest and most diverse collection of exotic cats.

Big Cat Rescue is a 45 acre sanctuary, it is home to 200 animals with more than 100 big cats and 20 species and sub species of wild cats. An example of what you can see: Tigers, Snow Leopards, Ocelots, Geoffray Cats, Jungle Cats, Bobcats, Cougars, Lynx, Servals, Caracals, Lions and more! You are welcome to bring a camera or video camera to the sanctuary.

There are a few different tours that you can pick from. Day tours are $25 and last for one and half hours. This is a guided walking tour. The guides will tell you about each cat and their personal story. No children under 10 years old are allowed on this tour.

Kids tours are $15 that last for an hour. Children of all ages and their parents can get a close-up and learn about the exotic cats and other animals. These tours are geared towards children 10 and under and take place on Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. only. (Price for adults is $25).

Feed the big cats is $50 and reservations are required. You can experience the rare chance to view keepers as they feed some of the big cats.

Night Tour is $50 give visitors the rare chance to witness the nocturnal behavior of wild cats. No children under 10.

Big cat keeper tour is $100 and reservations are required. With this tour you get a behind the scenes adventure into the world of the big cats. You get to observe operant training sessions and make special enrichment toys for the cats and then get to watch the cats interact with the toys as the keepers hand them out.

Private tours are also available. Hours and pricing are subject to change. Hours are Monday through Friday 9 am and 3 pm, Saturday 9:30 am, 11:30 am and 1:30 pm, Saturday 9:000 am kids under 10 years old tour. All other special tours and program are available by confirmed appointment only. Please call a week in advance for reservations at 813-426-5948. Day tours do not require an appointment. Big Cat Rescue is located at 12802 Easy Street, Tampa, FL 33625 or email for more information at

Have any comments, feel free to contact me at, thanks for reading and go ut there and capture a moment.

Poor Economy Causing Pets Stress
Xan Rubey - Boulder Pets Examiner

Dogs, cats, birds, even mice are feeling the pressures of the worst recession in seven decades. Our pets are extremely sensitive to our moods and tend to take on our feelings as their own. If we're stressed, they're stressed. And thanks to the economy, most Americans are pretty freakin' stressed right now.

Animals experience the effects of stress much like we do. Their bodies release adrenaline and cortisol - two hormones which speed up the heart rate and suppress the immune system. Stress also reduces libido and reproductive hormone levels, ultimately increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Your pet may show stress by peeing/pooping in inappropriate places, becoming overly aggressive, acting lethargic and depressed or he may suddenly be a spaz, overreacting to every little thing.

In dogs, stress may be exhibited in overeating, appetite loss, poor concentration, forgetting what he has learned, incessant noisemaking like barking or whining, and destroying objects.

For cats, stress may make them more clingy, they may rub the furniture or their owners more frequently. Chronic stress causes many cats to increase their marking behaviour dramatically so you'll see scratching, spraying urine, and middening (deliberately depositing faeces somewhere noticeable).

Birds show stress by standing very tall and skinny on his perch or eating less than he normally would or in extreme cases, by fluttering around madly in their cages for no apparent reason.

Fortunately, animals can also find relief from stress in the same ways we do. Regular, moderate exercise like walking is very helpful for both pets and humans. Walking can reduce the buildup of stress hormones in as little as 15-30 minutes. Playing a chasing game with your cat, with a laser light or a string toy, gives quick relief. With birds it's generally best to remove whatever is stressing them, so if that's you - get out. Again, go for a walk.

Getting plenty of rest and following a healthy diet are also great stress-relievers for you and therefore, the pets around you. Try to avoid diversions like fatty foods, alcohol, bad TV, all those vices we slip into when we're frazzled and need a quick release. They may provide a temporary respite for you but not your pet, so try for Fido and Fluffy's sake to stick to healthier choices. The stress you relieve may be more than your own!

For more info: Live Science has more detail on pet stress. Also see these articles: Cats and Stress by the Feline Advisory Board and Recognizing Stress in Dogs at ezine articles.

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What's Really on Their Doggie Minds
by Jaimie Julia Winters -

Good digs, good chew toys, good loving

Gus is a well-adjusted English Bulldog who would do well as a therapy dog. Bert, a Silky Terrier, on the other hand, was stripped of his "puppydom" by his first owners and should have a daily dose of Star of Bethlehem and Chestnut Bud to relieve stress.

These are just some of the diagnoses set forth by Catherine Ferguson, Ph.D. and pet psychic. Ferguson held court last week at Shaggy Chic dog salon in Rutherford as about 30 pet owners shelled out $25 for 15 minutes to find out what's really on their pet's mind. In cases where pet parents are attuned to their pets, the role of a pet psychic is to give a second opinion, or neutral opinion of the pet's psyche. Those in attendance said they wanted to discover how their pet felt about their relationship or how to deal with current issues.

Gus's owners were happy with their reading and left feeling they were doing well with Gus.

"Life is a ball for Gus. I am seeing him with frogs, he dreams of them and the way they jump. He's a big love," says Ferguson, who recommended that Gus do therapy with senior citizens or sick children.

When there is unacceptable behavior, she may find a possible deep-rooted cause and suggest avenues of correction, says Ferguson.

In Bert's case, his parents were saddened to hear that Bert's sometimes unpredictable behavior, especially over food, was due to the stress left over from his days with another family, who although did not abuse him, didn't give him the attention he craved. But his parents were happy to hear he was adjusting well to a home where he was loved and played with. Since animals tend to adapt to and try to accommodate homo sapiens, most thoughts about their environments are positive. And since they live in the present moment, they do not dwell on the past, Ferguson says.

"You need to tell him every day that he is wanted and loved," Ferguson says to his owner. "As for your rabbit, he tells Bert that your home is a good one. But Bert spent his golden years not getting much attention."

Bert's owners left with a list of herbal tinctures that are supposed to ease his stress, and agreed with the fact Bert's first owners didn't have the time to devote to him.

It was Ferguson's love of her own pets that led her to "hearing" pets. Already a Reiki consultant, she wanted to "hear" what her pets were thinking. She understands people are skeptical, but says her communication skills grow with every reading. Many pet parents in attendance at Shaggy Chic agreed.

Daphne's parents said Ferguson described the place where they walk every night: a cemetery. Ferguson warned that there was drop-off that the Labrador Retriever should be steered clear of. Daphne's parent was happy for the warning.

"The more I do the readings the more I see how well some pet owners (I would prefer to call you "pet parents") understand their companions' feelings," she says.

So what's really on the minds of our four-footed friends?

"A large part of the information my four-footed and feathered clients relay to me is mundane. Birds may tell me they love the view from their window. Dogs convey how much fun they have digging in their yards," says Ferguson.

Her message to pet parents is simple: we too can communicate with our pets. And the Golden Rule of treating others as you would have them treat you applies to all species, not just homo sapiens.

"Communication is a two-way street. We can't simply issue orders. We have to listen to what the other party has to say. Would you want to have a conversation with someone who talked at you and ignored your ideas?" Ferguson says. "There is a bonus for listening. We are richly rewarded for listening to our animal friends. Some may tell us to go to bed early when we're not smart enough to keep from burning our candles at both ends. Others keep us from barging out into the street when they sense a car is coming. Still others warn us to be leery of apparently wholesome people who are masking a dark side."

In other words, dogs are truly man's best friends, especially if we really listen.

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Dandy Snacks for Your Small Pet
Phyllis O'Beollain - Cleveland Small Pets Examiner

You want croutons with that?

Spring is here, and with it, all sorts of delicious FREE things to feed your fur bearing small pets. Even the non-gardeners among you no doubt have a fine crop of dandelions springing up in your yard. (A word of caution: ONLY greens grown in pesticide free conditions may be used. Small pets are extremely sensitive to chemicals and even a very minute amount may be toxic). For the same reason, no greens from along roadways or driveways should be used.

Gathering dandelion greens is a great job for small children, who will be thrilled to be “picking flowers (and leaves) for the pets. Second word of caution: examine the greens to ensure that only dandelions have been gathered – many other spring plants and flowers are poisonous to domestic rabbits and other small creatures. Do not judge a plant to be safe based on what wild rabbits, chipmunks, etc are eating.

Radishes: easy to grow, great entertainment value for children. Small furry pets LOVE the greens (and some love the smaller radishes as well). Garlic greens are another easy to grow treat, although it will give your pet garlic breath. Counteract this with a little homegrown mint! Basil and oregano are other popular herbs, and rabbits will happily munch on marigolds as well. Small pets’ diets should include regular rations of greens, and growing your own will provide fun for the family, free greens for your pet, and a great excuse to spend more time outdoors.

Completing the circle, bunny pellets (um, not the kind you buy in the store) are a terrific source of nitrogen and can be dug into the soil directly or added to a compost heap. As a bunny is easily trained to a litter pan, the soiled wood pellets or shredded newspapers and bunny pellets can be emptied right onto the compost heap.

Few things are cuter than a hamster holding a radish snack or a rabbit with a golden dandelion flower hanging from its mouth. Nutrition for your pets, and a daily dose of cuteness for you.

Taking Care Of Your Pet In Tough Economic Times

(NAPSI)-There are ways for people to keep the recession from reaching all the way to the doghouse and affecting their pets.

Still, stories of pet owners skipping trips to the vet to save money have become common, with one industry survey showing veterinarians are seeing 10 fewer patients a week than in the past. Experts caution, however, that cutting back on veterinary visits, especially those of a preventive nature, may put an animal's health at risk and end up costing pet owners more down the road.

"Eliminating preventive examinations could result in undetected illnesses, increasing the likelihood that by the time a pet owner observes a problem, the treatment required may be more involved and considerably costlier," says Dr. Carol McConnell, chief veterinary medical officer for VPI Pet Insurance.

Rising Costs

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) reported that the highest-priced single class of expenditures on pets was surgical visits, averaging $453 for dogs and $363 for cats. And if you're holding out for prices to drop before you take your animal in for a procedure, you're likely in for a long wait.

"Veterinary costs generally don't decrease in a down economy," says Dr. McConnell. "The sophisticated diagnostic and treatment options for pets do come with a price tag, and most pet owners don't want their pets to suffer when the necessary monies just aren't there."

She adds that an effective way for people to remain diligent about their pet's health care is to be financially safeguarded. Indeed, pet health insurance policies are gradually becoming more popular with pet owners looking for third-party pay assistance. Medical plans for dogs typically cost $30 per month, and some providers offer add-ons for the ever-important routine care.

Pet Health Insurance 101

Pet health insurance follows an indemnity model, in which policyholders are reimbursed a percentage of the eligible costs they incur during a veterinary hospital visit. The nation's leading pet health insurer pays medical claims according to a benefit schedule, a list composed of eligible conditions and their maximum annual reimbursement amounts, so that policyholders know exactly what is covered and what is not. Upon enrolling in pet insurance, policyholders are able to visit any licensed veterinarian in the world.

Pet insurance monthly premium pricing is typically determined by species, age of pet, size of a pet, state of residence, deductible chosen, and the plan selected.

Wellness plans, a popular option for pet owners who want help paying for routine exams, vaccines and other preventive procedures, are less than $25 a month, depending on plan choice.

Planning Ahead

Considering adult pets eventually fall prey to disease and younger pets are prone to accidents and injuries, Dr. McConnell says pet health insurance makes sense for animals of any age. Kevin Koritza of Colorado shelled out about $2,500 when his two-year-old Labrador Becca ingested a sock, causing serious intestinal blockage. Becca was insured, which enabled Koritza to recover almost half of what he spent on an ultrasound and surgery. Other high-ticket claims seen by pet insurers include those for bloat, cancer and broken limbs.

"It's a shame that people feeling the brunt of the economy might consider euthanizing their pet for an unexpected injury if treatment costs exceed their means," says Dr. McConnell. "Putting a financial safeguard into place helps avoid making such heartbreaking decisions."

To learn more about pet health insurance, visit

Pet health insurance could help make your four-footed friend's medical costs more affordable.

Dogue De Bordeaux - A Fighting Family Pet
By Alex De La Cruz

The name sounds like French because it is French - Dogue, when translated into English means can mean "masculine" or "mastiff". Bordeaux is a place in France, some say to be a port city there or something. So when combined together, the names means "masculine of Bordeaux" or "mastiff of Bordeaux". But I'd rather go with the latter because it sounds more appropriate. The Dogue de Bordeaux is a large and muscular dog, which is quite obvious according to the English translation of its name. This pooch stands out with many wrinkles, and an expression on its face that seems kinda "negative".

The neck of it is quite large and strong, the same goes for its legs and paws, which also are big. Like the few dog breeds out there, it has been used for many purposes demanding great physical strength, agility, stamina, and courage. Back in the early days of France, they took advantage of its fearlessness and power by placing it in underground fighting pits where they would fight with other Dogue de Bordeaux dogs, and other tough and large dog breeds. After they got bored with watching pooches fight to death or leaving severely injured, they mixed things up with the addition of other ferocious and equally tough (maybe tougher) beasts such as the wild boar and even a bear! That was insane and I've no idea what was going through their minds at the time, but at least the activity of such inhumane things have been minimized.

Aside from fighting in the pits, the Dogue de Bordeaux was also used for hunting in the forests. Here they were made to pick up scent trails, follow it to the end, and tackle the prey long enough for the hunter to put a bullet in it, or till its dead - either way works. It wasn't that easy of a task since the game were the exact same added beasts to the pits, the wild boar and bear. Farmers also used the Dogue de Bordeaux as a flock guardian, where it was made to keep a look out for wild predators, and if necessary defend the herd from all potential threats.

So as you've noticed this breed has been used for many tough-guy tasks, but what about serving as a family pet? That is very possible - the Dogue de Bordeaux happens to be extremely affectionate and protective with its human owners. Getting one would be best done as a puppy, so it'll be able to grow with you and become even more loving. Socialization does wonders for its dog behavior, as well as the use of the correct dog training methods. One downside of it is that it has the potential to drool a lot, so have a mop nearby for cleaning up the mess it leaves behind.

You'd think that such a big and brave pet would do fine sleeping outside, but they won't. You may keep it outdoors during the day, but it'll need to spend the night or at least a lot of time indoors during the night.

The author of this article, Alex De La Cruz, is a Dog Expert who has been successful for many years. Because most people think that Arthritis is a humans-only disease Alex now informs dog owners with his Ebook on how to discover this disease and let their dogs live as pain-free as possible.

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Aquarium Care - The Nitrogen Cycle
By David Yearwood

The nitrogen cycle is an extremely important process for starting as well as maintaining key biological functions in your tank. This allows for the proliferation of 'beneficial bacteria' in the aquarium and in the filter media. These microbes first convert ammonia to nitrite and then again from nitrite to nitrates. Don't worry if you are not that chemically-inclined, as this article will explain these processes. It is essential to understand this if you want to be successful in keeping fish.

Briefly explained, here are the 3 main elements that affect the health of your tank and its inhabitants.

Ammonia - Harmful to all creatures. It is produced in the tank by fish waste and uneaten food.

Nitrite - Developed by bacteria while breaking down (oxidizing) ammonia. Although the process essentially eliminates ammonia, Nitrite is still harmful to the creatures in your tank.

Nitrate - This is another type of bacteria that follows in the next stage. Although not as harmful as nitrites or ammonia, nitrates can still, in large amounts, have noxious effects toward fish. However, this compound is actually beneficial to live aquarium plants, as it serves as fertilizer, but still needs to be kept in controlled levels.

Now, there are two ways to get the nitrogen cycle established, with or without fish. Most purists will tell you that starting it with fish is ill-advised. Many fish are unable to survive this beginning stage of cycling, as they are exposed to high levels of ammonia and nitrites. They may become stressed, diseased, and eventually end up dying.

There are certain species however that has proven able to endure the initial cycling. Danios or Barbs for freshwater and Damselfish for saltwater, would be good examples. Although not always guaranteed, this method is one of the quicker ways to get your tank's nitrogen cycle going.

Ultimately, having some initial patience will result in a more stable system, and in the long run will prove better for your live stock' health. This process may take anywhere from 1-2 weeks to 1-2 months. Here are some ways to cycle your tank without fish.

1. Drop a small piece of raw fish or shrimp in your tank. As it decomposes, it will release ammonia - starting the cycle.

2. Use 100% ammonia. This method requires a bit of 'keeping track.' Utilizing a dropper, add about 5-7 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of water. Use a test kit to measure your ammonia levels. This process may be repeated daily or until you start to get nitrite measurements with your test kit. Once your nitrite is established, reduce the ammonia dosage by half until you get sufficient nitrite readings. After this, do a 30% water change, and your tank will be good to go.

3. Use liquid "solutions" that have beneficial bacteria. Products like 'Colonize' or 'Biospira' are available at reputable fish stores. Or use gravel/filter media from an established tank. These methods are a little more costly, but are the quickest

4. For saltwater tanks, use live rock. These should be available at your local fish store. This is widely accepted as one of the best ways to establish a biological filtration system in your saltwater tank. Live rock has a "coating" of organisms that are naturally present in coral reefs.

Once the cycle has started only add one or two fish at a time. Wait a couple of weeks before adding more fish. This will give your tank the time it needs to catch up with the increased bio-load.

Aquarium Care and Setups

For more information on a variety of set-ups please go to Aquarium Care

Or visit us at and get a free copy of the Complete Aquarium Guide

This article may be freely distributed without modification and provided that the copyright notice and any author's information remain intact.

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