FCVC Blog - We Talk Pets

Keeping pet owners in the know

9 Most Common Summer Pet Dangers

At FCVC we know that summer is a great time to get out and enjoy the wonderful weather and mingle with family and friends. In turn, it can also be a season of dangers for your pets. This article highlights some of the most prevalent. (Not so common: One person online said their dog ate the citronella candles!)

Summer has long been a time for vacations, cookouts and pool parties. When the temperature heats up, the dangers to pets increase, too. To keep your dog, cat and other furry friends safe, make sure you are prepared.

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Exploring the Colorado Trails with Fido

What better way to see Colorado and get you and your best dog pal some exercise? Colorado has an abundance of dog friendly trails that you can hike together. A new resource called AllTrails.com lets you know if the trails are dog friendly (usually on a leash).
For example you can go to Horsetooth Falls on the Horsetooth Rock Trail. Horsetooth Rock is viewable from the edge of Fort Collins). A description of the trailis listed:

Horsetooth Falls and Horsetooth Rock Trail is a 5.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Fort Collins, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

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When Its Too Hot For Your Pet

Check out tips for dealing with the heat for your pets and the infographic from the ASPCA site that we found helpful:

We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger. To prevent your pet from overheating, take these simple precautions provided by ASPCA experts:

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Spotting Hip Dysplasia in Canines

Hip dysplasia is one of the most common skeletal disorders seen in dogs. The condition is characterized by a malformation of the coxofemoral (hip) joint.

Instead of the normal tight fit between the acetabulum (cup or socket) and femoral head (ball), animals with this condition suffer from a laxity within the joint. The malformation is a result of both genetic and environmental factors.

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What to Do When Your Dog Hates the Rain

We’ve all been there—shivering in the relative shelter of the porch as we attempt to convince our dogs to get out there and do their business in the pouring rain. There is no more worthy adversary than a dog who hates to get wet.

“Dogs probably don’t like going out in the rain for the same reason we don’t—it is just unpleasant,” says Dr. Bonnie Beaver, Professor at Texas A&M University. “We have the advantage of being able to use umbrellas and raincoats, especially to keep rain from hitting our face. Dogs don’t have that ability.”

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Pets Need Dental Care, Too!

Close your eyes and run your tongue against your teeth. Now imagine never brushing your teeth and having that same experience. It’s no wonder so many of our dogs have “Dog Breath”.
Regular dental care is an important part of preventative health care for your pet. When plaque and tartar are allowed to build up on your pet’s teeth, gum disease erodes the roots of the teeth causing tooth loss.
In addition, what many people don’t realize, is that every time your pet chews they are showering their bloodstream with harmful, even potentially life threatening bacteria.

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Sunburn is a Risk For Our Pets

The temps are roasting hot! Let’s make sure it isn’t us and our pets that are roasting!

Humans are not the only ones who need to monitor their exposure to UV rays: animals are at risk too.
Human or animal skin with little or no pigmentation is very sensitive to the sun in general.

Dogs and cats with white or thin coats are at particular risk, as are animals with very closely sheared fur or with certain pre-existing conditions. Hairless pets or pets with very short or thin fur can also be vulnerable.

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Cat Behavior Problems & Medications – Part 2

We continue our blog post from part 1 on cat behavior problems and the use of medications for treating them…
Medicines for Treating Ongoing Behavior Problems

Behavior problems that involve day-to-day household issues, such as problems between multiple cats within a household, or ongoing problems, such as excessive grooming, are best treated with medicines that are given long term, such as TCAs, MAOIs and SSRIs.

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Cat Behavior Problems & Medications – Part 1

Cats are considered perfect pets by many people because they’re relatively self-sufficient. If we provide a few basics-like a clean litter box, fresh water and access to nutritious food-they share our lives without demanding constant care. However, this same benefit can sometimes create problems when things go awry. When a cat develops a behavior problem, pet parents are often at a loss as to how to solve it.

As with dogs, many behavior problems in cats can be resolved with a change in management of your pet or your pet’s environment.

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Rescuing Donkeys: Longhopes Donkey Shelter & Adoptions

In our previous blog post we told you a little about how the Longhopes Shelter does donkey rescues and adoptions. In this post you can find out ways to be a part of the rescue shelter efforts.

There are many easy ways you can help the Longhopes Donkey Shelter!

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Rescued by Longhopes Donkey Shelter and Adoptions

FCVC does not provide animal services for donkeys or horses. However, as a veterinarian can recommend the Longhopes Donkey Shelter as a wonderful rescue facility that takes care of their animals and as a place to adopt, sponsor, donate or volunteer.

Recently Dr. Mahoney adopted two rescue donkeys from the Longhopes Donkey Shelter. Their pictures are here on the left.

After viewing the facility, Dr. Mahoney said, “The facility is wonderful. You can see the animals are well taken care of, and that they love their surroundings.”

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Aging Cat Behavior Changes

As they age, cats often suffer a decline in functioning, including their cognitive functioning. It’s estimated that cognitive decline-referred to as feline cognitive dysfunction, or FCD-affects more than 55% of cats aged 11 to 15 years and more than 80% of cats aged 16 to 20 years. Memory, ability to learn, awareness, and sight and hearing perception can all deteriorate in cats affected with FCD. This deterioration can cause disturbances in sleeping patterns, disorientation or reduced activity. It can make cats forget previously learned habits they once knew well, such as the location of the litter box or their food bowls. It can increase their anxiety and tendency to react aggressively. It can also change their social relationships with you and with other pets in your home. Understanding the changes your cat is undergoing can help you compassionately and effectively deal with behavior problems that may arise in her senior years.

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Crazy Cat Cravings

Some cat cravings are easy to understand: Cream, catnip, mice.But plastic bags, houseplants, wool, paper, rubber bands? Why would a cat eat those?
Strange Things Cats Eat

The urge to eat nonfood items — called pica — can be pretty common in cats.

Many cats will nurse on wool, says Arnold Plotnick, DVM, a veterinary internist and feline specialist in New York. Oriental cats “are predisposed to that,” he says.

That habit also may appear in cats that were weaned too early. The younger a cat is weaned, the stronger its drive to nurse and the more likely the cat is to suck on wool — or its owner’s arms, earlobes, or hair. Although some cats may only suck on such fuzzy items as wool, fleece, and stuffed animals, others progress to eating these fabrics.

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Cat Salad

Do Cats Need Grass?

Certainly those of us with houseplants and cats know our feline companions can do a good deal of damage snacking in the windowsill garden. My beloved cat, Symba, ascribed to the Morticia Addams school of floral design when it came to roses. He would gently behead every flower until the vase contained only stems and the floor below was littered with blossoms.

Whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, one thing is for certain: your feline friend has probably nibbled on grass on more than one occasion. While it might seem like strange behavior — especially when your cat throws up afterwards — there’s really nothing to worry about. Not only is there no evidence to suggest that grass will harm your cat, but many experts theorize munching on those long green blades can be beneficial for your cat.

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The Cats Tail

While dogs may wag their tails furiously as a sign of greeting and excitement, cats have more nuanced—but no less expressive—body language. Unlike their canine counterparts, felines have more complicated gestures, and oftentimes pet parents find it difficult to decode their cats’ feelings. In particular, many pet parents may speculate about the meanings of a cat’s tail wags.

“Cats have very expressive tails, so tail position and movement can tell us a number of things,” said Dr. Eloise Bright, a veterinarian based in North Ryde, Australia. Of course, tail movements are only one piece of the body-language puzzle. Other important physical signs to note include everything from posture and facial expressions to the position of the ears and tail.

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Why Do Cats Purr ?

Your cat’s purr can mean many different things. Find out what she’s trying to tell you.

The purring cat. It may well be considered the epitome of contentment. But there’s much more to purring than meets the ear.

Research is starting to shed some light on purring — starting with how cats do it.

How do cats purr? Experts have offered a number of theories over the years. Most now say that purring begins in the brain.

A rhythmic, repetitive neural oscillator sends messages to the laryngeal muscles, causing them to twitch at the rate of 25 to 150 vibrations per second (Hz). This causes a sudden separation of the vocal cords, during both inhalation and exhalation – the unique feline vibrato.

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Cats with Allergies

We have heard of people being allergic to cats or dogs, but what about your pet being allergic?
When a cat has allergies, her immune system is overly sensitive to certain everyday substances and begins to identify them as dangerous. Even though these substances-or allergens-are usually common in most environments and harmless to most animals, a cat with allergies will have an extreme reaction to them. As her body tries to rid itself of these substances, she may show a variety of symptoms.

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Cat Fight!

Some cats just won’t give peace a chance. There are several reasons that cats might not get along. The most common is under-socialization—a lack of pleasant experiences with other cats early in life. If your cat grew up as the only cat, with little or no contact with other felines, he may react strongly when he’s finally introduced to another cat because he’s afraid of the unknown, he lacks feline social skills, and he dislikes the disruption to his routine and environment.

Cats tend to prefer consistency over change. This is especially true if the change involves a newcomer to your cat’s well-established territory. Cats are a territorial species. While some cats overlap their territories a great deal, others prefer to keep a good distance from their neighbors. Two unrelated males or two unrelated females may have a particularly hard time sharing space.

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Catch from a Cat? Zoonotic Diseases (Part2)

Parasitic Infections
Fleas are the most common external parasite of cats, and their bites can cause itching and inflammation in humans and cats alike. Fleas may also serve as vectors for CSD and other zoonotic diseases. Flea-infested cats may become infected with tapeworms from fleas ingested while grooming. While not common, people can also become infected with tapeworms by inadvertently ingesting fleas.

Scabies, or infection by the mange mite Sarcoptes scabiei, is another zoonotic external parasite of the skin of cats. While not as common as flea infestations, these mites can be passed from infected cats to people, where they burrow into the skin and cause itchy, raised lesions. Treatment in people usually involves the use of topical ointments to decrease itching, diligent treatment of infective pets, and careful cleaning of clothes and bedding.

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Catch from a Cat? Zoonotic Diseases (Part1)

Although most feline infectious diseases only affect cats, some of these diseases can be transmitted from cats to people. Diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people are called zoonotic diseases. While not comprehensive, this article highlights the most common zoonotic diseases that may be carried by cats and simple precautions you can take to reduce your risk of contracting these diseases. For more information about specific risks, diagnosis, and treatment of zoonotic diseases, contact your physician/health professional.

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Feline Friday!

We are excited because it is Feline Friday! It’s always fun to see all our favorite cat friends. We look forward to seeing who is coming in today! Don’t miss out on 10% off feline services.

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Why Cats Nip

Catnip, catmint, catwort, field balm — it doesn’t matter what you call it. Lions, tigers, panthers, and your common domestic tabby just can’t seem to get enough of this fragrant herb.

Originally from Europe and Asia, minty, lemony, potent catnip — Nepeta cataria — has long been associated with cats. Even its Latin-derived cataria means “of a cat.” And research shows that cats big and small adore this weedy, invasive member of the mint family. But why do they like catnip so much? Is it safe? And what does it mean if your cat doesn’t like it?

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Reminder from Your Cat

Your cat would like to remind you that Feline Friday is tomorrow. Our cat friends and their parents save 10% on all feline services on Fridays. Call to book your appt! 970-587-5140

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By a Cats Whisker

Those stiff hairs on your cat’s face and legs don’t just add to her cuteness — they have real work to do. Whiskers are GPS and radar systems for your cat.

“They are a powerful and important part of how a cat senses the world,” says W. Mark Cousins, DVM, the founder of a veterinary clinic in New Orleans.

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The Scoop on Cats and Poop

You can learn a lot about your cat’s health from his poop. Whether you’ve just adopted your first kitten or you’ve shared your home with cats for years, watch for a few key signs when you scoop out the litter box.
Cat Poop: What’s Normal?

Most cats will poop at least once a day. If they’re healthy, their poop should:

Be deep brown in color
Feel not too hard or too soft or mushy
Not smell too foul, though some odor is normal

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Cats and Shedding

Shedding is a cat’s natural process of losing dead hair. Outdoor cats may lose more hair in the spring and fall and retain more fur in the winter, while indoor cats can shed all year round. Regularly grooming your cat and vacuuming hair from your house should minimize the inconvenience of shedding. However, if you see bald patches in your cat’s fur or notice a significant loss of hair, the underlying cause may be a health-related problem and should be investigated by a veterinarian.

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Cats and Hairballs

No two ways about it: Hairballs in cats are unpleasant. And they’re not just disagreeable for the person who has to clean them up — they can cause intestinal blockages, which can be a serious health problem for your cat. It’s a given that your cat is going to groom herself, so what can you do to keep hairballs to a minimum?
What Causes Hairballs in Cats?

Hairballs may be disgusting, but they develop as a result of your cat’s healthy and fastidious grooming routine.

When your cat grooms himself, tiny hook-like structures on his tongue catch loose and dead hair, which is then swallowed. The majority of this hair passes all the way through the digestive tract with no problems. But if some hair stays in the stomach, it can form a hairball. Usually, your cat will vomit the hairball to get rid of it. Because hairballs pass through the narrow esophagus on the way out, they often appear thin and tube-like, rather than round.

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Why Pet Immune System Support

A healthy immune system is critical to your pet’s well-being. It works around the clock to protect the body from potential invaders. An immune system operating at less than full throttle can make your pet susceptible to any number of health challenges. Many pet owners are turning to Standard Process Veterinary Formulas to provide their pets with nutrients to support a strong immune response.

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Adopt A Pet Search

At FCVC we know that you can get pets from many places. We have added the Adopt-A-Pet Search widget right on our site! While we are talking mostly about cats this month, Adopt A Pet.com is for dogs, cats, horses, rabbits and other critters. This is in keeping with our support of rescue groups and shelter that have many cats, dogs and other species of pets that need good homes. Maybe even at your house! Give the Adopt-A-Pet Search a try and see what pets are waiting for you today. We would love to see your new pet, too!

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Eye of a Another Color

Sometimes you might see a cat with one blue eye and the other orange, copper, green or yellow. There is nothing wrong with the cute little kitty; the two different colored eyes are a genetic tweak. Cats with eyes of two colors can see just as well as “regular” cats.


The scientific name for odd eyes is heterochromia iridis and can occur in other species including dogs and humans. Eye color is determined by the amount of melanin pigment in the eye. In cats with the white or white-spotted gene, the melanin is often prevented from reaching one eye, so that one will remain blue, while the other eye receives melanin and changes to green, yellow, amber or another color. The phenomenon is seen most frequently in white cats.

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Cats Eye Colors Unmasked

Cats can have an amazing range of eye colors. But why is that? What makes your cats’ eye colors?
Cat eye colors start with the iris
The colored area around the pupil of the eye is called the iris. The iris has two layers, the stroma and the epithelium. Both of these layers contain pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. In the stroma, those melanocytes are loosely arranged, and in the epithelium, they are more tightly packed.

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Fleas – Small Pests, Big Problem

FCVC Note: In our previous blog post Fleas on a Indoor Cat? we talked about how even indoor cats (and other pets in your house) are not immune to getting fleas. Now we talk about why fleas are so noxious to your pets (and you!). Like many things – it is often easier and less expensive to prevent the problem than it is to try to deal with the full-blow infestation…

The recipe for relief? Get those freeloaders off your animal and out of your home!

Your typical cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis felis) doesn’t ask a lot from life. All it wants are the basics – a comfortable place to live, proper nourishment, the chance to raise a family and the company of like-minded friends.

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Fleas on a Indoor Cat?

Many cat lovers think it’s impossible for their indoors-only kitty to get fleas — but it’s not.

Many people think that because they have an indoor-only cat, fleas are an impossibility.

They would be wrong.

Although an outdoor cat is more likely than an indoor cat to be infested with fleas (as well as ticks and intestinal worms), an indoor cat can, in fact, attract these parasites.

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Obesity in Cats is a Real Thing

Feeding for Health

Love doesn’t equal unlimited amounts of food. It’s better to keep your cat lean and healthy. Here’s how.

Obesity is recognized as a serious health concern among Americans today, putting more and more of us at risk for chronic illnesses and earlier mortality. Unfortunately, the unhealthy eating habits of many Americans often extend to their pets as well.

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How Often Should You Feed Your Cat?

The amount and frequency of meals depends on your cat’s age, health and preference.

Check the pet food aisle at your local supermarket, and you’ll find dozens of varieties of food to entice your cat. Feed your cat too little or the wrong kind of food, and he won’t maintain good health. Feed him too much, and he’ll get fat. But you can help get your cat off on the right paw by establishing regular feeding routines. Although the food you feed your cat should be complete and balanced, the simple answer to how often you should feed him is that there isn’t a simple answer.

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6 Common Misconceptions About Feral Cats

Don’t buy into the stereotypes—feral cats deserve respect and appreciation.

It’s a familiar sight in most neighborhoods: the outdoor cat. Perhaps you encounter them skittering across the street, materializing on your deck when you’re grilling, or yowling in the night during a heated cat-on-cat brawl. While some of these freewheeling neighborhood felines are simply pets roaming for the day, most fall into one of two categories—stray cats, who have been lost or abandoned, and feral cats, who are, to a certain extent, wild.

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Choosing and Caring for Your New Cat

After reading our FCVC blog article on June is Adopt a (Shelter) Cat Month you might have decided a new cat was just the way to round out your family. Here are some more tips on choosing and caring for your new cat:

Before choosing a new cat, do your research and think about your options. Keep in mind the personality, age, and appearance, you’re looking for as well as the kinds of pets you already have at home. If you’ve never owned a cat before, it’s also important to know what taking care of your new cat will involve in advance.

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Why Cats Spray (& How to Stop It)

Most cat lovers are aware that un-neutered male cats will spray urine on walls, furniture, and elsewhere in a hormone-fueled effort to mark their territory. But many pet parents are surprised when males that are “fixed” will spray, or when female cats—spayed and un-spayed—exhibit this same noxious behavior, says Dr. Cathy Lund of City Kitty, a feline-only veterinary practice in Providence, R.I.

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Why is My Cat a Picky Eater?

Way, way back in 1968, according to their website, 9Lives® introduced the world to a big, orange tabby cat named Morris® – “the world’s most finicky cat.” I don’t imagine that it was too difficult to ‘sell’ Morris as a character. Ask anyone who has ever had a cat (and probably most people who never have) if cats are picky eaters, and the answer will likely be an immediate and resounding, “Yes!”

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Off to College?

Tis the season for graduations at all levels. High school graduates may be going off to future studies at college.

For those interested in pursuing veterinary degrees, we have compiled some scholarship resources that may help you on your way.

You may be surprised that a number of these are still taking applications for this year! So if you missed the opportunity on some others – grab onto these.

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Barks, Purrs, Tweets and Neighs

National Pet Week 2018, June 3-9, 2018, is sponsored by the Auxiliary to the AVMA to foster responsible pet ownership, recognize the human-animal bond, and increase public awareness of veterinary medicine. This year’s theme is “Barks, Purrs, Tweets, Neighs … Pets Speak Love Many Ways”.

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Adopting – How it Works

If you’ve never adopted a pet before, you may be wondering, how does the process work? How long does it take? How much does it cost? The information below will help give you an overview of how it works to adopt a pet from the two main types of organizations: Shelters and Rescues. Each organization is different, but it helps to understand the two main types and what to expect, so you can have a better overall pet adoption experience.

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Adopt A Cat (or Dog)

North America’s Largest Non-Profit Pet Adoption Website

The need is real. Many pets are up for adoption in the 17,000 shelters and it is pretty easy to connect with them. Purina, Petco and Bayer have combined resources to put together Adopt A Pet.com.

In going to the Adopt A Pet.com website you are met with a easy form for choices – Pick the tab for Dogs, Cats, Other Pets, or Shelters and Rescues. If the only other choice you make is to put in is your zip code, you will get a lengthy list. For example we chose Cats and put in 80534 for Johnstown and left the distance as 50 miles or less.

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Keep Bonded Pairs Happy by Keeping Them Together

Separating them can cause behavior issues and even illness.

Cricket and Tucker came to Northeast Abyssinian and Somali Rescue (NEAR) as a set. The 7-year-old littermates were extremely bonded, and co-director Kristen Wookey wanted very much to keep them together.

But the siblings were also special needs cats: Cricket had cancer, and Tucker was diabetic. So placing them together was going to be a much trickier proposition.

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Adopt a Cat Month

With the onset of “kitten season,” it’s no surprise that June has been designated as Adopt a Shelter Cat Month.

If you’ve been thinking of adopting a kitty, now is the time to do it! Even if you can’t adopt, you can still help out by donating your time, cash or supplies.

Here are 5 ways you can help.

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Dogs and Cats Are Amazing

We already know dogs and cats are incredible. But recently, scientific studies have provided evidence to back our beliefs.

Almost all pet parents will tell you they feel their furry friends are amazing.

Although this is a common view, until recently there hasn’t been much factual information to back it up. In recent years, however, scientists have started looking at how dogs and cats can help their humans in all aspects of life, including in terms of health and emotional development.

Here are 8 scientific studies on dogs and cats — showing that pets are great for people.

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How Cats Heal Us

People have long believed in the healing power of cats. Whether it’s lowering stress or powering the purr, we think there’s some truth to it.

Jason was an imposing 18-pound tuxedo cat with a tail like one of those ostrich plumes that fashionable Victorian ladies decorated their hats with. I’d had him since kittenhood, and he only truly loved 2 people: my dad and me.

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