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 This Week From The Redbarn Studios

Animal Radio for February 16, 2019  

Animal Radio Flashback


Crazy Cat Lady Paula Poundstone

Paula Poundstone with CatsWe're flashing back to comedian Paula Poundstone's guest spot in 2012. She proudly defends being the cat mama to 16 cats (3 if the landlord asks). She's trying to decide whether to buy cat litter or send her kids to college.

Paula Poundstone grew up in Sudbury, Massachusetts and by the time she was nineteen. she was traveling on a Greyhound bus across the country - stopping in at open mic nights at comedy clubs as she went. She credits her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Bump, with being the first one to spot her comedic talents. Bump once wrote in a letter to Paula's parents: "I have enjoyed many of Paula's humorous comments about our activities." Now, Paula is on a perpetual tour - she does it everyday!

Paula has three kids, but states that, "Two of them are really hard - so it's like having sixteen." However, she does have sixteen cats. She says is tired of getting that judgmental "gasp" when she mentions the amount of cats she has. People always ask her how she got sixteen cats, and she says, "I had fifteen and I got one more! This really concerns me about America's relationship to math - it's not that hard to figure out!"

Taking care of sixteen cats is not easy and Paula claims to have a callous on her hand from sifting the litter! She says, "I always have kind of vibrating ever so slightly from the sifting motion. My hand is always kind of rocking a little bit and people sometimes think it's some sort of neurological problem!" She worries about her kid's college funds, because she spends it all on kitty litter. She goes on to say that, "Once you have sixteen, by the way, a lot of the love goes out of it. You're more of a cat 'haver' after that!"

Paula Poundstone with Many CatsPaula also has an ant farm, but she only has one ant left. She says, "I can't keep them alive on the farm - can't kill 'em in the kitchen!" So one lone ant hangs out by himself in Uncle Milton's Ant Farm. Paula says she is so fascinated by ants because they have such a work ethic. They couldn't have but a tiny bean for a brain and can't be the brightest creatures on the earth because their heads just aren't big enough and yet they know exactly what to do. When you buy an ant farm, the ants don't come with it. You have to buy the ants separately. First, you add the sand and then you put the ants in. The ants get to work right away making tunnels, and within the first day, they pretty much have everything under control. Some types of ants will even make separate rooms for different things. For example, she states, "My ants have a burial ground, which I know because it's full right now - I only have one ant left. They even have a period of mourning, although my ant hasn't been able to have that, because he's doing all the farming on his own right now!" She says, "He pretty much cries and plows, cries and plows!"

To complete her pet menagerie, Paula has a lop-eared bunny and had a constipated bearded dragon. Kitty waste is nothing like bearded dragon waste, and she says "In terms of waste product, oh my heavens, forget nuclear weapons, forget a large arsenal, take a plane, fill it with that and any nation would bow to our world." Sadly, Paula tells us her bearded dragon past away, but he lived a long life for a bearded dragon. She thinks this in in part of him seeing his reflection in his tank but didn't know he was looking at himself. However, he must have had good self-esteem because he would look at his reflection and puff up his beard, which is a sexual behavior, and must have thought, "Man! That's a good looking lizard!"

Surprisingly, Paula rents her house with all of her animals but has told her landlord she only has 3 cats. When she moves, she knows she won't be getting her security deposit back!

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How to Build the Perfect Litter Box - Dr. Debbie

Dr. Debbie WhiteOne sniff upon entering your home and you recognize the unmistakable odor of cat urine and feces. Simba has used your entry hall as his litter box again. But before you lose your temper - stop. By scrutinizing the environment through your cat's eyes, you will likely discover the cause of his toileting mishaps.

Elimination issues are a main reason for veterinary visits and a primary reason for relinquishment of cats at shelters. House soiling problems can be multi-factorial, with an overlap of behavioral, environmental and medical causes. Feline house soiling can be managed however with sleuth work and patience. The challenge is to think like a cat.

First and foremost, say this and repeat it..."My cat does not eliminate out of the litter box to get even with me." Cats do use urine and fecal scent marks to communicate territory, but this isn't done with spite or in effort to "get even" with you. Inappropriate elimination is a cat's way stating that something isn't right in their world. Understanding this is key before tackling feline house soiling. Focus on what's wrong in Simba's toilet area, not on how the house soiling makes you feel.

Start With a Vet Check
Cat owners often struggle with house soiling mishaps for months or years before enlisting help from their veterinarian. But seeing the veterinarian should be the first step, since health disorders may be at the root of some house soiling issues. Your efforts in restoring litter box usage will be doomed if an underlying medical cause is not addressed at the same time.

Size Does Matter
Make sure your cat's litter box is of adequate size to allow maneuvering. Litter box size should be 1 times the length of cat's body length. Height of the edge also matters. For older kitties, try lower profile litter boxes or plastic under bed storage boxes. An arthritic older cat won't complain or cry in pain with arthritis, she'll just chose to eliminate elsewhere.

Consider the View
Cats don't want to be startled while in the loo. Don't place the litter box in a high traffic area where people and pets are always a-coming and going. Cats prefer a low traffic area where they can have an eye out on things.

Don't place the litter box near appliances which give off noise, vibration and heat, all which disturb your cat while eliminating. Once a negative aversion is created, your cat may not return to use that box in the future.

Multiple Litter Boxes for Multiple CatsDitch the Litter Box Cover
While some nervous kitties prefer the privacy of litter box covers, the majority of cats dislike the tight quarters and limited ventilation litter box covers provide. Consider how you feel in a public porta-potty. Do you like to touch the walls when inside? Sure, people like the way the lid contains odors, but does it really matter how little odor comes from the litter box when your cat is pooping on your oriental rug?

Provide More Than One Box
A common error is assuming that one litter box is all your cat needs. What cat owner loves the litter box, and relishes seeing more of them in the home? But the more the better when it comes to faithful litter box usage, especially with multiple cats. The general rule is to provide one more box than the number of cats. Some cats share litter boxes, others will not. Unless you provide alternate sites you may have elimination issues in multiple cat homes.

Another special consideration is differences in cat's personalities - timid cats may avoid crossing paths with other more assertive pets in home. Be sure to provide litter box sites that won't be blocked by other animal's movements.

If you live in a multilevel home - you must provide litter box sites on each level. This is especially important in multi-cat homes, those with senior cats or those with health conditions.

The Pick of Litters
Litter texture preferences vary and there are many choices from scoopable, clay, crystals, or natural litters. However in one research study of cat's litter box habits, it demonstrated that the majority of cats prefer fine grained scoopable clay based litters that have carbon as their odor absorbing ingredient. Every cat is different though, so try other litter varieties until you find your cat's preference.

Skip the Scents
The verdict is still out on what odors cats prefer, but avoid heavily scented litters or deodorizers if your cat is missing the box. Interestingly enough, one study showed cats preferred cedar and fish odors, while avoiding citrus and floral scents, while another study concluded cats preferred fish or bleach smells to other scents.

Litter BoxKitty Litter Depth
Ideal litter depth is 2 inches - more isn't always better. Some cats thrive on scratching the bottom of the pan, which is obscured by excessive amounts of litter.

Keep It Clean
Cats are fastidious by nature and will avoid using a soiled or smelly box. The overall cleaning frequency depends on the number of cats in the home. General advice is to scoop twice a day and deep clean the litter pan weekly. Change out clumping litter every 2-3 weeks.

Build It and Kitty Will Use It
By building your cat's dream litter box, your cat will find litter box nirvana. And you'll come to enjoy a better relationship with your kitty family members without those unwanted "presents" in the foyer.

Featured veterinarian known as "Dr. Debbie" on national pet radio program, Animal Radio. Ebook author of "Yorkshire Terriers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Pugs: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Mini Schnauzers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; and "Shih Tzu: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend." Dr. Debbie's books.

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Joey VillaniThe Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

Why Pets Need To Be Groomed Every 4 To 8 Weeks
Dogs usually need to be groomed anywhere from every four to eight weeks, says Joey. Of course there are people that are going to argue and say that they only groom their dogs once a year, if that.

The reason for the regular grooming is that there are things that you have to look at besides the haircut and besides their odor and their bathing.

One of these things is the nails. Some dogs will grind their nails down and they don't need their nails clipped. However, others will need them to be timed on a regular basis.

Then there are other things. How many times have you looked inside your dog's ear canal? How many times have you checked their anal glands? How many times do you check their teeth? What about the pads of their feet?

Joey explains that these are things that groomers routinely check. And in doing so, they find the lumps, bumps and moles. He says it's almost like a beauty checkup. That's the best way he can explain it.

It's a beauty checkup and it doesn't have to be expensive. People think they can't afford all of these services. However, Joey says that if you are just coming in for a nail trim, he will still check the ears, anal glands and give the dog a once over. Most groomers look in areas of your dog that your normally don't. This is to make sure that everything is good. It may only cost you $15, because that is what he charges for a nail clipping. However, it could be more at other places and it could be less. If you did that once every eight weeks, at least you'd know if there was something going on with your dog.

Dog Nail TrimMost groomers offer these services without you asking. It's full service. It's like getting your oil changed in one of the Jiffy lubes where they check your tires and they check your window washer fluid, etc. These services should be standard.

However, some groomers may not give your dog a once over, so it is up to you to ask for this service when you take them in. Ask them to check their ears. Ask them to check their anal glands. Ask them to check their teeth.

If you didn't do this on a regular basis, when you did finally bring your dog in, your groomer may end up telling you that you need to go to the veterinarian because your dog has a problem that has been going on for some time.

Animal Radio News - Lori Brooks

Lori and Flo BearBeware When Selecting a Pet Caretaker on An APP
A Houston couple is finding out firsthand some of the unintended consequences that can come with letting a stranger on an APP or the Internet take care of a pet. Their version of the unthinkable happened when they trusted a stranger on the "Wag!" app to walk Winnie, their 10-month-old Wheaten Terrier back in December. Winnie died on that walk. The husband says Wag! representatives have not offered any details into how Winnie, their beloved 10-month-old Wheaten terrier, died while out walking, other than saying that their dog was "hit." Wag did offer to reimburse the couple $188.71 for Winnie's cremation costs. However, the offer letter said the payment would only be made if the couple signed a settlement and non-disclosure agreement, stating that, among other things, they would be legally required to keep quiet about what happened to Winnie. Just eight days before Winnie died, another Wag! dog-walker in California was charged with animal cruelty after police say he kicked one of the four dogs he was walking.

HedgehogCuddly Hedgehogs Can Carry Salmonella It's well known that some reptiles can transmit salmonella. Now, you can add cute, cuddly hedgehogs to that list. Government health officials are warning that there have been at least 11 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium in eight states. Missouri has the most cases (3), followed by Minnesota (2 cases) and one case each in Colorado, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming. Almost all cases have occurred among children, with the average patient age being 12, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Even when hedgehogs appear healthy, the CDC says they can carry salmonella germs in their droppings. Those germs can then spread around the hedgehog's body and then to anything in the area where they live. If your family does have one of these animals, the CDC says always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching, feeding or caring for a hedgehog or cleaning its habitat. Also, if hedgehog habitats or toys require cleaning, do it outside, NOT in a kitchen or bathroom.

Black Cat Holds Up Soccer Match
Black cats are good luck in Britain and Japan, but still to many superstitious people a black cat is bad luck. So it was quite funny when a black cat strolled across the field during a professional Premiere League soccer match in South Africa. The solid back kitty held up play for 3 minutes in the second half while officials tried to get it off the field. However, the cat was more interested in playing hard to get. Some sports players can be really superstitious, so those who believe black cats to be bad luck were not very happy about it.

Michelle BurtGroomer Awaits Trial For Animal Abuse
Michelle Burt, who lives in Pasco Washington and owns a grooming salon, is charged with first-degree animal cruelty. She's accused of abusing and strangling her customers' pets. She has told the judge in her case that she should be allowed to continue working in her shop while awaiting trial. That didn't go over well in Franklin County Superior Court. The judge denied the request saying the conditions of her release were put in place for the protection of the animals. Former employees told police that she used force to control animals by cutting off their air supply. Police say at least one dog and one cat died while in the woman's care at one of her Paw Spa locations. According to court documents, several other animals also required veterinary care for broken bones and injuries. Michelle Burt has pleaded not guilty and has been ordered to stay away from all pets while awaiting her trial, which will begin in April.

GooseCat Has His Own Movie Poster
The character posters for Captain Marvel are out. Among them are superhero shots of all the film's stars including Goose the cat. Goose is a handsome orange tabby. Having his own movie poster has cat lovers on the Internet and Marvel fans guessing at what role Goose plays in the film that is significant enough to snag him such a coveted spot in the movie's promotion. You'll find out soon, as Captain Marvel starring Goose, opens March 8th.

Ear Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1002)

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