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Animal Radio® for February 23, 2013  

Sleeping (Or Trying To!) With Your Cat
Mikkel Becker,

Mikkel Becker with catAs the daughter of Dr. Marty Becker, "America's Veterinarian," it was pretty much a given that Mikkel Becker would choose a career working with animals.

Mikkel knows that pet lovers like to be able to share everything with their pets, including their beds, but she knows we definitely don't get the amount of sleep with our pets as we do without.

A cat's natural sleep cycles are at odds with the average human sleep cycle. Although cats can sleep as much as 20 hours a day, they have frequent sleep-wake cycles throughout the day that are tied to their natural hunting instinct. The most active part of the day for felines just happens to be between dusk and dawn, the complete opposite of most human schedules.

But for those of us who want our furry friend at our side while we sleep, there are a few solutions that may help your cat to stay in a deeper slumber, or at the very least, make her less likely to disturb you from your sleep.

You may think that waking your cat up throughout the day will keep make them sleep at night, but it doesn't work. The best solution for a restful night's sleep is to shut your cat out of your room at night. For the first few nights you may have a sad kitty meowing and clawing at the door, but eventually she should stop, as long as you ignore her behavior and don't get up and let her in to your room in the middle of the night. Ignoring you cat is key. If you roll over and kick your feet, they think this is a fun game and that you are interacting with them.

Cat waking person in bedWhile waking your cat during the day doesn't work, you can give them plenty of activities throughout the day. It's easy to find activity toys for your cat, like self-propelling toys. You can also keep them busy by hiding around 10 percent of their food in food puzzles around the house. You can also put treats and kibbles on their cat perches. This takes your cat's normal hunting and preying instincts to a new level.

Another thing you can do is feed them a light snack just before you go to bed, because they sometimes wake us up in the early morning because they are hungry. Or, you can have a food puzzle ready by your bed for the early morning. But if your cat is too noisy with this toy, you might want to get one of those self-programmed automatic feeders. These automatic feeders can be set back 15 minutes every day, so you can eventually trick your cat into waking up a little bit later every day, so they will eventually wake up when you do. Another thing is to keep the room dark. Perhaps you need to get blackout drapes to trick your cat into thinking its still nighttime.

By combining daytime exercise and food puzzles, redirecting your early waking cat to food, or simply ignoring your cat's wakeup tactics, your feline should become a later morning riser.

Mikkel Becker is a professional dog-trainer and training expert for

Pet Career Boom
Mary Collister, Woof Pack Goodies

Woof Pack Goodies logoThe animal industry is huge, 54 billion dollars a year, and is getting bigger every day. More people are getting into the business, with people losing their jobs due to the recession and are reinventing themselves into the animal business, whether it's pet sitting, dog walking or inventing new products.

Mary Collister is one of those people. With her career winding down, combined with her daughter's just beginning, they created a product to answer both their needs. You've heard of wine of the month, well now there's Woof Pack Goodies

Dog gift box of goodiesEvery good dog deserves special treatment, but you may be too busy to make it happen for your pet. Order your Woof Pack home delivery and your guilt and worries are over. Great for a canine birthday or a new puppy welcome gift. What better way to celebrate than by sending goodies from Woof Pack Pet Products. The products you will receive are well worth what you will pay, with FREE shipping, and include products for small, medium or large dogs.

Choose from a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual delivery plans and your dog toys, goodies and treats are on their way. They have a very easy system to set up your order, which takes about 5 minutes. After that, it's automatic!

They are working on expanding the business to include specific packs, including one for pet parents; one made up entirely of products made in the USA; Go Green eco-friendly pack; and a senior dog pack. Currently, 10 percent of the profits are donated to help fund dog rescues and as the business grows, they hope to increase the percentage of profits they donate to the rescues.

Animal Radio® News with Stacey Cohen

Three Hedgehogs in a handHedgehogs Can Be Dangerous
Pet hedgehogs can carry deadly strain of salmonella, health officials warn. They may be adorable, but hedgehogs are among the pets that can transmit a rare but dangerous form of salmonella, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. If you do have a hedgehog at home, washing your hands thoroughly after handling your pet is advised. In the last year, a rare but dangerous form of salmonella bacteria infected twenty people, and one person died. Investigators say the illnesses were linked to contact with hedgehogs kept as pets, and such cases seem to be increasing, health officials said

Dognition test of treat hidden for dogs in cupsHow Smart (Or Dumb) Is Your Dog?
There's a new online test that uses the latest scientific research to tell you EXACTLY how smart or dumb your dog is. It costs $60. The test uses games to test your dog, and then gives you a full breakdown on their intelligence and personality. If you're interested, it's available at

Ban On Human-Animal Hybrids
Human animalA Republican state legislator in Mississippi has proposed a ban on human-animal hybrids. State Rep. William Tracy Arnold (R-Booneville) proposed the ban on using human embryos in any hybrid project. The measure is part of a bill that would restrict abortion, human cloning and assisted suicide. Arnold told that he included the ban as a way to restrict embryo research and that he was concerned about scientific research. Arnold said some countries are already doing some experimentation with embryos. "The truth of the matter is they're experimenting with some animal genes and infusion in some other countries and we just want to protect those embryos from that type of infusion and protect them. After all, they're living beings, I believe," Arnold said.

Public bathroom for dogs in ChinaPublic Restrooms For Pets
Public restrooms in China will no longer be limited to just pedestrians. As part of new civility laws to keep city streets clean, China plans to build bathrooms just for pets, according to Chinese-language news site Shenzhen Special Zone Daily. Launched as a trial in the Luohu District of the city of Shenzhen, located in southern China's Guangdong province, the open-air pet restrooms are filled with sand and measure about 10 square feet in size. They are placed near parks and along sidewalks. According to a translation by The Huffington Post, the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily also reports that about 80 public pet toilets have been installed in the Luohu District so far, and that as many as 1,000 more may follow. The construction of the pet restrooms is all part of Shenzhen's citywide civility laws, which will take effect on March 1st. The laws, which govern public behavior and institute fines for "uncivilized" practices, smoking in a non-smoking area or spitting, are reportedly the first of their kind in China. Under the new legislation, residents who fail to pick up their pets' excrement will be slapped with a fine worth about $80. "The fine is reasonable, because pet owners, who are like custodians, should be responsible for the behavior of their pets," Zhang Mizhe, a resident who owns two dogs, told English-language Chinese news site Shenzhen Daily. Surprisingly, China is not the first country to install public pet restrooms. Bogota, Colombia, in 2010 installed round sandpits enclosed in cement so pets can do their business without the messy cleanup.

DoghouseCalifornia In Doghouse When It Comes to Pet Ownership
It seems odd that the American Veterinary Medical Association ranked California 43rd in the nation for the percentage of households that have pets. This state seems likes it's pro-animal. That's especially true in Sonoma County, where animals can chill at their own resorts, receive acupuncture for stress and shop local boutiques for clothes, food and accents for their abodes. People can buy organic and holistic foods for their pets and scrub them squeaky clean at a self-serve wash. All that may simply mean Californians shower their pets with love and affection, because when it comes to the rate of pet ownership, the state apparently is in the doghouse. Just shy of 53 percent of California households had a pet on Dec. 31, 2011, when the American Veterinary Medical Association conducted its national survey. Only seven other states had lower rates of pet ownership. Vermont was tops, with 70.8 percent of households reporting owning a pet. The data reflects 15 species of animals, everything from an iguana to a Chihuahua. California ranked 40th overall for dog ownership, with 32.8 percent of households reportedly having a canine. Arkansas led the category, with 47.9 percent of homes having a dog.

Azhe Liu with babysitting pythonPython Is Their Choice Babysitter
A family in China is turning heads with their choice of babysitter. According to Orange News, 13-year-old Azhe Liu is often watched after by the family's pet python, who measures 15-feet long and weighs 220-pounds. Dad Chan Liu explains that they've had the snake ever since Azhe was born, and the two have become inseparable over the years. He says they eventually learned that the snake wouldn't harm their son, so they started leaving them alone together. Chan notes that there aren't many kidnappers who would want to tangle with a giant python, and Azhe insists the snake is very careful around him. He says she never squeezes him too hard, and adds that she even inspired him to train as a zoologist.

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