Location, Location, Location

cat drinkingIf you’ve ever been perplexed as to why your cat will drink water from around the drain of your bathtub but not from her water dish, the article below by Mieshelle Nagelschneider* will give you some insight.  We found this article on The Animal Rescue Site website, thought it was very interesting and wanted to share it with all of our cat loving friends.

The Watering Hole

Jan 2, 2013 by Mieshelle Nagelschneider

Do you ever wonder why your cat insists on pawing water out of your glass or lapping up the trickle from the kitchen sink instead of drinking from his own perfectly clean and full bowl? The answer may be in its location.

Cats are great survivors, and drinking water that is not contaminated with bacteria is an important part of survival. When you place your cat’s food (which he will consider to be “dead prey”, store bought or not) next to his water bowl, his wildcat instincts tell him that the water could be contaminated with bacteria from the food. He will then search out what he believes to be a cleaner water source.

I recommend creating a designated watering hole for your cat by placing his water bowl in a completely different location than where he is fed (or from where his litter box resides, for that matter). This separate location could be in an entirely different room that is easily accessible to your cat 24/7, or simply on the opposite side of the kitchen where you currently feed him. If you’re unsure of the best placement, introduce several locations and watch your cat’s behavior. He will show you which area(s) he prefers.

If you haven’t yet tried a cat water fountain, you may be in for a treat. Not only can the shimmering and flowing water entertain your cat, but he may be encouraged to drink more water than he did from his stagnant water bowl.

Abbey and Tucker

Abbey and Tucker

If you have a multi-cat household, creating several watering holes can help ensure that all of your cats are drinking a healthy amount of water, particularly if one cat is intimidated by other cats in the household and is fearful to visit the water bowl as often as he’d like. In fact, having only one watering hole for multiple cats often causes territorial tension, which leads to chasing and fighting.

Remember, a well-hydrated cat is a healthy cat. Urinary tract issues in cats continue to be one of the leading reasons for veterinarian visits each year. Cat fountains and water bowls located away from food sources and litter boxes can encourage cats to drink more water, which in turn will help contribute to a healthy urinary system. A “watering hole” makes sense when we look at the environment through our cat’s eyes!

*Mieshelle Nagelschneider is a cat behaviorist and author of the cat behavior book, The Cat Whisperer (Random House Publishing). To learn more about Mieshelle or schedule a consultation with her, visit her website The Cat Behavior Clinic.


Additional Articles by Mieschelle:

Cat Whispering 101 on The Animal Rescue Site – http://theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/ars/articles/Cat-Whispering-101

Pets, Kindness and Hugs

Jake and Friends

Jake and Friends

Last week (May 5-11) was both
National Pet Week and
Be Kind to Animals Week.

But there seems to be some confusion as to when people want to honor / celebrate hugging your cat…

Some sources say Hug Your Cat Day is May 3rd, some say May 15th and still others insist it’s May 30th.
Hmmm… how about declaring your personal favorite day in May as Hug Your Cat Day?

National Pet Week (1st week in May)

We strongly believe in the top two goals of National Pet Week and strive to meet those goals every day.  So to us, every week is National Pet Week.

The goals of National Pet Week are to:

1)    Promote responsible pet ownership

2)    Celebrate the human-animal bond

3)    Promote public awareness of veterinary medicine

Be Kind to Animals Week (1st week in May)

American Humane Association’s Be Kind to Animals Week®  has been celebrated every year since 1915.  In this annual tradition, we:

1)    Commemorate the role animals play in our lives

2)    Promote ways to continue to treat animals humanely

3)    Encourage others, especially children, to do the same

We may be a week or so after the official week, but we feel that it’s important for us to do our part to spread the word with both these messages, regardless of the date.

Cosmo and Jackson

Cosmo (cat) and Jackson (donkey)

Here are a few ways to belatedly celebrate Be Kind to Animals Week and National Pet Week (from the American Humane Association’s website).

Take care of your pet

Pets are like children who never grow up.  They need you to help keep them healthy and safe throughout their lives.  Make sure he or she is wearing proper identification.  Take your pet to the veterinarian regularly.  Know what it takes to be a responsible pet owner.

Adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue

Every year, an estimated 3.7 million animals must be euthanized at our nation’s shelters because they could not be adopted into loving homes.  Help animals find a second chance at happiness by considering adopting your next pet from your local shelter or rescue group.

Appreciate wildlife

All animals deserve to be treated humanely — family pets and animals in the wild.  Create an inviting space in your yard and garden for butterflies, hummingbirds and other creatures.  If wildlife comes too close to home, look for ways to coexist with animals or to protect your property humanely.

Report animal abuse

Animal cruelty and abuse is not only tragic for animals, but also an indicator that other forms of abuse such as domestic violence could be happening.  If you see something that looks suspicious — a dog chained in your neighbor’s yard that looks underfed, a child putting a cat in a box and kicking it around the yard — don’t hesitate.  Let someone know.

Is Hugging Two Kitties at once Twice as Good for You?

Is Hugging Two Kitties at once
Twice as Good for You?

Cats and Hugs (May 3rd? …May 15th?
…or is it May 30th?)

We at Harmony say, no worries… Who cares if it’s May 3rd, 15th or 30th?

Most of us now know it’s a proven fact that hugs from animals and giving hugs to animals will lower a person’s blood pressure and can decrease stress in their caregivers.

So we say, “Let’s make every day from now until the end of May Hug Your Cat Day.”  An easy way to form a habit both you and your cat can enjoy for the rest of this month, this year and next year and…


Additional Resources:

ASPCA FAQ on Reporting Animal Abuse
American Humane Association

How Can I Protect My Pet From an Accidental Poisoning?

Next week, March 17th – 23rd, is National Poison Prevention Week.  We want to remind everyone to keep phone numbers for your regular veterinarian, your closest emergency veterinary clinic or hospital and the ASPCA Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) on your refrigerator, kitchen bulletin board or wherever you keep emergency numbers handy for your family.  When you are in the midst of something urgent, you will not want to or may not have time to search for the information.

While Missy naps, Abbey keeps her  company

While Missy naps, Abbey keeps her company

It’s an excellent idea to program those numbers into every family member’s cell phone, with easy to remember speed-dial numbers attached.  Use the same speed-dial numbers on all phones in the household.

That way, if you are not at home and your son or daughter, husband or wife, sister or brother has a pet emergency and they call you in a panic, you can remind them the phone numbers are in their cell phone under “Vet”, “Emergency Vet” and “Pet Poison Control”.  Or quickly tell them what speed-dial number to call.

Dr. Frank also recommends reading the information written by Dr. Marty Becker on poison prevention for pets.  In this article Dr. Becker talks about common household substances that pet owners often do not realize are harmful to their pets.

Dr. Becker wrote, “…While some pet poisonings are a result of something an animal gets into that is a known poison, like a rodenticide, a surprising number of cases come from something intentionally given to an animal by an owner who’s trying to help.

The classic example of the latter is when an elderly cat is given an extra-strength acetaminophen for arthritis. The owner is trying to help, but unfortunately even one capsule of this common human medicine can kill a cat. As for dogs, they can figure out their way into trouble that their owners never envisioned. A few months ago, our neighbors dog answered the question “can dogs eat almonds” with a resounding no of puking all over the carpet. Not to mention, dog ownership difficulties also include opening cabinets to get cleaning products and counter-surfing to reach food items and pill vials.

Take preventive measures. You need to realize that pets are basically like toddlers who can open any childproof container that is not locked up or hidden away, and you should take similar precautions to keep your pets safe and healthy.

  • Keep products such as medications, harmful foods and cleaning products in a secure cabinet above countertop height.
  • Use a kitchen garbage can with a lid.
  • Always read labels, especially on flea and tick products, and on lawn and garden products. Store out of reach in a high cupboard, not under the sink.
  • Be familiar with the plants in and around your home, and have only nontoxic plants.
  • Never give any medication or supplement to your pet unless recommended or approved by your veterinarian. According to the Pharr Road Animal Hospital, many toxic substances aren’t well-known to dog owners. For example, don’t let your dog have significant amounts of raisins or grapes, macadamia nuts, moldy cheese, chocolate, onions, garlic or xylitol-sweetened gum and other candies or baked items.

Recognize the symptoms. Even with preventive measures in place, it is important to know the signs of poisoning. Many (but not all) substances first cause stomach upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. It’s not fun, but vomit must be examined for evidence of chewed packaging, plants, food, pills or other important clues. Many poisonings progress to weakness and depression or nervous stimulation, including tremors and seizures. Pets may stop eating and drinking, or may drink excessive amounts, which could suggest liver or kidney involvement. Rapid or slow breathing, with changes in tongue and gum color — from pink to white, blue or brown — is important.

Get help, fast. If you suspect poisoning, stay calm. Panicking will not help your pet and may waste precious time. If your pet is not showing any serious signs of illness described above, contact your regular veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) to determine if your pet needs to be seen by a vet or if treatment can be given at home.”

If your pet is having difficulty breathing, having seizures, or is bleeding or unconscious, go to your regular veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately. Take any evidence, including chewed containers and labels, and even vomit. This information is key to helping your veterinarian save your pet. Be sure you always have the numbers of your pet’s regular veterinarian, your local veterinary emergency clinic and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in an easily accessible location. It could save your pet’s life.”

The above quoted information is from a January, 2012 article by Dr. Becker posted on the VetStreet website. 

Additional Resources:
Dr. Frank talks about specific foods and other items to pay attention to in previous posts
Pets and the Holidays
Thanksgiving Tip for your Cats and Dogs
Reminder +

Links to more articles on poisons and poison prevention are on the VetStreet Home page

Budgets – Wet vs Dry Food, Cats vs Dogs


Really? Dry food?

Q: We have 2 young cats and one middle-age dog.  We feed them a strictly grain-free wet food diet.  We’re looking for ways to reduce our household costs and one thought was to do dry food half of the time for all our pets.  But, I worry that this may not be safe.  Is there a safe middle ground or is it not worth it?

Dr. Frank:  In my opinion, there is a short answer and a slightly longer answer to this question.  The short answer in general is, yes (with caveats) there is a safe middle ground for your dog, and no, it is usually not worth it for your cats.

The longer answer is:
For your middle-age dog, doing a mixture of wet and dry food can be a safe cost-cutting measure as long as the dry is a very high-quality low or grain-free dry food.

On the other hand, for your two cats the benefits of keeping them on a good quality wet food diet far outweigh the higher cost.  Because cats don’t instinctively drink much water on their own, they need a wet, raw or re-hydrated diet to get the optimum amount of water for their bodies to be their best.

However, the primary reason I recommend keeping your cats on all wet food is that vets have found a high percentage of cats on dry food who develop medical issues compared to cats on strictly wet food diets.   This of course means that cats on dry food frequently have much higher medical expenses over their lifetime than cats on a wet food diet.

The cost savings you get from adding dry food to your cats’ diets may well be lost in additional medical expenses in years to come.

Reminder + Small Business Saturday

Amber Lynn – How can you resist?

Friday is not only a big shopping day, it’s also an extremely busy day for emergency vet visits.

In addition to what we talked about in our Thanksgiving Tip post last year, please be aware that some people foods can be very bad for your dogs and/or cats.  Onions (including onion powder) are extremely toxic to your pet and even small amounts of chocolate can be poisonous for your dog or cat, so save the chocolates for people only please.

Best rule of thumb – If you want to give your pets extra on Thanksgiving, treat your dog or cat with moderate amounts of their food or treats, not yours.  And ask your guests not to feed Emma, your Cavalier King Charles, from the appetizer tray, no matter how cute she begs!!
Two ideas to help:

  • Have a small bowl of pet treats handy to offer your guests to give little Emma or Amber Lynn instead of that piece of cheese, when a guest just can’t resist the cuteness.
  • Break every treat up in half or quarters.  That way, even if guests go a little overboard, you are less likely to be dealing with your pet’s stomach ache from too many treats on Friday.

One other very important thing today…

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday sits Small Business Saturday®, a day dedicated to celebrating and supporting small businesses and all they do for our communities.

Look around your town or neighborhood…

Your BFF meditates, so you’d like to buy her a meditation CD this year.  Most local yoga studios sell meditation CDs, with the added benefit of knowledgeable staff if you know nothing about meditation.

You’d like to bring a unique Thank You gift to a holiday party.  You know the hostess LOVES tea… How about visiting that herbal shop in the middle of town and asking the owner for a relaxing blend for your hostess?

And of course, pet presents…  That independent pet store on the edge of town probably has a great raincoat for your sister’s Doberman and a nice selection of catnip toys for your uncle’s new kitten.  Have you been there recently?  Check it out!

Owners, managers and staff of independent small businesses are our neighbors and friends.  They help our communities thrive through participation in community leadership and projects.  They coach soccer and softball teams.  They sing in the local choir, and donate time and money to local organizations they believe in… animal rescue and foster care organizations – homeless shelters and food banks.

November 24, 2012
Small Business Saturday®

Remember, when you purchase products and services from an independent small business, you have a direct, positive impact on local families in countless ways.

We at Harmony Animal Wellness Center are proud to take part in Small Business Saturday and we want to encourage you to Shop Small® on November 24th.  Thank you for supporting Small Business Saturday 2012!

Demystifying Animal Communication

Big changes are part of life – a new baby… a move to a bigger or smaller home or apartment… a death in the family… a change in career or job that affects your stress level or your time at home.  When change happens in your life, have you wondered how it may affect your animals, and what, if anything, you can do to make the transition smoother or easier for your animal companion(s)? 

Is she here yet?

Many of our clients have consulted with Joan Ranquet at times like those.  Joan is a gifted animal communicator, author, teacher and speaker who has worked with thousands of individual pet owners, dog, cat and horse trainers, barn managers and vets.  

In addition to helping clients individually with their pets, Joan is a firm believer that animal communication is a skill that can be nurtured and honed.  She expertly demystifies animal communication for anyone who is interested by giving free classes such as the one we are hosting at the clinic next week.

JJ snuck into last year’s class.
He was sure no one would notice…

Joan will be at Harmony Animal Wellness Center on Thursday, Sept 20th, for private sessions and a fun, informative class.  
(click here for details)

Below are some questions our clients have asked Dr. Frank about Joan’s work.


Q: How long have you known Joan Ranquet?

Dr. Frank:  I have known Joan for approximately 4 years.

Q: What are your feelings regarding animal communication in general?

Dr. Frank:  I have seen Joan’s sessions help our clients in several ways.  I believe we all have the ability to communicate with animals at some level, but it means being aware and in tune with them.  Joan is excellent at “tuning in” as well as teaching us how to be more aware and listen.  This is invaluable to our relationship to our pets and deepens those relationships.

Q: Can you relate some personal or client experiences with Joan?

Dr. Frank:  Joan has done readings on my own pets and was very accurate in those readings.  In addition, I have seen the most beneficial results from clients with aging pets who have sought her advise regarding end of life issues.  Her insights in her readings were appropriate and very helpful for the clients in making those tough decisions such as end of life.  Several of our clients have repeatedly called Joan for assistance through various life changes and have found her guidance extremely helpful.   

Q: Do you consult with Joan regarding your patient’s medical issues?

Dr. Frank:  I am very comfortable with my clients who have consulted with Joan.  My expertise is in the medical field.  I do take her information into consideration as I develop my diagnostics and prepare my recommendations for the pet’s treatment plan.


To learn more about Joan and animal communication, come to her class and/or schedule a personal session on Sept 20th if you live in the Puget Sound area.  Click here for a flyer with more information.

Joan’s Guided Meditation CD

In addition, there is a wealth of information on Joan’s website including how to arrange phone consultations if you do not live in the area, and links to purchase her new ebook, Animal Communication 101, her CD and her hardcopy book.