Are cats just as loving as dogs?

We all know the saying that a dog is man’s best friend, which can mean their feline counterpart gets overlooked in the loving and affectionate stakes. Cats are often thought of as being more independent and detached pets, but we think this is very much a common myth and that they are in fact just as loving as canines when you know what to look out for!

Cats’ ways of showing affection to us might be more subtle, but if you know the signs to watch for in their body language then you’ll become aware of just how often they consciously show us their feelings. Purring and the noises cats make can be a sign of contentment but there are more obvious behaviours that leaves you in no doubt that your cat is being affectionate.

One of the most common is when cats rub their face on you as this action shows them marking their territory, or, in other words, you as their property! This is a lovely sign of association and familiarity that means your feline wants to let others know you are all theirs, through the pheromones this behaviour will release.

Ever feel like you sometimes have a four-legged shadow following you around the house? It might be a little inconvenient at times, but this is actually a compliment in a cat’s eyes. It’s essentially them showing their interest; just as we would choose to spend time being physically close with a partner, they are choosing to be near to you as a sign of their devotion. Some cats are more energetic in their physical demonstrations, and just like dogs do they will eagerly greet you at the door when you get home, as a way of showing their happiness at your return.

Cats eyes are very large and expressive so many believe these can be another indication of their mood. You may often see them with an unblinking stare, however if you spot a slow eye blink this is also a wonderful sign of affection. Why not try playing them at their own game and see if a slow and determined blink to your feline will get you one in return, and see just how much they care for you.

Finally, you may have dismissed it as a good stretch or attempt to scratch their back, but if your cat has a tendency to roll over in order to expose their belly to you then this is another signal that they trust and love you. It is a vulnerable position for a feline, and one which they would never do outside or in the presence of strange cats, so this little act is possibly one of the most obvious ways cats use for showing they are comfortable and content. Be careful, however, not to act on the temptation to ruff up your cat’s tummy when exposed as this can alarm them and they’ll quickly stop showing it to you! So next time you see a glimpse of a furry tum you can feel safe in the fact that you are a loved owner of one satisfied feline.

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New Year’s resolutions to help keep your pet healthy and happy

Around this time of year, lots of us think about what resolutions we might commit to this January to make it a healthy and happy year ahead, so why not do the same for your pet too? Here are some great ones to start you off – a lot of which may well benefit you both!

  • Check the ID is up to date (and present!) on your pet. Some of your details may have changed over the past year so make sure these are reflected on your pet’s ID tag or collar and you’ll be giving them the best chance to get back to you safely should they ever get lost.
  • Book in regular health check-ups with your vet to make sure any vaccinations are up to date and that overall your furry friend is in good health. There are many issues that present with no obvious symptoms so it’s advisable to have at least one annual examination for your pet.
  • Why not resolve to spend more quality time playing and interacting with your pet in 2015? Research shows how beneficial this is to both their and our own wellbeing and can help to strengthen your relationship too. It’s a good idea to think about making play or exercise time as engaging as possible to keep their mind active; just like us mental stimulation can help slow the deterioration that comes with age!
  • The beginning of the year is always a good time to reassess your pet’s diet and eating habits. Have a think about whether the food you’re giving them is suitable for their needs in terms of nutrition requirements. Also, is it age appropriate? If you have a more senior pet then they can have slightly different needs. Be mindful of giving them too many treats as well, it’s nice to spoil them now and again but if you notice you’re often guilty of giving them table scraps or leftovers it’s wise to consciously limit these.
  • Resolve to keep up with a regular grooming routine for your pet, which focuses on maintaining their coat, teeth and nails. Neglect of these areas can result in bad hygiene which will often lead to health issues, so tend to these on a regular basis to help keep them looking, and feeling, their best. Grooming is a great way for you as an owner to regularly check your pet for lumps and bumps too.
  • Quite often at least one of our resolutions is fitness or activity related, so you could combine this with your pet and try a new activity together. Doga (dog yoga) is a growing trend and there are many accessories to aid you and your dog to run together, it’s easier than ever for owners to involve their four-legged friend in a new hobby. It’s a great way to deepen your bond and get you both more active. Group activities for pets and their owners can add a social element and mean you may both meet some like-minded people (or animals)!

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The responsibility of owning a pet

Pets bring us endless joy, and studies are finding more and more benefits that ownership can have on our health and wellbeing; however, owning a pet is no walk in the park and comes with a whole lot of responsibilities. So if you’re considering bringing a furry friend into your home be sure it’s a decision you can comfortably commit to, and if you’re lucky enough to already own a pet then it’s good to assess how well you’re keeping up the necessary responsibilities.

People often consider getting a pet before starting a family, and for good reason – just like a child, the wellbeing of a cat or dog is completely in your hands. Our pets love us unconditionally; they’re always there to greet us when we get home with a friendly face, and so in turn we need to reserve affection and attention for them no matter what life may bring. Whether you’re busy with work commitments or personal life, caring for a pet is a 24/7 job and requires a large amount of time, energy and money, which can often mean compromise or sacrifice for owners. An average dog or cat can live up to 15 to 20 years so it is by no means a short-term commitment – longer even than some of us can commit to each other!

On a daily basis, pets are extremely time consuming as they need to be fed, exercised, groomed and of course given regular love and attention. If you have, or are thinking of getting, an infant pet then they will also need training and the extra dedication and time this requires. Pet supplies and medical expenses can be costly so it’s wise to set aside a budget for this to make sure you have enough in case any unexpected situations arise.

As much as pet ownership is a privilege we’re lucky to have, it also provides owner with legal responsibilities set out by The Animal Welfare Act 2006 (which applies in England and Wales) to protect the welfare of animals. Owners and/or keepers have duties to care for their pet ensuring that the following basic needs are met, and failure to do so can have very serious legal consequences:

  • A suitable environment
  • A suitable diet
  • The ability to exhibit normal behaviour
  • Housed with, or apart from, other animals
  • Protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease

At this time of year, with pets high on the Christmas list for many, it’s important to recognise and appreciate the responsibility that comes with ownership. If you’re lucky enough to already have a furry family member, then think about how well you’re fulfilling all of your obligations as a pet owner and whether you can do anything more to return the love and joy they bring to us!

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