Read tips, guidelines and advice about caring for and training your pets, plus all the latest news from Very Important Pets

Tips for introducing a second cat into your home

11th March 2019Cat CareLeave a comment

It can be very tempting to want to have a new kitten or cat at home and it’s somewhat easy to romanticise the idea that your cats will become best friends at the first meeting, however, the reality isn’t quite as easy as that.

The most important thing you need to ask yourself is whether or not your cat has proven to be able to be around cats in the past?

Do they get into fights regularly with the local street cats?

Have they been an indoor cat for their whole life meaning they’re not very well socialised?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes it may not be the best idea to introduce a new cat into the family. It is always important to put the emotions of your pre-existing cat first.

However, if you think your cat may be okay with having a new friend at home there are certain things you can do to help make the adjustment easier.

Unfortunately, we can’t expect our cats to be put into a room together and be friends immediately. They need time to work one another out and learn how to communicate with one another.

  • Use a Feliway pheromone spray or use the plugin diffuser. This could really help soothe both your cats’ nerves and reduce the anxiety levels leading to aggression. Recently Feliway has released Feliway Friends – this formula has been specially designed to help with bonding between cats.  Ideally, a Feliway plugin diffuser should be introduced a week or two before the new arrival.
  • Get your new cat their own litter tray and bowls. This will give them a sense of confidence that they have somewhere that is just for them in their new home but it also means your old cat won’t get angry that the new cat is stepping in on their territory and taking their things. The gold standard in cat behaviour when it comes to litter trays is one for each cat plus one more, meaning for two cats in a home, a total of 3 litter trays are recommended.
  • Investing in multiple beds and cat trees is highly recommended. This will help them feel secure and safe in the knowledge that there is somewhere for them to go and hide alone if they get into any confrontations with each other.
  • Introducing cats gradually really is key. Having your new cat kept in one room for a while and letting your old cat sniff around the door so they can get the scent of the new visitor will be really helpful so they aren’t quite as shocked to see a new animal in their home when the new cat is let out on their own. The two cats should never be left alone together until you are completely sure they have accepted each other.

If you are concerned about either of your cats once they have been introduced, whether it is a concern for their stress levels or anything else, we would strongly advise contacting your vet and discussing this further. It is important that your cats have all the support possible when going through any changes and your vet will be the best person to help them.

 

A guide to the Devon Rex Cat

11th March 2019Cat CareLeave a comment

It is said that once you convert to a Devon Rex you will never go back. This unique looking breed loves nothing more than vocalising to get your attention and will constantly have you on your toes trying to keep up with them.

A guide to the Devon Rex Cat

The Facts

  • Temperament: Vocal, loyal and outgoing.
  • Social/Attention Needs: high
  • Average Life Span: 12 – 14 years
  • Coat length: Very short
  • Grooming required: Once weekly

The Look

Known for their distinctive bat-like ears and wide eyes, the Devon Rex has a very cheeky look. They have long slender figures and thin tails, their usual fur is soft and wavy with a wool-like texture. They also have unusual whiskers that are seen more like stubble as they rarely grow more than an inch. The most popular colour of Devon Rex is the original ‘black smoke’ however they are also available in tortoiseshell and tabby.

History

Unsurprisingly the Devon Rex was first born in Devon, due to a natural mutation in 1959, where a strange black, curly-coated kitten, named Kirlee, was born in a litter of moggies thought to be fathered by a large black cat with ringlets. This kitten was then bred to two Cornish Rex variant queens (as a result all Devon Rex have Cornish Rex ancestors), which produced normal shorthair and semi-longhair kittens, yet no curly kittens were produced. This led the breeder to believe that the Cornish and Devon Rex have two different curly hair genes and with a careful breeding programme, Kirlee became the founding Devon Rex.

The health of Devon Rex Cats

All have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic. Problems that may affect the Devon Rex include the following:

  • Patella Luxations
  • Dietary intolerances

A Fun Fact about Devon Rex Cats 

Often described as hypoallergenic due to the short coat, the Devon Rex is actually not a hypoallergenic cat. That being said, they do not shed as much as many other breeds, which means they may spread fewer allergens around your home.

 

 

5 Adventure pets to follow on Instagram

27th February 2019Cat Care, Dog Care, Pet CareLeave a comment

In the Very Important Pet’s office, we love nothing more than following cute pets on Instagram but our favourite accounts are always the adventure loving pets. Adventure pets are the ones out there living their best lives, they travel with their owners and are pets which are essentially out there seeing the world.

Here are our favourites who never fail to make us smile.

The Top Adventure Pet Instagrammers

Suki Cat

Without a doubt, Suki is the coolest Bengal you will ever see and is probably more travelled than all of us. On Instagram, you can follow Suki’s adventures through beautiful photography of him in front of iconic landmarks.

 

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Spaniel Life

Meet Severus and Lily, two adorable Spaniels travelling the length and breadth of the UK with their owners. Follow Spaniel Life for cosy photos of a beautiful bond between two dogs.

 

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Cockapops

A mountain climbing dog – yes, really! Poppy the Cockerpoo loves nothing more than exploring the great outdoors, but her outdoors includes hiking the mountains of the UK then posing for gorgeous photos at the top!

 

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Eric The Cat

Eric the Cat may not have travelled as far as the other pets in this list but we think he is worthy of a spot all the same. We are sure this handsome Ginger is the chief explorer of his home territory.

 

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Loki the Wolfdog

Not many people can say they have 2 million Instagram followers – but Loki the Wolfdog can. Loki has been breaking hearts on Instagram since 2012 and has even landed himself a role as a GoPro Camera Ambassador.

 

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Is your pet the next big Instagram sensation? Why not set up an account just for them! If you do please send us the link as we would love to follow them!

A Guide to the Cocker Spaniel

14th February 2019Dog Care1 Comment

One of the most beautiful breeds of the dog world, the Cocker Spaniel is amenable with a cheerful disposition which also makes him a treat to have in the family.  Cocker Spaniels are always pleased when they are pleasing you, the quick to learn, playful breed makes for a great pet in a family of all ages.

Facts about Cocker Spaniels

  • Temperament: Amenable and easily trained
  • Social/Attention Needs: High
  • Average Life Span: 10-12 years
  • Coat length: long
  • Grooming required: Daily – especially ears

The Look of Cocker Spaniels

This breed is strong but softly contoured with a dignified and alert expression. The English Cocker Spaniel has medium-sized oval eyes, a cleanly chiselled jaw, and long, leather fine ears covered in silky hair. The body is strong but not heavy with a deep chest.

Cocker Spaniels come in a variety of colours including black, liver, and red as well as part-colour combinations of black and tan, liver and tan, or white with black, liver, or red.

The History of Cocker Spaniels

The modern Cocker Spaniel is descended from the Spaniel family, a large group that dates to antiquity. The word spaniel means “Spanish dog,” and it’s generally believed that they indeed originated in Spain.

By the 1800s, Spaniels were divided into two groups: toys (primarily companions) and large hunting dogs. Hunting dogs were further divided into land and water spaniels. The Cocker Spaniel was named so for his excellence in the field hunting woodcock.

Health problems seen in Cocker Spaniels

All have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic. Problems that may affect the Cocker Spaniel include the following:

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Primary seborrhea
  • IMHA – Immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia

A fun fact about Cocker Spaniels

A Cocker Spaniel Was the First Cancer-Detecting Dog!

Scientists now know that dogs are capable of identifying cancerous samples by scent, although they are still unsure exactly what the dogs are smelling. This idea was first confirmed by a study done with six dogs in England in 2004. In that study, a Cocker Spaniel named Tangle had the best success rate at detecting cancer, with 56% accuracy. Researchers continued to work with Tangle, and his success rate improved to 80%.

A Guide to the Bengal Cat

14th February 2019Cat CareLeave a comment

This highly intelligent large breed cat is full of life and always ready to play. However, their cheeky boisterous temperament does not make them suitable for every household; they are best suited to an active household with a lot of space. Fond of water and heights this adventurous breed needs a lot of stimulation in order to keep them occupied, but in return, the chatty affectionate breed will give you a lifetime of fun and loyalty.

A Guide to the Bengal Cat

Bengal cat facts

  • Temperament: Intelligent, vocal and lively
  • Social/Attention Needs: High
  • Average Life Span: 10 – 15 years
  • Coat length: Short
  • Grooming required: Moderate

The Look of the Bengal Cat

Athletic, agile and graceful are the best way to describe a Bengal. The most ‘wild’ looking of the domestic cat breeds with a strong muscular body and a luxurious Leopard like pelt. The breed comes in several colours and patterns, including brown tabby, seal mink tabby, black silver tabby, and seal silver lynx point. The coat can be spotted randomly or in horizontal patterns.

The history of the Bengal Cat

The Asian Leopard Cat was bred with the domestic cat (starting with Abyssinians and Burmese) in the 1980s by Dr Willard Centerwall, who was attempting to transfer the leopard’s immunity to feline leukaemia to its tamer cousin. Unfortunately, the resistance didn’t pass on to the first generation. Bengals today are considered to be domestic cats, and any Bengal purchased should be at least four generations removed from any ancestors with bloodlines.

It is also thought the breed’s development was an attempt to stop people buying wild cats as pets and to dissuade them from wearing fur. Bengals were first imported into the UK in 1991 and were only recognised by the Cat Fancy in 1997.

Health

All have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic. Problems that may affect the Bengal include the following:

  • Distal neuropathy – A nervous system disorder that can cause weakness.
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation – Dislocation of the kneecap
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Fun Facts about Bengal Cats.

Bengal Cats were originally going to be called “Leopardettes,” but the name was later changed to Bengal in honour of the leopard cat’s scientific name, Prionailurus bengalensis.