• 5 Ways To Save Energy For Pet Owners

    Posted on June 3rd, 2013
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    Tips for leaving your pet at home during the summer months.

    If you leave your pet at home during the day, you may leave your air conditioner on to make sure your pet is comfortable. Clear The Air would like to share some great tips for pet owners when it comes to saving energy:

    1. No need for ceiling fans. While they keep us more comfortable, cats and dogs do not have sweat glands like us so the fan has no cooling effect on them.
    2. Program your thermostat. Set your thermostat to a different temperature when you are out. Depending on your pets’ breed, your pet may not need as much heat or air conditioning on. In most cases, setting your thermostat a little warmer during the summer months while you are at work will still keep your pet comfortable but won’t break the bank.
    3. Turn your lights off. Having lights on during the day is not necessary. Dogs and cats can manage in dim or dark conditions just fine. If you want your lights to come on in the evening, put them on a timer to save electricity.
    4. Fix a leaky faucet. While your cat may enjoy drinking out of that leaky faucet, you are driving up your water bill. Leave a couple water dishes around the house for your dog and cat to drink out of.
    5. Don’t leave the TV on. Instead of providing company with the noise of the TV, try turning on the radio or buying some inexpensive toys that your pet has to work to get a treat out of it. This will help pass time without upping your electric bill.
  • Cat Grooming – Helpful Tips To Prevent Vet Bills

    Posted on May 22nd, 2012
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    While cats are very self-sufficient, making them an easy keeper as a pet, they do sometimes need a little assistance in the grooming department.

    To ensure optimum health and prevent costly vet bills, check out some of Clear the Air’s grooming tips for your cat.

    Trim Your Cat’s Claws: Trimming claws needn’t strike terror in the heart of you or your cat. Even an adult cat that is unaccustomed to nail clipping can grow to accept the procedure, although it’s best to start when the cat is young and everything is novel. Kittens’ tiny needle-like claws should be trimmed once a week; by the time a cat is about eight months old, you can reduce the trimming to once every two to four weeks for the rest of the cat’s life.

    Place your cat on a table or hold him on your lap, or kneel down and clamp him between your legs. Grip a paw firmly and gently press on the pad to expose the claw. Don’t forget to also trim the dewclaws that are further up along the paw. If you have a polydactyl cat, one with extra toes similar to thumbs, the claws in the folds between the paws and the “thumbs” also need trimming.

    Using special clippers, trim off the clear, curved part of the claw in one rapid motion, cutting straight across and making sure to stay at least one-tenth of an inch away from the thicker part containing the vein, or “quick.” When in doubt, cut off less claw and do the job more often. If you do accidentally cut the vein, stay calm. The claw will bleed, but your demeanor will affect your cat’s reaction. Ideally, have clotting powder, a styptic pencil, cornstarch, or soft bar-soap on hand before you begin and apply it to the end of the claw. Or, you can press a gauze pad, clean cloth, or tissue over the damaged nail for several minutes until the bleeding stops.

    Some cats (even first-time adults) will allow you to cut all their claws right away. For less cooperative cats, start by simply handling their paws more and more, pressing lightly on the paw pads to extend the claws. Once this is accepted, try clipping one or two claws, stopping and letting your cat go whenever he starts to resist; eventually, you will cut them all. A team effort may be necessary to contain a writhing cat, with one person firmly grasping the loose skin at the scruff of the neck or holding the cat wrapped in a towel with just one paw at a time free, leaving the second person to handle the task of clipping.

    Get The Eyes and Ears Clean: Check inside the ears every week and if you see a waxy residue, wipe it off with a cotton ball moistened with a small amount of feline ear cleaner or baby oil. (Never use a swab on a stick; if your cat moves suddenly, you may injure his ear canal or eardrum.) Hold the earflap gently and dab carefully with the cotton ball. If your cat fidgets during cleaning, restrain him as you would when cutting his claws.

    Brushing Your Cat: Although cats are tidy creatures by nature and groom themselves, they still need regular brushing. In addition to removing loose hair that would otherwise be swallowed or left on furniture, brushing promotes good circulation, stimulates the skin, and keeps the coat shiny. It’s also a way to bond with your cat, as well as to check for any body changes that may signal a visit to the vet.

    The procedure is much the same for short-hair and longhair cats, but the tools will differ, depending on the length and texture of your cat’s fur.

    Be sure to check a longhair cat for mats before you start brushing and very gently untangle any you find using your fingers or a wide-toothed comb. Soak more tenacious knots with detangling liquid or spray.

    If a mat won’t come apart, you can, if you’re very careful, snip it out with blunt-tipped scissors. Your cat’s skin is very sensitive, as well as being loose, and it’s fairly easy to make an accidental nick. Protect your cat by placing a fine-toothed comb between the mat and his skin. The alternative is to have mats removed by a professional groomer; if your cat is badly matted, this is the only option.

    Begin grooming by passing the brush along the cat’s head and back. By following the same line you would if you were petting him, chances are the cat will relax, lulled by the pleasant sensation. Then, brush down the length of each side. As you go, stop often to clean the brush of collected hair.

    Next, brush down from below the chin along the throat and chest. To brush the inside of your cat’s leg, hold him against your chest and reach over the outside of the leg. Your cat may object when you get to such areas as the rear thighs, the region where the legs join the body, and the belly.

    Be gentle and reassuring, but persevere without overdoing it. If the cat is getting anxious, stop and continue later; otherwise, you risk turning grooming into a hateful experience.

    Do the tail last, one small section at a time, carefully combing in the direction that the hair grows. Then, repeat the sequence with a fine-toothed comb, taking particular care on sensitive areas, to pick up any remaining loose hairs.

    Bathing Your Cat: An older or injured cat may not be able to keep itself adequately clean and may need to be bathed. Some cats become very agitated during the process, however, so it’s up to you to make bathing as stress-free as possible for all participants. You’ll probably want a helper so one of you can hold the cat while the other does the shampooing. Both of you will probably get quite wet, so have lots of towels at the ready. It’s also possible that you may get scratched, so take a few moments to trim the claws first.

    Placing something in the sink or tub that your cat can grip with his claws — a window screen, rubber mat, or several thick towels — may help him feel slightly more in control and less inclined to struggle.

    Never dump your cat into a sink full of water; total immersion is not the idea here. Instead, fill the sink with just enough warm water to rinse him easily.

    Hold your cat firmly, with one hand grasping his front legs, and place him in the water. Pour water over him with a small container and use a washcloth to wet more delicate areas such as the face and ears.

    Standard shampoos formulated for cats should be rubbed in thoroughly, and fully rinsed. Any traces of shampoo left on the cat’s coat can cause irritation; so don’t rush through this stage. If you are washing the cat with a flea shampoo, follow the directions for the product to the letter. After properly rinsing your cat, wrap him in a thick towel and hold him close to absorb the excess water. Continue drying by carefully squeezing the towel against his body and pulling it away again.

    You can gently rub short-hair cats with a towel, but this may cause matting in cats with longer coats. A small hair dryer can be useful (unless your cat is frightened by the noise of the motor). Keep the hair dryer on its lowest setting and never point it in your cat’s face. Once he is dry, brush him thoroughly and compliment him effusively on how wonderful he looks!

    Dental Hygiene: As part of a regular checkup, your vet will look for signs of plaque and tartar buildup on your cat’s teeth. Left unchecked, periodontal disease can actually contribute to heart, liver, or kidney disease. If a significant problem has begun to develop, a thorough cleaning, requiring the cat to be anesthetized, will have to be scheduled.

    To avoid the bother and expense of such cleaning, which is typically required every few years, brush your cat’s teeth at least every other day. This is not as difficult, or crazy, as it might sound, as long as you introduce the procedure very slowly. For the first few days, sit quietly with your cat and gently stroke the outside of his cheeks. Then, let him lick a small quantity of cat dentifrice — never human toothpaste; off your finger.

    Next, place a small quantity of the paste on a cat-sized toothbrush or gauze square. Gently push back the cat’s top lip with your thumb and brush one or two teeth and the neighboring gums in a circular motion, pressing very lightly. Over several days, gradually brush a larger number of teeth. After each short session, reward your cat with a treat, preferably one for tartar control.

  • Cat Care Tips

    Posted on May 16th, 2012
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    While cats are usually easy keepers as pets and don’t really require much activity as a dog would, there are some cat care tips that are important to educate yourself on.

    Clear the Air would like to share some surprising top ten cat care tips from Dr Marty Becker, the author of “Your Cat: The Owner’s Manual”.

    Cats Dig Running Water – A pet drinking fountain is one of the best investments you can make in your cat’s health.  Cats find cool, running water to be appealing — it’s a natural behavior, because stream water is less likely to be contaminated than a stagnant pool.  Cats tend to be chronically dehydrated, and feline fountains are proven to get cats to drink more water. Many feline health problems can be aided with proper hydration, and it’s more efficient than leaving a faucet dripping to entice your cat to drink.

    Pick a Pretty, Allergy-Easy Kitty – While no cat is guaranteed to not be an allergy trigger — and people with life-threatening reactions are better off without a cat — it’s possible to pick a pet who might be less of a problem.  Black, unneutered males are purported the worst choice for people with allergies, since they typically have higher levels in their saliva of FelD1, the protein that triggers sneezing and wheezing. Some breeds of cat, most notably the Siberian, have a high number of individual animals with low levels of FelD1. If you’re paying for a  “hypo-allergenic” cat, insist on saliva testing. If you’re choosing a kitten, choose a light-colored female, and get her spayed.

    Panting Is a Problem – Dogs pant up to 300 times a minute to cool themselves, but if you see your cat panting it may be a medical emergency. While sometimes it can just be from extreme anxiety, it can also be a sign of respiratory or cardiovascular problems, warranting an immediate call to the veterinarian.

    Canned Cat Food Is Preferred – Veterinarians recommend feeding canned cat food over kibble. Canned foods have a higher percentage of protein and fat than dry foods and are significantly higher in water content than kibble (70 percent vs 10 percent). Also, canned foods tend to be more palatable to cats that are finicky, elderly or have dental problems.  Better health for your cat can start by closing the all-day kitty kibble buffet and feeding measured amounts of a good canned food. Talk to your veterinarian.

    Want a Cat to Love You? Look Away! – What can you do to get a cat to come to you? Avoid eye contact. Cats don’t like eye contact with strangers, so will almost always go to the person who’s not looking at them. This also is the answer to the age-old mystery of why cats always seem to go to the one person in the room who doesn’t like cats. It’s because she may be the only one not “rudely” — in the cat’s view — staring.

    Tale of the Tail – You can tell a cat’s mood by watching his tail. Tail upright, happy; tail moving languidly, keep petting me; tail low, twitching erratically, I’m on the prowl; tail swishing rapidly, beware and leave me alone. If you’ve ever been surprised when a cat you’re petting suddenly grabs you angrily, you missed a tail tale: The unhappy twitch of the tail tip would have told you to stop petting, now.

    Surprising Signs of a Cat in Pain – Chronic pain is not uncommon in cats, especially as they age. Cat-lovers miss the signs of a pet in pain because cats are good at hiding it. Any cat observed as being hesitant to jump up or climb, not using the litter box, not able to groom themselves as well, more aggressive or more withdrawn need to see the veterinarian. These are classic signs of discomfort, and need to be addressed.

    What Litter Do Cats Really Prefer?

    Forget the people-pleasing scents. Forget special formulas or alternative ingredients. Your cat is more likely to prefer unscented clumping litter, according to preference tests. And if you want to keep your cat using “the bathroom,” be sure to keep it clean, place it in a quiet, cat-friendly place and don’t use any liners in the box — cats don’t like them. None of these changes will address a cat who has stopped using the box because of illness. Urinary tract infections and other health issues need to be addressed by your veterinarian before box re-training can commence.

    How to Prevent a Finicky Cat – Feed your kitten a few different foods so he or she will experience different textures and flavors of food. Just as people typically stick with the toothpaste they start with as youngsters, cats who are only exposed to one type of food will be less likely try other brands and kinds. That can be a real problem if the favored food goes off the market, or your cat needs to eat a special food for health reasons. So mix it up on your kitten.

    Don’t Toss That Ratty Scratching Post – When a post starts looking worn is when a cat starts liking it best. Get a new one and your cat may switch to the arm of the couch. Instead, refresh your cat’s post by adding some coils of fresh sisal rope — it’s cheap, easy to add and cats love to dig their claws into it.