Author Archives: Beverly

About Beverly

If you like Southern Gothic and you want to support my habit of books, boots, bourbon, and cats, you might want to check out my book, Haunted Homeplace: Tales from the Borderlands of Tennessee and Kentucky:

Wolf Cats Are On The Prowl: More About Lykoi

lykoi-in-south-africaYou may’ve heard of “Lykoi” cats or maybe you haven’t. They’re sometimes called ‘wolf’ cats or even ‘werewolf’ kitties and there have been a few articles about them since the breed became recognized a few years ago. To be accurate, they aren’t really a breed, they are cats with a naturally occurring genetic mutation that began appearing in feral cat populations worldwide in the last two decades.

Cats with ‘Lykoi’ traits have been recorded in the Americas, Europe, Australia, and even South Africa. Since 2011 (when monitoring of these cats began,) there have been over thirty recognized mutations worldwide. These kitties vary widely in their fur patterns ranging from almost completely black to gray to white to almost furless. But all of them share dog-like traits (including extreme loyalty to their family and being very scent-motivated,) large ears (usually furless or furless on the back,) and a charming little ‘wolf-like’ face. They are highly intelligent and inquisitive. They also ‘molt’ periodically, losing patches of their fur.

Some Lykoi are born full-coated but may lose hair as they grow older, giving them a patchy look. Others are born with little fur and a few are fully coated. If you visit sites featuring Lykoi cats and kittens, you’ll see a wide variety of fur patterns and fur to furless coats.

When these kitties first began appearing online many folks believed they were a cross between Sphynx and Devon Rex cats. But testing has proven not only that they are a natural mutation, but that despite their hair loss that they are completely healthy. Many vets are still unaware of this new variation of cats. My own vet wanted to test my new kitten for a fungal infection when she noticed the backs of her ears were hair-free.

The word, Lykoi, means ‘wolves’ in Greek and was coined by Dr. Johnny Gobble, the veterinarian who first discovered these unique kitties and who, with his wife, Brittney, has been working to spread awareness about them. Gobble found his first pair of Lykoi in Virginia where he writes that the cats are occasionally spotted in people’s backyards.

Although there are now breeders specializing in Lykoi cats and the International Cat Association added Lykoi to the cat registry of recognized breeds in 2011, you don’t have to go to a breeder to find a Lykoi kitty. They show up from time to time in shelters and in feral cat colonies. My own kitten was a feral who lost his mother and siblings and who ended up in a high-kill shelter, but was saved at the last minute by Nashville Cat Rescue.

I’ve also noted a cat with Lykoi traits (gray and white pattern) who has visited the feral cat colony I care for throughout the summer. He’s a large cat with a loping gait who could be mistaken for a small dog or bob cat from a distance. When I first saw him up close and noticed his furless ears and ‘thinning fur,’ I worried he could be ill. But, as it turns out, he’s very healthy and, hopefully, will be caught, neutered, and rehomed as a barn cat in the near future.

If you’re interested in Lykoi cats, you can find out quite a bit about them with a simple online search. If you work with feral cats or volunteer at a shelter, be on the lookout for them, and, should you spot a Lykoi, please reach out to a local Lykoi breeder to see if they can provide a home. Many shelters and even some veterinarians aren’t aware of this mutation. So let’s do what we can to get the word out that these little “werewolves” are friendly and healthy and looking for fur-ever homes.





Saying Goodbye To Your Pet

“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” – John Steinbeck

MorwenA few weeks’ ago I lost my friend of fourteen years, Morwen. I was lucky to have had her in my life for so many years. She beat cancer (twice,) as well as a serious illness in her kittenhood, and, although I would have liked to have had more time with her, she slipped as gracefully from this world as she lived her life the afternoon of Friday, June 1. She had been fading for a few weeks despite four veterinarians and two specialists’ attempts to help her. A few days before she died, a small shadow was found in the bones of her pelvis confirming our fear that cancer had once again returned after a two year remission. We all fell apart, including the veterinary staff, even though we all had known, I think, in our hearts that this was coming and coming quickly.

With forty years at my back, I’ve seen my share of loss. I’ve lost friends and family to age and illness and time, as well as the more insidious drifting apart and loss of contact that we all experience as we grow older. Life is about letting go as much as it is about holding on to things. Change (and its sister, loss) are as inevitable as spring turning to summer and fall into winter.

We prepare ourselves, especially when we’re facing a long term illness or negative diagnosis, for the worst. We tell ourselves that we’ll make every day the best we can and savor each moment. We steel ourselves for the end of the journey and sometimes we believe we’re ready to face it, to let go, and that all our goodbyes have been said.

But loss is more than a moment. In its own way, it never ends. Grief lurks in corner of your mind and slides into every thought, every smile, every joyful moment. It’s the little needle that says that your friend always loved spring best or danced at the sight of the first snowfall. It’s picking up a toy or blanket in a store and thinking “Morwen would have liked this.”

I have several elderly pets, and knowing that death stops for no man (or cat,) I’d put together a folder some time ago with information about burial and cremation services, as well as things like memorial statues and donations. I had hoped, against hope, that it would be many years before I’d have to open that folder, just as hopefully my own will won’t be needed for many years.

Death brings with it not only a painful goodbye, but so many decisions. I have lost pets to accidents and illness, as well as had some who died, peacefully, after many years in their sleep. I’ve also faced the painful decision on whether or not to end a pet’s life who was in great pain – a decision that many pet owners’ will face at one time or the other. There are no right answers. You know your pet best and are the guardian of what they would want, it is your decision to decide when a life is, in essence, no longer worth living.

Regardless of your choice, you will likely be wracked with guilt – especially if a long illness or decline has been involved. You’ll feel a sense of failure and regret for things you didn’t know or didn’t try, as well as a profound sense of guilt for that sliver of your being that is relieved to not be faced with the day in and day out trials and heartbreak of fighting a battle you know has only one outcome. Others may criticize you under the casual callousness of “being helpful,” with comments that “at least it’s over,” “it was only a cat,” or “just get a new one.” They may be equally cruel in making suggestions for care you didn’t try or comments that “we all get old” and “you knew this was coming.”

No matter anyone tells you, you are entitled to your grief. There is no measurement for loss. One loss is not greater than another, one heart more or less broken than its brother or sister. Loss is loss. Pain is pain despite what some people might choose to have to say on the matter. No one can look into someone else’s heart or soul and measure what they are feeling. So if you’re faced with someone who is obviously grieving, please consider their feelings (and not whether they are inconvenient to you or that their grief is something you don’t understand). If you are grieving, then grieve. Take as long as you need. There is no timetable on how long it takes to get over a lost love. In time, the memories that now may cause you grief will bring you joy. But today, it’s fine to own your sorrow. Losing a beloved pet is like losing a child. It’s the loss of something precious and pure, the end of a friendship that let you experience unconditional love.

Fourteen years is a long time. That’s longer than I’ve ever held a job at one company and longer than I known many of my friends. And although love is never really lost because it lives on in our memories and in the joys that we shared with another living creature, I think Edna St. Vincent Millay summed it up perfectly when she wrote: “Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night.”

My preparation folder ended up being a godsend since I was basically a puddle after Morwen’s death. Thankfully, my veterinarian’s office handles death services (like cremations, memorial paw prints, and containers/boxes for burial). But it’s always a good idea to create a folder and have information on hand, as well as some idea about which you prefer (cremation or burial) before you need it. I chose cremation and now Morwen’s ashes are in a small rosewood box awaiting transfer to a beautiful urn crafted by the Pet Memory Shop. They offer small caskets, as well as urns and other memorial items and are very thoughtful and compassionate.

I also opted for a memorial statue of Morwen sculpted by My Pet Sculpture. Because Morwen was a very small cat, a sculpture which could include her urn wasn’t a possibility. But if you have a dog or other larger pet, then My Pet Sculpture offers life-sized statues that can accommodate your pet’s ashes and can be placed indoors or even outdoors at a gravesite in lieu of a headstone.

There are many companies that offer pet memorial stones and statues. A quick search online will give you a list of those with nationwide, as well as local services. I highly recommend having a discussion with your veterinarian, as well as your friends who have lost pets in the past so that you can choose a service that is highly recommended and kind to those in grief. Faithful Friends Pet Memorial here in Nashville were not only very professional, but went out of their way to treat my grief with respect. They are also spoken of kindly by my vet, as well as by several of my friends.

If you do choose to cremate, you may decide to scatter your friend’s ashes in a place they loved. If you do, just remember that there are often city regulations of scattering remains of any kind. So be sure to make sure that are no issues with your ceremony before you start. A quick email to the park where you plan to scatter ashes or to the city chamber of commerce is usually all you need.

Whether you are grieving or have a friend who has lost a pet, a memorial gift is a wonderful way to celebrate a pet’s life. Many animal rescue society’s offer memorial giving, including Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary which will place a special message in their Angels’ Rest Memorial Garden for your pet or as a gift to a friend who has experienced a loss. There is no better way to celebrate your pet’s life than to donate to a cause that gives other animals a chance at life.

If you’re looking for other ways to comfort a friend or memorialize your pet, then you might want to consider a pet portrait. Many artists offer them. I can personally recommend Digital Teahouse. They’ve created both digital and painted portraits for several of my cats. There are likely artists in your area who offer this service, as well as many online.

Finally, you might want to consider opening your home and heart to another pet once you and your family (including your other fur babies) have accepted your loss. This isn’t an option for everyone. For some seeing a new pet “in the place” of their lost pet increases their grief. Certainly never give anyone a dog or cat as a “replacement” for their lost pet. But it has helped me, over the years, to know that I had other pets who needed my love and care. And I’ve always found that there’s no better way to lose yourself than in helping others. Foster kittens and puppies can be a great distraction and a chance to open your heart and home to an animal in need. When (and if) you do decide to bring another pet into your home, consider a rescue pet as an option. You’ll be giving an animal in need a chance to experience the love you shared with your lost pet.

I hope if you’re experienced a loss that this article is of some help to you. Please know that you are not alone and your grief is real and valid. And remember: “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” – Helen Keller


Lameness In Cats

My kitty tMonday cat has a flatook a tumble.  It’s certainly not the first time she made a misstep or that she has fallen off the stairs. But a fall for a cat of fifteen is not the same as it is for a cat of five. And although at first Morwen seemed fine and hopped back up immediately and started back up the stairs swatting the offensive kitten who caused her fall, later that night I noticed she was limping on her right hind leg and stopping to rest after a few steps.

The next morning, I took her to the veterinarian who poked and prodded and then recommended x-rays. She found signs of osteoarthritis in Morwen’s hips (not unexpected for a kitty her age,) but no signs of breaks or muscle tears. When Morwen wasn’t better in another week, an MRI and bloodwork were taken – again showing no issues beyond the general wear and tear you’d expect on a kitty of fifteen. Having ruled out more serious conditions like renal disease, Diabetes, and tumors, was well as a muscle tear or break, the vet recommended ‘bed rest’ and gave her Metacam for pain.

Now Morwen is on a long road to recovery that, given her age, may take a few weeks’ (or even a few months’ ) time. Cats are not great fans of ‘sitting still.’ So Morwen is now confined to a very small room with stairs that allow her to move from the bed to floor without jumping and a large pillow placed so that she has a good view of the bird feeder.

Lameness in cats can have many causes and, although I had seen Morwen fall, we did full blood work to rule out issues like Diabetes and renal failure. X-rays, in addition to detecting things like breaks and even severe tears, can also be used to look for tumors or even a thrombosis – both causes for concern with lameness comes into play suddenly.

pet emergencyMorwen’s sprain/muscle strain is complicated by underlying osteoarthritis which, before her fall, wasn’t noticeable. True, Morwen uses the ‘kitty stairs’ rather than jumping more than she did in the past, but she never openly limped even during cold or wet weather like my Maine Coon, Tig. Maine Coons are genetically prone bone and joint conditions and Tig, who could stand to lose a few pounds, has been on preventative glucosamine/chrondrotin supplements for years. She also makes ready use of the sets of stairs I installed years ago for my geriatric cocker-spaniel, Lady, who has, long since crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Morwen, compared to Tig, is positively spry even though they are only a year apart in age – Tig being the elder. But a muscle sprain (or worse a tear) can take more time to heal than even a break. This is as true in pets as it is in humans. Morwen’s sprain (and the x-rays and MRI its diagnosis required) brought to light the beginnings of osteoarthritis which, now, we can deal with using preventative care.

Osteoarthritis is caused by the gradual breakdown of the protective cartilage that covers the ends of the joints. There is no real cure for this progressive disease—although there are several ways to slow its progress. Approximately 25-30% of family pets suffer from osteoarthritis and it is relatively common in the human population as well.  his particular form of arthritis is usually seen in older cats (and dogs,) but can occur in middle-aged animals that are highly active. Obesity in pets is often a contributing factor and some breeds of cats and dogs are genetically predisposed to this condition.

Morwen is now on an ongoing regime of glucosamine and chondroitin, as well as VETiONX® Promaxol™ for pain management. I also switched her senior care pet food to a brand with a higher amount of Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, as well as glucosamine, and invested in a pet massager with a heating option. Morwen is already a fan of her pet heating pad, and, for the next month or so, has bi-weekly laser therapy sessions scheduled at the vet.

cat friendsSince NSAIDS are dangerous for cats, heat therapy is a great alternative for cats with pain management issues.  Morwen already had a heated bed, but I have purchased a heating pad to put under her favorite perch as well as a heated disc (that can be re-heated in the microwave and slipped under her when she isn’t sitting near an electrical outlet). I’ve also added heated massage to her therapy and laser therapy, as well installing a few additional pet steps so that Morwen can more easily reach the beds and window sills.

While my cocker-spaniel, Lady was recovering from her ACL injury, she used water therapy. But water therapy isn’t usually an option for most cats although my Maine Coon, Tig, enjoys swimming. I would highly recommend it for water-loving cats (There are a few!) as well as dogs since it allows pets with diminished mobility to exercise and reduces stress on the joints.

Although Morwen isn’t a candidate for surgery, cats suffering from secondary (traumatic) arthritis can sometimes benefit from surgery and more aggressive treatment. Traumatic arthritis is caused by trauma to the joint and chronic sprains. Cats involved in severe falls or car accidents often suffer this type of arthritis. X-rays and MRIs can identify  arthritis of this type. It is usually treated using heat and water therapy, massage, and glucosamine and chondrotin, as well as arthroplasty procedures, such as hip replacements. Arthrodesis or permanently freezing of a joint is sometimes used when a joint is particularly unstable. Your vet can provide you with a range of options depending on your pet’s type of arthritis, age, and activity.

Although the prognosis for cats with joint disease is good, in most situations you can expect to see a slow progression of the disease with time. This is especially true with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, a rare autoimmune condition in cats that can strike at any age and causes degeneration in the joints and tissues. Symptoms for all types of arthritis include:  reduced motion, limping or favoring one side of the body, general lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, and reluctance to climb and jump.  If your cat is not very active, then it may be very difficult to evaluate lessened activity. Morwen has always been very active cat and her change in activity was noticeable. Some of my other kitties (I’m looking at you, Tig!) are much less active—literally lying on cushions for hours and mewing when moved—so diagnosing a decrease in activity would be very difficult in their cases.

If you have an older pet, your vet will usually include a joint assessment during his (or her) geriatric check-up. But, like Morwen, your pet may hide their condition until something more traumatic, like a fall, makes it evident. Cats are notorious for hiding their pain, unlike dogs who will usually seek out their owners to let them know something is wrong. If there is any change in your cat’s behavior for more than a day or two, it is always best to visit your veterinarian. Hiding under beds or in closets, seeking out dark places, or refusing to socialize with other pets could be a sign that your cat is feeling under the weather. Any indication of pain in a pet should not be ignored.

feral care5Arthritis, though less common in cats than in dogs, is a growing problem as our pets live longer lives.  Just as arthritis is more common in older humans, it also develops more frequently in older pets. So, if you have an older cat (or dog,) keep a sharp eye for changes in their behavior. Make sure that they stay slim—no easy task.  And you might want to start them on glucosamine and chondrotin supplements on a lesser preventive dose just in case.

No one likes to think that their pet is getting older, but your pet can grow old with grace, and, hopefully, with proper care, live a long life with relatively few health problems.

Good News For FIV+ Kitties And Those Who Love Them

cat wellnessFinally, some good news for FIV  (the feline immunodeficiency virus) positive kitties and those who love them:  Dr. Annette L. Litster of Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine conducted a long-term study which shows that FIV+ cats can live with negative kitties without infecting them and that mothers infected with FIV do not pass their virus on to their kittens.

This is big news to shelters and many veterinarians who regularly recommend infected cats be killed, but not for those who love and care for FIV+ kitties. Even those shelters who do accept special care kitties like those with FIV often recommend that they only be adopted into homes with other positive kitties or that they be the ‘single’ cat for a family. This study clearly shows that there’s no need for these precautions.

As someone who has cared for a FIV+ kitty for many years and whose vet not only deals regularly with FIV+ kitties, but has one of her own, I can bear out the truth in these numbers. Not only have I never personally seen a FIV+ cat pass their infection on to another cat through day-to-day space sharing and interactions, but I’ve never heard of it being done from anyone else who cares for these cats. FIV is hard to transmit. Infection is primarily confined to male, free-roaming cats who fight and is transmitted through deep bites. Casual “play” bites that you see from cats who are housemates do not lead to infection. FIV is not spread by sharing food dishes, grooming, or other close interactions.

Although the two are often confused, FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) is a very different disease from FeLV (feline leukemia virus) which is easily transmitted through casual contact. These two diseases are retroviruses. Both affect the immune system, but the feline immunodeficiency virus does not easily cross the mucous membranes. This means that a cat can’t catch FIV through things like sharing a water dish or grooming another kitty.

FIV kitties can, but don’t always, require extra care. Basically, a FIV+ cat has a compromised immune system. That can mean that they catch things like colds more easily, but it doesn’t always. I’ve known FIV+ kitties who have lived very long lives (18+ years) without any complications. FIV+ cats need to avoid stress and have a healthy diet and exercise (as do all kitties). They can be prone to respiratory and gastrointestinal issues, as well as dental health issues so they need regular teeth cleanings. But their overall health risk is no greater than that of certain breeds of cats with genetic predispositions to certain illnesses. Best Friends Animal Society, who has a great deal of experience with special needs cats of all kinds, has recommended mixed households with FIV+ and negative kitties for many years.

Hopefully, these new and highly-publicized findings will make the world brighter for kitties with FIV and give them the same chance of adoption as other cats. So if you fall in love with an FIV+ kitty at a shelter or a cat that you are caring for tests positive, please don’t hesitate to give them a home with your other cats. And please spread the word that FIV+ kitties deserve a chance to live to your friends, family, and other cat-care providers!


So Your Cat Has A Heart Murmur

cat wellnessThere’s probably nothing more frightening for a pet owner than hearing that little “humpf” from their veterinarian while they’re listening to their kitty’s heart. But just because your cat has a heart murmur doesn’t mean that something is seriously wrong with your cat. Heart murmurs are common in cats of all ages and something that vets encounter on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Simply put, a heart murmur is just an out of the normal sound heard through a stethoscope. They’re the result of turbulent blood flow which can be caused by a lot of reasons including fear and stress. So that instead of producing the normal “lub-dub” sound that your kitty’s (and your own) heart normally makes, a heart murmur will have a whooshing sound that some vets refer to as being “sloushy.”

Heart murmurs in cats are graded on a scale one to six. A grade one murmur can barely be heard even with a stethoscope and can be very hard to detect. The grade six murmur is the easiest to detect and can sometimes be so loud that it obscures normal heart sounds. With severe heart murmurs, you can feel the murmur through your kitty’s chest.

Heart murmurs are very common in cats. Many are undiagnosed and maybe as many as one third of cats may have this condition. Although a murmur may signify a problem with the heart or its blood vessels, around half the cats diagnosed with a heart murmur don’t have any underlying heart disease, and many of those who do may not develop symptoms.

The turbulent blood flow that causes a murmur is usually caused by a structural defect in the heart.  In younger cats, it could be a congenital condition, a defect with which they were born.  In older cats, it is usually a defect that they acquired over time.

Unfortunately, sometimes kitties with heart disease show no signs of illness. That’s why it’s important to investigate a heart murmur or any signs of illness in your cat.  The problem with murmurs, especially low scale ones, is that they can come and go. You vet may hear one during an exam, but not on a recheck or even a few minutes later. Murmurs are easiest to notice when a cat is stressed and their heart rate is elevated, but may be gone a few minutes later when a cat has calmed down. Some kittens may have a heart murmur when they’re first seen for testing which may disappear over time. But with older cats, it can be harder to determine just what a murmur may mean.

On its own, a heart murmur is not a reliable indicator of heart disease and can be found in sometimes even in healthy cats. If the murmur does not appear to be due to a functional problem, your kitty may not need any treatment. But depending on your cat’s age, the grade of the murmur or other symptoms, your vet may want to do some extra testing.

If your kitty has other signs of illness like as weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, or increased thirst, your vet will likely recommend a blood profile and/or a series of x-rays and echocardiogram to help determine if your cat has a non-heart-related problem that may be causing the murmur. A predisposition for heart conditions are hereditary in some breeds like Maine Coons, British Shorthairs, Ragdolls, Rex and Persian cats, but the disease can also affect other breeds including mixed breed kitties.

If you see any of these signs of illness in your kitty or if your vet detects a heart murmur, it’s always best to check it out with additional testing. Signs of heart disease in cats include:

  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain and inability to walk on the hind legs caused by thromboembolisms, a type of blood clots. One of the first noticeable signs of thromboembolisms in some cats is weakness or inability to walk on the hind legs.
  • Depression, fainting, or weakness
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss or gain/swollen abdomen
  • Restlessness

Most heart murmurs are identified during routine checkups and many healthy cats with a heart murmur never develop any problems with the heart’s function. Even kitties with a mild heart condition may never develop symptoms. Cats with mild cardiomyopathy may not need any initial treatment although in time they may need beta-blocker medications and other vitamins and supplements.

Remember a heart murmur doesn’t necessarily mean that your furry friend is doomed. And even if they are determined to have an underlying heart condition, there are still plenty of things your vet can do to help your kitty live as healthy and long a life as possible. So if you do hear this diagnosis, don’t stress. Get the facts, investigate, and help your vet make sure that your kitty has the best care possible.

Help Your Pet Beat The Summer Heat

Summer is a great time to bond with your pet. Long summer drives, time spent in the park, hiking, gardening, and even taking a few pet-friendly road trips. But the summer months can also be dangerous for pets (and people). Here are a few tips to help your pet beat the heat this summer.

Keep An Eye On the Thermometer And Watch The Heat Indexresting2

Extreme humidity can be as dangerous heat to pets. Since animals pant to cool themselves (instead of sweating,) high humidity can prevent them from cooling down. If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, get them into a cool area immediately, apply cold towels or ice packs to their head, neck and chest, give them small amounts of cool water to drink, and take them to a veterinarian. Pets with short muzzles are particularly prone to heat stroke.

Practice Summer Style

Pets are just as susceptible to sunburn as you are – especially light breed dogs. Fur is one of the ways that pets protect themselves from winter’s cold and the dangers of extreme sunlight. So if you do shave your pet in the summer, please be sure to leave enough fur to protect them from the summer sun. There are some pet-safe sunscreens on the market if you and your dog plan to hit the beach this summer. My favorite is Petkin’s Doggy Sunstick, but there are many other good all-natural products available.

Spent Some Time In The Shade

If you plan to spend the day outdoors, be sure to take time in the shade. Whether you’re running, playing, or just hanging out at the beach, your dog (and you) could benefit from some time out of the sun, as well as some fresh, cold water. Be sure to pack plenty of water (and ice) for you and your furry friend along with your sunblock. If you’re packing a picnic or lunch to go, consider a frozen treat for your pet like Frosty Paws or DIY peanut butter popsicles for dogs.

Be aware that many products that are safe for dogs and even for horses are not safe for other pets, like cats. So be sure to read carefully. This goes for sunscreens as well as products like flea and tick repellent.

Don’t Let Summer Storms Get You Down

Be ready for summer weather. Summer storms can put a real damper on summer fun – especially if your A/C goes down during a heat index warning or if you live in areas prone to flooding. Have a pet emergency plan in place just in case.

Pets And Parked Cars Don’t Mix

Never leave your pet in a parked car under any circumstances – even with the air conditioning running for a few minutes. On an 85-degree day the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees.

If you see a pet trapped in a locked car, get help immediately. Call your local police department’s non-emergency number and/or animal control, and wait by the car until they arrive. If you have bottled water, you may be able to help the pet if the window is cracked and they are in distress. Some states do now allow police, animal control officers, and good Samaritans to break car windows to save pets.

Remember that even though the summer can be a fun time, it can also be very stressful for pets. Your pet may have a tendency to “overdo” summer fun so it’s up to you to make sure they stay safe. Have a great summer and please be sure to check out the resources below for more information.


Humane Society of the US:


Red Cross:

Let’s Roar For #CeciltheLion


For years, Cecil the Lion was the face of Hwange National Park. Part of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit’s  study on African lions, Cecil was GPS-chipped and featured on their website along with the rest of his pride. The 13-year-old, black-maned lion was not only a key element in WCRU’s research, but loved by many around the world and a favorite on safari tours.

On July 6, Cecil was found dead after being lured outside the Hwange National Park by hunting guides paid by Walter Palmer, an American “trophy” hunter who had been cited in the past for illegal hunting. Palmer paid $55,000 to arrange the “hunt”, which involved his guides tying a dead goat to the back of a truck to lure Cecil into an unprotected area, spotlighting the lion so he couldn’t see his “hunters,” and then ineptly shooting (but not killing) the lion. After being…

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