Thursday, February 1, 2018

Separation Without Anxiety

          Canine separation anxiety is a common problem. It is much easier to prevent than to correct, especially when starting with puppies. All dogs should learn to be comfortable while separated from their people, even if they are usually home all day. This isn’t difficult to teach but it does take a bit of time.

          You’ll start by designating a spot for the puppy where he can feel safe and secure. This may be a properly sized crate or cage, or it might be a small room, such as a laundry, bathroom, or kitchen with a baby gate to keep him safely enclosed.

          Put him in his crate or enclosure and give him a special toy or treat that he will only get while confined. This can be one of the interactive toys designed to keep dogs occupied, or a Kong stuffed with something yummy. If he is obsessed with a certain toy or chewy, you might use that, but be sure it is something safe for an unattended dog to have. He will soon associate his enclosure with this special treat, which will make him happier to be there.

          At first, leave the pup in the enclosure for just a few minutes. Ignore him if he protests and let him out before he has a chance to become stressed. Next time, leave him a bit longer. Gradually extend the amount of time the pup is separated from you. Use the special treat each time. In the early stages of training you can be in sight, but eventually you will leave.

          Your behavior is important during separation training. When you confine your pup, don’t be dramatic about leaving. Simply put him in his spot and give him his treat. Say goodbye if you wish, but don’t make a production out of it. When you return, greet him matter-of-factly, as if you were only gone for a moment.

          Many dog owners leave the television or radio on while their dogs are alone. The sound can mask some of the outside noises, and it can be soothing. Classical or any calm music is best. If you are leaving the television on, make sure it’s on a station that doesn’t feature screaming, car crashes, or explosions. My dogs like HGTV and Food Network. A friend swears by QVC.

          This training also works with adult dogs. You’ll follow the same steps described for puppies, but you may need to take more time at each step. Eventually you may be able to allow your dog more space, but be sure he’s ready for it.

          If you have a dog with true separation anxiety, he will show signs of stress as soon as he sees indications that you are getting ready to leave. These cues could be any number of things – picking up keys, grabbing a coat or a cup of coffee to go, picking up a purse or briefcase – anything you regularly do before leaving the house.

          Put your pet into his confinement area and pick up your car keys. Wait a
moment and then let him out. Next time, confine your dog and put on your coat. Go back and let him
out. Do this with anything your dog sees as a clue that you are about to leave him alone. Then start
combining these things.

         When he can handle these cues without being overly stressed, go out the door.
Wait a moment, then return and let your dog out again. Slowly progress until you can gather your
things and leave your dog for a reasonable amount of time without a problem.

         There are some cases when separation anxiety is so severe that you will need the aid of your veterinarian or a professional trainer. There are medications and other aids that can help when used in conjunction with a training program.

          Be reasonable about the amount of time you leave your dog. A puppy, nervous, or anxious dog will not be able to handle an eight or ten hour stretch alone. Give your pup or dog a good bit of physical exercise and mental stimulation, and try to tire him out before you leave.
With a bit of work, your dog will be comfortable when left alone.

By Dorothy Miner

Dorothy Miner is a long-time dog obedience and tracking instructor, judge of canine events, and author. She also teaches weekly classes for the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution's PETS Program.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Being "The Middle Child" and Hypothyroid Isn't So Bad

Hypothyroid "Jimmy James Jones"

                                  I sit before my computer with not a clue what to write about after many years of contributing to these veterinary  columns. Normally inspired by on-the-job experiences, I suddenly feel void of ideas. Over the years,  I have aspired to educate about every ailment that can occur for every part of a pet's body. Now faced with writer's block, I turn to the nearest thing to me (literally lying on the floor next to me) for Border Collie, "Jimmy."

                                My husband and I have always shared our home with a minimum of two dogs, the average being three. The latter is the exact number today.  Jimmy is the "middle child," flanked by his older, epileptic , half-sister, "Robbie," and the younger, animated Welsh Corgi, "Betsy Louise." With two "alphas" bossing him around, Jimmy learned quickly to be "a beta."  I like to call Jimmy "the brightest bulb in the pack," not only because he figured out this social hierarchy early on, but also because he is frankly very intelligent. In short, Jimmy is the easy child.

                                While Robbie, at age 14, is in the winter of her life, and still taking high doses of anticonvulsants, and Betsy Louise has torn ligaments in both of her knees,  Jimmy's only ailment has been hypothyroidism, a condition  that isn't "flashy," nor difficult to treat. In fact, like Jimmy, hypothyroidism is very easy to manage.

                                Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, is thought to be caused by a dog's immune system attacking its own thyroid glands. This autoimmune activity results in low production of thyroxine, the hormone of metabolism that turns food into fuel. 

                                As many as 60% of middle-aged, large breed dogs will become hypothyroid. In addition, certain dog breeds are over-represented when it comes to low thyroid function and these include Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Dobermans, English Bulldogs, Boxers, Great Danes, Dachshunds, Cocker Spaniels and, of course, Border Collies.

                                Symptoms of low thyroid function may include thinning hair, pigmentation of skin, sluggishness, weight gain, slow heart rate, muscle wasting, skin and ear infections, intolerance to cold, infertility and mental dullness. Some dogs will only experience neurologic symptoms such as seizures, balance disorders and facial nerve paralyses.

                                Diagnosing hypothyroidism involves a simple blood test to measure the dog's Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) produced by the pituitary gland in the brain, as well as its levels of Total T4 (TT4) and  Free T4 (FT4) hormones produced by the thyroid glands themselves. The classic canine hypothyroid patient will have high levels of TSH in the company of below normal levels of TSH.                              

                                Jimmy, and all hypothyroid patients, are treated by administration of economical, twice daily doses of a manufactured hormone in tablet form called levothyroxine or L-thyroxine.  This prescription medication is available in a variety of strengths because each dog's needs are unique. Once diagnosed and treated, follow-up testing to verify dose accuracy, and periodic blood monitoring, are essential to keeping hypothyroid dogs in good regulation and health.  Treatment of hypothyroidism will then be lifelong.

                                If not diagnosed and properly treated, low thyroid hormone levels can result in a rare, but  life-threatening  "myxedema  crisis." Common to Doberman Pinschers, symptoms of this medical emergency include hypothermia, extreme weakness, mental dullness and thickened facial skin above the eyes and along the jowls. Pet owners often do not recognize this oncoming crisis because it is gradual in onset, but serious at its peak.

                                All too often dog owners assume that their pet is slowing down simply due to growing older,  when  in fact they are "growing hypothyroid." Appropriate and timely diagnosis of this readily treated malady makes a huge difference in the patient's quality of life. Because of this, hypothyroidism is a condition I truly love to diagnose and treat.

                                Just ask Jimmy as he is about to celebrate his 11th birthday and acts like a puppy since on thyroid medication.

By Dr. Bonnie Jones 

Dr. Bonnie Jones practices at Delphos Animal Hospital with her husband, John H. Jones, DVM.  She was valedictorian and Outstanding Senior Clinician of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 1985.

Please Don't Leave Me!


           Coming home to the scene of massive doggy destruction isn’t anybody’s idea of a good thing.  Nor is coming home to puddles or piles in the house, gouged woodwork around the windows and doors, or neighbor complaints about barking and howling.  Often owners cite separation anxiety as being the cause of these problems.

          Separation problems are pretty common, but not all separation problems are true separation anxiety.  There are many reasons for destructive and undesirable behavior.   Separation anxiety is certainly one of them but, before deciding that this is the problem, others must be ruled out. How do you know if you’re dealing with the need for more training or true separation anxiety?

           If the problems occur when the owner is present, it most likely is not separation anxiety.  Medical problems or incomplete housetraining can be the cause of the urination and defecation problems.  Sometimes the dog has been allowed too much freedom for its age and level of training, particularly if the dog is a puppy or adolescent, or new to the home.  Sometimes the dog has been left alone for an unreasonable amount of time and stress causes it to misbehave. 
          Chewing may be because a puppy is teething, or it may be because the dog has not been taught what is his to chew.  It may be boredom or lack of adequate exercise and mental stimulation.  Barking can be caused by outside stimuli – a squirrel in the tree, birds at a feeder, a cat, the mailman, etcetera.  In many cases, the problems stem from the fact that the dog has not learned to be alone for any period of time.  
          A training program that gradually increases the time the dog is left alone, while keeping it occupied with interactive toys or chewies, can solve the problem.  Suitable confinement (crate, pen, dog-proofed room with a baby gate) may be needed before the dog can be allowed the unsupervised run of the house.  An adequate amount of vigorous exercise before leaving the dog will also help.

            Typical symptoms of separation anxiety include destructive chewing, excessive barking or howling, attempts to dig through flooring, attempts to escape, and urinating and defecating in the house.  Dogs with severe separation anxiety have seriously injured themselves by crashing through windows, tearing out toenails or breaking teeth while attempting to get out of crates.  
            These dogs will usually start showing signs of stress as soon as the owner gives cues that he or she is getting ready to leave.  Getting dressed to go out, putting on a coat, grabbing a purse and car keys – all these things signal the dog that it is about to be left alone.  The dog may whine, drool, pace, pant excessively, tremble, or appear depressed before the owner leaves because they have learned to associate these cues with being left alone.

               Separation anxiety can be the result of several factors.  A change in homes is a frequent cause.  Dogs who had a home and then wound up in a shelter or rescue may be traumatized enough by the loss of their homes to suffer from separation anxiety after they are adopted.  The more homes a dog goes through, the worse the problem.  They cling to their new family or person, not wanting to be left alone because of past experience.  A drastic change in schedule can cause it.  
             If the owner had been home most of the day and then gets a job requiring her to be gone for long periods of time, the problem may occur.  Moving to a new and unfamiliar home can be a trigger.  A “velcro” dog that is rarely away from its owner is a prime candidate for the problem.  Absence of a loved family member may bring about separation anxiety. 

            Lessening or eliminating the problem requires careful training, counter conditioning, and sometimes even prescription medication.  It is not something that can be improved overnight and will often require professional assistance by a trainer, behavior specialist, or veterinarian with expertise in behavior problems. 

            As with so many problems, separation anxiety is often much easier to prevent than to cure.


 By Dorothy M. Miner 
Dorothy Miner is a long-time dog obedience and tracking instructor, judge of canine events, and author.  She teaches weekly classes for the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution’s PETS Program and provides training and consultation under the banner of “Sidekicks” and “Training for Dogs and Their People.”

Christmas Gift Ideas to Make Your Pet's Howl-iday Meow-y and Bright


                        'Tis the season for giving so I thought I would ”prescribe" some great Christmas gift ideas for pets. After 40 years of studying and owning Canis lupus familiaris (dogs) and Felis catus (cats), I would recommend the following holiday gifts for your four-legged family members.

                        For your dog or canines belonging to others, remember that ALL DOGS need to be on heartworm and flea control medications ALL YEAR ROUND---not just during the warmer months! The greatest gift of all is to keep any pet parasite-free! Check your supply of these items, then visit your veterinarian to stock up for the winter months. For friends and family, consider buying a gift certificate from their veterinarian so they may purchase these necessities at this time of year when excess budgets run tight.

                        Older dogs have a greater need for veterinary care and products, including orthopedic beds, geriatric vitamins, pain medications, veterinary fish oils and joint supplements. Ask your veterinarian to prescribe appropriate medications and supplements as stocking stuffers for the mature dogs on your gift-giving list. I know my senior working Border Collies would recommend a comfortably-cushioned dog bed or orthopedic mat.       

                        If you have ever been repulsed by your dog's "dragon breath," consider scheduling  a veterinary dental cleaning. These ultrasonic scalings are followed by instruction on how to maintain your dog's clean, fresh "Hollywood Smile." Your veterinary professional will  teach you how to brush your dog's teeth, and can assist in choosing appropriate chew toys, toothbrushes, pet pastes, dental wipes and tartar control treats to put under the Christmas tree.

                        While I am certain new chew toys are on every dog's wish list, making the correct and SAFE choice in this gift category can prove to be challenging for dog owners. As a participant in more intestinal foreign body retrieval surgeries for pets than I care to admit to, I can attest to this fact. Please do not put your pet at risk for a life-threatening intestinal blockage.  Ask your veterinarian to recommend chew toys specifically for your pet to avoid spending New Year's Eve at the pet emergency hospital.

                        Just as we like to "rock" new clothes over the holidays, so does your dog. Why not consider replacing that old, smelly dog collar and leash with a new, stylish harness and matching lead. Harnesses are more comfortable and kinder to your pet's airways, especially if yours is a short-muzzled dog breed. Small and short-haired dogs would also be most appreciative of an insulated, well-fitting coat at this time of year.

                        Finally, for human AND canine family members, consider pampering your dog by purchasing veterinary gift certificates for professional services like pedicures, ear cleanings, grooming, luxury boarding and entertaining day care.

                        What about our feline family members? Their wish list is similar to dog's and they, too, could benefit from a veterinary gift certificate. But, have you considered protecting your Christmas tree from your Felis catus by providing it with its own "Cat Tree?" The best thing about this gift is it can be inexpensively homemade.

                        The purpose of cat trees is to mimic the outdoors by allowing felines to "go vertical." Veterinary research has proven that many cat behavioral and health problems may be prevented through indoor "environmental enrichment." Consider helping your cat "go horizontal" as well. And by that, I mean build a skyline or "cat walk" along a ceiling, with a "cat ladder" to approach it, that is adorned with safe, strategically placed cat toys.

                        Along these same lines, note that the very best cat entertainment is generally provided by items that are already in your home. Think crumpled holiday wrapping paper, bows, gift bags and boxes to play and hide in. BUT, please (yes, I am begging) be mindful of the danger associated with cats swallowing decorative ribbon. Linear or string-like items are ALWAYS a "no-no" in any cat's environment any time of the year!

                        In addition, if like me, you do not enjoy stepping out of bed to have your toes meet up with a gross and disgusting hairball or pile of vomit, give your cat the gift of a fresh tube of cat laxative. Then, actually commit to using it regularly! This is really a gift to yourself...

                         Thank you for always making your pet's Christmas, and mine, "Meow-y and Bright" by celebrating the reason for the season with them!

By Dr. Bonnie Jones
 Dr. Bonnie Jones practices at Delphos Animal Hospital with her husband, John H. Jones, DVM.  She is questioning if it is wise to put up the Christmas tree with new kitten, "Opie," joining the family.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Challenges of a Prison Pet Program

"Wally" Miner graduated from the ACI PETS Program 8 years ago

A Prison Pets program provides undeniable benefits for both dogs and their handlers.  But it also provides some interesting challenges.  The benefits are obvious.  Dogs who might never have had a chance at finding a home receive training and affection and escape euthanasia.  Inmate handlers learn a skill and have the humanizing companionship of a dog.  

The dogs bond to their handlers – and for many dogs this is the first bond they have ever experienced.  The handlers take on the important responsibility of keeping that trust strong while molding good behavior.   

There are a host of differences between training a dog on the “outside” and training a dog in a prison setting.  Prison dogs can be with their handlers almost 100 percent of the time, but their freedom is quite limited.  They don’t have a house and yard to roam around; their home turf is a small cell shared by two men, the dog’s equipment, and the men’s belongings.  This may cause a few dogs to become quite territorial about their space, partly because it’s small and easily defensible. 

 Routine checks by corrections officers with their flashlights and jangling keys can be intimidating.  The large number of men and lack of privacy and quiet can be an issue with some of the more fearful or mistrustful dogs. 
Cleanliness can be a problem.  A single exercise yard is provided for all of the dogs and it can be deep in mud or dust, depending on the weather.  The dogs get dirty quickly.  Their bedding and towels must be washed frequently, and the dogs need frequent cleanups as well.  The program relies on donations of laundry detergent and dog shampoo to keep man, beast, and home reasonably clean.  Without these donated products, proper cleaning is impossible. Housetraining is done quickly to avoid problems.  
 Potty times are strictly regulated because the men cannot come and go to the dog exercise area as they please.  Some accommodations can be made for sick or older dogs that may need more frequent bathroom visits, but these are rare.  
Feeding the program dogs is also a challenge.  We ourselves may be able to find a food that works well for our dogs and continue feeding it, but in the prison program the brand and type of food changes frequently.  Food is donated to the program, and there is no way to stick to any one brand or type.   This can result in gastrointestinal upsets and discomfort for dogs with food allergies.  Food sensitivities can add to both cleanliness and housetraining issues.
Keeping the dogs healthy is important.  Attempts are made to keep a small supply of mostly over-the-counter medicines for the animals in the program, but at times the needed item isn’t available.   Theoretically the shelters provide these needed items, but often it is the instructors or supervising staff that purchase over-the-counter supplies out of their own pockets. 

Prescribed medicines must come from a veterinarian, and that often means that a sick or injured dog must be taken to the veterinarian’s office for examination.  If a shelter person isn’t available to transport the dog, it may delay needed medical attention.  In an emergency, especially after hours, the program manager or instructors may be required to step in to transport the animal in need to the vet.
Most of us shower our pets with toys and treats, and the program handlers would like to be able to do this as well.  But this depends solely on donations.  This also applies to needed equipment and training supplies.  If needed supplies aren’t available, the program goes without.  To make things more difficult, some commonly used supplies are not permitted inside because of ingredients or materials. 

In spite of the challenges, the P.E.T.S. Program survives.  The dogs are happy and do well and in the end, the benefits far outweigh the difficulties. 

If you would like to help out a bit, consider making donations of treats, toys, or laundry detergent to the Ohio SPCA, the Auglaize County Humane Society, or Deb’s Dogs and ask that they be used for the AOCI PETS Program.

Dorothy Miner is a long-time dog obedience and tracking instructor, judge of canine events, and author.  She teaches weekly classes for the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution’s PETS Program and provides training and consultation under the banner of “Sidekicks” and “Training for Dogs and Their People.”

A Tale of Two Kitties

The Jones Boys - "Stevie" & "Opie"
             He was the best of cats. He was the worst of cats. Quite the varied opinions regarding one small cat. But that's the nature of some felines... and their people.

            We have a new kitten addition to our family. His name is "Opie." He is about seven months old, and is, in my humble opinion, quite a cat. At times, though, he's been a little too much cat for Dr. Bonnie Jones.

            So you can imagine my surprise a couple of months ago when I peaked over her shoulder to see what she was typing, and saw she titled her column, "A New Kid In Town." Suddenly, a real feeling of warmth and goodness enveloped me. "Oh, my gosh! She does like Opie. She even wrote a column about him!"

            And then I read it. The column doesn't mention him at all. It's all about her love affairs with black and white cats. First Porky, then Jobey, and now "the new kid in town," Stevie Wonder. Except, he's not new. Heck, I wrote a column about him last January. Opie is the "new," new kid in town!

            Opie isn't black and white, either. He is a handsome shade of orange. And not just your ordinary tiger pattern. He's got swirls!

            I must confess to having a certain fondness for orange cats. I was fortunate to have a previous fifteen year relationship with a tiny, five pound marvel named Watson, the greatest cat who ever lived. This is coming from someone who has a serious case of " rodentophobia."

            Watson was my protector, my bodyguard of sorts from all things rodent. All it would take was an admittedly girly "EEK!" from yours truly, and he would be by my side in a flash to eliminate the threat. He really was amazing. I don't know how he did it.

            Thus it wasn't hard for me to take a shine to this gangly kitten who seemed to possess a certain "Watsonesque" gleam in his eye. In fact, the first night we allowed him to sleep on our bed, which was his idea by the way, I awoke at two o'clock to find him sleeping with his head on top of mine, like two skulls stacked one on top of the other. I thought that was kind of weird, yet kind of nice. What better way to bond.

            Opie was also into head-butting and face rubbing. I thought this meant he wanted to be my cat. It wasn't until I read my wife's column last week did I learn this behavior is called head-bunting. As it turns out, Opie didn't want to be my cat. He wanted me to be his.

            Although a people-oriented kitten, he enjoyed engaging our other pets, as well. He especially liked to wrestle with Betsy, our Corgi, and the aforementioned Stevie Wonder. Wrestling with Stevie, however, often  led to trouble for Opie. Even though he was younger and smaller than Stevie, their friendly bouts would usually escalate to the point where Stevie would cry out for his mommy, Bonnie. Needless to say, repeated offenses landed Opie on a certain type of list kept by their said mom. Well, that, and the Santa incident.

            My wife is not a big collector of things, except for Irish Santas. A hutch in our kitchen holds five levels of them. I always knew this would be Opie's litmus test. And one morning, he failed. I heard the scream!

            Fortunately, he just made it to level one, and only a few of the jolly old elves were knocked over. He did, however, proceed to make snowballs out of their artificial snow. Knowing that Opie wasn't alone in being in trouble, I did what needed to be done. I scooped up my orange friend and we headed to the barn.

            I feel sorry for cat owners who don't have a barn. Barns can fix a multitude of cat mistakes. Whether the issue is aggressive behavior or inappropriate elimination, time spent in the barn can have positive effects. And it doesn't have to be a permanent move.

            Opie spent the entire day there, but after the evening chores, he followed the dogs and me back to the house. And you know what?  After  twelve hours of exploration and exercise, exhaustion brought peace back to the household. Apparently, a tired kitten is a good kitten!     
Dr. John Jones practices at Delphos Animal Hospital with his wife, Dr. Bonnie Jones.

"Walk Like An Egyptian"


                                Cat Lovers unite! Did you know that October 29 is National Cat Day, a day founded to encourage cat adoption and to celebrate cats for their love and companionship? Domestication of cats dates back 4000 years to a time when Ancient Egyptians kept  cats to control pests that invaded food supplies.

                                Cats were not only revered as  hunters by Ancient Egyptians---they were also believed to be "magical," and capable of bringing good luck. So much so, that wealthy families adorned cats with jewels and fed them treats fit for royalty. Cats were also mummified when they died. Ancient Egyptians in mourning would then shave off their eye brows and mourn the loss of the cat until their brows grew back.

                                In Greek mythology, Egyptian goddess, Bastet, fulfilled many roles, including goddess of the home, domesticity, women's secrets, fertility, childbirth...and, yes, cats. First represented as a woman with the head of a lioness, Bastet's images softened over time, with later depictions showing her with a cat's head and a litter of kittens at her feet. Bastet was also believed to be able to morph into a cat at times!

                                While cats may have been the preferred companion of Ancient Egyptians, they are also commonly associated with witches and villains (think the proverbial black cat at Halloween!). I prefer to think of my feline family members and patients as masters of disguise with wicked intelligence, instead of representatives of evil.

                                To comprehend the allure of cats, one must first understand their behaviors---some have been developed out of necessity, others are just plain intriguing. Part of the delight of being a veterinarian is having the privilege of witnessing varied feline behaviors...the good, the bad, and the ugly!

                                If you have watched your cat play, you have likely seen it in a low crouch with its tail swishing, followed by a pounce on an object of its desire. In nature, this behavior will precede an attack on prey, or be carried out in response to a perceived threat. Therefore, it is not uncommon to observe this same tail-switching behavior in the veterinary setting when a feline patient's discontent is escalating. If this "tick-tock tail" is not heeded, cats will often follow through by lashing out at the nearest target.

                                Veterinary professionals heed another forewarning given by cat patients:  ears that are laid back on the head. This is a posture that precedes a conflict between cats and definitely sends the message "Back off!" Speaking from experience, you should!

                                On the contrary, "head bunting," often mistakenly labeled "head-butting," and facial rubbing, are social behaviors practiced by cat colonies to make all colony members smell alike. Cats recognize each other by scent first, so when your cat rubs its head, chin or face on you, you become your cat's possession and a member of its "club." Head bunting also indicates social rank, as dominant cats usually do the bunting. Your cat may roll over on the floor a few times before bunting YOU as a way of showing affection!

                                Have you ever witnessed your cat with its ears pricked and its mouth slightly open?  This depicts a cat using its "vomeronasal organ," an accessory scent organ, that sits forward on the roof of the mouth. When a scent is collected in the mouth, cats use their tongues to flick the scent up to the vomeronasal organ. This information processing is called a "flehmen response" and is practiced by domestic and wild animals including horses, ungulates and large felines. You may notice your cat "flehming" when it detects a new or different aroma in its environment.

                                Does your cat seem to occasionally get a case of the "zoomies" and suddenly race about? This behavior is  likely a throwback to kittenhood when your cat was learning to hunt. "Zooming" kittens will bounce sideways  with their backs arched as they fine tune their balance, speed, timing and agility. Older cats may zoom because it's just plain fun, especially if they have pent up energy. My advice is to sit back, laugh, and enjoy... unless the zooming is nocturnal. The solution to unwanted zooming at night is to engage your cat in play during the day, and feed its biggest meal at bedtime, as most cats will sleep after a meal (or big hunt).

                                These are just a few of the numerous, intriguing behaviors cats demonstrate. If, like me, you enjoy the company of cats, singular or (preferably) plural, why not "walk like an Egyptian" to your nearest shelter or cat rescue and adopt a cat in need. You may just find the "purr-fect" pet. 

Dr. Bonnie Jones practices at Delphos Animal Hospital. She celebrates National Cat Day every day with her cats, "Diane," "Stevie Wonder," and "Opie," and several, beloved barn cats.