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What is National Cupcake Day™?

National Cupcake Day™ is a coordinated Canadian event to support local shelters, SPCAs, and Humane Societies.  The event is supported by the Ontario SPCA and BC SPCA on behalf of participating local shelters, SPCAs, and Humane Societies.

The concept of National Cupcake Day™  is as simple as it is sweet. Participants register online to host a National Cupcake Day™ party in their community on any date in January or February. They then invite co-workers, friends and family to enjoy a sweet treat in support of animals in need. In exchange for a cupcake, guests donate to the participating animal welfare charity of the host’s choice, raising critically-needed funds for animals that are abused, abandoned, neglected or no longer wanted.

Each year thousands of abused, abandoned and neglected animals across Canada are rescued by SPCAs and Humane Societies. The funds you raise for National Cupcake Day™ will have a significant impact on the shelters, clinics and animal cruelty inspectors in your community, ensuring that their life-saving work continues.

The  #1 reason people participate in this event is because they love animals.  Our social media pages are an animal page first and a cupcake page second. Almost all the highest engagement/click through posts on NCCD pages were animal related. Preferably a combination of animals & baking content is best. We measure social media content through “Acquisition through Social channels” by Google Analytics.

Commencing September 2017, you will provide the following social media management services for the National Cupcake Day campaign:

Included:

  • Detailed intake session
  • Monthly Promotional timeline for all platforms (social media plan for each month)
  • Engagement strategy
  • Curate and create all content, including but not limited to:
  • Original Cupcake Day SPCA photos
  • In house Instagram Story Videos
  • Original Cupcake Day memes and shareables
  • Cupcake Day related content (based on previously successful content)
  • Geo targeted influencer program
  • Develop and implement contests across all platforms
  • Manage and optimize any paid social and search advertising
  • Provide paid advertising analytics weekly
  • Adjust posts and time allocation to optimize for conversion across all platforms. Numbers are not set in stone, if one platform is far out performing the others – shift more time towards   that platform.

Facebook

  • 7 Facebook posts per week
  • 5 posts with national content
  • 2 posts with Affiliate content (Visit affiliate social media pages weekly and use their best performing content. Copy and paste with ''Participating shelter [Tag their page] have their cupcake dollars at work doing... (adoption/rescue/cruelty investigation etc) insert original affiliate post”
  • Encourage and manage community conversation
  • Respond to and field any inquiries
  • Direct traffic to our National Cupcake Day™ website
  • Increase following and engagement
  • Develop and manage all boosted posts
  • Provide weekly report
  • Write short weekly blog posts to promote aspects of the campaign (based on facebook’s new rules for boosted posts, link to the blog will be in the post)
  • Put together social media contests
  • Facebook live videos when applicable opportunities arrive during campaign
  • Upload previous participant emails to invite them to like the page
  • Invite engaged users that are not following on high performing/boosted posts
  • Work with the Ad Coordinator to share strategy, learnings.
  • Respond to all Facebook ad comments in a timely manner, manage any inappropriate material, or material that depresses conversion and alert Ad Coordinator if there are any major issues (controversial comments, etc)

Instagram

  • 1 Instagram post daily
  • Weekly Instagram stories
  • Develop and encourage National Cupcake Day hashtag use
  • Direct traffic to other social platforms
  • Encourage and manage community conversation
  • Create and optimize Instagram advertising
  • Instagram advertising will use separate ads - do not use a single ad to go towards both instagram and Facebook audience.
  • If Instagram advertising is not performing, redirect funds to FB ads
  • Increase following and engagement
  • Implement ‘swipe up’ feature in Instagram stories to engage more traffic
  • Provide weekly report

Twitter

  • 1 Tweet daily
  • Re-tweet premium community Tweets
  • Engage with relevant community members to leverage the Cupcake Day account (i.e. food bloggers, bakeries, etc)
  • Encourage and manage community conversation
  • Respond to all inquiries and Tweets in a timely manner
  • Create and manage promoted Tweets
  • Increase following and engagement
  • Provide weekly report

Pinterest

  • 3 original pins per week
  • Up to 5 re-pins per week
  • Direct traffic to other social platforms
  • Engage with community members
  • Increase following and engagement
  • Provide weekly report

Dates of Engagement: 

September 1, 2017 - March 1, 2018

How to apply:

Please send a cover letter telling us a bit about yourself, and why you think you’d be a good fit. Please include links to any social media account you currently manage and/or a portfolio, and your fee to:

Nicole Hill
Manager, National Cupcake Day
info@nationalcupcakeday.ca

 

Ontario SPCA adoption centres have a wide range of wonderful dogs available for adoption. Dogs who are surrendered to animal shelters represent every breed, age, size, health and temperament. Like people, dogs have varying needs and personalities so it’s important to find the right match between you, your lifestyle and your new canine companion. Don’t judge a dog by his appearance! Not all terrier or terrier-crosses are high energy and not all retrievers or retriever-crosses are great family pets. The benefit of adopting is discovering characteristics you love in an unlikely package.

To help you choose a dog that will fit with your lifestyle and expectations, below is a list of four age categories and the general characteristics (benefits and challenges!) of each. That being said, often the dog we pick is one that steals are heart regardless of prior research - if so, make sure you are willing to give the animal the love, energy and devotion they deserve! Most dogs available for adoption are simply the victims of unfortunate or tragic circumstances in a previous home.

Sweet seniors: Eight and older

Adopters of seniors say that despite the short time the dog may spend in their life every moment is a blessing - whether it was three months or three years. Indeed the beauty of adopting senior dogs is their wonderful temperaments and training - and how gratifying it is to help make a dog’s last years - the best of its life. Benefits and challenges include: Senior dogs are almost always housetrained. Even if a senior dog is raised outside he will generally be clean inside because he’s used to eliminating on outdoor surfaces (he’s developed a surface preference for grass, dirt etc.). Senior dogs have long-since given up any destructive chewing habits. Most senior dogs require minimal to moderate amounts of exercise.

Amazing adults: One and a half to eight years

Adopting adult dogs is an excellent choice if you want more of a ready-made dog than puppies or adolescents which require significant time and energy to raise. Adult dogs still have a good many years left, and mature dogs (five and older) often need little in the way of training or fine tuning. Benefits and challenges include: Many adult dogs are often housetrained and already have some training. Adult dogs are almost always finished with destructive chewing (dogs that are two-yearsold or more seldom chew your belongings for ADOPTING A SHELTER DOG choosing the right companion ADOPTING A SHELTER DOG choosing the right companion reasons other than severe separation problems - which is quite rare).

Older dogs are usually the last to be adopted from shelters (homes are desperately needed for these animals). Adult dogs can be just as charming, cute, sweet and loveable as their younger counterparts (all dogs can learn new tricks - no matter what their age!) You know the dog’s full-grown size and have a better idea of his temperament (the adult dog is done developing most of his behaviours).

Action-packed adolescents: Five months to 18 months

This age category is a great age to adopt if you are committed to putting in the extra time and energy adolescents require. The dog has many years ahead of him but still retains the puppy cute factor you may crave. Benefits and challenges include: Even if they’re not fully housetrained they can hold their bladder and bowels longer - making them a better choice than puppies if you work outside the home. During adolescence, dogs, like teenagers, become more independent and develop competing interests, many which become distractions to training.

To maintain response reliability, all of the dog’s hobbies and competing interests should be used as rewards. For example, request a sit before feeding meals or a down before taking the dog on a walk. Training is considered essential at this age to help owners learn how to handle their dog’s high energy level and growing independence with consistent and gentle guidance and leadership. Two or three vigorous walks a day or visits to a secure off-leash area for doggie play or a rousing game of fetch is essential to help curb your dog’s energy and youthful exuberance. Without adequate exercise your dog can start other recreational habits such as chewing, digging and barking to release pent up energy and to relieve boredom. The formula for how long a puppy can be left alone and control their bladder and bowels is to take their age in months and add one, up to eight months - at which point nine hours becomes the very top limit (less for smaller sized dogs).

Playful puppies: Eight weeks to 20 weeks

Benefits of adopting a puppy include the ability, at this age more than any other, for you to influence your dog’s temperament (the puppy’s critical socialization period is up until 16 weeks). Yet taking care of a puppy is much more timeconsuming then caring for most adult or senior dogs. Benefits and challenges include: Puppies are like babies. They learn from every interaction with you and require consistent guidance, a patient teacher, and an extraordinary amount of attention.

Puppies may engage in play biting and chew furniture or other household items. A seven to nine week old puppy will need to go out and eliminate approximately every three hours during the day - however, a puppy must also be supervised continuously when you’re together until he can hold his bladder and bowels and eliminate in the chosen area (crate training will help speed up this process). Will you or someone else be able to come home during the day to let your puppy outside? Even puppies older than nine weeks can only be left alone for short periods. To determine the time, calculate one hour for every month of your puppy’s age, than add one. For example, a fourmonth-old puppy can regularly be left alone for five hours.

You will need to wake up earlier in the mornings to let your puppy out and you may also need to set your alarm in the middle of the night for a couple of days or weeks if your puppy has a small bladder. You are raising a puppy during its critical socialization period - if you spend little time at home and the puppy is not adequately socialized during this time you can contribute to future behaviour problems including fear and/or aggression. Fortunately, most people raise puppies well so if you don’t have time to raise a puppy there are many adolescent, adult or senior dogs who have wonderful temperaments and need a home. Dogs of any age can bond very strongly to their new owner - and many older adopted dogs form a very quick and intense bond.

Special notes: Adopting a puppy before eight weeks of age is not recommended. Developmentally, puppies are not ready to leave their littermates or their mother until they are seven or eight-weeks-old. Mixed breeds are considered more resistant to certain health problems than purebred dogs. A dog’s individual temperament, not his or her sex, determines their level of affection, activity level etc. If you are a sedentary person, adopting a highenergy dog would be doing both the animal and yourself a disservice.

Now what?

If you are ready for a dog in your life, please visit your nearest Ontario SPCA adoption centre. If on your first visit you don’t find the dog for you - don’t worry - visit as many times as you like to meet the new dogs at the shelter and to find one that captures your heart! For help making your adoption successful dog training is invaluable! Read our fact sheet on How to Choose a Dog Trainer to help you get started. Also, read the fact sheet 10 Tips to a Successful Adoption for tips to help you make your adoption successful.

While some people identify themselves as a “cat” or “dog” person - many of us are both! Still, some of us may be delaying a multi-species family, concerned by the familiar phrase “fighting like cats and dogs.” The good news is that with sensible adoption decisions, positive and rewarding introductions, good management and a little training, many cats and dogs can live together peacefully.

Playing matchmaker:

Key ingredients to a successful relationship If you have a cat and are planning to adopt a dog, try to find an animal with a known history of being accepting of cats and/or other small animal species. While adopting a puppy and raising her to know only appropriate behaviour around other animals is an option, adopting a dog who has lived with cats previously is usually safest (as with all animals, be prepared for a period of introduction). Shelters often know if a dog has successfully lived with a cat or other animal, or they will test to see how the pet behaves in the presence of one.

Do breed research before selecting a dog. A dog’s desire to chase something that moves is innate, hardwired behaviour and some breeds have been deliberately bred to be aroused by movement more than others. There are, however, exceptions to every rule. Many dogs traditionally associated with high prey drives - such as herding dogs, terriers, sighthounds and huskies - get along fabulously with cats, so keep an open mind and work together with shelter staff to find the right match.

If you have a dog and are planning to adopt a cat, help teach your dog to behave appropriately around cats before you bring your new animal home. Work on improving your dog’s response to “sit,” “down,” “stay,” “come” and “leave it,” so she can respond reliably with distractions. If you need help, join a positive reinforcement training class. 

Setting the mood:

Good management essential To help your cat feel safe while adapting to the sounds and smells of your dog, confine your cat to a small area, such as a bathroom or office, with his litter box, bedding and toys. Make frequent visits to keep your cat company! For the first couple of weeks, keep your dog on leash in the cat’s presence. When your dog is ready to be let off leash, it is essential to give your cat “dog-free” zones he can retreat to for safety if needed (use baby gates or other barriers that limit your dog’s freedom). Cats are generally safe around puppies, as a well socialized cat can put a puppy in its place; however, shyer cats may not be so bold and need to be separated until the puppy is older and learns self-control. Kittens, because of their small size, should not be left unsupervised around dogs.

Taking it slow:

Creating positive experiences Throughout the introduction process ensure your dog is leashed, supervised, and treated for good behaviour (you can help your dog respond reliably to requests by using treats to “lure” her into a sit or down etc.). Slowly build up the time the animals spend together and keep it positive. If you are constantly stressed or punishing your dog when your cat is nearby, such as keeping the leash taunt, popping the leash or yelling at her - your dog may come to associate these negative experiences with your cat and redirect aggression towards him.

Help your pets become accustomed to each other’s scents by rubbing a towel on your cat and putting it under the food dish of your dog (and vice versa), and switching beds or sleeping blankets between your pets.

In addition, you can start feeding their meals on either side of the door to your cat’s temporary room. At first their dishes should be placed at least a few feet apart on each side. If they remain calm, gradually move the dishes closer until they can eat comfortably standing directly on either side of the door. If either animal becomes stressed, move the dishes further apart and repeat the process at a slower pace. 

Making the introductions:

Keeping it friendly Depending on your pets’ prior experiences, genetics and personalities, the introduction process described below may take as little as one session, or as much as three to four weeks to complete.

Note: If you have multiple dogs, it’s best to introduce the cat to one dog at a time.

  1. Pick a spacious room. Have a helper place your cat in his carrier on a table (or their lap). Enter the room from the opposite end with your dog on a flat collar and leash.
  2. Feed tasty treats with your dog and cat at a distance that both are relaxed (not barking, lunging or fearful).
  3. Decrease the distance slightly between your cat and dog and continue feeding treats.
  4. Once both are comfortable when the dog is in close proximity to the cat in her crate, return to the far end of the room with your dog and open the crate door. Keep your cat restrained, ideally on a harness and leash.
  5. Repeat the process of bringing them gradually closer together while feeding treats as long as both remain relaxed and comfortable (both are restrained).
  6. Return to the original distance (cat and dog far apart) and release the cat (dog is still restrained). If at any time during this process either pet becomes stressed or fearful (refusing to eat can be a sign of stress), go back a step and proceed more slowly

Giving love a second chance:

Cat - chase = treats While it can be challenging to change your dog’s inappropriate behaviours around cats, it is possible in many cases. The key is understanding that it’s the association between the cat, and the dog’s experience that cats often run away, that make cats such high-arousal chase objects. By following the steps below you can help your dog replace the “cat=chase” association with “cat=yummy treat from mom and dad” association.

  • Find a comfortable spot to sit and relax with your dog on leash. Have a helper appear with your cat at a distance that your dog can remain calm (does not bark or lunge). As long as the cat remains in view feed bits of super tasty treats to your dog.
  • Have your helper disappear with the cat. Immediately, stop feeding treats to your dog. 3. Repeat step one and two until your dog looks to you for a treat every time the cat appears. At this point you can reduce the distance slightly and repeat steps one and two. Repeat, repeat, repeat! Go slowly and increase the distance at any point your dog becomes agitated. End each session on a successful note.

True love or rocky road?

When your cat is comfortable enough around your dog to come out from her “safety zone” and mingle with family, and your dog is reliably calm around your cat, you can take off your dog’s leash and allow them to start sharing their home together. Remember to supervise closely until you are confident they are safe together. How long it will take to get to this step will depend on the animals involved.

If introductions go poorly, early intervention and advice from a professional (such as a dog trainer or animal behaviourist), is recommended to increase the likelihood that the conflict can be resolved and to reduce the risk of injury from a pet fight. Do not attempt to punish any of your pets as this can easily make the situation worse and make the pets more aggressive or fearful. Fortunately, with professional guidance most pets can learn to live together peaceably in happy harmony.

It’s not uncommon for dogs and cats to develop a friendship that lasts a lifetime!

 

Adopting a dog changes your life forever. You gain a loving companion who greets your homecomings with joyful abandon (irregardless of if you were gone five minutes or five hours), an eager partner to join you on every adventure (whether it’s placing your recyclables at the curb or visiting a park), and an inspirational sidekick who lives each moment to the fullest.

Adoption also changes some of the people in your life (dogs attract new friends!), your activity level (lace up those walking shoes), your schedule (dogs need companionship and can’t be left alone for long hours) and your spending habits. As you consider whether or not you are ready to adopt, keep in mind the commitment and responsibilities involved.

To help you make your decision, below is information on ownership responsibilities, general characteristics of each age group, and a quick quiz to determine if your reasons for adoption have the best interests of the dog at heart.

General considerations

  • Small dogs may live for 15 or more years and large dogs typically live less than 12 years.
  • Dogs need regular exercise and should be walked two or three times a day (the backyard does not provide enough exercise, stimulation or fun). Some dogs require vigorous off-leash exercise too.
  • You should attend training classes to help you understand your dog and develop a clear and consistent way of communicating - most lessons are one hour a week in class for eight weeks.
  • Dogs require regular grooming to keep their coats healthy and clean (you will need to do this yourself or take him to a groomer who may cost $160 to $200 per year depending on the breed and frequency).
  • Dogs require regular nail trimming and teeth brushing (dogs use special toothpaste available at pet stores).
  • You will need to clean your home more, particularly if you have a long-haired dog.
  • Dogs need and crave companionship and should spend most of their time inside with their family.
  • The cost of adopting a dog is only the initial expense. You will need to provide food, identification (dog tags, microchips and licensing your pet); ongoing veterinary care, including vaccinations, possible surgeries and dental care; and ongoing supplies, such as food, dishes, toys and grooming tools.
  • The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association estimates that it costs $1,065.14 annually to care for an adult 40-pound dog, $1,970.74 for a female puppy and $1928.91 for a male puppy (2005 figures).
  • Studies have shown that dogs are good for your health and can help you withstand life stresses!

Age considerations

The puppy years (Eight weeks to 20 weeks)

Few can resist the soft and loving face of a puppy - yet caring for a puppy and helping shape its temperament is a great responsibility. Without a proper foundation in life, puppies often develop future behaviour problems. To help determine if you’re up to the challenge of raising a puppy, consider that puppies are like babies. They learn from every interaction with you and require consistent guidance, a patient teacher, and an extraordinary amount of attention. Puppies may engage in play biting and chew furniture or other household items, and a seven to nine week old puppy will need to go out and eliminate approximately every three hours during the day. Even puppies older than nine weeks can only be left alone for short periods. Puppies must be supervised continuously when you’re together until they can hold their bladder and bowels and eliminate in the chosen area. In addition, you are raising a puppy during its critical socialization period. If you spend little time at home and the puppy is not adequately socialized during this time, you can contribute to future fear and/or aggression. For a puppy, socializing is meeting new people and dogs of all ages and experiencing new places and objects every day.

The teenage years (five months to 18 months)

Adolescent dogs are like giant puppies; however, even if they’re not fully housetrained, they can hold their bladder and bowels longer - making them a better choice to adopt than a puppy if you work outside the home. While housetraining may be easier with an adolescent dog, adolescence has its own challenges. Consider that during adolescence, dogs, like teenagers, become more independent and develop competing interests, many of which become distractions to training. To maintain response reliability, all of the dog’s hobbies and competing interests should be used as rewards. For example, requesting a sit before feeding a meal, or a down-stay before taking the dog on a walk. Indeed, training is essential at this age to give the dog clear guidance and gentle leadership. Adequate exercise is also essential at this age. Two or three vigorous walks a day or visits to a secure off-leash area for doggie play or a rousing game of fetch is necessary to burn off your dog’s youthful energy. With too little exercise, your dog can start other recreational habits such as chewing, digging and barking to release pent up energy and to relieve boredom.

The adult years (One and a half to eight years)

Adult dogs (dogs don’t fully mature until they are three to four years of age) typically present less challenges than puppies or adolescent dogs - and in the mid-to-older-adult range (five and older) generally need little training. Consider that many adult dogs are often housetrained and already have some training. Adult dogs are almost always finished with destructive chewing. Dogs who are two-years-old or more seldom chew your belongings for reasons other than severe separation problems - which is quite rare. Additionally, you know the dog’s full-grown size and have a better idea of his temperament since the adult dog is done developing most of his behaviours.

The senior years (Eight years and older)

The beauty of senior dogs is that they usually come as perfect packages. Consider that senior dogs are almost always housetrained. Even if a senior dog is raised outside he will generally be clean inside because he’s used to eliminating on outdoor surfaces (he’s developed a surface preference for grass, dirt etc.). Additionally, senior dogs have long-since given up any destructive chewing habits and most senior dogs require minimal to moderate amounts of exercise making them ideal for people who do not have a very active lifestyle.

Quiz: Why do you want a dog?

There are many good reasons to adopt a dog. You may be looking for companionship or want to help a homeless animal. But other reasons do not benefit the dog, such as “for protection,” as a gift for someone, or “for the children.”

For protection: As your dog’s guardian, it is your responsibility to protect your dog, not vice versa! Not all dogs are protective, even if physical characteristics may make the dog look “tough.” On the other hand, encouraging protective behaviour is very dangerous; not just to strangers, but also to you and your family. If your dog bites someone, you can be prosecuted under the Dog Owners’ Liability Act.

As a gift: An animal that is given as an unwanted gift may be neglected or end up homeless. The recipient may not be prepared to provide for their needs, or may wish to choose their own pet. If you believe that someone close to you wants a dog, give them all the “dog stuff,” like a bed, collar and leash, toys, brushes, treats and bowls. Then let them choose for themselves.

For children: Parents must realize that it is their responsibility to properly feed, exercise and train the family dog. Dogs are wonderful companions but both dogs and children can be unpredictable if left unsupervised. Parents must always supervise the dog when he is with young children.

Now what?

If you are convinced that you are ready for a dog in your life, please visit your nearest Ontario SPCA adoption centre. Adoption centre staff will help you through every step of finding your special friend - one that is just right for you. They will answer any questions, help you decide which pet is a good match, and be available for any advice you may want following your pet adoption. Also read Choosing the Right Companion and 10 Tips to a Successful Adoption to help prepare you for a successful adoption.

Cat behaviour issues

These are a few tips to help you deal with common cat behaviour issues. For more details, consult with your veterinarian, an animal behaviourist or humane trainer.

She won't use the litter box!

Medical conditions, such as diarrhea or bladder problems, may cause litter box issues. If your cat stops using the litter box, take her to your veterinarian to rule out any medical problems.

Kittens are usually trained by their mothers to have proper litter box etiquette. If your cat seems untrained, try confining her in a small room, such as a bathroom, with her litter box, bed and food bowls. Put her bed and bowls as far from the litter box as possible within this small room. The confinement encourages your cat to use the litter box; if she chooses not to use it, she risks soiling near her food. Cats are clean animals by nature and the thought of soiling near their food is offensive. Try this method for approximately two weeks. This is NOT punishment! Don't leave her alone in the room for extended periods. If it doesn't seem to be working, or if your cat reverts back to not using the litter box once let out of the smaller room, there may be other reasons for her behaviour, and you should consult your veterinarian.

Cats need clean litter, in a clean litter box, in a location that is relatively quiet and easily accessible. Litter must be cleaned daily, and the litter should be changed at least once a week. Unneutered males or unspayed females may mark their territory - your house - to ward off intruders or to attract mates. Stress due to new pets in the house, visitors, redecorating or moving can cause inappropriate litter box habits. Try to eliminate the stressors, or provide your cat with "his own space," a private spot with all his "cat stuff:" litter box, toys, bed and scratching post.

He's scratching and clawing me and/or my furniture!

Cats have a natural desire to scratch and claw. If he's scratching your furniture or carpeting, provide him with a sturdy scratching post and place toys and catnip around it to entice him. Praise and reward him for using it. Keep a spray bottle full of water handy, and anytime you catch him scratching inappropriately, spray him with the water, but try not to let him see that it's you spraying him. Most cats find this startling and offensive, and will assume that the couch is what sprayed them. If he catches on that it's you spraying him, he will quickly learn that it's safe to scratch the furniture when you're not around. Using this method consistently will usually deter him from this bad habit. If the spray bottle doesn't seem to be doing the trick, apply double-sided tape, aluminum foil or vinyl sheeting to the areas that your cat is scratching. Cats are quite finicky about their paws, and don't like the feel of these materials.

If the cat is scratching and clawing you, ensure that he is provided with alternative sources for play. This bad habit usually begins when the cat is a kitten, and he is encouraged to chase and play with people's hands and fingers. This may seem cute when your kitten is tiny, but once he's a full-grown adult, with adult teeth and claws, the game becomes a lot less fun, and a lot more painful. A balled up pair of socks is usually a good substitute item for cats to grab and hold with all four paws. You can also cover your hands with a bad-tasting spray or lotion called "Bitter Apple", available at most pet supply stores.

Trim your cat's nails every week or two; just trim the sharp ends of the nail, and be sure not to cut too close to the pink area. Ask your veterinarian to demonstrate the proper technique.

She's stalking me and playing late at night! Things to consider:

  • Your cat may be bored because she is left alone for too long during the day with nothing to do.
  • Cats need at least 15 minutes of daily active play time and kittens need even more than that.
  • Cats enjoy a variety of safe toys, free of strings or yarn that can be swallowed and cause health problems. Toys that can be batted and rolled around are the most popular, and encourage lots of active movement around the house while you're not there.
  • Cats are naturally active at night, so have your play sessions in the early evening so that when you go to bed, your cat will be tired too.
  • Give your cat a scratch post that allows her to look out the window, and place a bird feeder outside the same window. Watching the birds will provide your cat with much needed mental stimulation, while keeping the birds safely outside of her reach.
  • Consider closing your bedroom door when you go to sleep. This will send a clear message that you're not interested in playing.

You can also consider adding another cat to your household, but should first consider the following questions:

  • Can you afford the added expenses that come with adding another cat to your household?
  • Would you resident cat welcome the addition of another feline? A younger cat may be happy to have a companion to play with, but an older cat may not be interested in sharing his house with a young spunky kitten or younger cat. Your resident cat MUST be your primary consideration.
  • Getting another cat won't necessarily stop the night-time antics - you may simply end-up with two cats frolicking in the wee hours of the morning.

He's ruining the plants!

Cats are fascinated with anything that moves when they touch it. Plants should be moved out of his reach, so that he cannot claw them or eat them. Try growing catnip or wheat grass for him. If he is digging or urinating in the soil around your plants, cover the dirt with fine gauge wire or gravel. If you catch your cat in the act, you can discourage his behaviour with a squirt from a water bottle.

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