America’s Most Cat-Friendly Cities

We’ve heard a lot about what makes a city dog-friendly, such as amenities like parks and restaurants that welcome dogs.  But what makes a city cat-friendly?

Since we don’t normally take our cats out and about with us, are there other factors that make a place cat-friendly?  Turns out, the answer is yes!

Trupanion and Redfin recently teamed up to create a list of the top 25 cat-friendly cities in the U.S.  The criteria used include good access to feline-specific services such as veterinary clinics, hospitals, and shelters/rescues.

They also looked at homes for sale that had cat-friendly features like enclosed outdoor patios, room to climb, and extra bathrooms for litter boxes.

Another element considered was a lack of environmental hazards for cats with access to the outdoors (fewer parasites and poisonous plants, etc.)

Factoring in all these cat-friendly elements, the top cites for felines are:

1) Corvallis, Ore.

2) Spokane, Wash.

3) Orlando, Fla.

4) Bellingham, Wash.

5) Tulsa, Okla.

6) Raleigh, N.C.

7) New York, N.Y.

8) Dayton, Ohio

9) Clarksville, Tenn.

10) San Antonio, Tex.

11) Albuquerque, N. Mex.

12) Eugene, Ore.

13) Boston, Mass.

14) Allentown, Penn.

15) Dover, Del.

16) Columbus, Ohio

17) Boise, Idaho

18) Louisville, Ky.

19) Tacoma, Wash.

20) Lincoln, Neb.

21) Portland, Ore.

22) Minneapolis, Minn.

23) Knoxville, Tenn.

24) Santa Rosa, Calif.

25) Oakland, Calif.

The folks at Trupanion and Redfin remind pet owners that when searching for a new home in a new city, be sure to look at both the features of the house and the nearby facilities to maintain your pet’s health.

 

The Genetics of White “Socks” in Our Pets

White paws, often called socks, are an endearing color marking in our pets.  Socks are often seen in cats, but can also be found in dogs and other animals like horses and guinea pigs.

Where do socks come from?  According to a recent article in Popular Science, which outlines some new scientific research on the genetics of coat color, white socks are a form of piebaldism (a genetic mutation that causes white patches of skin and hair).

Before birth, the cells that give color to a kitten’s eyes, skin, and hair (called melanocytes) are concentrated along the back.  During development, these pigment cells move to other areas of the body.

Sometimes the distribution is even, giving the cat a solid color.  But sometimes the color is spread unevenly, leaving white socks on the feet.  Many cats with white feet also have other white areas, such as the chest, belly, and part of the face.  Tuxedo cats are a good example of this.

Interested in learning more about the genetics of coat color in dogs and cats?  Check out this guide to coat colors and patterns in cats…and this one for dogs!

 

Video: Construction Workers Rescue Stowaway Kittens from Steel Column

Five tiny kittens made big news here in San Diego recently!  Workers on a construction site were surprised to hear meows coming from a 60 foot steel column that had traveled hundreds of miles from Hayward to San Diego on a truck.

After failing to coax the kittens out with food, the workers had to tip the long tube over and slide them out.  Inside were a litter of 3 males and 2 females, just one week old!

Rescuers from the San Diego Humane Society came to the construction site and brought the kittens to SDHS’s 24 hour kitten nursery.

The kittens—named Crowbar, Rebar, Chisel, Jackhammer, and Piper—are now 4 weeks old and in foster care, where they will remain until they are ready for adoption at 8 weeks.

Check out the heartwarming video from San Diego Humane here:

 

Spending on US Pets Reaches All-Time High in 2018

The American Pet Products Association recently released its latest pet industry spending numbers and reports that we spent a record-breaking $72.56 billion on our pets in 2018, up $3 billion from the 2017 figures.

The survey found that millennial pet owners are driving the spending, with their willingness to pay more than previous generations for quality pet products and services.

Here are a few key spending figures from the APPA survey:

  • Food: $30.32 billion
  • Supplies and over the counter medications: $16.01 billion
  • Veterinary care: $18.11 billion
  • Live animal purchases: $2.01 billion (this is down 4.3% from 2017)
  • Other services (boarding, grooming, etc.): $6.11 billion

Premium brand pet foods and treats continue to be a driving factor in pet industry growth.  Other areas of growth include nutritional supplements and digital pet-related technologies.

The APPA also notes that Americans, especially millennials, are acquiring greater numbers of pets through shelters and rescues, which may account for the decrease in live animal sales.

Check out the statistics, including spending estimates for 2019, on the APPA website HERE.

 

Is Pet Insurance the Right Choice for You?

The start of a new year is the time when many us of make resolutions to take better care of our health.  But what about our pets?  Do your wellness plans for your best friend include getting pet health insurance?

Many dog and cat owners consider pet insurance, and some employers even offer it as part of their employee benefits package.  But is it the right option for you?

The decision to get insurance for your pet depends on many individual factors.  Here are some questions you can ask yourself—and any potential insurance companies—before you buy.

What is the annual cost of pet insurance?

This can depend on your particular situation, including the cost of living in your area and the breed and age of your pet.  Consumer advocates warn that the cost of your annual premium may be higher than the benefits you receive.

One study found that while the cost for coverage is around $500 a year, most pet owners saw only around $275 in paid claims.

Do you own a “high-risk” dog breed?

Cats are generally less expensive to insure than dogs, but not all dogs cost the same to insure.  Some breeds are much more expensive than others.

The experts at the website I Heart Dogs report that some large breed dogs like the St. Bernard and Irish Wolfhound are especially pricey to insure.

They recommend choosing a plan that covers inherited and chronic health conditions (such as hip and elbow dysplasia).  Make sure the plan covers all aspects of treatment for an illness or injury (like overnight care).

What’s covered and what’s not covered?

Make sure you understand what each insurance plan covers and what is excluded.  All plans vary but there are some general guidelines to keep in mind.

According to the website Wag! you should be prepared to cover a lot of preventive care yourself.  This includes things like dental cleanings, parasite prevention, vaccinations, spay/neuter, non-traditional therapies, and prescription diets.

What should be covered under a good plan?  Farmers Insurance notes that plans should cover treatment for accidents and injuries, and certain illnesses like cancer, arthritis, and diabetes.

Remember to review plans carefully for details on coverage of hereditary and pre-existing conditions.

How can you compare insurance plans?

Ready to look into getting pet health insurance but not sure where to start?  Check out this veterinarian-reviewed, comprehensive guide to pet health insurance plans from the website lendedu.com.