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.

 

New California Pet Store Law Helps Shelter Animals

January 1, 2019 was the first day that a new animal welfare law went into effect here in California.  Under this law (called the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act), pet stores cannot sell dogs, cats, or rabbits unless they are from animal shelters or rescue organizations.

This law prevents pet stores from selling animals sourced from commercial breeding operations, known as puppy mills.

According to the Sacramento Bee, pet stores in California must publicly display documentation on each animal’s origins in the area where the animal is housed.

Pet stores in violation of this law will have to pay a fine of $500 for each pet that is sold illegally.

Here’s a video on the new law from NBC News:

 

“Cute Aggression” — Why We Want to Squeeze Adorable Baby Animals

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by a cute baby animal that you wanted to squeeze it or take a pretend bite out of it?  Don’t worry you’re not weird…turns out there’s a scientific explanation for this feeling.  It’s called cute aggression!

A study published in the journal Frontiers of Behavioral Neuroscience sheds some new light on how our brains are triggered by the sight of cute animals.

A group of people were shown images of animals, ranging from adults to babies, and the researchers measured their brain activity and verbal responses.

The results?  No surprise…the cuter the animal (big eyes, round face, etc.) the stronger the cute aggression response!  Subjects showed more brain activity and expressed a desire to squish or eat the baby animal in the picture.

According to an article on the study written for the website Gizmodo, not everyone has the cute aggression response when they see baby animals.  The lead researcher estimates that between 25 to 30% of people don’t have it, but most of us do.

Why do so many people experience cute aggression?  Scientists theorize that it’s our way of processing overwhelming positive emotions.  The sight of a baby animal triggers our caregiving response.  Cuter or more infantile looking animals evoke stronger caretaking feelings than older looking animals.