7 top differences between cats and dogs

Most people would describe themselves as either a ‘dog person’ or a ‘cat person’. I used to be a ‘cat person’, but now,  I’m both! And most people who own a cat or a dog could tell you the real and perceived differences between the species – knowledge often gained from cartoons and lists shared on social media. Well I am here to tell you that most of those ‘perceived’ differences are actually true! So here are is what I have observed to be the most obvious differences between cats and dogs, from my scientific (ahem..) observations of Coco and Sadie (our cats) and Ivy (our dog)!

1. Emotions

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Dogs and cats show their emotions in very different ways. In fact, to be honest, cats don’t show much emotion in an obvious way at all. I know when Sadie and Coco are happy and content by their loud purrs when they come for a cuddle. I can also guess they are happy when they are stretched out blissfully in a sunny patch. But that’s about it. Their inscrutable stares don’t give much away. Dogs are different. Dogs put it all out there! Every morning when I come downstairs, Ivy greets me as if I have been away for a year! She jumps up and down, tail wagging frantically – her enthusiasm makes me feel like a superstar! She rolls over for tummy tickles, scampers after balls and barks with excitement at anything that moves. She even makes little satisfied noises when she’s asleep or when we give her a cuddle. Ivy is pretty much permanently happy, except when we leave the room, when she then lets us know her displeasure by continuous barking.

2. Unconditional love

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Dogs love their humans. Unconditionally. They love you if you are happy. They love you if you are sad. They love you when you are a bit cross with them. They love you when you are asleep. They love you when you are awake. They just LOVE you SO much! Ivy loves me so much she even growled at my husband this morning when he tried to kiss me goodbye! Cats? Well, they do show their love, but they also show their displeasure. And it doesn’t take much. If they are on your lap and you so much as sneeze.. whoosh! They are gone! They love you when you are doing exactly what they want to you to do and the way they want you to do it. Otherwise, they are having none of it! Sadie will ‘accept’ my attentions and even enjoy it, but one wrong move, one stroke of her fur in the wrong direction.. game over!

3. Personal hygiene

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Ivy loves mud. She also loves rubbish – discarded wrappers, half a sandwich, an orange peel, a squashed banana.. but most of all she loves mud. She will dig holes and then dash through soggy muddy puddles and rub her whole face in it just for good measure and to ensure maximum coverage. If she had her choice, life would be one great big mud bath! And when she is done, she feels no need to clean off the mud. One of her favourite pastimes is doing the pre-wash in our dishwasher. Open the door and she’s in, licking the plates and saucepans, cups and saucers, knives and forks. On New Year’s Eve we had sticky toffee pudding. It has taken me a week to get the toffee out of her fringe, because she didn’t seem bothered by it at all! Coco and Sadie however are fastidious with their cleanliness. They can spend hours licking and washing and preening themselves. One hair out of place or one bit of dust or moisture heralds thorough all over ablutions!

4. Licks for their humans

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Dog’s tongue smooth as silk. Cat’s tongue rough as sandpaper. That is all!

5. Toilet habits

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In the same way that cats are fastidious about their cleanliness, so they are equally careful with their toilet habits. I don’t think I have ever actually seen a Coco or Sadie poo (sorry neighbours!). But I am sure they are very careful to relieve themselves in a flower bed and bury the evidence immediately. And God forbid you ever catch them in action. Awkward! Our dog Ivy? Well, anything goes. When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go and your human will pick up after you, so why bury it?

6. Training

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Dogs love to be trained. It keeps their brains active and they are every eager to please. And if there is a tasty reward at the end of it, all the better. However, training dogs can take time, since we don’t speak Dog and they don’t speak Human. However, eventually they get the hang of what every you are trying to teach them if you do it right. Cat’s on the other hand do what they want! It’s easy to think that you have trained your new kitten to use their litter tray, but they only use it because they want to and you have shown them where it is!

7. Independence

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I love Ivy and she loves me. But while I can cope if she goes into another room without me, Ivy does not feel the same. The minute I stand up, so does she. I imagine the word ‘Whats up?’ racing through her head when she hears my chair scrape back. And as I begin to climb the stairs, so I hear the pitter patter of her little feet as she follows me like a.. well, like a dog! Ivy is my little shadow, following me wherever I go. Coco and Sadie on the other hand consider themselves to be free agents. They have a cat flap and come and go as they please. Generally I don’t see much of them during the day, but come evening they will grace us with their presence.. or not!

And there you have it. My definitive, although not exhaustive guide to the difference between cats and dogs.

How to prepare for a new puppy!

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So your new arrival is imminent. Exciting times! But before you go and pick up your precious bundle of joy, you need to make sure you are prepared.

Preparing will involve a shopping list, but how much you spend is entirely up to you. Pretty much anything you need to buy for your new puppy falls into camps – basic or high end. And for many of the things you need, basic will do just fine.

Food and water bowls. Go for heavy bowls or stainless steel with non-slip bottoms. Anything lighter or plastic will get chewed or even carried around, so best to avoid those.

A bed. Your puppy is going to want somewhere warm and cosy to curl up, especially given that they will spend up to 18 hours asleep to begin with.Image result for dog in dog bed

Familiar smells. Before you bring puppy home, check with the breeder that they will supply you with something that smells of puppy’s mum. This is really important for those first few days when your puppy is acclimatising to their new family. The familiar smell of their mother will give them comfort and make them feel safe.

ID tag. It is the law that all dogs wear an ID tag on their collar detailing their owner’s surname and contact phone number. Don’t be tempted to put their name on the tag, as this makes them easier to steal.

Microchipping. Microchipping is also well worth the investment. It is a simple procedure whereby your vet will insert a small chip into your dog. The chip will hold all details about your dog including your name, address and telephone number. This means that if your dog were to go missing and was handed in, its chip can be scanned and you are far more likely to be reunited with your pet.

Toys. For puppies, mental stimulation is as important as physical activity (in fact, perhaps more so). While young puppies sleep for most of the day, when they are awake they will want to play – both with you and with toys. There is an endless supply of toys on the market designed with your puppy’s enjoyment and safety in mind. Which leads me onto my next item..

Chew toys. Puppies love to chew. It’s a basic instinct and also very soothing for them when they are teething. What’s more, they will chew pretty much anything, which can prove to be destructive on your furniture, carpets and other belongings. Make sure you have a supply of chewy toys that it is ok for them to gnaw at – you will be glad you did.Image result for dog chewing toy

Grooming. You might want to take your puppy to a trained professional for their first groom. Clipping a wriggling puppy’s claws can be quite daunting, so we would recommend having it done by a groomer until your puppy is used to it. However you might want to equip yourself with a brush and some dog-friendly shampoo for when your puppy comes in mucky from a walk.

A crate. Many dog owners swear by crates and we think they are pretty good too. A crate can be used for transporting and for sleeping. Dogs will gradually associate their crate with being a safe place to snuggle and get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. What’s more, in the early days they can be used to begin the process of toilet-training as dogs prefer not to poo or wee in their own bed.

Puppy food. When you first bring your puppy home, you will want to continue feeding them whatever they have been fed by their breeder. Everything will be new for them, so they will find some familiarity a comfort. After that, it’s up to you to do your research and decide what food is best for your dog. Opinions vary widely over different diets, so it really is your choice, but do make sure you are feeding them good quality food that has clearly labelled contents so you know what they are eating.

Image result for puppy eatingLead and collar. You won’t be taking your puppy out for walks for a few weeks until they have been fully immunised. However, you can get them used to wearing a collar and being on a lead almost as soon as they come home. There are hundreds of collars and leads on the market – the choice is yours – but do bear their comfort and safety in mind when making your choice, not just how stylish it is!

Poo bags. You’d be surprised at how many ‘preparing for a puppy’ checklists forget to add poo bags! These are an essential you are going to need from day one and throughout your dog’s life, so make sure you have a good stock of these. There are many different kinds on the market, but we would recommend going for strong and environmentally friendly bags.

Choosing a vet. While your puppy may not need to visit the vet until they are ready for their first immunisations, you will still want to choose a vet before you bring your puppy home. Ask friends and neighbours for recommendations and perhaps even visit a couple before making your final choice.

Pet insurance. Once you have chosen your vet, you can ask them for their advice on pet insurance. They will almost certainly have an insurer they recommend, but they should also offer you advice on shopping around and the kind of insurance you should be looking for.

So, it looks like you’re all set to bring your fur baby home!

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Preparing for our new bundle of joy!

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We couldn’t be more excited about the arrival of our new puppy. Obviously we can’t wait to get our hands on her little fluffy body, but the prospect of going out and buying all the necessaties is also pretty exciting. Exciting, interesting and downright mind boggling. It will also, I am now beginning to realise, be an exercise in extreme self control!

Apart from the obvious practical items such as a bed, food bowls and so on, there’s a baffling and tempting array of items we could buy… but perhaps shouldn’t! Obviously I want everything – she’s our new baby – and who doesn’t like to shop? Oh wait! Both my sons and my husband hate shopping. It’s all up to me then! Yay!

As I browse the puppy shelves in our local pet store, I keep hoping someone will come – not least because I just want to shout to the world we are getting a puppy. It was with great reluctance I put back the pink diamante collar and lead I had chosen – first because it was ludicrously expensive and secondly because I anticipate the flat refusal of Dylan (17) and Noah (14) to walk the dog sporting bright pink bling, no matter how gorgeous I think she looks! Fair! Likewise the pink puffa coat went back on the shelf.. sigh.

“I just want to shout to the world we are getting a puppy.”

I do, however, get a bright pink shiny dog tag for her collar with our surname, phone number engraved on one side and the fact that she is micro-chipped on the other. The shop assistant helpfully stops me from putting her name on there too – apparently it makes them easier to steal, which makes sense.

Next stop, toy shelf! Wow! Most of these toys are better than those my kids had as toddlers! And I suspect many will be as readily ignored! Still, she’s really going to need that squeaky donut and you can’t go wrong with a few balls either. Someone once told me puppies like to have a soft toy to cuddle. I remember snorting with disbelief at the time, but I now find myself fondling a particularly soft and cuddly bear. Just in time I remind myself of the number of once previously loved and now discarded soft toys we have gathering dust at home and put it back. I am soooooo strong!

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And so with a basket full of goodies – food, snacks, chews, balls, toys, collar, lead, bed and the rest – I make my way to the checkout and try to ignore the groaning of my credit card as I cough up the best part of £150! And I have no doubt, in the words of the great Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back!”

 

 

 

Name that dawg!

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Oh the minefield that is choosing name for our new puppy! Even before we had picked our new family member, we began thinking of names and it soon became clear that coming up with one that all of us felt comfortable with was NOT going to be easy.

Still, we were confident we could come up with something more inventive than Simon Cowell’s Squiddly and Diddly and numerous discussions ensued. And talking of Simon Cowell, celebrity choices seemed to be a good place to start. Kelly Osborne’s dog is called Noodles – we decided that that would make us hungry. Britney Spear’s dog is called Lucky – given her run of bad luck in years gone by, that didn’t work out too well for her!

Noah fancied ‘Mookie’ for a boy or a girl (right fielder for the Boston Red Sox – long story but we lived in the US for a few years). We all tried it out a few times and realised we would feel a bit stupid shouting that out loud, so we put the kibosh on that. What’s more, we already have Coco (named after Coco Crisp of Oakland A’s fame!). Dylan wasn’t bothered, but wanted a girl so he could liberally sprinkle his conversation with the word ‘bitch’ and then smile sweetly and ask “What’s the problem?!”. Teenagers! We went round and round in circles and then realised we’d better wait until we knew if we were getting a girl or boy.

Girl it is! We then looked at the most popular dog names for last year:

  • Bella
  • Lucy
  • Daisy
  • Luna
  • Lola
  • Sadie
  • Molly
  • Maggie
  • Bailey
  • Sophie

Some nice ones there, but actually do we really want to choose a name that everyone else has thought of? That said, it could be worse. This next list of names is one we compiled ourselves – I kid you not, there are actually people shouting these names out loud in public parks around the country:

  • Fire
  • Taxi
  • Tripod (someone had a three-legged dog!)
  • Chow Mein
  • Fuzz Butt
  • Stinkabell
  • Stinky Baby
  • Squiddly and Diddly (I know . . . I have mentioned them before, but frankly they deserve to be on this list!)

I mean, you’d steer clear wouldn’t you?! Still, it could be worse, we could be trying to name a baby and coming up with ideas like Apple, Prince Michael II, Sage Moonblood or Fifi Trixibelle (not a bad name for a dog as it happens!), but believe it or not, there are already four youngsters out there who have already been ‘blessed’ with these names.

But as we fell about laughing at some of the ridiculous names celebrities have come up with for their unsuspecting offspring, one lingered in our minds… Blue Ivy. Well, not the ‘Blue’ bit, just the ‘Ivy’ bit. Short, sweet, fun and when we said it and looked at her picture, it felt… right! I am pretty sure that’s how it goes. All of a sudden you stumble across a name and it just feels right. Though I continue to struggle with Squiddly and Diddly, neither of which names have the X Factor!

Ivy it is!