National Hairball Awareness Day!

Hey all! Did you know that April 30th (TODAY) is National Hairball Awareness Day? ILRA is celebrating with Romeo the Cat and the folks over at FURminator Inc (who provided the great content) by giving you, our awesome readers, a few tips on hairball prevention and overall cat welfare.

Five Tips for Preventing Hairballs

Fuzzballs, cat scratches and dirty litter boxes may be top complaints from cat parents, but paws down, hairballs are among the worst of the worst. In observation of National Hairball Awareness Day, to help both cats and parents alike, FURminator, Inc. created five quick tips for hairball prevention.

1. Regular Grooming: Decrease the amount of hair your cat ingests by using the FURminator deLuxe deShedding Tool, which reduces shedding by nearly 90 percent.

2. Home Remedies: Add a little canned pumpkin to your cat’s meals once or twice a week. The fiber in the pumpkin can help move any hair clods through their system.

3. Stay Hydrated: Encourage your cat to drink plenty of water by placing various bowls throughout the house. The water will help flush out the hair before it has time to clump in the stomach.

4. A New Menu: There are several specially formulated cat foods that aid in the fight against hairballs. Always consult with your vet first before making any drastic changes to your cat’s diet.

5. Ask Your Vet: If you believe your cat has a chronic hairball problems ask your veterinarian to recommend a laxative supplement to help prevent ingested hairs from forming hairballs.

A Closer Looks At Cats: Wellness, Aging, Instincts & Hairballs

We’re also taking a closer look at the cat: feline wellness, aging, instincts and the dreaded hairball!

Did you know?

  • When a cat coughs up a hairball, it is actually choking. This hacking can be dangerous and can cause death in some cases. Cats will over-groom themselves, especially in the spring during peak shedding season. To reduce the amount of hair ingested, and the corresponding hack that follows, many veterinarians recommend the FURminator deLuxe deShedding Tool for cats; it’s a safe, natural and holistic way to lessen the amount of hair cats ingest.
  • Cats have primal instincts and the location of their water bowl can prove it. In the wild a cat would never drag its kill to a watering hole to eat and drink at the same time. House cats have inherited this same instinct. Owners should keep a cat’s water bowl in a separate location than their food bowl. Cats will drink more water (and this increase will help their system clean itself of ingested hair).
  • A cat’s age can affect how they shed. As a kitten matures their coat changes in several ways – texture, thickness, curl and coloring. This transition may take up to two years depending on the breed. Once a kitten’s coat has matured they will begin to shed more by dropping their “kitten coat”. Consult with a veterinarian or groomer on when a cat’s grooming needs change.
  • Keep cats active to stay healthy; they’re athletes at heart. A healthy cat can jump as much as seven times its height and yet 21 percent of cats are considered obese or overweight by their veterinarians. Interactive toys with feathers on the end will encourage cats to leap, stretch and stay active. Keeping cats active will help them maintain a healthy skin and coat, as well as increase balance and coordination.

April means more than just hairballs – spring cleaning tips & tricks

Shedding peaks in the spring, causing increased hairballs, as well as fur tumbleweeds rolling across floors and lawns and furniture… Pet owners, both feline and canine, are looking for ways to battle the fuzz and capitalize on all that spring cleaning elbow grease. Rid your home of excess pet fur and keep a clean, healthy pet by following these simple tips from FURminator, Inc.

  • Healthy Diet: Diet plays a key role in your pet’s overall health. Feeding your pet a quality pet food with protein, vitamins and Omega-Fatty Acids will promote a healthy weight and topcoat and can help reduce shedding.
  • Scratch the Itch: Pets can itch because of fleas, dry skin or even a skin allergy, which can spread dander throughout the house. Whatever the cause, make sure to speak with your veterinarian to help your pets feel and look their best.
  • Love Your Pet, Hate the Shedding?: Use a professional style grooming tool, such as the new FURminator deLuxe deShedding Tool, which is guaranteed to work better than any brush, rake or comb available. The deLuxe deShedding Tools reduce the amount of fur left on floors, couches and clothes by nearly 90 percent. They also feature a FURejector button, making it faster to clean and remove loose hair from the tool.
  • Lessen Allergies & Sneezing: Create allergy-free areas for family members with pet allergies by restricting animals to certain rooms of your home and consider using allergen-resistant covers on mattresses and pillows. Regular grooming will also decrease the amount of airborne allergens and dander around the house.
  • Pet Hair Removal: Upholstery is a pet hair magnet and removing fur can be tedious. Eliminate newly shed hair with a lint roller before fur works its way into fabric. If pets are allowed on the furniture, consider investing in furniture throws that can be laundered – this will keep your home looking and smelling better.
  • Pet Crates: Pets prefer a clean, dry space to sleep in. A crate acts like their bedroom and provides a positive solution to house-training. Be sure to keep their “room” clean by washing blankets kept in the crate.
  • Avoid the Outside Coming In: Keep a washable rug near the door your pet uses. Wipe off their paws so mud or dirt is not tracked onto floors. Consider using a bottle of the FURminator Waterless deShedding Shampoo & Conditioner to easily eliminate odor without bathing. Also, dispose of pet waste regularly to ensure it’s not being tracked into the house.

Got some good hairball tips? Share with us and help us celebrate National Hairball Awareness Day!

And the Winner Is!

The wait has been long and hard, and I know you’re all ready to hear who won our Pet Blog Design Giveaway, but let’s talk about the awesome PawPawty that happened as well.

The BlogPawty and the following PawPawty were focused around the group Pets Without Parents and with the help of a ton of awesome people, we raised a whopping $1700 for this group. The target was a mere $500, which was reached before the first BlogPawty even began. It just goes to show not only how great people are, but how incredibly important social media is to helping shelters and rescues.

On to our Winner!

So here is what you were waiting for. The winner of a brand new pet-centered blog design is…

*drumroll*

#1: Shauna of Fido and Wino!

Congratulations Shauna! Your blog will be given a full design makeover worth up to $500. I’ll be contacting you about it soon, but if you want to get a headstart on the project, you could go fill out the quote request form to give me an idea of what you’d like to see. I’m extremely excited to work with you on this! I would like to point everyone over to Shauna’s awesome blog Fido and Wino and take a look at her new project: The R.O.A.R. Squad (something Ash and I hope to take part in as well – Go Texas!). It’s a great way to really give Rescue Owners props for the lives they have saved.

Congrats again Shauna and I look forward to working with you!

Shelter Sketches: Rick and Duke!

So here at the ILRA blog, we’re introducing a new weekly post. It is a joint effort between us and the very talented artist Chelsea Conlin. Every Saturday, we will be posting Shelter Sketches in an effort to get readers to see a different view of a shelter dog in need. All these pups will have Chelsea’s rendering of them, a bio about the pups, and where you can adopt them.

Meet Rick and Duke (again)

You may remember two certain pups that we’ve blogged about before. Rick and Duke, who were saved from death row with the help of some awesome people, are still looking for their forever home. They are now located at the Rowlett Animal Shelter in Rowlett, Texas. You can see Rick’s page here and Duke’s page here. While they are no longer on death row, they still desperately need to find someplace they belong. Although neither of their pages state that they are brothers, these two boys have been through a lot together and I know a lot of people would love to see them find a home together.

Rick and Duke

You can find more stats about these two great boys at our original Rescue Animals post and at the Rowlett site. Please take a moment to look at these wonderful pups and consider if they’d make the perfect addition to your family. Don’t forget to pass the word on and hopefully we can find these guys their forever home.

Chelsea Conlin is a freelance fantasy illustrator, but if she can help spread the word about animals in need with her skills, she’s more than happy to do so! She currently lives in Kentucky with her husband where they do what they can by driving dog rescue transports on weekends. They have two dogs of their own: a rescue greyhound named Storm and a mixed breed named Azu. You can find her at Paper Nautilus, her sketchblog, twitter, and deviantart.

It’s the Dog Days of Design!

blogpawty

Last week may have been the official Be The Change day (click that link to read our post out about it and help out Feline Forever Ranch), but that by no means says that it has to stop there. This week on April 21st, there will be a PawPawty (or BlogPawty as the case may be this time) to help raise money for Pets Without Parents. To help out, I am going to be hosting a giveaway of my own.

The Giveaway

If you didn’t know it already, I am a web designer. I work for a small company here in Austin, but in my spare time, I freelance under the name Design Coyote (and @designcoyote on twitter). So to do my part in this great twitter pawty, I will be giving away one awesome pet design (estimated cost up to $500) for one lucky pet blogging winner!

You can see my work here at ILRA (the current design and the illustrations), over my personal blog Snailbird, or my design site that I linked to above.

The Rules

01. You don’t have to have a blog to win. We can set you up with an awesome blog either on Blogspot or a self-hosted WordPress blog (or another blog platform of your choice). The only catch is, whether you do have a blog or you’re going to be making one, it has to be about animals/pets!
02. WordPress.com blogs are not eligible unfortunately, only because they do not host custom designs. If you have a WordPress.com blog and win, you have two options: either move to a hosted wordpress blog, or move to blogspot.
03. You do not have to make a donation to be eligible to win.

How To Win

Now here’s the fun part! Ash and I tried to think up different ways that would not only be fun to do, but would also get people to promote adoption, shelters, and rescues and here’s what we came up with. To have your name thrown in the hat, we would like for those of you on twitter to pick a twitter account that posts about animals in need (be it urgents needing fosters or adoption, or animals requiring donations for injuries or rescue purposes) and RT it.

Once you’ve done your retweet to help the cause, comment here with a link back to your retweet, and we’ll toss your name into our hat of entries. If, for some reason, you do not have a twitter account, no worries. Just find something you would like to “retweet” and post it on your blog and post that link here! This giveaway is open as of now and will continue on until 1am EST on Monday the 26th of April I will announce the winner sometime later that day.

Be sure to attend the awesome BlogPawty on Wednesday starting at 7pm eastern time. It’s going to be a blast – full of new friends, great music, and awesome connections. See you there!

Contest Closed!

Winner will be announced soon.

#BlogPaws [Part 4]: You Can #BeTheChange!

I’m sure a lot of you have heard of this movement already. It’s been HUGE on twitter and across the blogosphere since the BlogPaws conference last weekend. This video has practically been going viral and it’s easy to see why. It’s a simple concept and yet the potential impact for animals everywhere is unimaginable! The video is also incredibly touching and no one seems to be able to watch it with a dry eye. Already people have raised close to $1000 for a no-kill rescue in Columbus, Ohio: Pets Without Parents. Challenges are being laid down all over the place for more people to get involved and do their part to help animals. It’s already a well-organized, well-oiled machine, getting out an incredibly important message that people seem to be responding amazingly well to. To think this all started with a session at the first-ever pet bloggers conference…

I had the pleasure of attending the “Be The Change You Want to See” session. No lie, and I told this to all of the panel speakers I met, this was my absolute favorite session! Seriously, I was quite mad at myself afterward for not having taped it. I hope they come together next year for another session! It was so inspiring and motivating that I was all gung-ho and ready to make a difference even before they threw down the #BeTheChange challenge! The panel consisted of Dr. V from Pawcurious, Dorian Wagner from Your Daily Cute and Lynn Haigh from Pawpawty.com and was moderated by Jane Harrell from Petfinder.com.

Jane started the session by talking a little about Petfinder.com. She talked about how Petfinder began and that in and of itself was one of the most awe-inspiring stories about helping animals I’ve ever heard! Did you know that Petfinder was created back in 1995 by Betsy and Jared Saul, a husband and wife who dared each other to make a real difference with their New Year’s Resolutions. They decided that the internet needed to be utilized to help shelter animals get more exposure and they began by personally entering the information and photos of homeless animals around New Jersey. As they grew, they decided to expand nationwide and they have never looked back! 15 years later and Petfinder has helped to unite over 15 MILLION pets with loving owners! I can’t even begin to imagine how incredible the Sauls’ must feel. Their one, relatively small decision has changed the lives of 15 million animals for the better. 15 MILLION! Wow. Just wow.

First up from the panel was Dr. V who was very charming as she told of her “harebrained” idea to raise money by eating dog food. She thought it would be something small but quickly found out that people really enjoy watching other people eat gross things. She raised more than she ever expected: $2250, which with a matching donation from the incredible people at k9uisine.com, meant a total of $4500 for the shelters she was supporting! Not bad for crazy scheme, huh? Now crazy is something I can do. In fact, it’s what I do best. I come up with silly ideas and Nikki helps bring them to fruition. We can make a difference too! (By the way, to raise money for today’s #BeTheChange challenge, Dr. V also ate some Pupperoni! Yum!)

Next to speak was Dorian Wagner who related the stories of how she has raised not just money but also toys for animals in need! I love her idea for the Santa Paws Drive and can’t wait to help her raise awareness this year! Can you imagine the happiness that would come from giving homeless pets their very own Christmas presents? I know they’re animals but you will never for one second convince me that that they did not feel that they were loved when they received those toys! They knew that someone in the world cared for them and that’s the best Christmas gift you could ever ask for!

Last, but most certainly not least, on the panel was Lynn, who is probably best known for being the typist for @frugaldougal on twitter. He’s the hairy mastermind behind what has become one of the biggest pet sensations on twitter – the PawPawty. A PawPawty is an all-twitter, 24-hour “pawty” held to raise donations for different animal rescues & organizations that are randomly chosen from suggestions of participants. The first PawPawty was held back in March of 2009 and in that very short amount of time, the PawPawties have raised a total of $26,060 for 17 different animal groups! Isn’t that just incredible? I am in awe! Lynn, who is always entertaining, told great stories about the blunders she found herself in as she learned the ins and outs of raising money online. The tale that probably got the most laughs was the one where PayPal contacted her & suspended her account because they thought she was a money launderer! Haha! All I can say is that I’m glad these bumps in the road didn’t deter her because the animal world wouldn’t be the same without her and Mr. FD!

At the end of the session, they gave away some cute prizes and one lucky winner got to choose the shelter that would receive the donations raised by the first #BeTheChange pawty. As it turns out, the woman who won worked with Pets for Parents, one of the groups who were lucky enough to receive $2800 from BlogPaws, as well as presents from a few of the sponsors! They must have some major karma built up to be so lucky! The majority of #BeTheChange participants are raising money for this group and they have already doubled the set goal of $500. That’s awesome for them! However, since they have so many people backing them already, I’m going to help raise awareness for another group in need of donations.

Romeo Golon aka Romeothecat and his staff Caroline also pick animal groups each month that they raise donations for. This month’s rescue is Forever Home Feline Ranch which is a newer no-kill cat rescue based in Springfield, Illinois. They are currently without a physical ranch but are instead a dedicated network of fosters. Who knows, the donations raised could go towards getting them a real ranch! For more information, check out the FirstGiving page set up by Romeo here. This looks like a great group and I know they can use all the help they can get. Being a foster is not easy but these wonderful volunteers do it because they know they are changing the lives of the cats they save. Can you help them out?

Now don’t think you’re alone in taking up this challenge. Nikki & I have something up our sleeves for the #BeTheChange pawty as well but that won’t be announced until this Sunday. For now, let’s get out there and help an animal today! That being said, time to go feed the ferals that live around our house. ^_^