HEALTH AND WELLNESS
It's never too late to paws and breathe.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
A FRIEND sent me a video link of cats getting startled by cucumbers and asked: “Are cats really scared of cucumbers?” I said “No!”, as swift as a cat scampering away from a, well, cucumber?
With the recent deluge of Internet videos showing unsuspecting cats getting startled and scared by cucumbers that people secretly placed behind them, animal behaviorists are now asking cat owners to not pull this kind of mean joke on cats anymore as it endangers the animal's well-being.
Getting cats scared this way usually become severely stressed and experts warn that it could create a more permanent psychological problem.
It's not the cucumber per se that scares the cats, but the element of surprise. Even people could get scared at anything and everything that happens to creep up from behind them.
The videos usually show cats getting surprised by cucumbers when and where they are eating. There is a chance a cat will no longer want to visit its food area if a “cucumber apparition” happened there because cats like to eat where they feel safe and in peace.
Aside from the emotional trauma, the sudden surprise can also get cats hurt as they uncontrollably leap through the air and run mad, sometimes colliding with furniture and doors.
The prank is quite mean and no self-proclaimed cat lover should put a cat through such a fur-raising experience.
If you want to introduce a cat to a cucumber, make it part of its diet or make it a spa-treatment as shown in this photo:
IS your pet a picky eater? Food is one of the strongest stimulus that can effectively elicit a response in animals, so it's not normal for a pet to ditch its food.
The Pet Food Institute and the Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines, through its Well Fed, Well Nurtured campaign, believe health issues, bad food and bad habits can cause pets to be picky eaters.
A pet's sudden loss of appetite is a cause for concern. Check if your pet's weight has drastically gone up or down. Diarrhea and or vomiting are indications that your pet should be immediately checked by a veterinarian.
Observe if your pet is feeling any discomfort or pain that hinders it from eating its food. Let a veterinarian examine your pet’s mouth for sores, tumors, bad teeth or foreign objects.
Check the quality of food you give your pets and the expiry date. Gradually introduce new flavor to their food to stimulate their appetite. Dry and wet food can be mixed together to boost flavor.
Also, pets want a clean, safe, calm and regular place to eat. You won't like eating in a noisy place with dirty tableware, so why should your pet do?
Irregular feeding routines and too much treats in between meals that are tastier and more interesting can make pets pick on their regular food. Getting pets accustomed to eating human food may also affect their food preference. Table scraps don’t have the adequate amount of nutrition that should make pets healthy, not obese. Nutritionally sound pet food should not be substituted with treats and human food.
Like children, pets could also use some positive reinforcements when they eat the right food for them. Praise them or pat them on the head after they finish eating their food.
WELL FED, WELL NURTURED
Pet Food Institute encourages pet owners to provide nutritionally balanced pet foods that are also scientifically produced and safe for pets to enjoy. The Well Fed, Well Nurtured campaign of PFI and VPAP aims to bolster awareness on responsible pet ownership through expert guidance and proper nutrition.
PFI represents the companies that make 98 percent of US pet food. As the industry's public education and media relations resource, representative before the U.S. Congress and state and federal agencies, PFI is dedicated to promoting the overall care and wellbeing of pets, and supporting initiatives to advance the quality nutrition for dogs and cats.
* Cats as vegetarians? Animal group says it's bad idea