Purrrrfect holiday gifts for cats

UntitlednnnGifts for cats: what could be easier? Those of us with cats living in completely taking over our homes know that everything is a toy for a cat, especially at Christmas. 

“Why thank you for setting up this lovely, shiny tree! I especially love those glittery glass ornaments passed down from your grandparents and their first Christmas together! Oh, and you really shouldn’t have–an entire pile of very carefully and precisely wrapped presents underneath? With corners perfect for gnawing upon? And RIBBONS! My oh my, you have really outdone yourself, Human. You may pet me for five extra seconds before I claw your hand!”

But gosh darn it, we just can’t help it. Our cats are members of our families and if there isn’t a gift under the tree or in their stocking, we just don’t feel like good parents, do we? But what to get! Here’s a list of five exciting toys that–maybe, just maybe–will entice your feline friend this Yuletide.

For the Practi-cat

We live in a dry, harsh, cold climate, and sometimes our cats need a little extra TLC when the mercury petheaddips. A soothing paw balm, such as this Oatmeal Natural Paw Butter by Pet Head, can help relieve the dry and cracked paws that our cats can absolutely suffer from in the winter! (It’s great for dogs too! Just don’t tell your cat that part…)

For the Cozy Cat

A new fluffy cat bed is always a good idea, especially for those drafty winter nights! There are so many options out there – covered, uncovered, heated…check out this holiday igloo-shaped one from Martha Stewart Pets!

iglooFor the Musi-cat

Researchers have spent years looking into the specifics of music for mammals, and we finally have scientifically-verified music for cats available! Musician David Teie has been working on music for pets since 2009, but his Kickstarter-funded Music for Cats is his first foray into feline musical preferences. His belief, backed bmusicforcatsy researchers at the University of Wisconsin, was that “every species has an intuitive biological response to sounds present in their early development,” and Music for Cats has been engineered to resonate in their frequency range, and incorporates feline-centric sounds and vocalizations for a rather unique musical experience. You can pre-order digital downloads or physical CDs now–they’re expected out in Feb/Mar 2016!

For the Condo/Apartment Cat (or any cat who likes high perches!)Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 8.15.16 PM

If you’re low on floor space or just simply want to give your cat an extra place to roam, play, and relax, check out these cat shelves and perches that HausPanther.com has put together. From the simple shelf to more extravagant walkway systems, there are perches for everyone! (Our favourite has to be the Cat Silhouette shelf from The Refined Feline!)

For the Sophisti-cat (and her human!)

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 8.17.42 PMIt doesn’t get cuter than this! Match outfits with your pretty kitty when you buy her this Deluxe Neko Earring & Collar Set (the collar is for her; the earrings are for you!) from StarkRavingCat.com. You two will be the talk of the litter box this holiday season, that’s for sure!

If all else fails, a little catnip, a crinkly ball of tinfoil, and a warm lap to curl up in should definitely do the trick! 

Holiday gifts for small dogs

Small dogs have a rough go of it in Edmonton winters: deep snow, short days, and cold temperatures. So they may need a little more pampering around the holidays, right? If you’re wondering how to stuff your petite pooch’s stocking this year, don’t worry: rescue ally Franklin has you covered. He’s made a list of the top gifts for the small dog who holds a big place in your heart.

Franklin dons a red Muttluks snowsuit for a romp with his fuzzier sibling

Franklin dons a red Muttluks snowsuit for a romp with his fuzzier sibling.

A Muttluks snowsuit
Sure, there are plenty of dog sweaters out there. But which ones hold up to strenuous use? Franklin, who has his own drawer of winter clothing, can attest to the warmth and utility of Muttluks snowsuits. Unlike many coats, these cover the back legs. AND they’re reversible! Two outfits in one for the fashion-conscious pup!
Muttlucks also makes tall snow boots (which Franklin doesn’t love, per se, but they help keep his tootsies toasty!)

Remember, when it dips down to -15C or so, keep walks short!

A DIY snood

Snooded up and ready to go!

Snooded up and ready to go!

A snood is a tight-fitting tube scarf, and is perfect for those days when thin ears are at risk of freezing. You can find fashionable ones on Etsy, or simply cut the foot off of a tall wool sock. (Even your pup can experience the disappointment of receiving socks for Christmas!)

Kong Squeezz Crackle toys

Durable rubber, crinkly-bottle insides, and festive glam sparkles: the new Kong Squeez Crackle toys are perfect stocking stuffers for indoor dogs who need stimulation. These are a great alternative to obnoxious squeaky toys. Franklin loves the texture and I love the muffled sound.

Lessons at the Edmonton Humane Society

Classes are great for small dogs who can’t run around outside in the winter and need some stimulation and exercise. The Edmonton Humane Society offers a range of 6 week classes, from basic courses like manners and agility, to problem-solving courses like building confidence and reducing leash reactivity. Franklin loves practicing his agility and tricks indoors on cold days: a cheap Ikea tunnel helps to turn the living room into an agility course!

bullysticksjpgBully sticks

Bully sticks may seem a little awkward (they’re made from dehydrated bull penises!), but they’re all natural, and dogs love them. On cold days when Franklin’s bouncing around, looking for an activity, a bully stick gives him a healthy, appropriate task. G&E Pharmacy is the cheapest place in Edmonton to find bully sticks: a bag of 12 is $33.

A Barkbox subscription
Barkboxes provide monthly novelty for your pup, in the form of toys, chews, treats, and other goodies. Variety is the spice of life, after all! Each month is a themed surprise, but you can provide details on dog size and dietary restrictions. The best part? Zoe’s Animal Rescue is now a partner in their BarkGood program, which means that with every subscription, $25 goes straight to Zoe’s!


Good luck with your shopping, and happy holidays from Franklin!


Franklin photos by Amanda at Zoography photos

Winter Pet Safety

12207420_10156210763510068_223423836_oWhether we like it or not, winter is fast approaching and we all know what that means: sub-zero temperatures, blistering winds, and waist-high snow drifts. It can be a beautiful time of year, but it’s also one of the most dangerous for pets and neighbourhood animals who can’t always find a warm place to go during these coldest months. With a little help from us, though, we can make surviving the winter a little bit easier on our four-legged furry friends!

To keep your pets safe:

1) Be mindful of the temperature: As a general rule of thumb, if it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s probably too cold for your pets. In last year’s Vet Q&A: Winter Edition, Dr. Anwar of Lakeside Vet Clinic says -20C is the cut off; below that temperature, hypothermia can set in very quickly. Don’t forget to factor in the windchill, too!

2) Limit time outside: Limiting cold exposure becomes important as the mercury drops, so try to stick to shorter periods of outdoor play or walks if it’s well below freezing.

3) Dress your pet appropriately: Certain breeds of dogs can withstand longer periods of time outside, but for smaller dogs, it may be wise to invest in cold weather gear like sweaters, vests, and booties. (Booties are also good to keep salt from irritating and damaging your pet’s paws!) Also keep in mind that puppies, short hair breeds, and recently-bathed dogs are more prone to cold; keep your puppies safe and warm, don’t clip your dog’s hair too short, and wait until your dog’s fur is completely dry before heading outside for playtime.

4) Supervision: It may be tempting to open your backdoor and let your dog run around in the snow while you stay bundled up indoors with a warm cup of cocoa instead. But in really cold weather, supervision of your pet is vital in order to monitor for signs of distress. Signs of cold weather distress include shivering, lack of mental alertness, and weakness. If your pet begins exhibiting these signs, it’s important to bring them indoors and warm them up with blankets and cuddles.

Supervision also ensures your pet doesn’t get into rock salt or antifreeze that has been used, left out, or spilled! If possible, avoid using salt and chemicals at all on your sidewalks, and clean up any spills immediately. This not only protects your pets but also other pets and neighbourhood animals in your community.

5) After playtime: It’s important also to keep your pets warm after outdoor playtime is over. Under your vet’s supervision, it may be a good idea to increase the amount of food your dog is eating if they are active outdoors. Make sure that you provide safe and dry places for your pet to sleep, away from drafts and off the floor if possible (ie. on a cat or dog bed, with a warm blanket and pillow.)

This goes double for dogs with outdoor shelters. Ensure warm, dry bedding is provided (straw is a good bedding material, provided it is changed frequently), that their kennel has a sloped roof and is insulated from wind and heated, and with a doorway that prevents snow and rain from getting inside. If you have any doubts about their outdoor shelter or if the weather is extremely cold for an extended period of time, it is always better to bring your pet inside than risk their health in a questionable shelter. Zoe’s is always looking for donations of dog igloos for this exact reason. If you happen across one in good condition that you think would be usable, contact us and we can make sure it makes to a location where it will be used by neighbourhood dogs in need!

Hopefully by following these tips, you can enjoy the long winter months with a healthy, happy pet by your side!

Cold Weather – Animals in Distress


It goes without saying that winter is a harsh time of year. This is especially true for lost and stray animals in our communities, who may not have a place to warm up when it gets cold. What should you do if you find an animal in distress?

  • Contact the proper authorities. In the City of Edmonton, this would be Animal Care & Control, and they can be accessed by calling 311 or 780-442-5311. They will send someone out to take the animal in, to try and locate its guardian, or bring it to a veterinarian for care if it is sick or injured and needs medical attention
  • Animal Control may not be available to respond immediately, in which case you should try to get the animal to a warm location as soon as possible. This could be a garage or a shed, or into your home if you can. In the event you can’t coax it indoors, providing it with a temporary shelter (such as a sturdy box lined with straw) may be your best bet.
  • Offer food and water. Even if the animal does not want to come inside, a dish of food left in a safe location can be a lifesaver for an animal in need; it means they do not have to spend time and energy scrounging for food, and they can be better equipped to fight off illness or injury should they become ill. Wet food left outside will freeze, so use dry food. Check water dishes left out for freezing, as well.
  • Bear in mind that an animal that is obviously injured may become violent and attack if it feels threatened. Leave food and water and shelter available to the animal and monitor the situation until someone can be dispatched to properly care for the injured animal
  • If you see an animal left tethered outdoors or locked in a cold vehicle, and you suspect an abusive situation, contact the Edmonton Humane Society (780-471-1774) to report the situation and for advice on what to do next.

For neighbourhood animals (such as stray cats, or even local wildlife such as hares and jackrabbits) there are things you can do to keep your property free from hazards as well:

  • DIY animal shelters are a wonderful option for keeping cats safe and warm through the winter months. It is vital that these shelters be maintained and cleaned regularly, so if you go this route please be mindful of the time necessary to maintain them.
  • Cleaning up spilled antifreeze and securing other de-icing chemicals and sidewalk salts is vital as these are attractive to animals and can pose serious health risks if ingested.
  • A good habit to form is to make a lot of noise when getting into your vehicle after it’s been parked overnight or for a long period of time, as well as checking behind the tires before you start to drive away. Stray animals and wildlife may easily hide underneath cars or even within the exposed sections of our cars’ underbody, and this poses risks of serious injury or death when the car is started. A couple of quick bangs on the hood of your car should be enough to scare away any animals seeking shelter inside or around your car.

It’s not always possible to help an animal in distress, and you shouldn’t put your safety at risk to accomplish this. If you don’t feel it is safe to intercept a stray animal, make the call and monitor things until help arrives. Together, we can make winter a better one for the animals in our community!