Friday, November 13, 2015

Did you know, you can make clothes from your dog's fur

On chilly days it's pleasant to curl up next to a dog. They're like furry hot water bottles! Some have more hair than others, of course, but most dogs have something.

Brushed out hair from dogs and cats can be washed and spun into yarn, that in turn can become sweaters, mittens, and hats. Some people who work with spinning yarn from dog hair even work with clipped hair from breeds like poodles, provided it's long enough.
Image from
Socks made by wool from
an Old English Sheepdog.
The yarn can be used with the color it has, or be colored.

Norwegian website advice not to wash the brushed out hair. They also say it should be stored dry and well ventilated in a paper bag, not plastic.

The website says the hair should be at least 2" long for best results. They handspin the wool on a spinning wheel and the end product is yarn suitable for knitting, crocheting, and weaving. They also point out that the finished product will not smell like dog if it gets wet.

Some spinners offer to work with wool shorter than 2", but in that case it might have to be mixed with another type of wool. 

It's possible to make the yarn on one's own as well, if you're willing to learn how to spin.

Image from

The yarn on this photo comes from a Golden Retriever.

Yarn from a Golden Retriever.
Image from

Yarn from a Border Collie.
Image from

What do you think? Would you wear a sweater with yarn from your dog?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The fastest cat breeds

Bengal, one of the world's fastest domesticated cat breeds
When it comes to pets, most people associate dogs with speed and cats with lounging in the sunshine. While this is true for many dogs and cats, some kitties can reach amazing speeds. If this sounds strange, consider big cats hunting in the wild, like jaguars and cheetahs. The cheetah is the world's fastest land animal and can race up to 75 mph for short bursts.

Here are four of the world's fastest domestic cat breeds:

The Egyptian Mau

The Egyptian Mau are fantastic athletes that can run up to 30 miles per hour - faster than any other domesticated cat breed. They can also jump onto high-up places without problems, and some are known to leap off the floor onto their owner's shoulder. 

Abyssinian and Somali

The Abyssinian is an active breed with high levels of energy and extreme smarts. Abyssinians need to be occupied with exercise, puzzles, and training. Many enjoy sports such as agility. The Somali is considered a long-haired version of the Abyssinian and are also fantastic athletes.


Bengals are active cats who want attention, enjoy playing in water, playing fetch, and climbing. They are very fast not as fast as the Egyptian Mau, but very fast. A Bengal owner will need to find ways to keep the cat occupied, or they are likely to find some kind of trouble to entertain themselves.


The Savannah is another exotic and fast cat breed. These cats are created from a cross between a domestic cat and a serval - a type of wild African cat and they will climb and reach places you wouldn't imagine possible. Savannahs are typically curious, smart, and agile.

~ Maria Sadowski ~  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dog sports: Canine Freestyle

Canine freestyle is a dog sport mixing obedience training, tricks, and dance. The sport is also called musical freestyle and freestyle dance.

Any move is allowed unless it puts the dog or handler in danger, and the dance routines typically include the dog doing twists and turns, weaving through the human's legs, walking backwards, jumping, and moving in sync with the human.

This sport requires mastery of basic commands, and before putting a routine together, the dog must learn each individual move. The dog must also be able to work on both sides of the human's body, not just the left as in standard obedience training.

This is a sport better seen than described. Here's a video clip from Britain's Got Talent!

Have you tried something like this with your dog? Would you be interested in trying?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The dog breed matters

Border Collie puppy going for a drive
It might be more evident when talking about dogs, but both dogs and cats come in a variety of breeds.  It isn’t possible to put an exact number on the dog breeds of the world, because many varieties can be recognized by one breed registration group but not by another. 

The World Canine Organization is the largest internationally accepted registry of dog breeds, and they have more than 340 breeds. Dog breeds aren’t scientifical classifications; they’re groupings based on similar characteristics of appearance and behavior.

Some breeds have existed for thousands of years, and others are fairly new. Many scientists believe the first dogs were domesticated around 16,000 years ago, but others claim evidence points as far back as 32,000 years. In the latter theory, modern dogs would be related to an ancient type of wolf that is the ancestor of both dogs and modern wolves.

A dog's breed matters to a certain extent. Many people believe that dog breeds mostly have an impact on the outside of the dog, but through the ages breeds have been created based on wanted behaviors such as hunting and herding.

It is important to pick a dog that fits the family’s lifestyle. If you want a dog with a special look but the breed characterics seem difficult to handle you might want to look for a mixed breed dog.  Dogs are individuals, just like people, but being aware of a breed’s average energy level, exercise needs, or grooming needs can prevent future problems.

Do you have a favorite dog breed? What about it makes it the best?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, November 9, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Pyrenean Shepherd

The Berger des Pyrénées – Pyrenean Shepherd – has worked with sheep herding in southern France since medieval times. It is mentioned in medieval manuscripts, and often referred to as the “constant companion” due to its loyalty and tendency to stay by the shepherd’s side through thin and thick. 

Pyrenean Shepherds were traditionally paired with a Great Pyrenees that would protect the herd against wild animals. They are tenacious; two Pyrenean Shepherds are enough to manage a flock of 1,000 sheep.

The breed comes in two varieties: smooth-faced and rough-faced. They are intelligent and energetic, and need a job to do. When herding, a dog easily covers 25 miles every day, and running a herding dog tired is an almost impossible task. Mental stimulation can make them tired, and they are great at agility, flyball, and competitive obedience.

This is not a breed that does well being left alone. They prefer to be by their human’s side at all times, and love to follow a person around the house to help with daily chores. They are very sensitive to a person’s moods and often seem to read minds.

Pyrenean Shepherds are generally healthy dogs, and they require little grooming. An occasional bath and a thorough brushing every few weeks goes a long way towards keeping their good looks. The dogs are often referred to as enthusiastic, affectionate, and active.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, November 6, 2015

Dog breeds that shed little

Portuguese Water Dog, image from
Dogs shed. It's a fact of life, and many dog lovers couldn't care less about dog hair under the sofa or paw prints on the floor. Others need or want to keep their home tidy, and knowing how much a breed sheds beforehand can be of great help. There are a number of dog breeds that shed very little. For instance...

The Bichon Frise requires grooming to keep the coat healthy and free from mats, but they shed so little you'll barely notice. To make things even better, they're hardy and cheerful dogs that love to be active and play. While no breeds are truly hypoallergenic, many people allergic to dogs can do well with a Bichon Frise.

Smooth or wire-haired Dachshunds also shed very little. They have a convenient size and are generally playful and lovable. All dogs should be supervised when interacting with children, but a Dachshund generally does very well with kids.

The Portuguese Water Dog is known for being active, athletic, and loyal. They make great companions for active families that can fulfill their need for exercise. The Portuguese Water Dog has a waterproof coat that can be curly or wavy.

Poodles often battle Border Collies for the top position on lists with intelligent breeds. Poodles are great companions, make wonderful service dogs, and shed next to nothing.

Border Terriers are great little dogs that are affectionate and easy to train. They are active and need regular exercise, and they love to do things with the family.

Standard Schnauzers don't shed regularly, but they need their body coats stripped twice a year. This means that all loose and dead hairs are plucked out. They are social, affectionate, and generally great with children, but can be quite stubborn and might not be an easy breed for a new dog owner.

The Yorkshire Terrier is another light shedder. These dogs adapt easily to new environments, they're energetic, curious, and generally sport large personalities. The Yorkshire Terrier is a large dog in a small package.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Should you get a small dog or a large dog?

To a certain extent a dog is a dog, but there are differences between having a Chihuahua and a Great Dane - not just in food consumption. We humans tend to treat small dogs differently, and we forget to consider the world seen from their perspective. Each breed has its own challenges, and it is important for us humans to learn as much as possible.

Many times, a small dog is perceived harder to house train than a large dog. If a large dog has an accident inside there's a big mess that everyone will notice - and the owners will go to great lengths to prevent it from happening again. A tiny dog can snake off behind the sofa and pee ten times before someone notices it, and once it's discovered, the puppy already has a bad habit.

To house train a small dog, you have to watch it all the time. Use baby gates, exercise pens, and a leash to help you keep track of him or her. Take the dog out every time it has napped, eaten, or played, and give lots of praise when the right thing happens.

Another difference between small and large dogs is that we rarely pick up and carry a large dog. No one would even consider putting a Labrador in their purse, or carry a Newfoundland under their arm. Small dogs sometimes need to be carried, if nothing else to avoid people in a crowd stepping on them.

While the dog might not have an aversion to being carried per se, many small dogs dance out of reach when someone tries to pick them up. It make sense - a hulking shape five feet taller than the dog leaning over it can be scary. It's a good idea to train the dog by always saying "Pick up" when picking the dog up - this little warning can make a big difference.

Many owners with small dogs choose to carry them when meeting new people, and this is generally a bad idea. A dog that's held can't express what they're feeling and can't get away if they don't like the stranger. Let the dog meet strangers on its four paws. That way, your dog doesn't have to bite someone to show they're uncomfortable. They can walk away - or towards - interaction.

Excessive barking is another problem many encounter with small dogs. These tiny boys and girls live in a land of giants where everyone else is five feet taller. It's tempting to yell at a dog who is barking, but many dogs interpret this as getting "help" with the barking, and the more you yell the more they'll bark. Instead, do your best to ignore noisy behaviors, and reward calm and quiet behaviors.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Save money on your heating bill with a PlexiDor pet door!

Fall is here and northern parts of the country are already buckling down, expecting winter. With the cold comes heating bills, something no one likes to spend money on. Did you know that installing a PlexiDor pet door can save money on your energy bill? Every time you open your household door to let your dog in or out, the air inside your home blends with the air outside. 

If you already have another type of pet door, odds are it's not as well insulated as the PlexiDor. The panels on a PlexiDor are molded to form a dual thermo-pane that insulates, and the panels are lined with high density nylon pile weather seal to stop drafts. The doors close tight to keep weather outside. Many customers from extreme climates report minimal loss in heating and cooling after installing a PlexiDor.

The below energy savings figures are typical of PlexiDor owners and based on more than 25 years of worldwide customer testimonials. The actual results can vary based on your home's insulation, roof and window type, age, and size.

The figures are based on an average spring/summer temperature between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit with an indoor temperature cooled to 72 degrees, and an average fall/winter temperature of between 32 and 45 degrees with the indoor temperature heated to 72 degrees.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November is Senior Cat Month

November is Senior Cat Month, intended to celebrate older cats, their wisdom, and the joy they bring to our lives. How old a cat can become - and when it becomes a senior - is highly individual, but many live to their late teens and even into their twenties.

Generally speaking, a 7-10 year old cat is considered middle-aged. An 11-14 year old cat is considered a senior, and one that is older than 15 years a geriatric. The oldest cat recorded in the Guinness Book of World  Records lived to be 28. We found a good brochure about caring for your older cat here.

Senior cats who end up in shelters are often the last to be adopted - many who come are wooed by kitten cuteness. However, kittens have a lot of energy and they require a lot of work, and if you're not ready to spend all your time training and entertaining a kitten, a senior cat will give you love and company while avoiding many problems.

If you adopt a cat - or any animal - from a shelter/rescue, please be aware that the personality you see in the shelter isn't necessarily who the pet will be in your home. Many are overwhelmed in shelters, get stressed or depressed, and coming home makes a world of difference. Building that trust and settling into the new environment can take some time, so be prepared to give your new best friend a few weeks to see who they will turn out to be.

Do you have a senior cat, or have you thought of adding one to your household? Do you have any tips to share about their care?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, November 2, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Pharaoh Hound

The Egyptian Pharaoh Hound was traditionally used as a companion for hunters from Malta. Some scientists say there is no DNA evidence for the breed being related to Egyptian dogs, others claim the breed is related to ancient Egyptian dogs with a lineage back to 3,000 BC. 

Pharaoh Hounds are graceful, powerful, and fast. They make pleasant companions who can be peaceful indoors yet loves to play given an opportunity.

This breed has a unique ability - they blush when excited. The nose and ears get a rosy hue.

Pharaoh Hounds are generally healthy and need little grooming. As their coat is short and thin they need to live indoors with soft bedding and warmth.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween - do you dress up your pets?

Image courtesy of Cat Depot -
It's that time a year again, when tiny ghosts, pirates, princesses, and super heroes fill the streets. Most kids love to dress up, and most adults love to see their costumes.

Which leads to today's question - do you dress up your pets?

Some pets have strong feelings about wearing outfits, and some people have strong opinions on pets being dressed up.

If you dress up your pets, what's your favorite costume?

During Halloween, it can be a good idea to keep your pets indoors, in a separate room away from the front door. Many panic at the sight of people in costumes, and many pets run away October 31st.

Other tips to keep the holiday safe include not feeding your pets human candy, especially if it contains chocolate or xylitol, keep candles out of reach, and keep glow sticks out of reach.

Happy Halloween - we hope you have a wonderful holiday! Take some cute photos of your pets and submit to the PlexiDor photo contest. Great prizes!

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Happy National Cat Day!

Today is National Cat Day - a day to celebrate cats, marvel over them, and spoil them a little extra. If you don't already have a cat, it's a wonderful day to adopt a homeless cats, or just visit a nearby shelter or rescue to spend some time with a kitty.

The American Pet Product Association estimates between 74 and 96 million cats are owned in the USA. Between 30-37% of American households have at least one cat.

Fun ways to celebrate cat day can be:

  • Donate food or toys to a nearby rescue organization
  • Volunteer at a shelter or rescue - many appreciate someone coming in to play with cats, pet cats, or even read to cats. A well socialized cat will have a better chance of being adopted.
  • Take photos of your cat and post them on social media. We would love to see some on our Facebook page!
  • Buy your cat a fun toy, a new scratching post, or a new bed
  • Brush your cat - it can be a great bonding opportunity, and many cats love the attention

Do you have a cat? Do you celebrate cat day?

~ Maria Sadowski ~ 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Keep your cat safe during Halloween

Halloween is a favorite holiday for many humans, but it also brings a number of dangers for pets. Here are five tips for keeping your cats safe:
1. Keep black cats indoors.
This is a time of the year when superstition runs high. Some people are outright cruel to black cats, and others are just thoughtless. This has escalated to a point where some shelters won’t adopt out black cats during the month of October. It also happens that people take black cats indoors as a neat decoration, not giving a second thought to the cat’s wellbeing or home. Keep your black cat indoors until the holiday is over.
It is also wise to confine cats. Ringing doorbells, people shouting “trick or treat” and the front door repeatedly opening and closing can be scary to a cat. It’s better to keep kitty locked in a back room than a panicked cat rushing through the door.
2. Hang decorations high
Candy wrappers, tinsel, and decoration are irresistible to cats. Keep decorations out of reach and throw all candy wrappers away at once. Cats might not immediately want to eat wrappers, but if they play with them they might accidentally ingest one anyway. Wrappers and tinsel can cause intestinal blockage and require surgery.
3. Keep human candy out of reach
Human candy is bad for cats and dogs. Chocolate, xylitol, and other substances that we enjoy are highly toxic to pets. Also watch out with the carved pumpkin. Unsweetened canned pumpkin is great for pets, but the carved pumpkin that’s been on the porch for days can be rife with bacteria.
4. Be careful with candles
There are many fun and cute Halloween candles. Don’t keep lit candles in the same room as the cat – cats and fire make a recipe for disaster.
5. Watch out for electric cords
Many halloween decorations come with lights, and electric cords can seem like a lot of fun to a cat. Chewing on cords can cause electrocution and burns. Also keep batteries out of reach and sight. Cats love to swat batteries around, but that game can get really dangerous if they bite they battery.
~ Maria Sadowski ~ 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Make pumpkin - peanut butter dog treats

This is the season of pumpkin everything, and dogs love pumpkin too. This recipe makes around 25 dog treats with pumpkin/peanutbutter flavor - sure to be a hit!

What you need:

  • 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 0.5 cup canned pumpkin (make sure it's pumpkin, not pie filling)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 0.5 teaspoon cinnamon

What to do:

Mix flour, eggs, peanut butter, pumpkin, salt, and cinnamon. You might need to add some water to be able to work the dough, but it should be dry and stiff.

Roll the dough into a roll about 0.5 inch thick, and cut into 0.5 inch pieces.

Bake in 350 F for about 40 minutes, the treats will be hard when they're done.

Let cool and serve to your eager four footed friends. 

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, October 26, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Slovakian Sheepdog

Image from
The Slovenský Ćuvać - also called Slovakian Chuvach or Slovakian Sheepdog - is a shepherd and mountain dog stemming from the Caucasus mountains. 

The breed was originally derived from Arctic wolves and they are strong, lively, fearless, and alert.

They thrive in an environment with a large family, children, and other animals to care for., and hey do great on farms and ranches.

These dog are known as good guard dogs, watch dogs, and shepherds as well as great companions. They bond tightly with their families and will fight off any intruder - even if it is a bear or a wolf. They're always white, because in older time this was the only way to distinguish them from threats in the night.

The Slovenský Ćuvać is a large dog - males can reach 28 inches and weigh up to 99 pounds. They do require regular grooming, and they shed each spring.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, October 23, 2015

Make gluten free dog treats

There are many recipes for dog treats around the Internet, and most of them contain some form of wheat, even if it’s whole wheat. Here are some wheat – and gluten – free carob cookies you can make for your four-footed friend.
Carob is a chocolate substitute often used for dogs, because it lacks both the substances toxic to pets and caffeine. It is naturally sweet and looks a little like chocolate, but has a unique flavor and texture.
There are also carob chips. If you’ve seen doggie cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies they’re made with carob.
What you need:
  • 1 cup of white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup of carob powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup of water
What to do:
An English Mastiff requires an extra large PlexiDor dog doorPreheat the oven to 350 degrees F, so it gets properly warm while you mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. The order doesn’t matter, you can just pour them together and mix away. It’s supposed to become a smooth dough.
If the dough becomes very dry, add a little more water. When you bake the dough out, it helps to sprinkle the baking surface with rice flour or carob powder. Use the latter if you don’t want white sprinkles on the cookies.
Roll out the dough until it’s about a quarter of an inch thick and cut cookies with a cookie cutter. Or, cut it into squares. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for ten to fifteen minutes. Let the cookies cool and store them in the fridge.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Food allergies in dogs

Allergies are fairly common both amongst humans and dogs, and just like a human, a dog can develop an allergy at any age. The most common dog allergy is against flea bites, and the second most common is inhaling allergens such as pollen or molds. Dog food allergies come in on a close third place.
In order to develop a food allergy, a dog must be exposed to the same food ingredient for a couple of years or more. Most dogs are between two and six years old when food allergies are first noticed.
What causes food allergy?
An allergy is caused by the immune system responding to something it believes is foreign. It is a defense mechanism that would normally protect the body, but instead causes an over-reaction to harmless substances met in everyday life.
When it comes to dogs and food the immune system most often reacts to a protein, and the most common triggers are beef, milk and other dairy products, chicken, eggs, soy, corn, and wheat.
What are the symptoms of food allergies?
Symptoms of food allergy include excessive scratching and itchy skin. A dog with a food allergy can scratch until they lose all hair in an area, and the skin is often red and irritated. This is particularly common on the ears, groin, and belly. Some dogs with food allergies lick or chew on their paws, get repeated ear infections, and/or rashes. Stomach problems are also often connected to food allergies.
How do you treat a food allergy?
To treat a food allergy, the dog needs to stay away from eating the problematic ingredient. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find the problematic ingredient. The idea is to eliminate potential causes of the problem through feeding the dog something completely different from what he or she has eaten in the past. The new food – and nothing but the new food – has to be fed for two to three months to give enough time for the method to work. This means no treats or tastes of human foods, which can be frustrating for both dog and human.
Once the dog is symptom free, one ingredient can be added back at a time to see if the immune system reacts.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Do you know someone who looks like their dog?

No matter how much we like dogs, most of us don’t want to look like a dog. There are exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of humans want to look like a human. Still, everyone has seen someone with an uncanny likeness to their dog. Many dog owners even see something of their dog in their own face in the mirror.
It would be easy to dismiss this as one of those things that aren’t real, but when shown a photo lineup of random people and random dogs, test subjects are able to match owners and pets.
It would be easy to dismiss that with people seeking out pets that have something in common with themselves. Maybe men would be more likely to have large dogs and women more likely to have toy breeds, or maybe women with long hair would be more likely to have dogs with long hair and floppy ears?
The ability to match strangers with their pets remain even when these types of characteristics are ruled out.
A Japanese scientist recently set out to solve the mystery. In prior tests he has proven that test subjects can match photos of owners and their dogs by looking at their faces – and see that arbitrarily coupled dogs and people were fake pairs. This time, 502 students were presented with 40 human faces and 40 dog faces.
When shown the entire faces, 80 percent could pick the real life pairs. The interesting thing is that when shown only eyes of humans and dogs, 74 percent could still pick out real life pairs. The scientists ran the test again, and in a second group of test subjects 76 percent could pick out the pairs just looking at the eyes.
Thus far, no one knows how this works, but there is something in the eyes of humans and dogs that can show to complete strangers that they belong together.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Why are cats so attracted to boxes?

Cats have a strange affinity for cardboard boxes. But, what is it about a box that’s so fun? Why do cats love sitting in boxes, and sleeping in boxes?

One theory claims that boxes provide relief from stress – they cats are likely to feel safe and be left alone when hiding in a box. In the wild, a hiding place like this would be perfect to relax safe from predators.

Another theory is that boxes helps keep cats warm. Cardboard boxes are generally layered and become great insulators that keep cats safe from drafts.

Regardless of reason, cats in boxes are cute!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Telomian

The Telomian is a rare dog breed native to Malaysia. Historically, they have filled an important task in their home country; their owners used to live in huts only reached by ladder, and the dogs needed to be able to climb and kill any rats and snakes that might enter the homes. Besides climbing and hunting on land they are also skilled at fishing from nearby streams. 

The first Telomian entered the US in 1963 and they have been bred here ever since, but gained little interest. They're not currently recognized by any major kennel clubs in the USA.

Telomians are alert and make great watch dogs. Their short coat requires little care and they get by on moderate exercise. They're known for being intelligent, alert, and obedient, and they can use their paws to hold toys and open doors.

Fun fact: the Telomian has a blue tongue.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Stay safe and keep the Halloween treats away from pets

Halloween is getting close, and this is truly a candy holiday. While we still have a couple of weeks to go until trick-or-treat time, many have stocked up on candy already, and this is a good time to talk about dogs and treats.

The bottom line is, pets should not eat human candy. According to Pet Poison Hotline, Halloween is their busiest time of the year when calls increase with twelve percent.

As one might suspect, many of the calls are about pets eating human candy, but large numbers of calls also address pets eating decorations. The four most common Halloween hazards are: chocolate, eating too much candy, raisins, and candy wrappers.

Of all the sweets we eat, chocolate is the most dangerous to pets. Dogs are attracted to the scent and taste, and chocolate must be kept out of reach. Baker's chocolate is the most dangerous - a 50 pound dog can become severely sick from eating just one ounce. Milk chocolate is less dangerous, because it contains less actual chocolate, and white chocolate is the least dangerous.

Amongst the other candies, it's worth knowing that Xylitol is very dangerous to pets. Xylitol is commonly found in sugar-free candy and chewing gum.

Raisins look healthy, and they are for people. When it comes to dogs, small amounts of raisins can cause kidney failure. Some dogs have a pretty good resistance to grapes and raisins, but others can ingest just a tiny amount and be poisoned. There's no way of knowing in advance, so don't gamble. Treat raisins as chocolate and keep them out of reach!

When we eat candy, we remove the wrappers. When a dog gets into the stash, he or she doesn't bother with such little details. Eating foil and cellophane can obstruct the bowel and cause a life-threatening condition that requires surgery. Keep candy out of reach, and get rid of all wrappers at once.

~ Maria Sadowski~

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cat breed spotlight: Maine Coon

The Maine Coon Cat is the official cat of the state of Maine. It is a long-haired breed that has developed naturally, which resulted in sturdy cats able to survive the varying climate of the American northeast.

A typical Maine Coon Cat will have a rugged appearance. The coat is designed to protect against all sorts of weather and will be uneven with three distinct lengths. The cats have a long and furry tail they can wrap around themselves for added protection against weather, and large and furry paws that allow even large individuals to walk on top of snow.

These cats are large. Males average between 15 and 25 pounds, and females between 10-15 pounds, but they can be even bigger. Most Maine Coon cats don't reach their full size until they're between three and five years old.

Maine Coon cats are known for being clever and friendly, and they're good with kids and pets. Some say they're like dogs in a cat body; this is one of few cat breeds that like water, and they can be trained like a dog.

The average Maine Coon wants to be part of everything, and the only way to stop that is to close the door.

Have you had a Maine Coon cat?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Difference between a cat's senses and a human's

Cats and humans are clearly different, but have you ever wondered how different?


A cat sees differently than a human. Cats can see colors, but they are muted, and this allows the cat to focus on movement without distractions. Cats also have the ability to see in low-light conditions that would appear completely dark to a human.

Cats can't focus on anything close to their face, and they use their whiskers for feeling out objects nearby.


The difference between cats and humans are bigger than the obvious four legs instead of two. Cats have a unique skeletal structure and a posture that allows them to sneak silently as well as absorb the shock of jumping or falling from heights. They can scale vertical walls, balance on the top of a door or a fence, and have a great ability to land on their feet. As if that wasn't enough, their back legs work like springs, propelling them forward or upward at great speed.


Some humans can wiggle their ears a little. A cat can rotate their ears independently and zoom in on interesting noises. They also hear a wider range of sounds than we do - a human with normal hearing can detect 9 octaves. A cat can detect 11, and this is even more than a dog. These perfect hunters also have a large number of neurons between the ear and the brain, allowing them to decipher all this aural information quickly.


A dog's sense of smell is thousands of times better than a human's. The cat doesn't quite reach that, but they still have a sense of smell many, many times better than a human's. They can distinguish between thousands of scents, and they have a secondary organ above the roof of the mouth that helps detect odor.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, October 12, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Barbet

Image from
The Barbet is a medium-sized French water dog. It's an active breed that enjoys work and play, and Barbets often excel at sports. They're known for being affectionate and devoted to their owners, and many Barbet are "velcro-dogs" glued to their human's side.

Researches agree on the breed stretching back into antiquity, but there are two main theories to its history.

Some believe the Barbet descends from herding dogs originating in North Africa. They were allegedly brought to Europe with the Moors as they occupied the Iberian Peninsula during the 7th and 8th centuries. From there, they would have followed crusaders over the Pyrenees to France and central Europe.

Another theory states the Barbet originated in Asia and found its way to Europe over land. It's difficult to prove either theory, and the truth might very well be a mix of the two.

The first written reference to the breed has been found in a book from 1387, and the first attempt at categorizing the Barbet was made in 1570 with "De Canibus Britannicus."

These dogs are often described as joyful and goofy. They are intelligent and quick to learn, and as all intelligent breeds they need stimulation. Barbet are generally great with other pets as well as children, and they love to accompany their humans while hiking, swimming, and traveling.

According to the Barbet club of America, Barbet have hair and not fur, and don't shed in the same way as most other breeds. They need to be combed and trimmed.

Average weight ranges from 35 to 60 lbs.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

For further information on the Barbet and its history, please visit: 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Make sweet potato dog biscuits; quick and easy!

Everyone likes a special treat now and then, and dogs are not an exception. These sweet potato dog biscuits are super-easy to make, and most dogs love them.

What you need:

  • 1 cup of canned sweet potato
  • 1.75 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 0.5 tsp of salt (optional)

What to do:

Stir the ingredients. Roll the dough into small balls and place on a cookie sheet. (I always use parchment paper on my cookie sheets, so the cookies don't stick.) Flatten the cookies until they're about 0.25 inches thick.

Bake until golden brown, it takes about 30 minutes at 350 F.

Sweet potatoes are a potent source of antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as important minerals such as copper and iron.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, October 8, 2015

PlexiDor - the secure dog door

In today's world, security is an important factor to consider in every aspect of life. A pet door creates one more opening to the home, and many might hesitate to install a dog door out of fear of robbers and other unwanted persons. 

When you purchase a PlexiDor, it comes with a lock and key. The lock features a steel cam inside a hardened metal cylinder.

The PlexiDor size medium, large, and extra large also come with a steel security plate. The small door doesn't have the plate, because it's too small for anyone to get in through. The plate attaches to the door frame and can be installed whenever needed - many like to use it during the night, or when leaving the home for an extended period of time. The steel plate can also work as a signal to the pet that the door is locked.

For those who wish to use the security plate on an everyday basis, the PlexiDor sliding track system is a convenient accessory. Slide the plate down the track and lock it in place with a handy flip lock feature.

Many worry about other pets than their own gaining access to the home through the pet door. There is an electronic version of the PlexiDor that only opens for pets with a key. The door works on an RFID system, and when the pet carrying the key comes close enough to the door, the panel slides open. There are millions of codes to choose from, and the door will only open for the right combination.

Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Five cat behaviors you might not know

All cat lovers know cats have a body language and behavior far removed from both humans and dogs. Here are five things cats often do that you might have wondered about. And, if you wonder if your cat really loves you, the answer might be in the list below.

Why do cats want to eat when you pet them?

In the middle of a good snuggling session, many cats turn to the food bowl. To a human this behavior can seem a little rude, or seem to signal that snuggling is over, but to a cat it signifies affection. Many cats even enjoy being gently petted while they're eating.

Why do cats wink?

To a cat, meeting someone's eyes is rude and can signify a challenge. When you meet a cat you don't know, blink and look away. If you're petting your kitty and he or she gives you a slow wink, it means affection. This is a kitty kiss that means you're really appreciated.

Have you ever noticed how cats seem drawn to the persons who are allergic or doesn't want to interact with them? Usually, a person attempting to stay away from a cat avoids looking to it and doesn't talk to it, because this is appropriate body language between humans. A cat on the other hand, sees this behavior as inviting. The cat is more likely to go to the visitor trying to ignore it than to the person staring at it, trying to call for it.

Why does a cat wash a human's hair or face?

Kittens are born blind, and long before they're able to experience the world in other ways, their mother licks them. Grooming means love and caring. If your cat occasionally washes you, it means you're accepted and worthy of being cared for as a fellow feline.

Why do cats give "love-bites"?

Some cats, when they feel extremely affectionate and are very happy, may take a piece of human skin between their teeth and hold it. This is different from biting - the cat has no intention to lash out at you or hurt you. It's more like a feline equivalent of kissing.

Why do cats rub against humans?

Cats have scent glands on each side of the head, on their lips, chin, along the tail and at the base of the tail, between the front paws, and in some other places. These glands are used to mark territory. When a cat rubs against you, he or she is marking you as "taken."

Does your cat have an interesting or peculiar behavior? What is the strangest thing your cat does?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Agility for beginners

Anyone who has seen an agility competition can feel awe at the talented dogs scaling ladders, running through tunnels, and balancing on teeter boards. Agility is a great sport that strengthens the bond between dog and human, and it poses a healthy challenge for the dog.

If you want to try with your dog, you can do so at home. You can make your own obstacle course, and once you have that, it just takes some patience and training.

A basic agility course has weave poles, a dog walk, standard jumps, a pause table, a tunnel, and a tire jump. All these things are for sale, but you can also make them yourself with materials from a hardware store or a flea market.

You can make your own weave poles through sticking PVC pipe into the ground. Make sure there’s enough space between the poles for your dog to navigate around them. Bamboo poles also work very well.

The dog walk is basically a long bench where the challenge for the dog is staying on the bench instead of jumping down. You can use a picnic bench, or make a dog walk by placing a piece of plywood across cinderblocks.

For pause table you can use an old coffee table. Just make sure that it’s stable and not too high off the ground.

When it comes to jumps, make sure they’re low enough for your dog to be able to get over. You can increase the height as your dog gets in shape and figures out what to do. Many build jumps out of PVC pipes, but you can also balance a broom stick on two flower pots.

For a tire jump you can use a hula hoop tied sideways between two chairs. Just make sure the construction is stable enough not to fall when the dog jumps through.

Most department stores and children’s stores have collapsible tunnels. One of these won’t last as long as a specially made agility tunnel, but it’s a good start that will last long enough for you to figure out if this is the right thing for you and your dog. You can also make your own tunnel with a row of low tables and blankets.

Before starting on the course, make sure your dog knows basic commands such as sit, come, stay, and lie down. Once you have that down, help your dog through the course. Take your time and start slow.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, October 5, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Karelian Bear

Image from
The Karelian Bear is very popular in its country of origin: Finland, and it's gaining ground in the USA as well. In Finnish, the breed's name is Karjalankarhukoira, and in the Swedish-speaking parts of Finland, it is called Karelsk Björnhund.

The Karelian Bear is known for being tenacious. This is a hunting breed with fearless nature and lightning reflexes - the breed's name comes from the ability to protect against bears. Nowadays the dogs are also used for search and rescue work and dog sports, such as obedience trials.

Washington State employs Karelian Bears for non-lethal bear control in their department of fish and wildlife.

The Karelian Bear prefers to be outside, and needs plenty of space to run. This is an intelligent and independent working breed, which means they also get bored easily and need mental stimulation.

These dogs generally love people and children, but they can be suspicious towards other types of dogs, and as all breeds they should be socialized at an early age. Their extreme affection for humans can make them prone to separation anxiety - they want to be by their person's side at all times.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, October 2, 2015

Photo contest: win 1,000 lbs of dog food!

Has your dog gone cute? Submit a photo to the 2015 PlexiDor photo contest! You can win 1,000 pounds of dog food - brand of your choice - for yourself or a shelter/rescue you want to support.

1st Prize 
PlexiDor Performance Pet Door PLUS 1,000 lbs. of Your Brand of Dog Food

2nd Prize
PlexiDor Performance Pet Door with Installation and a $25 VISA Gift Card

3rd Prize
Gift Basket of Toys, Treats and Chews

Click here for entry form and contest rules!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Can a dog eat fruits and berries?

Fall is a season of plenty with fruits and berries galore. Dogs are natural scavengers and tend to eat what comes in their way. That doesn’t mean that all dogs like everything, or that everything they eat is good for them, but fruits and berries are nature’s treats, and most dogs love them. 
Not all fruits and berries are good for dogs. Here is a list with the most common ones, and whether your can let your furry friend share. 
Remember that everything should be given with moderation – you don’t want to give your pet a whole bowl of berries, because his or her digestive system won’t be used to it.
  • Apples  Dogs shouldn’t eat the seeds, because they can be toxic to dogs, but the fruit is fine. Most dogs won’t care for the skin of the apple, but will happily gobble down a nice slice.
  • Bananas  Some dogs don’t like the consistency of banana, and others love it. If your dog likes peeled banana it’s a great snack.
  • Blueberries  Blueberries are fine, and rich in antioxidants. Many dog foods and treats contain blueberries.
  • Coconut  Dogs can eat both coconut meat and milk.
  • Grapes  No. Dogs should not eat grapes or raisins. Not all dogs react adversely to them, but those who do can die from kidney failure. Don’t take the risk.
  • Mango  Mango has a large pit that the dog shouldn’t have. Dogs can have a piece of mango flesh without the peel and pit.
  • Oranges  Peeled and de-seeded citrus fruits are fine for dogs. Just make sure to remove the seeds.
  • Peaches  Peaches are tricky, because the pit contains cyanide, and this is deadly to everyone, not just dogs. If you absolutely want to give your dog peach, make sure to only give the outer layers of the fruit, because cyanide can seep out from the pit into the meat close to the center. It’s not enough to harm a human, but it can be enough to harm a dog.
  • Pears  Dogs can eat pears, as long as you remove the seeds and cores.
  • Pineapple  Pineapple meat is fine for dogs. They shouldn’t have the prickly husk, of course, but the meat is fine.
  • Plums  Avoid giving your dog plums, for the same reason they shouldn’t have peaches. The pit is dangerous, and there isn’t enough meat on a plum to find a layer where you can be absolutely sure it’s safe.
  • Raspberries  Raspberries are fine, and many dogs love them. Some dogs have been known to eat raspberries directly off the bushes!
  • Strawberries  Sure, but you should remove the leaves and any stem. You want the dog to eat the berry, not the greenery.
  • Watermelon  Yes, dogs can eat watermelon, but you should remove the seeds.
If you suspect your pet has gotten into something they shouldn't eat, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline.

~ Maria Sadowski ~ 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dog sports: What is Flyball?

If you have an energetic dog that loves balls, Flyball might be an ideal sport. It’s a team sport, and a form of controlled chaos that involves a lot of running and jumping. The dog needs to be able to focus around distractions and in good enough shape to run and jump.

Flyball is played in teams with four dogs in each team. One end of the course holds a starting line, and the other a specialized box where the dog will release and catch a tennis ball that is to be carried back to the starting line. In between are four jumps.

Each dog in the team must complete the course. That is, run over the jumps, trigger the box to release a ball, catch the ball, and return with it, going over all four jumps. The next dog in line can’t cross the line before the dog currently on the course returns. If a dog would run on the side of a jump, or return without the ball, he or she must run the course again.

The height of the jumps are based on the team’s shortest dog, so everyone wants to have a small dog on the team.

Flyball is one of the most athletic dog sports. At a flyball tournament, a team might run between 18 and 24 heats in a day. Add in reruns for starting too early, missing a jump, or some other error, and a dog can easily run 40 times during a weekend.

To start training, your dog needs to get used to noisy and busy places. At a competition there will be dogs running around, barking, people running back and forth, balls, and other distractions. Train to stay calm around distractions, and train recall with distractions.

You can also train jumping, chasing you, tugging, and building the dog’s general strength through swimming and jogging.

Search for a club and classes in your area. This is a great sport with a lot of fun, and an opportunity for both humans and dogs to make friends.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Prevent dog-related incidents through learning what dogs don't like

Many incidents between dogs and humans are due to misunderstandings and miscommunication. Many human behaviors don't translate well to the world of dogs, and things we do cause accidents and even bites. Here are four examples of common things humans do that the average dog won't like.

1. Misreading the dog’s signals

A vast majority of dog bites, especially when children are involved, happen because humans misread a dog’s body language. Many times human adults think something is cute, even photo worthy, and the dog just wants to get away.

The follow signs should be put in context, of course, and each sign below is usually accompanied by other signs of stress.

  • Licking nose and lips 
    • A stressed dog licking nose and lips looks very different than when you feed your dog a treat. 
  • Yawning 
    • A stressed dog often yawns repeatedly, with intensity. Some dogs even yawn when they need to go out. 
  • Panting 
    • Of course dogs pant to cool off, but it is also a common sign of stress. 
  • Other common signs 
    • Include looking away, turning away, pinning back the ears with a tense facial expression, low body posture, leaning backward, and tension.

2. Hugging

Hugging is a human phenomenon. Many dogs get used to being hugged by their family members and can even learn to appreciate it, but there are also dogs who never get used to it.

Hugging a dog can make them feel threatened or challenged.

There are countless news stories where a child has been bit by the neighbor’s dog – or even the family’s own dog – and the parents say, “It came out of the blue. She was just hugging the dog.” This misunderstanding between the species ends with a traumatized child and euthanized dog.

3. Patting on top of the head

While most dogs love to be petted, that’s not the same as going up to a dog and patting them on the top of the head or on the face. Most animals don't like being approached from above. Teach your children not to do this – especially not to dogs they don’t know.

While most dogs tolerate it, they might not like it, and some perceive it as a threat.

When you meet a dog, crouch and turn away a little – this means that you’re not a threat. When the dog comes up to you, pet it on the side.

If you meet a cat you don't know, hold out your hand and let the cat sniff it. Once you're approved, most cats like to be petted on the cheeks and under the chin. Depending on the cat it might love being petted on top of the head or even having its back stroked, but cats are individuals and the same approaches that work for a dog might not yield success.

4. Staring into a dog’s eyes

Most dogs are okay with gazing into their owner’s eyes, and this form of eyes meeting can strengthen the bond between dog and human. However, don’t approach a dog you don’t know and stare into their eyes – this is a challenge in doggie language.

If you meet a cat you don't know, it's polite to look away. If you meet its eyes, blink often - this signals that you're friendly and not a threat.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Portuguese Podengo

The Portuguese Podengo is an ancient dog breed believed to stem from dogs brought to Portugal by Phoenician traders around 700 BC. The dogs are hardy, intelligent, fearless, loyal, and energetic.

The Portuguese Podengo has developed into three sizes: Pequeno, Medio, and Grande. Each size can be smooth or wire coated, and the different varieties are not interbred. They’re all referred to as the Portuguese Podengo.

Podengo Grande is the largest with a weight range of 44 to 66 lbs. They were originally developed for hunting deer and wild boar, and they are tough, hardy, and very observant. Nowadays this size is rare, even in Portugal. A Portuguese Podengo Grande needs a Large PlexiDor dog door.

Podengo Medio weighs between 35 and 44 lbs. They are great at chasing, but can also stalk like a cat, and have a funny way of jumping to see over things. They are very active and make great dogs for active families. A smaller Podengo Medio can use a Medium PlexiDor dog door, but large individuals might need a Large PlexiDor dog door.

The Podengo Pequeno is the most common in the USA. They are watchful, observant, and very active. Many owners say these dogs are silly and funny indoors. Most Podengo Pequenos will require a Medium PlexiDor dog door.

The Portuguese Podengo is a hardy breed that often lives into its late teens. They excel at agility and other sports, and love to have a job to do.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, September 25, 2015

Is your cat trying to tell you something?

Cats might not be able to talk like humans do, but they do communicate. Unfortunately, we often misunderstand the attempts of communication and think the cat is “bad” or just weird. 
Here are some instances when kitty might be trying to tell you something.
From time to time, cats chow down on strange things, but if your cat eats cardboard, plastic, paper, or something similar and looks at you when he/she starts eating, it’s probably a call for attention.
When kitty deliberately knocks things on the floor it’s not to mess with you or a sign of disliking your decorations. This too means that the cat wants attention – which could mean food.
A cat presenting its butt to you might not seem like a good thing, but in cat language this is a huge compliment. It means that you’re a trusted friend.
What is the strangest way your cat has used to communicate?
~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sources of chewing problems in dogs, and ideas to break the behavior

Most – if not all – dog owners encounter a chewing problem sooner or later. Even the most well behaved pooch can fall for the temptation of chewing a shoe, a remote control, or why not a sofa cushion! Why is that, and what can we do about it?

To start with, why do dogs chew?

Puppies explore their world by putting things in their mouth. They do a good job exploring the world through their eyes and sense of smell, but one of their favorite ways to learn about things is chewing on them.

Puppies also teethe for about six months, and chewing makes the sore gums feel better.

Adolescent dogs – for some breeds this period can last up until they’re two to three years old – are a lot like human teenagers. There’s a lot going on in the body, they have energy to spare, they get bored, and sometimes they want to bend the rules a little. All this often adds up to unwanted behavior such as chewing, and the dog no longer has the extreme puppy cuteness to protect it. Unfortunately many dogs are given up during their adolescence, because their owners can’t cope with a teenager on four paws.

Adult dogs sometimes also chew. They don’t do it to spite their humans. Some common reasons why dogs chew on your belongings include:

As a puppy, the dog was never taught what to chew and what not to chew Dogs often chew because they’re bored The dog might suffer from separation anxiety The behavior can be fear related It’s a call for attention If your problems stems from separation anxiety or fear, you might need to seek help from a behavior professional.

How can the problem be solved?

First of all, take responsibility for your belongings. If it doesn’t belong in your dog’s mouth, keep it out of reach. Make sure shoes, clothes, books, trash, remote controls, eyeglasses, and similar are kept out of reach.

Invest in good chewing toys that doesn’t look anything like the forbidden objects. Many let their dog chew on an old shoe, or make a toy out of an old sock. The difference between allowed shoes and socks and forbidden shoes and socks is clear to humans, but not at all as clear to dogs.

Spend extra time with your dog. Spending time with you will increase your bond, and help your dog learn acceptable behavior. If need be, keep doggie with you on a leash in the house, and confine him or her when you’re unable to keep your eyes on him. Provide plenty of “safe” toys.

If you have a teething puppy, try freezing a wet washcloth and offer it for chewing – this can help soothe the sore gums. Supervise so your puppy doesn’t chew it up and swallow it.

Make sure your dog gets ample physical and mental exercise. Many chewing problems stem from the dog being bored. You might want to invest in puzzle toys, enroll in a training program, learn tricks, or take him jogging. You can also use meal-time as doggy entertainment. Instead of just pouring kibble into a bowl, mix it with a little peanut butter or soft dog food, stuff it into a Kong, and freeze it. Getting the food out will take a while, and give your dog something to work with.

If you catch doggie chewing on something forbidden, interrupt through making a loud noise. Then, offer an acceptable chew toy, and give lots of praise when he or she takes the right toy.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Myths around dog bite force

Some people who are afraid of dogs will claim that certain dog breeds can exert over 2,000 pounds of pressure with their jaws. It’s an impressive number – and an enormous exaggeration. They bite harder than a human, but not as much harder as one could think.

The average human can bite down with a 120 pound force. A grown up man can reach around 150. It’s not a lot, but being bit by a human will still hurt and do damage.

It is more difficult to measure the exact bite force of dogs, because they won’t bite as hard every time, and they will bite harder if they’re provoked. The force they can chow down with depends on the shape of the jaw and the size of the dog’s head

One test measured three dog breeds that often strike fear in those afraid of dogs; American Pit Bull Terriers, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers. (If you are afraid of dogs, you should know that how a dog turns out depends on the owner and not the breed.) The average bite strength turned out to be 269 pounds of pressure.

The Rottweilers were the strongest and topped with 328 pounds of bite pressure. German Shepherds came in second with a 238 measured bite force, and the American Pit Bull Terrier came in third with 235 pounds of pressure.

How does that measure compared to cousins in the wild?

Dogs are at a disadvantage. A wolf’s normal bite force is around 400 pounds. If it is protecting itself, a large wolf can bite down with over 1,200 pounds of pressure.

Large cats are very strong. A Jaguar can reach 700 pounds of pressure, and Siberian Tiger 950.

You might not think of Hyenas as strong, but even though they are scavengers they also hunt, and most of the time they chase down their own food. A hyena can bite down with 1100 pounds, and they’ve been known to chase off lions to claim food.

When it comes to our primate cousins, the Gorillas are the largest and strongest. An adult male gorilla can weigh 400 pounds, and bite down with a strength of 1,300 pounds per square inch. Now, that doesn’t mean that you should fear gorillas – they are herbivores, peaceful, and shy.

Many who visit the south are afraid of alligators, and it is certainly wise to abide by regulations and warning signs. The American Alligator has a bite strength of 2125, sharp teeth, and powerful muscles to hold their prey. This still pales compared to the Nile Crocodile that can close their mouths with a pressure of 5000 pounds.

While alligators and crocodiles can run fairly quickly on land, it’s nowhere near what urban myths claim. They can lounge out of water at a fairly high speed, but the land speed record is around 10 mph, and they grow tired quickly when on land. Alligator attacks are extremely rare. The risk of being injured in an unprovoked alligator attack is around one in 2.4 million.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Five things you might not know about cats


1. Have excellent night vision, and can see well at one-sixth of the light level required for humans.

2. Have excellent hearing and can hear higher-pitched sounds than both dogs and humans. The cat's hearing is amongst the best of the mammals.

3. Also have an acute sense of smell. Many times that of a human - the average human has around  million scent receptors, and the average cat around 200 million. A cat also has a special organ in the roof of the mouth called Jacobson's organ that can help distinguish pheromones.

4. Don't usually greet each other nose to nose, since it puts both participants in a vulnerable position. Cats who know each other well and have been apart for a while feel safe enough to do this, and gather information about how the other cat is, where he has been, and what he has been doing. 

5. Blink and narrow their eyes when they accidentally make eye contact. To make friends with an unfamiliar cat, blink and look away when you catch his eyes. If your cat winks at you, it's sending you a kitty-kiss.