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The Pet Blog represents the contributions of all of the on-staff pet experts at That Fish Place - That Pet Place. Contact us with the links here or leave a comment.

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A Legacy of Cats in Rome From Antiquity to Present Day

Cat Mosaic from PompeiiDomesicated cats have a deeply rooted history in culture. Most of us are familiar with depictions and roles of ancient felines in Egyptian society, but did you know that cats were also prevalent in ancient Rome?

Domesticated cats were carried to Europe by Phoenician trade ships about 3000 years ago. This African subspecies mingled with European subspecies giving rise to the domestic cats we still keep today. There is some debate whether, in ancient times, cats were considered pests or prized predators. It is evident that these pets were valued for their hunting prowess, often tolerated for keeping rodent populations at bay and left free to roam temples and estates for the same reason. Roman soldiers transported cats on conquests to keep grain stores safe. There are also other positive associations of cats in lore that supports that they were more than just a presence, though not perhaps favored as pampered pets as much in Roman society as dogs, birds and other exotic pets at the time. Cats are associated with the goddesses Diana (goddess of the hunt) and Libertas (goddess of freedom). Regardless of how the Romans of that age felt about cats, their place in culture had been established. Read More »

Till Death (Or Pets) Do Us Part – How Having Cats Changed My Marriage

I’ve been married to the same wonderful man for almost 17 years. Around our house, we refer to him as The Tall Guy. “We” being the cats and me. That’s how they sign their cards to him. Our cats were strays and they’re still independent in nature. Although I’d love to think they think of us as Mommy and Daddy, I’m pretty sure they see us solely as the two-legged creatures who appear to dole out the food.

We were married for six years before we had cats. Looking back, all I can think is, “What on earth did we do with all our time?” (I know what we’re doing with it now: Fighting a losing battle against cat hair.)

But there have been other changes since welcoming cats into our home, many I’m sure most pet lovers can relate to. Read More »

Join A Cause and Help Animals

Poultry Factory FarmAnimal lovers know that animal welfare is one of the most important issues in the world.  I thought I’d blog a little on several organizations that work against animal abuse and mistreatment. You can help the animals in many small ways, whether by giving a little money, choosing not to wear fur, becoming a vegetarian, signing a petition, adopting a pet from a shelter, or even just spreading the word. Without animals, our world would be a very sad place. Please click on at least one of the following links and get involved today! Read More »

Cruelty-Free Shopping – Finding Products that were not Tested on Animals

Animal enthusiasts often ask if there is any way to be sure that the cosmetics, personal care items and household goods they purchase have not been tested on animals.  While many companies make these claims (sales usually rise in response), recent scandals have revealed that abuses abound.

Legal Status

Unfortunately, in the US, legal standards that must be met before the label “no animals were harmed” can be attached to a product do not exist.  Frequently, distributors make such claims even though many of the product’s ingredients were tested on animals – after all, they reason, the seller itself did not test the final product on animals!  Sad but true.

leapingbunny.org

leapingbunny.org

A group known as the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics was formed in response to the lack of effective laws and guidelines in this area.  Many of the world’s best-known animal welfare organizations, including the 10.5 million-member Humane Society of the USA, are actively involved in its operation.

“Cruelty-Free” Certification

The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) inspects companies that wish to be certified as “cruelty-free”.   In order to qualify, a company must prove that neither it nor any of its ingredient suppliers utilize animals for research.  So, for example, if 2 dozen chemicals go into the making of a kitchen cleaner, the suppliers of all 2 dozen chemicals must utilize non-animal testing methods.  In addition, all products carried by the company seeking certification must live up to the same standard.

Those passing the CCIC’s rigorous inspection are entitled to display the group’s “Leaping Bunny Logo” (please see photo).  This symbol, which is used in the USA, Canada, Great Britain and the European Union, is widely-recognized as evidence that animals are not used in product testing.  As of now, it is one of the few ways that a consumer can be absolutely certain of this fact (cosmetics testing on animals is banned in the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK; the European Union is in the process of following suit, but there are legal challenges).

How Consumers can Help

Animal welfare groups are growing in strength and influence, as more and more people become deeply affected by the plight of animals that are injured in the name of better eye creams and such.   

The CCIC now provides support to stores that stock “cruelty-free” products.  It also supplies information to consumers and sample letters for folks wishing to encourage stores and companies to deal only in products that have not been tested on animals.  CCIC has also created an app for Iphone and Android users, where you can look up product information by barcode while shopping.  Take the leap, and go cruelty-free, today.

Small Wild Cats – Overlooked by Conservationists and in Serious Decline

Margay CatTigers and other big cats rival Pandas as “conservation darlings”…so much so, that an Africa-based colleague of mine recently commented that she doubted there was “…a single Cheetah alive that had not been radio-collared and filmed chasing down a Gazelle”!  However, 30 of the 37 known cat species are small, secretive creatures that, lacking the glamour of their larger relatives, are disappearing without generating much notice.   The plight of Chinese Desert Cats, Flat Headed Cats, Iriomote Cats, Kodkods and other rare felines should be of concern to all, especially Domestic Cat owners – after all, many taxonomists consider the Domestic Cat to be a mere subspecies of the African Wild Cat, and not a distinct species at all. Read More »

Volunteer Opportunities in Zoos, Aquariums, Museums and Nature Centers

Frank with SlothI consider myself extremely fortunate in having been able to spend a lifetime working in zoos with animals from all over the world.  However, zoo work is not for everyone – even those who are passionate about wildlife may become frustrated by the lack of opportunities (not to mention the exceedingly low salaries!).  There is, however, a very pleasant alternative for those who wish to be around exotic creatures on a regular basis– volunteering.  Many zoos, aquariums, nature centers and museums accept volunteers, and most provide extensive training.  Read More »

How to Litter Train Your Rabbit

Hello, Doug here. One of the best parts of having a rabbit as a pet is letting it hop around the house with you. However, letting your pet roam comes with the extra chore of cleaning up the trails of droppings that have been so nicely left for you if your pet isn’t taught better.  It isn’t too hard to teach your pet to go in a designated space, so I thought I’d share some tips on how to litter train you bunny. I will go over some standard techniques as well as other practices that have worked for me in the past with my pets. Read More »

It’s Spring…Here Come the “Orphaned” Wild Animal Babies!

Frank and Wallaby
Once you acquire the reputation of being a skilled pet-keeper (or of having a soft heart!), springtime may bring with it requests from well-meaning folks that you care for “abandoned” animal babies they have found.  In my long experience as a wildlife rehabilitator I have raised Flying Squirrels, Opossums, Raccoons, Muskrats and many other furry friends (the oddest being a Star-Nosed Mole!) – very rewarding work, but not to be taken on lightly. Read More »

Man’s Best Friend – On Land and At Sea

Original Parson's Terrier, TrumpHello, Eileen here. Dog people are familiar with the long history of dogs as not only companions, but as workers, trained to herd and hunt amongst other things. As a marine scientist, dog owner and history buff (especially English Tudor and Renaissance), a recent news story caught my eye and I couldn’t resist sharing it. Researchers working on the Mary Rose, a 16th century English warship made a surprising discovery on the sunken vessel – the almost-intact skeleton of the ship’s dog. Read More »

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