Monthly Archives: July 2012

Cat and Dog Sayings

We often use sayings or idioms in our conversation that need to be translated for those visiting our country. Here is a partial list of fun dog and cat sayings and  their meanings

Cat got your tongue- This refers to anyone who is inexplicable silent.  It was heard commonly in the 1960s and 1970s.

Raining cats and dogs- This one means it is raining very hard.  It may have had it’s origins when cats and dogs fell off thatched roofs when it was raining very hard, but this has not been proven.

Dog and pony show-It is a highly promoted, often over-staged performance designed to sway or convince opinion for political or commercial ends.  In the late 19th and 20th centuries, there were traveling circuses that had performing dogs and ponies. These were usually staged in areas not suited for larger more elaborate circus shows.

Let the cat out of the bag- This means to disclose a secret. One possible origin is that at the market place, a piglet would be fraudulently changed for a cat.  If you let the cat out of the bag, you disclosed the trick.

Dog days- The very hot days during July and August. In ancient Rome, the hottest days coincided with the appearance of Sirius, the Dog Star.  People believed the star contributed to the heat of the day.

Curiosity killed the cat- Inquisitiveness that can lead one into dangerous situations or a way to try to stop someone from asking unwanted questions; (sometimes associated with political debate).

Fight like cats and dogs-This means you are always fighting.  It comes from the common thought that dogs and cats were supposed to be enemies.

Let sleeping dogs lie-If something is serving its purpose, don’t change it as it might cause trouble.

The cats pajamas- meaning great or remarkable. It was used in the 1920s when pajamas were somewhat new.

It’s a dog’s life- A life that is without responsibilities. All dogs have to do is eat, sleep, bark, sniff and lick.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks- Older dogs and people learn less well than younger ones. Those of us over 60 beg to differ!


Hereditary Disease in Dogs and Cats

With the cost of vet care tripling in the past ten years, it is wise to think about the breed of dog or cat that you choose. There are over 100 genetic diseases in cats and over 400 in dogs. Some have a higher prevalence in certain breeds since the animals in a breed share a smaller pool of genes. Dogs tend to have more genetic problems than cats due to cross-breeding, which cats don’t usually have. Yearly wellness check-ups can cost around $140 for kittens and puppies and up to $350 for geriatric cats and dogs. Before you shop for a new pet, it is wise to think about which breeds are more prone to inherited diseases. The following list is far from complete but gives an overview of some common health problem;

-The large dogs, such as the German Shepards and Labradors can have hip dysplasia, which is a loose fit of the ball and socket hip joint. This can require hip replacement. There is also elbow dysplasia, where the elbow joints of the front legs are malformed.

-Smaller dogs, such as Cocker Spaniels often have eye problems. These include such things as cataracts, glaucoma and dry eyes. Poodles tend to have difficulty with their trachea collapsing, endocardiosis and the pituitary gland disorder called Cushings Disease. Dachshunds can have herniated discs which are related to intervertebral disc disease.

-Mixed breed mutts rarely suffer from hereditary diseases. This should encourage people to adopt a non-purebred dog versus spending a great deal on a pet that is purebred.

-Persian cats and Himilayans are prone to hereditary eye diseases. Maine Coon cats and Persians can have a disorder of the heart muscle known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Polycystic Kidney Disease or (PKD) is also a genetic disease of Persian and other long-haired cats. It causes cysts in the kidneys which can lead to kidney failure.

-Both dogs and cats can develop diabetes. This is especially true in overweight animals.

So what is a pet lover to do? There are many laboratories that will do DNA tests to identify genetic disorders. Prices range from $50-$250 or more. It is advised that you pursue these test before you purchase your pet.

When you are thinking of getting a dog or cat, you can go to an internet website on dog or cat breeds and research a particular breed. It will show what health issues may affect your pet. If you get your dog from a reputable breeder, they will often have screened out hereditary breed-specific diseases. A prospective buyer should ask the breeder to see the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) results for the dog’s sire and dam.

Don’t be discouraged if the breed of your choice is more prone to these hereditary diseases. Many breeds live long and healthy lives in spite of the statistics. But as my vet says, a mutt is the best bet. And it sure helps the over-populated shelters and pounds!

A Tails Untold Personalized Pet Books, an Interview on PetLifeRadio™

We are very excited to let you know that Susan Lyman, President/Founder of Tails Untold® was interviewed by Michelle Fern for Best Bests for Pets on PetLifeRadio™.  You can check it out at or go to and click on the Best Bets for Pets on the Pet Podcasts,  Episode 43.

Pet Life Radio is a wonderful listening experience for pet lovers?   It is the #1 pet podcast radio network with so many interesting pet-related talk shows hosted by well renowned pet experts, authors, TV personalities and more all from the world of animals and pets.  Listen to PetLifeRadio™ podcasts and blogs where you will learn about new trends, products, ideas and much more.  What is great,too is that all shows are free!

Thank you for listening to the Tails Untold Interview on the Best Bets for Pets Podcast and please feel free to share with all your pet loving friends and family!




Doggy Hot Spots

When you hear the term “doggy hot spots” we are not talking night clubs for dogs.  Hot spots are areas of the skin that a dog has scratched and licked to the point of irritation. They are also known as acute moist dermatitis. They can be superficial or deep.  Those that are deep are often infected by a bacterium known as staphylococcus intermedius. The hot spot can be from 1-4 inches across and looks swollen. Deep hot spots may secrete pus. Hot spots can occur anywhere on the body and may be in one or more places such as ears or legs.  They tend to happen in the warmer summer months.

Although the exact cause is unknown, a single flea or tick bite may be the culprit. Mites, parasites, skin allergies and diseases can also create hot spots.  They often appear in dogs with heavy coats, such as Golden Retrievers. In these breeds, the irritated area appears just before shedding when moist, dead hair may be matted next to the dog’s skin.  Dogs will itch and scratch and lick the area to the point of bleeding and can cause infection.  The hot spot is very painful to your dog and he is just doing what he can to relieve the pain.

It is best to take your dog to the vet to determine if the hot spot is superficial or deep. Superficial hot spots can be treated by cutting back the hair around the irritated area and using medicated shampoo. A topical treatment may also be recommended. For the deep variety of hot spot, your vet will use a Betadine type of shampoo and you will be given antibiotic cream or powder to apply for about two weeks.  Oral antibiotics may also be prescribed or a one-time corticosteroid injection to relieve the pain and itch.  An Elizabethan collar will sometimes be used to help prevent your dog from going after the treated area.

It is important to keep the irritated area dry. If you take your dog for a swim, you must dry their coat thoroughly to avoid development of a hot spot. Prevention is the best medicine!

Can Tweety and Sylvester Co-habitate?

When we think of cats and birds living together, what comes to mind is Tweety bird being stalked by Sylvester.  Cats are instinctively natural predators.  In the wild, quick birds can just fly away from them.  In your home, the bird does not have this advantage and can run out of steam trying to flee the cat. Here are some ideas for keeping both cats and birds as pets.

-Let your cat know that the bird is not going to steal your affection. Jealousy can cause a cat to become aloof from you or stalk that cute feathered friend behind the bars. Give your cat lots of attention to let your cat know this new pet is just one more member of the family.

-Do not place the bird cage in an area that your cat can knock over and free the frightened bird. A cage that stands on the floor can work if it is sturdy and not placed where it can be bumped. Be sure the cage bars are close together and that the door is completely locking. Some bird owners have their bird’s wings clipped to tame them and keep them from flying away. That can put Tweety in a precarious situation if the cage is not secure.

-If your cat insists on stalking or jumping at the cage, use a squirt bottle of water to let it know this behavior is unacceptable. Unlike Tweety who can give the taunting right back, your bird can become over-stressed with the constant taunting.  This can even lead to death, so it is important to inhibit this behavior with your cat.

-Always supervise when letting your bird out to play.  Larger birds, such as exotic parrots may intimidate your cat. However, it is better to be safe than sorry. Having a room that belongs to your bird for his flying adventures is a way to keep him away from the cat.

-If a cat were to scratch or bite at a bird, they can transfer a bacteria to the bird that causes osteoarthritis.  There is an 8 to 12 hour window before this damage occurs. Your vet will need to treat your bird with a tetracycline derivative.

-The best type of birds to have co-habitate with your cat do not need a lot of out of cage interaction. Birds bought in pairs and using a large sturdy cage will help to discourage your cat from toying with them.

Once your cat realizes that your bird is just one more member of the family, they will likely leave it alone. (unlike Tweety and Sylvester!) Enjoy the purrs and chirps!