Tag Archive for cat



9 Easy Steps to Welcome a New Dog Home

welcome dog

Few things are as exciting as bringing home a new pet. At least for you. But how do you imagine the big introduction between your new dog and your resident pet(s)? Do you imagine handing out treats and name tags at your front door, resulting in happy munches and friendly woofs (or meows) as they bond instantly and forever. Cesar Millan would be so proud.

Then you blink twice and remember that you are living in reality and not in some ideal parallel universe. But reality can match your ideal, when you’re armed with these nine easy to follow steps, and a healthy dose of reality.


  1. Patience. Introducing your new dog to the pets already in your home is a process. To succeed, you must start with a plan and a promise – to yourself — to be patient. The process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks (and in extreme cases, a few months).
  2. Making a Match. To improve your chances of a happy blending of old and new, choose a dog as close as possible in temperament and activity level to the pets you already have. Dogs and cats are creatures of habit, and most dislike any disruptions to their daily lives and routines.
  3. Monitor Temperament. Some dogs are naturally more relaxed and more social than others. Some are more territorial and don’t enjoy sharing at all. Unhappy with the arrival of a newcomer, they may demonstrate their disapproval by fighting with the perceived “intruder” or by marking.
  4. Separate Corners. Allow your new dog to adjust to you and to his/her new surroundings by keeping him/her in a separate room with his/her bed, food, water and toys for several days. This is where having its own crate can be a lifesaver. And make sure to spend as much quality, comforting time with your new arrival as possible.
  5. Maintain Routines. Maintain your other pets’ regular routines – from feeding and pottying, to exercising, playing and together times. This will reassure them that nothing has changed.
  6. The Nose Knows. Since smells are of utmost importance to animals, get them used to each other’s scents as soon as possible. We’ve all witnessed how dog’s get to know each other through the tried and true smelling of the rear. It’s important they have the opportunity to smell each other, but it’s a good idea to keep the new dog on a leash at first, in case you need to take control quickly.
  7. All About Food. Another smell driver is food. Feed your resident pets and your new dog on either side of the door to his/her room, or crate, encouraging them to associate something pleasurable with one another’s smell. Once this has been successfully accomplished, walk your new dog slowly through your home, room by room, allowing him/her to become familiar with its sights, sounds and smells. Keep your other pets behind the closed door of his/her room to allow your new dog a sense of safety and privacy, while promoting a further exchange of scents between them. Repeat this several times a day for a few days.
  8. Good Sightlines. Next, use two doorstoppers to keep the door to your new dog’s room propped open just enough for all of the animals to see each other. Repeat this several times a day for a few days.                                                                                                                                                 But remember, when you leave your home, make sure your new dog in his/her room with the door closed, or secure in its crate.
  9. Reward and Correct. Armed with the tastiest treats and most tempting toys, you can expect sniffing, approaching and walking away. Reward good behavior with praise and treats, but discourage bad behavior by promptly separating the offending parties and gently, but firmly correcting them.

Hopefully, when you’re ready to make the “formal” introductions, your patience and your animals’ pre-preparations will pay off. And they will not only recognize, but also start to accept one another by what they see and smell.

Once again, patience is key. This too is a process, which may take time until the blending is successful, and your family is calmly and contentedly one.

If, however, certain problems persist, speak to your vet or consult a recommended animal behaviorist.

Some additional resources on introducing new dogs to your existing pet family may be found on Cesar’s Way Blog and the Humane Society.

The Downside of Declawing CATS

Like many cat owners, you may be fed up with finding scratch marks on everything from your floors and furniture to your curtains and comforters, cushions and clothes. And skin. But before you consider resolving the problem by choosing declawing as your only solution, be advised that declawing your cat is NOT a matter of solely removing its claws. Nor is it as simple a procedure as a manicure, or in this case, a pedicure.

In fact, it is a serious SURGICAL procedure that requires a general anesthetic. Commonly referred to as onychectomy, implying that only the claw is removed, the more appropriate term should be phalangectomy, which refers to the excision of the toe bone itself. Why? Because a cat’s claw, unlike a toenail, adheres so closely to the bone that to remove the claws on a single foot is to remove the last bone of all five toes. In other words: amputation. Not only is the operation itself extremely painful, but so is the protracted period of recovery. If “recovery” is even the proper word.


A cat’s body is uniquely designed, allowing it to move with agility and grace, and its claws are an integral part of that design. Amputating so vital a part of their anatomy drastically alters the conformation of their feet, and since cats walk on their toes, this surgery actually changes the way their bodies work. Because of this, their back and leg muscles may weaken over time, potentially leading to chronic back and joint pain. Other complications from the procedure may include postoperative hemorrhage, nerve damage, and displaced bone chips that prevent proper healing. Post-operative care can be complicated and difficult, both for you and your cat.

Because a declawed cat must wear bandages on its paws until the incisions heal, exercise must be limited for at least one month and cat litter replaced with shredded newspaper to keep litter granules from embedding themselves in the healing tissue. Your vet may prescribe medications to help with the pain, and you must monitor your cat carefully for swollen paws, bleeding and a reluctance to walk, as well as any changes in appetite and behavior. While some cats exhibit no changes in personality after being declawed, others may become anxious, shy, or show an increase in aggression. Feeling defenseless without their claws may cause them to bite if they feel cornered. And the pain associated with the procedure may result in urinating and defecating outside the litter box.

Because scratching is as innate to cats as purring, most experts recommend other alternatives to the trauma and dangers of declawing. Keep your cat’s nails carefully trimmed and direct its scratching behavior to inexpensive cardboard scratchers, scratching posts or emery scratching pads that dull its claws. Use remote aversion devices such as Scat Mats. But if all else fails, the newest and most popular alternative to declawing is the application of vinyl nail caps, available through your veterinarian or pet store. Non-toxic glue binds the caps to the claws, and the caps are replaced when your cat sheds its claw sheaths (usually every four to six weeks).

While declawing remains peculiar to the United States, an ever-increasing number of countries throughout the world consider it both “inhumane” and a “form of mutilation” (except in the most extreme cases or for medical reasons) and have banned the procedure. In fact, a global online campaign declared March 29, 2014 as Declaw Awareness Day.

What are your thoughts on Declawing? Let us know in the comments section of this blog!


Article by Nomi Berger

Nomi is the best selling author of seven novels, one work of non-fiction, two volumes of poetry and hundreds of articles. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her adopted Maltese, Mini, and now devotes all of her time volunteering her writing skills to animal rescue organizations throughout Canada and the USA.


A hectic July for STARelief

July has begun with a flurry of activities and opportunities for us at STARelief! So here’s a quick peak into our calendar for the month.

We began the month with Web Thrift Store’s Thrift Snap contest.   After this we had the wonderful opportunity of winning a $500 donation from DGP for pets through votes on Facebook. We had our supporters vote for us on the DGP For Pets page and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support!

Starelief Slider Image Calendar no back

pop up sale july



The month isn’t over yet though. STARelief has organized a Pop-up tag sale on the 19th of July (yes it’s the coming Saturday!) from 9 am to 2 pm at our pet food pantry on High Ridge road (High Ridge Shopping center, 1137 High Ridge road, Stamford, CT). The proceeds from each sale will go towards assisting pet families in need. So please join us and aid in making a difference to a loved pet and his family!






We have yet another contest that we are participating in this month. It is the #ThriftyEstateDrive from Web Thrift Store. Donate anything over the value of $50 (original price paid for the item needs to exceed $50) by listing it on our store at www.starelief.webthriftstore.com and help us win 100% of the proceeds from their sale! We are right now at the 7th place, but with your help we can place much higher! So clear out your cupboards and donate those unused earrings, bags, jackets or shoes. Who knows, cleaning your closet may help keep a pet Happy, Healthy and Home!

Help us win and make a difference in the lives of numerous pets and pet owners! For after all, it’s your support that keeps us going!


Article by Madhumita Ganapathy

Madhu, having grown up in a household that always had pets, fell in love with animals at a very young age. She firmly believes that until one has loved, nurtured and cared for a pet, one’s life remains incomplete. She loves writing, travelling, and meeting new people. Madhu lives in Stamford and joined STARelief as Social Media Director to lend her marketing expertise in spreading the word and creating awareness. Connect with her on Twitter @MadhuG86

Managing your pet’s anxiety this 4th of July

It’s time to bring out the grill and prepare to have family and friends over this 4th of July weekend! Whether you plan to stay home and have guests over or are planning to take a trip over the long weekend, the anxiety over how your pet is going to handle this noisy celebration is sure to dampen spirits. Many pet owners confess that the 4th of July holiday is one of the most stressful times for themselves as well as their pets. Indeed the highest number of missing pets is reported the very next day. The reason for this is that dogs and cats (in fact most animals) are far more sensitive to noise than us humans. They can often hear more than 1.5 times our normal range of sounds! However, this holiday does not need to be as stressful if we are better prepared.

Please keep us safe - STARelief

Here are some tips to help you ease your pet’s anxiety this holiday!

  1. Make sure to let your pets out early in the day: Try to walk your dog or let out your cat earlier in the day. Ideally your pet needs to get his/ her fresh air and exercise before the streets get crowded and the fireworks begin. Even if you normally take him/ her out only in the evening, make an exception and get your pets to exercise early in the day. However, do not deny them their usual outing. This may cause your pet more stress.
  2. Make your home comfortable: before the fireworks begin, make sure to close the curtains and drapes around the house to cut out the excess noise. You can also create some white noise like running the washing machine or the vacuum cleaner. You can also play some soothing music to calm your pet.
  3. Give them company: When pets are anxious and stressed they automatically look to their humans for comfort. Try to stay around them and calm or soothe them with your presence. Ensure that you are not stressed yourself for the animal can sense you anxiety and will think that there is some cause for concern.
  4. Keep special treats handy: Keeping your pets favorite treats handy will help in diverting their attention from any commotion outside. You can also engage them in some activity and hand out these treats as a reward.
  5.  Last and not least- Microchip your pet: Enough stress cannot be laid on the need to microchip your pet at a time when they can easily get lost. Microchipping your pet helps you track them even if they get lost. Animal control officers and Veterinarians often look for Microchips on pets that have strayed or are lost to identify the owner and ensure a safe return. You can learn more about how microchips are inserted and used here.

To help you cope with this holiday, we are holding a FREE Pet Wellness clinic this Sunday (22nd June) at the VCA Davis Animal hospital between 12 pm and 3 pm. Bring your pet for a free Rabies vaccine and microchip. Be prepared and enjoy this long weekend!

advocate_pet wellness


Article by Madhumita Ganapathy

Madhu, having grown up in a household that always had pets, fell in love with animals at a very young age. She firmly believes that until one has loved, nurtured and cared for a pet, one’s life remains incomplete. She loves writing, travelling, and meeting new people. Madhu lives in Stamford and joined STARelief as Social Media Director to lend her marketing expertise in spreading the word and creating awareness. Connect with her on Twitter @MadhuG86


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STARelief and Pet Assistance
P.O. Box 3035
Stamford, CT 06905
Phone: 203-636-0971
Fax: 203-883-0325
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