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Paws & Claws

What to do if your cat refuses to use their litter box



Is Mittens making messes around the house? If your cat refuses to use their litter box, it’s best to determine the cause of the unwanted behavior. Here’s an overview of what you should know.

Possible causes
If your cat has diabetes, a urinary tract infection, or other health problem, they may physically be unable to hold it in. Alternatively, if their living environment has recently changed, your furry friend may start making messes as a result of stress.

Your cat may also refuse to use a litter box if it’s too small or located somewhere cold or noisy. They might also be put off if they don’t like the type of litter used or the box isn’t clean. Additionally, some cats won’t use a litter box soiled by another cat.

Possible solutions
If your veterinarian confirms that your cat doesn’t have any health problems, try purchasing a second litter box. This will ensure that your cat isn’t tempted to relieve itself on your couch or kitchen floor. If you have two cats, experts recommend three litter boxes in different rooms.

Look for a litter box that suits your cat’s size and preferences. Keep in mind that most cats prefer uncovered boxes. It should also be placed in a quiet, low-traffic area. Also, experiment with different kinds of litter until you find one that works, and make sure to clean the box once or twice a day.

If you’ve done everything you can and your cat still won’t use its litter box, you may want to consult a feline behaviorist.


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Paws & Claws

“Sniff, Seek, Treat!”: Egg carton games to keep your pooch entertained



So, your dog, dear Fido, is lounging around at home, maybe getting a tad bored? Well, you’re in luck! A simple egg carton, yes, you read that right could be the key to hours of fun and mental stimulation for your canine companion. Let’s dive into this quirky yet intriguing world of “egg carton dog fun.”

First off, you’ll need a doggy delight, a treat with a potent aroma that’ll make your pup’s nose twitch with anticipation. A piece of hot dog works as a treat! And no, don’t just toss it their way. Show it to Fido, let them get a whiff of it, then pop it into your trusty egg carton, and just close it without locking it. The fun has just begun!

Cue the wagging tail and the eager eyes! With the tantalizing scent of the hot dog wafting through the carton’s tiny holes, Fido will soon be pawing and nudging the carton in a gleeful attempt to get at the hidden treasure.

Next round, the stakes get higher! This time, lock the carton. Your four-legged friend will now need to channel their inner Houdini to retrieve the treat. Yes, it’s a dog-eat-hot-dog world out there, and problem-solving is all part of the game.

Once Fido becomes a seasoned egg carton game pro, it’s time to up the ante even further. Why not play hide and seek with the egg carton? Find a sneaky spot to stash it and watch as Fido’s powerful sniffer leads them straight to their coveted hot dog treat.

Voila! Who knew an ordinary egg carton could be the secret to so much fun and mental stimulation for your pet? It’s a game that’s easy to set up, engaging for your dog, and a whole lot of fun to watch. So, the next time Fido seems to be getting the blues, remember – an egg carton can crack open a whole new world of canine entertainment. Happy gaming, folks!

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Paws & Claws

How well do you know your pet’s dental health?



Good oral hygiene is just as important for preventing dental and periodontal diseases in pets as in humans. It’s also critical to ensure their longevity and quality of life. But do you know the ins and outs of caring for your faithful friend’s teeth? Here are a few questions to test your knowledge.

1. How many teeth does an adult dog have?
A. 32
B. 38
C. 42

2. What are the teeth at the back of a goldfish’s mouth?
A. Pharyngeal teeth
B. Laryngeal teeth
C. Jugal teeth

3. What type of teeth are missing in rodents?
A. Incisors
B. Canines
C. Molars

4. At what age does a cat begin to lose its milk teeth?
A. Three months
B. 10 months
C. Two years

5. Which of these animals changes its teeth several times during its life?
A. Snake
B. Rabbit
C. Guinea pig

6. Which of these species has tiny teeth on the lower jaw?
A. Turtle
B. Parakeet
C. Fighting fish

7. What nutrients enable a rabbit to wear down its teeth?
A. Proteins
B. Fiber
C. Carbohydrates

February is Pet Dental Health Month, an opportunity to ensure you provide the necessary care for your best friend. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to get the best advice for your pet.


1-C, 2-A, 3-B, 4-A, 5-A, 6-C, 7-B


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Paws & Claws

Ranch dogs show their courage and energy



This month, one dog will win the $5,000 prize in one of the dog world’s more obscure contests (certainly not the glamorous Westminster) — the Farm Dog of the Year competition.

In this fierce annual contest, held by the American Federation of Farm Bureaus and sponsored by pet food giant Purina, it’s not a pretty face that counts — it’s talent, instinct, and heroism.
Ranch work takes a specific set of skills for dogs that utilize their instincts — to be able to group and move animals through huge pasture lands and then maneuver them through smaller fences. There are also dangers and unexpected problems.

Take the problem of feeding cows. You have 60 cows, each 1,500 pounds, eager to get to their dinner. Sonja Galley has to tote several five-gallon buckets of feed, and it would be nice if the cows didn’t trample her. That’s where Bindy, the 2021 Farm Dog of the Year, comes in. Bindi fearlessly keeps the cows back and once saved Sonja’s life when a cow pinned her in a barn.

The immense energy and intelligence of the dogs are essential to farm work.

The 2020 winner, Rhett and Beth Crandall’s Australian Shepherd Flint is no pup. At over 11 years old, Flint became a farm dog late in life when Beth and Rhett married, and he moved to the ranch. That’s when Flint came into his own, drawing on his instinct and bond with his humans to move cattle across vast pastures. He doesn’t know that he’s getting a little old and doesn’t mind teaching the youngsters, either.

Meanwhile, Woody, the 2019 winner, also an Australian Shepherd, works the Texas ranch of Joe Sheeran. Woody is a hero and known for his intelligence.

One day when Woody was just seven months old, Sheeran was teaching him to sit and stay without fail. This is important because it could be fatal if a novice dog runs cows over ranchers. On this day, Sheeran told Woody to stay when he spotted a calf caught in a ditch. He went down to get the calf, but the mother became aggressive and pinned Sheeran, who was all alone on the ranch. Still just a pup, Woody saw the danger, disobeyed the stay command, and leaped into action, getting in the cow’s face and forcing her away from Sheeran.

“Woody is my constant companion. When he got that cow off of me, I knew there was something to him, and he’s been a great farm dog,” Sheeran says.

Woody even knows which sick sheep Sheeran wants to cut out of the herd.

The reigning champion is Fit, a border collie who works on the farm of Cindy and Andrew Deak in Lady Lake, Florida. At age five, Fit is the right-hand dog at the Deak’s farm. Every day, she herds sheep and helps out with feeding time. Some days, she takes novice dogs under her wing to help them to learn her skills.

See videos and contest results at:

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Mature Living

Should you adopt a pet when you retire?



Has your schedule freed up since retiring? Are you considering inviting a furry friend into your home? Here are a few things to consider before deciding whether adopting a pet is a good idea.

Health impacts
Owning a pet has many benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety, lessened feelings of loneliness, increased self-esteem, and a general sense of well-being. For example, owning a dog helps raise your level of social engagement and physical activity because of walks and visits to the park. These changes can have a significant impact on your health.

Things to consider
Whatever type of animal you like, it’s essential to reflect on the long-term implications. Consider, for example, a dog’s life expectancy and your plans. Consider whether you may sell your home, move into a smaller space, or travel. Determine who can care for your companion if you can’t take it with you.

Finally, choose an animal that complements your level of autonomy. If you want a dog and you’re not very active, you probably shouldn’t get an energetic puppy that’s strong enough to cause you to lose your balance. You may find suitable companionship in a cat, hamster, or fish if you have reduced mobility.

Do you want to give an abandoned pet a second chance? Visit an animal shelter in your area.

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How to make your home more pet-centric



During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people welcomed pets into their homes. Whether you’re a new pet owner or have had one for many years, why not try making your home more pleasing to your furry friend? Here are three ways to create a pet-centric home.

1. Wash station. If you own a dog, why not create a dedicated area to groom and clean them? A ground-level wash station featuring tiled walls, a vinyl pan base, and a hand-held showerhead will help keep your pet and your house clean.

2. Pet door. Do you want your cat or dog to come and go as it pleases? Fortunately, pet doors have come a long way in recent years. For example, older doors with a simple flap pose a security risk since other animals, or heavy rain can also pass through them. Modern ones, in contrast, are electronic and use programmable collars or microchip implants to open only for your pet.

3. Pet flooring. Pets can be messy. Rather than get annoyed and frustrated, why not choose floor materials like linoleum, vinyl, or stain-resistant carpet that are easy to clean? A small area of radiant-floor heating will also give your pet a welcome place to lie down.

Contact an interior designer in your area to help you develop unique ideas to make your home more pet friendly.

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Paws & Claws

How-to guide: adopting a pet turtle



Have you always wanted a pet turtle? Here’s a short guide on what you need to know before adopting your new friend.

Terrestrial or aquatic
Aquatic turtles are more popular than terrestrial ones because they’re significantly cheaper. However, they require a much more controlled habitat than terrestrial turtles. The type of turtle you choose will depend on how much time you have to care for it and your long-term budget. This is because most turtles live between 30 and 50 years.

When selecting the sex of your new pet, remember that male terrestrial turtles have a more concave dip on their underside than females. Moreover, male aquatic turtles have longer claws and wider tails than females.

Terrestrial turtles are solitary creatures that enjoy being alone. The same is true for their aquatic counterparts, as adult males frequently fight when together.

Mature size
Before adopting a turtle, you must choose a terrarium or aquarium to accommodate its mature size. Adult turtles generally grow to a length of about six and 20 inches.

Health and behavior
When choosing a turtle, take the time to scrutinize its shell and skin condition. Healthy turtles have smooth, unblemished bodies. You can also test a turtle’s strength by gently tugging its limbs while they’re tucked under its shell. The turtle should offer some resistance. Moreover, observe how the turtle swims and ensure it moves in a straight line. Finally, choose a turtle that’s approachable and easy to handle.

Visit your local pet store to get everything you need to create an environment your pet turtle will love.


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Free Community Meal @ Valley Assembly of God Church
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Indoor Yard Sale @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
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Indoor Yard Sale @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
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Summer Show 2023: Aladdin @ Skyline High School
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Summer Show 2023: Aladdin @ Skyline High School
Italia Performing Arts presents ALADDIN, An Adaptation for Dance of the Traditional Story, with music edited, compiled and arranged by Dr Ryan Keebaugh. Tickets are on sale only through our ticket agency SimpleTix, and not[...]