So many books, so little time

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I’m ready for summer and I bet many of you with seasonal jobs (such as teachers and students) are ready too! When I had written the above title, I didn’t know that I wasn’t the first person to say those words in that order. Frank Zappa, the American musician, bandleader, songwriter, composer, recording engineer, record producer, and film director, beat me to the punch. Nonetheless, I bet we both agree that there should be a summer reading list. Here are my top cat and dog books for the summer of 2015:

Arden Moore wrote two books earlier this year regarding giving your pet a longer, healthier and happier life – how can you beat that? Fit Dog and Fit Cat are two books that are easy reads and remind me of the days in middle school and high school that I would check out from the media center and not only read but reread and memorize. Both books are around 200 pages and combine high quality photos with listicles.

Topics include for Fit Dog:

  • How Healthy is Your Dog? – veterinary care, medications
  • Knowing Your Dog – communication, barking, moods, intelligence, popular breeds
  • Food and Nutrition – feeding tips, portion size, buying/making food (recipes), treats, weight
  • Obedience Training – how to train, essential commands, clickers/pointers, problem behaviors
  • Household Chore Tricks – such as Fetch the Remote, Tidy Your Toys, Bring Me…
  • Basic Show Tricks – such as Shake Hands, Take a Bow, Sit Pretty
  • Advanced Show Tricks – such as Say Your Prayers, Spin in Circles, Play Dead
  • Socializing – dog to dog, cat, humans, how to stop a dog fight, party games, rainy day games
  • Travel – preparation, pet-friendly hotels, dog parks, hikes
  • Canine Sports – agility, Frisbee, dock diving, dance freestyle
  • Pet First Aid – emergencies, CPR, first aid kit, bleeding, bee stings, burns
  • Budgeting – how to lower expenses, homemade toys, pet insurance.

Topics include for Fit Cat:

  • How Healthy is Your Cat? – veterinarian, medications
  • Knowing Your Cat – feline emotions, popular breeds, what gestures and meows reveal
  • Grooming and Hygiene – hair, nails, teeth and gums
  • Food and Nutrition – portion size, foods, treats, weight
  • Behavior Issues – tackling problem behaviors like attacking ankles and waking you up
  • Basic and Advanced Tricks – training command, cat psychology
  • The Indoor Life – scratching posts, beds, play
  • Litter Training – litter boxes, cleaning, solving problems like going outside the box
  • Travel – airplanes, boats, hotels, anxiety, kitty-proofing a hotel room
  • Pet First Aid – emergencies, CPR, first aid kit, bleeding, bee stings, burns
  • Socializing – cat to cat, cat to dog, cat to people, cat to spouse/mate/guest, cats and birds
  • Budgeting – how to lower expenses, what never to cut out, homemade toys, pet insurance
  • The Early Years – kitten care
  • The Senior Years – tips, pet-proof the house, dementia, euthanasia, adopting a senior cat, feline trivia.

How to Listen to Your Dog: The Complete Guide to Communicating With Man’s Best Friend” by Carlotta Cooper is an almost 300 page book that dives into the mind of your canine and why you might not understand why your dog doesn’t follow your wishes.

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I especially enjoyed the section on dog whispering as she eloquently says it is a crock. This book also includes anecdotal “case studies” which many reader will find particularly helpful, by recognizing similar signs in their own dogs. The book’s focus is that being able to understand and communicate with your pets clearly will help reduce or eliminate behavioral concerns later in your relationship.

On the other side of the pet spectrum are the cat lovers. In “Holistic Cat: A Complete Guide to Natural Health Care” Holly Mash explores the holistic treatments available to look after your cat in a range of everyday situations, as well as for first aid and focuses on diet, natural remedies and preventative and integrated health care. Topics covered also include the understanding of the feline mind; kitten care, multiple cat households and indoor cats; care of the elderly cat and the importance of nutrition and how to provide a balance diet. As a vegetarian I enjoyed the section on diet and nutrition which included types of human grade meat such as chicken organs and minced chicken. I believe if you are going to keep carnivores (cats are one example) that you should feed them meat – regardless of your dietary needs. Grain free foods are also a great place to start.

The last two books that I would like to recommend are ‘pocket books’ that bring me great joy. These books’ niche are to entertain – and they do! “Cleopatra’s Confessions: A Feline Guide to Coping with Dogs, Humans, and Other Pointless Interruptions to a Good Nap” and “97 Ways to Make a Cat Like You” are both tiny books that will give you a big laugh. Skimming through the books for the first time, made me laugh out loud. When I was able to sit down and read them, I didn’t want to stop. Both were very entertaining and provided me with a wonderful mental break. And this summer – isn’t that what we all want, a nice mental escape to be with our beloved family and pets?

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