I have talked to thousands of animals over the years. Here are some recurrent themes, which people who love their pets will want to be aware of, listed in no particular order.
1. Indoor cats want bird feeders, birdbaths, open windows, wind chimes, and things to watch that blow in the wind.
2. Keeping the litter box clean and taking off the top can solve most cats-peeing-outside-the-litter-box issues.
3. Dogs that appear big and sturdy, that are over the age of five years old, do not like it when men and women pet their bodies hard. It hurts them. (This can be hard to resist.)
4. Your cat will secretly hate you for life if you declaw them.
5. Cat declawing causes pain in the spine for their lifetime. This can cause biting and swatting issues.
6. Bunnies are extremely sensitive to smell and movement. So be slow and aware of new nail polish and hand cream, especially around biting bunnies.
7. Most animals would prefer to eat off plates rather than bowls.
8. Unless your pet eats lying down they would like their food and water bowls raised. This is easier on their necks and back.
9. Many medical and behavioral problems can either be fixed or greatly reduced by having your pet adjusted by a chiropractor. (Problems to which this applies include specialists who charge in the thousands of dollars who say, “We think your dog has a brain tumor,” and recommend euthanizing them right away. I’ve seen cases like this where, with two adjustments, the dog is fine.) Many horses’ jaws and necks behind the ears are in pain. This pain can cause riding and training issues.
10. Bunnies need way more exercise then you think. Bunnies love carrot tops.
11. Animals like flowers in the house.
12. Most animals like light classical music.
13. Most animals merely tolerate us kissing their heads.
14. Horses want joint supplements and electrolytes. They know what their stable-mates are getting.
15. Caged birds want mirrors, fresh food and water, their toys switched, and play time.
16. Cats, horses, and dogs hide tooth problems well. Check your animals’ teeth every few months. If it looks bad take it out. Tooth problems can cause migraine headaches, earaches, or colic. This is very common.
17. Most horses want a friend to be turned out with.
18. Cats of all ages want you to play with them.
19. Indoor animals want houseplants.
20. Dogs that pant and/or pace at night are having acid reflux or other stomach problems. Older dogs do not do well on kibble; it is too hard to digest.
21. Most animals love to be clean but hate to be groomed. Find a groomer that takes time to ensure that your animal is comfortable.
22. Many animals are bored. Animals of all ages want to learn and have a job. Training, if done positively, is fun and stimulating for your animal.
23. It makes your pets wiser if you explain all situations to them in great detail. Slowly picture everything you say. Stay away from using negatives such as “Do not…”
24. Do not make sarcastic or derogatory jokes about your pet. It hurts their feelings, affects their behavior, and makes them feel unsure about you. Do not say, “Rabbit stew,” “Fat boy,” “Stupid girl,” Praising your animal makes them happier!
25. Thinking in the positive, awareness of your breath, and moving slowly and consciously can help your animal in any situation.