Our Companions

Our Companions Animal Rescue is a Connecticut based organization that promises to always do the right thing for animals, regardless of the challenge or cost.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

9 Tips To Stop A Biting Cat

Have a kitten or cat that won’t stop biting?  Sometimes we have that here at the Ashford Sanctuary too!  Here are some tips to putting an end to feline fury.

#1 – Find out the “Why”

The first way to address your cat’s biting depends on why she is doing it.  It could be that she gets overzealous during play, she is bored or frustrated, or she is asking you to stop doing something but you don’t hear her. Once you know this, you can plan how to make her stop.
Image source: @TnarikInnael via Flickr

#2 – Your Hand is Not a Toy

Sometimes cats get so into their play that they forget themselves. Don’t use your hand as a toy with your cat; instead use a toy that keeps your hands a safe distance from his mouth.  (For example, Da Bird Feather Toy).
Image source: @EvanBench via Flickr

#3 – Stop the Play

If you think your cat actually goes after you during play and it is more than just incidental contact, call a time out.  You can do this by turning your back to him as soon as he bites and cutting off the play immediately.  Don’t speak to him or resume play for one minute.  After a few cycles of this he will get the message.
Image source: Jeffreyw via Flickr

#4 – Time Out

If that doesn’t work, you can try sending a stronger message by changing scenery.  When he bites you, stop the play, pick him up, bring him to another room, and walk away.  This will help him make a clear connection between biting and the fun times ending.
Image source: @Hotash via Flickr

#5 – Drain the Energy

If your cat is attacking you outside of play, he probably needs to drain some of his energy.  Spend time playing with him until you can see he is tired.  
Image source: @ejdj968 via Flickr

#6 – Relieve the Anxiety

Sometimes cats transfer the aggression they feel toward something else to whomever may be next to them, and this can result in what seem to be vicious and unprovoked attacks.  It may help your cat’s anxiety to keep some Feliway diffusers plugged in around the house.  The synthetic feline pheromone helps cats feel more secure.
Image source: @ChristieD.Mallon via Flickr

#7 – Speak to Your Vet

Your cat may be trying to tell you she's uncomfortable.  A thorough exam will help ease both your minds.  Your vet may be able to prescribe some food or medication to help calm your cat’s nerves.  
Image source: angelan. via Flickr

#8 – Proper Handling

Don’t reach over your cat to pet him.  While this may be acceptable to some cats, it is definitely not acceptable to others.  See if this overhead approach correlates with what seems like “out of nowhere” biting.  If so, approach the side of your cat’s face with the back of your hand to pet him, rather than going for the top of his head or his body.

#9 – Respect His Wishes

Learn to recognize when your cat does not want to be handled and respect his wishes.  A whipping tail and huge pupils are a good start.    If he knows he can trust you to get the message, he will be less likely to bite you in general.
Image source: @Dale via Flickr

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Ceiling Fan and Gidget

Have you ever had a dog that is startled by new things? Exposure to all  parts of life is essential to having a well-rounded, confident pup and that is one of the things that Our Companions is able to provide our pets! We have recently been exposing the dogs at the sanctuary to a common item in most homes but one that surprisingly makes a lot of dogs uncomfortable, the ceiling fan. Our ceiling fan is great at moving heat or A/C throughout the house and, with some recent renovations to the dog houses, is proving to be a great function to utilize. We are happy that the majority of our dogs are taking the spinning fan well but there's always the exception that requires extra attention and training and in this case the exception is named, Gidget.
Gidget came to us with a broken leg at approximately 6 months old. She was left at a local vet during the middle of the night and we knew that she was a dog that we needed to help! We suspect that she did not have much socialization during her young life and have been working diligently to expose her to the everyday aspects of living in a home. Gidget was initially very scared of the ceiling fan, she would display obvious signs of discomfort and would crouch when walking throughout the house. It was the work of constant positive reinforcement that is what is helping her to overcome her fears and feel comfortable when chewing one of her favorite bones in the living room. She is a great dog that is relishing all that we have to show her and is quickly learning that this world is less scary and increasingly fun!

Gidget is unsure about the ceiling fan. She is displaying this
through her pulled back ears, wide eyes and stiff body.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snow Day 2

As long as it's never going to stop snowing: why should dogs have all the fun!

Cats can have some fun in the snow too:

Frankie and Ashley step carefully out on the cattio trying to catch a few looks at the bird feeder.

Dillon enjoying some time out on his porch in the snow.

Maurice heads out to try to catch a little bit of that winter sun -And after a quick exchange of the secret greeting with Frankie-

It's off to the man cave- 

Members only of course!

And cats being cats - after all that fun outside, curling up for a nice relaxing winters nap is next up on their to do list.

Okay - not everybody's loving winter, some of us do have a touch of cabin fever. Poor  Dusty can't nap-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          he's thinking hard about how he's going to shed this years winter layer!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Eagle Scout Project to Benefit Homeless Dogs


During the Autumn of 2014, Boy Scout Ryan Rancourt of Chaplin Troop 440 completed his Eagle Scout project and what he did was very empathetic and thoughtful.

The goal of an Eagle Scout Award is to better the community through a well devised project that shows off leadership skills and promotes teamwork. Ryan’s focus was to create raised Kuranda- style dog beds to donate to local CT animal shelters. These elevated beds will provide comfort, keep animals from sleeping on cold, hard floors and are easy to keep clean. Staff from Our Companions met with Ryan and had a chance to see the prototype that he had created and knew that these beds would be a hit!
Ryan’s project started by hosting a Halloween dance at his local school where guests brought pet supplies or monetary donations as their entrance fee. These supplies were given to Our Companions Animal Sanctuary to use for the animals in their care and helped raise funds needed to build the dog beds. Once the party was over and the money was raised Ryan and his troop purchased materials from Home Depot and scheduled their building event.

Ryan 3

Here is the rundown of supplies that were donated. How impressive!

156 Cat Food Cans
14 Dog Food Cans
10 Paper Towel Rolls
3 Boxes of Dryer Sheets
5 Laundry Bottles
2 Bleach Bottles
4 Boxes Garbage Bags
2 Dishwasher Liquid
1 Cat Bed
1 Cat Tower
$90 Stop and Shop Gift Cards

Eagle Scout 5

This Eagle Scout had a well thought-out plan and decided to host a “how to build a dog bed” clinic one week prior to the building event. During this clinic he discussed the plans he had in place to create the dog beds, safety topics to prevent injury and discussed what each participant would work on during construction. This would prove successful as his fellow troop-mates would know what was to be expected and would allow them to work in a timely, effective and organized manner when the big event took place.

Eagle Scout 4

The building project was triumphant due to Ryan’s diligence and leadership skills. The beds were constructed as planned and there was even time to grab some pizza to celebrate! These beds are sturdy and well-built and they are even autographed by the troop. Our Companions helped spread the word to various shelters in CT and found that the response was beyond welcoming! After reaching out to shelters that could use these beds it was finalized, three beds were donated to the Glastonbury Shelter, three were donated to the Portland/Middletown Shelter, three were donated to the Berlin/Cromwell Shelter and one was donated to the Manchester Shelter.
These young men are wonderful, full of compassion and love. They have created bedding for dogs that otherwise might not have a bed and by doing so have bettered the lives of these wonderful animals as they await their forever home. Undoubtedly the animals are grateful to Ryan and Troop 440 for their kindness, a kindness that will surely have a positively ripple effect for both canine and humans alike.

Our Companions and homeless pets everywhere are proud of you, Ryan!

Eagle Scout 6
 A local shelter dog enjoying her new bed!

Monday, February 2, 2015


Some scream in horror at the mere glance of one scampering by-
           Others find them irresistibly cute and keep one, or several, as pets . . . and they also cause more than $1 billion dollars of damage each year in the U.S.
So, no matter which end of the spectrum you 
lean towards, chances are
that you have felt the effects of those little critters known as

Like  them or not these nocturnal creatures have some amazing abilities: 
                                                                                                        *They are so flexible that they can get into your home through a crack or hole as small as 1/4".  
*They can jump as high as a foot and climb up almost any vertical surface including up smooth         vertical walls.
*They can run 12 ft per second and swim as far as 1/2 mile.
*They eat almost continuously, and will nibble or eat any available human food - as well as other
      household items.  And they don't need free water to survive.
*They have a very sharp sense of hearing and can hear and communicate in the human as well
     as ultrasonic range.
 *They are known to be very intelligent creatures and known to solve complex puzzles.

Now, while I hate to cast any doubt on their scientific research and conclusions, I find myself questioning the use of the word intelligent in describing these mighty midgets.  After all, what intelligent mouse would venture into and make themselves at home in a house full of cats?

Well - time after time we've seen this same scenario at the Sanctuary:


(Usually it's all fun and games for the kitties and we are left with the clean-up, but here's a fun fact: the size of an average cat dinner is nutritionally equivalent to approximately 5 mice.  That's a lot of hunting for a cat on the street.)

While the cats at the Sanctuary are usually limited to what type of prey comes their way it is interesting to note that cats do have individual differences in prey types.  They tend to prefer and are better at hunting some types of animals than others.
Most cats are specialists and prefer to hunt a certain type of prey, while others are generalists -or equal opportunity killers.

You might be wondering how this information could be of any use to your indoor kitty that doesn't have the chance to get at any real prey.
Well, indoor cats still have that hunting instinct, and using interactive toys to play with your cat can help enrich his indoor environment. Among other benefits, it will help to create a stronger bond between you and your cat.

Different types of interactive toys represent different types of prey, so you may have to go through several to determine which type of prey your cat likes best:

Cats that prefer birds will like feather type wands
Cats that prefer snakey things will prefer toys such as The Cat Charmer
Cats that prefer bugs will prefer toys such as Neko Flies or Cat Dancer
Cats that prefer rodents will prefer toys such as The Cat Catcher

It's a good idea to have a selection of interactive toys (including multiple options of each prey) as cats will get bored of the same toy before they will tire of the game itself.

And once you have discovered which toys your cat likes best, it is important to remember to move your toys like prey (don't attack your cat with the toy-prey usually runs away from it's predator).

 Find out what your cat likes best and allow your cat to use his hunting strategies.
Happy Hunting!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super-Dog-Bowl 2015 -Who are you rooting for?

 You may mistake this beautiful girl as a dainty diva but rest assured that Hera is spunky and full of sass when it comes to tonight's big game! Hera's excitement is going to be matched by many other New Englanders tonight as the Seahawks and the Patriots duke it out  for total football dominance in Superbowl XLIX! 
Enjoy the game, the food and the commercials! 

Say it loud, say it proud!!

 Rumor has it that Johnny is behind deflate-gate.. 
its just too hard to resist gnawing on a tasty football!

Throwing, chasing, happy dances... this game rocks for dogs!!
If only we had two TV's then we could watch Puppy Bowl as well!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

SNOW DAY!                                                                                             

Who doesn't love a snow day for play and rest!? Pouncing in the freshly fallen snow and chasing snow balls before headed back to a warm house to dry off and snuggle on the couch is what our pups are up to today.

Enjoy some pictures of our snow day at the sanctuary while you sip your cocoa and rest assured that these guys are as snug as a bug in a rug and loving life!

Lucy playing with the Jolly Egg

Aggie enjoying some relaxing house time
with an educational DVD

Hera having fun with the Jolly Ball

Kaylee enjoying one of her favorite toys
 in some of her favorite weather
 Johnny watching the snow falling
from the warmth of his bed

Hera can't resist a run in the
freshly fallen snow!

Gidget doesn't pass up the chance
to play with her tennis ball!