Four Legs Good

Four Legs Good is a place to talk about pets, and the joys and frustrations of owning them. Netguide Award-winning blogger Nick Barnett writes about the animals in his life and pet issues of all kinds. And though 'Four Legs Good' is true, he’s just as fond of animals with two legs, many legs – or none.

The reclusive life of Tiny the cat

10:00am 23 Jun 2016


The little cat came to the animal shelter in a close-topped cardboard box. Her kittens, two of them, snuggled with her.

Volunteers at Upper Hutt Animal Rescue knew the cat was abandoned or stray. But soon they discovered just how fearful and unsocialised she was.

They gingerly opened the box, and immediately the cat shot out and fled as far away from them as she could - which was to the top of a curtain.

This fluffy black girl was going to be a handful.

As they always do with new cats at the shelter - they call it The Haven - the volunteers gave the cat a name: Tiny. But unlike many of those other cats, Tiny would resist all efforts to socialise her. Nothing seemed to ease her caution about humans.

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Furry Friday: All rugged up

07:00am 17 Jun 2016


My house in winter is the capital city of blankets. Blankets are in every room, folded in piles or draped or dropped. Those not in use are in the wash.

The reason? Simple: we have pets. And pets, in winter, seem to require a blanket wherever they go - to burrow under, cocoon themselves in, or be tucked into.

Welcome to the Rugged Up edition of Furry Friday, in which we give (ha ha) blanket coverage to dogs and cats nestled in throws, comforters, fake fleeces and faux furs.

First up: Dodo and her winter knits.

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How safe is your dog in the car?

09:00am 16 Jun 2016


Last week on a dark, rainy night, Anna - a loving and responsible dog owner - went against her better judgment.

Anna is not in the habit of letting her dogs ride unrestrained in the back seat of her car. But that night, she said to her dogs "Okay, we're only going to get tea, jump in."

 Four-month-old Frankie is harnessed in.

The trip was not as uneventful as Anna had thought.

She managed to avoid a head-on collision, but was then sideswiped by an "idiot who was heading for me in my lane and who obliviously kept going".

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Furry Friday: Cats, dogs, complication

08:00am 10 Jun 2016


We know that cats and dogs can get on famously, and don't we love to see photos of them being the best of mates?

But let's tell the full story, too. A cat and a dog might not be the best of friends. 

I don't mean enemies, necessarily. It's more that they tolerate each other, or engage in peaceful and distinctly cool cohabitation. Or perhaps they're pets who usually get on, but every now and then things get complicated between them.

Today's photo collection documents those moments of complication. Like this moment shared by Frida the cat and Evie the pup. You can see that Evie really wants to be friends with Frida, but her highness ain't interested. Still, Evie's charm may win out eventually.

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Furry Friday: Cats playing spy

08:00am 03 Jun 2016


Cats like to go places. Up on the wardrobe, behind the fence, into a box - wherever's handy. And what do they like to do there? They like to turn around and stare back at you.

Especially if they feel they can't be seen, and their staring is an act of espionage. 

Today's collection of pet photos is of cats being spies - hiding away, but not quite all the way, and often having a very hard stare at whoever's out there.

Maxine's expression is one for the cat-behaviour experts. It reminds me of the face of my old social studies teacher whenever she detected insolence.

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