Just Say NO to Animal Psychics

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There are so many shysters out there trying to take your money with false promises. Recently, we've become aware of an uptick in new age "animal communicators". These are people who claim to have a special gift of understanding the thoughts and feelings of your precious pets. These people are the lowest of the low, preying on people's love for their pets with lies masquerading as pseudo-science. This should be illegal, but if you can get people to pay for something in this country, there's no stopping you.

Let's be clear - There is no such thing as mind-reading between humans or between humans and animals. These people are using the age old tricks of the palm reader to tell their customers what they want to hear. They're performing what's called a "cold reading" in the palmistry biz - a series of guesses based on the limited information presented. Vague statements that can then be narrowed down in a sort of warmer-colder word game.

If anyone offers to help you to understand your pet's behavior using anything other than their knowledge of the species and observational skills, run as far away as you can. YOU will always be the ultimate source of info on your pet, because only YOU have the opportunity to observe him or her daily. You'll never have a need for these fake "animal communicators" if you just pay attention.

REVIEW - Catify Scratch & Spin

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We’ve all seen the plastic versions of these ball tracks. They’re on the shelves of almost every pet supply store. Some have light up balls. Some have scratchers in the middle. Some are open around the sides while others are open at the top. So what sets Catify’s version apart?

The concept is simple enough. The ball goes in and stays captive (i.e. - not lost under the furniture) while your feline friend attacks it and pushes it around inside the ring with gusto. The good news is that this version is nearly 16” in diameter, weighs over four pounds and has rubber feet, so it stays where you put it. An added bonus is the fact that it’s made of heavy-duty recyclable materials.

So far this toy is a huge hit, trumping even the light up ball version we bought years ago at Target. Unfortunately, that light up ball doesn’t work with this track - it simply won’t fit - but other balls will work if they’re the same size as a ping pong ball (40mm or approximately 1.5” in diameter). It comes with two balls, so you probably won’t ever need to find a replacement unless you just want something different.

The only downside is that there is some noise when those balls go spinning around, but that’s true of all these sorts of products. We suggest removing the balls overnight or whenever you need a quiet moment.

This product is highly recommended!

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Dental Care for Cats Is a Necessity

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Dental care for cats is on my mind lately because one of our precious feline friends has a heart condition. What does that have to do with her dental care? Read on.

Mina, the black cat you see in many of our posts, is a 12 year old rescue cat with a pronounced heart murmur. Due to her heart defect, most vets refuse to offer her nonessential treatment (i.e. - treatment for anything that's not life threatening) if the treatment requires she be put under general anesthesia. The trouble with anesthetizing her is that it affects her blood pressure in unpredictable ways and the anesthesia could actually result in her death. Due to this, she's lived for over 12 years with only the routine, at-home dental treatments we could get her to accept from us.

Recently, she began exhibiting some excessive drooling as well as bad breath - classic symptoms of dental issues. She didn't seem to be in pain, but cats are very good at hiding physical discomfort. Her teeth were a mess, with many of her issues hidden under tartar buildup. It was clear that she was going to need extractions in addition to other dental procedures in order to live a happier life.

We consulted a verterinary cardiologist who administered an echo-cardiogram and prescribed a beta blocker to help manage Mina's heart health. Only then did he accept the risk of putting her under for the dental work she so desperately needed.

We had to wait for three weeks to get an appointment with the vet we wanted to do the work, and during that time, the vet researched her options for Mina's oral surgery. She chose to create an anesthetic protocol specifically for cats with heart problems like Mina's.

We had Mina's surgery yesterday and were consulted throughout regarding Mina's ups and downs. Seven of Mina's teeth were extracted or partially extracted and her remaining teeth were cleaned. Thanks to the diligence of Dr. Porter and the team at A Cat Clinic, Mina's surgery was successful and she's now resting at home as well as can be expected.

Dental care for our cats is necessary care. It should not be optional. Regular dental care from a qualified veterinarian will not only help them avoid future pain, it will help you to avoid the high financial cost of treatment as well as the price of watching your feline friend suffer. It can be easy to brush this need off (no pun intended) because cats hide their pain so well, but it's imperative. It isn't a veterinary sales ploy. It's a necessity for a healthy, happy cat.

REVIEW - New Cat Condos

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We’ve tried lots of cat “trees” here at KHD. Everything from the ultra-cheap to the ultra-plush. While all of these cat jungle gyms were certainly adored and used every day, none presented the value and durability of the products from New Cat Condos.

We tried two different models. The Large Cat Gym and the Large Cat Tree Playground.


LARGE CAT GYM

The Large Cat Gym is a very well-made cat tree. It arrived almost completely assembled. All we had to do was connect three pre-assembled pieces to the base and vacuum up all the loose carpet fibers to make sure the cats didn’t accidentally ingest them. This isn’t a knock against New Cat Condos. It’s simply a fact that new carpet sheds a bit.

The build quality is impressive with solid wood, unoiled sisal scratching post, and thick, durable carpet. All the hardware is top notch and the whole thing is very sturdy, even with two cats battling for the top position.

All our cats loved this one right off the bat. In fact, they could hardly wait for us to get it assembled. They were climbing all over the pieces on the floor the second we unboxed them. The top tier is the most coveted position, standing a full 5’ off the floor. It’s important to note that while the top tier is the only level with sides, the scooped levels are just as attractive to the cats while not impeding their ability to run up and down the tree at will (more on this later).

We give the NCC Large Cat Gym five out of five stars. In fact, we’re considering purchasing a second one because the price is so reasonable. At the time of this writing, Amazon sells this unit for $112 and NCC’s site lists it at the same price with flat rate $4.99 shipping. We cannot stress enough what a bargain this is! Many cat trees of this size and quality sell for two or three times as much.


LARGE CAT PLAYGROUND

The NCC Large Cat Playground is just as well made as the Gym. At 61”, it’s one inch taller than the Gym. The design is sturdy, if a little top heavy when a cat is in the bowl on top. Yes, it teeters a bit, but we’ve never felt that it might tip over, not even when our daredevil cat, Lucy, leaps from the top over to the bed.

The cats didn’t take to this cat tree right away. We believe it’s because all of the other cat trees they’d experienced before had flat lower levels without sides, making it easy for the cats to run right up the trees without any issues. This particular design with bowls at every level made that difficult for them. Yes, they could climb it, but it was a lot harder for them to do so. They use a nearby cat tree to use as a ladder to get to the top of this one. We intended to replace that tree, but it remains to this day.

Overall, we would grade the NCC Large Cat Playground three out of five stars. We like it more than the cats do. If the lower levels were simply flat circles, this would easily be a five star tree for us as well. It doesn’t help that this tree is also more expensive than the Gym on Amazon (around $130), though NCC’s site currently lists it on sale at $106.99. With their flat rate shipping charge of $4.99, that puts both trees in the same price range.


CONCLUSION

We highly recommend the products from New Cat Condos. They’re very well made and conscientiously produced at attractive prices. The company makes an extensive line of products so we suggest you peruse their web site at https://www.newcatcondos.com/ before making your choice. Cats differ in their tastes, so bear their preferences in mind. While our feline friends had some difficulty with the Playground, your cats may find it to be the best cat tree ever!

REVIEW: Catit Cat Pan With Rim

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There are hundreds of litter boxes on the market, most of which are too small, too covered, too thin, too shallow…you name it. In many cases, we’ve been happiest with Rubbermaid or Sterilite storage containers, but those solutions present problems as well. We’re happy to say that we’ve just found our new number one litter box recommendation - the Catit cat pan.

We’ve been impressed with the Catit line of products for some time now. They’re all intelligently designed to put the needs of the cat first. This cat pan is no different. It’s a good size, even with the 2” wide rim, with tall, sloping sides and a generous footprint of 22.4” x 15.3”. It’s well made of sturdy plastic and adds some great features that us humans will appreciate.

First off is that rim. We have one young cat who is a litter kicker. She just adores kicking litter as far as she can get it to go. With short-sided pans, she can actually kick half of the litter out of the box in a day of use. Not with this pan. Yes, she can still get some litter on the floor but it’s a fraction of what we saw in the past. The rim does its job admirably well everywhere except the side with the “bag holder” (more on that in a moment). The rim is easily removable for cleaning and it stays in place without the use of any fancy (read:breakable) latches.

As to that “bag holder”, there are gaps in the front edge of the rim. These are meant to use to snag the edge of an open trash bag when scooping the pan. We’re not sure if that’s actually useful for some people, but for us it’s the Achilles’ heel of this otherwise fine product. These gaps mean there is a way for kicked litter to get out of the box. Our little litter kicker still manages to get some litter outside of this box and it’s almost always through these openings. It isn’t a deal breaker, but we could live without these gaps.

We should also mention that this may not be a good pan for those older cats who have a hard time getting in and out of the litter box. The front edge is a little over 6” off the floor. That may make it difficult for cats with joint issues to enter and exit the pan.

As to price, these were around $15 at the time of this writing. We purchased ours from Chewy since the Amazon seller who carried these was overcharging for them. Caveat emptor.

All in all, we’re very happy with these litter boxes and intend to replace all of our existing boxes with these. We just need to cover up those front notches. Recommended.