The History Of Everyone's Favorite Thing...Kitty Litter! 0
We humans have been interacting, coexisting, and cohabitating with cats for centuries, dating back to ancient Egypt even. For the majority of the time cats primarily wandered about on their own, hunting their own food and defecating where they wanted to when they wanted to. However by the time they were beginning to become our pets by the mid-1940s people began providing them with boxes that usually contained ripped up bits of paper, ashes, or dirt. Although it was discovered that none of these fillers did anything to decrease the odor associated with the litter box and really only spread ash around the house by the cat. Thus, people began to look for other solutions to address their stinky kitty bathroom issues.
The Amazing Discovery of Absorbent Clay Kitty Litter
A family-owned business that typically sold ice, coal, sand, sawdust and granulated, kiln-dried clay in Michigan in the late 1940s are responsible for the accidental discovery that led to the cat litter we know today. Edward Lowe was the owner and operator of this small business and unveiled that clay was as good for absorbing cat urine as it was for absorbing the greasy spills they originally produced it for.
When a neighbor asked to borrow sand for their litter box and Lowe discovered his supply was frozen, he supplied her with granulated clay to try instead. She reported that the clay worked perfectly for helping contain the odors and then she and her friends began asking for it routinely. Mr. Lowe then named the product Kitty Litter and eventually sold it to pet retail locations. He later developed the Tidy Cat brand of kitty litter.
Finding Biodegradable, Absorbent, Non-Clay Based Cat Litter
The more common trend right now is people moving away from the traditional clumping clay litter because it can be dusty and still cause a mess. It also contains silica dust that might be harmful to the lungs of pets and people, especially if they suffer from allergies. Clay-based kitty litter also usually uses environmentally destructive strip mining to produce it and isn't biodegradable. Most cats do like using clumping clay litter and more people are keeping their cat indoors so finding good, absorbent, safe, and biodegradable litter that cats like to use can be tricky.
Luckily you do have some choices available that fit that description. Some brands use cornmeal that doesn't require mining and is completely biodegradable so you can feel more green about your purchase. This formula also clumps nicely which your cat will enjoy and doesn't leave any traces of irritating dust or smell in the air after your cat uses it, or after you pour it into the litter box. A lot of cats like this kind especially because it has the feeling of soft, fine-grain sand that they naturally gravitated toward.
Do you have a particular kitty litter you like to use and that your cat enjoys? Shoot us a line, we love to hear about what works for you and your cat!
Our Top Summer Picks For Doggy Travel Gear 0
Although we've loaded you up with articles on dog-friendly hotels, dog safety when in the car, and a few other travel tips for this summer, we thought we'd get specific with some of our favorite, handy items that we wouldn't take a trip without. Especially if your vacations packed with exciting activities like hiking, swimming, and planning on bringing your dog with you to join in the fun. Just like you prepare your own items for your trip, there are particular travel products available for your pet to make it as fun, safe, and easy a trip as possible.
From dog seat belts to travel water bowls, these nine products can help you and pet have a great trip, no matter your destination or itinerary. Be sure to test out new products before you use them on your trip to ensure they function properly and suit you and your dog well.
Dog Seat Cover
Dog seat covers go a long way to keeping you, your pet, and your car a lot cleaner during your adventures. The last thing you wanted to be concerned about is having to clean out clumps of hair or dirt out of your car later on. Seat covers are easy to install quickly and remove just as easily. The cover can be cleaned simply with a damp cloth, paper towel, or a vacuum. We recommend using a brand that incorporates waterproof cotton or other fabric with an extra waterproof or wicking coating. There is a huge selection of seat covers to choose from, you can invest in one that fits precisely for your car or one that is adjustable for any sized vehicle.
Some options include extra measures to protect your pet such as headrest anchors and seat anchors to lock the cover into place so there is no sliding or shifting during your drive that could throw your pet off balance. The bottom of many seat covers are also non-slip and stick comfortably to different seat surfaces. You can also get these in a variety of colors that pair well with your car seats as well.
You can find very reasonably priced seat covers for your pet, ranging anywhere from 15 to 30 dollars that are high-quality and easy to use.
Dog Water Bottle
One of the most challenging parts of traveling with your pet is ensuring they are consistently receiving clean, unsanitary germ-free water that won't spill or make a mess. Although travel bowls come in handy, we also recommend using a dog water bottle of some kind. These are so helpful for when you're taking a break from the car, on a hike, or exploring the beach.
There are a few different varieties but we particularly like the kind that has a small, attachable bowl on top and is filled with water in the base. Simply give the bottle a squeeze and bowl will fill with water. You can hold it for your pet or set it on the ground. When you stop squeezing, the water drains back into the bottle base for later.
A lot of these dog water bottles are essentially leaking free and can hold a good amount of water, often they even fit into standard cup holders for easy access during travel. This cuts a lot of time out pulling over to grab some water for your pup. You can attach an adjustable hook and loop strap or carry it on your wrist, travel bag, or belt as well. We suggest finding one that is BPA free, and dishwasher safe. Have fun selecting this excellent pet travel accessory, they come in a variety of bright colors. You can find these ranging anywhere from $7 to $15 dollars.
It's pretty easy for our big furry guys to get dirty while traveling or during activities but it could be challenging to find a good place for a bath. Investing in some pet cleansing wipes is a great way to clean, moisturizer, and condition your dog's skin and fur without having to pull out all the bathing stops.
There are a variety of brands but we always suggest finding a product that contains all-natural ingredients and that are 100% biodegradable to keep both your pet and the environment safe. You can find paraben-free, lanolin-free, and brands that don't have any synthetic fragrances, detergents, SLS, or SLES. They come in a variety of sizes from small to extra-large, making them effective for all breeds and sizes. These can be especially helpful for cleansing the nooks and crannies of your pet such as the paws and ears, without irritating them or their skin. You can grab a bundle of these for anywhere from $15 to $25 dollars.
Dog Car Barrier
If your dog is a little jumper and often goes back and forth between the front and back seat, you might want to consider installing a dog barrier. These prevent your pet from being able to jump into the front but still provides space and flexibility in the back seat. Having your dog jump up in the front can be hazardous for both you and them while you're concentrating on driving.
Many brands use scratch-and-tear resistant mesh fabric to design their barriers that allow air condition or heat to flow through. The barriers easily attach to the front seat headrest usually and either the seat belt mount or around the car seat frame itself. Dog barriers come in a standard size that perfect for small trucks, mid-sized sedans, and smaller SUVs but you may be able to find one that fits the exact dimension of your vehicle. This travel item can be a little more pricey and can range from $50 to $100 dollars.
Foldable Dog Crate
Bringing a crate along with you is a pretty big one as you never know when you might need to crate your dog in an emergency. We suggest finding one that is easy to assemble and disassemble for travel that doesn't require any tools. You want to your pet to feel secure and comfortable while ensuring that the crate is durable and has an appropriate slide-bolt latch. We suggest finding a product that includes a leak-proof plastic tray, carrying handle, and four roller feet to protect floors when moving it around.
You can choose the perfect size for your pet as they come in a variety, suited to multiple breeds. You can choose whether your crate has a single door or double doors. You can even do some training on your trip with the use of a handy foldable crate. Depending on the size you can pay $17 to $78 dollars for one of these bad boys.
Dog Paw Washer
Another option for keeping your pet clean and ready to go on your vacation this year is by investing in the dog paw washer. This can be a helpful extra measure to keeping you, your pet, and your car clean. If they got a little more messy on your hike or other activity and wipes won't do the trick, give them a quick wash in a dog paw washer.
A lot of brands use soft, thick silicone bristles inside an easy-to-grip BPA-free tumbler that works like a miniature agitation washer for his paws. Just fill the tumbler with water, insert your pets dirty paw, give the tumbler a few twists, and pull out a perfectly clean paw. You may want to give them a little toweling off but otherwise, they'll be good to go! You can repeat this as well until they're up to your standard of clean. Both the tumbler and bristles are usually dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and sanitizing.
Whether you're adventuring through national forests, gently strolling down the beach, or traveling by car to an exciting new location. Investing in an adjustable harness is very helpful for controlling your pet when needed. We recommend finding a product that has crash-tested certified buckles or easy on and off buckles.
A lot of harnesses us a no-pull D ring and a halt ring on their chest to that encourages them to pull less and you can hook to either one. A 10-inch loop dog tether can be used to secure your dog to the car seat belt by hooking the carabiner to the loop and then to the harness. A lot of harnesses include a padded chest plate for extra comfort and protection that while remaining light and breathable. These come in numerous sizes and most are customizable at different points to make sure the dog is safe, secure, and comfortable. You can find brands that are machine-washable and line-dry.
Harnesses are great for walking and travel, especially for larger dogs. You can usually find a study harness from $21 to $45 dollars.
Dog Car Seat
Imagine your dog's bed, and then imagine it was having a sturdier more solid base with an additional buckle for safety and you have yourself a dog car seat! Perfect for smaller dogs or nervous travelers, dog car seats provide an additional layer of comfort for your pet while traveling.
You can find versions that have a foam form base with straps that keep your pet secure in the seat. You can find various materials that make up the interior, some brands use lamb's wool while others use cotton. We recommend finding a machine-washable one for ease. These can range in size and price but you can normally find them from $50 to $95 dollars.
Have you found some helpful travel gear for you and your pup? Feel free to share it with us! We love fellow pet-parent life and travel hacks!
Why Do Dogs Age Faster Than Humans? 0
It's a well-known fact of life that dogs do not live as long as humans and there are a number of facts that go into why that is, beyond the biological reasons. How a dog lives - their diet and amount of exercise they receive, along with their breed and general health all play a part in the lifespan of our family animal, the dog.
Dog's live an average of 10 to 18 years, depending on the breed, lifestyle, and general health of the dog. Dog's body's age a lot faster than humans, making their lifespan considerably shorter. While people are considered fully grown by their late teens, a dog is considered fully grown by 1 year old.
A year in a dog's life equates to about 4 to 7 years of human life. The exact age ratio shifts depending on the size of the dog, their breed, and their overall health. Some dog breeds simply age more quickly than others and only live to be about 10 years old if they're in good health. Other dog breeds age more slowly and can live to be up to 18 years old, sometimes even older!
Dogs have a much higher metabolism and their body has to work harder than ours to do activities, and overall they have a hugely different genetic make-up than humans. A dog's heart beats much faster than a human's, and their body tends to become worn out more quickly due to that fact.
Scientists suggest that a combination of genetics, inbreeding, metabolism, and evolution are all components of why a dog or cat’s life span is so much shorter than a human’s.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by
Professor Herman Pontzer of Hunter College, New York, helped to give us some insight. Pontzer and his associates worked with 17 primate species to determine how the body used energy and to characterize their overall metabolic rates. The results of their study showed that the lower metabolic rate of primates, and thus humans, was associated with a prolonged lifespan (compared to those of dogs and cats).
Current research does not have a definitive answer to the question of why dogs and cats don’t live as long as humans. However, it has enabled us to enrich the lives of our pets so they can enjoy every moment to the fullest. We may never be able to give our animal companions the same length of life that we have, but we are better equipped than ever to make every minute special for them.
If a dog is provided regular exercise, healthy balanced meals with proper nutrition, and lives a happy, healthy lifestyle, they will almost definitely live longer than the dog that doesn't have that.
Standard Health Problems To Keep An Eye Out For In Your Cat 0
Thankfully, cats are typically healthy animals but just like us, every one of them will experience some kind of health problem whether it be big or small, in their lifetime. The positive news is that you can take action to prevent some of these illnesses from occurring altogether, and minimizing the harmful effects that others may cause. We wanted to compile a list of the most common types of cat health problems to look out for and what to do if your cat contracts them. We're all in this together and we know how stressful and sad it can be to have a sick pet so we hope this list helps you if and when you need it!
Just like with us humans, allergies can come in all shapes and sizes. If your cat has an allergy, you, unfortunately, can't cure it but you can give them some relief by identifying the cause and removing it from your pet's environment. There are four main types of allergies that cats suffer from:
Contact Allergy - This is when your cat's skin is irritated by something that it touches such as a blanket, collar, or counter surface. The symptoms include itching, thickened or discolored skin patches, hair loss, and a possible odor.
If you realize your cat has these symptoms you should identify the cause by removing different materials that touch the irritated area, one by one, and noticing whether the symptoms clear up. Once you've determined what the culprit is, keep it away from your pet in the future.
Food Allergy - This is when your cat develops an allergy to something contained in its food, oftentimes an animal protein. Symptoms appear as itching paired with digestive issues and respiratory problems.
If your cat appears to have these problems, consult your vet immediately. They may put your pet on a special hypoallergenic diet, or a series of diets until you find one that doesn't cause an allergic reaction. To be able to tell clearly the results, while each diet is being tested, make sure your cat eats only those foods included in the prescribed diet -- no treats or table leftovers.
Inhalant Allergy - This means that your cat is allergic to substances in the air, this can range from outdoor substances like pollen to indoor contaminants like dust, fungus, mold, or mildew. Your cat will itch severely which can result in bald patches.
If you have an outdoor cat that is sensitive to pollen, you want to keep them indoors during highly pollinated seasons. If your cat is irritated by indoor allergens, running an air purifier may help ease their symptoms. This may also help cut down on the outdoor allergens that make it into the house.
- Flea Allergy - Some cats can be allergic to proteins in the saliva of fleas which can come into contact with the cat's skin when they're bitten. Your cat will severely itch in response to this. We've listed a variety of flea remedies a little later on in the article.
Another similarity us humans share with cats is arthritis. Your cat's joints become sore and inflamed which can cause swelling and pain. You may notice that your cat avoids jumping, stretching, or any act that strains their joints. They might dislike being touched or held or display a depressed or irritated attitude. The effect areas might also be warm or hot to the touch.
If you're concerned your cat may have arthritis, consult your vet. They'll be able to clearly determine if your cat has arthritis and recommend treatment. They could prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication or suggest alternative therapies like herbal supplements, massage therapy, or acupuncture. We suggest never offering your cat medications or supplements designed for humans or prior to consult with your vet, both of these can be very harmful to your kitty. In some very serious cases, surgery might be appropriate. You can also arrange your cat's habitat to better support their arthritis. For example, you might elevate their food and water dish to a height where they can eat and drink without bending. You can add cushions or padded surfaces to areas they frequent or sleep on. You can swap their litter box out with one that has low sides to make it easy for them to climb in and out.
Back again to those pesky little pests, fleas. They manage to find their way into your cat's fur and make it a home and dig in to make them very difficult to remove for good.
Symptoms your cat has been infested by fleas is itching, and this can be passed on to fellow pets and human family members, especially if the fleas have migrated to the furniture within your home. What to do when this happens? Get rid of them! Eliminate the fleas from your pet and it's environment as much as you can. Ask your vet for recommendations or have them prescribe an effective treatment and repellants that are cat-friendly. Be careful about what kind you decide to use as the wrong type or strength level can be irritating at best and fatal at worst. It may not be your favorite activity but incorporating more baths can also be a strong defense against fleas in the future.
There are two pretty broad categories of worms that can cause issues among cats and cat owners. Your cat might be lucky enough to never be bothered by either but it's best to be educated on them just in case.
- Heartworm - Heartworm is developed and born via mosquitos in which worms infest the anima's heart and nearby blood vessels, often with fatal results. Symptoms including coughing, rapid breathing, vomiting, or weightless but the disease is tricky to detect and diagnose. If you think your pet could possibly have a heartworm know that there are no drugs currently approved for treating heartworms in cats. The best option is to prevent your cat from catching a heartworm, your vet can prescribe a preventive medication for you to provide your cat once a month.
Feline Urological Syndrome (FUS)
This is a general diagnosis label to cover one of several disorders that affect the cat's urinary tract. Some of these disorders can be potentially life-threatening so it's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms. Those include difficulty urinating, urinating in small amounts, or urinating outside the litter box possibly in a sink or bathtub. Sometimes the appearance of blood can show in the urine.
If you've found these symptoms, consults your vet immediately because these disorders can quickly become dangerous and must be treated quickly and properly. Your cat could be from a possible infection like cystitis which is an inflammation of the bladder, to a full urinary blockage. Urinary blockages occur when crystalized minerals irritate the bladder and urinary tract, clogging the tract and preventing the outward flow of urine.
The inability to urinate or to urinate quickly can lead to a buildup of toxic wastes in the bloodstream which can quickly lead to a tragic result. The best to tackle FUS is to prevent it! The combination of regular access to clean water, a well balanced and natural diet, a clean litter box, and appropriate exercise all can go a long way to fighting off FUS.
There are a variety of worms and other parasites that can infect your cat's stomach and intestinal tract. These worms are typically transmitted through contact with other animal feces, which for curious little animals, can be more often than not.
If your cat has been infiltrated by a parasite you may see changes in their appetite, diarrhea, weight loss, or occasional coughing but otherwise healthy cats may not show any signs. Sometimes you can see parasites like tapeworms visibly in their bowel movements. You can help prevent this by taking your cat in for regular veterinary checkups. Your vet will be able to determine whether they have parasites by taking and analyzing a fecal sample. These checks are usually done several times in a cat's first year and then annually after. If the test does come back with a positive result for parasites, the vet will likely prescribe the appropriate medication to safely rid your cat's system of whichever type is present.
To prevent parasites from infecting your pet, keep the cat away from places where other animals have left feces. We recommend adding the occasional probiotic to their diet to help support a healthy intestinal flora year-round.
Giardiasis (More Rare)
Giardia is a parasitic infection linked to gastrointestinal tract disease. This can be contracted via direct or indirect exposure to an infected animal. Indirect means things such as sharing a litter box or drinking from the same water bowl. An outdoor cat who eats its prey is also at an increased risk for giardiasis. It has one major symptom being diarrhea. If you have a multi-cat household or an outdoor cat it's best to vaccinate them.
Calicivirus and Herpesvirus
These viral infections of the upper respiratory system can lead to serious complications if not treated. Extremely contagious, they easily spread from one cat to another and are thought to cause 80 to 90 percent of infectious feline upper respiratory tract disease. Your cat may start sneezing, have runny eyes and nose, and possess a fever.
If your cat shows symptoms of calicivirus or herpesvirus, seek veterinary care promptly. Most cases can be treated successfully, though kittens are at greater risk for severe cases. Once infected, many cats carry the virus for life and can infect other cats. That's all the more reason to prevent this disease by getting your cat vaccinated, and keeping it away from unvaccinated cats.
New FDA Study Shows Your Dog's Food May Put Them At Risk For Heart Disease 0
Here at Waggles, we're pretty serious about our pet food and it certainly isn't just about the ingredients but also how those ingredients support a healthy, balanced life for your pet. What's in your dog's diet can play a major factor in their overall health, including whether they develop heart disease according to a new report by the FDA.
The Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday, June 27th that it is continuing to research and investigate a potential linkage between certain pet diets and causes of dilated cardiomyopathy, also referred to as DCM or canine heart disease and can be a result of congestive heart failure.
The FDA first announced its investigation back in July of 2018, almost a full year ago. This Thursday's announcement specifically named sixteen different pet food brands that most commonly identified in more than 500 reported cases of DCM. The FDA has made a commitment to collaborating with scientific units and other entities to ensure more owners aren't surprised by a diagnosis of DCM in an otherwise healthy and happy dog.
The report included that large and giant breed dogs are more frequently affected, with cases being most common in golden retrievers, labrador retrievers, and mixed breeds. Although there have also been cases reported in smaller breeds too. In most cases, the pets ate the dry formulation of one of the listed brands. The investigation also took a deep dive into the ingredients or characteristics of the dogs' diets and nutrition. They found that more than 90% of diets were 'grain-free' with 93% having pease and lentils included among their ingredients list.
The report makes sure to note that the FDA hasn't certifiably discovered how the diets may be associated with the disease but takes it's position very seriously being to protect human and animal health.
“However, the FDA is first and foremost a public health agency, and takes seriously its responsibility to protect human and animal health,” the agency said in the statement. “In the case of DCM, the agency has an obligation to be transparent with the pet-owning public regarding the frequency with which certain brands have been reported.”
The FDA is encouraging veterinarians to report cases by using its electronic Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator.
Pet owners are advised to contact their veterinarian as soon as possible if “a dog is showing possible signs of DCM or other heart conditions, including decreased energy, cough, difficulty breathing and episodes of collapse," the report said.
ere are the brands and how many cases were reported to the FDA for each:
- Acana: 67
- Zignature: 64
- Taste of the Wild: 53
- 4Health: 32
- Earthborn Holistic: 32
- Blue Buffalo: 31
- Fromm: 24
- Merrick: 16
- California Natural: 15
- Natural Balance: 15
- Orijen: 12
- Nature’s Variety: 11
- NutriSource: 10
- Nutro: 10
- Rachael Ray Nutrish: 10
We'll be sure to keep you updated with this list on any other brands that get named as having a possible link to DCM.
Common Cat Hazards To Keep An Eye Out For 0
We're all pretty aware of how wonderfully playful, charismatic, intelligent, and independent our cat's are. However, these curious little babies can be prone to getting into things they maybe shouldn't. You might have some questions as to how to care for your fluffy friend and keep them safe indoors and we can help!
Identifying items that could be potentially hazardous or dangerous to your kitties health is helpful in addressing some of these questions and taking precautions against items that are typically threatening to felines will help keep your household calm and safe for your kitty.
- Unplug dangling cords. Some cats like to chew on cords so until you're aware that your cat isn't one of them, it's best not to risk an electric shock. Our cats are also big fans of investigating cramped spaces and jumping from place to place so if you have any wires strung precariously about that you don't want to go ripping out of their socket, it might be time to adjust your wiring situation. Also, be alert to potential fire hazards-lamps can tip over while you are out of the room, causing the shade to ignite and start a fire.
- Beware poisonous plants. Many common houseplants, like Easter lilies and philodendrons, are toxic to cats and can kill them if consumed. Do a quick google search to identify the current house plants you have, or any your cat could interact within your yard and make sure they're safe for cat's to ingest, just in case.
- Remove tablecloths from unattended tables. All cats, but especially new kittens can be particularly curious about what's up on there on the table and might use the table cloth to climb up the side. The result could be pretty disastrous, from broken dinnerware to injured kitties, it isn't worth it. Until your cat is adjusted to navigating their way through the house without pulling things down, best to go without the table cloth.
- Cover garbage disposal switches. These graceful, natural climbers usually find their way to the kitchen, kitchen counters, and finally the kitchen sink eventually. Many have been known to swat their furry little paws at light switches, such as the one for the garbage disposal. Special covers are available at hardware stores and retail locations that are designed to aesthetically cover up the switch and help avoid an accident.
- Keep drapery cords out of reach. Treating your cat as if their child in terms of child-proofing your home is never a bad idea. It's positive to ensure devices that could possibly ensnare your cat are properly collected and in their place, away from the cat. For example, the dangling cords that attach to drapes or curtains could be dangerous for cats that might get tangled up in them and get a cord looped around their neck or throat. Make sure things like these are well secured, coiled or tied together to avoid this.
- Close the dryer door. Cats are naturally curious and love to explore especially cramped dark and quiet places. Always double-check inside any appliances before closing the door to them or using them, always. This is especially true for the dryer, cats have a tendency to love sitting among warm clothes in the dark space.
- Make sure your screen door has a securing latch. atThere are indoor cats and there are outdoor cats but it's safe to say, they are primarily safer indoors. If you have an indoor cat, don't run the risk that they could slip away unnoticed. Ensure your sliding or screen door is always properly secured and latched. If you cat scratches or tears your screening, it's best to patch and repair it immediately.
- Pack away precious breakables. This is a great tip if you're just introducing a new kitten or cat to your home. They will want to explore and become familiar with their new area but this can mean jumping on tables, walking through cuboards and cabinets, bookshelves, and more. Try and remove precious or fragile items at first to avoid incident.
- Cover your furniture. If you're not the biggest fan of cat hair and don't want it getting on your upholstery, put an old sheet or blanket on the most popular furniture that your cats love. That way your cat can enjoy the furniture along with you without shedding fur all over it. Simply remove the sheet when guests arrive.