The Farmer’s Dog

Cali eagerly waiting for me to put her bowl down

A couple of weeks ago I got an offer to try The Farmer’s Dog food for free. As someone always interested in new pet products, I had to try it out. It meant signing up for a subscription to their food, but I could cancel right away.

I went to their website  and filled out a form about Cali, type of dog, size, any allergies or health issues, etc. It was a pretty simple process and only took about 5 minutes.

Six days later a cooler arrived. The cooler was packed with bags of food, a container to store open food packs, and an insulated bag! Really cute packaging!

Insulated bag

Since Cali is a little dog, one pack of food is sized for four meals. It’s easy to use. I just squeeze the food out of the middle of the pack, and cut along the middle. Then I can squeeze half the food out of one side and put it in her bowl.

Clearly the food smells delicious to Cali, as the first time I cut open a pack she started dancing around. There was no transition to this food for her, she just devoured it immediately. I have no doubt this is a high quality food. The ingredients look great. It seems that beef is their standard base. They also have turkey,  pork, and chicken options. I wish they had a seafood or fish option. Cali’s vet recommended a fish based food for her, and that has seemed to help with her dry skin and itchiness. Maybe being on the Farmer’s Dog for a long period would help her skin issues without the fish?

I would definitely consider feeding this food all the time, but it is expensive for me at about $20 per week, and Cali is a small dog. I would pay a bit more for fresh food, but I currently spend about $12 for a bag of high quality dry food, and about $22 for a case of canned food. The bag of dry food lasts me over a month, and the case of canned food lasts me at least two months. So I’m paying roughly $23 a month to feed Cali, and Farmer’s Dog would cost me over $70 per month. 

I do spend about $30 per month on allergy medication for Cali, so IF the Farmer’s Dog eliminated the need for her medication, then the price difference starts to make more sense, but it’s a gamble to risk taking her off of her medication that has been working well for years.

I saw on The Farmer’s Dog website that they have a recipe for homemade food, and they hope to be offering a vitamin supplement at some point that you could purchase and make your own fresh food. I’ll definitely be looking into that when it is available. For now, I’m using one bag of the fresh food at a time, and switching Cali between it and her regular food as a special meal until my trial packs run out. Love the idea, love the quality of this product, just can’t justify the cost to my pet budget right now. Has anyone else tried it?

 

Bird Mister Review

Ok, so this product really isn’t for birds. It’s for human hairspray, but it is by far the best sprayer I’ve used for my African Grey.

Hector doesn’t like baths. I’ve tried the kitchen sink, the bathtub, shower perches, floor of the shower, spray with different bottles, etc. I had an old spray bottle that she came with that sprayed a light mist that she would tolerate.

I mist her pretty regularly, and then give her good soaking baths in the kitchen sink every couple of weeks. It isn’t her favorite, but she tolerates it, and as bird owners know, they are necessary to help keep her healthy.

Recently I saw an Amazon ad that caught my attention for a fine mist sprayer. It’s for hairspray, not birds, but it’s just an empty sprayer so it can really be used for any liquid you chose. I fill it with some warm-ish, water, not too hot, not too cold, and it sprays a lovely fine mist.  The more you use it, the less you have to pump the sprayer as it builds up pressure and just sprays. Hector showed her delight by flapping her wings, spreading them, stretching, and preening.

This little wonder sprayer:  is amazing. Hector actually seems to enjoy the sprays from it. For $8, definitely worth a try if you have a bird that doesn’t love baths.

Laser Cat Toy by PetSafe

My cats have been playing with the Laser Tail Toy from PetSafe for a few months now, and they love it! I’ve used many PetSafe products over the years; toys, leashes, water fountains, and I find them generally to be good quality and fair prices. This laser toy certainly fits in that category.

The toy is roughly 7″ long and 5.5″ wide. It’s small enough to easily carry around in one hand. The device is very sturdy and can handle the cats pushing it, leaping on it, and even knocking it down the stairs. It has also been fine when I’ve forgotten about it and accidentally stepped on it, whoops!

The unit takes three double A batteries, and honestly they seem to last forever. As you can see above, it has three wheels that move the unit around on the floor. I have used it on linoleum, floor tiles, short carpet, and wood floors, and it seems to work well on all of them. It is able to move more quickly and freely on non-carpeted surfaces, of course, but it does work just fine on short carpet.

So what exactly does this toy do? It projects a laser on the floor. It’s simple and pretty awesome. For whatever reason, cats seem to love chasing laser beams. While it can be very enjoyable for humans to tease a cat with a handheld laser, this toy entertains your cat when you can’t, or when you just want to watch.

See that white circle above? That’s the power switch. Push it on, or push it off. It’s that simple. When it’s powered on, the toy turns on the laser, which projects onto the floor in front of it, and it moves. The toy moves backwards, forwards, left, right, and circles. It moves, stops, and moves again. It knows when it has bumped into something, and it changes direction. It will also turn itself off after a short period of time, so you could turn it on when you need to go out, and leave it to entertain your cats while you escape.

I keep this toy in the kitchen, for those times when the cats get pesty and need my attention, but I need to get something done. I hit the button on the bottom, and the cats are immediately off the counters, out of my way, and interested in what the toy is doing. Sometimes they just sit and watch it, other times they aggressively chase it, bat at it, and sometimes even knock it around.

Bean enjoys watching the laser. I’m not sure he really knows what to make of it. Sometimes he acts as if he is scared of it, but other times he enjoys chasing it. Most of the time, it’s a combination of watching and chasing.

Even though Bean is just a baby at barely a year old, he is still super lazy. A few minutes of play time, and he is ready for another nap!

Summary: I would definitely recommend this product for anyone looking to entertain their younger, more playful cats. My older cat, Logan, isn’t very playful anymore, and she doesn’t have any interest in this toy, but both of my younger boys enjoy playing with it. I do enjoy toys such as feathers on a stick and things like that which allow me to interact with the cats more, but this is a really handy thing to have when the cats need to play and I need to get something done. It’s sturdy, well designed, and long-lasting. I think it would be really fun to add a “tail” or other attachment to dangle off the back, but that might just get tangled up in the wheels. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Happy Fall and a Dragon Update

 

Happy Fall!

I put out some flowers, and a couple of pumpkins, but the beauty was short lived! The chipmunks and squirrels think that the pumpkins were put out for them, and who am I to argue?

They have removed and probably eaten all the seeds. I keep rotating the pumpkin to try and get a bit more enjoyment out of it before it’s gone, but it is slowly starting to cave in. I’m glad to help fatten up the local rodents before the snow flies, but a couple of weeks with my decorations would have been nice!

The Dragon is being really weird recently. She has been in and out of her cave. She isn’t eating well, and she just can’t seem to decide if she wants to brumate, or just be awake. I’ve made sure her tank is the right temperature, and her basking spot is hot enough. Her tank is near windows, so I’m guessing the shorter daylight hours are what have her confused.

The hardest part for me is managing her bug consumption. I usually mail order her staple, black soldier fly larvae, but they take a few days to arrive, and they only last so long. I’ve been lucky enough to have some the last couple of times she has woken up. She’ll eat a few, a bit of her salad, and then she heads back into her cave.

Now I’ve run out, and I’m hesitant to order more. She may sleep for a few days, she may sleep for weeks, or even months. I don’t have anyplace local to buy the larvae, so I guess I will just run out and get her some crickets when she gets up again. Last thing I need is 500 or 1000 black soldier flies! She actually will eat the flies, but they are much harder to deal with than the larvae. The cats love it when a fly escapes in the house; me? not so much.

Check back soon for a review of a fun cat toy!

Silly Dragon

This morning, I watched my bearded dragon try to get into her cave. She’s had this cave for over two years, as long as I’ve had her, and she has NEVER tried to go inside it. She likes to perch on top of it, and often uses it to climb up to her hammock, but I’ve never seen her show any interest in going into it. Honestly, it’s a little small for her. It was a left over from a pet snake we used to have, and I put it in her tank more for climbing and perching than for going inside.

Until today. She ate her breakfast, a lovely mix of arugula, pea shoots, and black soldier fly larvae. Then she basked in her hot spot for a bit. Next I hear her scratching around which usually means she wants out.

I finish what I’m doing so I can go take her out, and I see her trying to get into her cave. She went in, backed out, and then stayed in the position you see above for a good 20+ minutes. I left the room for a bit, and when I came back, I got nervous for a minute. Where was Wena? I didn’t see her anywhere! Hammocks were empty.

Then I realized…

she actually made it inside the cave! She’s been in there all day now. I’m wondering if it is time for her to brumate.   It’s a little early in the season for it, but I do have an almost new container of 1000 black soldier fly larvae, and she usually likes to snooze just as I’m well stocked on bugs for her. I’m going to keep an eye on her, as I’m slightly worried she will get herself stuck in that little cave, but she seems pretty content for now. Sleep well sweet lizard!

WePet Litter Mat

With three cats in the house, one of them a Maine Coon with long hair, there is always litter everywhere. I’ve got four litter boxes. One is a Breeze box which actually isn’t too messy, but the cats don’t love it. They use it to pee, but that’s it. It has a pelleted litter in the top with a slatted bottom, so the urine goes into the bottom tray where there is an easy-to-change pad. The pelleted litter is great because it doesn’t scatter as much as grainier litter, but after months of using it, my cats still don’t love it.

I’ve tried a bunch of different types of pelleted litter, paper ones, pine ones, it doesn’t seem to matter, the cats hate it. They have some not-so-subtle ways of showing me their displeasure with the pellets. I’ve decided to let them win. I’ll have to find another way to stop the spread of the litter from the regular cat boxes, and just let them have their standard clumping litter.

I’ve got the three cat boxes in washing machine trays. They are great because they are big enough to hold the entire litter box, and have some room for the cats to step in and out of the box from on the tray. They are easy to clean up as well. The problem is the cats love to dig, and when they dig the litter flies. Even with the litter in the washing machine trays. The trays are just hard plastic, so the litter still scatters. The rug outside of the trays ends up feeling like a sandbox if I don’t vacuum every day.

The current set up

My next idea was to add litter mats to the trays. The ones I’m using now are by WePet. I had been using one of their mats upstairs, and now I bought two more for the downstairs cat boxes. So far they seem to be helping. There are a lot of features I like about these mats and I hope they continue to work out.

The WePet mat I bought was pretty inexpensive, about $11 on Amazon. The low price was definitely what tempted me to buy my first one, now I’ve purchased three! They are a good size, big enough to cover a decent sized area in front of the box for the cats to step in and out.

I also like the material they are made of.  It’s a soft mesh that seems like it would be comfortable on the kitty paws while still managing to help collect the litter. I’ve found the one I have been using upstairs easy to clean. I just shake it out, and occasionally run the vacuum over it. I haven’t had to wash it, but I’m guessing it would wash fine in the tub and I could easily hang it to dry.

The mats seem to hold litter well, they are slip resistant, making it easy for the cats to jump in and out of their boxes. For some reason, the cats like scratching at these, and so far they haven’t done any damage to the mats, so I guess that is another bonus.

I’ll make sure to post an update when I’ve had a chance to use these mats longer to see how they hold up downstairs with the three litter boxes.

June already?

Everything seems so crazy in the world right now. While I’m certainly concerned about all that is going on, I’m also happy to focus on the good for a few moments, so let’s talk pets!

The Dragon

The Dragon is cranky. It’s Spring shedding time and although much of her as already shed, she’s still got a lot of shedding to do, her head especially, and that seems to drive her crazy. I did discover some new greens that she is REALLY excited about. It used to be that the only green she really ate consistently was Arugula. I’ve tried so many different types of greens and she wouldn’t touch them. When I grocery shopped a few days ago, the store was totally out of Arugula. I thought I would try something different and I bought some pea shoots and broccoli sprouts. She is devouring them! This morning she ate a big bowl of them, and I just brought her another handful of the pea sprouts and she is gobbling them all up. I may have to bring her another helping.

I’m happy to find greens that she will eat so well!

Cali is doing fine, but she’s itchy. Spring is not the best season for her, and I’ve had to spot treat her skin, and also give her extra baths. I made need to bring her to the vet for an extra allergy shot, but so far she is hanging in there with the baths and spot treatments as well as her regular Apoquel.

I did clip her recently, and the short haircut also seems to help with the allergies. I can give her a really good scrub when I bathe her, and it is easier to get the topical sprays on her skin.

Hector is getting so brave! She’s still walking all around the house, and chewing and cardboard that crosses her path. The last few days, she has also been attempting short flights! I did clip Hector’s wings not long after we got her. I had taken her to the vet for a check up, and the vet suggested I clip her as she adjusted to her new home. I haven’t clipped her wings since. I’d prefer not to clip her, but if she starts flying and crashing I may have to clip her again so that she doesn’t hurt herself.

Hector has started a new little routine. After dinner and clean up, the family usually heads into the living room to watch a movie. Hector follows us to the living room now. I sit on the floor, play fetch with Cali, and Hector struts around checking everything out. Occasionally she will push a cat toy around or nibble on a dog toy. When she’s had enough, she makes this awful whistle/scream sound and we know it is time to give her a ride back to her cage.

Logan

Last but not least are all the kitties. All are doing well. Puck and Bean have been venturing outside on leashes a little bit. I’m starting to think it isn’t a good idea as Puck has been sitting at the door meowing like he is asking to go out. I don’t want outdoor cats, or even indoor/outdoor cats. I know everyone has different feelings on it, but it just isn’t my thing. The only time I’ve had an outdoor cat was when I had a barn in Texas and I had a barn cat. I used to worry every time I went out that I wouldn’t find him. I know I wouldn’t sleep if I had an outdoor cat and it didn’t come home one night.

Since I’ve given up on trying to get the cats to use new kitty litter, I’ve gotten a couple of mats to try and help contain the spread of the litter at least. I’ll post a review of the new mats tomorrow.

I’m also giving Primal cat food a try. I’ll get a review of that posted soon as well.

Stay well everyone!

 

Cat Stuff

Puck Checking Outside

The weather has been crazy, sunny and spring-like one day, cold, windy, rainy the next. We’ve been taking advantage of any and all sunny days to open up the house and get some fresh air in. The kitties love to hang out near the screens, sniff the fresh air, and occasionally keep an eye on a chipmunk or two.

Cali and Bean

On the colder days, they all like to find a cozy spot to snuggle up.

I’m still experimenting with litter boxes, and now with cat litter as well. The Breeze Box is working out well for me as my extra/upstairs box. the litter doesn’t track, and it doesn’t smell. The two most important things to me. I still don’t think that box would work out for me if I only used Breeze boxes, but maybe it would. If I see them on sale again, I might buy another to try downstairs with my other boxes.

I keep three boxes downstairs, and all three were traditional tray boxes with clumping litter. As Bean is getting bigger, I was finding litter everywhere. Not only in the large trays I keep under the boxes, but spread into the carpet in the hall, up the stairs, just everywhere. If I didn’t vacuum every day, the hall was turning into a sandbox. My first experiment was to try a paper pellet litter. The litter I chose is: Purina Yesterday’s News Non Clumping Paper Cat Litter, Unscented Low Tracking Cat Litter.

The key to me was the “low tracking” part. It has been ages since I’ve used a non-clumping litter, but it was worth a try. I’m using the paper litter in just one of the three boxes. I didn’t want to overwhelm the cats. They started using it right away, but like the upstairs box, they are only using the new litter to urinate.

So far, I really like this litter. It is definitely not tracking. Once every couple of days I find a pellet or two on the carpet, but other than that these pellets mostly stay in the box. I bought a new litter scoop: and it is working out well. I’m finding the non-clumping litter to be much easier to deal with than I had imagined. Every day I run the scoop through it, pick up any chunks, and that’s it. About every ten days, I dump the entire box, wipe it out, and refill it, super easy. The new scoop is also working really well for my clumping litter. It has bigger holes, so I don’t have to scoop and shake, shake, shake. I just scoop, wait a second, and the clumps are ready to be dumped.

My only hesitation with this new litter is that the cats aren’t using it to poop. I’m trying to decide if I should switch another box to this paper litter, or maybe try another kind of litter in one of the other boxes, maybe a pine litter.

I definitely think that the pelleted litters are less tracking for us, and although I’m kind of shocked about it, I also think I want to move to a non-clumping litter. The way my boxes are set up, it is super easy to dump them every ten days or so, and it makes daily cleaning easier. I guess I’ll have to see how my litter costs are and if it is much more expensive to dump the whole box so often.

Please sir, may I have another?

I definitely don’t love it when the pets beg, but when we eat in front of TV and Puck gets up on his hind legs like this, it is just too cute!

My other cat issue is that one of them has been throwing up hairballs pretty regularly. I think it’s Bean, but I’m not 100% sure. I’ve tried home remedies, like coconut oil, but haven’t had any luck. Last week, I tried a commercial product  and it seems to be helping. Funny thing is that Bean is the only one who will eat it. I’m trying to brush him more, and using the hair ball remedy as well. Hopefully that will fix that problem.

Hector is quiet this morning, the Dragon is sunning herself. I should take advantage of the quiet house and get some work done. I’m putting together info on pet water fountains, and will have that posted soon. I seem to always be experimenting with new pet products to solve different problems. What are you experimenting with these days?

Sanity

There are days when I get super busy and feel bad for my pets that maybe they haven’t had enough attention that day, or a long enough walk, etc. For the most part, I think my pets are pretty spoiled, but there can be a day here and there when I’m busy. Right now, I’m thankful to have a houseful of pets!  I have to say with all the crazy going on in the world, I’m so super thankful for each and every one of them.

Taking care of all my pets brings me joy. I don’t see it as work or a chore, I love cleaning their cages, brushing and feeding them, making them comfortable. Having the routine of animal care has been super helpful to me in this time of no routines.

The pets are also amazing for stress relief. When I find something is getting to me, I take a deep breath and snuggle a kitty, or take the dog for a walk.

There have been so many stories in the news lately about shelters emptying as people are stepping up to foster and adopt. Not only am I happy for the animals that get to start a new chapter in their lives, but I’m happy for the humans that are adding animal companions, living stress relievers to their lives.

 

Cali

Cali is probably the least stress relieving pet these days, but we love her like crazy. She’s always been a bit anxious and nervous, and she knows our routine is off. While she is enjoying more walks and extra snuggles, she’s also barking more and being a bit extra nervous and jealous of the other pets. She had a nice bath yesterday, and within the next day or two, she’ll be getting a home hair cut! I miss seeing her eyes! I’ll post another picture of her once I get her all clipped.

I’m happy to report that Puck seems to be doing much better! He seems comfortable again and isn’t spending all his time in the litter box. I’ve got him on the prescription diet, and I’m trying to get as much water into him as possible. I’m feeding him canned food twice a day, and even adding some water to the canned food. I don’t want to take away his dry food totally, because I feel that will cause him more stress, but I’m definitely encouraging him to eat more canned. I also added another water bowl next to the dry food dish. I’m not sure it will help or not, but it can’t hurt.

While I was writing, Cali was curled up on the floor next to me, but she got nervous when someone pulled into the driveway and she started barking and pacing. Puck came over and snuggled up near her and she calmed right down. There’s something pretty special about that little cat.

Bean is Bean. He keeps growing like crazy. I’m curious, and slightly nervous about how big he might get. I’m pretty sure he weighs about the same as the dog now, probably 11+ pounds. He’s 7.5 months old!

I hope everyone is finding comfort somewhere, whether with family, pets, etc.  Find something to be thankful for today, whether it is a cup of coffee, food on the table, or extra time with children, and give all your pets an extra pat from me 😉