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  • Traveling with Pets

    Be sure to check this section out before you hit the road with your pet! We've got a look at pet-friendly hotels, the guidelines of air, train, bus and auto travel, and much more. Read More
  • All About Cats

    Product Reviews, Behavior, health, humor, quotations, feline facts, news and stories. Read More
  • All About Reptiles

    A look at our cold-blooded friends and discovering how to care for these fun loving creatures! Read More
  • All About Horses

    Learn about equine science, whether you're an aspiring rider or a long-time owner, we have the latest in products, breeds, and more. Read More
  • All About Dogs

    Product Reviews, Behavior, health, humor, quotations, facts, news and stories about dogs. Read More
  • All About Critters

    Take a look at what it means to have ferrets, rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs, and more. Read More
  • All About Fish and Ponds

    If you're a novice fish and pond enthusiast, join us as we discover the newest aquariums, beautiful backyards, and plenty of informative information about fish. Read More
  • Behavior Problems? We have answers.

    Learn about behavior from our team of experts. Whether you have cats, dogs, reptiles, horses or birds, we can help you learn to live with them. Read More
  • Walking on the Wild Side

    Check out our animal profiles, rescues, articles, news and profiles - all about wild animals Read More
  • All About Birds

    If the avian life is for you, we've got a look at the best products, interesting species, and how to select and care for birds. Read More
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  • Guide to Hiking Etiquette with Dogs

    Cooler weather is on the way, and as the leaves change their colors to red and gold hues, it means many of us will be once again hitting the trails with our best four-legged friends.

    Let's face it - nothing cleanses the soul like a relaxing hike through the wilderness. Whether you want to enjoy the rich colors of wildflowers in that remote desert valley, or just want to run a few miles through the pines, it’s important to make sure everyone out there has the same level of enjoyment as you do. So dust off the walking stick and renew your wild spirit, but make sure you follow trail etiquette when you take your pets along.

    Dogs are usually naturals on the trailhead. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to watch them carefully - there are plenty of dangers in the wild - from poisonous mushrooms to cacti, and coyotes to rattlesnakes (not to mention hunters of the two-legged variety).

    This is why it’s so important to understand the basics of hiking etiquette. Here's a primer to get you started...

    Read More
  • 4 Favorite Pet-friendly USA Hikes

    Nothing cleanses the soul more than a day of hiking in an ancient forest with only yourself and your best four-legged friend as company. I don't know about you, but as I've matured, I've gained a stronger appreciation for the simple things in life. While we probably hiked when we were younger, we may not have noticed the rich hues of wildflowers or the tenacity of a wild mushroom growing under the cover of a 200-year-old pine tree... 

    But before you head into the wilds with your dog, it's important to choose your trail carefully, carry a GPS tracker, know your pets (and your own) limitations, and let others know exactly where you’re going and when you plan to return.

    Hiking with dogs requires only slightly more planning. Rules and regulations vary according to trail-head and park areas, so be sure to contact your local forest service before taking your pets along. Start slowly and work into more intense trail heads or you may find yourself carrying an exhausted dog out in your backpack.

    There’s a hike for whatever part of the country you’re in and whatever skill level you’re working around, but these are a few of our favorite day hikes around the country.

    Read More
  • Treats Your Ferret Should NEVER Be Given

    It’s not always easy figuring out what foods ferrets can and can’t have. We’re here to help. There are certain things you should know about your ferret’s diet, as malnutrition or too many treats can lead to many problems, like bladder stones, obesity, tooth decay, hypoglycemia, and even death.

    This is why it’s so  important that you feed your ferret a proper diet. Your ferret should have access to a high-quality, meat-based diet. They eat very similarly to cats (but you should avoid giving your ferret cat food). Opt instead for either a raw diet (known as "Frankenprey") or a high-quality kibble diet that is designed specifically for ferrets.

    Read More
  • Treats that Your Ferrets Will Enjoy

    When it comes to your ferrets, you want to make sure that they are getting the very best in nutrition. Like cats, ferrets are obligate carnivores, meaning their diet is derived from meat and meat-based foods. They won’t be able to obtain nutrition from protein-based vegetarian foods (like nuts or beans). So it’s really important that you select the proper treats for your ferret. There are many things your ferret will enjoy (and if you have a cat, you will see many similarities in the types of treats you should have on hand). The good news about ferrets is that they generally don’t have a desire to “eat excessively”. Ferrets “imprint” on their food within their first year, so what you choose to feed them as kits are going to be critical to their entire life. They also have very fast metabolisms (and if you’ve ever seen a ferret in action, you’ll know why they burn calories so quickly). So you’ll need to make sure you are feeding a high-quality diet from early on. <Insert link>The good news about ferrets is that they generally don’t have a desire to “eat excessively”. They prefer to graze throughout the day, and will rarely overeat. 

    Read More
  • The FeedSafe Feeding Station for Feeding Individual Diets

    In multi-pet homes, keeping pets out of the others food is of critical importance. If you have a chow-hound who loves to invade your cat's food bowls (or any other situation that requires feeding individual diets in multi-pet homes), we have a solution for you.

    The name of this innovative product is the Feed-Safe Feeding Station.

    Feed Safe is a durable enclosure that easily stops larger pets from raiding your smaller pet's food bowl. Not only does this stop other your dog from raiding your cat's food, it can give critters like ferrets a safe place to eat while they're roaming around in their free time. It can also be easily adjusted to help separate kitten or puppy food from the mama-cat or mama-dog.

    This is also a very useful solution for animals who tend to be slow eaters, or those who are on a prescription diet.

    Another unexpected benefit was being able to keep the cats off the counters! We admit - we have some bad habits and the cats will usually eat their canned food on the counter. This is not the cleanest way to handle the situation, but placing the food on the floor became impossible with our quick acting dogs. This is a great way to let your cats eat their canned foods at their own pace without being on the counter top and without being harassed by larger pets.

    Read More
  • The Wonderful World of Flyball

    A woman walked into an agility practice recently with a Border collie that her daughter runs in agility. The woman quit running her dogs in agility and her dogs only participated when her daughter ran them. As she said “hi” to former instructors and other people from the world of dog sports naturally these people asked her what she was up to nowadays. The woman responded that she ran her dogs in flyball. Many of the people simply nodded their heads politely, but the die-hard dog sports enthusiasts couldn’t help but recoil in disgust and let out a collective: “ewww.”

    Flyball has a unique position in the world of dog sports. It’s respected by few involved in the broader dog sports community, but adored by those involved in the sport of flyball itself. Many of flyball’s biggest supporters have come out of the world of agility and other AKC dog sports like obedience. Your dog has to be trained in order to run flyball. What makes flyball different than your average dog sport is that: 1) it is a team sport and 2) it involves a lot of barking.

    Read More
  • FREE National Microchip Registry

    August 15 is National Check the Chip Day. This is an important day because as pet parents, we often do the right thing by microchipping our pets, but then the ongoing annual fees grows tiresome. Or we move and forget to change the contact information, or never change the initial contact information from the rescue we adopted from. Found Animals is a FREE national registry that keeps accurate information on every chip. It’s free to set up an account, it’s simple to enter and change, and there are many other resources available on the site.

    Found Animals doesn’t care who the chip manufacturer is or how many pets you register. It’s free, will reportedly always be free, and is critical to helping to ensure that pets are returned if they become lost.

    Read More
  • Quirky Things We Learned from Our Tortoise #ReptileCare

    When we first adopted Augustine, our Russian Tortoise, we knew absolutely nothing about how to care for a turtle or tortoise. That’s okay. We didn’t need to know everything. Part of the fun of being a pet parent is learning HOW to care for your pet - and that goes for any species. Of course, there are certain things you absolutely must know about any species you bring into your home, like what their diet is and what type of housing they require (the PetMD® Reptile Center at Petsmart® is a great place to begin). But after this, you can discover the details and further information about any animal. Today we're talking about things that probably aren't in the care kit that the store sent you home with.

    Read More
  • Choosing a Guinea Pig as a Pet

    Guinea pigs are fantastic little critters to have as pets. These intelligent little rodents are not only easy keepers, they are entertaining and fun to watch.  However, choosing a guinea pig can be a bit challenging as each breed has very different personalities, grooming requirements, and feeding requirements. Before you run out to pick one up as a pet, make sure you understand their individual needs and what you'll need before committing to any adorable guinea pig.

    To begin with, you should consider adopting a guinea pig rather than purchasing one from a store. Most shelters have many of these little guys up for adoption. If you're looking to adopt for a child, this is even more important as you will have the added advantage of teaching your son or daughter about the importance of saving a life. Humane education is an area where most children are seriously lacking, so it's really up to the parent to teach their children about the responsibilities of pets and how to care for them.

    Guinea pigs will require routine maintenance, which means cleaning their cages out at least once a day and grooming them regularly. How frequently they will need to be groomed depends largely on the length of their fur. Be sure you read the profiles of each type of guinea pig, which we have listed in our guinea pig section.

    Read More
  • Choosing a Ferret as a Pet

    Ferrets are intelligent, mischievous members of the"mustilidae" family, which means they are cousins with mink, weasels, skunks and even the European polecat. These little guys capture our hearts with their antics and are a great addition to any home (as long as you don't live in New York, California, Hawaii or Washington D.C. where ferrets are outlawed). Before you think about purchasing or adopting a ferret, be sure you check your local laws as well as the laws and regulations at local levels (including your home owners association).

    If you've done your homework and you think you're ready to add one of these charismatic creatures to your home, we have a host of articles to help you integrate them into your family and keep them healthy. Remember that a ferret's normal lifespan is 7-9 years, so you need to be sure you're ready to commit that time to this entertaining and affectionate pet.

    Read More
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4 Favorite Pet-friendly USA Hikes

Nothing cleanses the soul more than a day of hiking in an ancient forest with only yourself and your best Read More

Getting Old Sucks - Cognitive Dysfuntion in Dogs (CCD)

As most of you know, we have a dog who has just turned 15 years old. He’s half blind, almost Read More

New Pill Paste for Horses Make Pilling Horses Easy

horse at fencehorse at fenceGiving a horse a pill can be a challenge. There isn’t a horse alive who can’t Read More

Hurricane Katrina – My Journey Back in Time

My journey back to the Gulf Coast for Hurricane Katrina’s 10th Anniversary Remembrance was everything I had expected it to Read More

Healthy Cats Made Easy with #InstinctRaw

As you know, we are big fans of raw food (or at least a form of raw food) for our Read More

Effects of Full Moons on Our Pets

We always hear stories about how full moons bring out the crazy in people. Weird things tend to happen during Read More
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One thing that I’ve noticed in the last nine months of writing this column is that the products I like the most are the exact same products the cats most dislike.  You have to wonder about that.  I mean – are we really that different, cats and humans?  What is it that makes us love the things that our felines despise?  What inert function of the brain controls that wild side of us that once would have once had us pouncing on the very things our feline friends find so fascinating? It’s those kinds of questions that keep me up at night, and probably the same reason I spend my days at home writing a column about cat products instead of sitting in an office with the mass of society...

Alas, I fear that is a philosophical discussion for a later time.

This month, the product that I love, and that my furry friends despise, is called Ssscat Pet Deterrent.  This delightful little product has recently liberated over $2,000 in new furniture, has recovered a bit of my sanity, and has even salvaged my voice – as I never have to yell, hiss, or scatter my pets away from anything anymore. 


Note: Remember that this is a "quick fix" solution and the best way to improve behavior forever is through positive reinforcement. While Ssscat! does have it's place and works well, remember that it has the potential to cause other types of behavior problems, as well as potentially make your cat fearful.

This product does it for me.  Personally, I think the good people over at Multivet (the developers of Ssscat) misnamed this product.  They should have called it the same name that I use to refer to it, which is “Bastet”.  For those who don’t know, Bastet is the name given to the Egyptian Goddess of cats when she is shown in her full cat form, Bast when she’s shown with only a cat head.  Ssscat deserves the entire name of Bastet.  Now – why would I equate a cat product with a Goddess?  Well, primarily the reason I do it is because every time I bring up a God of any type, my readers fly into a frenzy and begin sending me email, and it gives me something to do besides write these columns (see “Do Animals Have Souls” if you missed that little gem).  But most importantly, I call Ssscat by the name of a Goddess, because that’s precisely how it performs. Multivet Ssscat Kit Automated Cat Repellent Deterrent Spray + 2 Refills is a cat behavior modification tool if you want to get technical.  I really don’t want too, so I call it a "sprayer".  What it does is offer a pet two opportunities to move off of the counter, or away from the couch, or off the table, or out of a room that you don’t want it in.  The first opportunity for the cat to move is afforded by a loud noise, similar to an air horn (but nowhere near as loud).  This noise just let’s the animal know that they have crossed into territory where they are unwelcome.  The next opportunity is a quick spray of a gas known as "134a", (which sounds like something out of TV show, LOST).  This gas is completely harmless for people and pets, environmentally (ozone) friendly, completely odorless, and just as important - highly effective.  If you're anything like me, you need to be reassured about the "safe" part when a gas such as 134a is mentioned. So, allow me to put your mind at ease.  It's the same gas that is used in ventillin pump for asthma inhalers, and has no side effects.  So don't be alarmed if you accidentally spray yourself - you'll be fine. The other neat thing about this product is that its not just for cats - it works for all kinds of pets.  It even works with kids, and most adults who aren’t smart enough to figure out how to turn it off...

This is where the God part comes in… The pet (or kid or unintelligent adult) is made to believe that they are being disciplined by some kind of “higher power”, and not by their human.  Since Ssscat is motion-activated, running only on 4 AAA batteries, you don’t even need to be home to keep your pets under control!  No more yelling, no more hissing, no more spray bottles!  There is now no need whatsoever (as if there ever were, and PLEASE do not EVEN get me started on THIS subject) to declaw your cat, and there is no need for shock mats or sticky tape.  This is a one-stop shop, folks.  My husband and I started with one unit, just to see what it would do.  We now have six.  All of them are stationed in select areas and turned on and off at select times of the day.  The best part is that cats – being as intelligent as they are – have learned where they are, and are not, allowed to roam.  We are now able to move the units around, and the cats remember where they were not allowed before and do not return to the previous area.  Our furniture is now “cat-free”.  Our newly tiled counters no longer have felines lounging around the tops, scattering hair everywhere.  Our dogs have even learned to stay off the living room furniture, where they once slept on the premise of “guarding the front door.”  It has even eliminated the “door rush” when someone comes to visit.  Our home is almost normal.  Almost.  I would hate for it to get too normal, because I’m an Aquarius, and I don’t handle normal well.  But, I have to say; we’re getting pretty close to what the masses would refer to as normal. Now, as to the cost of this product, it is a little pricey, but there are ways around this.  Order two.  They are worth it.   We’ve had ours for a little over six months, and they have been running 24 hours a day.  We have only replaced the batteries once, and have not had to order refills for the unit at all.  The cats learn quickly.  The beauty of this unit is that it works on several levels:  sight, sound, and feel.  First, your cat will see the canister and learn to stay away from any place it is located, despite its being on or off.  Second, it sounds off with a loud noise as a warning and if you choose, you can leave it only on this setting without a spray.  Third, it offers the odorless gas spray as a reinforcement for the most stubborn, or in my case, the most deaf cats.  As I have several deaf cats, this is a great tool for me, because noise does nothing to warn them away from an area.  The nozzle can be redirected in 15 different ways, and it has a wide range of motion detection so that you can cover a large area. Yes, this is one more product that you must have if you share your home with cats.  Its simplicity is perfect, its cost is not extraordinary, and its effects are lasting.  Bastet, I mean, Ssscat – is truly a revolutionary product for pet owners the world over.

From the Cats:

Hisses & Spits:  Hiss!  Spit!  We want our couches back, our freedom to roam on countertops just as we were allowed in the days of old.  Down with Ssscat!

Purrs:  None… We despise this product!

From the Humans:

Two opposable thumbs up!! We love this product!  Now we can have real furniture, we can keep the dogs off of it, we can keep the cats from clawing it!  Our lives will never, ever be the same again.  Drawback? None – we love it!  Are they selling stock in this company?

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Author: stacymantle
About the Author

Stacy Mantle is a freelance writer who currently resides in the southwestern deserts of Arizona with a few dogs, several cats, and a very understanding husband. She is a regular contributor to Pet Age Magazine, Catster, Animal Behavior College, and of course, PetsWeekly. Many of her stories and articles have been translated into several languages, and now reach an international audience. She is also the author of a bestselling urban fantasy/thriller, Shepherd's Moon; a humor book entitled, Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One), and a line of Educational Activity Books for children.

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