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  • All About Cats

    Product Reviews, Behavior, health, humor, quotations, feline facts, news and stories. 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 Dogs

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

    A look at our cold-blooded friends and discovering how to care for these fun loving creatures! 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
  • Walking on the Wild Side

    Check out our animal profiles, rescues, articles, news and profiles - all about wild animals 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
  • 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
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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...

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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 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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
  • Choosing a Rabbit as a Pet

    Rabbits make excellent pets for just about any home, but there are a few things you should ensure you're ready for before adopting. In this section, we discuss the pros and cons of bunny adoption, what type of diet they require, health concerns that you should consider, and how to make sure your home is "critter-proof". We also provide a Bunny Adoption Checklist so you that you can make sure you're ready.

    There are several species of rabbits and not every one of them make great pets, so please take a look at our section on rabbits as well as our health section, which details the major health issues of these delicate little guys.

    Bringing a bunny into your home is a big commitment that you shouldn't take lightly. With lifespans ranging from 7-12 years, it's important you're in it for the long haul. With proper care and lots of love, your bunny can be as affectionate as your dog and as entertaining as your cat.

    Read More
  • Catifying Your Home: Design for the pampered cat

     photo IMG_2167800x533_zps154f0ed6.jpg photo IMG_2167800x533_zps154f0ed6.jpg photo IMG_2167800x533_zps154f0ed6.jpg As you all know, we're big fans of feline design (also known as "catification"). This is a story that includes a combining of households and some creative design from Mountain Cat Trees!

    When Eliza and Tiffany bought a home together in early 2014, they had to merge households. Eliza brought in her four cats (Agnes, Monkey, Judd and Naked) and a dog called Nora. Tiffany brought along her cats, Encore and Pluto, as well as her two dogs, Nova and Bebe.

    That's a big menagerie in anyone's book! Needless to say, the couple was concerned about how this “Brady Bunch” of animals would get along. They enlisted Mountain Cat Trees, makers of highest-quality, natural wood cat trees, scratching posts and cat shelves to help “catify” the new house to make it easier for animals and people to make the transition (read Mountain Cat Trees Inspire Felines to learn about their beautiful products!)

    Today, we're going to show you an entire gallery of their beautiful home and show you how simple it is to create your own home designs.

    Read More
  • How to Choose A Farrier

    The most important things you can do for your horse includes feeding a balanced diet and providing proper care for their feet. Choosing a farrier is as important, or more so, than choosing a veterinarian or boarding facility.

    Finding the right farrier will take time, but avoiding lifelong injury or crippling your horse due to improper shoeing will save you thousands of dollars, and a lot of heartache, in the long run.

    Here are some tips on how to find a farrier (horseshoer or blacksmith) and why it's so important to select a great person to work with your horse.

    Read More
  • Dog Etiquette: Leashes

    Recently, we posted on Facebook that we were out walking our dogs and experienced two small, off-leash dogs aggressively running to our much larger, leashed dogs. My dogs were both on-leash and controlled, but I was still annoyed. After posting my experience, I received a lot of responses - some of which were a bit negative due to the fact that one of my dogs looks like a pit bull (apparently I shouldn't be walking him?). Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter if my dogs are pit bulls or chihuahuas or golden retrievers. In fact, I could have been walking alone, or riding a horse, or walking my cat. The fact is, dogs of any size should never run up on another person or animal without being invited to do so. It’s a common courtesy that could save your dog’s life.

    Here are just a few reasons why...

    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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A bitter old man, an "ugly" cat, and a Christmas miracle or three. A new story by Jim Willis, author of "How Could You?" and the book "Pieces of My Heart - Writings Inspired by Animals and Nature."

If anyone had bothered to pry, or follow Elmer around town, they might have learned more about him than anyone knew. Instead, they were comfortable with their opinion of him as the crankiest, stingiest old man around. Many were relieved that he lived on the outskirts of town and most avoided running into him during his monthly shopping trip if they saw his dented and rusty pick-up truck parked in front of any business establishment.

Elmer only entered the post office lobby during the postmaster's lunch hour and since he never put a return address on anything he mailed - his way of daring the US Postal Service to lose anything - nobody knew that the letters addressed in spindly block lettering to US military addresses were from Elmer. He wrote dozens of appreciative letters to service member strangers in far away places and always enclosed a ten-dollar bill, "for a beer or something stronger." Many a military chaplain has been surprised by Elmer's largesse and his vernacular about the Communists, the liberals, and whomever happened to be Commander-in-Chief ("and probably never did a lick of work in his whole life"). Elmer was completely non-partisan in his hatred of politicians, he hated all of them, and as for love of his country, it was about all the love that Elmer had left.

Elmer had been a coal miner until the mine had closed "thanks to those damn environmentalists." He occasionally ran into former coworkers in town and gave them a nod, never asking how they were and figuring that most, by the look of them, should qualify for some kind of public assistance if it weren't for "the state of our damn social security system." If there had been one thing he had done well, it had been to save money and he was comfortable, but with every passing year, Elmer grew more sour and intimidating. It had been years since any children had walked up the driveway to his well-kept but plain looking home that always had the curtains and window blinds shut and rung his doorbell on Halloween, or anyone had called asking for a donation. Even the postman dreaded delivering anything to him that required a signature, although Elmer had enormous respect for anyone in uniform, even if they worked for the "damn US Postal Service."

In short, nobody in the world could have been more surprised than Elmer, one cold evening in late November, when he heard a strange noise outside, set his beer bottle down hard on the kitchen table and opened the door to the back porch. Not only was the most ugly cat he'd ever seen sitting in front of the door, and Elmer hated cats as much as liberals and Communists, but the cat walked directly into the kitchen and then disappeared down the cellar stairs. Elmer turned on the porch light and looked around into the darkness, to make sure it wasn't some prank or Communist plot, and then he slammed the door shut. He decided to have another beer first, "to steady his legs," before going down to the cellar and evicting the "damn cat." The cat was nowhere to be seen at first, and then Elmer found him curled up in a laundry basket of dirty laundry on top of the washer. He pulled the cord from the light above the laundry tubs and glared at the cat. The cat blinked and stared at Elmer with an unconcerned air. Elmer bent down a little closer to the cat, inspected him, and agreed with himself that this was indeed the ugliest cat on the face of the Earth. The cat had a fresh scar down his nose that was still pink, the tip of one ear was missing, and the edge of the other ear was notched. One eye was gray-blue and clouded. It was difficult to tell from all the scars and patches of missing gray and white fur if the cat had won or lost his fights. That may have been the first inkling that Elmer had that he and the cat had something in common, but mostly he was sure he hated cats.

"Get out of my damn laundry you damn ugly cat!" Elmer said.

The cat showed no fear and instead yawned and snuggled deeper into the pungent tangle of soiled clothes.

Elmer stood there and crossed his arms. He uncrossed his arms. He put his hands on his hips. He removed one hand from his hip and scratched his head. If this had been a liberal, a Communist, or even a postal worker, he would have known what to say to get them out of his laundry basket, his cellar, his house - but he didn't know what one did about a trespassing cat. He didn't know anything at all about cats.
Elmer leaned over the laundry tub and forced the rusted window latch open, then opened the window a few inches.

"You finish your nap, then you go back where you came from," he said to the cat in the laundry basket and then he made his way unsteadily back up the cellar stairs, grabbed another bottle of beer from the refrigerator, and sat back down at the kitchen table. He swished the first swig of beer around in his mouth and thought for a while. He rubbed his unshaven chin. He drummed his fingers on the tabletop. He thought about eating something, maybe a can of soup, and then decided he wasn't hungry. He was too upset to eat. The whole order of his day and his comfortable existence had been upset by a trespassing, most likely Communist cat asleep in his cellar. He finished his beer, turned out the kitchen light and headed toward his bedroom. He looked in the direction of the cellar door and yelled, "Don't think I'm giving you anything to eat, 'cause I ain't!" The cat was still there in the morning and he announced that he was hungry by high-tailing it up the cellar stairs into the middle of the kitchen and yowling - which caused Elmer to drop his English muffin on the floor, because he had forgotten all about the cat. The cat licked the butter off the muffin and then howled some more. Elmer stood there with his mouth open while the radio announcer finished both the traffic and weather reports. The cat licked his muzzle, saw that nothing more was being offered, and went back down the cellar stairs. Elmer grabbed his truck keys off the hook next to the kitchen door and slammed the door on his way out. As Elmer's truck pulled in at Fields Farm Supply, Fred Fields looked up from loading a fresh roll of paper into the cash register and thought "Oh no! It's Elmer and it isn't even December yet."

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