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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

If you read our last blog, you’ll already know the basics about what to expect when you’re trying to get your pets through TSA security and on the plane. If you missed it, you can check it out here (x).

Keep in mind, knowing what’s expected of your pets by airports and airlines is only half the battle. Yes, you need your pets to be in carriers, but what type of carriers? What about leashes? Harnesses? I.D. Tags? It all seems overwhelming, especially since you don’t want to bring “the wrong thing” and get denied entry. Here’s the good news: it’s not as hard as you think.

The Right Leash

Remember that no matter what size your pet is, at some point they’ll need to be on a leash to make it through security; even if they’re in a carrier. With all the extra stimuli airports have, you need to be especially cautious about things that could spook your pet–the last thing you want is your furry friend running wild through an airport! The key is having something reliable and short so you have firm control at all times. Do not use a retractable leash. You can check out our blog about why we never recommend them, but the shorthand is this: they’re at a higher risk of breaking, and also there is no reason to allow your pet to have “extra space to roam” when keeping them close to you needs to be a top priority.

That might sound a bit harsh, but we cannot stress enough that this is way different from a walk in the park. As we said before, your pet could bolt, but also keep in mind that despite your dog being friendly and harmless, there could be people who are afraid of them or simply don’t know how to properly greet a dog. Not only are leashes a matter of safety, but common courtesy, as well.

We’re proud to say that all of the leashes we carry are safe and dependable. For this specific situation, we love the “Flat Out Leash” by Ruffwear because it’s strong, durable, and the perfect length for keeping tight control over your dog. It can be held like a regular leash or buckled around your waist for hands-free control. This option also has a short traffic handle that can be used when you need to keep your pet extra close. We also have a great selection of leads by Up Country and The Worthy Dog with fun patterns and matching collars to travel in style! Which brings us to our next point…

Harnesses and Collars

A harness, in general, is great for taking your dog out. Since it wraps around the chest and torso, it relieves pressure on the neck vs. using a collar and leash alone. In short: you have more control and your dog feels comfy, it’s a win-win for both of you!

Remember that just because your dog is in a harness doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a collar as well. It’s crucial for all pets to have a collar since that’s what’ll hold the I.D. tag, which should have your pet’s name, address, and best phone number to reach their “pawrents”.

Don’t let the name fool you–Worthy Dog also makes cat collars!

Carriers

When finding the right carrier, always make sure it’s “TSA Approved”. Typically, this is going to be a collapsible carrier that gives your pet enough room to stand up, lay down, and turn around. This allows for easier storage on the plane under the seat–plus, it can be a little more comfy for your furry friend! When in doubt, look for the “TSA APPROVED” seal of approval when you’re out shopping and always check the guidelines of your specific airline.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever traveled with your pet and how it went! And be sure to check back next Wednesday for our final installment of Surviving Airports With Pets!

National Cat Day is Saturday, October 29th!  Founded in 2005, by Pet and Lifestyle Expert & Animal Welfare Advocate Colleen Page, the holiday – and its group of supporters and sponsors – support the recognition of the number of cats that need to be rescued each year as well as encourage cat lovers to celebrate the cat(s) in their lives for the unconditional love and companionship they offer.national-cat-day

As a cat lover, you already know about all of the super fun cat toys we have at the stores…here are some of our most popular cats toys for your special feline to celebrate with!

Yeowww Banana by Ducky World ~ This is a customer favorite by far…your kitty will go berserk for this fruit! YEOWWW, what a trip!  No cotton filler, stems or seeds, just jam-packed with premium, 100% organically grown, super-strong catnip.

Kitty Cuddle Pal by Petstages ~ With the colder weather fast approaching, the Kitty Cuddle Pal would make a purrr-fect gift for your kitty!  It can provide warmth and comfort for your kitten on the upcoming cold days.  Simply microwave this toy and place it with your can when you’re away, or any other time she needs comfort.  The Kitty Cuddle Pal is imported and filled with buckwheat.  Your cat will thank you for warming up their winter!

Magneticat Cat Toy by JW Pet ~ What more could capture your cat’s attention than a twitching, singing prey? The Magneticat Cat Toy is made from a weighted bottom that holds a rod dangling a magnetic ladybug.  Using magnetic forces, the ladybug twitches and swings to keep your cat captivated for hours.  No batteries are needed!

Cat Maze by Nina Ottosson ~ Is your cat smarter than average…if so, this is for you to try!  This fun, interactive toy makes your cat work for its treat or food.  The Cat Maze works with the help of your cat pawing and batting to dispense the treats. The bright colors and plastic material make for a great play time! So, challenge your cat with the Nina Ottosson Cat Maze!

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We have lots of other toys, treats, furniture and more for you to spoil your kitty on their National Holiday!  Stop in to check out all of our cat products.

We are so excited that our 6th Annual Adopt-A-Rama is this coming Saturday!  This event has grown so much over the years and we will now have 24 rescues and shelters on hand along with a dozen vendors and local businesses to educate you on products and services for your pets.

Last week we told you why owning multiple pets is actually good for you!  Today I want to give you a short checklist of how to go about introducing new pets into your home.

1. Consider the personalities of your existing pets, look for a new addition with specific traits.  Adopting an older pet has a big advantage – most older pets have already been exposed to other species in their past, which can really streamline the socialization process.

3abede6d6e2ae0f0ecb262c932190bd22. If your dog tends to aggressively chase, pin, or otherwise “manhandle” cats, it’s probably best to consider getting another dog instead.  And, a cat who constantly growls and bats, or hides from dogs would probably prefer the company of another cat.

3. If you have a pup who loves chasing things, consider avoiding a fearful or shy new addition.  This can actually sometimes trigger a dog to chase.

4. Ignore the old wives tale – Bringing a highly energetic, rough-playing pet home could bring “new life” to your existing elderly pet companion.  This pairing could actually terrorize or even hurt your older furry friend.  Look for an upbeat, but calmer new addition.  The extra company can still do wonders for an older animal.

5. Pick a neutral location to introduce your existing pet and the prospective new pet.  Pick a somewhat airy, open area that neither pet considers “home turf.”

6. After bringing your new furry friend home, periodically rotate which pet has freedom to roam and which one is more confined for the first few days.  This allows each animal plenty of space to investigate the other one’s scent.

7. Never leave two newly-acquainted pets alone together and unsupervised.  This should be managed very gradually over about 3-6 weeks.

8. In the case of dogs and cats, the cat will often “claim” higher territory and let the dog “have” the floor spaces.  Try adding a few high-up perching features (shelves or pieces of furniture) to your living area to help both animals feel comfortable.

9. Don’t hesitate to work with a qualified animal behaviorist who can often suggest very specific and effective strategies for helping new furry family members get comfortable with each other.

Stop by any Two Bostons store and ask for some firsthand advice on creating a happy, healthy homecoming for your new pet!  We look forward to seeing you and your well-behaved four-legged family members this weekend.

Anna Payton, Executive Director at the Naperville Area Humane Society shares how becoming a Foster Parent can make a difference.

Anna%20and%20Gulliver%20web“Every day we are inundated with emails and phone calls from people wanting to rehome their animal and high volume shelters needing help with placing animals in their care.  This is one of the hardest decisions staff faces daily.  Which animals do we have room to take in and help and which ones will have to wait for space to become available.  The Naperville Area Humane Society (NAHS) is a small but mighty shelter with only 18 dog kennels and space for about 40 cats.  Our staff and volunteers provide the animals within our walls great care and love daily.  One of our goals is to increase the number of animals we help per year.  With our space being limited, we cannot do that without your help.

By becoming a foster parent, you can make a big difference for the animals in our community by truly saving a life.  On a temporary basis, you will provide a warm, loving environment, or kittens that are not quite old enough to go up for adoption.  NAHS is here to support you throughout the foster process and answer any questions you may have along the way.  When we have an animal in need that is a match for you, you will be contacted to see if you are available to help.  In the middle of painting your house or getting ready to go on vacation?  No problem.  We will contact you next time we have an animal looking for a foster home.

The length of time you foster depends on the needs of the animal.  We do our best to accommodate foster families and their time available.  There is an initial $50 fee to become a foster ($25 foster license through the Illinois Department of Agriculture and $25 general volunteer program fee through NAHS).  For all the details about the NAHS foster program, please visit our website.

As someone who has fostered many animals over the years, I can honestly say that being a foster parent is a very rewarding experience for adults and families alike.  Please help us increase our capacity for care of animals in need and become a foster parent today!”

20150730_095300Does this make you want to find out more or sign up to be a Foster Family?  As part of the Two Bostons 10 Year Anniversary Celebration we are searching for NEW Foster Families.  The first 10 new families (per shelter) to contact, and be accepted as a foster family before August 31, 2015 in this rewarding program will receive a “Foster Hero Basket” valued at over $500.  As you generously open your heart and home you will find you have everything you need to feed, treat and entertain your Canine Foster Friend. Contact one of these shelters today to find out more information: A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter, Hinsdale Humane Society, Naperville Area Humane Society, or West Suburban Humane Society.

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Over the course of my life, I’ve mostly fostered and adopted dogs. But occasionally — sprinkled in like a flurry of finicky, fuzzy confetti — I’ve welcomed a few cats as well. One of my very favorites was a tiny gray Maine Coon kitten who eventually grew (and then kept right on growing) into an outspoken, persnickety whiskered roommate whose rear end and huge tail eventually took up half the coat closet floor.

In terms of pet personalities, I’d say that Ben was the equivalent of an overstuffed, breathing sofa cushion. He was just so unbelievably … sedate. He loved to stretch out around the house and ponder, like a giant purring doorstop. He would lie in the sun room. He would lie across the back of the couch (leaving a cat-shaped imprint of fur that announced, “Ben was here”). He would lie in the coat closet, his all-time favorite hangout, crowding out all the umbrellas and snow boots. He would sometimes even lie down while he ate, reclining next to his dish and regarding the ceiling between thoughtful nibbles of canned pink salmon. He was a deeply laid-back, pensive cat.

Ben_Couch

Ben, doing his typical Ben thing (i.e., snoozing).

So on the advice of a friend, I tried catnip. Just to, you know, maybe liven him up a little, introduce some spark into his daily regimen of noodle-like relaxation. I’d sprinkle some catnip on the carpet and Ben would look at it. He would cautiously lower his head, and taste just a tiny sliver, and then make a panicked puckery face and wiggle his ears furiously. Next he would lie down next to the catnip, and slowly stretch out, and sigh, and stare up at the ceiling some more. Life was decidedly … meh.

Then one day, as a gift, somebody gave me some Yeowww! Catnip, and Ben just about launched himself through the ceiling. He rolled around and pawed at the air. He ran slip-sliding races up and down the front hallway. He pounced on invisible enemies in the laundry room. He smacked his lips non-stop. He sat against the couch and did goofy kangaroo leg-kicks. He bounced through the living room. Who was this cat? He was having such a blast, and it was like having a whole new pet.

BenYeowww

Ben, playing with his Yeowww! toy cigar and rolling in his Yeowww! Catnip. Wait, this can’t be my cat.

When it comes to catnip, I understand a lot more now than I did back then. Evidently, there’s a big difference between Yeoww! Catnip and the stuff I’d get at the supermarket. First of all Yeowww!, made by Ducky World, uses its own farmers to grow top-grade organic catnip without any chemicals or pesticides. So it’s not only stronger, it’s also safer around all your cats, plus other pets, humans, even little kids. But Ducky World also stuffs all its Yeowww! toys 100% FULL of this special catnip blend, which contains nothing but leaves and flowers – the most potent part of the catnip. There are no cheap fillers, plastic pellets, or lower grades of catnip mixed in.

When a cat bats around a catnip toy (or rolls around in plain catnip) catnip oil is released — and that’s what sets off the harmless but highly-entertaining catnip reaction we cat parents know so well. So stronger catnip = stronger oil, and more catnip = more oil. Once I introduced him to Yeowww!, Ben had a blast. In fact, it’s the only brand of catnip that had this level of effect on him … so it certainly lived up to its name. I’m pretty sure that if Yeowww! products worked for Ben, they’ll work for almost any cat.

I should also add that Ducky World catnip toys are handmade and hand-sewn in the USA, and the fabric is a very durable twill. I noticed that right off the bat. I mean, Ben was the size of a miniature Big Wheel. He would regularly bite, scratch, claw, slobber, clobber, and kick the crud out of his Yeowww catnip toys, and they continued to hang tough. In fact, I still have them — along with all my beloved pictures of Ben. Who turned out to be one very energetic, happy kitty for the rest of his life.

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Ducky World makes a wide range of Yeowww! Catnip products and toys — which, as far as I’m concerned, totally live up to their name.

 

Multiple pets make great family members.

If you’re reading this, odds are good you’re already a pet lover — so you appreciate the benefits of having “furkids” in your family! Pet companionship is proven to reduce stress; increase feelings of contentment; even lower blood pressure. That’s a lot of advantages from one devoted, fluffy friend.

It’s a fact that multiple pets are good for each other, too. Dogs and cats take cues from others in their “pack,” and even entertain each other while we’re away. Adding another cat or dog to a single-pet household can help the existing pet feel less separation anxiety – and a younger pet can spark new energy in the life of an older one.

What about for us pet parents? Most vets agree that owning multiple pets can give us:

Greater peace of mind.
When we have to work a long day or be away for an evening event, it’s reassuring to know that our pets have each other for company.

A better understanding of each pet.
It’s amazing how many aspects of a pet’s personality only surface around other animals! Our Maizy is a puppy mill dog who’s very shy and scared around people – but quite an impish instigator when it comes to her brother Grant.

Personal insight.
If we pay close attention, each animal can teach us something different about ourselves and those we care about. Grant, for example, just needed lots of time and space before he was willing to trust others – but the wait was totally worth it. Sitting with my good old dog Sparky as we nursed him back from a lengthy illness helped me appreciate my own capacity for love.

A greater sense of gratitude.
Watching animals romp and play reminds us how much they live for (and in) the moment – and encourages us to let go of worries about the future or guilt about the past.

If you’re thinking of adding another pet to your household, consider the type and breed that would represent the best “fit” for your lifestyle. Then take your existing pet(s) along to meet whichever new pet you’re considering. Neutral, non-territorial settings can help you get a better feel for general temperament, as well as food and sharing issues. And experienced rescue and shelter personnel can offer invaluable insights that can help you all enjoy a smooth transition!

Don’t forget: Our fourth annual Adopt-A-Rama happens this Saturday, October 5th from noon – 3p.m . at our Springbrook location. Come out and see us!

Our pets depend on us to make the right food choices for them!

Our pets depend on us to make the right food choices for them!

As pet parents, we have SO many options when it comes to feeding our furry friends! Package labels can be vague, confusing – and in some cases, downright misleading. But in the case of Nature’s Variety, the product name means exactly what it says! This natural pet food company is heartland-based in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s staffed with proud pet parents (just like us, just like YOU!) who are passionate about providing a wide range of balanced and whole-food-based dog and cat nutrition options – which, by the way, our pets find totally delectable.

Nature’s Variety Instinct raw foods are made with pure, simple, raw meats and vegetables – the kind many of us would chop up and mix ourselves, if we could spare the extra time — either frozen, or in convenient freeze-dried form. They provide all the nutrients and benefits of a natural whole-food diet, in convenient shapes and formulations that are quick and easy to serve. You can choose from frozen miniature medallions or patties that make meal preparation a snap; or bite-size frozen nuggets that thaw within minutes and offer the speed and convenience of kibble. The freeze-dried Meal and Mixer formulas can be stored at room temperature, so they’re super-easy to take on trips or use on-the-go. All varieties are totally grain-free and gluten free, and are offered in specific formulas for both dogs and cats.

Since we’re pet parents too, we totally get it: Life can get crazy, and some people like the convenience of picking up their pet food where they buy their own groceries. The thing is, dogs and cats are natural carnivores — their instinctive nature is to eat a much higher proportion of meat, poultry, or fish protein in relation to grain. Grocery store cans and kibbles contain a lot of filler to keep them price-competitive – but that also means a whole lot of grain. Nature’s Variety Instinct raw foods are minimally-processed and uncooked, so every bite is extra-appetizing and packed with whole-food energy.

This week, we did a quick, unrehearsed comparison between a box of Milk Bones, a box of Beneful Baked Delights, and a package of Instinct Raw Bites. Here’s how the first five ingredients stacked up:

MILK BONES:
Wheat flour, wheat bran, wheat meal, bone meal, poultry by-products (we couldn’t pronounce most of the stuff that came after these)
Okay, some food for thought: Wheat is a grain, and a common allergen in dogs and cats. Wheat gluten, difficult for many humans to digest, is extremely challenging for your pooch’s system to process – causing everything from gastro-intestinal irritation to blockages. Plus, do you know what animal by-products are? They’re what’s left after the parts that are approved for human consumption are removed. They often include diseased tissue, parts that have been left unrefrigerated, and other elements declared unfit for human intake. And you’ll find them used extensively in most store-bought pet foods – just look on the label.

BENEFUL BAKED DELIGHTS:
Wheat flour, ground corn, glycerin, sugar, corn gluten
A couple more notes: Wheat and corn are two of the top allergens for dogs and cats. They can cause itchy skin, dry coat, eye discharge, ear and digestion problems, plus a range of other issues. Glycerin adds no nutritional value. Sugar is added because it’s tasty to your dog, but it can be as damaging to your pets as it is to your kids. The ingredients that come after these first five include chicken by-products and artificial food dyes.

INSTINCT RAW BITES:
Chicken, turkey, turkey liver, turkey heart, pumpkin seed
Notes: These are natural whole foods and high-protein organ meats. No irritating grains, no by-products. Pumpkin is great for an animal’s coat and digestive tract. We should also mention that the rest of the ingredient list is comprised of apples, carrots, butternut squash, flax-seed, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, dried kelp, vinegar, parsley, salmon oil, citric acid, rosemary, blueberries and other fruits and vegetables. That’s it, plain and simple – and it can make a world of difference to the well-being of your pet.

Want to give Nature’s Variety Instinct raw foods a try? Or perhaps you already know that your best furry friend adores them? Either way, stop by today – we can help you pick the flavor and ingredient mix that’s just right for your pet! (Psssst … and don’t forget: Through the end of September, you can SAVE $4 on a 4-pound bag of Instinct Raw Bites at any Two Bostons store.)

Chelsea here…welcome back to the cat corner.

I have two cats of my own and learn new things every day about my spoiled kitties. What I have learned is that cats communicate through a lot of different ways through their eyes, ears, whiskers, tail, and much more.

There are warning signs if you are bothering your feline. I’m going to explain a few to help you understand them more.

The first one is their eyes. A cat’s pupils vary in size and shape for many reasons, ranging from emotions to light levels. When the pupils are narrow they usually mean a contented kitty but it could also mean your cat’s eyes are adjusting to light. When the pupils are dilated, they are usually irritated or scared.

Secondly, cat’s ears have 32 muscles! Did you know that? They can rotate about 180 degrees and move up and down. You can always tell what kind of mood your cat is in from their ears. An alert and contented kitty’s ears will be up and forward; listening for sounds and movements. When a cat is angry or aggressive tighten up and then fall back very flat. As people have said, the flatter the ears the angrier the cat.

Third body talk is about your cats whiskers. Your cat’s whiskers are very sensitive hairs that have quite a few functions, one being a GPS system for the cat. Sounds purr-fect to me! Muscle tissue helps them move their whiskers forward and backwards. When the cats whiskers are forward whiskers indicate a happy or playful cat. My cats’ whiskers move forward when we play with his cat charmers…it’s neat to watch!

Lastly, the tail communication signals have many emotions of a cat. It could be straight up, down, curled around his body, curled at the tip like a question mark, wagging, or be still. There are many other things the tail can do; I just named a few instances. When your cat is swiftly slapping their tail, that indicates anger or irritation. If their tail is fuzzy and straight up, you better back away from that crab apple.

Hopefully you have learned something about your feline, or maybe you already knew it but didn’t think about what exactly it meant.

I hope to see you in one of our stores soon!

By the way, if you are looking to spoil your own kitty, check out the new Zukes G-Zees treats we just brought in. We have them in turkey or salmon.

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They are grain-free with added glucosamine. They are packed with nutritious turkey or salmon and omega-rich fish oil plus glucosamine and cranberries to help support joint and urinary tract health. You’ll never have to be concerned about reading your cat’s body language with these treats!

Chelsea here, known as the cat lady. I’m going to talk about feeding raw for your cat(s) meals.

When you think of the feline make up, you may think of them being carnivore and you’re right! Making sure their diet is high in protein is very important. There are many people who believe switching to a raw diet is one of the healthiest choices you can make as a cat owner. However, based on what I have gathered from nutrition articles and other readings, people have been concerned about raw diets because of the quality and safety of raw.

Safety focuses on the chemical and bacterial contamination issue about raw feeding. This usually scares some people. Salmonella is frequently associated as a danger with raw meat. However, most food-borne bacteria do not pose a serious threat to healthy cats. Cats who are fed low quality food is a different story. The cats that are fed low quality food usually have an asymptomatic salmonella carrier(s) in their system already. Low-end commercial foods have a much worse safety record than raw foods in the regards from the pet food recalls. They do the recalls for the humans not necessarily for the cats/dogs.

While switching from kibble to raw there are things you need to know. One, you should never mix the two. (This also goes as well with dogs.) The digestion period for the kibble takes about 12-24 hours while raw takes about 6-12 hours to digest. It will confuse you cats’ body if you do mix the two. The best thing you can do for your cat if raw feeding isn’t for you, is to switch to a grain free diet. This will focus on a high protein and low carb diet which your cat needs. It is more important to have a higher protein diet for your cat than a dog. While having this diet in mind, make sure to have plenty and accessible water nearby. There are other options for feeding your cat, freeze dried/dehydrated food or canned food…kibble isn’t the only way!

I do encourage you to check out a raw diet for yourself and see how easy (and healthful for your cat) it truly is.

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Handling Tips:

 

  • Keep frozen until ready to defrost.

  • Wash hands before handling raw diets to prevent contaminating the food.

  • For ideal food safety, product should still be cold to the touch when served.

  • If your pet does not consume all the food presented within 30 minutes, remove any leftovers and discard.

  • Use hot, soapy water to wash your hands and your pet’s bowl after each feeding.

If you have any questions please stop by either Two Bostons store and any team member will be happy to help you out! Or email Jen (jen.j@twobostons.com) or Erica (erica.h@twobostons.com) from our Nutrition Corner and they’d be happy to answer any questions as well. Happy feeding!

Hi there, Liz here! Did you hear Stella & Chewy’s has made some changes to their cat freeze-dried product? With their new single pouch servings, you can easily try all the new favors to see what your kitty loves.

Our cats are pure carnivores and thrive on meat. Stella & Chewy’s is made with all raw natural meat, poultry and fish. They have no added hormones or antibiotics. They are also a completely grain-free diet, with no fillers, artificial preservatives or coloring. They are even sourced from USDA-inspected facilities…how great is that?! And, as if that isn’t enough, Stella & Chewy’s is actually a very local company, from Wisconsin.

Cats bodies are made up of about 60% water. It is essential that cat’s get plenty of water to stay hydrated. They do not tend to drink much water on their own, so it is our job as pet owners to sneak it into their diets as much as possible. With Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried cat pouches, water is one of the ingredients needed to rehydrate the food. When fully hydrated, it feeds like a 3 ounce can.

It’s as simple as 1..2..3 to feed your kitty Stella & Chewy’s.

  1. Open the pouch and pour into a bowl the freeze dried food.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons warm water and wait one minute.
  3. Give to your feline friend and watch them devour the tasty food!

There are 6 new awesome flavors:

Duck Duck Goose Dinner

Heavenly Herring and Tuna Dinner

Sea-Licious Salmon and Cod Dinner

Chick Chick Chicken Dinner

Tummy Ticklin Turkey Dinner

Yummy Lickin Salmon and Chicken Dinner

(And don’t worry all flavors have just the right about of taurine, which is essential for your cat’s diet.)

What is great about these single serving pouches is that you can try a variety of proteins with your cat and keep a good rotation going in their diet. If you do find that your cat loves a certain one, these flavors will also be available upon request in 12oz bags as well.

 

Having a picky 18 year old ( yes an 18 year old!) cat, it is extremely important for me to find a great food that both me and Murphy approve of. With both amazing ingredients, and a great way to include water into his diet, Stella & Chewy has become a favorite in our household! Stop by and grab a single pouch and try it on your cat today!!