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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

In last week’s blog: Keep Your Pup Busy this Winter, I told you about a starter puzzle toy to try out with your dog this winter.  Did your pup figure it out already? Or is your pup just so smart that you need to try out some puzzle toys that are little more difficult?  Well, we have them for you!!  Here are some of our favorite puzzle toys to try today!

  • Dog Twister by Nina Ottosson ~ Skill Level – Hard. Spin to reveal the treats! This puzzle toy encourages your pup to learn to dislodge the bones and move the compartments to earn the treat hidden inside.  You can make your dog work even harder by hiding less treats or even locking some of the compartments.  This is great for cats too!

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  • Hol-ee Treat Ball by JW Pet ~ Skill Level – EASY.  It Rolls, Slides, Rotates and out come the TREATS! Holey moley…this is an awesome dog toy!  All you have to do is unscrew the top and fill it with our dog’s favorite treat!  It is made from durable, non-toxic natural rubber.

 

  • $T2eC16d,!zkFJJwSE2bJBSZR2Vfm,!--60_35Dog Magic by Nina Ottosson ~ Skill Level – EASY.  Remove the bones to reveal the treats! This is a relatively easy game, where your pup has to dislodge the bones to get the hidden treats.  You can choose to put the treats under one, several or all of the bones, to vary the difficulty of the game. Great for Cats too!

 

 

  • Tornado by Nina Ottosson ~ Sill Level – HARD.  Rotate the layers to reveal the treats! The idea behind the ‘Dog Tornado’ is for the dog to dislodge the removable bones, then turn the revolving sections to reveal hidden treats.  It has many variables to increase the level of difficulty as the dog’s skill improves.  This one is good for Cats too!COA-054_1z
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  • Bob-A-Lot by StarMark ~ Skill Level – EASY.  The Bob-A-Lot’s innovative design dispenses treats or food as your pup uses its nose or paws to tip it over.  The top and bottom chambers can have the dispensers adjusted to make it easier or harder to get the treats out.  The Bob-A-Lot is also a great way to stop your quick eaters from gobbling down their food too quickly.

Celebrate National Puzzle day by stopping in and picking up one of these or any of the other several puzzle toys that we have!  Your fur-kid will be thanking you this weekend!

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Hi guys — it’s another blog from the Cat Corner! Some of us at Two Bostons are true “cat ladies.” Not crazy, thankfully — but pretty enthusiastic when it comes to creative new toys. The Glide ‘N Seek by Kong is another one that my cats at home have tried.

The Glide ‘N Seek features a little magnetic feather that seems to come alive once the toy’s motor is turned on. This feather spins and bounces unpredictably, so cats are attracted to the movement as it pokes through the toy’s peek-a-boo holes. Cats use their paws to bat at the feather — but since it moves in all different directions, most cats start trying to hunt it, chase it, and pounce!

 

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The Kong Glide ‘N Seek, with those pesky feathers playfully poking out.

I’ll admit that it took my cats a few tries to get the hang of it, as you’ll see in the videos below. At first they liked the toy just sitting there turned off, and played with it like that. But they needed just a little more mental stimulation to hold their interest — and this is where the moving yellow feather came in. Cats are naturally attracted to movement, and they can never figure out where that feather will pop up next. Faced with a situation like that, it doesn’t take long for a cat’s predatory instincts to kick in. The magnets keep the chase challenging, so your cat stays engaged even when you have housework, homework, or other projects to focus on.

The Glide ‘N Seek is also easy for nearly anyone to operate, because it turns on and off with the press of a single button. You can even boost the curiosity factor by inserting a favorite toy, so your cat will paw at it through the holes. Here’s a video of Hunter and LuLu playing with the Glide ‘N Seek. Please ignore the background noises — but notice those focused looks on their faces! Stop by any Two Bostons store, and we’ll be happy to tell you more.

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Awhile back, I asked my niece – who owns a calico kitten named Hazel – what she likes best about cats. She said, very matter-of-factly, “I like cats because they’re so cute. But I like dogs too, because they’re smart.”

I thought that was a pretty fair statement, even for a 5-year-old.  After all, dogs perform an awful lot of important roles in our society. I mean when was the last time you ever heard of a drug detector cat, a police cat, a seeing-eye cat, or a military bomb-sniffing cat ? But then again, is that because dogs are actually smarter, or um,  just a little bit more … cooperative?

I started checking around with pet behaviorists, and even an animal psychologist. Here are a couple of interesting facts I learned, which are all confirmed by Psychology Today:

  • Unlike the brains of dogs, the brains of cats have a surface area and structure that is about 90 percent similar to humans.
  • In an average cat, the cerebral cortex – i.e., the part of the brain responsible for cognitive information processing, decision-making, language interpretation, sensory input, and problem-solving — is larger and more complex than that of the average dog. In fact, a cat’s cerebral cortex contains about twice as many neurons as that of a dog.
  • Cats have more nerve cells in the visual areas of their cerebral cortex than humans and most other mammals.
  • Cats have longer-lasting memories than dogs, especially when they learn by doing rather than just seeing.

So long story short, cats are a great deal more intelligent than many people might suspect. Their independent streak can work against them, though, because many pet parents might presume their cats just want to be left alone. In truth, a cat can benefit tremendously from regular mental stimulation — especially when all the windows are  covered with frost, or that cat’s humans are away at work eight hours a day.

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Most pet parents realize that their cats are MUCH smarter than many people might suspect. Stimulate this proven natural intelligence with fun, activity-based toys from Bergan, SmartCat, and Nina Ottosson.

 

So maybe one of your resolutions in 2014 involves some beneficial “brain training” for your best feline friend. What are some of your best options? When it comes to independent or group kitty play, consider activity-based toys that involve sensory stimulation and invite your pet’s direct engagement.

 

Cat Texts

Cats are extremely smart and curious, so they can get into mischief when left to their own devices. We realize they can’t actually send texts like Mittens here. Well all right, we wouldn’t put it past them.

 

At Two Bostons, there are a couple of options we especially like. SmartCat makes several sensory-stimulating products that leverage your cat’s natural sense of curiosity.  Bootsie’s Bunk Bed & Playroom, for example, is an ideal choice for multiple cats. It’s a sturdy wooden block that features numerous round openings for paws and toys to poke out.  It also has two bouncy spring-action toys on the outside, plus a comfy quilted pad up-top for rest breaks or gazing outside at those pesky sparrows. A great companion piece is the Peek-and-Play Pet Toy Box, which has a durable wood construction with a “Swiss cheese” design that provokes your cat’s natural predatory behavior and works with a variety of toys – Yeowww! Brand Catnip Toys are one great option.

For many cats (including my own), another all-time favorite is the Turbo Track made by Bergan. This is actually five toys in one, because you can snap the modular pieces together to create a range of different track designs. You can even add accessory pieces to increase complexity and elongate the track even further. I think of this piece as a sort of “Hotwheels/Habitrail” system for cats. They just love to paw and pounce at a round object as it scoots around the track, which can keep them actively occupied for hours … which, in turn, can mean they’re much less likely to claw at your drapes or become frantically entangled in Grandma Polly’s hand-crocheted afghan.

If you have a super-smart feline friend, give that natural intelligence a workout with any of our great activity-based cat toys by SmartCat, Bergan, Nina Ottosson and others. Any Two Bostons team member can provide suggestions that are custom-tailored to your kitty’s tastes. Don’t forget that we carry an extensive selection of interactive puzzle toys for your smart pooch, too!