Shop Online  |  My Account  |  Customer Care  |  Order Status
View Cart  | 
Search:

News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

In the spirit of full disclosure, I admit that my family has done a great deal of work with rescue dogs of all breeds and sizes. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a special place in our hearts for sweet kitty cats. In particular, I’ve experienced the unique ups-and-downs of bringing new cats and kittens into a home where dogs have established a benevolent (?) dictatorship. I won’t say it’s always been an easy transition — but in most cases, it’s also been extremely rewarding. Rescue groups like A.D.O.P.T., Anderson Animal Shelter, and NAHS — along with the Two Bostons team! — can offer some great tips for bringing a brand new cat or kitten home. The points listed below have really helped me in the past:

Litter box lingo
According to my vet, the idea that every cat has some sort of inner GPS that locates the litter box is a fallacy. So, much as I’d prefer to cover the litter box and hide it out of sight, it turns out the best location for a litter box is where it’s extremely obvious and easy for your new cat or kitten to find. In some cases, we’ve even ended up putting a litter box on every floor so kitty will always have access to clean, fresh litter (and will always seek out the actual litter box when it’s time to go). Our pet behaviorist explained that placing several litter boxes side-by-side doesn’t really help new cats or kittens acclimate – they just see all the grouped boxes as a single, gargantuan oasis of cat litter. This does not always help if said humongous litter oasis is in the basement, and kitty is way up on the second floor.

Plan on play time
Kittens and cats are naturally active at dawn and dusk – so they often want to play throughout the night. Providing plenty of playful exercise during the day helps tucker out your kitty and can even gradually “re-set” his/her time clock to reflect your family’s sleeping habits. When it comes to playtime, we’ve always loved the Kong Moppy with Feathers, the Play-N-Squeak Ball of Fury, and especially Yeowww! Brand Catnip, which is an ultra-pure form of catnip that can really rev up your feline’s energy and engagement level.

Brush it out
I was surprised to learn this, but very young kittens – especially those who were improperly weaned — often need help learning how to clean and take care of themselves. So brushing and grooming right from the start can be a huge help. If you start with a very soft, gentle brush like the Kong ZoomGroom Cat Brush, kittens will often learn to look forward to these brushing sessions over time. Plus, regular grooming can discourage matting in long-haired cats, and often reduces hairballs too.

Kitty Kit

Many vets and behaviorists suggest preparing a “Kitty Kit” before bringing your new feline friend home to meet the family. Many of the items mentioned in this blog may be helpful to consider.

 

Perching possibilities
Cats and kittens typically like to perch as they explore new surroundings, and in multi-pet families they often feel much safer in elevated spaces. In fact, in my house the cats have often ended up “claiming” the high areas while the dogs patrol their own floor-level turf (a consolation prize, of sorts, from the kitties). Tall cat trees, hideaways, and window perches can often help a new feline feel much calmer and more comfortable.

Carry on
Cat carriers safeguard your pet’s safety and security in so many situations – they’re not only for vet visits. Introducing the carrier early on helps kitty learn that it’s a safe zone not intended to cause anxiety. Leave it somewhere secure (and maybe even higher up), like a little welcoming “house” with the door open so kitty can wander in and out. Line the floor with a soft and cuddly blanket. You can even sprinkle a few treats inside the carrier so your cat associates going inside with a positive (and yummy) experience.

Tune in to the tail
Most pet behaviorists note that a secure-feeling cat has a relaxed body posture with ears and tail up, but not rigid. A cat in this state may also purr. But if you notice a straight tail, tail wagging or swishing, a tense body, or (certainly) hissing and spitting, it’s often a pretty clear warning sign that something very tense and unpleasant is about to go down. As you gradually introduce each new experience, reward good kitty behavior with a favorite treat (like Cloud Star Tuna Buddy Biscuits), a fun toy, an upbeat voice, petting, and/or extra playtime.

As a dog owner, I used to think that dog and cat treats and toys were basically interchangeable. Over time I learned that this is definitely not the case. Cats and kittens have different nutritional and socialization needs than dogs and puppies — so generally, I look for products that specifically say “for cats” on the package. If you’re ever in doubt, ask anyone on our Two Bostons team for assistance!

 

MBB_Profile

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.

YeowwwProducts

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.