Yearly Archives: 2017

New! Your Cats Can Catch Some Bargains With Amazon Pet Profiles

Your cat can now earn discount and coupons with Amazon Pet Profiles.

Maybe your cats can’t do their own shopping on Amazon… yet. But they can receive their own “purrsonalized”  recommendations and coupons with Amazon Pet Profiles.

The Amazon Pet Profiles are new and could give the retailer an even larger share of the online pet supply market.

According to the most recent American Pet Product Association’s National Pet Owners Survey, Amazon had the lion’s share of online pet supply shoppers with 54 percent. Chewy.com, the retailer I thought was everybody’s favorite, was far behind Amazon, Petsmart.com and Walmart.com with just 18 percent.


How To Do Amazon Pet Profiles

 Your cats can catch some bargains on Amazon if you choose Pet Supplies on Amazon’s list of departments. Then click on Pet Profile in the second horizontal menu.

My cat, Belle, and I just did this, and she was disappointed in the coupons. She eats only wet food, but all the food coupons were for dry. And she thought the one toy that came with a coupon looked boring. She was really hoping for a coupon for a Yeowww Catnip toy or maybe a tub of super potent silvervine. But there weren’t any of those.

Most of the suggestions were based on my past purchases (Belle doesn’t have any past purchases of her own because she doesn’t shop on Amazon).

I live with more cats who want their own Amazon Pet Profiles. What they’re hunting for is catnip coupons. We could use lots of those.


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The Best Buzz — Cats Say It’s Silver Vine Not Catnip

Catnip plants are fun for cats, but silver vine is even better

Just in time for your holiday shopping, here’s major news from the Winn Feline Foundation: silver vine, not catnip, is cats’ recreational herb of choice. If their people can find it…

Researchers actually tested several mind-bending plants on 100 cats. Catnip and silver vine made the cats happier than any of the others, but in the faceoff between silver vine and catnip, silver vine won paws down. Seventy-nine percent of the cats had the most fun with silver vine, while 68 percent really got off on catnip. Of the cats who didn’t respond to catnip, 71 per cent were turned on by a silver vine.

Among the duds were honeysuckle and valerian root, which are popular substitutes for catnip when cautious humans are planning their cats’ recreational activities. Turns out they’re not at all popular among cats.


The Many Uses Of Catnip

While we might laugh about cats getting high on catnip, Winn takes the benefits of what it calls “botanicals” very seriously.

“Use of plant materials that cats enjoy can increase their playtime and offer activity for cats left at home alone or confined indoors,” the foundation says.

Catnip can make shelter cats seem more playful and attractive to potential adopters. It can be used for training and socializing cats and as a no-cal reward, Winn says. And it can relieve stress for cats when they’re traveling, boarding, undergoing a medical procedure or during trap/neuter/return.

Cats High On Herbs

Turns out silver vine and catnip aren’t the only herbs that can give cats a buzz. Despite the study the Winn Foundation reported, some cats enjoy valerian root and honeysuckle. Add to the list the more potent Indian nettle and cat thyme (Teucrium marum).

My cats love catnip, but after watching this video, we want to give silver vine a try.


Today’s Recommendation

I’ve never seen silver vine in pet supply stores, but Amazon has it.

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Feline Diabetes Risk Factors: Dry Cat Food & Cats Living Strictly Indoors

Feline diabetes risk factors include dry food and living strictly indoors. according to a new study.

Here’s a good reason for making sure your cats get some outdoor time. Among the feline diabetes risk factors: dry food and living strictly indoors. This news comes from a study by a Swedish pet insurance company and published by the Winn  Feline Foundation.

Using a Web-based survey, the insurance company looked at 396 diabetic cats and 1670 control cats. Among the findings: The risk of feline diabetes increases for inactive and moderately active cats who live strictly indoors.

All of the cats in the study were the same age.

The cats least likely to develop diabetes: females, cats who are not overweight, cats who have access to outdoors and cats who free feed (but not dry food). Living with a dog helps, too!

Top Feline Diabetes Risk Factors

Although veterinarians have known about some of the feline diabetes risk factors reported in the study for a long time, the look at Swedish cats provided some new information, too.

According to the study, overweight and obese cats are more prone to diabetes. We already knew that. But the connection between an all- or mostly-dry-food diet and diabetes even in cats with normal body condition had never been reported before.

Other feline diabetes risk factors include…
  • A strictly indoor lifestyle
  • “Greedy eaters,” as opposed to nibblers. The Winn Feline Foundation says this is also a new finding, and it could be where free feeding to lessen the risk of diabetes comes in.
  •  A history of repeated steroid injections.
In reporting on the study, Winn points out that humans and cats share some diabetes risk factors. An inactive lifestyle, being overweight and greedy eating are risk factors for people, too.

Today’s Recommendation

Can giving a cat access to outside help prevent feline diabetes? There are many good reasons for getting a cat outdoors, so maybe it can. If you decide to give it a try, the Kitty Holster is a safe, very secure harness.

The Daily Cat Quote

“The cat wrinkled its nose and managed to look unimpressed. “Calling cats,” it confided, “tends to be a rather overrated activity. Might as well call a whirlwind.”
― Neil GaimanCoraline

Time, Inc. Starts PetHero Subscription Program & Goes To The Dogs (And Cats)

Time, Inc. starts subscription program & goes to the dogs (and cats)

Time, Inc. has a treat for your cat, and it’s not a magazine to curl up on while you’re trying to read.

In a departure from its usual business, the company recently launched PetHero, a paid subscription program that offers discounts and other benefits to people on the prowl for lower cat care costs.

While at first glance PetHero and Time may look like a mismatch, the media company is thinking its new venture could be a “purrfect” fit. When it dug through its consumer data, what jumped out was the number of people (about 100 million!) the company reaches who live with cats and dogs.

“PetHero was created to make it easier, more fun and more affordable for families to keep their pets happy and healthy,” executive vice president of consumer marketing and revenue Leslie Dukker Doty told Business Wire.

PetHero offers a 25 percent discount on vet bills; a lost pet concierge service to help recover lost companion animals; discounts on prescriptions, food and supplies and seasonal pet boxes filled with toys, treats and accessories. Of course, most cats would be happy to have just the empty box.

Membership in PetHero is $20 a month for one cat or dog. Add $5 a month for each additional animal.

Blue Buffalo Trades Some Snob Appeal For A New Breed Of Buyers

Next time you’re at Kroeger, Publix, Meijer or Target, don’t be surprised if you see Blue Buffalo in the pet food aisle. The company recently joined the stampede of other premium cat supply manufacturers to the mass market.

For me, Blue lost some of its panache when it starting showing up at PetCo and Petsmart. They’ve always felt like the mass market to me. But now, Blue is stepping down another rung to make its entry-level Life Protection Formula available to a whole new group of shoppers at Target and the supermarkets.

There could be a good reason for this. According to the Packaged Facts blog, Blue acknowledges that its pet supply superstore sales have slowed as more and more people shop for cat food online.

Joining The Superpremium Herd


Iams and Newman’s Own cat food have been available in supermarkets for years. So have The World’s Best Cat Litter and Swheat Scoop. But as pet supply superstore sales decline, other high-end products have joined them on the supermarket shelves.

Among them: Purina Beyond, I and Love and You, Rachel Ray Nutrish and Crave.

Just The Crumbs

In a letter to independent retailers, Modestino Mele, Blue’s senior vice president of North American sales, said the move to mass retailers is part of the company’s go-to-market strategy. But it turns out that only the crumbs will be going to the mass market.

Just Blue’s entry-level Life Protection Formula will be available at the supermarkets. Shoppers will find smaller bag sizes, and more mainstream ingredients, wet food and treats. Blue’s other product lines — Wilderness, Basics, Freedom and Earth’s Essentials — will still be available only at pet specialty stores.

It’s What’s In The Cat Food Can That Counts

Wherever you shop, check the ingredients in your cat’s food before you buy. Even the superpremium foods might contain ingredients you don’t want your cat to eat. For instance, some Beyond wet food flavors contain potato starch, and others contain sweet potatoes or wild rice. And for some reason, I and Love and You adds things like cranberries, carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes to some of its wet food flavors. 
Cats are obligate carnivores and need protein from animal sources. What they don’t need are fruits and veggies. 
I’m the first to admit that I’m a cat food snob. I prefer to give my cats wet food that contains just the protein sources named on the can. But if I’m going to feed something that contains a hodgepodge of stuff, we’ll probably stay with Fancy Feast Classics. At least they’re all meat, with no extras added in. And these species-appropriate foods cost a lot less than the superpremium brands. That matters when you’re feeding six cats!