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Tidy Gives You More


There are a lot of lightweight litters on the market these days, so it can be hard to choose the right one. You want one that’s right for you, but let’s get real– whether or not a litter is a success really depends on whether or not your cat will like it.

As far as I’m concerned, Tidy Cats Lightweight is purrfect. Even though I share my litter box with my sister, the lightweight litter makes tight clumps and controls odors.

My mom likes it because it’s lightweight enough for her to carry home from the store easily. We’ve recently discovered a new reason to love it though! Apparently not all litters are created equal. The folks at Tidy Cats recently tested their Tidy Cats Lightweight against three other leading lightweight litters. First, they weighed out 8.5 pounds of each. Then, they poured each 8.5 pound sample into identical glass cylinders to measure the volume produced by equal weights of litter.

The results?

Tidy Cats Lightweight gives you over 100% more than Cat’s Pride Fresh and Light! Over 40% more litter than Clump and Seal Lightweight. More than 80% more litter than Fresh Step Lightweight Extreme! Wow!

To celebrate this great news, we’re giving away Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Lightweight Cat Litter to FIVE lucky readers!

What’s the best way your cat has surprised you?

Let us know in the comments for a chance to win!

Hurry up! The winners will be chosen at noon on Monday October 12th.

REVIEW: Clean Healthy Bowls

PB-102I’ve been procrastinating on this review for quite a while because I was torn on what to write. I think the Clean HealthyBowls are great… for the right situation or home. According to the company:

  • 45% of pet bowls have E. Coli, Salmonella and/or yeast/mold.
  • 75% of pet bowls still had Salmonella after scrubbing with soap and water
  • 67% of pet bowls still had Salmonella after being cleaned with a dishwasher
  • 20% of cat and dog illnesses seen by a Vet are typically caused by bacterial infections.

That’s alarming. And, if I had ever known a cat who had become sick from e. Coli or Salmonella, I’m 100% sure I’d be more invested in these bowls. Since that’s not the case, using them consistently seems both costly and wasteful and we’ll be sticking to washing our reusable bowls the old fashioned way.product-shot

BUT! I do think that these bowls are practical in other ways.

  • They would be great for traveling! If you don’t have the ability to clean your bowls regularly these would be a great option.
  • They would be great for when you have to hire a pet sitter! I know that I feel guilty sometimes about asking my sitter to scrub dishes. These would eliminate that guilt.
  • These would be great for everyone who feeds stray and feral cats! Cats who live outdoors are far more likely to have viruses and diseases that can be spread to other cats. These bowls would help keep dishes clean.
  • They would be great for shelters and adoption centers! When there are so many cats around, it just makes sense to use disposable bowls.

Despite my own personal hangup on the waste aspect, the bowls are minimum-impact. They’re made from straw (an agricultural by-product) instead of trees and they are fully compostable. Non-allergenic and gluten-free too!

REVIEW: Ruggable Washable Area Rugs

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 3.20.03 PM

Image Source: Ruggable

A few months ago, Ruggable sent me a sample of one of their 2-piece rug systems. I had never heard of such a thing and, to tell you the truth, I was a bit skeptical that a rug that separated into two pieces would stay in place. My sister Ida and I are both very rowdy cats, so I knew this rug would really be put to the test.

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Image Source: Ruggable

My first impression upon opening the package was “Ooh, it’s stylish!” I checked out their website and found that the Ruggable rugs come in tons of colors and patterns that should blend in nicely with any decor. Now that it has been in my home for quite a while, here are my thoughts:

  • I tried everything I could to budge this rug. I charged it at full speed. I tackled my sister while she was calmly sitting on it grooming herself. I pounced onto the rug from the back of the couch. None of my efforts made it budge. I guess the no-slip backing really works!
  • was able to flip the corners up a few times though. The velcro-like material that helps the top layer attach to the bottom doesn’t go all the way to the edges.
  • After Ida and I shed all over it and I coughed up an impressive-sized hairball, my mom peeled off the top layer and tossed it in the wash. When it came out it was like having a whole new rug! So easy to clean.
  • Since the top layers can be bought separately, it would be easy to get a few different styles and switch them up to alter the look of your room sometimes. That could be fun!

All in all, Ruggable has come up with a great idea! I love it!










Win FREE Lightweight Litter!

gladetoughodorsolutions_MAs a Tidy Cats Insider I get an exclusive first look at new products, which I can then pass onto you! In fact, Tidy Cats and I are teaming up to give a free sample of their newest product to TEN lucky Dear Nora readers! Read on to find out how you can enter to win…

Last week, my friends from Tidy Cats sent me a sample of their newest innovation: Tidy Cats Lightweight Litter with Glade Tough Odors Solutions. I gotta admit, I was skeptical that it could be the solution to MY tough odors! But I was impressed! I used the litter box right after my mom filled it with this new litter (typical) and the Glade kept the odors in check without overpowering our home with an artificial perfume.

Not only that, but Tidy Cats Lightweight with Glade is 50% lighter than traditional clumping litters, makes tight clumps for easy scooping, and comes in a jug that is both resealable and recyclable with two handles for easy carrying and pouring! What could be better?!

To enter for a chance to win a FREE sample of this exciting new product, leave a comment about what you love most about your cat. That’s right, just brag about your kitty and you could be one of TEN lucky readers to have Tidy Cats Lightweight with Glade shipped right to your home! Act fast, ten lucky winners will be chosen at midnight on Saturday, August 1st.

Check out this video for more information about this new product!

5 Things Your Cat Sitter Should Absolutely Know

Photo from pixabay.com
Photo from pixabay.com

‘Summertime’ means vacations and weekend getaways to many people. Unfortunately, most cats don’t appreciate the newness and unpredictability of travel and would much rather stay home where things are more mundane. Here’s a great article about the information you should relay to your cat sitter to ensure a safe and healthy stay-cation for your cat while you are away.

Click here to read 5 Things Your Cat Sitter Should Absolutely Know

What Foods Are Toxic to My Cat?

Q: Dear Nora,
I’ll be hosting a cookout at my home for the 4th of July. My cat is very clever and sneaky, and I’m worried that she’ll eat some foods she shouldn’t be eating. What average cookout foods are toxic or dangerous to my cat? I can be more proactive about keeping food away from her if I know what to look for.

A: Thanks for reminding our readers that fireworks aren’t the only holiday threats to animals. Many human foods can be dangerous to your cat. Here are some items that make an appearance at your 4th of July party that you should keep away from her:

  • Alcohol – can cause coma or death
  • Bones – choking hazzards
  • Chocolate – can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or a heart attack
  • Onions – toxic
  • Garlic – toxic

Find a more comprehensive list here at www.peteducation.com.

As you may know, cats also just have very sensitive digestive systems and are prone to vomiting and diarrhea even with the most simple diet changes. For that reason, it would be smart to keep your cat away from human food always, toxic or not.

If you suspect that your cat has eaten something toxic, call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661.

How Can I Keep My Cat Calm on the 4th of July?

Q: Dear Nora,
I adopted a great new cat a few months ago. His only issue is that he’s a bit skittish around loud noises. How can I keep him from being scared out of his mind on the 4th of July when things are exploding all around us?

A: Fireworks can make even the bravest cats skittish, so I feel for your cat. You can help your cat by creating a safe space for him in your home. Here’s how:

  • Choose a room in your home that doesn’t get much foot traffic, and preferably has a door that can close for your cat’s privacy and security.
  • Make sure the room has all of his basic essentials, including a clean litter box, food, and fresh water.
  • Add some comforts too, like his favorite bed, toys, and a few items of clothing that smell like you.
  • Turn on a television or radio to help drown out the loud bangs.
  • Consider using a Feliway spray or plug-in to help calm his nerves.
  • Keep the party out of your house. If you want to celebrate at home, consider planning a small gathering with family or a small group of close friends.

Finally, be aware that the 4th of July– with all of the fear and disorientation it can cause– is the number one day of the year that pets go missing in the United States. Make sure that the room you create for your cat is secure and that your cat has ways of being identified (tag, microchip, PetHub ID, etc.) before it’s too late.

Is It Normal For My Cat to Shed Whiskers?

Q: Dear Nora,
Sometimes I find whiskers on the floor. Should I be concerned about my cat losing whiskers? Is this normal?

A: It’s totally normal for a cat to lose whiskers. Just like our fur, our whiskers continuously fall out and are re-grown. Whiskers play such a big part in how we explore the world that we like to keep them new and fresh.

The only time to be concerned is if you notice a big jump in the amount of whiskers your cat is losing, which may be an indication of illness. If this is the case, you will probably also notice other symptoms, such as your cat being lethargic or losing weight. Lethargy and weight loss are two very good reasons to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Feline Diabetes

Our dear friend, Pippi, died one year ago today after a two-year tussle with diabetes. Pip lived to the grand old age of 17 and had a pretty great life right up til the end, when she passed away curled up in her mom’s lap, surrounded by friends and family, thanks to the help of Sarah Nolan at Capital District Mobile Veterinary Services.

Before she was diagnosed, we didn’t know anything about feline diabetes. But, it’s amazing how fast you learn things when someone you love is counting on you to make the best decisions for them. Here’s what we learned through Pippi’s experience:

The Symptoms

  • Frequent urination. When Pippi became ill, she started peeing a lot. When I say “a lot”, I mean we had to completely change the litter every single day because she had soaked it straight through. Because of her need to pee more frequently, she also started occasionally peeing in other rooms when she couldn’t make it to the box. My mom learned pretty quick to add more boxes in more rooms to make it easier for Pip to find one.
  • Always thirsty. The amount of water she was consuming was one of the biggest tip-offs that something wasn’t right. Her water bowl, which would normally only be 1/4 empty by the time it was freshened each morning was suddenly bone dry within just a couple hours.
  • Big appetite with weight loss. Pippi was hungry for the entirety of the two years she was diabetic. But no matter how much she ate, she lost weight.
  • Lethargy. Granted, Pip was 15 years old when she was diagnosed, so she wasn’t the most active and spry cat around. Still, there was a distinct change in her behavior that let us know she wasn’t feeling so hot.

The Veterinarian Visits and Lab Results

I have to admit, we Googled Pippi’s symptoms before our vet appointment. It’s hard not to, when information is just a few clicks away. As you probably know, this almost always goes badly. When we showed up at the vet, we were convinced that one or more of her vital organs were failing her. So, when our vet suggested that she may be diabetic and explained how treatable feline diabetes is, we rejoiced!

He weighed her and took samples of her urine and blood to send to the lab. The lab results confirmed his suspicion of diabetes and we met with him a few days later to discuss our options. At that meeting, we learned how to successfully administer an insulin injection and asked all of the questions we could think of.

Never hesitate to ask your vet to explain anything you don’t understand. Sometimes medical professionals get into a habit of speaking in ways that are too wordy or complicated for the average person to understand. Don’t feel bad about asking them to back up and make it simpler. They want you to understand because they know it’s the best way to keep your animals healthy. Let them know if you need more info! Remember: they work for you!

The Treatment

Each cat is different and the treatment plan will be tailored to the cat’s particular situation. When Pippi first got diagnosed, she was a Type II diabetic. That meant that her body was still producing insulin, just not very efficiently. Our veterinarian prescribed a twice-daily insulin regimen and a diet change. He suspected that a high-protein, low-carb diet (which he called the Catkins Diet) could eventually stabilize her blood sugar and wean her off of the insulin altogether. He was right! Within a couple of months we were able to taper her insulin doses until she didn’t require insulin anymore. A year later, however, she switched to a Type I diabetic. Her body stopped producing its own insulin and she became insulin-dependent for the rest of her life.

As I said, each diabetic cat will have a different plan that will work best for them. Some will require insulin injections, some may be able to take an oral hypoglycemic medication, and some will simply need a change in diet. Your vet can help you choose the right plan.

We spent a lot of time at the vet during the last two years of her life. Her condition required regular checkups to make sure her sugar levels were stable and to keep an eye on her weight. It wasn’t easy (or cheap!), but I really do believe that our persistence, our great relationship with our veterinarian, and our confidence to ask for answers and clarity helped Pippi live a happy, comfortable, and relatively healthy life after her diagnosis.

Additional Resources:
The Pet Fund – A non-profit that provides financial assistance for veterinary care.
FelineDiabetes.com – A comprehensive website about feline diabetes.

Why Is My Cat Eating My Plants?

Q: Dear Nora,
I keep finding my cat munching on my houseplants. I make sure not to bring poisonous ones into my home, but it’s still aggravating. Why does she love eating my plants so much? And how can I make her stop?

A: It’s great that you’re careful to not bring plants into your home that may be toxic to your cat. Other readers who aren’t already so conscious can find a list of common toxic plants on our Resources page.

It’s very common for cats to eat plants and there are a few reasons she may be doing this.

  • Cats like things that dangle and flutter in the wind. If you have viney plants or plants that wiggle when the wind blows through the window, the plant may simply be poking at your cat’s natural instinct to hunt.
  • If you cause a big fuss every time you catch your cat nibbling, she may have learned that this is a great way to get your attention.
  • Eating plants can help with digestion, cause vomiting, and even act as a laxative. Eating your plants may be your cat’s way of trying to solve belly discomfort.

My first suggestion would be to make your plants inaccessible to you cat. Put them up on high shelves that she can’t access by jumping, hang dangling plants from the ceiling, or put them in a room she doesn’t have access to. Second, add a pot or two of cat grass to your home so she has a more appropriate way to fill her need to chomp on greens. You can buy pre-grown grasses or start them yourself from seed. You may even be able to find locally grown cat grass at your local health food store or farmer’s market. If you have a Bergan Turbo Scratcher (my favorite), you can even get an insert that will grow grass in the middle of it! Make sure to place the grass in areas that are easy for her to reach and close to parts of your home where she already spends a lot of time (for instance, near her favorite perch).