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Right now, I’m at work on an office remodel (more on that soon!)–the result of watching way too many HGTV shows during last month’s bout of the flu. One of the goals for my little renovation project is to create a counter-height work area in the office, so John and I headed to our local IKEA store to check out the countertops. As you know, when we created our cat kitchen last year, we bought a butcher block countertop at IKEA that I love so I thought I could find an inexpensive countertop for my office.

I think I’ve found my countertop but I didn’t buy one on our trip. Instead, I wound up getting distracted by all the cat goodies!

It started with these super cute cat curtains:

Then soon found myself in the pet section:

The first item in my cart was the Lurvig bed, which I bought (without the cushion) for Lucky’s birthday:

I also looked at the Lurvig Bed/House which has a soft lid (which can be folded down) but opted for the first one.

The store had some very colorful and fun larger pet beds in stock as well:

The colors continued on the cat carriers…

…and even in the litterbox section!

I purchased one of these flexible scratchers that straps to a table leg. It will go in my office once the redo is completed.

As soon as we got home, Lucky spotted his new bed. I added a pillow…and Lucky quickly claimed it. He let Jetty join him in the bed/box on one evening but this is definitely Lucky’s new favorite place!

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As you know, before John and I became pet writers, we were travel writers specializing in the Caribbean. Our work took us to the islands for assignments that ranged from travel guidebooks to articles for trade publication about selecting venues for an island meeting or incentive trip.

On one trip, we headed to the US Virgin Islands right after Hurricane Marilyn had struck. The impact was mind-boggling.

Now the Virgin Islands are once again working to rebuild in the wake of not one but two catastrophic hurricanes: September’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria. We are so happy to share that Alley Cat Allies, the global engine of change for cats, has provided a grant of $5,000 to the Lucky Paws Foundation of St. Thomas for food, supplies and Trap-Neuter-Return work with cats on the island. The storms left countless animals abandoned and/or lost. Critical recovery work to care for the island’s cats continues to this day.

“The Lucky Paws Foundation is making amazing progress finding and caring for cats impacted by the hurricanes,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Their work has been incredibly difficult due to disruptions of supply lines and communications, so Alley Cat Allies is happy to do what we can to enable them to continue their life-saving efforts.”

During the storms, many residents evacuated, leaving pets behind to fend for themselves. Resources were already scarce, and the hurricane made it nearly impossible for shipments of life-saving pet food and supplies to reach the island. Lucky Paws Foundation was already caring for 400 community cats who live in the outdoors throughout St. Thomas, and that number spiked after the storms. Every one of the organization’s 40 feeding stations, called cat cafes for their unique architecture and painting, were completely destroyed, as you can see in the photo below:

“We’re so thankful to Alley Cat Allies for their support, not only with this generous grant, but for the ongoing expertise and encouragement they continue to give,” Holodenschi said.

Lucky Paws Foundation and its president, Dellia Holodenschi, have been conducting systematic TNR on St. Thomas for ten years, during which time they have managed to spay/neuter 4,000 owned and community cats.

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the only humane and effective approach to outdoor cat populations. It is good public policy because it reduces shelter intake and “euthanasia” numbers. This reduces calls of concern to animal control agencies, which saves taxpayer dollars in the process. Scientific studies show that TNR immediately ends the cycle of breeding and stabilizes the population of cats, improves the lives of community cats and improves their relationships with people who live near them. Thousands of communities such as St. Thomas conduct TNR, and that number continues to grow because of the success of these programs.

Alley Cat Allies, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., has more than 650,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens worldwide. Please visit www.alleycat.org, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,  and YouTube to learn more about their important work!

And, if you’re ready for a break from winter, we know another great way to help the island: plan a vacation! In talking with tourism officials through the years, we know that one of the best ways–for you AND the Caribbean–to help is to plan a trip. If you do, be sure to drop the local rescues an email to find out what supplies you can bring down with you–every bit helps!

Photos courtesy Alley Cat Allies

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It’s hard to believe but four years ago today we adopted Lucky at Austin Pets Alive!

This little fellow has brought SO much joy into our lives, and the lives of everyone in our home, both feline and canine. He loves his role as both big brother and little brother, and never fails to put a smile on our faces!

On Valentine’s Day a year after Lucky’s arrival, we celebrated with another special day: the launch of our PawZaar gift store! We can’t thank you enough for your support of our store these past three years–and we thank you for all the homeless cats and dogs whose kennels have been sponsored by your purchases! You have made all the difference in their lives!

Today we’re celebrating with a very special giveaway! We’ve JUST launched our brand new, exclusive Time to BE THE CHANGE Watch-and now one lucky community member will win one in their choice of colors! You’ll remember that just a few weeks ago we had a survey and giveaway when you voted on the colors for our upcoming watch–and these three colors were the winners:

The three band colors are purple (the cause color representing animal abuse awareness), black, and royal blue, each with a purple watch face.

Show your determination to help homeless pets–and share of the joy that our own dogs and cats bring to our lives each and every day with the Time to BE THE CHANGE Watch! And, like all our other PawZaar products, each watch comes with a card featuring the photo of a shelter pet whose care you help sponsor.

  • 5 ATM water resistant
  • premium silicone band
  • stainless steel back
  • battery operated
  • one size fits all

You’ll enter in the widget below!

Special Discount!

Fetch a Time to BE THE CHANGE Watch right now and save 30% with code CHANGE at checkout!

Enter to Win

You’ll enter in the widget below; as always, you may return to the widget throughout the giveaway period for more entries. Good luck!

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The French novelist Colette once wrote, “Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.”  Cat lovers in Camarillo, California have the opportunity to find out just how true that statement is with a visit to Ventura County’s first and only cat cafe, The Purrfect Cat.

Visiting Adorable Adoptables

From cuddly kittens to serene seniors, kitties from Ventura County Animal Services and the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center lap up the attention of admiring visitors at the cafe.  No more than eight fans of felines are allowed in the facility’s feline area at a time, with each visitor age 12 and over paying a $10 fee for an hour with the playful purring machines. Kids age 8 to 11 who are crazy for cats are also welcome for a $5 additional fee, when accompanied by an adult.  (Limit two children for each adult.)   The cafe also offers special sessions such as Hello Kitty Wednesdays and 2-Fur Tuesdays.

The 411 for Foodies

Visitors can sip on a complimentary cup of coffee, tea or other bottled drink and nom on a cookie or muffin made off-site.

Fun with Felines

Cat lovers will find themselves transformed into social butterflies thanks to the cafe’s many activities and events, which include:

  • Sunday afternoon board games
  • Monthly yoga with cats sessions
  • Open mic night
  • Toe-tapping and tail-wagging live music each third Thursday of the month
  • The chance to get your paws on a bestseller or a hard to find literary treasure at the lending library
  • book signings

…and more!

Tap into your inner Picatsso as you color in a coloring book, with a little help from a meowing masterpiece:

Patrons can also peruse the “meow”chandise on display at the cafe’s Flea Market Boutique, where fans of felines can “purr”chase cat-themed cards, books, figurines and clothing from around the globe.

Location

Open Tuesday through Sunday, The Purrfect Cat cat cafe is located at 5800 Santa Rosa Road, Suite 142 in the Santa Rosa Plaza Shopping Center in Camarillo, California.

Photo Credit: The Purrfect Cat/ Facebook

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With seven million animals passing through the US shelter system every year, it is time for a change.

You know that all that makes these homeless cats and dogs different from others is the fact that they don’t yet have a family to call their own. You know it’s time to join the movement and help share the joy these pets can bring families.

You know it is time to BE THE CHANGE.

Our new, exclusive BE THE CHANGE bracelet is adjustable to fit your wrist. The stainless steel cuff bracelet is as strong as your resolve to help homeless pets and can be worn around the clock. It pairs beautifully with our other Paw Promise bracelets so you can create a stack that reminds you, with every glance at your wrist, of the promises that you make to your pets and to the pets still waiting for a home of their own.

Now one lucky community member will win a BE THE CHANGE bracelet!

Buy a BE THE CHANGE Bracelet Now

For Valentine’s week, use coupon code VAL20 to save 20% on all your PawZaar purchases! And remember: every purchase helps fund the care of a shelter pet like Jody, waiting for her forever family at the PawZaar-sponsored kennel at the Animal Defense League of Texas:

Enter to Win a BE THE CHANGE Bracelet

Enter to win a BE THE CHANGE bracelet in the widget below. As always, you may return to the widget at any time during the giveaway period for more entries. Good luck!

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Jetty–and all our cats and dogs–love our couch. They’re free to sleep and play on it anytime, and the cats often enjoy sleeping on the back of the couch.

Until last night…when Jetty decided she’d sleep INSIDE the couch.

We were watching the Olympic opening ceremonies; I was lying on the couch when I decided to pull a dog bed out from beneath the couch for Tiki. But the bed wouldn’t budge. Hmm, Jetty must be sleeping on top of the dog bed, I figured.

So I reached under the couch to pet her…only to quickly discover that she wasn’t on the dog bed but up in the inside  the couch, pushing down the inside of the couch to keep the dog bed from moving. She’d torn loose the protective fabric under the couch, crawled up inside it and was just so excited about her new discovery!

Much of this morning was spent flipping over the couch, ripping off the protective covering, removing countless staples that posed a scratching risk…

…and sealing off the couch with a layer of cardboard. If that doesn’t work, plywood’s next!

We’ve had this couch for eighteen years–and, in that time, none of our cats has ever decided to explore the couch’s inner reaches. Jetty is definitely one of a kind…and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

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My Visit to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah! || Mayim Bialik - YouTube

The Big Bang Theory‘s Mayim Bialik, who has earned four Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, recently showed her support for the lifesaving efforts of Best Friends Animal Society by paying a visit to the non-profit organization’s sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.

Sharing a segment of her stay with fans via her vlog, the star highlights sightings of rescued ponies, goats, sheep, pigs and cats, and expresses her excitement over her visit to the medical animal clinic.

A Mom to multiple rescue cats (including Adamantium, a cat with special needs), animal welfare issues are close to Mayim Bialik’s heart. Over the years she has used her star wattage to shine a spotlight on veganism, efforts to end both animal testing and the fur trade, and finding forever homes for our feline friends.

Visiting Best Friends Animal Society’s Sanctuary

From visiting to volunteering, Best Friends Animal Society’s sanctuary in Kanab, Utah welcomes thousands of pals to those with paws each year. Free, two-hour guided van tours of Angel Canyon, with stops to meet some of the facility’s more than 1,600 furry or fine- feathered residents, take place daily.

Fans of felines age 12 and over may want to attend the special tour of Cat World Headquarters, which is offered three times a week…

while devotees of dogs might wish to embark on a tour of Dogtown, which is offered each Monday through Friday. Animal lovers can also pay their respects to the cats and dogs who have crossed Rainbow Bridge while at the sanctuary by taking the Angels Rest walking tour, which allows attendees a peaceful place to reflect as their thoughts are serenaded by the tinkle of 1,400 wind chimes.

Volunteer opportunities for those who want to give the gift of their time to the paws cause include cleaning animal areas, grooming, feeding, and socializing animals. There is a minimum age requirement for each animal area, with Cat World requiring that a volunteer be at least six years old.

Animal lovers can even jump into their jammies and spend the night in one of the sanctuary’s cottages with an adorable, adoptable purring pal or barking buddy! Best Friends’ Sleepover Program helps to provide staff with insight into an animal’s reaction to home-like surroundings, and gives both the visitor and the animal the chance to make a new friend.

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Showing Justin Timberlake how it’s done, adorable adoptables from the ‘boy band’ Kitt-ENSYNC will unleash their inner Justin Timpurrlake when they perform “Meow Meow Meow” on stage during Puppy Bowl XIV‘s Arm & Hammer Slide Cat Litter Halftime Show.

Just who are these fame-bound felines who make their fans hearts flutter? The talented troupe bringing cuddly back, and the other kitties lapping up the limelight on stage during the event, have been in the care of ASPCA NY, waiting in the wings for that day when they get the chance to take center stage in the life of their very own forever pet parent.

Before returning to the romping Rovers of Team Ruff and Team Fluff who will attempt to win the coveted “Lombarky” Puppy Bowl XIV trophy, viewers will also enjoy an appearance by viral video sensation Prince Michael and Phil the Cat (the suave felines seen in the photos above) from Aaron’s Animals.

Puppy Bowl XIV airs February 4th at 3 p.m./ET 12 p.m./PT on Animal Planet.

Project C.A.T.

Along with showcasing adoptable domestic cats, Discovery Communications has announced its partnership with World Wildlife Fund to help felines who walk on the wild side. Project C.A.T. is a worldwide effort to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022 by ensuring a healthy habitat for future generations through the conservation of nearly two million acres of protected land in India and Bhutan. To find out how you can help the paws cause, visit discovery.com/ProjectCAT.

Photo Credit: Animal Planet

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As our regular readers know, our cats are indoors ALL of the time, regardless of the phase of the moon. They have a screened catio so they can get out and enjoy some fresh air but they never go outside the screened room. One big reason: the predatory coyotes that come very close to our home every evening (and during the day as well):

We notice that the coyotes are much more active during a full moon when they howl up and down our valley through the night–and no doubt use the extra light to assist with their hunting.

Recently we received an email from Healthy Paws Pet Insurance about the possibility of full moon nights being more dangerous to pets. In 2007, researchers published a study titled, “Canine and feline emergency room visits and the lunar cycle: 11,940 cases (1992-2002)” to find out if the moon really affects our furry friends’ behavior and their inclination to be accident-prone.

The results? They discovered that there was a significant increase in emergencies for cats and dogs on fuller moon days (waxing gibbous to waning gibbous), compared with all other days.

Recently, the pet insurance company tracked pet insurance claims on full moon nights. While in 2016, they discovered a 5.5% increase in those claims placed on full moon days when compared to the average claims placed on non-full moon days, in 2017 there wasn’t a huge difference in claims filed on full moon days versus average days of the month, but there still was an uptick of about 100 to 300 claims on those full moon days.

On January 31, we’ll be experiencing the SECOND Supermoon of 2018…it sounds like a good time for ALL the members of your family to stay inside and enjoy a movie!

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For fans of felines in central Pennsylvania who are just itching to see a clowder of cuddly adoptables, The Scratching Post Cat Cafe is the place to be!

The 411 for Foodies

While The Scratching Post does provide a feast for the eyes thanks to the plethora of playful purring machines on the premises, the venue does not offer food for sale. However, visitors are welcome to bring in tasty treats from home or purchased at any eatery. (Pronto! Provisions with Passion is conveniently located adjacent to the Scratching Post).

The Cats of The Scratching Post

As the cafe is managed by Cherished Cats Rescue Alliance, all adoptables who lap up the attention of visitors are from area rescue organizations in partnership with the non-profit.

Pennsylvania Cat Cafes

Opening its doors to cat-loving customers in December 2017, the Scratching Post joins a list of Pennsylvania cat cafe which includes TreeTops Kitty Cafe in Kennett Square, Colony Cat Cafe in Pittsburgh, and Le Cat Cafe and Kawaii Kitty Cafe, both in Philadelphia.

Location

The Scratching Post is located at 230 Market Street in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

NOTE: There is a $5 donation fee, which goes toward the care of cats at the cafe. All visitors must be at least five years old, with an adult to sign a waiver for children.

The Scratching Post Intro Video - YouTube

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