Our “Ask US Anything” is a series of posts on the site where I share the questions/concerns/ideas that readers have sent in and then the responses from our readers about those questions/concerns/ideas.
How to Sanitize Cat Products
Amie wrote in, “Hello dear Floppycats family thank you for all the precious pictures and very helpful information you post weekly I’ve been a long term fan! I have a question, I am getting a 2nd ragdoll finally and she is coming in from overseas. My vet suggested I sterilize everything to allow for her to adjust better since she may need some time to get used to our country etc (and it’s a good thing to clean all your cat toys, house and scratching posts anyway) I have looked online to find ideas of how best to clean things such as scratching posts etc and what products are cat friendly (aka not Bleach). Any suggestions would be really helpful! Online is proving rather unhelpful.
My current cat also came from overseas and she took some time to adjust to everything in the house. The weather here is very dry and she went from summer to winter which caused some initial stress. I learned from that and so anything I can do that will help clean the space and make it as smooth a transition as possible for our new kitty addition will be very helpful! Especially since my current cat has a very sensitive nose which I assume runs true for most Raggies. Thanks for your help! ”
I had no idea, so I asked if she wanted me to post on Facebook and she did – so I did:
“My 5 year old Ragdoll Charlie has been very needy lately. Please keep in mind he has 24/7 companionship with my very active/fit 87-year-old Mom & my two other cats who all live with me. He has a ton of toys & cat trees, scratchers, etc….
My work & personal schedule has been extra busy lately and I feel that is why he’s meowing/crying so much when I come home.
I have been putting in longer hours at my office and spending 1 to 2 nights per week away from my home at my boyfriend’s house.
Is there anything you could suggest to make him stop meowing/crying?”
“I don’t – other than give him attention, play with him, feed him and then maybe he’ll stop – if it’s something medical, though, that’s a different story.
Do you want me to ask on Floppycats Facebook?”
Rose was curious about other people’s opinions, so I asked on Facebook for her:
Ragdoll Cat Goes Into a Trance While Kneading
MJ wrote in asking, “I have a strange question….Bella Boy patty cakes with all four feet , he kinda goes into a trance, stands up, arches his back and does a pump or two…he has been fixed , but I still think it’s sexual…one of his back legs acts like it’s unhinged, like out of control…weird…what do you think.”
I replied: “I always think Charlie gets a little sexual too – but the truth is, I don’t really know. So I asked on Facebook for you – hoping one of the readers there has an idea or two.”
Enjoy reading common reader inquiries? Check out more of our Ask US Anything here: Ask US Anything
When the folks that make the Tineco A10 Hero that we reviewed last week, reached out to us to review their product, we exchanged several emails and finally decided that I would review their cordless vacuum, then review a Dyson V8 Animal and then finally do a comparison video between the two (coming soon).
Ironically, my sister, who just got married, had the Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner on her wedding registry and had received it as a group gift weeks before. So I already knew a few things about it and had even used it a few times at her house.
Best Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaners 2018: Tineco A10 Hero vs. Dyson V8 Animal Unboxing - YouTube
The Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner has a powerful suction in MAX mode 115 AW (and that’s the mode I always used, as I talk about in our product review video below).
But it also doesn’t run too long in the MAX mode – up to 8 minutes. But that works for me because I just used it for quick clean-ups or for vacuuming the kitchen or bathroom floors before mopping them.
The battery on the V8 is not removable, so I don’t know what you do if that stops working for some reason….and did see some disgruntled reviews on Amazon about that.
It is lightweight at 1.56kg for the main weight of the unit – however, I did drop it directly onto my big toe’s toenail and it felt like 1,000 lbs…and throbbed forever. So, don’t do that.
In general, though, the lightweight made it easy to use in a jiffy – as you can also see in our review video below.
It fits under furniture, cabinets, shelves, etc. well, but lacks the LED light that the Tineco has, so you have to rely more on sound to make sure you are getting everything under those pieces of furniture.
In order to keep it powered, you have to keep your trigger finger engaged the whole time, whereas with the Tineco A10 Hero, there’s a lever you can shift over, so that you don’t have to wear out your trigger finger. When I did the unboxing video, I thought this was going to be the biggest reason I didn’t like the Dyson…but found as I used it that it wasn’t that big of a deal for me. And also wondered if I saved the battery life by not having it on all the time while I moved scales or other things around when I vacuumed.
It comes with the following accessories:
Mini Motorized Tool
Soft Dusting Brush
I mostly used the crevice tool. The other tools I don’t have much use for in my home. But I love having a cordless handheld vacuum that can be used with or without the longer pole -in case I want to get to the high corners on the kitchen ceiling, for example.
It has a HEPA filtration system and a washable lifetime filter and the dustbin release isn’t too difficult – you pull up on the red lever with the trash can icon on it.
It takes about 5 hours to charge and doesn’t run long enough to vacuum my whole house, so it definitely is an additional vacuum in my home and not a replacement for the Shark Apex we just reviewed.
It comes with a 2-year warranty.
Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner Review Video
Hello, I’m Aleisha. This is the story of how I became the proud owner of two beautiful Ragdolls, Ruth and Naomi.
I’m a student and still live at home with my parents. Unfortunately over the past year I’ve had some bad issues with my back. Due to these issues I was spending most of my time at home, and a lot of that time lying down. I wanted someone to spend time with so I approached my parents about adopting a cat. My father, who isn’t a huge fan of cats in the house, reluctantly agreed, and I began to look at local shelters and rescues for my future furry friend. After finding two kittens online and trying, unsuccessfully, to reach the rescue that was housing them I continued searching. I stumbled upon an ad for JoAnn’s Ragdolls in Newburgh Indiana. Now, in the past, I’d researched some breeds online and I immediately fell in love with the Ragdoll breed. I never believed that I would own one, much less two of the breed! Needless to say, I contacted the breeder and she had two 5 month old cream Ragdoll sisters available. We set up a time and drove to Newburgh to pick out one kitten, but there was a major problem, we just couldn’t come home with only one! that proved to be an impossible!
Ruth and Naomi on their first day home
Upon our arrival to their new home they were scared at first, as would be expected, but they quickly overcame their fear and apparently deemed our modest home worthy of their feline presence. They then immediately proceeded to take complete control of their new domain. Because they look so much alike I wanted to name them something unique and different, as well as something that just seemed to naturally go together. I chose Ruth and Naomi because of the Bible story in the Old Testament book of Ruth. It seems to suit them.
Naomi round her a place to hide… In my mother’s purse😁
Ruth and Naomi are 7 months old now. They are extremely intelligent and so sweet! I can honestly say I’ve never owned nor seen a cat to equal these two. Though they look very similar, their personalities are completely different. Naomi is always the first to jump right in the middle of things, and she gets offended if you accidentally leave her out of the “excitement”. Ruth is naturally more nervous than Naomi. She is much more cautious in her approach of anything new. Though she will eventually end up right in the center of the chaos, she takes her sweet time getting there. For example: Naomi loves to chase, pounce on, and smack the vacuum cleaner while it is on. Ruth, on the other hand, will sit at a safe distance and then proceed to chase, pounce on, and smack at it after it’s turned off. To Naomi there’s just nothing better than a good ol’ fashioned belly rub. While Ruth, although not opposed to the occasional belly rub, would usually prefer a good back rub while she gives your forehead, nose, or chin a thorough bath. They would rather me bring them home a new box than any toy I could buy. As soon as you walk through the door with a box they automatically assume it’s theirs and lay claim. They enjoy playing with pieces of paper, bottle lids, and any kind of string or rope. They get bored quick on their own and expect you to entertain them with their makeshift toys. Their antics keep us in stitches. Watching them run through the house chasing one another and play fighting is extremely comical and has had me laughing aloud more than once.
Ruth and Naomi playing in some old boxes we were throwing out
They love to snuggle together
I never would’ve dreamed that two cats could’ve made such a positive impact on my whole family, and not just any two cats, but two very special cats. I realize that this may sound strange to most of you reading this, but with my father being in the ministry for almost 30 years, I’ve been taught to give everything careful consideration and prayer. No matter how little or big the decision. As I began my search for a cat I prayed that God would lead me to the right one for us, and I believe, with all my heart, that He did. And to think! He gave us two! A double blessing! The way these girls follow us around endears them to us all. They meet us at the door when we get home, snuggle with me on my bed, and just want to be right with us at all times. They have brought more laughter to our home in the short time they’ve been with us than we’ve had in a long time. Every day is a new adventure with these two. Not a one of us, including my father, would take anything for them. I thank God for my girls.
They decided that the baby blanket I just finished making was for them
I would like to say that I highly recommend JoAnn’s Ragdolls in Newburgh Indiana . Her cats are extremely healthy and happy. She does not leave her cats caged. She treats her cats and kittens as part of her family. She truly cares about where her cats are placed and she has been available for any questions I’ve had. I’m very grateful to her. I’m highly pleased with my experience and would recommend this breeder to anyone interested in adopting a Ragdoll kitten.
A few weeks ago, a reader on our Facebook page commented that she and her partner had made their own Custom DIY Cat Tree from Ikea furniture. I told her about this post – How a Reader Built a Cat Power Tower from Scratch – and asked if she might be willing to send in photos of her Ikea hack cat tree, so other readers could see it. Lucky for us, she did – thanks, Kelly, Bear and Chibi!
Ragdolls, Bear (the mitted blue) and Chibi (the cream)
Here’s what Kelly wrote:
What made us decide to do it was that being such large and heavy cats, nearly all cat trees we’ve looked at or previously had just didn’t last in the long run. Posts would come loose at the joints and no matter how much you tightened everything, they would just wear and become unstable, especially with these two fairy elephants jumping all over it! Also, with Christmas and also their birthday coming up at the end of March, they had way more toys and treats than they could possibly need (well Chibi would tell you the opposite!) and this seemed like the perfect present for them, they are just a tad spoiled.
Cat trees suitable for Ragdolls tend to be extremely expensive, and we just didn’t want to put money into something that most likely would only last a year or two. Also, here in the UK large breeds of cat are relatively new so we are pretty limited to choice, unless you ship it in from abroad, but that’s just making it more expensive. We did some research and we found a website called Ikea Hackers, where people had put together various cat trees, beds and the like and shared them. We were instantly inspired and went about planning what we wanted it to look like, colour and put a few drawings together. We love diy so I think we were more excited than the cats!
Off we went to Ikea a few weeks later and picked up 2 of the Birch effect LACK Side tables (55×55 cm) and the matching Coffee table (90×55 cm). We also picked up 3 of the Variera kitchen organiser boxes that fit perfectly on the bottom shelf for all their toys and brushes etc. Finding a hard wearing surface to put onto the tables took a bit of thinking. We originally thought of using a soft material like a bath mat or a door mat of some sort but realised they would be hard to keep the cat hair from sticking to them too much. My pair are like a pair of sheep and the floof that comes off of them is ridiculous! In end we went for carpet tiles. We wanted the tree to be as cost effective as possible incase we had to replace anything further down the road, but once we got to the hardware shop (B&Q here in the UK), the cheapest carpet tiles just didn’t do it for me. They were short pile and really hard feeling. Yes the cat hair would have slid right off but I wanted the cats to have a little comfort and I know they wouldn’t have wanted to plop their hairy bums on it, because who would want to sit of something that felt like sand paper! So we spent a few extra pounds and got the next ones up which were a tad more “plush”. These tiles were the perfect size as most carpet tiles are 50cm square as standard.
We originally were going to hot glue the carpet tiles to the tables, which is perfectly fine, but in the middle of the carpark to get the tiles, I had an idea. I kind of wish I had that spark of inspiration before hand because it would have cost us less but hey ho! I had the idea to velcro the tiles on, just in case they got puked on or worse, or just needed replacing after they were old and tatty. 8 meters of velcro later (which they charge for both sides separately in Dunelm BTW for all you UK readers!) and a very lighter pocket, off we went to put it all together. We put the tables together and then started to work out where to put the right angled brackets (cheap on Amazon) to hold them all together. The velcro was self sticking on the back but we found that it just wasn’t quite strong enough, so we hot glued the velcro to the tables and the back of the tiles. Ikea furniture is so versitile you could put it into any configuration you like, but if you do use carpet tiles, you will have to trim the corners to accomodate the legs and brackets so it sits flat.
We wanted to recyle as much of their old trees as possible, so we unwound the rope from the old legs and stapled it to the new table legs. Just wrapping it and stapling isn’t really tight enough so we hot glued it in places as well just to make sure, which so far is holding up well.
So far, with our diy skills, its holding together. We have had a few issues though. They love it so much they fight over the top platform, so we will make another in the future and maybe put in some sort of rope bridge or walkway between the two (it’s a good job I don’t spend much time in my living room because it’s pretty much their play room!). Also, their claws tend to catch the white webbing in the carpet so it is starting to look a bit “hairy”. We probably could have avoided it being so noticable by not using purple tiles but I just cut these bits off every now and again.
Overall, as you can see it’s a big hit and was a fraction of what a pre made cat tree would cost. If we had shopped around more for the velcro we could have made it even cheaper, as that turned out to be the most expensive part of the project as we put it on every edge of the tiles to make sure they didn’t pull it up. Being nearly 8 years old and frankly, lazy, they don’t always like jumping onto the top from the left hand side. So we put together a few pieces from the old trees to make a sort of step, which has helped a lot and made them less, “Minion, its too high, pick me up so I can oversea my land or I will meow for hours until you do!”
If anyone else gives this a go we would love to see it, and if anyone in the UK has trouble finding the bits in Ikea, let me know because I forgot to take the labels off that have the product codes on, oops!
What DIY projects have you done for your cat? Send us photos and share your stories – email@example.com
It has taken me a while to be able to sit down and write the story of my beloved Ragdoll, since I’m still unable to come to grips with his terrible death on September 21, 2018. He was exactly 18 months old and was born on March 20, 2017.
I’ve always loved cats and especially since I became a widow the presence of a living creature in my life meant a lot to me. I had a Himalayan cat who died of old age about a month before I bought my Ragdoll. Before I decided on the breed I scanned the internet and it was a toss up between a Main Coon or a Ragdoll but checking on the reviews of owners I decided on a Ragdoll.
I then checked on various breeders and found none close to where I live but then saw a write up of a breeder, called JESSICA PERRY, in Texas, and some of the reviews on her website were positive. I called her and she told me that she has kittens available that were born on March 20, 2017. I paid a deposit for a male kitten. She said she charged $2000 for the kitten and that he would be sent by air when he was two months old. I paid for the airfare and picked him up at the airport on May 15, 2017.
I decided to call him “Jannie”, after an uncle of mine whom I loved dearly. I brought Jannie home and for the first two days stayed with him in our bathroom and we bonded. I fell in love with him almost immediately. He had the most beautiful blue eyes and were so affectionate. He would climb up on my chest and lick my chin and then give it a little nip.
At the beginning he was famished and ate at least three cans of Fancy Feast seafood and chicken a day, in addition to Purina One dried food and the skinny little thing grew rapidly into a beautiful kitten. He followed me around the house from room to room, in effect almost became my shadow. He loved to play with toys that had little balls in them and was extremely active during the day and slept with me at night, cuddling up against my back.
During the day one of the places that he liked to sleep in was my water basin. I guess he liked the coolness and could roll up in a little ball.
I could not have been happier. He was a perfect companion and so loyal. I’ve always had cats all my life but nothing like Jannie.
But then–During the first week of January, 2018, he suddenly changed. Instead of following me around the house, he tried to hide from me. I would find him underneath my bed or behind a cupboard during the day, lying in the dark. He stopped playing with his toys and lost his appetite. I was greatly puzzled and whereas I usually do not take my cats to a vet because of behavioral changes, the sudden change alarmed me and made an appointment with my vet who saw him on January 8, 2018.
Dr Clark examined him and listened to his heart and looked up to me and said: “He has a very loud heart murmur. He has to be seen by a Veterinary Specialist immediately.” Fortunately, Dr Paling, had an opening the next day in Charlottesville, Virginia, about a two hour drive from my home, and I had him in her office at 10 AM on January 9, 2018.
She did an echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound) and her findings were as follows: “This shows that Jannie unfortunately has a heart condition called HYPERTROPHIC CARDIOMYOPATHY, OR HCM. This condition is genetic, or HERITABLE, in Ragdolls. His HCM is unfortunately already moderate, and he is at risk for recurrent heart failure. He is also at risk for abnormal heart rhythms and for having a blood clot form in his heart that can go out to his body.” She immediately started him on a beta blocker to control his heart rate and rhythm.
She also took a sample to test for HCM and sent the sample to the VETERINARY GENETICS LABORATORY. Two weeks later the test came back Positive Homozygous. This meant that he had two copies of the mutated gene. He thus got a copy from each of his parents. They may not have shown signs of the disease but were carriers, and every kitten born in that litter must have inherited either one, or two, of the genes.
I was absolutely devastated and immediately informed the JESSICA PERRY about these findings. In fact, I kept her informed about all the tests that were done on Jannie, including the genetic test results. To my amazement the only response that I got from her was that I should inform her when Jannie was no longer alive and that she the would give me another cat. It just stunned me. This woman clearly did not value the lives of the cats that she sold. They were just “cats” or things, and the more and the quicker she bred them and sold them at $2000 per kitten, the better. She obviously did not to care that there are millions of people out there, like myself, who value the lives of our pets, who grow fond of them, who bond with them, and they literally become part of the family. The most amazing of the whole affair is that a genetic test costs a measly $35, while the kittens are sold for $2000 per kitten. I did not want another cat, I wanted JANNIE.
I will make make the rest of my story brief: I gave Jannie the beta blocker every day, without fail. But then he became quite ill again, and I listened to his heart. I’m a retired physician but still have my stethoscope. He had developed an abnormal heart rhythm and had water on his lungs.
I rushed back to Dr. Paling and she did a follow up echocardiogram and she confirmed that his heart was much bigger and that he had heart failure. She increased his beta blocker and put him on two addition medications: A water pill to remove the fluid from his lungs and another to prevent blood clotting. The visit took place on June 5, 2018.
I gave him the meds religiously every day even though it was not easy to give three different medications to a cat who no longer would eat canned food. But I persisted. I wanted to keep him alive as long as possible.
The night before he died, September 20, 2018, was like all the previous nights. He slept with me and I watched that he ate some dried food. In the middle of the night I must have turned on my back but I woke up with Jannie lying on my chest and he was licking my chin and then gave it a little nip. I gently stroked my lovely Jannie telling him how much I loved him.
The next morning, September 21, 2018, I woke up and opened the door and he bounced out down the stairs ahead of me, as he always did. Then at the bottom of the stairs he suddenly collapsed. I noticed immediately that is hind legs were both paralyzed and he gasped for breath. Oh how he tried to get up but could not and just groaned and groaned. He looked up at me with a pleading look in his eyes. I was in total shock. It was exactly 7:30 AM and I rushed him to my local vet. He was in the process of opening his office and immediately took care of Jannie, giving him a sedative and a pain killer. Jannie w as in agony. He had both a stroke and was in severe heart failure. My vet then asked me to leave them alone, to go home, and to call him after about an hour, which I did but I could hardly speak. I knew what he was going to tell me and he did: “Helena, Jannie is dying. He cannot breath and is in agony. May I put him out of his misery?” I gave the permission for him to euthanize Jannie.
I wrote to Jessica Perry, telling her that my beloved Jannie died a horrible death, a totally preventable death, if she had the heart and sympathy and the care to test her breeders for this disease, HCM. I ended the letter with these three words: SHAME ON YOU.
But I doubt it made any impact. I noted that she kept changing her phone numbers and e-mail addresses. When I bought Jannie from her it was: www.RagdollKittens.com. Then later on it became: Kittens@ Ragdollkittens.com and then RagdollKittens.net/kittens. This is a breeder without a conscience.
Big Bear Pet Company offers the highest nutrition, safety, and freshness to cats and dogs. Our company embodies quality, integrity and passion in creating foods for our four-legged friends. Having been in this industry long enough to see some really big changes that don’t necessarily benefit our animals, it still gives me great satisfaction to know I am producing a healthy, safe food option.
What made you want to start Big Bear?
Big Bear is the third pet food business I have started. I entered in the industry 20 years ago with a pet bakery focused on horse and dog treats.
I had the opportunity to buy a pet food delivery business. I was a retailer for several years until the bakery grew too large and felt I needed to change the focus on one thing. I formulated my first foods about 15 years ago when I saw the industry starting to change with big companies getting bigger and quality diminishing. I have re-invented myself several times with a bigger company trying to sue me over a trademark issue, to a bad business partner. I have continued the process to be able to produce a high quality food for pets. I originally wanted to go to vet school but after figuring out I am the worst combination of Dr Doolittle and Dr Harriott I decided that was not my path! I actually started in the industry by accident – I am a horsey girl and am a certified riding instructor and decided to bake horse treats for my clients as a Christmas gift and one thing led to another and I am no longer baking treats but after many years of have come to the product line up we have today.
KatManFood and Hoo-RAW! are your cat lines, correct? KatManFood is gently cooked whereas Hoo-RAW! is the raw food? How long have they been around?
Yes KatManFood and Hoo-RAW! are both cat food brands. Hoo-RAW is our raw food brand and was designed upon the chemical composition of a mouse. I copied the proportions of the organs in a mouse – with the exception of the heart. I added more heart meat so the Taurine levels were AAFCO minimum acceptable levels. Hoo-RAW has been around since 2011 when I started Big Bear Pet Company. KatManFood was really created after I adopted a senior kitty from the shelter. I created KatManFood as a transition food for cats wanting to go to a raw diet. As many people know cats can be soooooo tough to feed. The transition for many kitties from canned to raw is still too big a step so I created KatManFood which is whole food ingredients that are gently cooked then fresh frozen. The KatManFood is a great way to introduce a whole food smell to your cat while still having a texture similar to canned food. It is also a great option for owners that are still not comfortable with feeding raw, or for cats with health issues that raw food is not an option for them.
What is the big deal about manufacturing in USDA/FDA human food facilities to human food standards under inspection hours?
Will try not to write a small novel on this topic. I have a lot of years in the industry. I started as a retailer carrying super premium brands of pet food and manufacturing my own baked treats. As I grew and started looking into the possibilities of someone baking my treats I toured countless facilities. Horrifying doesn’t even cover what I have seen. As an animal science major in college I have also visited a rendering facility where they make the “meat meal” for many of the large pet food companies. Had no idea at the time how valuable that information would be. The big deal is the level of compliance I am subject to using a USDA/FDA human food facility – actually the level of compliance the facility is subject to. I researched my plants and found two facilities that were: one – willing to take on a small producer like me, but two – subject themselves to additional levels of testing and certification for cleanliness beyond what the USDA/FDA requires. The other “big deal” is that all ingredients that enter either of the plants I use must all be human edible and the meats must all have the USDA sticker or “bug” on them to come in the door. Because of that I am not required to use any denaturing agents on my meat products – no charcoal, no dyes, just meat. If a pet food uses a facility and does not operate under inspection hours they are required to “denature the meat” which means they must put some type of chemical marker on the meat so there is no way it could be confused with human food. My pet foods are not USDA inspected since the inspector works for that particular plant not for my company – but their job is to keep the plant in compliance with food in food out. The other new FDA requirement for my foods coming out of a USDA/FDA facility is that all raw foods must be tested for E Coli and Salmonella before leaving the facility. There is now a zero tolerance in raw pet foods which is why some of the bigger companies have gone to HPP on all raw foods.
What is HPP?
HPP stands for High Pressure Pasteurization. It is a process designed as a kill step for finished products. The finished product is subjected to a high pressure water process that will cause any bacterial cells that may be present in the food to rupture which would stop any further growth. Two problems with that for me – you still may have a high level of bacteria in your product, but because the cells were ruptured you can still legally sell it since it will not have any further growth; and every time I have asked the question of OK – meat protein is also made up of cells – what happens to the protein cells?? No one has been able to give me an answer. I just don’t feel confident there is enough long term data out there to support the idea that it does not harm.
Where are the ingredients in your products sourced? What country are they sourced from?
All our products are locally sourced with grass fed meats, with no added hormones or antibiotics. Again – we are extremely limited using USDA facilities with what is allowed.
Why would I want to choose a raw diet over wet food or dry food?
A raw diet is really how they were designed to eat. Cats of course are obligate carnivores – must have meat to survive – so a raw diet is an easy way to serve your cat a ‘healthy mouse or rabbit”! LOL Cats are also interesting in that they physically can not drink enough water to hydrate themselves if fed only dry food. Cats really do need to get their moisture from their diet and raw food and even canned food achieves that. The only down side to most canned foods is the quality of ingredients and the volume of synthetic vitamins and ingredients that go into them. Raw diets are really designed to get the nutrition from real food ingredients – easy to digest. Our gently cooked food is natural without the addition of a lot of synthetic ingredients.
Is it possible to sample your food?
We do have sample packs available online for our raw and cooked foods. The samples $18.99 which includes two 8oz tubs of whatever flavor of raw or cooked foods that you select and includes shipping. We usually pay for the 2Day shipping upgrade since it is hard to keep the food frozen in that small quantity.
Sample Their Food
How did you come up with your recipes for the cat food – in other words, how do you know they are well-balanced diets and for what ages of cats?
As I mentioned previously I found the chemical composition of a mouse and tried to copy that as best I could. I also fed panels of cats and used several different animal communicators to “interview” the crew and ask how they felt after that ate the food, what they did or did not like, and what they would change. Yeah – little far out there, but no one has really asked them what it is they want so I though I would! Our foods are not labeled complete and balanced because we have never subjected them to the full AAFCO testing process. Again – long time in the industry and worked for several veterinary clinics over the years. The AAFCO guidelines were put in place so many years ago and have NEVER been updated. They were created when kibble and canned food diets came into being so were never really designed for fresh food, which the body can digest and assimilate much more easily. In my mind it like comparing a fresh prepared steak and salad to a McDonald’s hamburger or hot dog– both meat, but certainly NOT the same quality or additives. What I do check – protein levels; fat content, Calcium:Phosphorus levels, Taurine levels and work to get the minimum acceptable levels of the fat soluble vitamins in the food. I am a huge advocate of not only rotating proteins in your cats diet – but rotate companies!! Yes – rotate companies!! We all do things a little differently and really in my mind the goal is not complete and balanced every single meal – I know I don’t eat like that! – but complete and balanced over time!!
I discovered Big Bear Pet while reading through The Truth About Pet Food’s The List 2019. As far as I know, that’s a pretty good list to be on. Do you know how you made it to the list?
Yes – it is a great list to be on. Susan Thixton is the pit bull of the pet world. She is a true consumer advocate – you can’t “pay to play” with her which I love. If you are not familiar with her work please check it out at www.truthaboutpetfood.com I actually made the list the first time in 2016 when a retailer reached out to me from the east coast and asked if I had a distributor out there and I replied “No, I choose to put my money in my product and ingredients, not in marketing and distribution at this point.” She told me she loved me on the phone and there was someone she was going to introduce me to and that was Susan. It is really hard to be a small company in this industry – most people do not understand the process and what it takes to produce food and how much money it takes to get it distributed on a larger scale. We are actually happy to remain a smaller company and produce a higher quality product. Susan sends out questions – tough questions every year to a lot of different companies and then puts together her list for consumers. I am very proud that Big Bear Pet Company has been selected for the List since 2016.
When you think about animals doing tricks, you think about dogs. While cats are far more independent, you can certainly teach your cat quite a few tricks if you have enough patience and perseverance. The teaching method is quite similar to that used for dogs, but there are some small differences that make it ideally suited for a cat’s personality.
How to Teach Cats to Do Tricks
To make sure your cat actually learns how to do the tricks you want it to, you have to get familiar with the teaching process. Here are the things you will need:
Your Cat’s Favorite Treats
A reward is a very important tool for the teaching process, which is why it is crucial that your cat absolutely loves the food you choose as a treat. This should be something small and preferably dry that you can easily hold in your hand or pocket. Here are some examples of food commonly used as treats:
If the food listed above is not among your cat’s top picks, you should keep trying with other food that it will enjoy. Your goal is to find something that will keep it interested and that it will respond to in any given situation.
A Cat Clicker
Teaching your cat to do tricks is essentially creating a reflex. A pet clicker will come in handy with this because it will an extra cue for it to associate with the trick you want it to do. A cat clicker makes a low clicking sound. It is a simple tool that will go a long way. After your cat does a trick, you will give it a treat and you can also make a short clicking sound. This will make it easier for it to remember the routine.
The Process of Teaching Your Cat to Do Tricks
After you have everything ready, you can start the training process. While it does require quite a bit of perseverance, it is extremely rewarding to see your cat doing the tricks that you have learned together. You end up bonding with your cat during the process.
Here are some very important guidelines for teaching your cat how to do tricks:
Keep it interesting at all times
Many cat owners expect their cats to participate in the teaching process to get the treats. However, this is not quite the case. You have to keep your cat interested throughout the entire process to ensure that it learns the trick. Here are some things you can do:
Teaching must always be fun – turn the learning process into a game and your cat will want to take part in it.
Start with the treat – if your cat is not a big fan of playing, give it the treat before you start to get it to participate.
Start training process when a kitty is hungry – It wouldn’t be wise to try and train your cat on a full stomach, as the motivation for food wouldn’t be quite as high.
Keep it short and sweet
The training sessions should be short so that your cat stays interested. You will get far better results with short, but frequent sessions rather than long ones, which will become dull to your cat.
Repeat the tricks to make them stick
During a training session, you should repeat the routine 5-10 times to make sure that your cat remembers it. This should keep it short enough to not be a burden, but also long enough to provide the necessary info and to ensure learning.
Always teach one trick per session
While you may be tempted to teach your cat several tricks at once because you think that they are related, it is best to keep each session aimed at one specific trick. This will help your cat focus on each trick and it will also help it differentiate them one from the other.
Use cue words properly
Every trick must have its very own cue word and they have to be very different one from another. Cue words should also be short and powerful so that your cat remembers them quickly. Another aspect to remember is to use these cue words only after you have taught it the actual trick.
For instance, your cat will not know what to do if you tell it to sit and it will be much harder for it to associate the action of sitting down with the cue “Sit!” if you repeat it before you actually show it what to do. You should practice the routing and only at the end tell it to sit, along with the treats.
Always take feedback into consideration
The teaching process must never be a burden, so if your cat does not seem interested in playing, you should stop and try again later rather than insisting. This will ensure that your cat regards the learning process as a positive activity that it will want to do over and over again. Creating a negative experience will actually slow down your process.
Always use positive reinforcement
Cats are defensive and independent animals and they will not respond positively to activities that are imposed. Negative reinforcement such as spraying water will not get it to learn tricks. Positive reinforcement, on the other hand, along with a sustained activity will make it come back for more.
The treats you give your cat are the main token of positive reinforcement. After it does a trick, it knows it is going to receive a bit of its favorite food, which makes it put in the effort. Aside from that, it is very important to praise your cat. Always do this before you feed it the treat. Verbal reinforcement is something that your cat will respond to in the long term.
In fact, your goal is to have it doing the tricks without offering it any treats. After the reflex has been formed properly, your cat will respond to the verbal cue and it will do the trick without expecting any physical reward for it. Your praises will be more than enough at that point.
The 10 Most Popular Tricks to Teach Your Cat
Cats are extremely curious and agile, so they can learn a lot of tricks. These are the most popular 10 tricks that you can start with and if your cat turns out to enjoy the process, you can expand to more of them.
1. Teach your cat to sit
Cue Word – Sit!
This is probably the most common cat trick out there and it is very easy to train your cat to do it. You will need treats and a clicker. Call your cat to you and when it gets there, hold the treat above its head. This will make it sit down on the floor naturally. When this happens, use the clicker.
This will make your cat associate the sitting position with the clicking sound. Remember to also give it the reward after you click. Repeat this about 10 times so that your cat can practice. Once it starts doing a good sitting position and it is used to the routine, add in the cue word “Sit!”.
Repeat it a few more times and then stop so that your cat is left wanting more rather than bored with the activity. Reprise the training process the following day and use the cue word from the very beginning. Don’t forget to keep the sessions short.
2. Teach your cat to come when you call it
Cue Word – Your cat’s name!/ Come!
Every cat knows its name, but this does not mean that it will come to you when you call it. Cats are infamous for showing up only when they feel like it, but this is something that can be changed with a bit of training.
To get your cat to come to you when call its name, you have to give it a reason to, at least at first. This is why a very good time to start is when feeding it. Call its name and while you do that, tap on its food bowl. This is guaranteed to have it come running. When your cat comes to you, call its name and give it the reward.
You can try this in many different ways and train your cat to come from various distances and even from outside. This is something you can also repeat several times around the house. After your cat come to you the first time and gets the reward, it will be curious to come to you the second time to get more treats. Do this 5-10 times and call its name every time it comes.
3. Train your cat to hi-five
Cue Word – Tap!/ Hi-Five!
Getting hi-fives from your cat on a regular basis may be easier than you think. You will need a big reward for this one, so make sure you use something that your cat simply cannot refuse, such as tuna bits. Call the cat to you and then hold the tuna above its nose. This will make it reach up for it and extend its paw.
When this happens, simply hi-five your cat, make sure you praise it. Then, give it the reward it was craving. Practice this a few times, and then add in the cue word, which can be hi-five or tap. Tap is easier shorter and you may get better results with it.
4. Teach your cat to sit up on two legs
Cue Word – Up!
The teaching process for this trick follows a similar pattern to the hi-five. You will have to hold the reward much higher to get your cat to sit up on two legs. Remember to use a high-value reward for this one to get the cat to put in the effort.
Praise it once it sits on two legs and give it the treat only after that. This may require you to practice a few times. Make sure to offer extended praise when the cat sits up properly on two legs. Then you can introduce the cue word “Up!”.
5. Teach your cat to wave
Cue word – Wave!/ Bye-bye!
This is yet another trick that follows the pattern described above. If you want to get your cat to wave, hold the reward above its nose, as for the hi-five, but do not bring your hand close to its paw. This will leave it waving. When this happens, you can use your clicker, praise it, and give it the treat.
As for the others, repeat the routine a few times before you start using the cue word “Wave!”. Another thing to keep in mind is to keep this trick as the only subject of the training sessions. Mixing this one with Hi-five!, and /or Up! could make your cat extremely confused.
6. Teach your cat to fetch
Cue Word – Fetch!
This is one of the more difficult tricks to teach your cat. You should know that it will take you quite a bit to get this one to stick. For fetch, you will need a toy that your cat loves to play with. Some trainers recommend putting some of the water in a can of tuna on the toy to stimulate the cat’s natural hunting instinct.
Throw the toy only a bit further from you. When your cat goes to pick up the toy, use your clicker to make it attentive to the routine. The difficult part is getting your cat to bring the toy back to you. When it does that, make sure to use your clicker, praise it, and then give it the treat.
If your cat does not want to let go of the toy, you should retrieve it gently from its mouth, give it a treat, and then return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise to make it remember and insert the cue word “Fetch!”.
7. Teach your cat to meow on command
Cue Word – Meow!/ Speak!
This is one of the most rewarding cat tricks out there. While it is very simple to do, it requires a lot of perseverance and patience. You should keep some treats within reach and when you hear your cat meowing, chirping, trilling, or making any of the sounds that you want it to produce on cue, simply give it praises, and offer it a reward.
After a while, it will associate meowing with receiving a reward. This is when you should introduce your preferred cue word, which can be anything from Meow!, Speak!, or Chirp!. In time, the cue alone will be enough to turn your cat into a chatterbox.
8. Teach your cat to shake
Cue Word – Shake!
This is one of the most beloved cat tricks out there and it is quite simple to do. Get close to your cat and grab its paw gently. As it grabs your hand back, use your clicker and then give it the treat. You should repeat this a few times and then you can use the cue “Shake!” before you grab its paw. You will be shaking your cat’s paw in no time!
9. Teach your cat to give kisses
Cue Word – Kiss!
For this one, you will need treats, a clicker, and some liquid food that your cat enjoys, such as the water from a tuna can, yogurt, or cream cheese. Put the food on your finger or, preferably, on your cheek. Call your cat and when it comes and starts licking your finger or cheek, use your clicker, and praise it.
Then give it the reward it deserves. Repeat the exercise as many times as you are up to, and start saying “Kiss!” once your cat gets used to the process. Getting kisses from your cat will also happen naturally, so remember to praise your cat when it does. If possible, add in a reward as well.
10. Teach your cat to lie down
Cue Word – Lie down!/ Down!
For this simple trick, you have to call your cat next to you and have a treat ready for it. Keep the treat in your hands and put it on the floor. This will make your cat lie down to get it. When it does, use your clicker, praise it, and then give it the treat.
After you do that a few times, it will remember the connection. This is when you can introduce the cue word “Lie Down!”. Bear in mind that it might take your cat longer to learn this one compared to other tricks.
As you can see, teaching your cat to do tricks can be quite fun. As long as you’re prepared to spend a bit of time in the beginning, you can have your cat doing some amazing tricks. As an added benefit of the process, the communication between you and your cat will be improved tremendously and you will be able to connect with it better.