Thursday, December 1, 2016

Review: Cat Castles: 20 Cardboard Habitats You Can Build Yourself

cat-castles-cover

This post contains affiliate links*

Cats and boxes: we all know the fascination is endless. How many times have you bought what you thought was a really cool cat toy or cat tree for your cats, only to find that they love the box it came in much more than the actual item? Cat Castles: 20 Cardboard Habitats You Can Build Yourself offers step-by-step instructions to turn boxes and cardboard into a variety of cat houses and play spaces your cats will love.

cat-castles-book

Projects range from easy to “might require an engineering degree” (this is a strictly editorial comment from the perspective of someone like me who is definitely not a DIY person!)  and include condos, castles, pyramids, tubes, headquarters, entertainment centers, scratching pads, and much much more.

cat-castles

Beautifully illustrated with very detailed instructions for each project, this book will delight cat lovers who enjoy building things – and I bet it will delight kitties not just with the end product, but with the process of helping the human build the project.

Cat Castles is available from Amazon.

*FTC Disclosure: The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves. I received this book from the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. All reviews on The Conscious Cat will always reflect my honest opinion, or, as the case may be, Allegra and Ruby’s honest opinion.

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Giveaway: AquaPurr Cat Drinking Fountain – No Cleaning, No Refilling, No Electricity

AquaPurr

This giveaway is sponsored by AquaPurr

Many cats prefer, some even demand, to drink running water rather than drink from a bowl. The conventional solution is a recirculating fountain, but many fountains are cumbersome to disassemble and clean. And, of course, fountains require electricity and constant refilling.

The AquaPurr elegantly solves these problems. The AquaPurr is positioned next to a sink and is connected to the aerator of the faucet with a diverter valve, which allows the faucet to be used normally, or to supply water to the AquaPurr. When the cat steps on the AquaPurr, their weight opens a flow valve located on the bottom of the AquaPurr. That valve supplies water to the AquaPurr spigot for the cat to drink from. When the cat steps off the AquaPurr, the water flow stops. No electricity is required.

AquaPurr

Check out this video of beautiful Poushka using her Aqua Purr:

Enter to win AquaPurr for your cats

For up to 6 ways to enter, see the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway is open to readers everywhere. This giveaway ends Thursday, December 8. Winners will be chosen by random drawing.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more information about AquaPurr and to purchase, please visit the Aquapurr.net.

*No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook. By entering this giveaway, you understand that you are providing your information to The Conscious Cat, and not to Facebook. We will never sell, rent or share your information with third parties. Winners will be notified via e-mail. Prize winner must provide The Conscious Cat with a physical address to which the prize will be mailed within 72 hours. If this information is not received, an alternate winner will be chosen by random drawing. Winners will be announced in a separate post following the drawing.

FTC Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by AquaPurr, which means that I was paid to feature this content. Regardless of payment received, you will only see products featured on this site that I believe are of interest to my readers.

The post Giveaway: AquaPurr Cat Drinking Fountain – No Cleaning, No Refilling, No Electricity appeared first on The Conscious Cat.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Giveaway: Aqua Purr Cat Drinking Fountain – No Cleaning, No Refilling, No Electricity

AquaPurr

This giveaway is sponsored by AquaPurr

Many cats prefer, some even demand, to drink running water rather than drink from a bowl. The conventional solution is a recirculating fountain, but many fountains are cumbersome to disassemble and clean. And, of course, fountains require electricity and constant refilling.

The AquaPurr elegantly solves these problems. The AquaPurr is positioned next to a sink and is connected to the aerator of the faucet with a diverter valve, which allows the faucet to be used normally, or to supply water to the AquaPurr. When the cat steps on the AquaPurr, their weight opens a flow valve located on the bottom of the AquaPurr. That valve supplies water to the AquaPurr spigot for the cat to drink from. When the cat steps off the AquaPurr, the water flow stops. No electricity is required.

AquaPurr

Check out this video of beautiful Poushka using her Aqua Purr:

Enter to win Aqua Purr for your cats

For up to 6 ways to enter, see the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway is open to readers everywhere. This giveaway ends Thursday, December 8. Winners will be chosen by random drawing.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more information about Aqua Purr and to purchase, please visit the Aquapurr.net.

*No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook. By entering this giveaway, you understand that you are providing your information to The Conscious Cat, and not to Facebook. We will never sell, rent or share your information with third parties. Winners will be notified via e-mail. Prize winner must provide The Conscious Cat with a physical address to which the prize will be mailed within 72 hours. If this information is not received, an alternate winner will be chosen by random drawing. Winners will be announced in a separate post following the drawing.

FTC Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by AquaPurr, which means that I was paid to feature this content. Regardless of payment received, you will only see products featured on this site that I believe are of interest to my readers.

The post Giveaway: Aqua Purr Cat Drinking Fountain – No Cleaning, No Refilling, No Electricity appeared first on The Conscious Cat.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Allegra and the Thanksgiving Turkey

tortoiseshell-cat

Did someone say “turkey?”

I often wonder how Allegra and Ruby feel about the fact that I’m mostly vegetarian. I suspect that they would prefer me to be a carnivore like them. While I do eat some seafood, I usually eat that only when I eat out. As a result, the most exciting people food treats the girls get are the occasional pieces of cheese. Ruby doesn’t care all that much for people food (except tuna!), she prefers cat treats. Allegra likes to try different things, but I’d never seen her as excited about people food as she was when I came home from Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday. Why don’t I let her tell you in her own words?

Allegra: Mom came home with one of those plastic containers in her hand. I thought that was a little weird, normally, these containers come out of our cabinets or the fridge, not from outside. But I didn’t think much about it, because Ruby and I were busy greeting her the way we usually do, rubbing up against her and asking for pets. After she put her coat away, she went into the kitchen.

Ruby: Is it time for treats? Mom, we’ve been so good while you were gone!

Ingrid: Girls, I have something special for you today!

Ruby: What? What is it? Out of my way, Allegra! Mom said she had something special for me!

Allegra: Rolls eyes. She said for us, Ruby, for us. Just be patient and…. OMC! What is that smell! It smells amazing!

Allegra: I knew there was something really good in that plastic container, and I started to chirp and meow and weave through Mom’s legs. Ruby kept getting in my way, but I didn’t pay any attention to her. Finally, Mom put too small plates with a piece of turkey on each down on the floor.

Allegra: Turkey, turkey, turkey! OMC, Ruby, it’s turkey!

Allegra: I grabbed the piece of turkey off my plate and ran off to the bedroom with it. There was no way I was going to take a chance that Ruby might get my piece! Mom followed me and watched me eat it in the bedroom, then she went back to the kitchen. I ran after her. Was there more?

Meanwhile, Ruby didn’t seem to show any interest in her piece. She licked at it a few times, and then spit it out. She spit it out! What is wrong with her? I was getting ready to snatch it up, but Mom gave me a fresh piece. I ran off with that piece, too, and took my time enjoying it in the bedroom.

I went back in the kitchen to beg Mom for more, but she said two big pieces was enough. I guess Mom knows best, but i could have eaten an entire big turkey, it was so good!

Ruby: grumbles.

Allegra: What, Ruby?

Ruby: I don’t know what the big deal is about this Thanksiving turkey. Why can’t there be Thanksgiving tuna?

Allegra: sighs.

Did your kitties get turkey treats on Thanksgiving? Did they love it?

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Balanced Blends Raw Cat Food: Better Nutrition for Your Cats, Better Convenience For You

cat-eating

This post is sponsored by Balanced Blends

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need meat in their diet to thrive. Their systems aren’t designed to digest carbohydrates. A raw diet is one of the best ways to fulfill cats’ nutritional requirements. There are numerous benefits from feeding a raw diet to your cat, including improved digestion, reduced stool odor and volume, increased energy, ability to maintain ideal weight, better dental health, and better urinary tract health.

Embraced for decades by holistically oriented pet parents and holistic veterinarians, raw feeding is becoming more mainstream as pet parents look for alternatives to feeding highly processed commercial pet foods.

Raw feeding is easy

Raw feeding does not have to be complicated. You do not need to grind your own meat and bones, measure out supplements, and figure out how to make a balanced diet for your little carnivore. There are plenty of commercial raw diets on the market, ranging from frozen to freeze-dried. Unfortunately, as the market is becoming more crowded, some manufacturers are cutting corners and adding more vegetables to their formulas to cut costs. You can find the brands I recommend here.

Balanced Blends Raw Pet Food

Balanced Blends is a Boulder Colorado based company, founded by enthusiastic pet parents with a distinct curiosity and interest in pet nutrition. Initially, the three founders each prepared raw foods at home for their four-legged family members. They wanted to create a commercially available complete and balanced raw diet for cats and dogs that would help make raw feeding easy for pet parents’ busy schedules. Working with veterinarians and a PhD nutritionist, they created Balanced Blends.

When I took a look around their website, I was impressed both by what’s in the food, and what’s not.

raw-beef-dinner-for-cats

Balanced Blends Raw Beef Dinner for Cats

Balanced Blends uses high quality ingredients, sourced in the US, from cage free chickens and grass fed cattle. All Balanced Blends formulas

  • are antibiotic free
  • are USDA inspected and approved
  • do not contain added hormones
  • contain balanced fat with optimal omega 6 to omega 3 ratio and low linoleic acid
  • contain an ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio
  • do not contain produce (only the dog formulas contain produce)

Balanced Blends uses extensive safety procedures during the manufacturing process, including HPP processing (high pressure pasteurization) during the final packaging process. While some raw feeders feel that HPP processing alters the quality of the food to the point where it can no longer be considered raw, I think it’s an effective way to eliminate potential pathogens that only minimally affects the integrity of the final product. I feel that HPP provides added peace of mind, especially for those new to raw feeding.

raw-chicken-dinner-for-cats

Balanced Blends Raw Chicken Dinner for Cats

Putting Balanced Blends to the test

Balanced Blends for cats comes in beef and chicken varieties. Allegra and Ruby only eat poultry flavors, so we tried the chicken dinner. It came in a 5 pound bag, packaged in convenient 8 ounce pouches. This is perfect for us, since it’s exactly one day’s worth of food for the girls.

The girls loved the food, even Ruby, who is not a big chicken fan (she prefers turkey.)

Convenient Starter Pack

Balanced Blends offers a convenient starter pack for new customers to try their products with a lower initial order amount.

Cat Starter Pack (free shipping + no minimum order)  *new customer only*
$14 for 2 lbs of Raw Chicken Dinner
$16 for 2 lbs of Raw Beef Dinner

This is an incredible deal! Visit http://www.balancedblends.com/products/cat-starter-pack to learn more.

Additional $5 Discount off the Starter Pack for Conscious Cat Readers!

Use code CONSCIOUSCAT for an additional $5 off the starter pack. This code is to be use instead of “STARTERPACK” found on the starter pack product page.

For more information about Balanced Blends, please visit their website.

Coming soon from Balanced Blends: Holiday Giveaway Photo Contest!

Stay tuned for more information about the contest right here on The Conscious Cat.

FTC Disclosure: I received these products for review at no charge. I also received a fee to feature these products. Receiving the free product and the fee did not influence my review. All reviews on The Conscious Cat will always reflect my honest and unbiased opinion. Or, as the case may be, Allegra and Ruby’s honest and unbiased opinion.

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Winter Weather Tips to Help Community Cats

outdoor-cats-winter

This post contains affiliate links*

Community cats (feral and stray cats) are pretty resilient, but they can definitely use help getting through the cold winter months. “Cats live and thrive outdoors in all kinds of climates,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “But a little extra help during the winter months can go a long way for protecting community cats.”

The following tips to make outdoor life more comfortable for community cats are offered courtesy of Alley Cat Allies:

Provide shelters to keep cats warm.

Shelter can be easy and inexpensive to build yourself, or they can be purchased online. Insulate shelters with straw. Not only is straw less expensive and easy to come by (just check your local pet supply store or garden center), but straw repels moisture. Remove snow from all shelter entrances and exits. It’s important to keep cats from getting snowed in. Check out the video at the end of this post on how to build a cat shelter, courtesy of Cole and Marmalade.

outdoor-cat-shelter

Extra food and water

Increase food portions to help cats conserve energy and stay warm. Canned or wet food, which takes less energy to digest, should be in insulated containers so it doesn’t freeze. Dry food won’t freeze. If you can, invest in a brand with higher protein content. Keep water from freezing to prevent dehydration by using bowls that are deep rather than wide and placing them in a sunny spot. If possible, use heated electric bowls.

A little precaution could save a cat’s life

Do not use antifreeze in any area accessible to cats. Antifreeze containing ethylene glycol, which is what most brands use, is deadly to cats. Refrain from using salt and chemicals to melt snow. These can be lethal when licked off paws or ingested from melting puddles and can hurt a cat’s paw pads. Use pet-friendly ice melt products instead.

Check your car before you drive. Look between your tires and give the hood of your car a few taps before starting it to make sure that a cat has not hidden underneath or inside the engine for warmth.

outdoor-cats-snow

Trap-Neuter-Return during the winter months

Winter is the prime breeding season for community cats and the ideal time to spay and neuter. If you’re conducting Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR,) check the traps frequently and provide a warm holding area before and after surgery. Ask your veterinarian to shave only a small area for spay/neuter surgery. This will help the cats stay warm by maintaining maximum fur coverage. If it’s too cold for you, then it’s too cold for cats to be in traps, exposed to the elements, for extended periods of time. Keep traps covered and secured in a temperature-controlled vehicle or building.

More winter tips for outdoor cats

More winter weather tips for outdoor cats are available at http://www.alleycat.org/WinterWeather.

Alley Cat Allies, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Their website is http://www.alleycat.org, and Alley Cat Allies is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube.

*FTC Disclosure: The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves.

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Buckley and Thanksgiving Weekend: Forever Linked

buckley's-story

It’s hard to believe that it’s been eight years since Buckley passed away. Thanksgiving will always be associated with Buckley for me, and not just because Thanksgiving Day 2008 was the last full day I spent with her. It’s also because I am so thankful for the many gifts this gimpy little cat who captured my heart from the moment I first saw her brought into my life.

Without Buckley, I might not have become a writer. Without Buckley, The Conscious Cat might not exist. Even though Amber inspired this site, its original purpose, in addition to sharing my passion for making cats’ lives better, was to build a following prior to publishing Buckley’s Story. Most importantly, without her, my heart might not have been opened to the many wonderful lessons she taught me during her brief time with me.

She had been declining for several weeks prior to Thanksgiving, and a few days before the holiday, it became clear that she would not be with me much longer. I got one last Thanksgiving with her, and while I had hoped that I could keep her with me through the weekend, by the end of Thanksgiving Day, I knew that if I did that, it would be for me, not for her. That Friday afternoon, she passed away peacefully in my arms with the gentle assistance of my dear friend and vet, Dr. Fern Crist.

Remembering my special little girl is always a big part of my Thanksgiving weekend. This little cat changed my life in ways I never could have imagined.

Remembering Buckley still brings tears every year, but as the years go by, there are more smiles than tears as I recall more happy memories than sad ones. She took a big chunk of my heart with her when she left, but a part of her is always with me. This weekend, I once again honor the memory of her wonderful spirit and the blessings she has brought into my life.

The words that best summarize Buckley’s spirit are the same words you’ll find on the last page of her book:

Buckley-feline-master-teacher

Buckley
Endless Love and Joy

Conscious Cat Sunday will return next week

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