Purina One’s Cat Cafe is a Smash Success

This past week, Purina ONE and the North Shore Animal League joined forces, coming up with the idea that ended up being a perfect storm for a real world viral sensation — a pop-up cat cafe. All the ingredients are there. Cats. Lattes. Impermanence. Did I mention they had cats? How could the masses resist!

For those unaware of what a “pop-up shop” is, it is a store that exists for only a brief period of time. A common example are stores that sell seasonal wares (i.e., Halloween costumes, Christmas decorations).

And this was not done simply to amuse. The North Shore Animal Shelter has filled the cafe with cats eligible for adoption. So, while you may have only come in for a cappuccino, you might have ended up leaving with a kitty under your arm.


The first establishment of its kind in America, this cat cafe was piggybacking off the recent trend cropping up first in Japan, and now a few cities across Europe (like the popular Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in London). And while it is not a permanent fixture, this “pop-up” has certainly sparked its fair share of interest. Just look at what Twitter had to say.

Due to the massive popularity of the cafe and limited amount of patrons allowed inside (they didn’t want to overstimulate the cats), the average wait time to even get through the door at Purina’s Cat Cafe was around 2-3 hours! But for those that made it through the arduous wait, the experience made it worth their while.  


If you missed the Purina ONE Cat Cafe, just keep your ear to the ground. With the massive success that it was, you can be sure that other companies and shelters will be following suit, offering patrons the unique experience of sipping a latte while petting a kitty.


4 Creative Ways to Celebrate Your Pet

Our pets are more than just pets; they are our best friends, constant companions, and instant mood-lifters. Many pet parents proclaim their love for their four-legged friends by making them their cell phone background, placing a bumper sticker on their car, or even getting a tattoo, but we’ve found some other creative ways to celebrate your pet, and they make great gifts, too! If you’re artistic, you could even try making some of these creative projects at home!

1. Personalized Pet Paintings

What could be better than a custom artwork featuring your favorite furball? Artist Nicole Momaney works from photos to create unique and beautiful paintings that have caught the attention of Apartment Therapy and other media outlets. “Paying homage to our loyal sidekicks in life through a painting makes for a very special gift that is sure to be treasured,” Nicole says. Her paintings start at $150 a piece, and that’s not bad for a lovely piece of pet art that will last a lifetime. Head over to her Painted Pet Menagerie Facebook page to see more of Nicole’s paintings and request one of your own.

2. Professional Pet Photos

We all snap photos of our pets on our phones, but there’s nothing quite like a pet portrait by a professional who knows how to bring out the best in your buddy. Kim Rodgers from Bark Pet Photography has gained plenty of praise for her charming pet photographs — everyone from The Wall Street Journal to People Magazine has taken notice. “Professional pet photos are more than just capturing a moment in time,” Kim says. “They capture a bond between two species.” Photos start at $450 for a touched-up, color-corrected set of 25, plus an online proofing gallery of 50-100 images.

3. Paw-Tastic Paw Prints

Welcoming a new pet into the family, celebrating a pet’s birthday, honoring a pet’s achievement, or looking for a way to preserve happy memories? ClayPaws® Print kits make it easy to create lasting keepsakes of your pet’s paw prints. All of the kits contain a non-toxic modeling compound, a storage bag, and directions, and most also include ribbons and charms for decoration. “Like a child’s handprint, each ClayPaws® print captures the unique markings of a pet’s paw,” says Laurel Lagoni, co-owner and Director of Resources and Development. “A ClayPaws® print preserves the memories of special times shared with a pet.” Kits start at $12, and you can buy them at the Veterinary Wisdom website.

4. Pretty Pet Pendants

We all wear our love for our pets on our sleeves, but you can also wear it around your neck or wrist with personalized jewelry, like that available at the StampedUnderTheMoon Etsy shop. Each custom pet piece has a hand-stamped paw print plus your pet’s name. You can even get multiples names if you have multiple pets — the more the merrier! “The unconditional love your pet has for you is like no other,” says Cisco Cosgrove, owner of StampedUnderTheMoon. “A personalized necklace helps you celebrate your pet and show the world that you love them just as much.” Necklaces start at around $38.

PetPlus is another creative way to celebrate your pet — members get savings on vet visits, medications, boarding, and more! Check it out at PetPlus.com.


Prep Your Pup for Baby’s Arrival

For moms- and dads-to-be, right alongside all of the other mounting to-dos of getting ready for baby, is making sure that your dog is prepared for the new family member. Here are four helpful tips for what you can do before your baby’s birth to make sure your pup knows how to behave around your fragile little one.

Give a rules refresher: Hopefully, your dog is already good at the basics — sit, stop, down, heel — and isn’t a jumper. Just in case, spend some time reviewing obedience skills, and making sure your dog knows how to behave properly.

RELATED STORY: Dog Behaviors

Introduce any new rules and routines: Once baby’s around, you might need some new guidelines for your dog. Perhaps it will become extra important for him not to bark at loud noises. Or maybe it’s just a matter of your dog getting accustomed to the idea that your schedule for meals and walks may shift. If there are any changes that you can predict will occur after baby’s arrival, do your best to get your dog adjusted early.

RELATED STORY: Try An Indoor Training Class With Your Dog

Set limits around baby items: Will you be allowing the dog in the baby’s room? Can the dog go on or near the baby’s crib? Don’t let it be a surprise for your dog about new areas of your home that might be off-limits, or any furniture that has a strict “no dogs allowed” policy. Start training the dog to avoid furniture and rooms that are off-limits, or set the guidelines for what kind of behavior is allowed around baby items early on so that your dog won’t be surprised with new rules and scolds when baby arrives.

Scale Back Your Time Together: You may be used to your dog as your constant companion, but once your baby arrives, you’ll likely have less time together. Make the transition less shocking for your pup by easing up on the amount of time you spend together gradually.

PetPlus members get savings on vet visits, medications, boarding and more. Check it out at PetPlus.com.


Dog Park Do’s and Don’ts

Dog parks have become increasingly popular in the United States, especially in metropolitan areas where backyards and open spaces for running and playing are rare. While dog parks can be great places for dogs to get some exercise and meet other furballs, they aren’t appropriate for all dogs, and they aren’t free-for-alls! If you do end up at a dog park, you should be prepared to follow some basic guidelines.

Check out these dos and don’ts to find out if your pup is a good fit for a dog park and what rules you should follow before and during a visit.

DO take your dog to the park if he or she is well-socialized.

A dog park can be a great place for a confident, well-socialized pup who loves interacting with other dogs and knows how to play nicely. A dog park is not, however, a good place to give your dog’s behavior a test drive. If you aren’t sure how your dog is going to act around other dogs, they probably aren’t ready for the dog park.

To socialize your dog and give them the confidence they deserve before entering a park, try introducing them to other dogs while on leash, arrange small group play-dates with dogs you know, and consider taking an obedience class where your dog will meet new friends and learn commands that will keep them safe.

DON’T take your dog to the park if he or she is aggressive, fearful, anxious, or undersocialized.

If your dog has a behavioral issue, taking them to the dog park can not only be dangerous, it can also make their problem worse. A fearful, anxious, aggressive, or undersocialized dog who is thrown into a new and unfamiliar environment will probably only become more fearful, anxious, or aggressive, and may even lash out. Additionally, their inappropriate behavior may cause other dogs to lash out.  If you need help with your dog’s behavioral problem, considering contacting a trainer or animal behaviorist.

RELATED STORY: Dog Behaviors

DO make sure that your dog is up to date on their vaccinations and protected from fleas.

Because so many dogs come and go at dog parks, the chances of picking up a disease or fleas are fairly high. This is why unvaccinated puppies definitely should NOT go to dog parks, and that goes for unvaccinated adult dogs, too. In addition, make sure that your dog is protected with a flea preventative, as fleas can easily pass from dog-to-dog or ground-to-dog at the park. As a rule, it’s not a bad idea to consult your veterinarian about your dog’s overall health before visiting a dog park.

DON’T take intact male dogs or female dogs who are in heat.

Intact male dogs and in-heat female dogs mixing together at a dog park not only increases the risk of accidental pregnancy, it can also lead to behavioral problems such as sex-related aggression. If you take your dog to the dog park and see a lot of intact male dogs, it’s probably a good idea to leave and go back at another time.

RELATED STORY: All About Spaying And Neutering Dogs And Cats

DO find a good dog park.

Do your research before taking your dog to the park. Here are some great questions to find the answers to before you choose a park:

Is there enough space for a large group of dogs?
If the space is too cramped, the mood could get tense.

Are there separate areas for small and big dogs?
It is usually safest to separate the bigs from the littles to avoid injuries and the littles getting frightened.

Is the park gated and secure?
Even if your dog has good recall, it’s best to find an enclosed space where your dog won’t be able to run off.

Is there water and shade?
Especially in warmer months, your dog should have access to clean water and a cool, shady place to take a breather.

Are there clean-up stations?
Most good dog parks have trash cans and poop bags available.

DO keep an eye on your dog.

The dog park is not the place to read the newspaper or respond to emails on your phone; you should be fully engaged with what your dog is doing at all times. Look out for signs that your dog is being bullied (such as being repeatedly knocked over or chased by another dog), or that your dog is bullying, and step in if necessary and safe to do so.

Additionally, you should look out for situations that could turn into a fight. While wrestling and rolling around on the ground are normal dog behaviors, they can sometimes escalate and get serious. If you notice that the situation is becoming tense, step in and separate the dogs, but again, only if it is safe to do so. A fight that is already in motion may not be safe to enter, but you can try to use a loud sound such as clapping to distract the dogs long enough to call your dog away. Be careful not to grab a dog in the middle of a fight by the collar — they could react by biting.

RELATED STORY: What Kind Of Pet Parent Are You: The Lover, The Trainer, & More

DON’T let dogs clump together too long.

When a couple of dogs or a group of dogs play together too long, the play can get intense and tensions may arise. In addition, a pack or “clique” of dogs may start bullying other dogs. To avoid these situations, move around the park and introduce your dog to other dogs. Reward your dog with a treat for following you and playing nicely with new friends.

DON’T expect other pet parents to follow all the rules.

Just because you did your homework and made sure that your dog was well-suited to the dog park doesn’t mean that all pet parents are doing the same. Many aggressive, anxious, and undersocialized dogs end up at the dog park, and it is your responsibility to keep an eye out and keep your pal safe. If you notice that the vibe at the dog park isn’t feeling quite right or you see a lot of distracted, indifferent pet parents, it may be better to leave the park and come back another time.

Do you take your dog to the dog park? Leave a comment and tell us about your experience, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on pet medications, supplies, boarding, and more.


Momma Pitty Pumpkin Needs Help! And A Home!

When Sara Jackson found Momma Pitty Pumpkin pregnant on the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, she took her right home, despite the fact that she already had a foster dog and two other dogs of her own.

“She had sores running down all of her legs, her nails were curled under, and her hips were showing,” Sara said. “She had obviously been living outside and was being used to make money for someone.”

A week after bringing her home, Momma gave birth to 8 beautiful pups, all of whom Sara was able to place with loving families.

“We were able to partner up with so many amazing people who gave us great connections with spaying and neutering and all of their vaccines,” Sara said. “It truly took an army to rescue this amazing group of babies.”

Once the puppies had been placed in homes, Sara was able to start focusing on Momma. Momma had a large mass on her back right hip that a vet had previously aspirated (drained), and said could be drained again. Sara hoped this would be taken care of when she took Momma in to be spayed, but after some testing, it was discovered that Momma had cancer. Later testing revealed that it was mast cell 2 cancer.

The mass was removed during Momma’s spay, and because the vet estimated that Momma was only 2 years-old, Sara decided that it would be worth the additional cost to go through with radiation to ensure that the cancer would not spread to the rest of her organs.

Fun Fur All Fundraiser For Momma’s Treatment

The additional cost, however, is not minimal. Radiation therapy will cost $6,000. To help raise the money, Sara is hosting an event in Charlotte on Mother’s Day. The event, which can be found on Facebook at Momma Pitty’s Run Fur Fun 5K and Silent Auction, will include a 5K run, a 1 mile walk, and a fun-filled day of live music, photographers, a silent auction, costume and talent contests, massages, and a pit bull kissing booth featuring Momma’s puppies at Dog Bar, where Sara works on the weekends.

Dog Bar is a dog-friendly off leash bar in Charlotte. It’s almost like a dog park, but with drinks and live music.

“Momma is always at the bar with me, most of the time she is caught ON the bar,” Sara said. “This is her favorite spot and is often seen begging people to pick her up to put her on the bar so that she can kiss everyone directly in the face.”

Adopt Momma!

If Momma sounds like the kind of loving dog you’d like to bring home, consider adopting her! Sara is fostering Momma for now, but hopes to find her a forever home.

A bit about Momma:

– Breed: Pit bull

– Age: Estimated to be 2 years-old

– Weight: 40 lbs.

Crate trained, potty trained, knows basic commands

Walks well on a leash, and can even walk off leash and will come back when called

– Well-socialized and loves people and other dogs

– Loves to swim!

“Her love for life just beams through her large Pitty smile,” Sara said. “She is not only beautiful on the outside — her soul just shines.”

And a note about Momma’s cancer:

“We do not want anyone to be discouraged because of the fact Momma has been diagnosed with cancer. Her mass has been removed; we are doing radiation as a precaution,” Sara said. “Many bully breeds are known for having this cancer and it is something that as a dog owner we feel you should be prepared for even in a healthy dog.  Cancer in dogs is a lot like cancer in people, you treat and do what you can, but you do not just cast the dog aside.”

As a thank you to Sara for all that she has done for Momma and her pups,we are offering her six months free of PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding and more. We will also offer a free year of PetPlus to whoever adopts Momma to help them take care of her.

If you are interested in adopting Momma or supporting Sara’s fundraiser, visit the event’s Facebook page and leave a message, or leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you with Sara’s direct contact info. Good luck, Sara!




Planning a Trip? 3 Tips to Keep the Car Hair-Free

Oh, the joys of a warm weather road trip with your dog! That excited head hanging out the window, that wind-ruffled fur…oh, and hair coating the upholstery of the car’s back seat.

For your next trip with your pup, try these preventative tips to help keep the back seat hair-free.

1. Give a Thorough Brushing

First, thoroughly brush and groom your dog before she bounds into the car. Less loose hair on her means you’re less likely to have tumbleweeds of dog hair rolling through the car’s backseat. (Or, check out our list of essential products that’ll help cut down on shedding.)

RELATED STORY: A Guide to Buying a Dog Brush

2. Protect Your Upholstery

Next, cover the upholstery where the dog will be sitting; if your dog tends to check out the views from both windows, cover the entire back area of the car. You can use sheets, towels, or blankets to do this — just make sure to only use linens that you don’t care about. Backseat hammocks and covers are also available for purchase. Smaller dogs can be kept in a crate, which of course will reduce contact between fur and the upholstery.

RELATED STORY: Best Dogs to Travel With

3. Damage Control

Finally, after your trip, take a peek into the back seat to assess the conditions. If necessary, run the vacuum cleaner and lint brush around, removing any hair. As with more chores, doing this regularly is easier than waiting until for several months, when lots of hair is bound to have accumulated.

How do you keep your car (or furniture!) pet-hair free? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on your pet’s medications, supplies, boarding, and more. 


How To Help A Teething Pup

When your puppy is 3 to 4 months old, they will lose their baby teeth and new, permanent teeth will begin to emerge. As you might imagine, this process can cause swelling, redness, and irritation, and your puppy will seek out ways to soothe the pain. The most common behavior? Chewing, and not always on items that are appropriate.

There are plenty of stories of pups chomping on shoes, gnawing the sofa, and nibbling on the molding, but fortunately, there are things you can do to help soothe your pal’s pain and protect your belongings in the process.

1. Provide One or Two Appropriate Chews

If you don’t give your pup something to chew on, they will find something to chew on. Instead of leaving your buddy to their own devices, offer them a chew or two — and only a chew or two. If you offer your puppy too many options, it will make it difficult for them to distinguish between what is appropriate to chew on around the house and what isn’t. You can entice your puppy to chew their new toys by smearing a bit of peanut butter on them. And remember to supervise your puppy when they are chewing, especially if they are munching on something like a bully stick or rawhide that can break into small pieces.

RELATED STORY: Your New Puppy: Everything You Need To Know

2. Freeze To Ease

Frozen items help to soothe teething mouths by numbing sore gums and reducing inflammation. Offer your puppy an ice cube, wet down a rag, twist it into a knot, and freeze it to create a satisfying toy, or freeze a carrot and let the your pal munch on it. Carrots are rich in Vitamin A and Potassium and make a great snack, but because they are also high in fiber, you should feed them in moderation to avoid an upset stomach.

3. Puppy-Proof Your House

Even if you offer your pup lots of safe and healthy chews, they may occasionally still look for other things to nibble on. Puppy-proof your house to make sure that they won’t ingest anything harmful, such as poisonous foods or loose items on tables or shelves. You should also hide electrical cords, which if chewed on could be fatal. If you want to teach your puppy not to chew on something in particular, consider purchasing some Bitter Apple Spray. Bitter Apple Spray is a non-toxic, odorless formula that can be sprayed directly onto furniture or items that your pup is likely to go after. The taste is terrible to a dog, so chances are they won’t go back for a second bite.

RELATED STORY: How To Buy Puppy Supplies You’ll Actually Use

4. Monitor Your Pup’s Teeth

Teething usually lasts a few weeks to a month (you’ll get through it!), and you should keep an eye on your pup’s teeth and take them for a vet visit during the process to ensure that all of the new teeth are coming in appropriately. Retained deciduous teeth can cause problems down the road, and it is better to catch the issue early than face the medical and financial consequences later.

How do you help your puppy with teething? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on your pet’s medications, supplies, boarding, and more. 


US Chooses Puppies Over Babies; Never Been a Better Time for Dogs

The polls have come in, folks. Babies are out and tiny puppies are in, and this influx of dogs and dog parents in America means that it has never been a better time to consider adopting a dog.

How Did This Change Occur?

The overall birth rate in America has slipped 10% in the past six years. To make that stat more digestible, that means there were 400,000 fewer babies born in 2013 than there were in 2007. The decline is seen in people aged 15-29, while the birthrate to those who are 30+ is growing slightly.

So while the number of babies being born to people under 30 has dropped, the number of small dogs being brought home is at an all-time high, doubling the number of small dogs purchased since 1999. For the first time ever, small dogs are the number one kind of dog owned across the country.

But What Could it All Mean?

Perhaps it means that people are opting to fill that baby-void in their life with a tiny dog. More importantly, this change means that, right now, it is the best time to be a pet parent in history. Why is that? Here are a few reasons.

  • More and more, people are buying products and supplies for their pets, increasing demand and resulting in a more competitively priced marketplace.
  • With this influx of dog-owning households, chances are there is going to be a push for more dog-friendly resources (dog parks, groomers, vet clinics) as well as more dog-friendly establishments.
  • Awareness about how to properly treat a dog is also going to become more common, as more people have pooches of their own and can empathize with pets and their pet parents.

The Takeaway

So, the takeaway here is, as more and more dogs are adopted, industry and society need to keep up to be able to cater to the needs of this influx of dog families, making it even more attractive to be a pet parent.

Simply put, things are only getting better for dogs and dog parents.

Want to make being a pet parent even better? Sign up for PetPlus today and stop worrying about the price of your pet’s medication!

Source: Americans Are Having Dogs Instead of Babies — Quartz


4 Safety Tips For Dressing Your Pet

Many pet parents like to dress their four-legged friends in clothes. Sometimes it’s for fashion (e.g., tutus and t-shirts), sometimes it’s for function (e.g., jackets, raincoats, safety vests, and protective boots), and sometimes it’s to celebrate (e.g., Halloween and Christmas costumes).

While dressing your pet up can be both fun and functional, it is important to do it safely. Follow these 4 tips to ensure that your pet won’t become a fashion victim.

1. Don’t Force Your Pet Into Clothes

Some pets love to wear clothes and become real hams when dressed-up. Other pets prefer the coat they already have, and may become stressed if forced into an outfit. If your pet looks uncomfortable, anxious, or like they are having an allergic reaction while wearing clothes, accept the fact they might not be cut-out for wearing a get-up.

2. Choose Clothes That Won’t Cause Harm

Make sure that any clothing you buy is made out of non-toxic materials, and that it doesn’t have embellishments (like buttons) that could be swallowed or pieces that could become tangled. Also beware of loosely woven knit garments that could snag a tooth or toenail and accessories that could block vision. When it comes to buying pet clothes, those with the fewest bells and whistles are usually the safest.

RELATED STORY: 5 Tips For Dog Safety Around The Home

3. Make Sure Your Pet’s Clothes Fit Properly

Is your cat’s coat constricting? Is your dog’s t-shirt too loose? You want to make sure that your pet has enough room to comfortably move around, but not enough room that the garment will cause chaffing or catch a leg in a loose opening. In addition, make sure that any clothing item can be easily removed should your pet ever become tangled or injured.

4. Don’t Leave Your Pet Alone In Clothes

Even if you buy the safest garment you can find, there is still a chance that your pet could get twisted up in it, catch it on a hook or fence, or get bored and decide to give it a chew, swallowing pieces that could cause intestinal obstruction. If you want your pet to wear clothes, make sure that you are around to supervise.

Does your pet wear clothes? Leave a comment and let us know what kind, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on your pet’s medications, boarding, supplies, and more.


6 Tips for a Stress-Free Vet Visit

It’s the rare pet who actually enjoys a trip to the vet. In fact, such an animal is probably rarer than a unicorn. However, there are ways to make trips to the vet slightly more pleasant for everyone, although it will take a little more work and foresight to pave the way for a smooth vet visit.

1. Touch your pet like a vet would.

One of the reasons vet visits are so startling to pets is that the vet touches them in ways and places they aren’t accustomed to. You can help your pet feel comfortable with these unusual methods of touching by playing doctor and rehearsing a veterinary exam.

Your vet will examine your pet from head to tail, and may palpate – or gently press down using the hands – different areas of your pet’s body, like the neck and the belly. Lift up your pet’s tail, and run your hands all over your pet, including the feet and nails.

RELATED STORY: The Ever-Important Dog Physical Exam

2. Don’t get nervous.

Be aware of you own energy, because your pet can feed off your anxiety. If you realize you feel nervous on the day of the vet visit, be sure to take some deep, cleansing breaths to lower your heart rate. Stick to your regular routine, including walks, which will help to burn off that nervous energy.

3. Use a calming collar.

If your pet seems to really panic at the idea of a trip to the vet, then consider purchasing a calming collar for your cat or your dog. The soothing scents of chamomile and lavender may help to comfort and relax your pet.

RELATED STORY: How To Know If Your Dog Has Anxiety

4. Don’t use a carrier only for vet visits.

If your pet only sees the inside of the carrier when it’s time for the vet, then that little box is going to represent a cage of panic and grief for your animal. If you use a carrier at home as a safe place for your pet to snuggle and nap, then it won’t seem like such a big, stressful deal to hop in the carrier for transportation to the vet.

5. Practice car rides for other fun reasons.

Likewise, if your pet only rides in the car on the way to the vet, it’s going to be a very long car ride for both of you. Try taking your pet on other excursions in the car, for example, to drive your dog to a meadow for a hike.

RELATED STORY: 5 Steps To A Safe Drive With Your Dog

6. Use treats strategically.

If your cat enjoys catnip, then plan on using it strategically, because the effect only lasts about 5 to 15 minutes. Figure out the worst part of the vet visit for you; is it coaxing your cat into the carrier, or the part where you open the carrier for the vet? Use your kitty treats or catnip with those circumstances in mind to keep the effectiveness high.

Likewise, if you know you have a visit to the vet approaching, get a little stingy with your treats for your dog until it’s ‘go time’ for maximum effect. A dog with a belly that’s already loaded with treats isn’t going to be too interested in your bribery.

How do you keep your pet calm for a vet visit? Let us know by leaving a comment below! Sign up for PetPlus and save up to 75% on your pet’s medications plus discounts on boarding, supplies, and more.