The Best Cat Food in the World: Does it exist and where can I find it?

thumb_img_2113_1024-2I feed a lot of cats.  A LOT.  I feed indoor and outdoor cats.  I feed kittens.  I feed cats with kidney problems.  I feed cats who live in vegans homes and cats that have failing kidneys.  They all eat something different.  Some different ratio of wet to dry.  So who is feeding their cat the best food?

Turns out – all cats are different.  Shocker!   There are so many different diatary and health needs in each individual feline, it is impossible to bestow the title of “Best Cat Food in the World” on just one bag of kibble or can of wet food.  (Imagine trying to choose “Best Food in the World” for all humankind!)

We should all be more aware of what we are feeding our cats (and dogs!), though.  That literally just means read the food label.  If there is something that you have no earthly idea what it is…Google it!  If there is a long list of somethings that you have no earthly idea what they are…it might be time to reconsider what you are serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Reviews.com has a wonderful cheat sheet on what to consider when feeding Fluffy.

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I actually took the time to read the complete article The Best Cat Food: Safe and Healthy Formulas for your Feline Friend.  Lots of information here!  Here are a few random points that I found interesting:

—Reviews.com picked “10 of Our Favorite Cat Foods”.  Again – I think lists like these are so subjective.  Every cat is SO DIFFERENT.  But, I do think these lists are a good place to start your research.  What I found unique about this list is the fact that they took things like past recalls and customer complaints into account.  As someone who obsessively reads reviews for everything online…I found this awesome.  Let’s be real – I care more about what other cat lovers think about a particular food than details about where the grains were processed.

—Rendering facilities.  Y’all.  I was totally ignorant.  This particular article mentioned these plants acquiring “animal products” from other sources including slaughterhouses and ANIMAL SHELTERS.  I wanted to believe this was some sort of scare tactic designed to get me to shell out for pricier foods…so I turned to the world wide web to ease my fears.  After reading many, many things – including this and this – I realized all pet owners should be making a bigger issue out of these “rendering facilities”!!!

—Wet vs Dry?  The age old question…which should you be feeding your cat.  Spoiler – there is no right or wrong answer.  There are so many subjective qualities to be taken into account here.  Your furry family member’s needs are only really known by you.126dd58bc404966894be7f207810f5f3

At the end of the day, you…the wonderful, caring, blog-reading, Google-researching cat parent that you are…have to read labels and ask questions.  Simply being informed will ensure that you are doing all you can to provide the best life for that feline family member of yours!

 

 

2017

Happy 2017!

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Amigo

I usually try not to make a list of New Years resolutions (for obvious reasons), but this year I broke my own rule. I actually made my entire family sit down – even my 3 year old – to discuss #1 on my resolution list:

Be a better family to our dogs.

While such a statement might seem vague, it is ambiguous on purpose. Each one of us might take that to to mean something different…and that’s ok. One thing is certain, though, we need to start treating Buffy & Amigo as full fledged family members NOT second class citizens.

As many of you blog readers know, Theodore arrived on the scene in March and my whole world changed. What few precious seconds of free time I enjoyed was quickly replaced by exhaustion, laundry (seriously – how did one tiny human seem to DOUBLE our dirty clothes production?), and a sense that I was forever running 5 minutes behind.

As a dog lover and self proclaimed dog expert, I had decided I would not be a mom who would forget about her dogs once children became part of my life – and  I have made it a point to do this. I make sure to give each one of them individual attention every day. I cuddle with them in bed at night. Someone is home most of the day – so they are constantly enjoying fresh air and are rarely left alone. BUT THIS IS NOT ENOUGH. They need more!

Back to this resolution – being “better”. Dogs need exercise…not just fresh air. They need mental stimulation…not just attention. It’s not enough to spring for the all natural, gluten free, organic dog treats!  They don’t need another toy!  They need me making an effort to help them be what they were born to be – dogs.

Well, they don’t need just me. They need US. One of my pet peeves in life is when people say a dog is “mine” when they are part of a family unit. That is the equivalent of me decided to rent out our guest bedroom and tell my husband “I” got a roommate.  With dogs and cats – you are all in it together; everyone has to put in some sort of effort.

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Buffy

So 2017 will be the year of the dogs over here at the Fuentes house. Right now that means more exercise (walks), more playtime (with a human actively taking part), and more tricks (to keep my lab’s brain working). Work, preschool, lack of sleep, lack of motivation, weather…these are not excuses!!!  Just as I would not leave my 3 year old to decided just how his days should be spent…I will take a more active part on how my 4 legged children spend their days.

My other big resolution is to BLOG MORE. It’s what I love…and somehow it gets pushed to the side just like those other things I love: peace & quiet. 

Comment below and let me know what your New Years resolutions are…especially if they are dog related!

Puppies Vs. Babies – Potty Training

How many times have you heard “Dogs are a great way to prepare for having kids!”

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This statement inevitably divides a room – on one side you will find those who completely agree…and on the other side you will find those who are snickering, rolling their eyes, and insisting that babies are babies and dogs are animals.  Apples to oranges.

Now that I am a mom to both two-legged and four-legged, I can say I strongly agree with the former.  Exhibit A – “Potty” Training.

I think Buffy was possibly the hardest dog to house train EVER.  (I’m sure many of you would argue that your dog can claim that title.)  She simply refused to potty outside.  I tried EVERYTHING – I read every book; I took her out constantly; I rewarded with praise, rewarded with treats, rewarded with play.  I took her out at all hours.  I crate trained.  Nothing worked.  NOTHING.  My husband and I were at our wit’s end.  (Did I mention we lived on the second story of an apartment?  This meant leashing Buffy up and crossing the parking lot ever trip outside…and then walking back and forth in a small patch of grass while being watched by neighbors and passing traffic.)  Months and months on my hands and knees – patiently sopping pee up out of the carpet.  Countless shopping bags full of poop.

Flash forward 5 years.  Sebastian is of potty training age.  Don’t get me wrong, we have had accidents.  (I learned very quickly that the fact that he JUST pottied in the potty does not mean he will not potty again…right next the potty…before you can even get him re-diapered!)  I know we are a long way from being done with this chapter in the parenting book, but this has been nothing….NOTHING! compared to the potty drama with Buffy.  (The fact that Sebastian wears diapers that catch the messes does make a big difference!)

I like to think that Buffy was preparing me for Sebastian.  Buffy and her house training was the first “parental” challenge I had to face in my life.  The first instance where I was responsible for shaping another creature’s behavior.  The first time in my life where I had met someone who I could fill my heart with so much love while at the same time inducing such hair-pulling frustration.  I might have taught Buffy where to “do her business”…but she taught me the most important quality that every parent (no matter how many legs their baby has) must possess:

PATIENCE.

 

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Sketches + Bull Terrier = Smiles

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These pics gained popularity online months ago…but I just saw them for the first time over the weekend.  I thought they were too adorably creative not to share.

A project by artist Rafael Mantesso, the pictures combine silly, fun drawings alongside his bull terrier, Jimmy Choo.  While the pictures alone are enough to make us take notice of Mantesso’s talent – there is also a touching “man’s best friend” story there as well.  After his divorce – Mantesso was left with nothing but and empty, white-walled house, and his newly acquired companion, Jimmy Choo.

“One day I was playing with him in the room and decided to make this picture, holding his hand [while showing the] affection and friendship that existed there.”

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It wasn’t long after that Mantesso’s love of Jimmy Choo and love of drawing melded together to create what I think are amazingly unique, heartfelt, touching, goofy, smile-inducing pictures.

Check out Rafael’s Instagram page for even more awesome drawings and more Jimmy Choo.  Here are a few of my favorites:

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JC Lady

 

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How My Toddler is Like My Dog – Thinking Outside the Box (House)

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It still amazes me when I’m reading a parenting book…and the advice given is almost word for word the exact same advice as the last dog behavior book I read.  I’m actually not even sure why I still get a kick out of it – it happens so often.  Apparently – when it comes to psychology – toddlers and dogs aren’t so far apart.

(No, I’m not suggesting you crate train your kiddo.)

I just finished The Happiest Toddler on the Block.  The Happiest Baby on the Block is pretty much required reading for every new mom.  Seriously.  (And for good reason, too.  Dr. Karp’s advice is spot on – hence why I picked up the sequel to help me understand how to keep Sebastian happy.)

Dr. Karp advises parents to make sure that their toddlers go outside every day.IMG_3621  “Every” day – he is sure to remind his readers – is “EVERY” day.  Toddlers won’t die (or even catch cold) from going out for short amounts of time even if it is raining, cold, windy, snowing, hot, etc.  The psychological benefits are worth the bundling or being slightly uncomfortable.  We as a species have not primarily resided inside single-family, four-walled, covered structures for all that long.  If you look back at the history of humanity – the majority of it took place outside…or in a cave…it is in our nature to be more comfortable (happier???) outside.  (Think of that blissful moment when you office workers step out for lunch and feel the sun on your face.)  Dr. Karp explains your toddler might be unhappy simply because you are forcing him into an unnatural physical situation.

DOGS ARE THE SAME!

IMG_3546Maybe even more so!  Dogs were built to be outside.  They spent most of their evolutionary lives on the move.  They don’t like to go for walks….they NEED to go for walks.  They NEED to be outside.

Often pup parents try to over think it when their dogs start acting out (chewing, biting…any destructive behavior, really).  Nine times out of ten – they are just bored and/or frustrated.  You are forcing them into an unnatural physical situation.  Your dog wasn’t meant to be kept in a box!

Obviously, you cannot walk your dog for 8 hours a day to fulfill his nomadic tendencies.  Nor am I suggesting you take your sweet, spoiled pooch and suddenly decided she will primarily be an “outdoor dog.”  What I am advising (and I’m no doctor or vet…so no one has given me an authority to give advice) is that you go outside with your pup AND your kid EVERY day.  Even if it’s raining and you all have to towel everyone off when you come back inside.  Even if it’s only while you thumb through the junk mail.  Even if it’s only for 10 minutes!

If for no other reason that this: a tired dog/toddler is a happy dog/toddler!

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Countdown to Halloween – DIY Bow Tie (…yes there is still time to make this!)

Amigo Halloween

Amigo the Dandy

 

OH MY GOSH!  Look what I made Amigo!

The extended family is coming over to our house for Halloween this year.  I’ll be cleaning/cooking/costuming my own kiddo, so I wasn’t sure I wanted to tackle dog costumes as well!  Still, I think the dogs should look festive for the holiday.

Buffy has a skeleton dog shirt that she will be debuting this year (a Target SUPER markdown from last Halloween)…but Amigo didn’t have anything to wear to the party.  Hence the brand new, handmade bow tie!

As someone who cannot use a needle and thread to save her life, I can honestly say this was a super easy project.  Instead of taking step by step pictures as I went for the blog (honestly – this would have been quite embarrassing) I am going to tell you to read instructions on BarkPost here or check out this video on YouTube.  While I didn’t follow either one to the letter (I didn’t use an iron or a hot glue gun), these gave me a good idea of what I needed to do.  While I initially measured (or cut?  or read the tape measure?  Have I mentioned how bad I am at sewing???) wrong…once I recut the pieces, it was smooth sailing.

I think this is an absolutely adorable way to get Amigo in on the Halloween fun.  He has been wearing it around…and doesn’t seem to mind it at all.  I can’t wait to see what our party guests say about our dapper little man!

PAW-LIDAY Giveaway WINNER! (and Merry Christmas!)

Merry Christmas Eve!

We have an exciting announcement for one of our blog readers – Kelly Ann Thuet, you are the winner of the Ruff Wear Flat Out Leash!

Thank you so much to all of you who participated and made our PAW-LIDAY deals and giveaways such a success.  Due to the  high number of you fabulous puppy lovers who used our coupon codes and entered our contest…we have grabbed the attention of other companies who would love for you to hear about (and try!) their products.  2012 is going to be an exciting year here at Wags &Whiskers!

We hope that all of you enjoy this time of year – no matter what holiday you are celebrating.  Time with family is so precious!  Don’t forget – your pets are part of your family too.  It’s easy to forget about their needs in all the hustle and bustle.

…and take some time out from that hustle and bustle to check out the pups feature in our holiday Wags & Whiskers Wednesday!  Pico has become quite a star (in that elf outfit, it’s easy to see why!)