cat collar

New from Sleepypod: The Martingale Cat Walking Harness and Comfort Suede Breakaway Collar

martingale-cat-harness

This post is sponsored by Sleepypod

There is no question that indoor cats live longer and healthier lives. The average life expectancy for an indoor cat is 12 to 15 years vs. 4 to 5 years for an outdoor cat. To ensure that they also live happy lives, it is imperative that cat guardians provide a stimulating environment. If you feel strongly that your cat should have access to the great outdoors, leash training is a way to allow her to safely enjoy being outside. For some cats, safe outdoor excursions can help prevent behavior problems by stimulating them and helping them burn off excess energy. Leash training can also come in handy during trips to the veterinarian, or during emergency situations.Continue Reading

Giveaway: Set of 3 Collars from Cute Cat Collars

cat-collars

This giveaway is sponsored by Bemix Pets

If your cats wear collars, this giveaway is for you! Cute Cat Collars are breakaway collars made of nylon. Designed for safety and security in everyday use, the collars come with a Lifetime Warranty. The collars come in packs of 3 in adorable designs. They even offer a set of reflective collars. Each collar has its own bell included.Continue Reading

New Cat Collar Uses UV Bird Vision to Make Outdoor Cats Visible to Birds

ChirpOn-cat-collar

This post is sponsored by ChirpOn

Bird populations have declined dramatically over the last decades. Contrary to what some ill informed organizations would like you to believe, cats are not solely responsible for this decline. Major factors are habitat destruction, widespread use of pesticides and bird collisions with window reflections and motor vehicles. However, cats will be cats if they have access to the outdoors, and they will hunt and kill birds.

Steve Crawford, the creator of the ChirpOn Cat Collar for Birds, wanted to find a way to keep cats from injuring and killing birds that was comfortable as well as safe for cats.Continue Reading

Pod: Because Your Cat Is Too Precious to Lose

pod-gps-tracking

This post is sponsored by Pod

I can’t imagine anything more heartbreaking than a cat getting lost. I’m a firm proponent that all cats should be indoors, but I also realize that keeping cats indoors can be a controversial topic. But even with indoor only cats, accidents happen, and a cat may slip out and disappear.

When Sebastian Langton’s best friend Rango went missing in Sydney, Australia, two years ago, Langton was devastated. After losing Rango, who Langton called “the coolest cat on the planet,” he was determined to find a way to prevent other pet owners from going through the same pain.Continue Reading

How to Prevent your Indoor Cat from Running Out the Door

cat_inside_door

Last week, a friend experienced every cat guardian’s nightmare: a family member was careless about leaving the door open, and her two young kittens got out.

My friend had left to run some errands. She had asked that the kittens be closely watched while she was gone. When she returned home, she called the kittens. They didn’t respond. She went from room to room searching. No sight of the kittens. She went outside and walked all around her large property, shaking a treat bag, and calling for them. Becoming increasinly hysterical, she got into her car and started slowly driving down the road, all the while calling their names. She found them about a quarter of a mile down the highway, huddled together on the front stoop of an auto repair shop.

My friend’s story had a happy ending. The kittens returned from their adventure safe and unharmed. My friend’s nerves may take a little longer to recover. But not all stories of indoor cats running out the door end this well.

The following tips and safety precautions can help keep your indoor cat safe inside, where she belongs.Continue Reading

RC Pets collar, harness and leash giveaway winner

RC Pet Products

Congratulations, Allyson!
You’re the winner of our RC Pets collar, harness and leash giveaway!

Look for an e-mail from The Conscious Cat.

RC Pet Products’ goal is to provide fun, functional pet products that enhance your pet’s active lifestyle. They view pets as companions, guardians and family members; as such they deserve the same standard of product as we expect for ourselves. RC Pet Products is committed to creating innovative, fashionable and most importantly functional pet products that offer superior comfort and value.  Please visit their website and Facebook page to learn more about their products.

Product review: Sureflap Microchip Cat Door

SureFlap Microchip Cat Door

Guest review by Fern Crist, DVM

The SureFlap Microchip Cat Door is a new-to-the U.S. product from the United Kingdom.  It uses RFID technology to read a cat’s veterinarian-inserted microchip and determine whether or not to let the cat inside. This prevents strays, and other animals, from entering a home and adds a high-tech level of convenience to the homes of outdoor cat owners.

SureFlap offered to send one of these doors to Ingrid, and since Allegra and Ruby don’t go outside, but my cats do, she asked me to test and review it for The Conscious Cat.

Let me start out by saying that the Sure-flap Cat Door is a wonderful invention. My favorite feature: it is unlocked by the microchips my cats already have in place.

Our last cat door was unlocked by a magnet hanging on the cat’s collar, a concept doomed from the start. Cats mostly regard collars as irritations, something to be chewed, ripped, or tugged off as soon as possible. End result: a lost collar, a cat stuck outside, and you have to keep buying new magnets.

This door runs on 4 AA batteries, allowing it to recognize the microchip and unlock the latch. The batteries pop into an easy-to-reach chamber on the top of the door. You don’t have to stand on your head to get to the batteries. Well done, engineering team!

The installation procedure was not appreciably different from any cat door. I really like the tube extender, an optional part we needed so that the tube remained unbroken through the full thickness of the wall. All the parts click together easily. The hardest part was cutting the hole in the wall.

Once installed, the door needs to “learn” your cat’s microchip. This is done by the simple method of pushing a button and having your cat walk through the door. Repeat as needed, once for each cat. I was delighted to discover that the door remembers the microchips even if the batteries are dead or missing, removing the need to “re-teach” the door every time the batteries need changing.

After we had our Sure-Flap in place, I taped the flap open for a week so my kitties could get acquainted with the door without unpleasant sensations. Since it is easier for them to push through the flap with the microchip feature turned off, the second step was to leave the flap down but unlocked — batteries out.

The third and final step was the reinsertion of the batteries. To open the door when the microchip reader is active, they do need to squinch themselves up a bit to get the microchip, which is between the shoulderblades, close enough for the door to read.  However, they figured out pretty quickly how to position themselves (this part of the learning process goes faster if you have food on the other side!) and now the mechanics of the door are no problem for them.

I’ve only had one issue with our Sure-Flap: the diameter is a little tight for my larger cat. At a lean 16 pounds, he doesn’t so much walk through the door as ooze through. He looks for all the world like toothpaste coming out of a tube. In future models, I’d suggest that the opening be a little bigger.

While I can’t testify that the door is totally raccoon-proof, I can say that as of this writing, we’ve had several raccoons attempt to get through, so far without success. With our last cat door, a raccoon just needed to insert a claw under the flap and pull, and in he came.  This door seems to be made of sterner stuff.

A warning to consumers: the Sure-flap people sell an adaptor that is supposed to allow you to install the flap in a glass door or glass window, through the glass panes. This only works with single pane, non-safety glass. You cannot install the flap through existing double pane glass (the manual suggests you purchase a replacement double-pane piece manufactured with a premade opening in it, which may be prohibitively expensive), and safety glass will just disintegrate if you try to cut a hole in it. Be sure you know what kind of glass you have before you buy the adaptor.

Our first Sure-Flap is installed between our kitchen and our sunroom. We plan to install a second one between the sunroom and the deck, creating a double level of security against those pesky raccoons. We had planned to install it in the sunroom glass, but – well – you guessed it.

So we will be installing the Sure-Flap in the aluminum wall of our sunroom. The manual is discouraging about installation in metal walls and doors, since the metal might interfere with the microchip reader. With no other choice, we plan to use the glass adaptor to install the flap through the metal. Worst case, we can turn off the microchip function and leave the outer flap unlocked.  Hopefully I can post the results of this experiment in the future.

Overall, I rate this as an excellent product. Great ease of use, fabulous concept, strong construction. It could be a little bigger, but apart from that, I’m delighted with my Sure-Flap!

For more information about the SureFlap Microchip Cat Door and to purchase, please visit SureFlap’s website.

Dr. Crist has been practicing veterinary medicine since 1982, and has been working exclusively with cats since 1993.  She served on the board of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.  Dr. Crist is married with four children, two of which are not fuzzy.