10 Ways to Spoil Your Cat

From their birthday to days when you just want to show them a little love, spoiling your cat is a time-honored tradition among cat fanatics. From kittens to senior cats, every cat deserves to be pampered now and again. Below, we’ve listed out some of our favorite fancy feline worthy items that are perfect for spoiling your cat.

DIY Cat Castle

There are cat castles, and then there are cat castles. The greatest aspect of DIY projects is your ability to make the end result as grand or as simple as you want. Buying a cat fort or tree from a pet supply store can be really expensive, but by using supplies you probably already have around the house, or by taking a trip to your local craft store, you can make your very own cat fort for a fraction of the cost. In this DIY, they used cardboard boxes, duct tape, non-toxic paint, and other common craft supplies to make a two-story castle complete with water feature, hanging hammock, and courtyard.

Window Perch

Our kitties love to lounge in the sun, but finding that perfect spot can be hard; until now. If your cat spends hours gazing out the window and sunning itself on the back of your couch, why not combine the two activities? With a suction cup window perch, your cat can either watch the outside world or catch up on some sleep in its very own sunny perch. Check out this Sunny Seat Window Mounted Cat Bed from Oster.

A Kitty Massager

Getting pets from humans gets boring, why not give your kitty the opportunity to get pets and strokes from its very own massager? The Catit Senses 2.0 Wellness Center Cat Toy will help your cat relax and will allow them to groom themselves even better than normal! This mat-like toy has a variety of brushes, textures, and massage ridges that make this toy a favorite among felines.

A Blanket That Fights Back

If your cat likes to pounce on your hands or legs under your blankets, then you’ve got to try this fun product. The Ripple Rug is a durable, bendable, and stimulating play mat that will keep any cat entertained for hours. The bottom of the Ripple Rug is made of a non-slip material so that it will stay in place as your kitten pounces and plays. With small velcro touchpoints, you can reposition your Ripple Rug to make new shapes and play structures at whim. This toy is a must for any blanket or fort-loving cats.

A Magic Laser Pointer

If you love playing chase with your cat with a laser pointer but want to take your games to the next level, then you need to check out this crazy kitty gift. The PetSafe Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy is a laser toy unlike any other. This toy works by randomly pointing a laser around in 360º patterns to entertain your cat. With an automatic shut off after 15 minutes, your cat will find fun without becoming overstimulated or bored.

A Toy that Just Keeps on Going

There’s nothing better than playing with your cat, but sometimes you need them to entertain themselves for awhile while you get some work done or complete some chores. Enter the HEXBUG nano Robotic Cat Toy. This motorized toy has an uncanny sense of balance and uses that skill to navigate around objects, find its way out of corners, and flip over from its back to its feet in an attempt to escape its captor! With an attached feather lure, this toy will keep your cat’s attention for hours.

A New Kind of Cat Fountain

We’ve all seen the classic blue water bowl fountain that’s popular in most cat households, but have you ever seen a lilypad cat fountain? The Catit Fountain is a cute and quirky take on the classic cat fountain design. This design produces three different flow settings so that you can please your picky drinkers. Add a little fun to your house with this original fountain.

A Trove of Cat Toys

Why bring home only one new cat toy when you could bring home 20? Your cat deserves the best, so show them your love with a new trove of cat toys from Fashion’s Talk. Whether you want to give these toys to your kitty all at once or slowly over the year is up to you, but this is a great and well-rounded set of toys that will please even the pickiest of cats.

A Decoy Laptop

Everyone knows that a cat’s favorite place to be is on your keyboard while you’re trying to use it. Now you can beat them at their own game with this Laptop Cat-Scratching Pad. Set this faux computer up on your desk next to your workstation so that your kitty can stay close while keeping off your important documents or your keyboard.

Kitty TV

It may not be actual TV, but this Wind and Weather One Way Mirrored Bird Feeder will be as close to TV as your cat ever gets. By hiding your cat behind a one-way mirror, this bird feeder entices birds to come and eat right in front of your furry feline. The easy to use suction cup application of this feeder makes it ideal for everyone from renters to homeowners.

Give Your Cat The Very Best with PetPlace

There’s no such thing as “spoiled” when it comes to our cats. Any occasion is a good occasion to give your cat a new toy or accessory. Your kitty is sure to love any of the items listed on this list, but if you really want to show your cat some love, consider checking out some of our cat pet insurance plans. Because what’s a better gift than that of a happy, healthy cat?

A Beginner’s Guide to Heelwork To Music

You’re probably familiar with popular dog sports like agility and obedience, but have you ever heard of heelwork to music? This fun and exciting new sport is taking the dog sport world by storm, and we’re all for it.

If you’ve ever watched a heelwork to music competition, you’ve probably thought to yourself “My dog and I could do that. That looks like fun!” and you wouldn’t be alone. Heelwork to music is a great source of exercise for both pets and people and can be a wonderful way to bond with your pup. Right now, the sport is primarily popular in the UK, but it’s been making its way across the pond since the early 2000s.

This sport has been recognized by The Kennel Club in the UK within the past 24 years and has been included in the Crufts Dog Show for the past 12. So what is this new sport and why has it gained so much popularity?

The History of Heelwork to Music

Mary Ray, a prominent UK dog trainer, brought this sport into the spotlight in the early 1990s when she performed a demonstration of the budding sport at Crufts. Years later, the Rugby Dog Club was then the first kennel to add the sport to a competitive show at their 1996 show. To this day, the Rugby Dog Club show continues to be the pinnacle competition for those in the heelwork to music realm in the UK.

It wasn’t until 2005 that heelwork to music was included in the Crufts dog show by way of an invitational competition. In that inaugural year, Tina Humphrey won the grand prize with her blue merle Border Collie, Bluecroft My Blue Heaven. The next year, in 2006, the heelwork to music sport was finally thrust into the spotlight when the sport was added to the official Crufts lineup for its mainstage competition.

Heelwork to Music vs. Freestyle

As with all sports, there are different styles that competitors can compete in. Like in figure skating how a skater could compete in either singles or pairs, both are still ice skating, but each division has its own set of rules. There are two divisions of heelwork to music; the first is just referred to as heelwork to music, and the other is called freestyle.


According to the World Canine Freestyle Association, freestyle is defined as “Musical Freestyle is a choreographed musical program performed by handlers and their dogs. The object of musical freestyle is to display the dog and handler in a creative, innovative and original dance, using music and intricate movements to showcase teamwork, artistry, costuming, athleticism and style in interpreting the theme of the music. Heelwork-to-Music incorporates traditional dog obedience and the art of dressage with the inclusion of musical interpretation, dance elements, and costuming with an emphasis on non-standard obedience movements. Both Musical Freestyle and Heelwork-To-Music routines should create a visually exciting display which is enjoyable to watch and which is equally enjoyable to dogs and handlers executing the programs. Canine freestyle is a showcase that truly demonstrates the joys and fun of bonding with your pet.”

Heelwork to Music

The Kennel Club defines heelwork to music as “Heelwork to Music came originally from the discipline of dog obedience and uses the heelwork elements of that discipline. It requires a dog to walk/trot at heel in any of the eight prescribed heelwork positions and the handler to choreograph that heelwork to a piece of music. The dog must be in a heelwork position for at least two thirds of a Heelwork to Music routine. The remaining one third may be freestyle.”

Heelwork to Music Moves

Creativity is key when it comes to heelwork to music routines. The only guidelines for heelwork to music routines are that the handler and dog must be in a heelwork position for at least ⅔ of the routine. The last ⅓ can be just about anything you can imagine. The best way to understand the heelwork to music sport is to watch a demonstration. We recommend watching some of the most recent Crufts heelwork to music routines. You can watch the Crufts 2017 international freestyle heelwork To music competition winner here, and find the entire Crufts Youtube channel here.

Sustained close-in heelwork sequences: these combinations entail the handler and dog moving together in a sustained and prolonged parallel position in straight, curved, or circular patterns.

Moving or stationary close-in heelwork: these combinations are done with the dog and handler next to one another or together. These moves can include spins, turns, pivots, paw moves, or hand moves, and more.

A Beginner’s Guide to Dog Agility

Looking for a sport that both you and your dog can enjoy? There’s a number of activities that owners and dogs can share and participate in together, and one of the more popular ones is dog agility. What makes dog agility unique is that pet owners and their dogs can either participate in it recreationally for fun exercise, or really commit to it and enroll in competitions to test your skills against other teams of dog owners and dogs.

What is Dog Agility?

Dog agility is a sport where a team of a handler and a dog is handled run through an obstacle course. The sport originated in England in the 1970s as a demonstration sport. The new, fast sport immediately took off and within a couple of years it was given official dog sport status in the UK. Today, agility is one of the most popular dog sports around the world, and is broadcasted on television and online to large audiences.

Dog agility is a timed event, with the fastest time through the course without errors or penalties being crowned the winner. A typical agility course will feature 12-18 obstacles. Obstacles can consist of tunnels, jumps, hurdles, weave poles, or ramps. The goal of the course is to force teams to encounter a variety of obstacles to test different forms of agility.

Unlike dock diving or treibball where the handler is largely stationary, in dog agility the handler moves around quite a bit. The handler needs to quickly lead their dog through the course in order to secure a competitive score.

Who Can Participate in Dog Agility?

Agility can be practiced with any breed of dog, no matter their size. The obstacles on a course are adjusted to fit the size of the dog. A dog only needs to be healthy enough to run through the course, and the handler must be healthy enough for the physical activity they’re going to exert as well. If you’re interested in getting into dog agility, a good way to start is to contact your local agility club or an experienced coach, who can help you to start your new hobby safely and well informed. The age of your dog also does not bar them from participating in agility. The game can be enjoyed by puppies and older dogs alike!

How to Train Your Dog for Agility

An awesome part of dog agility is that you can train them to play just for fun in the backyard with one or two obstacles, or go all out and join a local club to train on a more advanced course. In either scenario, you’re going to need to start with the basics with your dog. Here’s a brief overview of how to train your dog for three of the common obstacles you’ll face in a dog agility course.


When practicing jumps you should lower the bar so it is only a few inches off the ground. Before taking a run at leaping over the jump, let your dog explore the equipment. Let them walk near it and take some sniffs to feel more comfortable with what is surely going to be a unfamiliar object for them. When your dog seems comfortable, lead them over the bar on a short lead and praise them when they clear it. Repeat this process slowly raising the bar over time but never to a height where they knock the bar. With enough practice, they’ll get to the point where they can clear it on their own.

Chutes and Tunnels

While two separate obstacles on a dog agility course, chutes and tunnels have the same training basics. First fold the chute so that it is shorter in length making it a easier challenge for your dog. Place a long lead on your dog’s leash that feeds through the chute and get them to sit at one end. Head to the other side and verbally encourage your pup to come through. If they don’t, try using their leash as a gentle guide. As they learn to travel through the chute or tunnel, make sure to shower them in praise. As they get more comfortable going through on their own, extend the chute or tunnel slowly until you finally hit the full length.

Weave Poles

Weave poles are common obstacles in dog training, and take a bit of work from a training perspective. A good way to start is by leashing your dog and walking them through the poles slowly. After a few rounds, ditch the leash and try deploying voice commands to guide them through the poles. As with the other steps, celebrating their progress is a great way to condition them to get through the the poles on their own.

Learn More at PetPlace

Teaching your dog to maneuver their way through an agility course is a great way to establish a bond with your dog, and for you both to get some exercise. If you want to learn more about dog obedience and training, PetPlace is a great resource for you. We have thousands of vet-approved articles that are stuffed full of unique and informative insights to guide pet owners thought the awesome experience of pet ownership.

Why Do Cats Land on Their Feet?

There’s lots of myths and legends about cats that have been repeated through time. Cats have 9 lives, cats are good luck, cats are unlucky, a cat’s behavior can predict the weather, the list goes on and on. Another one of the more repeated bits about cats is that they always land on their feet. Is that true?

To an extent. Our feline friends are incredibly agile creatures and usually land on their feet when falling from a higher point. But there is a limit to that. This post will break down how cats pull off such acrobatic feats.

The Science of Cats

Cats and humans have been living together for about 10,000 years. Their unique mysterious nature and their athletic prowess has long fascinated humans. In Ancient Egypt, there were several cat-like gods and goddesses. Cats were so beloved by Ancient Egyptians, that after they died some were mummified so that they could spend eternity with their owners.

Scientists have also long shown a curiosity in studying cats. In the late 19th century, a French scientist and filmmaker named Etienne Jules Marey set out to discover how it was that cats seemed to always land on their feet. To do so, he used his chronophotographic camera which could capture 60 frames a second, which was quite the feat in those days. The frames would allow Marey to study the specific movements cats made as they adjusted to land on their feed.

What did he learn?

That the ability was a process, not a singular action. It all starts in the cat’s ear as the vestibular apparatus within the ear serves as the balance and orientation compass for a cat. It alerts the rest of the cats body of which direction is up and down. When a cat is falling, it signals quickly to that they’re not facing the right way, triggering the process. First, the cat will twist its head to find a safe place to land.

Next, the cat’s spine takes its turn. Cats have a unique skeletal structure consisting of no collarbone and an unusually flexible spine with 30 vertebrae. For context, humans have 24 and dogs have 36. Cats have a low body-weight ratio, so they’re able to slow the velocity in which they’re are falling. The flexibility of the cat’s spine allows for the cat to quickly correct its position during freefall. When the spine is twisting, the cat’s back arches, and their front paws move jump below their face to protect their head from impact. During the final landing, the cat’s back leg joints absorb the landing.

How High Can Cats Fall?

A cat’s ability to right itself midair and safely land on its feet is certainly impressive, but certain heights can be dangerous, even fatal, for a cat. Typically, felines that fall from greater heights, such as more than five floors, tend to suffer less severe injuries than those falling from just a couple stories. The longer freefall gives cats more time to right themselves and position their bodies correctly.

There have been some remarkable examples of cats landing from tremendous heights. In Boston, a kitty defied the odds and landed safely from a frightening 19-story fall.

Keep Your Kitty Safe

While it can be fascinating to see our cats leap of high book shelves or staircases and stick a perfect landing, cat owners should be mindful of their cats health and try to avoid giving them the temptation to make mighty leaps. One place to keep an eye out is windows.

As all cat owners can testify, kitties love to perch up on window seals and gaze out at the great outdoors. Birds, bugs, squirrels, rabbits, and pedestrians are fun for cats to look at. However, if the window is open or the screen is not secure, sometimes cats can be tempted to go from observer to participant. If that window is in the top floor of your home, or if you live in an apartment window, the distance your cat will free fall towards the ground could present a problem for them. Make sure to keep your windows closed, or, if they’re open to let in a breeze, make sure that your window screens are secure enough that your kitty won’t be able to leap out.

Learn more about your cat’s safety at PetPlace!

Foods to Never Feed Your Dog

Whether you’ve just adopted a little puppy, brought home an adult-aged dog from your local shelter, or you’ve been lucky enough to have owned a dog for years, every pet owner is ultimately responsible for the food their dog eats. Part of the responsibility that a pet owner accepts when raising a dog is to provide a safe and healthy life for their furry pals.

Sometimes table scraps and human food create a problem for pet owners. When our cute and loving dogs hit us with their hungry eyes as we reach the end of our plates, it’s tempting to not drop a piece or two down to the floor. They love to eat our flavor-rich foods, but many of the foods that our bodies digest lickity-split, cause havoc in a dog’s digestive system.

This post will list out foods that are particularly dangerous to dogs.

Sweets (Xylitol)

Of course, you never want to feed you dog human food. But if you do give them a sliver of your table scraps, a rule of thumb for yourself is if the food is sweet, never feed it to Rufus. Sugary foods feature sweeteners that are bad news for your dog. Xylitol is one of the more common ones. It is found in candy, gums, toothpaste, baked goods, and some other products. Sweets are very hard for you dog to process, and can causes them to experience a number of digestive issues.


Avocado toast is a breakfast item that is raging in popularity throughout the country. While it’s a yummy treat for humans, it’s a problem for dogs. Avocado features the toxin Persin. Most humans can digest Persin without complications, as our bodies have developed the ability to digest it over time. Dogs haven’t. The toxin can be very poisonous for dogs and leave your pet feeling quite sick.


This one may seem like a no brainer, but is still important to note. Alcohol has a harsh effect on the organs of a dog, and exposure to it can cause a list of issues including death. Never let your dog have alcohol.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic are common items to keep around the kitchen as they are crucial ingredients in a number of delicious recipes — and of course garlic will keep Vampire away from you and your dog! But, if your pup gets a taste of onions or garlic their bodies don’t react well. Each of these items can wreak havoc on your dog’s red blood cells, which causes anemia.


Most vets will tell you that fruits and veggies are among the human foods that dogs can handle. However, they will also tell you that grapes are an exception. Grapes, and their cousin the raisins, can cause kidney failure in dogs. And just a small amount can make a dog sick. Vomiting over and over is an early sign that your dog might have snagged a taste of a few grapes.

Dairy Products

When you’re cooling off on a hot day with a cone of delicious ice cream, you’ll be tempted to let your pup have a lick as well. Don’t do it. Milk and milk-based products can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems for your dog. They can also trigger food allergies, which can cause her to itch. If you want to give your dog a treat to cool down, ice cubes are a great option.

Macadamia Nuts

Sorry, Fido. Grandma’s famous Macadamia Nut cookies aren’t for you. Keep your dog away from macadamia nuts and foods that have macadamia nuts in them. Just six raw or roasted macadamia nuts can make a dog sick. Look for symptoms like muscle shakes, vomiting, high temperature, and weakness in his back legs.


We mentioned earlier that pet owners should avoid giving their pet sweets. But chocolate is such a bad idea for dogs that it deserves its own section. How could something so good be so bad? The problem in chocolate is theobromine, which is an active ingredient in all kinds of chocolate — even white chocolate. The most dangerous types are dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate. Chocolate can cause a dog to vomit and have diarrhea, and in cases where lots of chocolate is ingested, heart problems and seizures can be fatal. Keep chocolate away from your dog at all times.


To be clear, we’re talking about bones that come from human foods. The oversized bones you buy for your dog at the pet store are just fine. Unfortunately, some pet owners think that a steak bone or chicken bone they have left after their dinner is safe to let their dog chew on. Bones pose a threat for dogs as they can easily choke on the bone fragments that come loose. Also, the bones can splinter and cut up your puppy’s gums.

Beginner’s Guide to Dock Diving

Dock diving, sometimes called dock jumping, is a fascinating canine sport where dogs leap from dogs into bodies of water. Similar to a long jump in track and field, the measurement of the dog’s jump determines the winner.

Whether you’ve seen it performed in person, on TV, or seen clips online, it’s easy to see how it would be fun to train your dog in dock jumping. Lucky for you, you can train your dog to enjoy dock diving!

What is Dock Diving

Dock diving first appeared at the 1997 Purina Incredible Dog Challenge, and soon become a popular hits among both sports fans and dog lovers. Three years later, the event was televised on ESPN.

Dock divers requires a dog and a human handler. Together, the two work and train to get the dog to jump as far from the dock into the water as possible. To incentivize the dog to leap into the water, typically the handler will throw a ball or toy for them to leap after. There are a few different variety of dock diving that take different measurements to crown their winner. The most popular competition measures the length of the jump, but some measure the height of the dogs jump or the speed in the dog reaches as they approach their jump.

The rules of dock diving provide each team a few tries at the dock. How many jumps and how often a team competes varies from competition to competition, but all events have openings for teams of varied experience levels. The size of the docks are approximately 40 feet long and 8 feet wide to ensure that there is plenty of room for the dog to get a running start at their leap.
The size of the pool can vary, but is typically 21 feet long by 9 feet wide to provide the dogs with enough space and depth to land safely. Pools have the measurements labeled on the side so that judges can score the jump and observers can appreciate how far a dog has jumped. Large events use cameras and sensors to accurately measure the precise distance.

What’s a good jump?

Beginner jumps range between two and nine feet. Some of the most talented dog divers that compete at the highest levels can leap an incredible thirty feet!

Official competitions do not restrict particular breeds of dogs from competing, however most of the dogs are labrador retrievers. Of course, if you dog is averse to water or doesn’t know how to swim, dock diving is not the sport for them.

How to Train Your Dog to Dock Dive

If your dog loves to swim, you should be able to train them to dock dive pretty easily. If they haven’t swam before, here’s some tips on introducing them to water. The first step is teach your dog how to fetch, if they don’t already know how. Some dogs will instinctively know how to fetch, you simply need to work on voice commands and teaching your dog to bring the object you throw back to them.

Once your dog has fetch down, it’s time to add water. More than likely you’re not going to have a swimming pool available to you to practice, so usually you need to contact a dock diving organization in your area to inquire about finding practice time for you and your dog. Once you find some water to practice in, you’re going to want to start by walking your pup down to the water to show them it’s safe. Splash a bit of water on him so he knows what it is. A clear and clean pool is going to be odd for you dog to see, as lakes or ponds they may have experience swimming in are dark and murky by comparison.

After you introduce them to the water, take them to the dock and let them get a feel for the length by walking the entire distance with them. When they seem comfortable, get in position and give the ball a toss. Your dog will likely leap after it without further instruction. From there, work on your throws to encourage your dog to leap further each time.

Learn More About Training Your Dog at PetPlace

Teaching your dog to dock dive is a great way to bond with your furry little friend, as well as give them tremendous exercise. At PetPlace, we have plenty more information about dog training and obedience for you to check out.

10 Thoughts You Have After Adopting A Puppy

Adopting a puppy is a thrilling experience, but it is also a time that is filled with a variety of questions. Especially if it’s your first puppy. Before you bring home a puppy, there’s a number of things you’ll want to do to ensure you have everything you need when you bring the puppy home. Once you do bring home your puppy and are enjoying playing with her, you might observe some behaviors that make you curious.

This article features some of the common thoughts new puppy owners experience in the first few days of owning a puppy.

This Puppy is SOOOO Cute!

Bringing home a puppy is an absolute joy. The first few hours you have with your new puppy at home will feel like they’re moving in slow motion. The adorable little pup will do basic things like run across the room or fall asleep in your lap, but these things will tug at your heartstrings and seem like the cutest acts you’ve ever scene. Enjoy these puppy moments.

 I Thought Cats Were the Curious Ones?

Your new puppy is going to be curious to check out your her new home. They’ll range throughout your home smelling and exploring all the rooms, objects, and potential napping locations you have to offer.

Is She Supposed to Sleep This Much?

You’ll likely be surprised how much your little puppy is sleeping. While you’ll want to cuddle and play with your new puppy as much as possible, your puppy does require plenty of shut eye. A puppy needs to get about 18-19 hours of sleep a day, so you’re going to notice her taking plenty of naps.

Ouch! His Little Teeth Hurt!

Biting is common for little puppies. When they were still living with their mothers, puppies will often play-bite with their littermates. Because of this positive playing with their littermates, many puppies will play-bite with their pet owners thinking it’s fun for each of you. Here’s a guide for training your puppy to stop biting.

Why Doesn’t She Want to Go in Her Crate at Night?

When it’s time for bed and you go to place your new pup in her crate, you might face some pushback. If so, no worries it’s normal. Here are some tips on crate training your puppy.

How Often Should I Be Taking Her Outside?

Typically you should be taking your puppy outside to use the bathroom shortly after she eats. If she’s alone during the days when you’re at work, taking her out for a long walk once you get home is a great way for her to get some energy out.

How Long Until She Starts Listening To Me?

Puppies are cute to look at, fun to play with, and great to cuddle with. But, they do lack the skills to listen to commands. At least at first. Here’s a guide to start teaching your puppy basic commands.

Can I introduce My Puppy To My Friends? And Their Pets?

You’re going to be excited to show off your new puppy. Snapping adorable pics on your social media accounts will only get you so far. Conditioning your puppy to get use to being around other humans and pets is called socialization.

Some puppies will adapt to the company of others rather quickly and seamlessly. Others will take a while. It largely depends on the type of environment your puppy grew up in. Regardless of how prepared your puppy has been for socializing with humans and other pets, there are good and bad puppy socialization methods that owners should be aware of.

That’s Not the Bathroom!

It’s inevitable that your puppy is going to have some accidents early on. The tremendous sense of smell, and preference towards habits, will make cleaning up after these accidents essential for you as a pet owner. If your puppy can identify the stench of their urine, they’re likely to repeat the accident in a similar spot. Here’s some tips for getting rid of puppy urine smell.

She Seems Perfectly Healthy, But How Can I Be Sure?

You’ll want to set up an appointment with a nearby vet shortly after you bring home your puppy. You’ll want a vet to give your puppy a full examination to make sure she is in good health and to set up a schedule for the necessary vaccinations your puppy will need.

A Beginner’s Guide to Flyball

Find yourself looking for a new game to enjoy with your dog? If your dog is quick and loves to play fetch, then he might love playing flyball even more! Flyball is a type of relay race where teams of dogs alternate jumping over hurdles and retrieving a tennis ball.

So it’s like fetch, but with hurdles?

Not quite. The twist of flyball is that to get the ball a dog has to activate a spring-loaded box, which then ejects the ball. From there, the dog has to retrieve the ball, ideally in the air, and race back to their team so the next dog can take a turn.

Dying for more information on this fun game? Read one for more details.

How It Works

Flyball races feature two teams competing on a 51-foot course set with four jumps. Flyball teams consist of at least four dogs, and two humans. One human is the handler who is there to communicate commands to the dogs, the other is a box loader, who sets the tennis balls into the spring box as the dogs compete.

Each dog navigates the jumps on the course until they reach the end and activate the box to eject the ball. Ideally, the dog will catch the ball in the air with their mouth, and then races back to the start. The dog with the ball in their mouth has to run through the line before the team’s next dog can go. Each dog on the team must successfully complete the course, and the first team to finish without any errors wins.


Can My Dog Learn To Play Flyball?

Short answer, yes! One of the best things about flyball is that any dog can play. The only dogs that shouldn’t play flyball are ones that have medical restrictions that will pose a risk with all the running involved in flyball. However, training your dog to play flyball is going to require a time commitment from both you and your dog.

Dogs that tend to excel at the flyball include breeds that are known for herding or retrieving. Many of the skills and training principles that exist in successful herding dogs and hunting retrievers are shared in excelling at the sport of flyball. Don’t have a herding dog or a retriever? No worries, your Bulldog, Basset Hounds, or even Chihuahua can be trained to play flyball.


How Can I Train My Dog To Play Flyball?

If you’re interesting in learning more about flyball, and how to effectively train yourself and your dog to play, consider looking for a flyball chapter in your area. For a basic overview of how to train your dog, here are some of the steps you will want to take.

Step 1: Start With Commands

The first step to teaching your dog to play flyball is to instruct them to catch the tennis ball with their mouth, and not release it until you command them to. If you dog has been trained to hunt, and play fetch using voice commands, this step will be a breeze. Start by engaging your dog in brief sessions of fetch each day. When your dog brings the ball back to you, give him the “release” or “drop it” command and give him a treat when he responds correctly. The goal should be that you can throw the ball and your dog will remain still until you command them to fetch.

Step 2: First Hurdle

Once you have the voice commands down, the next step in training your dog for flyball is to teach him to jump over hurdles. While there is four hurdles on a flyball field, start by training your dog one at a time. Set up a single hurdle in a flat area of your yard and stand in front of it with your dog. In order to have your dog leap over the hurdle, throw the tennis ball over it and verbally command your dog to fetch it. Similar to the last step, a good regimen of training is to do this for about 15 minutes a day until they get it down.

Step 3: More Hurdles

Once your dog has the first hurdle down, it’s time to set up a second hurdle about 5 feet away from the first. As you did before, toss the tennis ball over both of them for your dog to fetch. You may need to walk your dog over the hurdles the first few times until he gets the hang of it. Using treats as rewards is always a helpful tool. Once your pup is able to leap over both hurdles and bring you the ball, then you’re ready to add a third and fourth. After they have the hang of leaping over four, your dog is trained to run the entirety of a flyball course. Once your dog gets the hang of the two hurdles you can add a third and eventually a fourth until your dog is running through a mini flyball course.

Step 4: The Flyball Box

Once your dog has mastered the hurdles, it’s time to introduce him to the flyball box. Your first step will be to train the dog to press on the box so it will release the ball. Handing out Scooby Snacks as a reward each time he presses the box correctly is a great way to train him. Make sure you use a specific command to teach your dog to press the box.

You’re Ready for Flyball!

Once you and your dog have gotten through the four steps of training, you can start playing flyball! To find more dogs that are trained in your area, consult the official flyball website to learn more about flyball competitions, trainings, and gatherings near you.

Spaying Your Cat: A Post-Operation Guide

If you’re planning on bringing home a new kitten, one of the first tasks you’ll be faced with is either getting your kitten spayed or neutered and then caring for your kitten post-operation. Having your cat spayed or neutered can have many health, financial, and behavioral benefits. Caring for your kitten post-op is easy, follow our tips below to keep your new furry family member healthy and happy following their spaying or neutering procedure.


What is Spaying or Neutering?

First, the spaying procedure is done on female kittens and the neutering procedure on males. The spaying procedure, medically known as an ovariohysterectomy, is the surgical procedure in which both ovaries and most of the uterus is removed from your kitten’s body.

Neutering, on the other hand, is medically called an orchiectomy or castration, and entails the removal of the testicles of a male kitten. The two procedures may be different in their execution, but their end goal is the same. Once a kitten has been spayed or neutered they are no longer able to produce offspring. But that’s not where the benefits end.


The Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Your Kitten

The benefits of spaying or neutering your kitten go far beyond simply eliminating their ability to have young. From behavioral improvements to far-reaching positive health implications, spaying or neutering your new kitten can have an impactful positive effect on your kitten for the rest of its life.

The Benefits of Spaying:

  • It prevents your cat from going into heat.
  • It prevents your cat from getting pregnant.
  • It may make your cat more gentle and affectionate.
  • It may help prevent your cat from getting breast cancer later in life.
  • It prevents your cat from getting an infection in the uterus later in life.
  • It prevents cancer of the uterus or ovaries.
  • The cost of spaying is far less expensive than the cost of raising a litter of kittens.

The Benefits of Neutering:

  • It prevents your kitten from getting a female kitten pregnant.
  • It may make your kitten more gentle and affectionate.
  • It may keep your kitten from roaming and getting into fights with other animals.
  • It prevents your kitten from getting cancer of the testicles or prostate gland later in life.
  • It helps prevent your cat from spraying urine in the house.
  • The cost of neutering is far less expensive than the cost of raising a litter of kittens.


The Day of Your Kitten’s Operation

When the day comes for your kitten to be spayed or neutered, there are a few steps your vet will ask you to take to ensure your kitten has a successful operation. But take note; all instructions are subject to your vet’s recommendations. Your vet will give you detailed instructions to follow the morning of your kitten’s surgery; make sure that you follow those instructions exactly.

First, you’ll need to take up your cat’s food and water at night so that they can’t eat through the night or eat in the morning. Next, you’ll need to load your kitten into his or her carrier and take them to the vet. Your vet will most likely ask you to drop off your kitten early in the morning so that they have ample time to perform the surgery and monitor your kitten as he or she wakes up post-op. Give your kitty lots of love when you drop him or her off before saying goodbye.

The actual surgery will only take about 30 minutes, but your vet will keep your kitty around until they have woken up from their anesthesia. When you pick your kitten up from the vet, they’ll provide you with detailed post-op instructions. Those instructions will most likely include:

  • Keep your kitten in its e-collar at all times until your vet gives you the clearance to remove it. This will most likely be around 10 days post-op. You’ll need to leave it on when your cat is eating, sleeping, and up and about. No exceptions.
  • Keep an eye on your kitten’s stitches to monitor its recovery. If the area becomes inflamed or discolored, talk to your vet.
  • Keep your cat calm in the two weeks after its surgery. Some vets may recommend secluding your kitten in a smaller room when you leave to limit their mobility.
  • If there are other cats in your house, you’ll need to keep your cats separated post-op. Your kitten’s e-collar will keep it from licking its stitches, but there will be nothing to stop your other cat from licking your kitten’s stitches while you’re at work if you leave them together. When you’re home, make sure that you’re keeping your older cat from aggravating your kitten’s surgical wounds.
  • You may need to get creative with your feeding routine. With the e-collar on, some kittens won’t be able to eat out of their food dish. Most have found success by elevating their kitten’s dish so that the e-collar doesn’t hit the floor while they’re eating.
  • You’ll need to keep up with your cat’s pain management routine carefully post-op. Attach a magnetic whiteboard to your fridge so that you can write down when you last gave your kitten its meds and when it will need them again.


Keeping Your Kitten Happy Post-Op

If you follow all of our tips above, you’ll find that keeping your kitten happy and healthy post-op can be easy. Make sure to keep a watchful eye on your kitten and watch for any adverse reactions to the procedure. If you have any questions or become concerned about your kitten’s health, call your vet immediately.

Does a Kitten Make a Good Gift?

You’ve probably heard the sad stats about pets who are adopted at Christmas in a bid to surprise loved ones only to be abandoned in the weeks that follow by couples who were not prepared to provide for their new family member. Because that’s what pets are; family members. Living things are not gifts; they deserve a home and a family who are prepared for their arrival and who are able to provide them with the love and care they need. A live animal should not be purchased on a whim. The choice to adopt a new kitten, puppy, hamster, or anything else needs to be discussed between two informed adults.


The winter holidays are over, but there’s still one holiday left that many use as an opportunity to bring home a new pet; Valentine’s Day. Don’t get us wrong; bringing home a new pet can be an exciting time, and a pet can be a great addition to a home. But for all of the reasons listed above, we want to provide you with an accurate depiction of what your new kitten will need from you prior to and after you bring it home. Additionally, we will provide some tips on how you can still achieve the “surprise” factor you’re looking for this Valentine’s Day while still being considerate of your new furry family member.

Factors to Think About Before Bringing Home a New Kitten

As mentioned above, bringing home a new kitten can’t be a spur of the moment decision. Bringing home a new kitten needs to be discussed thoroughly between you and your partner prior to your kitten’s arrival. Here are some key points you’ll need to cover during that discussion.


  • Are we willing to devote the time needed to litter box train our kitten?
  • Are we financially able to afford all of the supplies needed to raise a kitten?
  • Are we financially able to afford the cost of our kitten’s vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and continued vet care?
  • Are we willing to commit to this kitten for the 12-15 years of our lives?
  • Will we be able to make arrangements for someone to care for our cat while we are away?
  • Do we have any pets or family members that will not tolerate the addition of a new pet due to physiological or medical reasons?
  • Are we willing to kitten-proof our house for our kitten?
  • Should we get our kitten from a breeder or a shelter?
  • Does our current place of residence allow pets?

Supplies Your Kitten Will Need

While the kitten will definitely be the most notable new addition to your home, you’ll need to add quite a few additional kitten supplies to keep him or her happy and healthy. Here’s a beginner’s list to help you get started.

  • Collar
  • ID Tag
    • Engraved with your name and number in case your kitten gets out
  • Food and water dishes
  • Scratching post
  • Brush
  • Nail trimmer
  • Cat Bed
  • Food
    • You’ll need to continue feeding your kitten whatever they were eating at their last home, be that a breeder or a shelter, before slowly transitioning over to your new food of choice. Your vet will be able to give you some great recommendation for cat food to best complement your kitten
  • Toys
  • Litter
  • Litter boxes
    • It’s recommended to have one more litter box than kittens in your household. For example, if you have one kitten, we suggest getting two litter boxes; two kittens need three litter boxes, and so on, and so forth.
  • A cat carrier
    • For trips to the vet and for the car ride home
  • Disinfectant spray
    • For when your kitty is first learning how to use their litter box
  • A pooper scooper

How to Prep Your Home for Your New Kitten

If you’ve made it this far, then you’re seriously considering bringing home a new kitten for Valentine’s Day. Here’s the next step in your process: kitten-proofing. While most know that they need to puppy-proof, for some reason, people fall short when it comes to kitten-proofing. Here’s a quick guide to get your home kitten ready.

  • Put away any loose cords, or minimize cords where possible with zip ties or velcro strips.  
  • Move valuable and breakable items away from the edges of furniture
  • Vacuum to remove any dangerous small objects from your flooring
  • Seal any kitten-accessible crevices such as open ductwork or vents
  • Take stock of your houseplants and remove any that pose a risk to your kitten

How to Responsibly Surprise Your Loved one with a Kitten on Valentine’s Day

It’s easy to surprise your loved one with a kitten responsibly. Here’s how we recommend you accomplish this feat. When Valentine’s Day comes, you have a few options:

  • Surprise your loved one with a beautifully wrapped kitten collar and the news that you’re going to pick out a kitten together as soon as you’re both ready.
  • Create a “Free Kitten” coupon and gift it to your loved one in their Valentine’s Day card. Then you can both go and choose your kitten together when you’re both ready.
  • While your loved one is out, set up all of your new kitten supplies throughout your home. When your loved one comes home and sees the new additions, surprise them with the news that you’re getting a kitten for Valentines Day. Later, you can both go and choose a kitten together when you’re ready.