Pet Food Stamps – Assistance Program for Pet Owners

Pet Food Stamps Assistance Program

SNAP (The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) provides assistance to over 40 million American citizens each year that are struggling to pay for food. The assistance, commonly referred to as the “food stamp” program, helps to provide struggling families and individuals basic food necessities. Items eligible to be purchased using the program include fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, meat and dairy products. The program also allows eligible users to purchase seeds and plants that produce foods for consumption. Even though the program covers a lot of items the people need, SNAP cannot be used to purchase other semi-essential items like soap, household supplies, vitamins, and hot foods. Also not incorporated in the program are pet foods and other products needed for pets. However, a non-profit program was founded in 2013 to help pet owners handle the cost of pet foods.

Pet Food Stamps

Pet foods are expensive and obviously necessary for a pet to live. In February 2013, Marc Okon, a well-known businessman from New York, started a privately funded non-profit organization called Pet Food Stamps. The program is fairly self-explanatory – low income families and individuals apply to receive pet food at no cost. Once approved, free pet food is delivered to the applicant. Pets are commonly the first to feel the effect of financial stress as owners often have no choice but to abandon or give pets away that they no longer can afford to keep. The Pet Food Stamp program is intended to help keep family’s unofficial members in their home. The impact of keeping cats, dogs and other animals with families, particularly families with children or elderly, cannot be easily quantified but is certainly enormous.

Demand

The demand and response for the fund has been huge. Thousands of pet owners have already applied for help since it began. Rising prices, low wages, and a still sluggish economy all contribute to a need for help. Animal shelters across the United States are overwhelmed with pets and strays that have been left behind to live on their own. Although demand is high, volunteer assistance is also high. Many pet lovers sympathize with struggling families and assist with the program. Volunteers are able to sponsor and distribute pet foods to needing homes. Sponsors do not select the home or pets that are in need but instead, they are selected by being the next in line. This helps prevent favoritism.

Program Criticism

Critics will always attempt to find issues with assistance programs. Some say that families in need should focus on their own issues and not be burdened with having to take care of pets as well. Even if pet food is paid for, what about other expenses involved with owning a cat or dog? Pets can be expensive and can potentially prevent owners from paying for their own necessities.

Advocates for the program believe that most people just want to keep their pet in their home. Pets help keep people happy and many care deeply for them. This program helps alleviate just a little bit of burden off of low income pet owners.

Program Funding

The program is privately run and funded but they do accept donations. Donations can be either one-time donations or recurring monthly donations. Monthly donation amounts vary from as little as $10 to up to $500 or more. Donations for the Pet Food Stamps program are currently only accepted online through Paypal at this time.

Be Sociable, Share!

Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Cat Food Review

Nature's Recipe Grain-Free Cat Food Review

Review

Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Indoor Chicken and Potato Adult Cat Food is a dry cat food product produced by Nature’s Recipe. Nature’s Recipe Pet Food is known for also meeting or exceeding the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO. They also stick to the nature them by not including artificial flavor, color and preservatives.

The main ingredients include chicken and chicken meal, turkey meal, potatoes and peas. It does not contain any corn or added fillers and it has no meat by-product meals. OCF always appreciates corn-free products. It also emphasizes carbohydrates like potatoes and carrots over fillers like corn and wheat, which are common in cheap cat foods.

Overall reviews of Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Cat Food are good, but limited. The product is fairly new to the market and there are few in-depth reviews. Amazon has an aggregate rating of 4.5 out of 5, with no negative reviews. Petco has an aggregate rating of 5 out of 5. People that rated it highly enjoy that it’s grain free and healthy. Several mentioned that they successfully switched from cheaper brands after their cats began to gain weight. There were virtually no negative comments, but again, reviews were limited.

The current price (may vary) is around $.26/oz.  This is pretty high when compared to other grain-free brands.

Recommendation

While the jury is still out due to limited reviews, on paper this is a great product. The ingredients are exactly what health conscious cat owners are looking for. As always, if you switch to this brand, please make sure to transition slowly.

OCF Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

Be Sociable, Share!

Max Indoor Cat Food Review

Max Cat Indoor Adult Review

Review

Max Indoor Cat Food Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor is a dry cat food product produced by Max Cat, a brand from the Nutro Company.  Max Cat is a semi premium cat food brand that states that it provides natural nutrition at reasonable prices.  Their primary focus is on the added vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants  that some other brands do not provide. This includes protein, zinc, calcium, vitamins C and E, and fruits like cranberries and blueberries. It also contains hairball control fiber sources like oats and tomato pomace.

The main ingredients include chicken meal with water and fat removed, ground rice, wheat flour, *corn meal*, and poultry fat.  It does not contain any added sweeteners, food color or flavors. It also does not contain artificial chemicals like BHT, BHA or ethoxyquin. Ethoxyquin is a food preservative that is banned in Europe and Australia but still allowed in the United States.

Overall reviews of Max Cat’s Indoor Cat Formula are very good.  Amazon has an aggregate rating of 4.4 out of 5.  Petco has an impressive aggregate rating of 4.7.  People seem to have strong brand loyalty with Max Cat products. People that rated it highly enjoy its positive effect on their cat’s coat. They also noted how much all of their cats enjoyed the product. The only regular theme from the negative reviews was that some noted that the kibbles are rather large and their cats had trouble eating it.

The current price (may vary) is around $.11/oz.  This is much more affordable than many comparable brands.

Recommendation

Max Indoor Cat Food is a good value but there are some concerns. Owners wary of grains like corn might want to stay away from this product as corn meal is one of the primary ingredients. Despite this, it does have some good quality ingredients and fantastic reviews. Please note that this is not an organic or natural cat food.

OCF’s Rating:  3.8

Be Sociable, Share!

Interesting Cat Facts – U.S. Demographics

Interesting Cat Facts

Interesting Cat Facts From the American Veterinary Medical Association

According to the study, in the United States, cats are the second most popular pet animal in terms of number of households owning (dogs are first) but are the most popular pet in total number. As of 2012, there are over 74 million pet cats in America. That equates to about 1 cat for every 4 people. Probably the most interesting fact is that the average number of cats in cat owner’s homes is over 2. Crazy cat ladies unite!

US Pet Owning Statistics

The average veterinary cost per household with cats is $191, which equates to about $90 per cat. This is a very important number to consider when thinking about the costs involved with buying a cat, along with cat food and cat litter. Both the total cost and cost per animal for vet expenses is lower than it is for dogs.

Cat Ownership by State

According to the same study, states on the northern coasts (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon and Washington) were among the most frequent cat owners. There is also a pocket in the Eastern Midwest/Appalachian regions (Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia). No states south of Kentucky were in the top 10. Vermont had the highest cat ownership percentage of any state. Nearly half of all households in the Green Mountain State have cats.

Most cat owners by state

Most popular and least popular Cat Ownership by State

The lowest cat ownership state was California. Only about 28% of homes have cats. Besides California, the Southeast dominates the list. South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Georgia are all in the bottom ten. Interestingly enough, Washington DC, though not a state, has an abnormally low cat ownership rate. Only about 1 in 8 homes has a cat. It appears that pet restrictions may be the reason.

Is your state cat friendly? Do you have any interesting cat facts? Post a comment below!

Be Sociable, Share!

Flushable Cat Litter

Flushable Cat Litter

Pet Waste Management

In recent years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has conducted a series of studies on the effects of pet waste on the environment. The results of their study concluded that pet waste can cause serious water pollution if left untreated. Pet waste releases ammonia and consumes oxygen while decaying in water. Ammonia and lower oxygen levels can quickly damage the health of aquatic life, including fish. Additionally, pet waste carries parasites, viruses and bacteria. This can greatly harm both humans and other wildlife.

Solutions

Most of the concern comes from dog waste, as it is commonly left in yards, parks and other areas where runoff is common. However, studies also indicate cat waste, when not properly disposed of, has the same effects. Most state and local environmental agencies recommend flushing cat waste in your toilet. This allows it to go to a treatment facility and decay without damaging or contaminating. Do NOT flush raw cat litter, however. This can clog drains and is against many city ordinances.

While most areas encourage you to flush cat waste, some cities have banned the practice. Check your local waste management website to see if your area has any restrictions.

Flushable Cat Litter

There are many cat litters that are specially designed to be flushed. They are made to degrade fast than normal litter and are more environmentally friendly. Below is a comparison chart showing some of the most popular brands of flushable cat litter.

Flushable Cat Litter Comparison Chart

Brand
Price
Positives
Negatives
$$
Very little dust, non-allergenic
Doesn't absorb well, some odor complaints
$$
Highly flushable, very little dust
Potential bug/moth issue, poor odor control
$$$
Elminates odors well, gental scent
Tracks on floor
$$
Eliminates odors well
Dusty
$$
Very little dust, easy to scoop
Very poor odor control

What do you think? Do you flush your cat’s waste?

Be Sociable, Share!

Cat Food Ingredients You’ve Never Heard Of

Cat Food Ingredients You've Never Heard Of

Cat Food Ingredients

Advocates for being a conscientious healthy cat owner will always say to read the ingredients on your cat food. They say you should understand what your feline friend is consuming. However, if you’ve ever read a cat food label, you know it’s hard enough to pronounce a lot of the words, let alone know what they are and what they do. Food labels are a bad combination of high school chemistry class vocabulary and a deli menu. Here are 5 common cat food ingredients you’ve either never heard of or have no idea what they are for.

Tocopherols

Cat Food Ingredients Tocopherols Vitamin E

Vitamin E Supplement – LifeSupercharger via flickr

Tocopherols, sometimes labled as mixed-tocopherols, are chemical compounds that contain vitamin E. The chemical is commonly extracted from olive oil, peanuts, sunflowers and other oils. Vitamin E’s main function is that it acts as an antioxidant in the body. It also plays roles in muscle growth, gene expression, and some other neurological functions. It is harmless in regular doses and is added to many vitamin supplements moisturizers for humans.

Choline Chloride

Cat Food Ingredients Choline Chloride

Choline Chloride is simply an organic ammonium salt. It is also commonly called biocolina, lipotril or hepacholine. It’s primary use is as a nutrient for growth and development. It is commonly an additive in chicken feed, which allows them to grow quicker. A study by the National Centre for Ecotoxicology and Hazardous Substances concluded there were no adverse health effects on rats that were tested in the study. However human test subjects showed an increase in hypotension when given a high intake of choline chloride. Despite this, the component is considered safe.

Pyridoxine Hydrochloride

Pyridoxine Hydrocholride is essentially a salt containing vitamin B6. It is found in nearly every cat food on the market today. Vitamin B6 is an essential vitamin that is commonly found in meats, vegetables and grains. Its primary purpose is to assist enzyme reactions to help break down foods. It also is involved with the immune system and brain development.

Copper Sulfate

Cat Food Ingredient Copper Sulfate

Crystallized Copper Sulfate

Copper sulfate is a basic mineral salt used to kill bacteria, algae and fungi. It can be found in nearly all big name cat food brands. It is also useful in solidifying dry cat food ingredients. Copper Sulfate is somewhat controversial as some unverified reports link it to cancel. It is commonly used in pool cleaners and in snail poison. However, SuperNutrition USA published a report that stated that there are no instances of any adverse health effects from copper sulfate and that copper sulfate is safe in small, normal doses. The study stated that it’s no more dangerous than any other vitamin or mineral.

Yucca Schidigera Extract

Cat Food Ingredients - Yucca Schidigera Plant

joshuatreenp via flickr

Yucca Schidigera is a flowering plant found in desserts in the southeastern United States. The plant has many practical uses and was valuable to Native Americans. The leaves can be used to make rope and other durable materials. The fruit and flowers of the plant are edible and the seeds can be ground into flour. In cat food, its primary purpose is to reduce feces odors. It is typically only found in premium cat foods, including Blue Buffalo and Wellness CORE. Some pet owners are weary of this ingredient as few tests have been done to confirm safety.

Be Sociable, Share!

Catnip for Cats

Almost all cat owners have heard of using catnip for cats. It can be found it cat toys, treats and also in its raw form. But what is it and how does it work?

What is Catnip?

Catnip is a species of flowering plant that is native to parts of Asia and Europe. It is also known as catswort, catmint, or its binomial name, Nepta Cataria. The catnip plant is a perennial herbaceous species that grows to two to four feet tall. The plant itself is typically green during peak season with triangular shaped leaves. The flowers are small and are usually a light purple or pink color. They are exposed for most of the season and have a fairly strong fragrance. Catnip belongs to the mint family, lamiaceae.

Catnip Plant Nepta Cataria

Catnip for Cats

Why Do Cats Like Catnip?

Catnip contains the chemical nepetalactone. Nepetalactone gives off a scent to cats that is highly stimulating and enjoyable for felines. Cats smell the chemical through their olfactory epithelium in their nasal cavity. Once the scent takes its hold on the feline, it will purr, rub against it, lick or chew it or do other things that give you the sense that the cat enjoys it.

Catnip effects

Although the exact reason why cats love it is unknown, many scientists believe it has a drug-like effect that puts the cat in a state of euphoria. The chemical reaction is relatively harmless and only lasts a few minutes. Olfactory fatigue kicks in due to the prolonged exposure to the scent (essentially they adjust to it much like humans do to food in a restaurant).

Catnip Overdose

While the effects may seem potent, using catnip for cats is safe. Cats cannot overdose on catnip. Some cats will have stronger reactions than others but there are no serious health threats directly related to catnip. Strong (but rare) reactions include vomiting and diarrhea, but this appears to be more related to diet and other outside factors.

Do All Cats Like Catnip?

Not all cats have the same reaction to catnip. In fact, some cats will not respond to catnip at all. About 1 out of 3 cats will have no reaction to the aroma. This is contributed to heredity. Some blood lines react more than others. Additionally, kittens under the age of 6-8 weeks will either have no interest in it or some even will avoid it.

Other Uses of Catnip

In addition to stirring cats into crazes, catnip is also used for many other purposes. Catnip is common in gardens because it attracts butterflies and is a natural repellant to mosquitoes, flies and other disruptive insects. Catnip is also used in human consumption. It historically has been used for a variety of medical uses. Studies have shown it can be effective in treating stress, insomnia, and headaches. However, stronger over-the-counter medicines have lowered the popularity of catnip for these uses. Catnip is also sometimes legally smoked for a slight high.

Organic Catnip

Organic catnip can be found just about anywhere organic pet products are sold. Organic catnip for cats is made without potentially harmful chemicals and abides by the USDA’s Certified Organic Program. Sojos sells a reasonably priced product on their website and on Amazon.

If you liked this article – Catnip for Cats – then check out some of our other posts:

3 of the Best Cat Toys
Vegan Cat Food
Organic Cat Toys

Be Sociable, Share!

3 of the Best Cat Toys

Best Cat Toys

There are many cat toys out on the market today. Balls, feathers, play houses and many other things that keep your cat occupied throughout the day. The fact is, cats are usually easily entertained. You don’t have to spend a fortune to keep them active and happy. Below are 3 of the best cat toys available. All of them are affordable too!

1. Bergan Turbo Track Cat Toy

This simple, yet enticing toy will keep your cat entertained for hours.The concept is simple: a ball rolls around on a track. However, what makes the Bergan Turbo Track Cat Toy unique is that it comes in pieces that can be combined to make different tracks. It also has mini hills that will keep the ball rolling so your pet can keep playing without you. This proves that it doesn’t have to have motors, batteries or flashing lights to be a cool cat toy.

It can be purchased on Amazon for around $15.00

2. FroliCat BOLT Interactive Laser Pet Toy

Cat lovers know cats love laser pointers. The FroliCat BOLT Interactive Laser Pet Toy takes this to the next level. The toy automatically moves the laser around in systematic patterns that will keep your cat occupied without you even being involved. The laser runs on batteries and can either be manually shut off or automatically shut off after 15 minutes.

It can be purchased on Amazon for around $18.00

3. The Tick Tock Teaser

The tick tock teaser is another simple toy but it definitely belongs in the cool cat toys category.  This toy uses a pendulum that swings back and forth while an exposed ball also moves underneath. This would be great if you have multiple cats.

The item is so popular that it’s hard to find. Amazon currently only has one available through a 3rd party for $58.00. We were able to find it on the Luke’s All natural Pet Food site for $14.99.

 

Be Sociable, Share!

Cat Teeth

Cat Teeth Health

Cats generally have very good teeth and gum health. Their diet consists of little sugar and other ingredients that pest us humans so much. However, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and around 70% of cats will develop gum disease by the time they turn three years old. Mild gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is characterized by redness or swelling of the gum. However, more severe symptoms are loose teeth, bleeding and pockets forming in gum gaps. To fight this, some cat owners have turn to brushing their cat’s teeth.

Brushing Cats Teeth

Most cats want nothing to do with you poking around in their mouth. Brushing cat’s teeth can be tricky. Be patient and incorporate treats. The video below does a good job showing the proper technique. However, the cat in the video is pretty mellow and friendly. That might not be the case for your pet.

Cat Toothbrush

Finding a good cat toothbrush is not difficult. Most pet stores and even retail stores will have them. They are generally smaller than a human toothbrush with less bristles. They also are usually angled a little to allow you to brush them while facing the cat. A human toothbrush can be used as well but it might not be quite as effective due to the surface area being too large.  If you use a human one for a cat toothbrush, a harder bristle brush works best.

Petrodex Dental Care Kit For Cats - Cat Teeth

Petrodex Dental Care Kit For Cats

Cat Toothpaste

Cat toothpaste now comes in a variety of flavors. CET produces several types of pet toothpaste including: Seafood, Poultry, Malt, Beef and even Mint. Life the video above suggests, allow your cat to taste the cat toothpaste before you proceed with brushing.

CET Pet Toothpaste Dog Cat Toothpaste - Cat Teeth

CET Pet Toothpaste Flavors

Cat Teeth Cleaning

If your cat has really bad breath or serious gum disease, your veterinarian may recommend that you bring your cat in to have a professional cat teeth cleaning. A cat teeth cleaning usually involves your cat being put under anesthesia for the procedure. Additionally, cat teeth cleaning session cat be very expensive. However, they can be a life-saving treatment if your cat has an infection or other serious teeth relating health issue.

What do you think? Do you brush your cat’s teeth?

Be Sociable, Share!