PRODUCT REVIEW: Hagen Cat It Senses Motion Activated Illuminated Ball

Hagen Inc. is a German family owned pet supply company founded in 1955.  They started in Canada with the exportation of bird seed, and are now part of the international market including the US, UK, France, Germany and Malaysia.  They sell to both Petsmart and Pet Food Direct, as well as other stores and feature the Nutrience line of premium dog food, as well as the Habitrail  line of tubular hamster housing.

cat it

So the other day I went shopping at Pet Food Direct for dog food and thought I would pick up something for the cats as well.  I saw these cute play balls where the flashing light (similar to what you see with laser pointers) was motion activated–neat!  I thought Little Dingle would love them!

(For those just tuning in, our two spoiled cats live on the lower level of our house, the space that’s complete with the big TV, wall to wall carpeting and the reclining furniture.  We call it Cat Town, as opposed to Dogville, upstairs).  The cats don’t get as much playtime recently as I’d like, so I thought this might stimulate them a bit.

But as it turns out, not so much.  Both Dings and Cash would obligingly pat the nice little ball and it would flash at them.  Then they’d give a catty little shrug and walk away.

So–final assessment:  this toy works–the thing rolls and the lights flash without fail.  But you might want it for a younger kitty.  Dingle and Cash are 8 and 10 years old, respectively.  Although Dingle will still play with any string–moving or not–it’s pretty hard to get Cash interested in toys.

Update 4/30/15:  We did offer these toys to a reader with younger cats–still no interest.  Just FYI.  😉

In the meantime, to buy your own, go here.

Dingle 300

I am Dingle and I approve this message.

SATURDAY GUEST BLOG: Happy National Pit Bull Awareness Day!

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My name is Katy Blanton and I am a “pit bull” dog lover.

Three years ago, a longtime friend called me asking if I wanted a tiny puppy her husband and his fire squad had come across while on a run. It was Christmas Eve in 2010. She sent me a picture and I immediately fell in love with the little puppy. When I asked her if she knew what breed of dog it was, she casually said, “It’s a pit bull.” I remember my heart sinking. There was no way I was going to get a pit bull. Those dogs were vicious. They were mean. They were bred to kill. But the photo of the puppy pulled my heart strings and I agreed to pick him up the next morning.

On Christmas Day, 2010, my “pit bull” dog story started. I did my best to raise the dog, whom I named King. He chewed up everything, including carpet padding, but he was the sweetest, and most snugly dog I had ever been around. A friend and neighbor who is a groomer and runs a doggy daycare, had extensive experience with “pit bull” dogs and recommended that I contact a woman she knew through rescue that worked with them. Around this same time, the City of Cincinnati was in the final stages of repealing the ban on “pit bull” dogs. In a fateful twist of events, two months later, Cincinnati Pit Crew (CPC) was created.

No one has been more surprised than I that “pit bull” dogs have become such a huge part of my life. I’ve done extensive research on “pit bull” dogs, have had the opportunity to participate in a language and advocacy workshop at the Animal Farm Foundation in upstate New York, and to speak with local media on several occasions.

What I have realized is that most people understand that much of what they always thought they knew about “pit bull” dogs is based solely on stereotypes and myths that someone else told them or on negative media coverage. I’ve also discovered the pride and confidence with which “pit bull” dog owners carry themselves. These beloved dogs have changed people’s lives, mine certainly included.

“Pit bull” dogs are loyal, kind, gentle, and responsive to training. They are strong and athletic and have a great deal of energy if not given the opportunity to exercise properly on a regular basis. As with any other type of dog, a “pit bull” dog demands a certain level of responsibility from an owner. Unfortunately, there is often a stereotype associated with “pit bull” dog owners as well that tends to overshadow the many responsible owners that do provide appropriate care for their dogs.

Today, October 26, 2013, we celebrate National Pit Bull Awareness Day. On this day, we recognize the “pit bull” dog for the loyal and misunderstood dog that it has become. Gradually, the “pit bull” dog is regaining its position as America’s Dog. I find “pit bull” dog owners in the most unlikely of places; an administrator at the college for which I work, a doctor I saw recently, a politician running for office, a professional baseball player.

I work tirelessly alongside my CPC colleagues to continue advocating to change the negative perceptions and misinformation that exists about “pit bull” dogs. It is disheartening that irresponsible owners continue to mistreat and not take appropriate care of their dogs and it’s those owners that often overshadow the work of people like me.

I will continue to do this work until “pit bull” dogs are recognized as the wonderful family pets they are. As I write this post, my 55-pound, almost three year old, “pit bull” dog, King, is snuggled against my arm snoring like a grown man. This dog has changed my life – opening doors for me that I didn’t even know existed. King is a TDI therapy dog, he’s wonderful with children and the elderly, he never stops wagging his tail and giving kisses. I never imagined that I would run a non-profit organization advocating for “pit bull” dogs. The experience has given me great confidence in myself when speaking with people and to the media, and has allowed me to build a community of contacts that spreads across racial, socioeconomic, and neighborhood lines. While at times it can be heartbreaking and frustrating, the rewards and satisfaction of knowing I am making a difference for “pit bull” dogs and for those who love these dogs has been am invaluable experience.

king 1 king 2

Katy Blanton has lived in Cincinnati for over 25 years and is a teaching faculty member at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.  She resides on the west side of Cincinnati  in Cheviot. Eighteen months ago, Blanton and three other local women founded Cincinnati Pit Crew (CPC), a “pit bull” dog education, advocacy, and rescue organization with the hopes of changing perceptions and overcoming stereotypes of “pit bull” dogs in Cincinnati. Today, CPC has become one of the most well respected and valued rescue organizations in Cincinnati.

Halloween Dangers for Your Pet

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First section courtesy of Cesar’s Way Magazine.

There are some scary Halloween dangers for your dog that you need to watch out for.

1) Halloween candy can be toxic to your dog.

Don’t let your dog eat Halloween candy. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and tin foil and cellophane wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed. Seal your child’s stash and keep out of reach.

2) Be careful with candles near your dog!

Sometimes a stray tail can knock over a candle-lit pumpkin leading to a fire. Consider using a no flame, no mess alternative to light up your jack-o-lantern.

3) Wires and cords could harm your dog.

Make sure to safely secure all wires and cords from decorative lights and props. Chewing on cords could cause cuts, burns or possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4) Door bells can be scary for your dog.

All but the most social dogs should be kept away from the front door during peak trick-or-treat hours. All those strangers repeatedly ringing the bell can be very scary and stressful.

5) Keep your dog’s ID on!

Sometimes accidents happen and while you are frequently opening the door for trick-or-treaters your pup may make a run for it. The proper identification can be a lifesaver.

Let’s Not Forget, Too, It’s Black Cat Month

Sadly, shelters have recently seen a trend in the number of black cats that are adopted at this time of year, and then are suddenly returned stating they “just didn’t work out”.  Some of these “adopters” just want people to see a black cat in their window for the season, or have a familiar to go with their witch costume.  Basically, they think of cats as property and not as fellow beings with feelings.

Many shelters and humane societies refuse to allow adoption of black cats during the month of October, because of fears the animals may be abused.  For this reason, we suggest you are particularly careful to watch out for all your cats at this time, not only the black coated fur babies.

Some Notes About Costuming From The ASPCA
Not all pets like costumes, but the few who do seem to love mugging for the camera. Still, if your pet hates a costume, best not to stress them.  Festive bandanas are always in season!
If your pet is wearing a costume, make sure it doesn’t constrict movement or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Make sure the outfit does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Badly fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
Here’s to a fun and safe holiday for you and your pets!

The Sunday News Post

So much is going here at Your Pet Space!


Firstly, pics have started coming in for our Howloween Photo Contest!  Haven’t sent yours yet?  Just go here. 

Contest Rules

1) Submit a picture of your pet(s) in costume no later than Nov 2nd at midnight.  You may submit separate photos of different pets (preferably not the same one again) to be entered more than once.  And if a Facebook friend enters you can enter AGAIN.

2.)  Share a link to our page once the voting poll goes up with all your friends so they can vote for you.

3.) Winners will be announced on Sunday, November 10th and prizes awarded in the following week!

4.) You are giving us permission by entering the contest to display photos of your pet in costume (and your photo also, if you like) on Your Pet Space for promotional purposes.

Ok, ready, set–costume!  Hint: check out the sale link to Halloween costumes for your pet here:

Save up to 50% at the Halloween Clearance Sale! Offer Valid 10.16-10.31.

New Affiliates Have Arrived!

We are also very pleased to announce this week that two new companies have joined us!  Please welcome:

just4 and doggyloot

You can link to them on our Recommended Providers, Products and Services Page as well as see two more books we are recommending through Barnes and Noble this week by animal behaviorist Dr. Temple Grandin and Animal Communicator Mary Marshall.


Our statistics tell us that many more of you are viewing our page than are taking our polls.  Please remember this is YOUR Pet Space and we very much value your opinion.  The current polls will end on Thurs, Oct 24th, so if you haven’t yet participated, please do by following the links at the top of the site “Splash Page”, “Newsletter Signup” and “Pet Causes and Petitions”.  Thanks!


Fish Tales – Smarter Than You Think

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Over the course of my lifetime I have had many fish: LaForge, the one-eyed fantail, Cody and Eric, the Beta pair that fell in love with my computer mouse, a whole tank full of starship/crew named fish who behaved just like their namesakes, and Pluto, my classroom fish who had several tank-friends in his long life and loved to play “tag” with the kids.

I wanted to start Fish Tales with a heartwarming story that would also help to encourage people to re-think what they know about fish. Keep in mind the following is a true story and when you reach the end and think, “No WAY!” take some time to glance over at your own tank and change that thought to, “What if…”

Tale One – Rene and Data: Best Friends

Among my fish with Star Trek names I had a pair named Rene and Data who outlived everyone else. Rene was a larger orange colored fantail (named after Rene Auberjonois of DS9 because of his beard-markings) and Data’s body was about half Rene’s size and a silver-white color. They shared food, swam side by side, and rested together in their inactive periods.

One morning I woke up to feed them and noticed instantly that something wasn’t right. Data was zooming around the bottom of the tank in a panic, and Rene was “standing on his head”, mouth down and constantly open. Since this isn’t your typical fish behavior, I instantly began to worry, but couldn’t see anything wrong… until I got down on my knees, at Data’s level and looked up at Rene. He had picked up a pebble from his tank and it was jammed in his mouth. (This is why it is important to make sure your rocks are bigger than the mouths of your fish.) I assumed that Rene was pointed down, open mouthed, to let gravity take the pressure off and hopefully pull the rock down, but I never would have anticipated what happened next.

While I began to grow frantic over what to do, Data, calmed down, came up to where I was, and turned around to look at his friend. He slowly swam to the other side of the tank and looked up again, swam back to me and looked up some more, then gently approached Rene, put his smaller mouth into Rene’s larger one and sucked that pebble right out! Problem solved! Rene took in a few good gulps of un-obstructed water and the two celebrated by swimming around together, Data fussing over Rene until his movements returned to normal.

The moral of this story? Your fish aren’t going to play chess with you, but they probably ARE smarter than you think. While you don’t have to run out and get the training kits that teach your fish to play basketball or football/soccer, you might want to give a little bit of thought to the intellectual stimulation that your tank’s environment provides. These little swimmers aren’t just a nice decoration for your room, they have thoughts and feelings of their own, even if they aren’t at our mental level. Keep in mind that fish are not solitary creatures and they don’t naturally box themselves in to a tiny space with nothing to do. My fish have always had “toys” (little crystalline plastics) that are lightweight enough that they can easily shuffle them around in the water. My current batch of three (Charon, Nix and Hydra) prefer to sort them out from their other objects and push them into a corner, while Pluto preferred to hoard them in his cave, and LaForge took great pains to scatter them evenly throughout his entire tank, each crystal going in exactly the same place it had been in before I cleaned his tank… Which is a story in itself that I promise to share another time.


Mirrani Houpe, Staff Writer.

You can e-mail her with questions at:

PRODUCT REVIEW: Kong vs Kong Wubba

  kong_wubba_xl_1 (197 x 200) VS kong-dog-toy-big (200 x 165)

The Kong Company of Colorado has been in business since the 70’s.  The original Kong toy (pictured above on the right) comes in various colors.  Kongs can be stuffed with treats and fillers, and even frozen.  The current fav filling of our dogs is a liver paste dispensed from a container something like you see for whipped cream for people…although we occasionally put other treats inside.  Our greyhound, Seba, loves bouncing the Kong like a ball and chasing after its erratic movements, since it doesn’t roll, like a ball would.

But the Kong is especially suited for our product tester, Castle, who has a nickname around Your Pet Space–El Destructo.  That’s why we have another dog that tests small, fluffy toys.  Because Castle destroys them in less than 5 minutes–no kidding. Castle had a smaller, blue Kong when she was a puppy.  When she chewed through that, we got her the red one (intended for adult dogs).  To date (about two years), she has yet to chew through it.

Still, she gets bored with the Kong when it doesn’t have anything in it.  She particularly likes to tear apart the edges of things–Seba’s bed, Hoagy’s long ears–so when we saw the Kong Wubba with its long octopus like legs (in the photo upper left), we decided to give it a try.  Sure enough, she did tear off the legs over a period of about 5 months–even got the hard rubber balls inside out of the tough, reinforced cover.  But then she played with the balls until she lost them somewhere in the back yard.  So, in May of this year, happy with the wear compared to other toys, we purchased a replacement.

So the other morning I put Castle in her crate, gave her the Wubba, and went to do something out of the room.  As all pet moms can tell you, though, when your furkid is making a sound that means trouble, it gets through even if you are occupied.  So when I heard her making a banging noise I came back in and saw this:

wubba (225 x 300)wubba closeup (225 x 300)

Yep, El Destructo strikes again!  Good incentive to never leave your dog unattended with any toy.  Just glad she didn’t swallow any pieces of rubber.  So–final assessment:

Kong Wubba–highly durable, likely to last several months.

Original Kong–indestructible (at least so far).  Though I think it might be time to get Castle the black version (for tough chewers).

AND, just in case you have a cat, Kong Co. also makes a line of toys for our feline friends!

Ready to buy some Kong toys?  Just click below!

I am Castle, and I approve this message.  Castle 300