Tag Archives: cats

Best Dogs for City Apartments: Why the Size of Your Pet Doesn’t Matter

When it comes to choosing the right dog for your city apartment lifestyle, many people are surprised to find out that size isn’t the most important thing to consider. There are breeds of all sizes that are perfectly comfortable with apartment living.

In fact, they may even prefer it – more opportunity to be close to you!



Nicknamed the “40-mph couch potato”, greyhounds are right at home in an apartment. These speedy sight hounds do need daily walks and some time to safely run around in an enclosed area, but once they’re done they love nothing more than curling up on the couch. In fact, some say that having a greyhound is like living with a giant cat – they spend the majority of their time sleeping and you’d be surprised by some of the small spaces they can tuck themselves into.





Just because a dog is small it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re right for apartment living, but that is not the case with the Maltese. Lacking an undercoat, these little white balls of fluff are surprisingly low shedders, which is great when living in close quarters. Plus, their relatively low energy levels means that they don’t need a large yard to run around in – a few indoor play sessions and outdoor walks are just fine. Maltese are also known for their propensity to get along with other non-canine animals, so you don’t have to worry about these pups needing their own space away from any other pets.





Unsurprisingly, the world’s smallest breed of dog is perfectly happy living in an apartment, because even small spaces feel large when you’re less than 10 inches tall! Chihuahuas also need less exercise than their larger counterparts, much of which can be done inside. With a little creativity, you can create a great compact play space for your pup that will keep them entertained and stay fit.




English Bulldog

Thanks to their compact size and laid back attitudes, English Bulldogs make for great apartment pups. Anyone who has met a bulldog knows that they are the definition of a couch potato, perfectly happy to relax with you while you watch TV. While they still need regular walks, you don’t have to worry about having too much room in your apartment for them to burn off some energy – they’ll do that during their outside time. Another reason English Bulldogs are great for apartments is that they rarely bark.




Great Dane

Some prospective owners are worried that because of their size, they don’t have space for a dog as large as a Great Dane, but this is rarely the case. As long as your apartment is big enough for them to wander around comfortably, you’re set. The average Great Dane may weigh in at between 100 and 130 pounds, but they have a naturally laid back and quiet disposition. These gentle giants have a slower metabolism, which means that they have lower energy levels and exercise requirements. While they do enjoy their time outside, they’re even happier when they can lounge around with you.




When it comes to choosing the right dog for your city apartment, the first step is to do your research. These five breeds are known for their ability to live in an apartment, but there are a number of others who don’t care about the square footage of their living quarters. Whichever breed you choose, we guarantee that they’ll settle right into your apartment in no time.

Meat vs. Meal: What’s Really In Your Pet Food?

When it comes to pet food packaging, we’re used to seeing a certain type of image. More often than not, it’s waving fields of grain and happy cows roaming in green pastures, or sizzling plates of steak or chicken. But the pictures may not actually reflect the true ingredients.
Just like humans, dogs and cats need nutritious and wholesome food to survive and thrive.
“The healthier you feed your pet, the longer and happier life they’ll have,” says Dr. Katy Nelson, associate veterinarian at the Belle Haven Animal Medical Centre in Alexandria, VA. After examining Freshpet’s ingredients and steam-cooking process, she also agreed to become our resident veterinarian.

“Freshpet is what I feed my pets and recommend to all my pet parents,” Dr. Katy said. So we asked her to break down the key ingredients that go into most pet food, and help explain why Freshpet stood out to her as the best choice.
Spoiler: The photos on the package don’t tell the full story.

What is “meal”?

Unfortunately, many pet foods on the market are made from things not clearly identified on the list of ingredients. The most common unrecognizable ingredient on the list is “meal” – but what is “meal” exactly? Meal is a mixture of the non-muscle meat portions of the animals rendered for food sources that can include internal organs, skin, hooves, feathers, and other parts. Not very appetizing.

Read your labels carefully

Just like the food we put on our own table, all pet food has an ingredients label included on its packaging, and just like when we choose our own food, it’s important to read these labels. If you see “meat and bone meal,” chemical preservatives, and unnatural fillers on this list, it might be time to consider looking at other options.


Opt for real ingredients

Fortunately, there are a number of companies that avoid using “meal” as an ingredient in their recipes. They offer a high-quality diet, which is made from real foods and grains and never include any “meat and bone meal” – including Freshpet.

Freshpet is always made with fresh meat, veggies, and fruits and the only preservative is the refrigerator. In fact, it can be found in the pet food aisle inside a refrigerated case.

The Best Podcasts for Dog and Cat People

Want to learn more about your pets and how to be the best dog or cat parent you can be? These pet podcasts will keep you entertained and informed.

The Purrrcast, hosted by Sara Iyer and Steven Ray Morris

With a cute logo featuring a dignified, bowtie-wearing cat at a retro microphone, The Purrrcast is an instant draw for cat lovers looking for new podcasts on iTunes. This show takes a casual, gently humorous approach to the topic of cats. Whether they’re interviewing cat owners, chatting about their own cat stories or dishing about important moments in cat history, hosts Sara and Steven make The Purrrcast an easy listen. Episodes are typically about an hour long, meaning there’s nearly 100 hours of The Purrcast to enjoy while you’re at home with your cat or on the go wondering what your kitty is getting up to in your absence.

(Source: The Purrrcast!)


Can I Pet Your Dog?, hosted by Allegra Ringo and Renee Colvert

If you can relate to the feeling of excitement that comes with meeting an awesome new dog while you’re out running errands or otherwise going about your day, Can I Pet Your Dog? may be the ideal podcast for you. In addition to discussing the various dogs they’ve met, hosts Allegra and Renee discuss specific breeds, recent dog news and give reviews of dog-focused events. Can I Pet Your Dog? also features interviews with dog-owning celebrity humans like Andrew WK and celebrity dogs like Marnie the Dog, adding an extra element of fun to this often irreverent dog podcast.

       (Source: Can I Pet Your Dog?)


Positively Dog Training, hosted by Victoria Stilwell and Holly Firfer

Celebrity dog trainer Victoria Stilwell was one of the first prominent positive reinforcement trainers to make a splash on the pop culture scene, and she’s still at it with books, TV shows and her Positively Dog Training podcast. Victoria and her co-host, Holly, bounce between discussing dog training and talking about canine science and health topics, making this an informative choice for dog parents looking to deepen their knowledge of veterinary science and get better at training.


       (Source: Positively Dog Training)

What Simple Memory Tests Tells Us About Feline Intelligence

They’re certainly cunning, but are cats smart? Most people agree that cats are crafty and sly, but recent research shows that feline intelligence goes much deeper than mere cunning.


Does Your Cat Remember Her Dinner?

The cats versus dogs debate is likely to rage on for all eternity, but when it comes to memory, we tend to ask more of dogs. Cat parents don’t always expect their felines to perform tricks on command or remember complex tasks like providing navigation assistance for visually-impaired handlers. However, just because cats’ memory skills aren’t put to the test, it doesn’t mean those skills don’t exist!


Researchers at Japan’s Kyoto University determined that cats do indeed have the cognitive ability to form complex, event-based memories just like humans. The study, which centered on a group of 49 feline participants in 2014, set out to determine whether domestic cats “retrieve and utilize incidentally encoded ‘where’ and ‘what + where’ information.” In other words, the scientists wanted to know whether cats form specific memories related to specific events.


Study participants were either sourced from the ever-popular Japanese cat cafes or were pet house cats. And, the studies were actually conducted in the cats’ own living spaces. This helped the cats feel more at ease throughout the entirety of the study. The researchers then used an item to test their memory with something all pets love – food! They used dishes of food to determine whether the cats would remember which dishes they had been fed from 15 minutes earlier.



Now on to the results! By using a simple arrangement of empty or full food dishes, the researchers concluded that cats do indeed store and recall “what + where” memories. According to the research team behind the experiment, the results indicate that cats have a degree of consciousness around their actions that is similar to our own human consciousness.


Understanding Episodic Memory

Cat parents probably aren’t surprised to learn that a group of 49 kitties was quick to remember anything related to food. If a cat recognizes her feeding bowl, she is likely to perk up when she sees it and maybe even come running when she hears the sound it makes when placed on the counter.


Now let’s dive into the details! From a scientific perspective, however, there’s a difference between responding to a stimulus (such as the sight of her dinner bowl) and remembering that a specific incident occurred. Most animals can be trained to respond to a sensory stimulus related to food, but this study focused on a different idea. The memories explored in this study related to episodic memory, a class of memories dealing with an animal’s personal experiences. A person remembering where he was the last time he had his car keys is an example of retrieving a stored episodic memory. This study broke new ground in establishing the idea that domestic cats can act on episodic memories like humans do.


Researcher Saho Takagi said this kind of memory retrieval is commonly associated with the “introspective function of the mind.” Takagi admits she finds it amusing to consider that cats “may enjoy actively recalling memories of their experiences like humans,” implying that her research could be extrapolated into the idea that cats think wistfully of the good old days. The research doesn’t prove that, but when it comes to knowing what cats are thinking, these results may be the closest to a reliable clue. Now we know that cats may be a bit nostalgic, too!



Cat parents may not be scientists, but they certainly enjoy speculating about their kitty companions’ thoughts. Now that it’s been proven they can remember specific events from their pasts, it will be even more fun to imagine what all those cat daydreams are about.

How Shelters are Using Scents and Toys to Help Cat Adoption

Out of the 3.2 million cats that enter shelters in the United States every year, only about 1.6 million are adopted. And shelters are starting to do something about it. From giving toys to play with and feeding them quality all-natural cat food to using special scents to keep them calm, shelters are changing their approach to caring for their furry residents to reduce stress and to make the cats more adoptable. Animal shelters are incorporating several interesting methods of looking after their cats’ mental health with enrichment activities designed to increase the number of adoptable cats.


Olfactory Enrichment Defined

According to a research study at the Ashland Cat Shelter, the goal of “enrichment” is to let cats live their best lives by encouraging species-typical behavior while increasing the cats’ ability to cope with challenging situations. Olfactory enrichment, as they call it, approaches this goal using cats’ sense of smell, with the understanding that certain scents are soothing to cats.


Effective Stress Relieving Scents

Have you ever witnessed a cat’s reaction to catnip? Considered almost magical by many cat owners, roughly 60 percent of cats have a strong positive reaction to this mint relative. And it’s not the only scent that cats respond to. BMC Veterinary Research, headed by Sebastiaan Bol completed a study to gauge cats’ response to four different scents:

  • Catnip
  • Valerian
  • Tatarian Honeysuckle
  • Silver Vine

Results showed that nearly all domestic cats love one or more of these scents. Because these scents are safe and non-addictive, shelter workers and owners alike can feel good about providing them to their furry charges. And cats experiencing the stress relief offered by this “euphoria” may indeed prove to be more adoptable than fearful or stressed out kitties.


Other Soothing Techniques

Using scents to help calm and increase the number of adoptable cats isn’t the only adoption strategy out there. Many shelters are using olfactory enrichment along with other techniques such as:

Providing More Toys

Did you know that people spend more time watching cats that have toys in their cage at shelters? The ASPCA’s Adoption Center in New York City did some research and found out that whether or not the cat is playing with the toy, they get more face time with potential adopters. Plus, giving kitties an outlet for having fun helps relieve stress. In addition to standard toys, some low-cost options used in shelters include:

  • Balls of paper
  • Chains of pipe cleaners
  • Paper bags
  • Puzzle toys


Clicker Training

Animal shelter volunteering is about more than just providing a roof and necessities. More volunteers are working to improve the odds of animals being adopted with a variety of strategies. Clicker training is one of the simplest, and it teaches cats to be responsive to commands. This, in turn, makes them more appealing to people looking to adopt. This positive training technique marks desirable behaviors with a click and rewards it with a treat. Because the clicking sound is completely different from everything else in the cat’s environment, it becomes an effective form of communication between people and pets.


Breaking the Ice with a New Cat Friend

Your new roommate’s cat is adorable, but she always runs away when you walk into the room. Or maybe your new boyfriend has a feline roomie who persistently stares at you from across the room but won’t let you pet her. Most cats need some time to warm up to strangers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps in starting an amazing relationship with a new friend! These tips can help you master the process of charming an unfamiliar feline.

Don’t Force It

Cats tend to make their feelings clear, so if you’re dealing with a kitty who would rather disappear than let you pet him, he’s not just playing hard to get. If you become impatient and get too aggressive in your approach, you’ll probably scare him and ruin any progress you’ve made up to that point. Respect the cat’s boundaries and follow his lead. Try to get his attention by inviting him to play with you and a favorite toy, but don’t be offended if he doesn’t immediately take the bait!


Serve Up Some Love

Use a social trick that is as old as time: food. A tasty meal or treat is a great way to get on the good side of a person, and it works equally well for many animals. It may still take some coaxing, but even a shy cat has trouble resisting something tasty like Freshpet’s grain free cat food, which includes a range of tempting recipes to entice virtually any cat.


Photo courtesy of GloGirly.com


This “friendship-through-feeding” approach is a particularly good idea if the cat in question lives with someone you see often, like a romantic partner. You can even try feeding the cat at regular mealtimes for a while. Establishing yourself as a food source makes it clear that you’re a great person for a cat to befriend. It’s also a good idea to keep some treats in your pocket, just in case the cat comes close enough to sniff you. If you smell like something he enjoys, he just might stick around.


Move Slowly

When you finally get close enough to make contact, don’t dart your hand out quickly or try to grab the cat. The ideal process for petting a cat the first time requires some finesse. Extend your hand slowly and let the cat sniff it. If she rubs up against your hand, you’re in. Pet her using gentle scratches at the base of the chin or behind the ears, rather than patting the belly or stroking the cat’s entire body. Starting small with slow, gentle motions is the best way to avoid startling or annoying your new four-legged friend.


Using a combination of these approaches over time should make you irresistible to a shy cat. Just be patient and know that you’ll make friends eventually. Trust us – Good things like cat cuddles are worth the wait!

Project Trap-Neuter-Return


You have probably seen a cat roaming around your community and may have wondered if it was a lost pet or if it was a feral cat out on it’s own. We spoke to Sandra Obi, a partner of ours at the Animal Protection League of New Jersey, who helped us with some tips on how to point out a feral cat and ways you can help them live healthy lives outdoors.


Sandra works on a special program at The Animal Protection League of New Jersey (APLNJ) called Project TNR dedicated to helping feral cats. They work with volunteers to gently trap, get them neutered and vaccinated for rabies, and then return them to their colony of cats. By doing this Project TNR, and programs like it, have helped to bring down the number of homeless cats. Overpopulation is an issue in every city. These kinds of programs also work with volunteers to feed these cat colonies on a regular basis.



Freshpet is proud to say has donated food to Project TNR  “We are grateful that Freshpet has recognized that homeless cats also need nutrition and need to be cared for. It’s no fault of their own that they’re ‘forgotten cats,'” says Sandra. Our last donation was distributed to 8 different caregivers that was feeding 225 homeless cats total that have been sterilized.



So if you’re looking to help these animals too, here’s where to start:


How do you know if a cat is feral?

Feral cats are actually domesticated cats that have returned to the wild. If you see a cat frequently, take steps to see if the cat does have a home. Don’t just assume. Does it have a collar? Also the universal sign that a cat has been “TNR-ed” is an ear tip. Before surgery, the vet will cut a part of the left ear off. So look for that when you see a stray in the distance. If there is no collar, and no ear tip, this cat may need your help.





How do I get a cat to befriend me?

Start feeding them, same time every time everyday. They figure that out really quick that you’re a friend.


Young kitten in grass outdor shot at sunny day


What next?

Best place to start is looking for a program that can help educate you on what to do now, specifically how to capture and where to get them neutered.

Google “Trap Neuter Return” to find a program in your area. Sandra’s favorite resources are:

If you’re in New Jersey like we are, contact Project TNR. Sandra Obi and her partner Michelle Learner will work to support volunteers through the process of assisting these feral cats.


Are you helping cats in your community? We’d love to hear from you! Contact us on Facebook or Twitter.




Protecting Our Pets from the Sun

Remember this nostalgic tune?



Well, we agree. Everyone IS free to wear sunscreen this summer. And in the case of your pets, we encourage it. If your pet loves to sunbathe or play in the summer sun, make sure to apply sunblock to sensitive areas like her nose, stomach, and tips of ears. Sunburn’s no fun for our furry friends. As always, consult your vet on which sunscreen is safe for your pet. Enjoy your fun in the sun!

A Home for Life

Home for Life is a small, but mighty group of people that are dedicated to giving a permanent home to animals that have been rejected from rescue or shelter programs.  Home for Life offers a home to older animals and animals with medical conditions or disabilities. For the nearly 200 animals that live at the Home for Life sanctuary in Minnesota, it is truly a blessing.


On any given day, the residents of the sanctuary are able to play, eat, and sleep all while feeling completely secure and cared for. Most importantly, they are given the love and affection that they deserve.


When we were reading through the stories about each animal, one in particular stood out. Benjamin Button is a cat that was rescued from a home where he was being underfed and neglected. The rescue group found him in dire straits, with one eye completely shut and other various injuries. He was eventually rescued and brought to the Home for Life sanctuary where he’s made an amazing recovery, and looks younger and younger by the day.


We wanted to give this adorable kitty some of our own Freshpet love, so we are sending them cases of our Freshpet Select Roasted Meals for Cats, and we made a donation to the sanctuary in his name. We absolutely love the people at Home for Life and the mission they’re embarking on. Check out their site for more details.


If you know of a pet or family member who deserves an Tail of Good, we want to hear from you! Email us at online@freshpet.com, or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter. You can follow all of our acts on our Tumblr page.





Introducing Tails of Good

In this weekly series, Freshpet will share a story that has inspired us in the pet community. As part of the story, Freshpet will either “give good” by helping deserving pets and pet families, or “spread good” by thanking those who already go above and beyond.

One of our friends Chelsea has taken on a wonderful responsibility: fostering shelter cats before their adoption. As a cat lover, Chelsea is only too happy to bring these kitties into her apartment.


This past week, Chelsea welcomed a new visitor to her home: Hector. A former “bodega cat,” Hector lived in an New York City deli for five years before he was put up for adoption. When he got to Chelsea’s house, he was acting a bit shy—staying in her bathtub or under her bed. He would only come out to eat his food in the middle of the night. It was clear he was feeling a little homesick.


To make things a little more comfortable for Hector, last week we brought him a nice soft bed to sleep on, and a bag of our Freshpet Vital Chicken, Ocean Whitefish and Egg cat food recipe.


And we’re so happy to say that as of yesterday, Chelsea spotted Hector sleeping on his new bed with his plate licked clean. He’s even spending some time on Chelsea’s lap, where he’s finally feeling right at home.


If you know of a pet or family member who deserves a Tail of Good, we want to hear from you! Email us at online@freshpet.com, or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter.