Despite What It May Sometimes Seem, Cats Actually Like Us

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Grumpy looking orange cat sitting on a porch

Though Sometimes Coy, Cats Prefer People to a Toy

Many people – cat-lovers and those unreasonably evil haters of cats alike – hold the belief that cats don’t like humans as much as their domestic counterparts, dogs. This belief is based upon their sultry attitudes, independent natures, and affinity for occasionally avoiding human contact.

But a new study was released in March 2017 that suggests that cats don’t dislike humans as much as many of us may assume. The study, published by a journal called Behavioral Processes, argues that a majority of cats actually prefer human interaction over other stimuli, followed by food, which came in second place.

Study Shows That Cats Prefer Human Contact

Despite the fact that there are over 85 million domestic cats in the U.S., many people still believe that cats are independent creatures and sidestep our attempts to train.

For the study, scientists used 25 adult domestic cats and 25 adult shelter cats. The study included exposure to human “play time,” exposure to food, exposure to various scents (including catnip and the scent of a gerbil), and exposure to assorted toys.

Cats like human contact

The Purrfect Pal

The study used duration of time that each cat engaged with a given stimuli to judge their affinity for that stimuli.

The final part of the study involved placing all four categories of stimuli in a room with each cat to see which type the cat approached first and most quickly. The conclusion of the study showed that while cats enjoy a large variety of stimulus, the majority of cats preferred human contact.

Cuddling Is Physically Good for Your Cat’s Health

An article published by Popular Science shows that a raised tail from a cat is a sign of good intent, and if you are a cat lover, then you know that cats often raise their tails as they rub against your leg.

Another study published by a journal called Preventative Veterinary Medicine asserted that “gentling” you cat can actually improve its health. The researcher who conducted the study, Nadine Gourkow, told Huffington Post that she found “a strong association between positive emotions induced by gentling and good health.”

The study showed that a cat’s positive reaction to being pet stimulates the production of an antibody which helps to fight upper respiratory disorders.

Make Sure You Listen To Your Cat and Give Him or Her Space

Although current research decidedly shows that cats aren’t as demure as they may come off, it is still important to give your cat plenty of the space that cats need. If your animal companion gives off vibes that it doesn’t want to be touched, definitely pay attention to those vibes.

Some less recent studies have shown that when a cat is pet or cuddled in a nonconsensual way, things can quickly go awry. A 2013 journal titled Physiology & Behavior reports that cats pump stress hormones into their bloodstreams when pet excessively or when they don’t want to be touched.

Never Stop Lovin’ Your Furry Friend

This study doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pet your cat – it simply demonstrates how sensitive cats are to human contact. Listening to your cat’s signals will keep your cat happy and unstressed.

And when it approaches you want wants to snuggle, snuggle with good conscience because you could be improving it’s respiratory health. Pawsome!

CatCon 2017: Meet Some of the Coolest People Who Will Be Attending

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best presenters at cat con 2017

CatCon Is 2017’s “Mane” Event for Cat Lovers Across the Country

It’s that time of the year — cat lovers from across the country join together to revel in their mutual devotion to cats of all shapes and sizes! That’s right folks, CatCon 2017 is just around the corner and boy oh boy, do they have a show for you!

CatCon is an annual celebration of cats and the cat aesthetic, all of which has developed out of pure passion and love for feline pets. People gather each year in southern California for the big event. So if you are in the Pasadena area or willing to travel, you can get your tickets here. For more information on the details of the event, check out the CatCon FAQ page.

Steph and Kate by Molly and Miranda

A Few Guest Highlights We’re Excited About at CatCon 2017

This year’s CatCon features a plethora of talented artists and guests who love cats just about as much as you do. To get into the spirit, we at PDX Pet Design have put together a little preview of the coming attractions.

Steph and Kate by Molly and Miranda

Steph and Kate

Keep your eyes peeled for adorable handmade homegoods with the cutest kitty designs you ever did see. The makers of these cute cat products are Molly and Miranda, two artists who have combined their passion for making things with their love for cats and minimalist designs. Steph and Kate are the cats that inspire the upcycled yet classical designs that you will find on the handmade tea towels, mugs, pouches, baby bibs, napkins, and other homegoods. Watch out for their iconic line drawn designs in fresh variations.

Jenny Parks

Jenny Parks has become prolific for her science fiction and pop culture illustrations that feature cats as the the faces of characters that we all know and love. Haven’t you always wanted to see your favorite characters from Stranger Things, only in cat form? Well now you can!

StrangeFurThings Jenny Parks

Parks combines her love for cats with her love for “nerdy stuff,” and serves a community that has many of the same interests. She ventures, “I think it’s fair to say my audience is a healthy mix of cat lovers and nerds who are also cat lovers!” Parks is excited to meet and interact with other cat people and cat artists, so make sure to say hi!

Tasha / Feminist Felines

Feminist Felines book

If you haven’t gotten a chance to read Feminist Felines, an adorable illustrated book that uses puns, word play, and cat allusions to underscore the importance of feminism and gender equality — you definitely should add it to your summer reading list. Tasha, the mastermind behind the book, explains, “The ‘tail’ highlights feminist issues, and celebrates working together to ‘purrpetuate pawsitivity.’ With a ‘purrtinent’ message, a plethora of cat puns, and the bright illustrations, there is something for everybody.”

Feminist Felines book

Since the book’s release in 2015, Tasha has been working on cat custom pet portraits and a few other children’s book projects. Tasha will be at CatCon and is excited to surround herself with like-minded caring people who also identify as crazy cat people.

KITTY DECIDES / Amy Raasch

Kitty Decides has become a cult Internet obsession that channels the cat video craze into a productive platform for pawsitive change. Amy Raasch explains her mission: “The KITTY DECIDES mission is to translate our enthusiasm for watching Internet cat videos into meaningful donations to help animals in real life.”

KITTY DECIDES Amy Raasch

She is excited to reveal that her next project “explores the animalistic behavior of humans in love — and the human behavior of animals in love.” For CatCon, Raasch is scheming a secret show of cat-themed rock music, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for psychedelic cat-cophony!

Cat People Unite!

CatCon is the one weekend where hundreds of people gather to meditate on the coy quirks and understated all the amazing goofiness that cats embody. Come on out to celebrate the beauty and joy that is cats! PDX Pet Design will be there too – stop by and say hi at booth #806!

KITTY DECIDES Amy Raasch

How to Prepare for CatCon 2017: An Interview With PDX Pet Design’s Tara O’Mara

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Cat Con logo with close up of a cat paw

Making Sure You Get the Most Out of Presenting at Cat Con 2017

Going to your first trade show can be an exasperating experience — like the first time you go camping or on an overseas trip. No matter how many laundry lists you make to ensure you don’t leave something critical at home, you’re probably going to forget something. Or worse, you may not even realize that something as easily overlooked as daily snacks could be so crucial to having a positive experience.

We sit down with Tara O’Mara of PDX Pet Design to discuss the in’s and out’s of attending CatCon 2o17, covering what it’s like and what you should definitely keep in mind if this is your first time at the convention. Take it from someone who’s been there in the past, and don’t make the same mistakes!

Q1: For a first time participant / exhibitor at CatCon, what would you say are the five (10? 3?) most important things to know?
– If you’re having a booth, make sure you have some help so you can take a little break and wander the show floor yourself! You’re going to wish you attended just as a visitor so that you had maximum time to check out the amazing talks and the other exhibitors who have some of the most eclectic cat-themed things on display you’ll ever see, so make sure you carve out at least a little bit of time to check out the sights.

– Bring lots of business cards! Chances are you’re going to meet a lot of people you may want to collaborate with and you’ll want to easily get in touch with them. Another great way to do this is to immediately add them to your social connection (e.g., by adding them to your IG follow list, etc). Maybe have a CatCon group in your preferred social media channel, or work to quickly add these cool cats to your favorite feed or list asap.

CatCon 2017 tips for attendees

Q2: What would you have loved to know about before your first time that no one told you about?

– Relax and have fun. In general, vendors at conferences/trade shows can become fixated on sales and whether or not the conference was “worth their while” in terms of how much they spent on attending vs. how many sales they made (we’ve done this too!). You have to remember that conferences are a long-term investment in your brand awareness, and also give you an opportunity to learn from other influencers in the cat industry.

All that money you spent on your booth, your flights, your hotel, etc. is an investment in your future business, so try to refrain from calculating whether you “made back” all the money you put into it. You’ll walk away from CatCon feeling giddy, inspired, and connected to many loving and authentic people in the industry, and the value of that experience cannot be measured in pennies.

Q3: Is it wise to create a social media strategy before you go? How best to balance updating social media while there, and still being present to greet attendees?

– This really depends on how much extra help you have for your booth. I’d love to set up an Instagram feed and be able to wander the show taking cat-selfies and tagging all of the paw-some people we meet, but I tend to prioritize my in-person experiences with the people I meet there, because there’s nothing like an in-person connection.

If I had extra helpers, I’d task them with updating our social media with the latest goings-on. Even though the official CatCon feed does a wonderful job, there’s so much going on that it’s better to have multiple perspectives available on social!

Q4: What about basic stuff? Snack, eye drops, breath mints, hand outs — what’s on your check list of stuff not to forget?

– Oh geez, this is a good one. Snacks and breaks are CRITICAL at any trade show, and CatCon is no different. You can run on adrenaline for about 4 hours, max. We pack lots of snacks and like to rotate our breaks among people working in the PDX Pet Design booth.

For giveaways and “things-to-remember-us-by,” we love giving out stickers because attendees love stickers. These aren’t always allowed, however (this year, stickers are not allowed, btw). We’re getting creative with our giveaways, thinking of doing temporary tattoos or miniaturized versions of our products to maximize attendee fun and our memorability.

The other critical thing on our checklist is cat ears for everyone in the booth. ‘Cause it just makes life more fun.

CatCon 2017 tips for attendees

Q5: How much time do you spend with each person who comes to your booth? Are you careful to give equal attention, or do you have to make some “business” decisions about how/where to spend your time?

– Thankfully, we worked out a nice flow within our booth last year, and we’ll be using the concept again this year. We spend a few minutes chatting with each and every visitor to understand their kitty problems and their cat’s personality.

If they’re interested in learning more about a particular product or story we have, we typically refer that person to whomever the “expert” on that topic is in the booth. This helps us keep staff available at “the front lines,” and gets every visitor’s questions answered most efficiently.

For example, I might be at the front of the booth, engaging with visitors and handing out stickers or postcards and refer a visitor who’s interested in learning more about SHRU to Jason, who knows all the ins-and-outs of the engineering that’s inside each SHRU unit.

A general reminder — make sure to focus on your VIPs! There are some people that will come by your booth trying to sell to you or partner with you. While these can be valuable people to know as well, have a clear idea of why you have a booth and who you most want to connect with while you’re there. For us, that’s our customers and influencers!

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Thanks Tara for sitting down to talk. We hope this has been a helpful guide for anyone planning to attend their first tradeshow this year, at Cat Con 2017. Good luck to all the attendees!

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CatCon 2017 Vital Information and Links

Main CatCon Worldwide Information Portal: CatCon 2017 Info Included

CatCon 2017 Convention Schedule

CatCon 2017 Info: Tickets, Newsletter, News, Updates, Etc.

Buy Tickets to CatCon 2017 via Event Brite here

Summer in the City for Cats: Making Sure Your Feline Friend Stays Cool

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keep cats cool in summer

Cats Are Cool, Obviously. But Make Sure Your Cat Feels Cool, Too.

Summer is a great time to have a kitty friend. Finally, you get to lounge around in the languid summer heat as much as your cat does every day of the year. Think sunglasses selfies with your furry friend, and endless purring as you enjoy summery drinks and treats by your kitty’s side. But while you enjoy the summer weather with kitty, it’s important to remember that your cat wants to stay cool in the summer just as much as you do.

Because most cats are covered in a delightfully thick coat of fluffy fur, they can become overheated and even suffer from heat stroke. In the warmer summer months, keep an eye out for signs of heat stroke, including hot paws, panting, increased heart rate, and trouble walking.

If your cat starts showing any of these symptoms, wrap your pet in a cool damp cloth and call your vet right away. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to prevent your cat from overheating, so check out this list of ways to keep your kitty cool as a cucumber this summer.

keep cats cool in summer

Hydration Is Key

On especially hot days this summer, put out extra water dishes so your cat can hydrate easily throughout the day. If possible, refresh these water dishes a few times a day to make sure the water is cool and drinkable.

If the temperature is supposed to be extremely hot — we’re talking 80 degrees or hotter — consider stocking the water dishes with ice cubes so your kitty can stay refreshed and satisfied.

Create an Oasis

The best thing for a cat to do on those sweltering summer days is to relax and chill, an activity that it probably has lots of experience with already. Don’t over-exert your feline friend by engaging in tiring activities like laser games. When applicable, allow your cat access to cool spaces like a damp basement or a cool linoleum floor in a bathroom or kitchen.

When temperatures get extreme, consider creating a cool room for your kitty by wrapping a pack or ice or frozen veggies with a cloth and placing it in a cardboard box. Most likely, your cat will enjoy loafing in the cool little space.

keep cats cool in summer

Keep Your Cat Groomed

Brushing your cat regularly can help to keep it cool when temperatures rise. If you have an indoor cat, consider shaving her. However, many vets suggest refraining from completely shaving a cat that spends some time outdoors, since this can make your kitty vulnerable to sunburn. Light-haired are more susceptible to sunburns, so if your cat falls under this category, it might be best to keep her inside on super hot days.

Cool Cats Are the Best Kind of Cats

In addition to taking these measures to keep your cat cool and comfortable in the summer, you should also make sure your house circulates air well. Open windows, box fans, and air conditioning when necessary will help keep both you and your cat cool.

As the summer heats up, make sure to keep your cat cool and to invite your furry friend for summery cocktails on the porch, because furry FOMO (fear of missing out) is the worst kind of FOMO.

Lasers and Cats: Pros, Cons, and What You Really Need to Know

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white cat laying on a bed and yawning

Cats and Laser Toys: Does Your Cat Really Like the Chase?

Lasers get a bad rep as far as toys for cats are concerned. While watching cats play with them may be entertaining for humans, a simple Internet search brings up numerous horror stories of preventable deaths or behavior problems, all of which seem to be associated with laser toys.

To understand the good and the bad sides of cat laser toys, you first have to understand cat biology and how to use laser toys wisely with your particular cat. What’s most important to understand is that the laser toy play needs to mimic a real hunting predator and prey situation in order to be beneficial.

Further, laser toys may be best for bored, overweight, or under-stimulated indoor cats. Given the benefits of physical and mental stimulation, we set out to learn whether laser cat toys were actually good for our cat – read on to learn more now.

cats and laser toys

What Attracts Cats to Laser Toys?

So what exactly is it that attracts cats to lasers, given that the tools are essentially their technological nemeses? It’s not like lasers resemble mice or birds, a cat’s typical prey, yet indoor cats will attack with the same ferocity as if the laser light were alive and fluttering about the house.

According to Ira Hyman, PhD, in Psychology Today’s Blog, cats and humans are attracted to the motion of a laser or other light because it mimics the speed and directional movements of real animals, which he calls “animacy.”

If you think about it, it’s pretty clear. A cat doesn’t tend to show any real interest in inanimate toys. The most popular toys for cats (evolutionarily speaking) are toys that can move or be moved very fast, like feathers, bouncy balls, or laser pointers. This is because cats are natural predators. Most laser toys are just a little mean, because cats can technically never catch them, even if they’re up for the chase.

The Pros and Cons of Laser Toys for Cats

Aside from the occasional accidental blast to you or your cat’s eye, is it safe to use laser toys for cats? The jury’s out on a consensus opinion, but according to Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian,” laser toys can be beneficial – especially for indoor cats that don’t tend to get enough exercise.

The obvious downside Becker mentions is that because the cat can never catch its prey, the animal might get frustrated and start exhibiting problem behaviors like excessive grooming. He suggests using a laser toy for a while, and then switching to a toy on a fishing rod or a toy mouse so that your cat can experience the joy of actually catching its prey and “killing” it.

There are mountains of cat (and other animal) videos on youtube.com and you may have seen cats literally flipping out over lasers in real life. But if you want your cat to meow and not say “me-owwww,” then you’ll have to be mindful of where you shine that laser toy.

Further, it’s wise to be prepared for the occasional display of aggression – another common negative aspect to using laser toys with cats. This can be alleviated, however, by giving them treats after “catching” the laser. Cats can definitely get hurt from lunging into a wall or cabinet, or by jumping off of furniture. For optimal safety, we suggest avoiding heights, stairs, and dangerous areas when playing with the laser and your cat.

Will Your Cat Enjoy This Video Laser Toy Game?

We are leaning towards a strong “yes” at this point.

So Should You Buy a Laser Cat Toy, or Not?

Though there appear to be many cons to getting a laser toy for your cat, there are very nearly an equal number of positive things to consider. First and foremost, if you want a happy and healthy indoor cat, then you need to keep him or her engaged and active. For this purpose, a laser cat toy can be very handy.

Getting a laser toy makes sense when you want to keep your cats occupied from a safe distance. Moreover, with safe use and indoor play, you never have to deal with dead mice at your door or a missing cat that has followed its hunting instincts right out the door. In the end, consider rewarding your cat with a treat at the end of playtime, to keep him or her actively engaged and happy with the “final catch.”

 

[Photos via Instructable, Trinacria Photography]

Gamers and Cat Lovers: An Unlikely Audience

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tabby kitten laying on a laptop

Where Cat Lovers and Gamer Culture Collide

Although cats and gamers might seem like an unlikely pair at first, most gamers know that cats make perfect companions. They don’t require constant attention, and they don’t need to go out on walks that take away from your precious gaming time.

If you have a cat and spend your time playing video games, there’s a good chance you’ve spent a decent chunk of time with a cat curled up on your lap while playing your current favorite game. What could possibly be more comforting than a controller in your hand and a warm cat on your lap?

Read on for a few of our favorite examples of when cat and gamer culture have combined to create something truly “paw”-some.

cats and video gamers

Cat Characters in Video Games

Cats and video games aren’t a new combination. As long as video games have been around, there have been cats represented within them. Popular gaming blog Gamespot compiled a list of adorable cats that have appeared in video games throughout history, including Mao, the booze-guzzling female feline in Shadow Hearts, the aww-worthy Socrates in Odin Sphere, and many more.

Cat Simulator

If you’re anything like us, you’ve daydreamed about being a cat more times than you’d care to admit. Pretty soon you’ll be able to play a game through the eyes of a cat in a dystopian future set in Hong Kong. While HK hasn’t been released yet, we’re on the edge of our gaming chairs, ready to pounce on the opportunity to play an entire game as a cat.

cats and video gamers

Cats That Play Video Games

Video games aren’t just for humans anymore, and some cats enjoy getting down with the gaming action too, like these kitties here. Who knew you had so much in common with your furry friend?

Seriously though, there really are video games intended for cats to play with. Take a look at these adorable apps from cat food company Friskies here, and put them in front of your cat for a chance to watch the cuteness in action.

Gamer Cat Web Comic

This quirky web comic about a video game-playing cat, aptly named GaMERCat, is everything a cat lovin’ nerd could ever want. You can even buy GaMERCat t-shirts to let everyone know that cats and videogames are the two most important things in your life.

Cat Collecting App

Cat-loving gamers will be thrilled to know that there’s a mobile app game Neko Atsume, aka Kitty Collector. Regardless of your gaming experience, this is a straightforward and addictive game that every cat lover can enjoy. Though some would barely call this a game due to its extreme simplicity, you’ll fall in love with the different cats you “collect” as you progress through the game.

cats and video gamers

If you’re already a fan of this game, you’ll be glad to know that there is a Japanese live action movie of it coming out this year, though there won’t be any English subtitles. But that may be okay, because let’s be real – we’re watching for the cats anyway!

An Unexpected, But Beautiful Pair: Cat and Gamers Unite!

So there you have it: irrefutable proof that cats and gamers are perfectly matched with one another. At PDX Pet Design, we love drawing inspiration from the unique bonds that humans share with their cats, and there’s something extra magical about the shared love of video game culture and cats that we just can’t get over. To all the kitty-obsessed gamers out there, we salute you!

PDX Pet Design Appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank

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pdx pet design on abc's shark tank

Thoughts on Finding Yourself on Shark Tank

On January 6, 2017, our business made an appearance on an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank. And let me tell you, it was surreal deluxe. Of course, this appearance marks a real highlight for the business of journey, of which there have been many. But this was TV! Who knew it would be so surreal…

We thought it would be a great idea to share some of our thoughts with you on our recent Shark Tank experience. So with that in mind, here are a few of the things that have run through our minds, including some of our best memories (so far). These appear below in no particular order of priority or importance, and we’ve framed them in sort of a self-interview style.Read More

5 Ways You Can Keep Your Indoor Cat Happy, Healthy and Entertained

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indoor cat health tips

How to Keep Kitty From Developing Cabin Fever

Many cat companions will tell you that it’s impossible for a cat to be happy if the animal is kept indoors all the time. They will point to the cat’s natural position as an apex predator in many food chains worldwide, but they will actually be wrong. It is quite possible to keep a cat entertained, happy, and healthy while the live exclusively indoors.

In fact, indoor-only cats typically live longer than outdoor cats, and for several obvious reasons. The trick comes with understanding feline psychology, as well as your cat’s needs as a predator living in an artificial (if very pleasant) environment. Here are five tips to keeping your 100% indoor kitty from getting cabin fever.

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Choosing the Best Cat Toys: What Cats Really Like to Play With and Why

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bored cat laying down on carpet

Finding the Perfect Toy for Your Feline Friend

You may already know how important regular playtime is to the health and wellbeing of your cat. Cats need an engaging, stimulating environment in order to thrive, and regular playtime is a necessary component of that environment. But regardless of these simple facts, purchasing cat toys can still end up being a very frustrating experience.

Not every toy or gimmick that’s being marketed to today’s cat companions are toys that felines will necessarily respond to. So if you’re tired of trial and error, or are just interested in discovering what experts say are the best cat toys, then here’s a quick rundown of what cats really enjoy playing with, and why.

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Your Kitty Hunts Just Like the Big Cats – Now There’s a Toy Worth Hunting

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cat hunting toy SHRU

How Domestic Is Your Cat, Really?

Some household cats lead relatively sedentary lifestyles, but don’t let that fool you. They’re still well equipped to survive on their own. In fact, domesticated cats and their wild counterparts share so much common DNA that some scientists wonder if household felines can truly be called “domesticated.”

Those wild roots and razor-sharp survival skills are obvious when your cat hunts – whether for actual mice, or mice of the catnip-filled variety. It’s clear that your fluffy pal is still a fine-tuned hunting machine.

Let’s talk about the steps cats go through when hunting, and learn why each of them is equally important for your healthy, happy cat.Read More