• Appeal to Your Cat’s Natural Instincts

    Most domestic house cats live a pretty cushy life. Sometimes we forget that they are descendants of the big cats - the lions of the Serengeti, jaguars of Amazon forest, and snow leopards of the Himalayan Mountains. These big cats spend their days similarly to how our house cats do: they eat, sleep and groom themselves. There is one big difference between our purring machines and their ancestors: engagement in their natural instincts. Big cats have to work for their food; they hunt, catch and kill to survive. House cats on the other hand, have their food brought to them. As a result, they have little opportunity to exercise their natural hunting instincts.

    Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell” and annual speaker at the Bay Area Pet Fair, wrote a book called, Cat Mojo. Cat Mojo details the importance of engaging your cat in their natural instincts to hunt, catch, and kill. Anyone who has ever had a cat knows they are exceptionally good at eating, grooming and sleeping. What our house cats need is for us to create enrichment opportunities that exercise their instinct to hunt, catch and kill.

    Why You Need to Address You Cat’s Hunting Instincts

    All pets need to be engaged and provided environmental enrichment, especially indoor cats. Some cats simply become bored at home, while others become frustrated by the inability to do what comes naturally: explore, exercise and hunt. That frustration can lead to behavioral issues at home. Creating opportunities for your cat to indulge in their instinctual behaviors, can build the confidence they need to feel comfortable in their home. This can be done with interactive toys and treats. Appealing to their instinctual needs will decrease any unwanted behavior that your frustrated cat may be exhibiting from little box avoidance, to excessive scratching, hiding and aggression.

    Using play and toys to tap into your cat’s innate desire to hunt, catch and kill is a great way to enrich their environment and improve their overall well-being.

    Interactive Toys to Engage Your Cat’s Inner Hunter

    • Cat Dancer - This nationally ranked interactive toy provides house cats with healthy play and exercise. This toy is enticing, takes up minimal space, and the toy bounces and bounds in all directions.
    • Cat Wand – This is likely the most popular cat toy. Cat wands come in different lengths with an enticing feather or colorful fabric attached to the end. These toys are great for getting your cat up and moving, playing and catching. Use the wand for short play sessions and hide them when you’re not using them to keep your cat excited about the hunt!
    • Indoor Hunting Feeder - Instead of filling you cat’s food bowl twice a day, fill and hide the three feeder mice. Your cat will hunt, catch, and play with many small meals day and night, as nature intended. These enticing feeders help decrease anxiety, reduce the instance of scarf and barf, end early morning wake up calls from a hungry cat.

    How Engage Your Cat in the Hunt

    • Think about how you are playing with your cat. Some cats are “birders” while others are “mousers”. Birder cats prefer to be played with up high, with toys they can jump and claw at – as if it was a bird. The Cat Dancer would be perfect for this type of play. Mousers on the other hand, prefer to be played with on the ground, so a wand would be preferred. Your cat will be engaged in stalking and pouncing as you move the wand around the floor.
    • Engage your cat in a game of play before meals. Engage your cat in their preferred style of play before you feed them. This will engage them in their instinct to “hunt, catch, kill”. Once they’ve caught the toy, they will be rewarded with food!
    • Pro tip: Using treats in combination with toys mimics their primal desire to “hunt, catch and kill.” This gets your cat up and motivated to move around for a delicious reward! Check out [“Treat” your cat right] for benefits of giving your cat treats.
    • Some cats are better hunters than others. Some cat owners may find that their cat is not very interested in playing. Some cats are naturally more predatory then others. Just like some dogs prefer to play fetch, while others don’t. It may take time to really learn what toy or treat engages your cat’s hunting instincts.

    Engaging your cat in daily play will not only enrich their lives, but will also create a bonding experience between you and your cat.

    Find all of your interactive toys and treats options online at petfood.express.com or in-store. 

    To see this blog post or others, visit: https://www.petfood.express/blog

  • Simple Tips for Avoiding COVID-19

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    There’s a lot of information out there about coronavirus, or COVID-19, and it can be overwhelming to navigate. As usual when there’s a global pandemic, the CDC website is your best source for information for how to avoid the virus, and how to recognize symptoms should you come into contact with it. The WHO (World Health Organization) is another good source for accurate, up-to-date information about the where the virus is located and how quickly it’s spreading.

    There are a few simple things we can do in our daily life to minimize the spread of the virus and avoid contact with it. A few of these you have certainly heard (wash your hands!), and a few others you may have not considered. Incorporating these into your habits—even when there isn’t a looming possibility of a super virus—will keep you and those around you safe and healthy.

    Wash your hands

    You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again! Washing your hands is the most effective way to keep viruses from spreading and from contracting one even if you’ve been exposed to it. It’s important to use soap and warm water, and to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds to ensure anything you’ve come into contact with is removed.

    Disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

    Countertops, doorknobs, faucets, keyboards and toilets are among the surfaces that should be cleaned thoroughly and often, as viruses can be left on them.

    Wipe down your phone.

    We use our smartphones every day for multiple reasons—they can be practically an extension of our bodies. For that reason, they come into contact with countless surfaces. Make sure to clean your phone with alcohol to remove anything it might have picked up throughout the day.

    Avoid touching your face.

    Specifically your eyes, nose and mouth, especially if it’s been a significant amount of time since you last washed your hands.

    If you don’t feel well, stay home.

    If your immune system is compromised, avoid going out as much as possible. This will protect you and others.

    Boost your immune system.

    Including vitamins and supplements that boost your immune system in your routine can help to protect you from viruses and germs. Take a look at our guide to supplements for cold and flu season to see what you should stock up during this tenuous time.

    To see this blog post or others, visit https://www.pharmaca.com


    By March 19, 2020

    Shake. Burn. Quiver. These are the terms that give barre its edge – terms that make us (literally) feel like those two-pound weights, colorful resistance loops and 9-inch exercise balls are more likely found in a boot camp than on a playground. However, as much as we like to “barre so hard” and “shake in our grippy socks,” many barre enthusiasts are also attracted to the softer side of barre – the side that helps keep our muscles pliable, our minds centered, and most importantly, our immune systems uplifted.

    Recent studies have drawn a link between moderate exercise – the type of exercise that you’ll find in your classic barre class – and a healthy immune system. According to David Nieman, Ph.D., of Appalachian State University, when a person engages in moderate training on a regular basis, her or his long-term immune response actually improves.

    Nieman’s recent work showed that people who walked for 40-minutes a day at a moderate pace (i.e. walking two miles in 30 minutes), experienced half as many sick days caused by sore throats or colds than those individuals who didn’t exercise at all. And since barre workouts are safe to do every day, those regular trips to the barre are not only strengthening your muscles, but also improving your body’s defenses over time.

    Unlike exercise that taxes your immune system (think heavy weight lifting, strenuous running and boot camp classes), moderate exercise encourages our bodies to produce and circulate more bacteria-fighting cells during those 60-minute bouts at the barre and for several hours after class.

    Elise Joan, creator of Barre Blend, Beachbody’s new barre program, states that, “Barre Blend is designed to support and enhance your body’s immunity, rather than overworking or depleting your system. In addition to fire results, this program is designed to elevate lymphatic health, respiratory health, pulmonary health, cardiac health and digestion.”


    Furthermore, the mind-muscle connection found in most barre classes helps to alleviate stress levels, which can encourage even greater immune system response gains. Instead of focusing on what you need to do after you leave your barre class, try to consciously connect to the work taking place in your glutes and hamstrings during your Pretzel. You’ll not only see the results, but will also feel more grounded both inside and outside of class.

    As demonstrated by Elise, programs, like Barre Blend, “promote hopefulness, self-confidence and a focus on the many things we can control about our health — internally, externally, emotionally and mentally.”

    So, the next time you step up to the barre, adjust your grippy socks and ready yourself for another epic workout, remember that those relevés and pliés will lead to more than just leaner legs and a stronger core. Your immune system will also embrace each and every tuck, pulse and hold.

    About the Author

    Jennifer is a barre instructor, personal trainer, clinical aromatherapist and author who discovered barre — her soul-mate workout — while training for the 2016 Boston Marathon. As a long-time runner, former bodybuilder and melanoma skin cancer survivor, Jennifer’s recent battle with autoimmune disease has changed her fitness focus to one that incorporates more mindful, purposeful and low-impact movements.

    A former communication professor and mother of two daughters, Jennifer is excited to share her thoughts and experiences on ways to create and maintain a strong connection between the mind and body through barre.

    To see this blog post and others, visit: https://thebarreblog.com

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