The Happy Beast - Blog - Cat Health

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Building and Sign

FDA Testing Safety of Raw Pet Food: What You Need to Know

At The Happy Beast, our focus is on incorporating as much fresh food into your animals’ diets as possible. For our own households, that means feeding primarily raw food. For our customers, it can mean feeding solely raw, dehydrated, or freeze-dried food or combining one of these fresher forms of food with some type of kibble (aka dry food).

Earlier this month (June 2015) the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) began an assignment of collecting and testing samples of raw pet foods for salmonella and listeria. The motivation for this assessment, according to the FDA’s website, is based on this statement: “FDA does not believe raw meat foods for animals are consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks, particularly when such products are brought into the home and/or used to feed domestic pets; however, we understand that some people prefer to feed these types of diets to their pets.” You can read all the full article here:

This is not the first time the safety of raw pet food has been put under a magnifying glass, and surely these types of investigations will continue as the market for minimally-processed pet food expands. As raw pet food feeders ourselves, we actually think these types of assessments are good for the industry. However, rather than focusing on the “fear factor,” we think it’s important to highlight the relevant risk, especially when compared to the human foods that we eat every day.

Safe handling of pet food is important to the health of you and your animals.

The incidences of recalls due to pathogens are no more common in pet foods than in foods intended for humans. In the last year, two dog kibbles and three raw dog food products were recalled for salmonella or listeria contamination. In the same time period in the human food world, there have been at least forty recalls on multiple products for salmonella and at least thirty-five for listeria. Recalled products included nuts, peanut butter, potato salad, ice creams, cheeses, dried oregano, even caramel apples. The fact is, pathogens can appear in lots of food products; not just raw food for pets. The FDA publishes a complete list of recalled products for humans and animals, which you can find on their website:

Here’s the good news: The companies that make raw, dehydrated, and freeze-dried foods for animals intend their products to be fed uncooked. They are committed to quality control, batch testing, and safe handling. Learn more about the safety procedures used by the brands found in our store by visiting their individual websites. Just click on the individual food manufacturer logos under the “Brands We Carry” section on our “Products” page.

You can also stop by the store or read our blog post on “Pet Food Safe Handling Tips” for more information on safely feeding your animal any type of pet food (raw, freeze-dried, canned, kibble, etc.)

Nuke the Puke: Reduce Cat Vomiting by Eliminating Kibble | The Happy Beast

Nuke the Puke: Reduce Cat Vomiting by Eliminating Kibble

Puke, vomit, regurgitation… no matter what you call it, it is disgusting and totally annoying to clean up after your cat has gotten sick. Cat vomiting is also probably the number one complaint that we hear from our cat customers. If you’re able to eliminate the possibility of any underlying health issues then the solution is usually very simple and straightforward: ditch the dry food!

What is it about kibble that can lead to cat vomiting? No matter what brand you feed, kibble is too high in carbohydrates and too low in moisture for cats. Remember “grain-free” doesn’t mean “low carb.” The average kibble ranges from 25%-50% carbohydrates and only 10% moisture. A cat’s natural diet of rodents, birds, rabbits, etc. is less than 2% carbohydrates and 70% moisture. This deviation from cats’ natural nutritional profile makes kibble more difficult for them to digest and thus frequently regurgitated.


A cat’s physiology, whether they are an indoor or outdoor cat, is built to receive its energy from protein and fat. A cat feels satiated when they eat a meat-based diet, not a diet loaded with carbs. Therefore cats that are fed a kibble diet tend to overeat because they don’t feel satiated. Not only can overeating lead to regurgitation, but it can also lead to obesity and diabetes.

In addition to reducing cat vomiting, there are also many benefits to eliminating kibble and transitioning your cat to a meat-based diet. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they literally have no physiological need for carbohydrates in their diet. Optimal health can only be achieved when we feed a “species-appropriate” diet and ditching the kibble in favor or canned, freeze-dried or raw food is a great place to start.

Stop by the store and we can talk more about your cat’s diet and develop a customized nutrition plan to keep the vomiting down and the happiness up.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post and more info on how dry food affects your cat’s urinary and kidney health.

Why Do Cats Scratch? | The Happy Beast

Why Do Cats Scratch?

Why do cats scratch? I’m going to be straight up with you, your cat’s scratching is an instinctual behavior which means there is little to no hope of getting your cat to completely stop scratching. However, you can absolutely get your cat to stop scratching less desirable objects such as your couch, curtains, and carpet.

The first thing to understand is that cats scratch to mark their territory. The act of scratching allows the cat to leave both a visible sign and scent on the area through scent glands located on the paws. Scratching is also a simple pleasure that cats enjoy. When we take the time and have the patience to understand this is part of their nature, we can then take a deep breath, forgive them for all those destroyed items, and move forward towards a solution. Cat behaviorist and author, Pam Johnson-Bennett, also has a number of great articles on her website with all sorts of additional information on enabling healthy cat scratching behaviors.

Here at The Happy Beast, some of our favorite solutions include:

  • Cat furniture made of carpet and sisal are great options that give your cat a place to scratch and a place to perch. Midwest brand cat trees are a combination of sisal and carpet and are super easy to clean and fashionable. (Stop by the store to check them out!)
  • Corrugated cardboard scratchers are inexpensive and have the potential to last up to a year. Kong, Our Pets, and Vanness Scratchers brtands range in price from $11.99- $19.99. Cat’s love them, especially when sprinkled with a bit of catnip! A single Our Pets brand scratcher has lasted over a year at my house, and has withstood the aggressive scratching of four cats.
  • In general, simply making sure that your cat gets enough play and mental stimulation can also minimize bad scratching behaviors. Even toys that are not specifically geared toward scratching can help, including chase toys like Play n’ Squeak, Go-Cat feather tails, Peacock feathers, and Go-cat mouse catcher.
  • Regardless of what solution works best for you, there will certainly still be some setbacks along the way. 🙂 However, please don’t de-claw your cat under any circumstances! De-clawing your cat can often lead to other unwanted behaviors, such as litter box issues and inappropriate urinating. Please check out for more information on this important issue.
Live catnip plant

Catnip. Why does it make cats so wild?

What makes cats so wild about catnip? The plant contains a chemical called nepetalactone which enters the body through the olfactory system (the system responsible for our sense of smell.) When your cat sniffs catnip, the nepetalactone stimulates sensory neurons in the brain and causes a euphoric “high.” The sensation usually lasts about ten minutes with wild chasing, playing and hyperactivity and ends with your cat falling into an hour-long catnap. (Check out the awesome infographic below from

Catnip affects ~80% of cats and has no effect on young kittens.  It’s safe for cats and humans to consume. (But it just makes the humans sleepy, like chamomile tea.)

Catnip comes in many feel-good forms, but these are The Happy Beast’s cats very favorites. Try a couple and see which makes your cat the craziest. Watching your cat go nuts is part of the fun!

1. Live Catnip Plants

The BEST catnip is fresh! Our live plants are locally grown and can be left in the plastic pot or transferred into the ground where they will grow into your cat’s very own, private catnip jungle. Most cats enjoy chewing on the plant, but you can also harvest and dry the leaves.


2. LoveNips Wild Birds and Mice

Hand-sewn, locally made, and packed with local, organic catnip, these bright, wool birds with feather tails are a favorite among The Happy Beast kitties!


3. Yeowww! Bananas and Cigars

Filled with 100% organic catnip and the perfect size for tossing, batting and attacking!


4. Kong Catnip Spray

Make any toy a catnip toy with a spritz of Kong’s Catnip Spray. The oil is steam-distilled making it the most concentrated and potent form of the herb. The spray is convenient and leaves almost no mess.



5. PawBreakers

A ping pong-sized, solid ball of all-natural catnip. Cats go crazy chasing a Pawbreaker around their house! The balls last a long time (but may get trapped under the fridge or behind a couch!)




An awesome infographic from Catnipsum.comCatnipsum Catnip Infographic | The Happy Beast

Change a Pet's Life Day | The Happy Beast

Change a Pet’s Life Day

Here are four ways for us to change an animal’s life for the better this year (Which will ultimately make our lives better too!)


The motivation behind Change a Pet’s Life Day is to help animals in shelters and rescue groups find their forever homes. is an awesome site that lets you search for animals by breed, size and age or you can browse through all the dogs and cats in your area. You can find puppies and kittens or older animals who already have some training. Providing a great home for an animal in need is the ultimate way to change their life!


If you’re not ready to commit to keeping an animal for the rest of his life, consider fostering! Most rescue groups are based solely in fosters homes and many shelters rely on fosters for animals who are stressed by the shelter situation. Dogs in foster homes tend to find their forever family faster than ones in shelters because they’re out and about meeting friends and neighbors! (Be warned: many foster families “fail” the process and end up adopting their foster pup! It’s a happy accident!)


We’ve made a friend at The Happy Beast who volunteers for the Colorado Rabbit House Society in Broomfield- a rescue devoted entirely to bunnies! She told me they are always looking for volunteers to feed the rabbits, clean the cages and to take care of daily chores. How fun would it be to spend an afternoon with a whole bunch of rabbits??

Check out to find opportunities to volunteer with animals in your area. We can put you in touch with our favorite rescue groups too!

Exercise & Train

Behavioral problems are the most common reasons given when people drop their animals off at a shelter. While most of us can’t imagine giving up our pets, providing them with a balanced and active home can make sure we’re never faced with that dilemma! Make sure your pets get plenty of mental and physical exercise. Play with your cats and give them a variety of toys. Walk your dog, take him on hikes and teach him new tricks.

Alright, now get out there and change some lives!