The Crepes Case: The Vimtag Camera and the Case of the Litterbox Leaver

FTC Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Vimtag. We were given a camera as well as financial compensation to review this product. All opinions are our own and we only write about products we think our readers should know about. CatInTheFridge.com does not receive any financial compensation from the sales of these cameras. 

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Ladies and Gentlemen of the Furry Jury:

It was a dark and snowy night when MomFOD sat down on the couch to discover that someone had fouled it in the most foul of ways. You know what I mean. Someone in this house peed on the couch.

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::moment of silence for shocked reactions::
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In a house of cats, this is tres gauche and could be due to health or behavioral problems. It is not to be taken lightly, and so, I call upon myself, Detective Crepes, to accept this case in the name of justice. This now falls under the jurisdiction of The Crepes Case!
Crepes Case

Justice must be served.

The Crime Scene: The couch. Under the piano. Under the TV. This culprit clearly has no shame and could strike anywhere.

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The Equipment:AVimtag Plug and Play camera with two-way audio, motion alerts, and night vision. That means I can even LISTEN to the culprit peeing. Pretty swanky, no?

vimtag

There it is. My newest piece of sleuthing equipment.

The Surveillance: It seems the culprit has several places s/he might strike next. In order to set up effective surveillance, I positioned a VimTag camera near the litter box and set up motion detection alarms to let me know when anyone is in the area. My plan is to surveil the box, making sure that each of the possible suspects is using it daily. I set the camera to take a motion photograph each time a presence was detected in the box. Let’s take a look at the evidence collected.
Sprinkle: present and clearly knowing she's being watched.

Sprinkle: present and clearly knowing she’s being watched.

Niles doing his business.

Niles doing his business.

 

That's me.  Look away, please.

That’s me. Look away, please.

Louie and his tail.

Louie and his tail.

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The Verdict: Everyone is using the box except…Peabody. That’s probably because I won’t let her. I really don’t like her touching my things. Case closed!
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Alana’s Verdict:  Alana here. I’d like to chime in and say that the reason Peabody is not using the litter box is because Crepes is smacking her every time Peabody sets foot on the floor. With the help of the Vimtag Camera, I am able to monitor everyone’s litter box habits while I’m away from the house. I have it set up to ping my phone and alert me whenever anyone is using it. If I need to change positions, I can move the camera remotely or even pick the entire thing up and plug it in somewhere else easily. It sets itself up automatically on my Wi-Fi system and is ready to go in about a minute.
.e..  .
Honestly, I have LOVED having a tool like this to check in on my house while I’m away. It’s amazing for travel and I can even talk to them, listen in, and chat with their caregiver while I’m away in order to help her find food, litter, and even hiding kitties. And, if a kitty is about to foul a forbidden area, I can speak through the camera to discourage such behavior. It is easy for me to figure out who is performing which nefarious behavior and gives me peace of mind whenever I need to keep an eye on a little one that’s under the weather. We give the Vimtag Wireless Camera two stumps up!
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If you’d like more detailed information about the Vimtag, check out our earlier post here. The VimTag retails for $99.99 for one camera or $189.99 for a set of two. You can set up as many as eight on your home network. If you are interested in checking one out, you can do so here.  (This link will take you to an Amazon page. We do not get any compensation for purchases made through this link.)
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I am currently assisting Peabody and Crepes through their issues and Peabody’s litter box habits are improving. Updated: We do have more than one litter box, but the one we watched is the one Peabody almost always uses because it’s where she hangs out all day. Crepes has been spotting smacking her no matter where she goes. I have been doing assisted litter box sessions with Peabody, which have really helped. No accidents since. Next, we work on the underlying behavior.

CASE CLOSED.

A bonus photo of Niles attempting to block my view of whatever's going on in that room!

Niles attempting to block my view of whatever’s going on in that room! Obstruction of Justice!

The Hatch: A New Way To Comfort Your Pet While You Travel

Ahoy, Readers!

Today, I’d like to bring you the opportunity to learn about a product that will have excellent benefits for those with special needs pets or just regular old run of the mill pets who have all four legs, all their eyes, functional organs, etc. etc.  Today, we learn about the Hatch!

The Hatch.

The Hatch.

Now, I’m not usually one to tout the merits of a product that doesn’t yet exist, but a very kind letter was written to me by a one Jon Mirsky stating that he loved my blog (thank you), is passionate about special needs pets (good), and is hoping to launch a revolutionary new carrier that will help pets feel calmer and safer during travel. This is where he mentioned the Hatch, a carrier that will allow you to reach in and touch your pet without worrying that your friend is going to escape. Need to give a pill? Open the hatch! Want to offer a calming eyebrow rub to your kitty? Open the hatch! Need to let visiting alien ambassadors onto your ship’s deck? Open the hatch! Actually, that last one probably isn’t a feature of this particular Hatch, but you can still say it. No one will fault you.

Junior, the inspiration behind the Hatch.

Junior, the inspiration behind the Hatch.

The Hatch was a product that Jon came up with while traveling with his buddy Junior, who found his carrier unsettling and distressing. Jonathan wanted to create something that would allow a person to offer comfort and physical touch to their pet without worrying about escape or hassling with difficult snaps and zippers. And so, the Hatch was, um, hatched. It has a visual safety feature on it to show you if the hatch is indeed open and your pet is accessible to you or if it is closed and your pet is safely tucked inside with no escape possible (and I use the word “escape” in the nicest possible way.) The carrier itself is also made of “military grade ballistic nylon,” which sounds so manly and dangerous. Claws (or stumps) find it impregnable, impenetrable, and impervious to snags. Outstanding. It even has seat belt straps and packs flat for when you just want to stash it under your bed.

Sound good to you? Then now is your chance to jump on the Kickstarter to get some perks before this bad boy is released to the public. You’ll get to help fund a neat product that will offer some nice features for special needs (or normal needs) pets and get some discounts and other snazzy donor glitter, as well.

The Hatch in action.

The Hatch in action.

I wonder if my stump would fit through that Hatch…

Love,

Crepes.

FTC Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Hatch and we were paid a small fee for our time to prepare it. We only bring you items that we think are relevant to our readers’ interests and all opinions are our own.

 

VimTag Camera Spies On Pets

You Guys!

It has gotten harder than ever for us pets to get away with anything while home alone. You see, MomFOD got approached by a company called VimTag and was asked to try out their new home security camera system. Now, I was opposed to being watched but MomFOD said that it would make her feel better to be able to check on us while she’s away. She also said that she had to do it for her readers. Alas, I relented. Readers come first. Here are the details:

vimtag

There it is.

What is it: A plug and play security camera that works with your router or WiFi and can be controlled remotely via an iPhone, iPad, Android, or desktop computer browser.

Why do I need it? If you have a special needs pet who needs extra supervision, or a plain old pet you just like to watch while you’re away from the house, or perhaps someone who is suspiciously peeing in the house but you can’t figure out who it is, this little camera is your jam.

Find out who's footprints are all over the piano.

Find out whose footprints are all over the piano.

Setup: We set up the camera in about five minutes. You pull it out of the box, plug it into your router with the included cable, download the software to your phone or log in online, create a free account, scan the QR code or type in the camera ID, and start watching! If you want to go wireless, there’s an extra step for logging into your wireless account. Once that happens, you can unplug the camera and set it up anywhere in the house as long as it has an electrical outlet nearby. Mounting hardware is included for attaching the camera to walls or ceilings.

Findings and Features: While away, MomFOD was able to check in on the home numerous times from her phone. In fact, DadFOD didn’t know it was installed and she got a great picture of him wondering what was going on. The camera not only allows you to watch during the day, it has excellent night vision capabilities for spying in the dark. You can also listen in on the surroundings and use it as an intercom to speak to your subjects and hear what they say in response. In addition, you can swipe across the screen to rotate and pan the camera 180 degrees around as well as up and down and you can zoom in. If you install a small SD card (not included), you can capture photos and videos. There is also a motion sensor that can snap photos for you or alert you via text message if something is moving around.

DadFOD spotting the Vimtag while being spied upon.

DadFOD spotting the Vimtag while being spied upon.

Troubleshooting: We had a wee bit of trouble connecting to our WiFi, but this could be more because of our system. We did find that it does not work with 5Ghz broadcasting routers, so we had to switch back to 2.4Ghz to connect. After it’s plugged in to the wall and you’ve set up the wireless, make sure you wait a full two minutes for the WiFi to connect and begin broadcasting. Photo quality depends on how good your connection is at the time.

Conclusion: This is a pretty nifty gadget, especially for those who would like to keep an eye on newborn kittens, pets with mobility issues or illnesses, or pets alone at home. This may also put an end to me putting the blame on our dog for various “incidents.”

The VimTag retails for $99.99 for one camera or $179.99 for a set of two. You can set up as many as eight on your home network. If you are interested in checking one out, you can do so here.  (This link will take you to an Amazon page.)

Peabody caught by the cam. She saw it, too.

Peabody caught by the cam. She saw it, too.

Louie caught up on the stove in the middle of the night. It's like he's challenging it.

Louie caught on the stove in the middle of the night. It’s like he’s challenging it.

Louie in the middle of the night. Unsettling, at best.

Louie in the middle of the night. Unsettling, at best.

Notice who did NOT get caught staring into the camera. (Me) I wonder if MomFOD would notice if I put a scarf over the lens…

Love,

Crepes.

FTC Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Vimtag. We were given a camera as well as financial compensation to review this product. All opinions are our own and we only write about products we think our readers should know about. CatInTheFridge.com does not receive any financial compensation from the sales of these cameras. 

Nature’s Variety Instinct® Raw: My #InstinctRaw Experience, Your Coupon

This post is sponsored by Instinct® and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Instinct Raw but CatInTheFridge.com only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Instinct is not responsible for the content of this article.

Me and the product. I feel like I could really nail being their new model.

Me and the product. I feel like I could really nail being their new model.

Dear Readers,

Many of you may know by now that my FODs keep me on a raw food diet. Sometimes I grumble, sometimes I find a food that pleases my delicate palate. In either case, the FODs are pretty set on raw food for a variety of reasons. For instance, did you know that when I was adopted I was super sick with upper respiratory infections and herpes outbreaks? The doctors said I’d never breathe normally again. MomFOD put me on a raw diet and within two weeks, I was looking good! I mean, I always looked good. Great, really, but the raw definitely put me over the edge and those stump modeling contracts really began pouring in But, I digress.

This is from my "Sexy Raw" photo shoot.

This is from my “Sexy Raw modeling photo shoot.

Ponder this: can cats in the wild cook their dinner? Have you ever seen a wild animal constructing a fire of twigs and tinder bundles so they can delicately sear their recently snared vole? You haven’t? That’s because they don’t. Raw diets are what nature had in mind for cats and we felines have all the right digestive enzymes for being able to eat raw. We are also obligate carnivores meaning we MUST eat meat. Therefore, when one of our favorite food brands approached us and asked us to share our experience with our readers, we were all for it! So, without further ado, please have a look at:

 

Nature’s Variety Instinct® Raw Bites

::Cue exciting music::

Nevermind. Nature’s Variety didn’t send us any music. They did send us this fabulous picture though:

The bites in action. Or inaction. Whatever. This is what they look like.

The bites in action. Or inaction. Whatever. This is what they look like.

So, let’s look at this scientifically, shall we?

Let's do this.

Let’s do this.

What is it:

Instinct Raw is made of 95% meat, organs, and bones, 5% fruits and vegetables, and 0% grain. It’s made in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.

The Hypothesis:

I volunteered to try Instinct Raw Bites because I’ve already tried it and know it’s delicious. We believe that raw is the way to go for most cats and we hypothesize that we will eat and enjoy this food.

Oh, what's this? Could this be for me?

Oh, what’s this? Could this be for me?

The Test:

Four out of five cats were used as testers on the rabbit and chicken flavors. The dog also eats this food but she’s away on holiday at the GrandFODs’ place. Since we already eat raw, we did not have to transition slowly and ate is all by itself.  The bites are cool because they are really quick to thaw and, since MomFOD often forgets to plan ahead, it only takes a few minutes before we can chow down.

I didn't trust this cat. I think he was there to take my food.

I had to whip my head around because I didn’t trust this cat. I think he was there to take my food.

The Conclusion:

It was delicious. Four out of four testers ate the food.

Four out of four testers enjoyed the Raw Bites.

Four out of four testers enjoyed the instinct Raw Bites.

 The Benefits of A Raw Food Diet:

Some of the most-oft cited benefits of feeding raw (and those we’ve noticed here) are:

  • Healthy skin and coat
  • Optimal Digestion
  • Healthy teeth and gums
  • Relief from food sensitivities
  • Ideal Body Weight

I’d also like to add:

  • Poop smells better
  • Anal gland expression issues in dog have resolved (thank goodness)

Tips:

  1. If your cat has never tried raw before, start slowly with small amounts to make the transition. Many raw companies advocate mixing your cat’s current diet with some raw. This can work for some, though in our house, some of the more sensitive stomachs are unable to handle raw and cooked at the same time. You know your cat’s stomach. Choose wisely.
  2. In addition, we often get tired of the same protein source, so it’s helpful to rotate to make sure we’re getting as much nutrition as possible and don’t snub the food.
  3. Raw doesn’t have a strong smell, so if your pet doesn’t like it right away, keep trying! Sprinkle hated the idea of raw the first few times and her tummy got a bit grumbly. We stopped trying to give it to her and a week later, she was stealing Louie’s (and my) raw food all on her own.
Raw matches Sprinkle's digestive tract and her eyes.

Raw pairs well with Sprinkle’s digestive tract and her eyes.

Where to find it:

While we only used to be able to find our raw food in Chicago health food stores, we are now able to find it at PetSmart! Please be aware, though, that it’s not in ALL PetSmart stores yet and was only in 50% of the two we visited. In addition, the cat variety was hidden in the dog section way up on the top. You may have to ask. Here’s what the display looks like:

instinct petsmart

I circled the cat section for you way up there past the dogs.

 

Try It:

Now then! If our experience has made you curious, Instinct is kindly offering a $3 off coupon on their website, which you can use towards a trial size or a larger bag. Larger bags tend to be more cost effective, and we hope that they come up with a “We have five cats” size bag soon.

Safety concerns:

Those are addressed here! We make sure to keep our bowls and hands clean, and haven’t had any problems! For more info, visit: http://www.instinctpetfood.com/quality-and-safety

You can also discuss on their Facebook page.

That’s it! We are really pleased to have participated in this campaign because we feel diet is THE MOST IMPORTANT HEALTH ASPECT of pet care. We always advocate using species-appropriate, healthy foods to keep your pets healthy and we are huge advocates of the raw diet and have been for years.

What do you think of raw? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Let’s discuss!

Love,

Crepes.