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Tips & Tricks for Bonding With Your New Small Animal Pet & Introducing a Companion

Playtime and socializing are an essential part of being a small animal pet parent. As with everything when it comes to your new pets, start gradually. Once you’ve let your new furry friend adjust to their new home then you’re both ready to have some playtime! >>> Read more about getting a new small animal pet Whether you are going to just sit together and cuddle or let them roam a bit on their own, always make sure your space is ready and safe for playtime. Put away anything you don’t want your pets to get into or chew on like electrical cords, and keep loud noises to a minimum, close open windows and doors so they do not escape. When picking up your new pet, use both hands and be sure to support its bodyweight. Be gentle but firm, holding its feet against your body, and take care when you put it back down on the ground. Always supervise young children to make sure they are handling them gently. Have toys, tubes and a hidey place available to them, as well as a few small fresh treats. DO go slowly with socialization. Start with sitting beside them and letting them sniff you – once they get used to you, you can start to pet them and eventually pick them up. Try limiting initial handling to a few minutes at a time. DON’T ignore signs of distress. A scared bunny may cower, squeal or grunt and thump the ground with its feet, while a nervous guinea pig might wee on you, and a frightened hamster may try to bite. If your pet displays any of these behaviors, put them back in their habitat and try another time. Be patient and in no time they will be interacting and snuggling.   Tips for introducing companion pets Most small pets except hamsters are social and need a companion. In a perfect world, you would be adopting your rabbits or guinea pigs at the same time. The smoothest transition is likely with littermates, previously bonded pairs, or babies, but that may not always be an option. Neutered males and females often make great pairs, as does two females, but we would advise against more than one male cohabitating as they can become aggressive or compete for resources. When you bring your companion home, do not put them straight in your other pet’s habitat. Once again, it is very important to move forward gradually! Start by placing two habitats near each other so they can adjust to each other’s presence without feeling threatened. Allow them to swap scents by putting a bit of bedding from each habitat into the other. Then you can progress to physically introducing them in a neutral space, like a different room than they are used to or a playpen, without lots of distractions in the environment. Provide them with places to hide if they are nervous, but with two open ends so they don’t get cornered. And offer them some fresh veggies as a distraction and so they may associate positive feelings with each other. Keep these initial introductions supervised and short, around 15 minutes, you can gradually build up the duration as long as they remain happy together. At every step on this process, make sure to monitor their behavior closely! Look for signs your animal is happy. These are the clues you need to see to progress to the next step. Look for behaviors like grooming each other, squeaking to each other, sniffing each other, spending time close together and ‘popcorning’ for guinea pigs or binkies for rabbits. These are good signs! Don’t be alarmed if your rabbits try to mount or chase one another, this is to be expected and as long as the other doesn’t become aggressive they are ok. If your pets show no signs of aggression and have taken to each other, then you get the green light to allow cohabitation. Just make sure their habitat is large enough for two or more. The bigger the better!
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Helpful tips for a healthy diet & fun playtime with your new small pet guinea pigs, rabbits or hamster

Deciding to adopt a new small pet and choosing the right one can be a big decision!  Be aware of all their special needs and behaviors to ensure you are choosing the right furry friend so you can provide the very best care they deserve. carefresh is here to give you some helpful tips to ensure your new small pets live a happy, healthy life!   Your Small Pet Diet Needs: The perfect diet for your small animal will vary by species, but most share common threads like always making sure they have plenty of fresh water! Rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas are herbivores and have some similar dietary requirements. They all need a constant supply of nutritious Timothy Hay which should make up 75% of their diet with essential fiber for digestion, dental care and enrichment, along with a pellet food that is specially formulated for them. Guinea pigs, like humans, are unable to make their own vitamin C. Because their bodies cannot synthesize or store it, they need to receive around 10-30 mg per day through their diet. Guinea pigs that don’t get enough vitamin C are at risk for scurvy​. Dark leafy greens and fresh vegetables daily are a great source of vitamins and minerals and all natural treats like strawberries or apples can be given occasionally. Hamsters and gerbils, on the other hand, are omnivores and thrive on a high-variety diet consisting of high fiber seeds daily, fresh vegetables and dark, leafy greens every 1-2 days, fruits (no citrus) 1-2 small amounts per week, insects and nuts. (Hamster hideout forum has a great list of foods and how much, how often) Rats are also ominvores but need higher protein with plenty of dark greens and veggies   Be sure to follow the feeding instructions on the bag and consult your veterinarian with questions regarding proper feeding amounts. Introduce new foods gradually and watch for any abnormal behaviors. Small pets have very sensitive digestive system, contact your vet if you notice anything amiss, from lethargy to bloating or constipation. Be careful not to overfeed treats as it will encourage your pet to refuse their nutritious foods or become overweight.   Providing a well-balanced diet is just one part of giving your pet the best care and attention.   Providing the best home for your new small pet:  Guinea pigs and rats, especially need a mate and should always be adopted in pairs. While certain species of hamsters will become very aggressive if they share a home with another hamster. If you are adopting more than one new pet at a time, make sure to scale up their habitat accordingly! Our sweet small pets are typically very social creatures and will need lots of human interaction. But remember to start slow! To get your new pet used to your presence, you can start by feeding them treats by hand or spending time near their habitat reading or speaking to them gently. Provide as large of a habitat as possible – remember, bigger is better, with plenty of soft, absorbent carefresh bedding. Spot-clean daily with a full refresh and deep clean every 7-10 days. Guinea pigs and rabbits need time outside of their cages each day for exercise and play. You’ll want to animal proof their play area and be sure to watch them closely! A playpen works great. If they free roam in your home, be sure to remove or protect any cords, wires, or other hazards. Small animals have teeth that continuously grow! This is one of the reason hay is so essential for rabbits and guinea pigs, but toys can also help. Providing your small pet with toys will help with mental stimulation and teeth maintenance. Dry branches from untreated trees, wooden chew toys for birds, any unfinished, unpainted wicker or straw baskets are perfect chewing toys! Toilet paper/paper towel rolls, small empty cardboard cartons also work and are inexpensive. Hamsters have lots of energy and love to run it out on their exercise wheel! Just be sure it’s large enough so their back stays straight and is anchored so it won’t tip over. You can easily make sure your pet is feeling your love by providing plenty of space for their home and lots of soft, absorbent carefresh bedding to encourage nesting, playing and burrowing. Just spot-clean daily with a full refresh and deep clean every 7-10 days. Which is the perfect time to switch to a new color or theme! It’s fun to decorate their home for each season or holiday.  Now that you know more about caring and feeding your small pet, be sure to watch our other videos for other helpful information and tips from carefresh.    
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ökocat Gives Back to Shelters and Rescues in Need with 2021 ökocause4paws Litter Donation Program

FERNDALE, WASH. (Sept. 2, 2021) – ökocat has announced it is accepting nominations for this year’s ökocause4paws Litter Donation Program through Sept. 24. From the nominations, up to 10 deserving shelters throughout the U.S. and Canada will be selected to receive a donation of free next generation plant- and paper-based cat litter.  ökocat has donated over 21,000 pounds of ökocat natural litter to chosen shelters in eco-friendly cities across the country, with thousands of cats receiving free ökocat litter through the ökocause4paws program since it started in 2018.  “We want to honor and give back to the shelters and rescues that have helped give countless cats a new life, and September’s Happy Cat Month is the perfect time to do it,” said ökocat’s Consumer Communications Manager Leslie Ellis. “This year, our focus is on awarding litter to smaller shelters that likely have less resources and a greater need and might not typically receive donations. We want to hear from all our öko-fans – tell us about the rescues out there that have gone above and beyond to support our feline friends!”  To nominate a shelter, simply complete the online form with basic information about the shelter including why the rescue is deserving of a litter donation. Nominations must be submitted by Sept. 24, and shelters must be located in the U.S. or Canada to receive donations. Nominators will also be eligible to win a year supply of ökocat, as well as a custom cat pillow of their cat. Selected rescues will receive a donation of ökocat litter and their cat adopters will receive a coupon for a free box of ökocat litter.  ökocat creates next generation plant-based, biodegradable litter meant to be cleaner and healthier for cats, families and their homes. The natural litter is made in the U.S. from sustainably sourced, responsibly rescued natural fiber without harmful chemicals, fragrance, dyes or GMOs. ökocat provides outstanding odor control, easy-clean clumping and is 99% dust free.  For more information on ökocause4paws, visit Or visit for more information on ökocat products.
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ökocat Litter Launches Chainwide in Pet Valu Stores Canada

FERNDALE, WASH. (Sept. 1, 2021) – ökocat, creator of next generation plant and paper-based cat litter, has announced its products are now available in Pet Valu stores throughout Canada and online. The litter officially launches chainwide this month in both corporate and franchise stores across the country, and online at  ökocat next generation plant-based, biodegradable litter is cleaner and healthier for cats, families and their homes. This natural litter is produced in the U.S. from sustainably sourced, responsibly rescued natural fibre without harmful chemicals, fragrance, dyes or GMOs. ökocat provides outstanding odor control, easy-clean clumping and is 99% dust free. Over 600 Pet Valu locations across Canada (including store locations under Bosley’s by Pet Valu, Paulmac’s Pets, Tisol and Total Pet banners) will now carry a range of ökocat products, including Original Premium Clumping Wood Cat Litter, Super Soft Clumping Wood Cat Litter, Less Mess Clumping Low-Tracking Mini-Pellets Wood Cat Litter, and Dust Free Non-Clumping Paper Pellet Cat Litter.  ökocat products have been sold in Bosley’s, Tisol and Total Pet locations across British Columbia since 2016.  “Pet Valu has been providing pets with everything they need to live healthy, happy and active lives for more than four decades,” said ökocat’s Consumer Communications Manager Leslie Ellis. “We are proud to expand our relationship with such a reputable company, and we look forward to bringing ökocat products to more consumers across Canada.”  Pet Valu stores provide a wide assortment of essential products and innovative pet supplies meant to promote the well-being of pets during every stage of life. With a shared focus on holistic pet wellness, the collaboration between ökocat and Pet Valu is a natural fit.  “Pet Valu is committed to providing pet parents with a robust selection of quality products to keep their pets healthy throughout their lives,” says Kendalee MacKay, Chief Merchandizing Officer Pet Valu. “We’re very excited we’re now able to offer ökocat litter in our family of stores across Canada, and we encourage cat parents to visit us and speak to one of our Animal Care Experts about whether ökocat is right for their pet.”  Visit for more information on ökocat products, as well as the virtual store finder to find the Pet Valu store nearest you, or visit      About Pet Valu Pet Valu is Canada's leading retailer of pet food and pet-related supplies with over 600 corporate-owned or franchised locations across the country. For more than 40 years, Pet Valu has earned the trust and loyalty of pet parents by offering knowledgeable customer service, a premium product offering and engaging in-store services. Pet Valu's neighbourhood stores offer more than 7,000 competitively-priced products, including a broad assortment of premium, super premium, holistic and award-winning proprietary brands. To learn more, please visit  
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Target and ökocat® Expand Partnership with Super Soft Litter Distribution in More than 500 Locations

FERNDALE, WASH. (Feb 28, 2021) – Target Corporation and ökocat® are making it easy to switch to a superior natural litter that's cleaner and healthier for cats, families and their homes by expanding their partnership. This move follows a 300 percent increase in online sales for ökocat in 2020 on Medium-sized 11.2-pound boxes of Super Soft clumping natural litter will be featured on shelves in 578 locations across the country by March 14. currently sells four varieties of ökocat including Original, Less Mess, Dust Free, and Super Soft, but the latter is the first to make its way to Target’s brick and mortar stores. Customers will benefit from an introductory price reduction of $3.00 off for a limited time from March 14-27 in stores. “Target is a great fit for the ökocat brand, allowing pet parents to make a litter choice they feel good about,” said Leslie Ellis, Communications Manager at ökocat. “Super Soft is incredibly popular for all cats with sensitive paws - especially kittens and senior cats, but it’s also a great choice when transitioning from clay to natural litter.” Today’s announcement follows the brand’s packaging refresh in 2020 focusing on their commitment to help cat parents achieve a healthier clean®. Unlike traditional clay litter, ökocat has no toxic additives, synthetic chemicals, fragrance, dyes or GMOs and is made from sustainably sourced, responsibly rescued natural fiber that is completely biodegradable and compostable. All ökocat  products are next generation plant and paper-based litter designed to be cleaner and healthier for cats, families and their homes. Super Soft all natural litter mimics the feel of clay, allowing for a smooth transition when switching brands. Additional benefits include: Stops odor before it starts: Wood fiber naturally prevents enzymes from bonding with liquid and waste to stop the creation of ammonia and odor.  Clumps solid for easy scooping: Precision-cut fiber absorbs liquid on contact to form solid clumps for easy scooping and cleaning.  99 percent dust free for a healthier home: Clean wood fiber is screened and de-dusted for a cleaner pour. No dirty clay dust.  Degrades quickly and cleanly unlike clay litters that sit in landfills for years. Plus, it has the added convenience of being flushable. Just scoop and flush one clump at a time. “ökocat provides excellent odor control, it’s free of dyes, inks, scents, and it is 99 percent dust free,” said veterinarian Dr. Ruth MacPete. “These benefits make it ideal for pets and people with respiratory issues or allergies.”  Made entirely from sustainably sourced, responsibly rescued natural wood and paper fiber, ökocat offers the brilliance of European engineering for a better performing litter. To purchase online, or find a Target retail location, please visit
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