Bruce takes on HotPursuit

March 4, 2014 at 7:58am

This past weekend, I was in Walmart buying a few groceries and spied the SmartyKat HotPursuit toy in the pet aisle. I’d seen similar products advertised on tv, and after finding it locally, decided to give it a try.

(as shown in SmartyKat catalog)

(as shown on Walmart site)

Bruce loves it. Me, not so much. He has figured out that if he lays on the wand or immobilizes it for a few seconds, the machine turns itself off. (I’m assuming to save batteries) He’s also figured out how to pull the wand off, so is constantly trying to do that. If he can’t pull it off, he drags it around the house by the wand.

I took a video of him playing with it. As you can see, I’m constantly having to turn the machine back on after he’s stopped it.

Of course right before I took the video, this happened:

Is it Bruce-proof? I’m going to call no on this one. Yes, he can still play with it. But he ate one wand within minutes of first seeing the toy, and has figured out how to remove the feathered one so he can take it around the house with him. He has also figured out how to turn the machine off, which means I am constantly having to turn it back on in order for him to continue to play with it. (he’s a mischievous little bugger!)

Catster Community not going down without a fight!

February 13, 2014 at 4:26pm

I was delighted to see this email in my inbox this afternoon:

Big News: Catster’s Community Features Will Not Be Shutting Down

A little over two weeks ago, we were sad to announce that we were being forced to shut down the Community areas of Catster. But then something incredible happened. You rallied, and refused to give up on us. You voiced your dismay to anyone who would listen. And you know what? It worked. Today we can tell you that we are no longer shutting down the Community areas of Dogster and Catster on March 3 as was initially planned.

We are developing a new plan with a new partner to keep all your favorite features running, but it may take a month to get everything finalized, so thanks in advance for your patience. We will share the details with you as soon as we have them figured out.

We know you will have a lot of questions about what will happen to your Pet Pages, groups, and forums, and we don’t have a lot of answers at this point. As soon as we know what the final plan is, you will know it too. Thanks for bearing with us, and for loving Dogster and Catster. All of this is because of you.

There’s mega-discussions going on in the All Paws group, so head over there to join in. This is GREAT NEWS! :D

Catster says goodbye to petpages and more

January 17, 2014 at 8:14am

Sad day for those of us who enjoy the social/community aspects of the Catster/Dogster sites. :(

Big Changes Are Coming to Catster

Dear Catsters,

Today we are announcing some changes at Catster and Dogster. While the Catster and Dogster sites will continue to exist as daily magazines that serve the worldwide community of dog and cat families, it is with a heavy heart that we announce that we will be closing the Community areas of the sites effective March 3. This means that members of the Catster Community will no longer be able to see Pet Profiles, Forums, Groups, Answers, Local Listings, Photo Galleries, Games, Quizzes, Adoption, Cat of the Day, Diary Central, the Gift store, and the Community homepage past that date.

I am no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of Dogster and Catster, but I am writing this to you as one of the founders, as one of the developers who built the features of the sites, as the first community manager, and as a member (Trouble, Porter). Ten years of my life have been about Dogster and Catster and I’ve invested a lot of time, money, sweat and tears. It’s been a great ride and I have no regrets. But all good things must come to an end.

We originally created the sites because there was no place on the Internet to share the joy of having a dog or a cat member of the family. There was no place to share tips on taking care of the furry ones. There was no place on the internet to support each other in times of turmoil, sickness, and journeys to the Rainbow Bridge. We, and I truly mean “we” in the community sense, created this space. We’ve made great friends, told inspiring stories, helped many pets find their furever homes. It was a great success and something I will remember and take pride in for the rest of my life.

That said, 10 years on the Internet is forever. There have been massive changes in the industry — Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist when we started Dogster and Catster. Finding advertisers and developing those relationships was simpler and revenues were easier to come by in the early days. The backend technologies that power websites have been revolutionized three times over since then. It’s amazing to me that the sites we developed in 2004 and 2005 have lasted this long. But, as every regular user knows, the community areas aren’t working like they used to. Features are broken. Spammers are relentlessly invading our forums. The dog house and cat tree are starting to crumble.

SAY Media, our parent company, is great. Their hearts are in the right spot. There was a lot of pressure from financial and strategic points of view to close down the Community areas of the sites three years ago. But since the sites were holding up and people loved them, they continued to keep these areas up even though it was at a cost.

At the end of the day, our parent company is all about creating great editorial brands. As the Community features on Dogster and Catster degrade, as users become unsatisfied, it amplifies the fact that the Community sites are not aligned with SAY’s mission. It seems unwise to continue to operate them at a loss while aggravating users.

Please believe us when we say we’ve gone through every possible option. Could we invest more in revamping the sites? Could we spin them off into their own or another entity? Could we leave them as is and slowly see them degrade further? The answer was “no” to all of these. We just cannot find a way that is honorable to the community, true to the business, and in good conscience.

I know many of you will be upset. I know many of you will think this is the wrong call. We’re truly sorry for that. Sometimes putting something you love to rest, while difficult, is the right thing to do. That is what we must do now with the community areas of our sites. Thank you for being the best community ever.

John Vars

Co-founder, Dogster and Catster
VP of Product, Say Media

The Next Steps

  • If you have purchased a Plus subscription or Zealies in the past 60 days, please email or to be refunded. We will do our best to refund you within a week of your request.
  • Dogster and Catster HQ will be on hand at the All-Paws group. We invite you to join the conversation and come to us with any questions over there. We’re sad, too, and we’re here to listen and help as best we can.
  • We unfortunately don’t have export functionality to help you preserve your pet pages, but we encourage you to save your photos and diary entries before March 3, when they will be taken offline.
  • As always, you can reach us with questions, comments, and concerns at and


November 18, 2013 at 6:36pm


Bruce being cute.  (Is it Bruce-proof?)

Yay!  I had submitted Bruce to Here Kitty Kitty Kitty and his pic was posted today.  Much love and purrs to HKKK!  ♥


Bruce being cute.  (Is it Bruce-proof?)

Yay! I had submitted Bruce to Here Kitty Kitty Kitty and his pic was posted today. Much love and purrs to HKKK! ♥

Why you shouldn’t declaw your cat

November 17, 2013 at 8:21pm

I cannot stress enough how harmful this is to a cat, but the following graphic explains things much better than I ever can. (A big thank you to Scratching Pad for sharing this!)

Click the image to learn more about this despicable practice and safer alternatives!

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