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See what goes on when you are not home with an Oco Camera

 

Oco Camera

My husband and I always talk about what really goes on when we are not at home. With a “mini-zoo” we’re curious to see what our pets do all day.

I know our dog usually goes after one of our cats (he’s very jealous of her – she has health issues but he sees it as spending more time with her). I did an experiment where I pretended to leave for work and opened/closed the front door, just to see what our dog did when he THOUGHT I was gone. Sure enough I found him going after that one cat. He doesn’t attack her, per say, but rather he gets a little “frisky” with her, if you know what I mean. Being asthmatic she cannot handle his weight on her and the pressure on her lungs.

We also wonder what our kids do when we are not home. We have teenagers so they are OK to be home by themselves. We know that they spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

We have thought about getting a camera to video tape what goes on when we are not around, but the ones we looked into are too complicated to set up. Not only that, you have to adhere them to a wall, and we didn’t want to do that. We wanted something that offered a bit more flexibility.

A few weeks ago I was offered the opportunity to review an Oco Camera.

The Oco Camera is a small, unobtrusive camera that is so simple to set up that even a “technologically challenged” person like myself could set it up in as little as 1-2-3. Normally my husband has to help me set up “techie devices.” This was one of the rare times where I was able to set it up on my own.

This is how easy it was to set up.

  • Plug in the camera.
  • Download the FREE Oco Camera app
  • After you create an account on the app a QR code will appear. Place the code in front of the camera so it can “read” it and you are done. That’s it! There is nothing more to do. It literally took mere minutes to set it up.

Read QR Code

With other cameras you have to configure your router (or add it to it), charge the device, or mount it on the wall. They are typically more involved to set up. The Oco Camera was by far the easiest thing I have ever had to set up. It’s almost like a “plug and play” device.

What I really like, aside from the ease of set up, is that you can put the Oco Camera anywhere you want. You don’t have to mount it anywhere (unless you want to). You can move it from room to room and set it up at a different location depending what you want to see.

The Oco Camera sends you alerts too to let you know what the camera is “seeing” or what is going on wit the camera (if it’s turned on, or turned off, detects sound or motion…).

The alerts come to  you via the app which you can view on your phone or mobile device. I have the app on the phone and the app sends me messages when the Oco Camera detects something.

The video you see from your app is a live stream of what your camera sees. We did notice there is about a 1-2 second delay from what we see and what the Oco Camera sees, but that is not a problem at all.

Oco Camera Review

The camera also records at night via night vision.

A cool feature with the Oco Camera is that you can record and send a message via the app. Someone can respond back via the camera too (it’s a two-way talk feature). That is handy when you catch your kids don’t something wrong or if you want to let your dog know you’ll be home soon.

You can even record and save the recordings to the Cloud. The first year is free when you purchase the Oco Camera. After that, if you wish to continue saving the recordings to the Cloud there is a monthly fee. I don’t plan on saving any of our recordings, so I’m not worried about that.

FYI… If you purchase the Oco Camera and want to watch the live streaming (or even recordings) do so with your phone sideways for a larger view. I was watching them on my iPhone in the normal position until I realized turning it on it’s side (the same way you would record a video) gives you a much better view.

The quality of the video is really good too. I was impressed by that. It’s pretty clear. You get a good view of everything that the camera sees.

Check out a live stream demo from the Oco Camera site HERE.

Live Stream

Up to 16 people can also view the streamed content, so my husband and I can both check on things at home. If you use this for your place of business you can allow the store owner and managers to access the content (up to 16 people) so that everyone can check in to make sure everything is OK.

Why would you want an Oco Camera? In our case it’s to check in on our teens when we are not home (it also lets us know that they are home from school) and to see what our pets are up to. The Oco Camera can also be used as a baby monitor and as a security camera.

Oco is an indoor camera. I cannot be used outdoors.

I never thought I would use this camera as much as I do. I like being able to see things going on at home when I am at work. Nothing ever happens (occasionally I see one of my cats walk by), but that is OK with me.

If you would like to learn more about Oco Camera visit GetOco.com/US.

SAVE 20% with the discount code SHESCRIBES20 (Valid until June 21, 2015) on the Get Oco website.

Would you have a need for Oco Camera? If you owned one what would you use it for (security, check in on pets, baby monitor…)? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Oco Logo

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Zoom Zoom… Cat’s Vehicle Scratch ‘n Shapes from Imperial Cat

 

Cat Scratcher

As a “mom” to five cats – not to mention a dog and fish – I strive to keep my pets happy and healthy. I provide my cats with fresh food and water daily, clean bedding, plenty of toys and a lot of snuggles and love.

One “must have” for all cat owners are scratch pads or scratching posts. Cats NEED to scratch to keep their nails healthy. It removes the frayed outer layer keeping their claws clean and sharp.

With five cats I need several cat scratchers. I am fortunate that most of my cats know not to scratch the furniture or carpet. Just one of our cats refuses to obey the rules and will scratch the carpet. Ugh!

Cat scratchers are not always the most attractive thing to look at. Either they are sisal wrapped posts or boring brown cardboard scratchers.

Imperial Cat makes the coolest cat scratchers I have ever seen. They came in different shapes and designs from food to seasonal and from animal shaped scratchers to ones that look like furniture.

Scratch and Shapes

Imperial Cat even has sports car shaped scratchers.

Imperial Cat recently sent me one of their race car scratchers (ideal for an Indy 500 loving home). My cats took to it right away.

The Imperial Cat scratcher is made out of a heavy duty cardboard. Pieces of it do flake off as you cat uses it, but they do last a very long time. We had another Imperial Cat scratcher years ago and it lasted a very long time.

Depending on the size of your cat he/she could even take a nap on the scratcher. My cats are pretty big so it wouldn’t be comfy for them to sleep on, but I have seen them temporarly lie on it or sit on it.

Each Imperial Cat scratcher is made out of 100% post-consumer recycled paper and they are 100% recyclable when your cats are done with hit.

They even provide a bag of certified organic cat nip that you can sprinkle on to the scratch pad. Not that they need the incentive. My cats will scratch on them with or without the catnip. The vehicles are availble in two options;

Racer:
Available Colors: Black, Blue, Green, Orange and Purple
Dimensions: 4” x 19” x 9”

Convertible:
Available Colors: Black, Blue and Green
Dimensions: 5” x 23” x 9”

Check out some of my cats enjoying the scratcher from Imperial Cat. Ours looks like the one in the top photo, except our car is green.

Race Car

Bella

Imperial Cat Scratcher

Scratcher

I put the scratcher outside on our balcony when the weather is good. If there is a chance or rain, or at night, I bring it back inside.

As you can see three of our cats – Bell, Padmé and Anakin – fully enjoy the Imperial Cat race car scratcher. It gets A LOT of use in our home.  Anakin is actually the same cat in the first picture (on top of this post) with our very first Imperial Cat scratcher. Needless to say he grew a bit.

I wouldn’t recommend that you leave this outside. They are made out of cardboard and if they get wet it will ruin it. Your cat/cats would be very disappointed.

Here are a few more examples of the adorable cat scratchers from Imperial Cat.

Cheese

Alligator

imperial-top

If you have cats you NEED to have something for them to scratch on. Failure to do so will encourage your cat to scratch on your furniture, carpet or other surfaces you don’t want them to scratch on. I can tell you from personal experience cat scratching can cause A LOT of damage. In the past we’ve had to replace carpet due to scratching and the legs on our dining room table chairs are ruined due to scratching. This is why we keep several scratch pads and posts around our home.

Imperial Cat scratch pads, like their fun vehicle shaped ones, would me a great addition to any home. Unlike other scratch pads and posts these are not an “eye sore.”

For more information about Imperial Cat, or where to purchase them, please visit www.ImperialCat.com. You can also check out the brand on Facebook.

What do you think about the adorable race car scratch pad? Does it look like it would be a great addition to your home?

Have you ever owned an Imperial Cat scratcher?

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Kimberly

*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.  

 

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Raise the “ruff” for 48 hours of “pawsome” entertainment from Nat Geo WILD

 

Ep1_12_IsYourDogAGenius

Attention dog owners and dog lovers – Nat Geo WILD is hosting a weekend full of “pawsome” programming that celebrate’s man’s best friend.

The weekend kicks off tonight (May 15, 2015) and concludes on May 17, 2015. It’s affectionately referred to as “Barkfest.”

Check out the Barkfest program line up.

FRIDAY, MAY 15:

WorldsGreatestDogs_04

World’s Greatest Dogs – Friday, May 15 at 8 PM ET/PT

These are the stories of extraordinary dogs: a surfing therapy dog, a bionic dog, a dog with the world record in scootering, and many more. We’ll meet these incredible canines and their dedicated owners.

 

NaniNightmare_LR_17_Cesar911s2

Cesar 911 Season Finale – Friday, May 15 at 9 PM ET/PT

Cesar rushes to the aid of Joe, a frantic husband and father.

 

Ep1_18_IsYourDogAGenius

Is Your Dog A Genius? Doggy See, Doggy Doo – Friday, May 15 at 10 PM ET/PT

Is your dog a born genius? Or can you make him one? Duke University dog scientist Dr. Brian Hare uses his groundbreaking research to help dog owners better understand their canine companions. This interactive series will help dog owners everywhere unlock their canine’s true potential.

 

SATURDAY, MAY 16: 

The Incredible Dr. Pol: Dog-A-POL-oozaSaturday, May 16 at 8 PM ET/PT

In this special episode of The Incredible Dr. Pol, it’s all dogs all day this week at Pol Veterinary Services!

Unlikely Animal Friends: Bark-Tacular – Saturday, May 16 at 9 PM ET/PT

We’ll take a look at some of the most amazing unlikely friendships that prove that dogs are more than just man’s best friend!

Is Your Dog a Genius? Who’s Your Doggy? – Saturday, May 16 at 10 PM ET/PT

Can your dog outsmart you? Does he bend the rules behind your back? Duke University dog scientists Dr. Brian Hare has developed a series of scientific test to reveal your dog’s unique strategies and help you improved your relationship with her.

 

SUNDAY, MAY 17 

World’s Greatest Dogs– Sunday, May 17 at 8 PM ET/PT (encore airing) 

DogsAllShapesAndSizes_06

Super Underdogs – Sunday, May 17 at 9 PM ET/PT

From smallest to largest, from longest ears to longest tongue, from unique shapes to most muscles. These are the stories of the worlds’ most extreme looking dogs.

 

Is Your Dog A Genius? Talk Doggy To Me – Sunday, May 17 at 10 PM ET/PT

Dogs and humans share a social bond unlike any two species on the planet. But how does your dog really feel about you? Based on his groundbreaking research, Dr. Brian Hare has created a series of games to help you better understand your canine companion.

 

It looks like a lot of fantastic programming this weekend.

You don’t have to be a dog owner to appreciate these programs.

We have a dog (Espn). I have always had a dog for as long as I can remember. At one point when I was younger my family had three dogs. I miss all my dogs. They all lived long, happy and almost healthy lives (one dog, Sparky, had bone cancer and passed away when he was three years old).

I hope you’ll tune in and enjoy a “furtastic” weekend of doggy programs on Nat Geo WILD.

For more information about this or other Nat Geo WILD programming please visit Channel.NationalGeographic.com/WILD. You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter (NatGeoWild on both).

Nat_Geo_Wild_logo

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. Any opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted. 

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Celebrate Mother’s Day with PetSmart (giveaway ends 5/17/15)

 

Pets

Mother’s Day is this coming weekend.

You don’t have to give birth to someone to be a mom or a mother-like figure in someone’s life. Take my situation for example. I was raised by my paternal grandparents. They have always been – and always will be – my mom and dad.

Some pet owners look at their pets as their “children.” I have to admit that I do that. After all, my pets are a part of my family, even though I clearly did not give birth to them (wouldn’t that be weird).

Our fish - Fishy (orange) and Wishy (white/orange)

Our fish – Fishy (orange) and Wishy (white/orange)

Some pet parents see their pets as children and take it to the extreme. They dress their pets up, take them on exotic vacations (lucky pets!), feed them gourmet meals and even adorn them with diamonds.

I think most pet parents are more like me. I talk to my pets, I try and spend time with each one individually and I like to get them Christmas and birthday gifts.

Each holiday season I get a “family ornament” where I put all my family members on it. I always make sure to include my pets too – all five cats, our dog and even our fish!

Here is one example.

Ornament

I fuzzed out my human-kids names for their protection. The remaining names are our five cats, dog and two Goldfish.

I sometimes think our pets ARE related to my kids. They often exhibit similar personality traits as my kids.

As it is with your own children, having pets is a year round job that is filled with challenges and a lot of love and joy.

PetSmart wants to recognize all those pet moms who make a difference in the lives of their pets. They were kind enough to send me a box of goodies for both me and my fuzzy family members. We received the following items;

Balls

My cat’s love the bells inside and enjoy swatting them around the floor.

Cat Dental Treats

My cats are crazy for these.

Frisbee

What dog doesn’t enjoy a Frisbee?

Frog & Ball

The little plush frog toy is so cute. My dog loves the ball too but he keeps rolling it off our balcony and “I” am the one who has to “fetch” it. LOL!

Fuzzy

Cats LOVE the fuzzy tails on these balls.

Kong

My dog goes bonkers when I put a treat inside. Even the cats try and get the treat out.

Mice

These mice are beautifully made. My cats love these, most especially our cat Anakin. He’s a “mouse-o-holic.” Ha Ha

Bowls

These bowls are SO CUTE! They are almost too cute to let them get slobbered all over. LOL!

Greenies

Greenies dental treats for both cats and dogs. Oral health is very important to me. If my kids brush twice a day so should my furry children.

NOT PICTURED: Several adorable cat collars from Whisker City (the photo turned out horribly) and a cute Pound Puppy dog toy (my dog had the toy and wouldn’t give it back to me to snap a photo).

My furry family members were not the only ones who received wonderful gifts – I also received a gift card to Spa Envy so that I could get a little pampering for Mother’s Day. I’ll consider that a gift from my pets since they can’t make me a card. :-)

If you would like to learn more about any of these products, or to find a PetSmart location near you, please visit www.PetSmart.com. PetSmart is also found on social media.

PetSmart Logo

PetSmart would like to pamper a lucky reader and their pet with a great giveaway. The winner will receive a gift card to Spa Envy ($59 value) AND an assortment of pet products for a dog, cat or both. Thank you so much PetSmart!

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on May 17, 2015 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator. The winner will be notified via email. The winner has three days to respond or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me a little bit about your pet/pets and how much they mean to you.

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you MUST complete the initial entry requirement or the extra entries won’t qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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“WOW” your cat with Fancy Feast Broths with Chicken

 

Pet-Collage

If you read my blog on a regular basis you probably know about our “mini-zoo.” It consists of five cats, a dog who thinks he’s a cat and a set of Goldfish who fear the cats. LOL!

We love our pets dearly. They are very much a part of our family. We do what we can to keep them happy and healthy.

I love to give our cats and dog an occasional treat of rotisserie chicken. We usually pick up a couple of them from a local warehouse-type store. After we remove most of the meat to save for future meals, I like to remove the remaining meat and share with our pets.

Our cats especially go CRAZY for rotisserie chicken. It’s a very special treat.

FYI… If you like rotisserie chicken I have a quick and easy recipe for you. It’s one that I make often that my family LOVES.

Rotisserie chicken - everyone loves it, including our pets.

Rotisserie chicken – everyone loves it, including our pets.

You’ll need the meat from one rotisserie chicken, Yoshida sauce, steamed broccoli (or your favorite veggie), rice or pasta.

1. Prepare the rice or pasta (this recipe is great with either).

2. Steam the broccoli.

3. Warm up the meat (unless it’s still warm from when you purchased it).

4. Combine the chicken and broccoli in a pan with some Yoshida sauce (adjust according to your preference – start with a little then add more to your liking).

5. Place the mixture on top of pasta or rice – or – mix the chicken and broccoli mixture in with the pasta or rice.

Chicken

That’s it! This recipe literally takes about 10 minutes to make (cooking the pasta takes the longest). My family is always “WOW’ed” by it. They love it.

Our cats (and dog) love it too. They know when I make this recipe they will get the remaining chicken meat.

There is another way you can “WOW” your cat and that is with Purina’s Fancy Feast Broths with Chicken. They are available on four cat-friendly flavors. They are made using real, high-quality ingredients so you can feel good serving it to your four legged friend.

Fancy Feast Broths

Some flavors include

  • Chicken & Vegetables in a decadent creamy broth
  • Chicken, Vegetables & Whitefish in a decadent silky broth
  • Tuna, Chicken & Whitefish in a decadent creamy broth

These are NOT meals, but rather delicious treats to share with your beloved cat. Each individual packet contains a broth and REAL meat pieces. You can even see the real meat, chicken and fish. They are all crafted without by-products or fillers.

Check out the REAL bits of meat, fish and/or poultry!

Check out the REAL bits of meat, fish and/or poultry!

My cats LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these. They can’t get enough of them. I find that my cats lick up the broth first, then eat the meat. One of my cats just drinks the broth and leaves the meat for any of my other cats.

My dog is jealous. He wants to enjoy this yummy treat too. Maybe Purina will make a dog version?

You will need a bowl of some sort to serve this to your cat. Since it’s a broth it will make a big mess if you service this on a plate.

Each pouch contains a variety of lickable tastes and textures and now includes the high-quality chicken that cats LOVE.

broth

Our cat Bella anxiously waiting for her Fancy Feast broth.

Our cat Bella anxiously waiting for her Fancy Feast broth.

Purina’s Fancy Feast broths are not meant to replace a meal. These are meant to be more like a special treat – a way to “WOW” your feline friend. You can also use the broths to “top off” other cat food. Either way your cats will go crazy for it.

Fancy Feast broths are available in the cat food section of your local grocery store. They are available in packets.

If you would like to learn more about Fancy Feast broths and other Fancy Feast products please visit www.FancyFeast.com. You can also check them out on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. You may want to also check out WowServedDaily.com for more information.

Has your cat enjoyed Purina’s Fancy Feast broths yet? Do they have a favorite flavor/variety (my cats love their chicken varieties)? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Bella enjoying Fancy Feast broth with chicken

Bella enjoying Fancy Feast broth with chicken

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Purina to bring  you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. I also received free product samples and a gift card to assist in my review. 

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Stop your dog’s barking with a safe alternative – Bark Genie

 

Espn-2

I love our dog Espn. I love him dearly. I cannot imagine a home without a dog.

Dogs provide unconditional love. They also provide entertainment.

There is a downside to dog ownership from vet and grooming bills, to having to clean up your dog’s waste. To be honest these things don’t bother me or my family. These things are to be expected, even if they can be pricey or gross.

There is one thing about our dog we really don’t care for, but it’s never been THAT much of a problem, until now – his barking.

For some reason our dog Espn will bark NON-STOP when he sees FedEx or UPS outside. He doesn’t bark at the mailman, the flower delivery man, the plumber or others. He seems to pick and choose who to bark at. It’s ALWAYS the FedEx and UPS drivers, and the pizza delivery guy (not the Chinese food delivery guy – go figure).

Sure, it’s annoying. Especially when you are trying to hold a conversation with the delivery person and the dog’s bark is literally echoing and amplifying in the hallway. But we deal with it.

We’ve lived in our condo complex for nearly 20 years (my husband has lived here closer to 25 years). Barking dogs has never been an issue. Suddenly the board posted a notice in all the building that they will now fine dog owners if their dog barks and “disturbs the peace.” Ugh!

Try telling your dog he can no longer bark at the people he’s barked at for the past 7 years, or else we will be fined. He doesn’t understand.

We thought briefly about a bark collar, but I don’t like the idea of shocking our dog every time he barks. It sounds painful and unnecessary.

We also considered a can full of pennies that we would shake every time he barked so that it could condition him not to bark (he wouldn’t like the sound). That would work, but it would also scare our cats and we didn’t want to do that to them.

What other options do we have?

Bark Genie

Thankfully I was sent the solution to our dilemma to review – Bark Genie Automatic Ultrasonic Bark Deterrent.

The Bark Genie Automatic Ultrasonic Bark Deterrent is small black box that runs on a 9 volt battery (not included). Simply place the device in an area where you dog would bark (or be heard barking). Once it’s turned on and it senses your dog’s barking it will emit a high pitch, ultrasonic sound that only your dog would hear. The sound is not pleasant to hear, so your dog will stop barking. Eventually they will figure it out that whenever they bark they hear this high pitched sound and ideally they will stop barking.

Bark Genie allows you to set the frequency too so that it senses barking from close to the box, or several feet away. There are high, medium and low settings.

We set this up right away for our dog. Whenever he barked we’d notice a red light appear on the device and he would hesitate to bark. He was hearing the ultrasonic sound it sent out. We did not hear a thing.

Thankfully the sound didn’t seem to affect our cats. That was a concern of mine because I didn’t want to scare the cats.

The device worked a little too well. Whatever Espn heard sounded (to him) a lot like the squeaky sounds our television makes just before a storm rolls in. We have satellite service and sometimes when storms roll in the television will squeak and make high pitched noises (from the satellite service being affected by the storm). Usually it stops or the whole television service will shut down temporarily.

Why does this information matter you might be asking? Well you see Espn is TERRIFIED of thunder and lightening. When he hears the television make those sounds he knows a storm is coming and he tries to hide. We’ve had to yank him out from behind my desk (tangled up in cables and wires!), under shelves and other places. Storms scare him REALLY bad. He pants like crazy and shakes really bad.

Bark Genie First Alert for Pets

 

It took us a while to make the connection, but I believe the Bark Genie is omitting the same kinds of sounds (even though we don’t hear them) making Espn believe a storm is coming. He’s not associating it with barking but rather a bad storm.

In any event he DOES stop barking – except he’s terrified.

Yes! The Bark Genie Automatic Ultrasonic Bark Deterrent DOES work to stop our dog from barking in a humane way. The unfortunate thing is that for our dog, the sound triggers his fear of storms. So for that reason we don’t keep the Bark Genie on 24/7. Instead we’ll turn it on when we know something (or someone) will cause him to bark.

The only thing I noticed about the Bark Genie is that sometimes it was triggered by other sounds, not just our dog barking. I’ve noticed the light change (red to green and vice versa) when talking close to the unit. I think it might be sensitive to loud sounds, not just barking. For that reason I kept playing with the settings and moved Bark Genie out of the way of where people would having conversations.

Aside from Espn’s irrational fears of storms, I think the Bark Genie works great and does what it’s supposed to do.

It’s also weatherproof so it can be used outside.

If your dog tends to bark too much, or you are trying to teach a puppy not to bark at inappropriate times, Bark Genie is a great alternative to painful bark collars or scary cans of pennies.

The Bark Genie™ Automatic Ultrasonic Bark Deterrent is made by First Alert.  For more information visit First Alert for Pets at www.FirstAlertforPets.com.

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Kimberly

*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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