Do Cats Dream?

When you see your cat twitching her whiskers and toes in her sleep it’s very likely she is revisiting that bowl of salmon she had for dinner or that backyard bird expedition from earlier in the day. Cats’ sleep patterns, just like ours, involve periods of dreaming and it turns out a cat’s dreams are not random.

Dr. Nicholas Dodman, an animal behaviorist and director at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, says that during sleep the mammalian brain needs to flush out and organize images from the day.

“All day long information is going into the brain, some of it is temporarily suspended on neurons. It’s like sorting at the post office,” he says. “When your cat is sleeping, its brain may be closed but the brain is sorting mail into different boxes. It conjures up images of the day. Reliving those moments may help to reinforce what happened or be helpful for the next day.”

Matthew Wilson, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences and associate director at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, says the process is somewhat similar to a director working on a film.  During non-REM sleep, a slow wave or lighter sleep phrase, your cat’s brain takes pieces of images from her day and reworks or edits them to create the finished product.

“It’s like playing a video on a VCR in snippets. Memories are replayed in brief episodes, often going forward or reverse in memory,” says Wilson. “It’s an editing process with shorter sequences put together in little chunks. The content reflects experiences your cat had during his recent waking period.”

The movie watching portion of your cat’s sleep occurs during REM sleep, in which the body essentially shuts down or is paralyzed because its serotonin system is turned off.

“Serotonin’s main function is to control the large muscles that enable you to do things like back flips or throw a football,” Dodman says. “These muscles which enable you to stay upright, are limp. But fine motor control is still there. That’s why you may see your cat rotate its eyeballs or move its ears, whiskers and toes.”.

Wilson equates it to strapping a three-year-old into a car seat. “You’ve restrained him or her so they can’t express or complete movement. But the brain is still sending commands to muscles. They’re just not being listened to,” he says.

Throughout his career Wilson has studied the brain activity of rats—whose brains are similar to cats and humans—during their sleeping and waking hours. In one experiment, Wilson tracked rats while they ran through a maze as their hippocampus, the part of the brain that governs memory, was monitored with electrodes. He found that some of the patterns that their brains produced matched up with patterns observed during sleep.

“When the rat went to the left side of the maze or the right side of the maze the hippocampus recorded a pattern that it replayed during the dream state which indicated where the animal was,” explains Wilson. “We found that the hippocampus replayed sequences of spatial patterns so we can determine where the animal is dreaming of running through when it’s sleeping.”

Wilson’s research also shows that particular sequences in patterns are unique to an animal’s experience. So, if, for example, your cat experienced a particular sequence pattern of a flower, a sunset and a bear, it’s very likely it is a replay from an experience she had in her waking hours.

“If you can match patterns, then you can argue that the brain makes patterns,” says Wilson. “You might not be able to say the patterns mean anything but those things either recreate what animals already have done or predict an experience. There’s a selection process we don’t understand yet but it’s not random, some memories are selected over others.”

Short of just asking our felines about their dreams, Dodman says it’s hard to say with certainty that cats dream. But he doesn’t doubt that they do.

“Cats’ brains are similar in looks and function, both anatomically and physiologically to our brains. They also live comparable lives to ours,” says Dodman. “They’re walking around all day. They’re looking for food. They rest. They experience tiredness. We just don’t have the ability to ask. All we’re going to get is ‘meow’.”

from Pet360

6 Tips for Caring for a Blind Dog

Do you have an aging dog that is losing its eyesight? Are you considering adopting one but are worried about how they will manage in your home? You’ll be surprised to find that caring for a blind dog isn’t as tough as you thought! These six tips from explain how to care for your blind pet.

1. Blind Dog-Proof Your House

Once your dog loses his eyesight, he will at first feel extremely confused about his surroundings. Award-winning dog trainer and author, Caroline D. Levin, suggests spending some time guiding your dog around the house and fencing off any possible hazards, like a pool and stairs. “Just make sure that dangers are lessened in the beginning because after a while, a blind dog develops a mental map,” she says. Miki Saito, a certified dog trainer specializing in blind dogs, recommends removing or covering any dangers with cushion material until your dog learns the layout of the house. “See from your dog’s eye height to check if there are any sharp objects or corners that would injure his eye, face or body,” she says. And don’t neglect the yard. Make sure that it’s fenced off. Check for holes in the ground and keep plants trimmed, as they could cause further damage to your dog’s eyes.

2. Don’t Rearrange Your Furniture

Dogs have an incredible ability to map their environment as long as it’s kept constant. Overtime, a dog will memorize a house’s layout and the location of the furniture, getting a picture of the familiar places in his head and making him less likely to bump into things.

3. Change the Way You Communicate

Saito stresses the importance of understanding that communication with a dog changes once they go blind—it becomes more vocal. “While a dog is losing his eyesight, he is more likely to become highly sensitive to sounds and being touched, and become very fearful or reactive,” she says. New behaviours are taught mainly by using sounds and touches as prompts or cues. Making your dog feel safe and positive reinforcement are both key when adapting your dog to their new situation. “I use some sounds and words as guidance for my blind dog in order to let her know where she should go or what is going to happen to her, and help her move or do things with ease,” Saito says.

4. Tune In To Their Other Senses

Using smell and texture can also be a quick way to orient your dog. Levin recommends choosing three different scents and spraying them in the three most common areas the dog uses. These could be where his food and water are, the back garden where he relieves himself, and a resting place, like his bed or a crate. Then, physically guide your dog to these places, so that he becomes familiar with the scents and what they mean. Smells are also a great way to indicate danger. “It could be a simple thing, such as when your dog smells a certain scent, like perfume or vanilla extract, it means slow down because the stairs are right there,” she says. Using different textures can also help your dog navigate more easily inside and outside the house. Set throw rugs near pieces of furniture, wood chips near and around bushes and trees and rough carpet in front of the back door to indicate the way to go out to the yard.

5. Re-Train Your Dog

It’s essential for the dog owner to spend some time training the dog after they lose their sight. Teaching the pet to “Stop” or “Stay” on command is an important safety measure, since it can prevent them from advancing into a dangerous situation. Using the commands “Step Up” and “Step Down” can be useful not only to help them navigate the stairs in your house, but for getting up and down a curb in the street. Another important skill to practice is to re-train your dog to come when called. “When they are blind and can’t see you, you just have to do things a little bit differently. Mainly, that means that you have to call them with a sound that is continuous. You have to say something for a long time, so that they can hone in on where you are,” says Levin.

6. Play Games

When a dog loses her eyesight, there is a risk that she can become withdrawn. Using toys is a great way to keep your dog entertained and engaged with her surroundings. “Often times, when they are not visual, dogs will stop interacting with their environment just because it’s easier. Make sure that you pay special attention to check that they are interacting with you, with another pet, or with their home environment, and that they have access to toys,” says Dr. Caryn Plummer, veterinary ophthalmologist. Dog owners should experiment with different types of toys to identify which one best engages their dog’s other senses—hearing, touch, and smell. Plummer recommends toys that make sound, such as squeaky toys, or toys that engage a dog’s sense of smell, like a food-stuffable toy or a puzzle toy you put little treats in, as ideal choices for vision-impaired dogs. Keeping your dog active and continuing to take her on daily walks is extremely important too, as this will improve her other senses, as well as her health, well-being, and happiness.

Overall, simply have patience and remember to constantly give positive reinforcement. This will help your dog adjust to her new situation. Dogs are exceptional creatures that can quickly adapt to new conditions as long as they are given enough time, love, and attention. Once you and your dog get a routine down, you’ll find life is back to normal and everyone is happy. Need materials for training, like treats and new toys? The Brookside Barkery has a wide selection, so you can find the perfect thing for your pet!

Caring for Orphaned Kittens

Stray cats are often found wondering the neighborhood, and the number of them often increase in the winter months. Have you found a litter of kittens that lost their mother? Not sure what to do with them? tells us how to handle this situation!

Caring for Kittens Without a Mother

If the kittens are under four weeks old, they need to be housed in a way that keeps them safe and warm, and they need to be bottle-fed until they are big enough to graduate first to gruel and then solid food. The tips here will help you set up a cozy and safe home for the kittens and will let you know what to expect in those first weeks.

A warm kitten is a Healthy Kitten

Keep kittens warm. A dog crate or kennel is a good choice of enclosure for keeping the kittens safe and contained, as well as for monitoring the temperature. This is important because keeping kittens warm is crucial. Janice Dankert, Best Friends community cat program supervisor, explains, “When kittens are cold, their bodily functions quit working.” If any of the kittens are limp or minimally responsive, or are cool or cold to the touch, this is indicative of an emergency situation – you should provide heat to the kitten and take him or her to the vet right away.

Best Friends veterinarian, Dr. Patti Patterson, recommends keeping the room temperature above 75 degrees or so. Kittens also need constant heat by way of a heating pad, without an automatic shutoff, set on low. Trielle Gritton, senior manager of adoptions and outreach at Best Friends Animal Society–Utah, says, “The heating pad should be covered in cloth – old towels, throws or blankets work well. And it should only cover half the enclosure, so the kittens can move away from it.”

Regular monitoring is important to ensure the kittens aren’t too hot or cold. Dr. Patti says, “If the kittens feel cold to the touch, they’re too cold. They should feel toasty warm, but if they are panting or seem to be stretched out away from each other, this may indicate too much heat – you can turn down the heating pad or open the top of the dog crate to allow the area to cool down.”

Trielle adds, “It is also very important to remember that a kitten should never be fed cold formula, and they should never be fed if they are cold.”
Feeding time

“Kittens need to be bottle-fed formula until they’re about four weeks old, and then they can begin to wean,” says Trielle. If you have found the kittens after the pet supply store has closed for the day, you can use goat’s milk as a stopgap, but this should not be used for an extended period of time.

Trielle says, “It is important to note that kittens should never be fed on their backs, but their bellies should always touch the floor (or other surface) when being bottle-fed.” Best Friends veterinarian, Dr. Patti Patterson, recommends allowing the kittens to eat until satiated. On average, it should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to properly feed each kitten at every stage until weaned.

Kittens also need help eliminating (going to the bathroom) until they are about three to four weeks old. To do this, use a warm, damp washcloth to gently massage the anal area until they go. This should be done every time you feed each kitten. A litter box with only non-clumping litter can be introduced when kittens are about three weeks of age. Kittens will not have solid stool while still drinking formula.

When providing for your kittens, the Barkery is the perfect place to go. Well-trained staff can advise you as to which food you should get as well as recommend toys and beds your new kittens are sure to love!

Benefits of Dogs for Aging Family Members

It is no surprise that dogs are “man’s best friend,” and people of all ages can benefit from the love of a dog. They are often good for children, because they can teach a child responsibility, love and compassion. Dogs are also a companion for adults who live alone or for young couples that do not yet have children. They are also very therapeutic to elderly people who may live alone and can’t get out of the house on a regular basis. If you have an elderly friend or family member, you may want to consider getting them a dog. This article from explains the benefits from doing so.

Physical Benefits

Studies show that in addition to providing friendship, security, and companionship to seniors living on their own, having a companion animal can actually improve a person’s mental and physical health in a plethora of ways.

A recent study from, the European Journal of Medical Research, found that elderly dog owners get much more exercise than their animal-less counterparts, suffer less loneliness, and are given a sense of purpose.

Study authors found that taking short, frequent walks with a dog can lessen depression, anxiety, and stress, and that physical activity doesn’t need to be overly intense. Just by letting the dog outside, feeding him on a schedule, and playing fetch was found to have positive effects on people’s physical health.

The extra exercise also translates to fewer trips to the doctor, according to a recent study of 1000 U.S. Medicare patients, which found that senior dog guardians had 21 percent fewer physician visits than non-dog owners.

Ditto for petting that dog: it can decrease blood pressure and even your resting heart rate.

That relaxation works both ways. “Petting an animal helps your body release a relaxation hormone while cutting down levels of stress hormones, and it soothes your pet at the same time”, says Alan Beck, director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University.

What Makes a Good Match

While there isn’t one specific breed of dog that makes a perfect match for an older adopter, shelters and rescue organizations alike agree having realistic expectations and a support system in place increases the chances of the match being successful.

A senior should be able to provide exercise for their new pet, whether that means walking the dog themselves or getting a neighbor, family member or service provider to help. A very large or active animal may be a poor match for a senior with limited strength or mobility and could be a tripping hazard.

What You’ll Need

A new dog also comes with new needs. The Brookside Barkery is the perfect place to get everything needed to bring home a new dog. Check everything off your list when you stop by the Barkery to get food, treats, a bed, a collar and leash and of course toys! The Barkery also provides grooming services such as bathing and nail trimming which is a difficult task for someone who may not get around so well, and with two convenient locations in Lee’s Summit and Brookside, it will be easy to keep them groomed and looking their best!

Why Your Pet Needs a Bed

Sprawled out on the kitchen floor. Curled up in a discarded coat. Nestled into the back seat of your car. These are all places where your dog can sleep — and quite comfortably too. However, while your dog can sleep anywhere, that doesn’t necessarily mean that she should. As a pet owner, it is very important to provide your dog with a warm and comfortable bed of her own; a place she can retreat to at night and nap in throughout the day.

Cesarsway has all the information on just a few of the ways a dog bed can benefit both you and your dog. beds


A good dog bed will provide your pet with a soft, comfortable place to rest her joints and bones. This becomes increasingly important as dogs age.

Dog beds offer an important source of insulation during the winter and summer, acting as a protective layer between the cold floor or hot ground.

Hair and odor control
Dog beds can help keep your house clean (or at least cleaner) by keeping the hair and odor concentrated in a single area, while discouraging pets from curling up on the upholstery. Even better, quality dog beds are water-resistant and easy to clean.

Personal space
Much like the rest of your family, your dog needs a space where she feels safe, protected, and relaxed. By providing your dog with her own bed, you can help your dog feel as though she has a valued place in your household.

How to choose a dog bed

Now that you know your dog needs his own bed, how do you pick the right one? To determine the best bed for your dog, you should consider the following factors:

It’s important to choose a bed that is big enough to support your dog’s body when she is stretched out. We suggest measuring your dog, and then picking a bed that is at least 5 inches longer and wider.

Just as you wouldn’t skimp when choosing your own bed, you should look for a bed made of durable, superior materials.

Now, where are you going to get those comfy new beds for Buddy and LuLu? The Brookside Barkery of course! The Barkery has tons of beds to choose from, so you can find the perfect match for your pet. Choose from small, large, round, or rectangular. Don’t FURget the feel test! There are different levels of squishy-ness available so your pet will be as comfortable as possible! Stop by today to find your pet’s perfect new bed!

Did we mention that all beds are on sale?! 50% off through December 31st!

Year End Blowout Sale!

The biggest discounts we’ve ever offered.

We’re EXPANDING and DEEPENING discounts store-wide! Now through the end of the year, you’ll find the biggest price reductions we’ve ever had.  Up to 75% off selected items throughout the store!  Beds! Toys! Collars! Leashes! Cat stuff! Gift baskets! Christmas toys! Home décor! Grooming products! THEY’RE ALL DISCOUNTED! As in huge savings. Major moolah. A lot of dough-re-mi. Serious simoleans.

The takeaway here is that it’s a good time to shop at the Barkery.

Keep Your Cat Safe this Holiday Season

The holidays are here, and that means life is busier than normal. We have parties to host and attend as well as friends and family stopping by to spread holiday cheer. Our homes are fancifully decorated with trees, glitter, a singing Santa Clause, gifts covered in wrapping paper with bows, and that dreaded fruitcake from Aunt Alice that will sit on your counter through the New Year. All of these things leave opportunities for your cat to experience harm in some way. This article from gives tips from a vet on keeping your cat safe this holiday season.

1. Poisonous plants

While some pet owners have worried for decades about their cats getting into the poinsettia, vets don’t lose any sleep over these plants, because poisoning problems are rare and mild, more often causing slight stomach irritation.

On the other hand, there is a saying among veterinarians that “lilies are lethal,” and they scare them to death. Why? Cats are easily attracted to the smell, taste, and texture of lilies, and the petals, leaves, stems, and pollen are very poisonous.

2. Candles

During the holidays, we love to have candles burning in most rooms our the house. Ahhh, the scent of balsam fir, gingerbread, and pumpkin filling the kitchen, family room, and master bedroom. What we don’t want to smell is burnt cat fur.

It’s easy for a cat to jump up on a counter or table, swish a languid tail across an open flame, and have the hair on his tail go up like tinder. Use covers on jar candles, and put candles up where they’re inaccessible. Best option: Use the new battery-operated candles that look like the real thing.

3. People food

While cats aren’t typically garbage guts like dogs, they can definitely get into problems by eating the wrong thing or too much of the right thing. For example, a 7-pound cat can run into digestive problems if you give him half a pound of fatty turkey, ham, or roast beef trimmings. Sticking to cat food — or a few cat treats from Brookside Barkery is always the best option.

4. Well-meaning family members

We never want to see our cats in pain or discomfort, and it’s our first instinct to want to help them. However, resist the urge to give them any non-prescribed medicines. There have been many cases of cats becoming ill or even poisoned, because their owners decided to try and treat a medical problem with something from their own medicine cabinet.

Never give your feline any human, over-the-counter products or prescriptions without getting permission and dosages from your veterinarian.

5. Wrappings and ribbon

While presents look beautiful, they could be very dangerous for your cat. Cats love ribbons, shiny things, and boxtree cates.

“Leave the box for them to play in, but get the ribbon and decorations out of sight,” said Dr. Elizabeth Colleran, past president of the AAFP and member of the Cat Friendly Practice initiative. “Playing with ribbon can result in a very dangerous obstruction in the intestines [that is] often life threatening. Almost always, these require surgery.”

6. Trees and decorations

Choose decorations that are feline-friendly to make it a happy holiday for the entire household.

  • Low hanging ornaments on your tree should not be breakable or made of a material or small pieces that your cat could chew and ingest.
  • Some cats like to climb, and your tree might make an excellent adventure opportunity. Secure it in place, so it cannot be knocked over.
  • Tinsel can be very tempting to cats, and, like ribbon, it can require surgery.
7. Travel

If you are hitting the road for the holidays, make sure your travel plans include how your cats will spend them.

  • Pet-friendly hotels are common now, but you’ll need to pack some extras. Familiar bedding brings along a little bit of home, along with disposable litter boxes, food, and water bowls.
  • If staying with family, see if there is a separate space, so the cats don’t have to share with unfamiliar pets.
  • If the cats get to stay home, make sure that the people taking care of them are familiar to your cats as well as familiar with your cats. It’s also good for the cat sitters to know your cat’s habits, hiding places, and any special needs. Write down everything they need to know, including your veterinarian’s phone number for questions or emergencies.

However you and your cat are spending the holidays, make sure checkups and vaccines are current. It is always a great precaution; no one likes these types of surprises. Keep these simple steps in mind, and you and your cat will have a very happy holiday!

Don’t FURget to pick up a gift for your cat as well! A sealable, customized treat jar with your cat’s name on it is great for those frisky felines who love to tear into their presents early. If you are concerned about protecting your guests’ ugly holiday sweaters from cat hair, pick up a Be Forever Furless Brush. It’s a reusable hair and lint remover that doesn’t require refills and cleans with a little soap and water. Whatever your needs, Brookside Barkery2014-12-02_1549 has a huge selection of cat treats, food, and toys that will keep your cat occupied and happy through all of the holiday hustle and bustle!

Cats Bond Through Scent – And You can Help!

Cats rely on scent more than any other sense, and they rely on group scent, in particular, for social comfort. Cats that are friends groom and rub up against each other to create and maintain their ever-important group scent. For example, if you have a five-cat household, each cat will have a “five cat” scent associated with their specific identity as a group, rather like we have last names that are family names. This group scent helps cats feel affiliated, friendly, and relaxed with one another.

In a group, one cat may be the “social facilitator” cat. These cats groom and rub up against all the cats in the home to generate a group scent, which fosters positive social behavior. If you think your cats are lacking a group scent, you can become a social facilitator “cat” yourself, by brushing all of them daily with the same brush. If your cats don’t mind being brushed and remain calm when smelling a brush that contains another cat’s scent, you can easily facilitate more social and friendly interactions among them by doing this. By promoting “social glue” between your cats, an environment that was once a war zone can be transformed into a feline utopia. The cats will essentially feel a collective belonging to the group instead of discomfort with other cats that smell so distinctly different.

The technique: brush each cat two to three times a day, four to ten strokes for each cat every time you brush them. Rotate the order of cats as you go. The areas to brush are the areas where the cats themselves maintain the group scent—the entire head, neck, shoulders, and rib cage area. Use the same brush and don’t remove the hair from the brush between cats. Eventually you will remove the hair from the brush as it becomes full, but remember the idea is to spread the scent of each cat to the other. Before brushing, let your cat sniff the brush that contains the other cat’s scent. If his response is relaxed, proceed with brushing.

This can go a long way towards helping your cats get along and giving them the stress-free environment they deserve. Brookside Barkery has everything you need to make your cat feel like the royalty that they are. Stop by today and pick up a new bed or a new toy like the Neko Flies Cat Toy!



Thank you to for the great article!

3 Ways to Help Animals this Holiday Season

The holidays are fast approaching and that puts everyone in a giving spirit. Want to give back to the community and help dogs at the same time? Brookside Barkery has partnered with Chain of Hope KC whose mission is; “Helping owners become aware of the crucial needs of their pets”. Your donation will go directly to pets in the Kansas City metro area. Feel free to stop by the Barkery and donate to Chain of Hope KC or put one of these ideas from into use! Feeling extra generous? Why not do both?! It is the season of giving and the pets so appreciate it!

Help Local Shelters
Help your local shelter by volunteering your time or finding out what supplies they need.

Host a Holiday Sweet Swap
Consider hosting a holiday bake sale at your office or with friends and family and donate the proceeds to Chain of Hope KC to help animals in need.

Adopt, Don’t Shop
Make adoption your first option this holiday season! Stay out of the typical pet stores filled with high priced animals and check out the adoptable pets from Chain of Hope KC! Below are a few dogs up for adoption now! (Dottie,left –  Sarge, Right)





If you want to learn more about Chain of Hope KC you can visit their website or check out our previous blog post.

Extended Holiday Hours

Click on the image above to see the full view of our opening-earlier/closing-later holiday hours!

The holidays are getting closer and that means last minute shopping! Brookside Barkery is making it easier to get shopping done with their new extended holiday hours! Not sure what to get the pet lover on your list? Stop by the Barkery and pick up a gift card!