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Domestic cats originated in Near East

July 1, 2007 All domestic cats are descended from at least five common ancestors from the Near East, Oxford University scientists and their collaborators have discovered. The new research, published in this week’s Science, also suggests that the domestic cat’s ancestors diverged from the ancestors of other populations of today’s wildcats around 130,000 years ago, far earlier than previously suspected.  Read More

Kitty Keyboard Kover

May 23, 2007 And we thought we were the only ones with this problem. People who work from home and cohabitate with a cat have a fairly unique problem – cats like to be near the epicentre of activity, they like to sit/lie/sleep on warm objects and … a keyboard fulfils both criteria if its owner is a knowledge worker and spends most of their time on the keyboard. Indeed, the more people we showed the Kitty Keyboard Kover to, the more people mentioned it as a common problem. Maybe this is a grossly underestimated mega niche. The US$25 Kitty Keyboard Kover is a simple solution to your cat(s) walking all over your computer keyboard. It might be a problem if you don’t touch type, but then again it might even encourage development of new skills.  Read More

Pet prosthesis - Dolphin recovers swimming ability with artificial fin

Bridgestone has developed a rubber fin for a dolphin that lost most of its tail fin to disease. The beneficiary of the technology is Fuji, a 235-kilogram 2.7 metre female at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Fuji has regained nearly all of her swimming ability since receiving the new fin in what is believed to be the first-ever successful development of an artificial fin for a dolphin. Fuji has been in the Aquarium for 28 years, and the oldest of her three offspring, Ryu, 26 years of age, is the Japanese record holder for dolphin lifespan completely under human care. Fuji contracted the disease that caused progressive deterioration of her tail fin from the edge in October 2002. Amputating most of the fin saved Fuji’s life but left her unable to swim well. Volunteers at Bridgestone went to work on the rubber fin for Fuji in December 2002 and the company subsequently assembled a project team to tap the full range of Bridgestone’s rubber technology. The team delivered its first prototype in September 2003 and followed up with a second prototype the next month. A few years down the track and Fuji is fully recovered - that's her getting airborne, complete with her artificial fin.  Read More

The seat belt for dogs

February 7, 2007 After consoling many, many heart broken dog owners after an accident and injury caused by seat belt harnesses and poorly designed or ill-fitting dog harnesses, vet tech Sue Roake decided to create her own product. She knew from experience that many dog harnesses will damage the dog’s trachea in an accident - it doesn't take much to collapse or fracture the soft tissue, causing permanent damage and many thousands of dollars of veterinary care. Designed in consultation with veterinarians and orthopedic surgeons to be anatomically correct for a canine, the Secure Fit Safety Harness system from Be Bop USA Pet Products costs US$40.  Read More

Garmin’s Astro GPS Dog Tracking System - release the hounds and know what they're up to

Using GPS-enabled devices to keep track of your assets has been going on for a while now, but with miniaturisation and engenuity and increased sales enabling such devices to become affordable and very portable, it’s now possible to keep track of your pets, children and other high-investment animals. Accordingly, we’re thrilled to see yet another useful application developed in Garmin’s Astro GPS Dog Tracking System, designed specifically for sporting dogs and their owners.  Read More

Talking Bowl keeps your pet company

December 14, 2006 If your pet becomes lonely and anxious when left alone, you could always try therapy, or a mobile phone for your pet, or even a remote control or a bunch of stuff. If that doesn’t appeal, you may feel the need to try one of these new "talking" pet bowls. Called Chatterbowl, the new US$20 pet bowl is the invention of Talk2Pet. It’s not rocket science, being decidedly simple in operation - the pet owner records a message of up to 10 seconds into a small, battery-powered, electronic device called the TalkBox, which fits under the bowl, and as the pet approaches, a photocell in the bowl plays back the owner's message.  Read More

Luxury designer homes for dogs

October 4, 2006 Italian designer Marco Morosini has squeezed a lifetime into a third of a century and we suspect his next few decades might yield, well, almost anything, given the prolific and outstanding body of work he has assembled already. Some of his projects such as NoCopyright and BrandinatheOriginal are well worth a look, but if you’re a canine fan, his collection of designer doghouses that can be found at dogisagod are faaabulous! So faaabulous indeed that two of his luxury pet home designs have been manufactured in limited quantities specifically for the annual collection of fantasy gifts in the 80th (2006) edition of the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book. The retro-style Nomad is designed for transport, featuring wheels and crafted of poplar with an interior rug and coordinating wallpaper. The ultra-modern Good Life provides the perfect setting to receive guests -- inside its minimalist 44- inch crystal case is your pooch's very own plush armchair of Italian leather. Both homes will accommodate pets up to seven pounds and are carefully handcrafted by Italian artisans for indoor use. The exclusive editions are limited to only ten of each style, and each will be numbered and signed by the Marco. They cost US$5,000 and US$7,000 and we think it’s a shame they didn’t make them all, because some of his other pampered pooch bedrooms are just as good.  Read More

Sleepypod – pet bed and travel case with electric warmer

September 28, 2006 Now here’s a great idea for those people who dearly love their pet and wish to make it as comfortable as possible at all times. The Sleepypod offers a familiar environment whether your pet is sleeping at home, going on vacation, or just visiting the vet. The aim of the exercise is to have your pet build a positive association with the Sleepypod as a bed and play area while at home, so that when you’re travelling, your pet will feel at home no matter where they go. An optional electric warmer uses 6.5 Watts of power and adds US$30 to the price, bringing it to an even US$200.  Read More

The remote control for your cat/dog/horse and maybe even child

September 10, 2006 Get set for a whole new level of communication with your pet thanks to this remarkable new device, and consider the potential for keeping track of your child. The Hear Now is a new type of communication product for tracking, geo-fencing, lighting up and even communicating with your cat or dog – its attributes are also useful with horses and humans. Companies already track their roadgoing fleets and key assets using GPS but the cost and miniaturisation for this technology now has reached the point where the average person can cost-efficiently track the whereabouts of their pets and loved ones. Location-based GPS tracking services usually employ commercial wireless networks to transmit their position but the Hear Now uses a two-way radio system to transmit the information so there are no ongoing fees. It can track your canine on a map on the handheld up to 12 miles away, and you can also turn on LED lights so you can see him in the dark, and there’s even a call home button that strangers can push to alert you should they find your dog in distress. The first version of the Hear Now will cost US$200 and be available four weeks from now - it does not have the geo-fence or GPS capabilities yet. The company is seeking international distributors.  Read More

PetLoo – the backyard in a box

August 28, 2006 Firstly, if you haven’t heard the term LOO, it’s a polite expression for the toilet, having derived from a practice common in England by people who lived on the second and higher floors of apartment buildings prior to the advent of a sewerage system. Just prior to throwing the nights ablutions out the window and onto the footpath below, they would ever so considerately shout “look out belOOOO” to warn pedaestrians, which became shortened to LOO. All we can say is thank heavens for plumbing. Anyway, the PetLOO is an aptly named ablution solution for canines who live in apartments because dogs don’t use the human sewerage system (though cats can learn), and when a dog’s gotta go …  Read More

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