newtraciepicSeveral years ago I was contacted by Susan, one of my radio listeners in New Hampshire, with a question that remains a fascinating phenomenon.

“My two year old cat Juno steals Kalamata olives. Not only does he steal them, he will scream and beg for them if he sees me eating them or smells them in the room. He’ll gnaw on my fingers if he knows I’ve held one.

He is normally a very composed furry gentleman. Once Juno secures an olive he literally goes wild — he shakes with excitement and devours the olive in an ecstatic frenzy. I’ve never witnessed such behavior.

Days after consuming an olive and, with a wistful look on his face, Juno will even lick the floor where it once was. Is this a nutrition issue? Is my kitty missing an essential nutrient in his diet? Juno receives three small cans of food daily and has a water fountain which is always on and clean, as well as fresh tap water placed in a dish daily.

We keep a steady crop of cat grass available, and he gets dried protein treats about once a month, for fun. I’d welcome your thoughts, Tracie. Should I give him olives, or refrain? What could be driving this obsession of his?”

Since other radio listeners had mentioned their kitties being nuts about olives, I looked for a scientific explanation for Juno’s olive mania.

“Green olives (Olea europaea) and pimentos (Capsicum annuum) contain isoprenoids, which are structurally similar to the active chemical in catnip methylcyclopentane monoterpene nepetalactone.

The chemical in the essential oil of these plants binds to receptors in the cat’s vomeronasal organ and has a similar effect on the same receptors that are responsible for getting her high on catnip.

The vomeronasal organ is what cats (and most other animals, with the exception of humans) use to sense pheromones. This part of a kitty’s nose/brain is where the nepetalactone in catnip stimulates pheromone receptors, accounting for the mind-altering effect a cat can experience, resulting in “space-kitty.”

I remembered that back when I first got the question about Juno’s olive obsession, I had put the question to Jackson Galaxy (proud to say I knew him way before he achieved fame and acclaim as Cat Daddy). Funnily enough, he came back with the same explanation about pussycats and olives, with a more down-to-earth explanation. Jackson said, “Believe it or not, this story is commonplace. Reason being, both in varieties of green olives, like Kalamatas, and in pimentos, there are high levels of certain compounds that actually resemble pheromones.

There’s a lot of scientific mumbo-jumbo that I’m sure nobody (like me!) is interested in reading, but the bottom line is that these olives have components in their essential oils that cause a reaction very similar to catnip. Yes, Juno is ‘olive-high.’ And no, there is nothing “bad” in kalamatas, although they are pretty well empty in terms of the nutrition they offer. Susan may be trying to make a connection between what Juno might lack in his diet and the olive-eating (like when animals eat dirt, for example), when in reality Juno is just looking for a cheap thrill!”

There appears to be no toxicity to olives (although one of my listeners mentioned diarrhea) but they don’t have the Happy Making effect on every cat. Another treat you can consider for your cat – that is also much-needed environmental enrichment – is to put some freeze dried protein treats like Halo’s Liv-a-Littles inside a good dispenser toy and let your kitty put her brain to good use trying to extricate the tasty morsels!

Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.

Posted in Guest Blogger, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Talk Radio, Tracie Hotchner | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


s898nwxjhpivhow2Thanks to you, check out the noticeable results from Pawfect Match Rescue & Rehabilitation in Holly Springs, NC:

“We received the Kibble drop in December at the Phydeaux in Raleigh, N.C. We got 2 pallets of Halo food for our foster dogs. I cannot tell you how much this food has helped us financially as well as medically for our dogs.

Many of our dogs come to us with awful skin conditions and terrible coats. Having a super high kibble such as Halo brings these dogs up to a healthy beautiful state so much quicker than if they were fed a mediocre kibble. Pictures attached are of Cody, before and after. Thank you Halo and Kibble Drop!”

Thank you Pawfect Match Rescue & Rehabilitation for making a noticeable difference for pets in your community!

Halo brings these dogs up to a healthy beautiful state so much quicker than mediocre kibble.

When you choose Halo pet food, made from natural, whole food ingredients, your pet won’t be the only one with a radiant coat, clear eyes and renewed energy. Halo feeds it forward, donating over 1.5 million meals annually.

Halo is proud to partner with and to achieve noticeable results for shelter pets together!


Posted in Belkis Cardona-RIvera, Giving Back, Natural Dog Food, Natural Pet Food, pet adoption, Pet Shelters | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Taxi-Yearbook-lgTaxi the service dog is always by Rachel Benke’s side – even in her seventh grade yearbook!

According to KENS-TV this year, Taxi sat for his own school photo and yearbook staff placed it next to Rachel’s picture, much to the delight of Rachel, her family and the entire student body.

Rachel, who suffers epileptic seizures, goes to school at the Northside Independent School District middle school in San Antonio, Texas. Taxi, a lab-golden retriever mix, accompanies her each day, keeping a watchful eye on her.

Click here to read the complete story.

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DonnaNewPicCroppedFaith is the second participant enrolled in the Halo Healthy Weight Challenge on THE EXPERT VET of the RADIO PET LADY NETWORK. Faith is eating a specially designed meal plan of Halo Healthy Weight natural dog food and extra veggies to aid her in shedding unwanted pounds.

It is no secret that weight loss can be challenging! Using the Halo diet plan our target for Faith was to lose between 0.6 and 1.3 pounds each week (which is 1-2% of her starting body weight).

I received the following disheartened email from Faith’s mom after her Week 1 weigh-in:
“Just back from the vet. 66.2 pounds. A gain of a tenth : ( How is this possible?? She has only eaten
what was on her diary. There was no cheating and she has no access to other food from the other

My response to Faith’s mom and to all dog owners who start a new plan and struggle when getting started:
“This isn’t uncommon for the first weigh-in. Remember Faith’s last weight was 5 weeks ago and she weighed 66.1 pounds at that time. Up to this time, Faith has been on a steady weight gain path for several months so it is very likely that she had gained weight during the last 5 weeks before starting her Halo Challenge. Her starting weight was likely to be above the 66.2 pound mark. It is also true that weight loss is often NOT appreciated during the first two week of any new program. Stay the course with her calorie intake and see what next week brings on the scale. Do not be discouraged!! You ARE feeding her 40% less calories than you were previously. The weight loss will happen!”

This week, Faith’s mom has realized that she doesn’t love green beans so we made some veggie adjustments and have another zucchini lover!

For more Weight Loss Tips:

Stay tuned for next week’s update on Faith!

Posted in Dr Donna Spector, Natural Dog Food, Natural Pet Products, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Talk Radio | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment


dog-kitten-lgRoadhouse, a tiny black kitten, was miraculously found on the streets of New York City and brought to the Animal Haven shelter.

The kitten was so young that she wasn’t weaned yet. The concerned staff at Animal Haven tried to give Roadhouse a bottle with formula, but Roadhouse wasn’t interested.

The staff came up with an idea. One of their newest shelter residents, Coco the Maltese, had just given birth a short time before Roadhouse arrived. Coco was nursing her three puppies…maybe she would allow Roadhouse to nurse along with them.

Click here to read the complete story.

Posted in Caroline Golon, Pet Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment