SkyMall Monday: Toilet Dog & Cat Water Bowl

gadling skymall monday toilet cat dog drinking bowlDogs and cats have an odd fascination with toilets. They try to drink from toilets, they fall into toilets and they are mesmerized by the sounds made when you flush toilets. Here at SkyMall Monday headquarters, we have one furry toilet drinker who hits the bowl hard when he’s stressed. However, no pet owner wants to encourage that behavior because toilets are filled with bacteria and germs. Besides, pets have their own water bowls from which they should be drinking. Toilets are for deposits, not withdrawals. Until now, that is. If animals want to drink from toilets so badly, why not let them do it in a safe and decorative way? Thanks to SkyMall that dream has become a reality. The next time that your dog or cat tells you that they’re thirsty simply direct them to the Toilet Dog & Cat Water Bowl.Certainly, this idea is less preposterous than teaching your cat to poop in the toilet. At the very least, it’s way less creepy. Your pet gets the toilet watering hole that it desires and you get a handsome accessory to display in your home. It’s a win-win. If this were a poker game, you’d be holding a straight flush!

Think that toilets are for people? Believe that no one should drink from toilets unless we find ourselves in a post-apocalyptic hellscape? Well, while you feed your dog from your wearable water bowl, we’ll be reading the product description:

A hilarious conversation starter and pet pleaser, this unique water bowl keeps your pet well hydrated and your home cleverly decorated.

Sure, you could decorate your home with paintings, furniture and sculptures, but those are far from clever. Having a toilet in the middle of your living room is just the conversation starter that your fancy parties need. Surely your pet won’t be confused by the fact that they are permitted to drink from their small toilet but get yelled at when they drink from the toilet in the bathroom.

Quench your pet’s thirst for toilet water with this sanitary and attractive accessory that will look perfect in any home. Why have a ball when you can have a bowl (I’m so sorry)?

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

Photo of the day (10.7.10)

I’m one of those weird adults who doesn’t know how to ride a bike. No great excuse, just never bothered to learn as a kid, preferring indoor pursuits and walking on nice solid ground, and it’s become harder to learn as an adult. My husband has attempted several times over the years and now I’m sort of like Toonces the driving cat – I can ride, just not very well. Maybe this fellow in Tokyo is also a non-bike rider and thus looks a bit shamed by the row of bicycles. No matter the reason for his sour face, this photo by Flickr user jrodmanjr is a nice composition in black and white of a city that takes its eco-friendly commuting seriously.

Have a great travel photo you’d like featured here? Add it to our Gadling group on Flickr and we might choose one as our Photo of the Day.

Top 10 hilarious traveling cat photos

When I took my cat Pistol on the airplane for the first time, it was a pretty crazy experience. From clutching her fearfully through the metal detector to meeting all the kids in the airport lounge, we had a fine — if somewhat stressful — time. Pistol did an outstanding job, and managed to remain adorable throughout the process.

It’s Friday, so I decided to focus my energy on writing about what really matters: traveling cats in their cases. Here are the top ten I found.

Top 10 Traveling Cat Photos!

1. Stitch, by ASurroca

Stitch looks a little less than thrilled about the prospect of travel.2. Truman, by John Morton
Truman
Truman is all ears and ready for action. He will wait patiently until you are ready to go spelunking with him.

3. Pirate and Kilgore, by Firepile
Pirate and Kilgore

These two have been commiserating in their carrier and have decided to let you live if there’s a cheeseburger in it for them.

4. Maine Coon Cat, by Rockmixer
Maine Coon Cat

This little geriatric looks like he wants to tell you all about his back problems and make up stories starting with “When I was your age …”

5. Artemis, by A.M. Kuchling
Artemis
This glamorous feline will continue pouting until she gets her martini and kibble at the hotel.

6. Gus, by Cjc4454
Gus
Gus may look like a cautious traveler, but get a little catnip in him and he’ll be the first one to suggest bungee jumping.

7. Mac, by Ewen and Donabel
Mac

Mac is king of his carrier and wants to know what time he should be ready for the opera.

8. Molly and Sydney, by SomeToast
Molly and Sydney
Molly and Sydney are travel pros. Molly wishes you’d picked a nicer hotel, but she’ll try to be polite about it.

9. Pajamas, by Bochalla
Pajamas
Pajamas doesn’t know if you knew they were going to put her in the belly of the plane, but she has her suspicions.

10. Meatwad, by Allygirl520
Meatwad
Meatwad wants to tell you how many frequent flier miles he has.

[Top photo by Annie Scott. Additional photos by Flickr users as credited.]

Taking your cat on an airplane – a first-hand account

Pistol the cat in the bag
There’s Pistol, my cat, turning around and around in her bag in the Delta Sky Club at LaGuardia Airport. If you’d like to know how we got to this point and how I prepared her for the trip, read my article from Friday, Taking your cat on the airplane – preparations. Once you’re all caught up, read on to see how we fared at the airport and on the plane.

Getting there.

I decided to call a Dial 7 sedan, as their drivers seem to be a lot more chilled out (and with a coupon, less expensive) than NYC taxi drivers. I didn’t want to risk a cheaper group ride or the subway, because that would add more time onto the trip — and one of my biggest concerns was that Pistol would have to go to the bathroom over the many hours ahead. While this isn’t really the point of the article, add that ride to the $100 pet fee and you have a significant difference in the cost of your trip — just something to consider.

I also chose an early morning flight so that we wouldn’t have to gamble against traffic. You may think I’m being overly cautious about the urination situation, but imagining the smell of cat pee on a three hour flight, and everyone looking at me like I was the devil, was enough to put fear into my heart. As I mentioned in the previous article, I also hid her water dish in the early AM.

Checking in.

Originally, I had thought it would be best to not check a bag, thus freeing us from waiting at the luggage carousel. Then, I attempted to carry the cat bag and my laptop bag and roll the suitcase … yeah, not the best situation. I entered the Special Services queue to pay for the cat ($100) and check my bag ($25). They required no paperwork for the animal. They informed me that I would not be allowed to remove the cat from the bag on the plane (obviously), and that the bag had to be stowed under the seat in front of me for takeoff and landing. That seemed reasonable. I hoped poor Pistol could take it. She’s only about 10 months old, so I figured she’d be adaptable — that’s another thing; if you think you might want to have a mobile animal, start them traveling early. Older cats and dogs can find this kind of experience pretty jarring.

Security, the most traumatic part.

Here’s something I didn’t expect: I had to take the cat out of the bag and walk her through the metal detector as they scanned the Sherpa bag.I held Pistol tightly as her eyes darted all over the place. There were so many people and so much to see, she might have been struggling to get away or she might have been intimidated and happy to stay with me — but I was holding her too tightly to tell. Chasing my cat through the airport was just … not an option.

Two lines were converging at the metal detector and the security guard let me jump the gun: “Let the woman with the cat through. Woman with the cat!”

In the confusion of taking my cat out of the bag, I had forgotten to remove my shoes. Oops. There was no metal in the shoes and they were thin little Haviana flip flops, but security wasn’t taking any chances on me. As I held the cat, they had me kick off my shoes so they could send them through the scanner, and Pistol and I walked through the metal detector once more. Satisfied, they released us. I forced poor Pistol back into the bag. That was probably the most traumatic part of the trip for both of us.

The Delta Sky Club.

As I entered the doors of my usual Sky Club, I had a sudden flash of concern that pets might not be allowed. Or, maybe they’d have pet treats or something. As it turned out, no one batted an eye, save for the enthralled children who sat near us and came to say hello.

Boarding.

At the allocated time, we headed to the gate to board. I sat down and put the carrier in my lap and unzipped it just enough to stick my hand inside the case. Pistol curled her whole little body around my hand and started to purr. I knew we were going to be all right. Pre-boarding began and I approached the agent with my ticket. She took one look at it and said “We’re not boarding your row yet.”

“I have a cat,” I said, naively assuming that was call for pre-boarding. “We don’t pre-board pets, only children,” she said curtly, and I slunk sheepishly back to my seat.

The flight.

Under the seat.Boarding (once I was allowed) and getting situated were a cinch, and when it was time to depart, I placed Pistol under the seat in front of me. I tried to keep my feet in her line of vision so she’d know I was there. She didn’t cry or anything. I was afraid all the bumpiness of sitting on the floor would freak her out, but strangely enough, I think she liked it. She looked at me during the start of the flight, and then I’m pretty certain she fell asleep for much of takeoff.

Once I was permitted, and I saw her eyes had opened back up, I took the case out and put it in my lap and stuck my hand in again. I patted her and, after some time, she slept. I put her back underneath for landing, and then I left her there as long as I could, not wanting to jostle her too much.

Final details.

As it turned out, no one ever asked to see Pistol’s paperwork. It was a domestic flight, so there was no customs ordeal or anything. This may differ from state to state, and if we’d been detained for any reason or randomly searched, they may have asked to see vaccination records. Still, Pistol and I deplaned and headed to the baggage check like everyone else.

Pistol looked around excitedly at all the activity of the claim area. My mom and dad had come to pick us up, and they all had a little chat. She was patient, but by the time we got her to the car, Pistol was noticeably antsy. She even cried, just once. I gave her a treat but she didn’t want it. I couldn’t wait to get her to the house.

We got her home about 20 minutes later and set her right next to the litterbox (so she’d know where it is), and opened the case. She hopped out and started sniffing around, purring and happy as could be to be free again. I write you just a week later now, and she’s happily settled into the house. I’m sitting at the kitchen table and she’s under my chair, sniffing at my feet.

Little does she know that three days from now, we’re going back to New York. At least this time, we both know we can handle it.

Photos by Annie Scott.

Taking your cat on an airplane – preparations

Pistol the cat in her bag.I’m glad I called the airline the day before I brought my cat on Delta Airlines to visit my family in Minneapolis with me.

Paperwork.

When I originally called and asked to add a cat to my discounted online fare, they said “No problem.” The cat would cost $100 each way, and though there’s a limit to how many animals they can have onboard, I was the first request, and my reservation was made. I could still carry on my luggage (which I thought might be better than waiting for a checked bag). I assured them I had bought the airline-approved Sherpa bag in the size advised by my pet store. They also told me: “No, you don’t need any paperwork, just visit the check-in desk to pay for the animal.”

I was searching online for any last minute advice, trying to ensure Pistol (my kitty) would have as smooth a flight as possible, and everyone seemed to be talking about vaccination records. I called the airline and inquired. “Oh, well, you just need to see if the state you’re flying into requires them,” said the woman who helped me. “So, it’s not the airline, it’s the state?” I asked, clarifying. “That’s right,” she said.Thanks a lot, Delta. I almost showed up for my flight with a cat and no paperwork. Ugh. Crisis averted. I dug out my Humane Society folder which, thankfully, had the certificate of vaccination and a number of other records. I stuffed them all in my laptop bag, along with cat treats and a couple of the furry little mice with the leather tails she loves so much.

Sedatives.

While I originally thought a sedative might be the “humane” thing to do, my online research showed me that many people advise against sedating pets for flights and that some airlines won’t even allow sedated animals to board (if they know about it). Also, there are no safe over-the-counters; you shouldn’t try sedating your pet without visiting and getting a prescription from your vet … so, you know, there’s another reason not to sedate your pet. Mulling this over, I called to Pistol, accidentally waking her from a nap. She trotted over to me dutifully, her eyes groggy, her fur still wet from playing in the shower (weirdo). Cats sleep 13-16 hours per day anyway. I resolved to just try and keep her up and active the morning of the flight so she’d be tired. I considered lining the bag with a pair of black pants; her favorite surface on which to sleep. I decided against it.

Other preparations.

Over the preceding weeks, I took Pistol to friends’ apartments via cab and subway, in the carrier, to get her used to the idea. She didn’t seem to like being in the bag much (who would?) but she was always okay afterward. On the day of the flight, my fiance cut up one of his t-shirts, making it into a blanket so she’d have something familiar to smell inside. In fear that she’d have to “go,” I hid her water dish (and closed the toilet) at 4:00 AM for a 6:00 AM into-the-bagging. I felt bad about that, but figured she would certainly survive it.

Getting the cat in the bag.

The next morning, it was time to get Pistol into the bag, into the cab, onto the plane, into a car, and into a whole new house. I’d love to say we eventually coaxed her into the bag, but no, we had to hold her down and zip as fast as we could. Once she was in there, she immediately starting doing her “settling circles,” as I like to call them. There was no crying, but there was definitely a little glaring (see above).

On Monday, I’ll post the conclusion to this article — the experience of bringing the cat through security and onto the flight.
***UPDATE*** Taking your cat on an airplane – a first-hand account is here.

Photo by Annie Scott.