Thank you Mary for a great article!
So many kind words from apartment therapy!
For full article, click here.
“Quoting Marie, any list of great pet stores supporting apartment life will have to take into account that the savvy, “go to different stores for different products.”
Whiskers is a far cry from the posh, high end poodle spas in the West Village. Specializing in natural food and remedies for for all pets, this “holistic” East Village gets rave reviews and has a “full service” website:
Hazel says: Whiskers has an excellent selection of holistic products, great staff, delivery, AND open on xmas … Plus a kitty “rescue ranch”!
Lisa says: My favorite pet store in the city, by far, is the estimable if uncreatively named Whiskers…
The owners are incredibly knowing about holistic petcare, and very generous with that knowledge. They have an amazing selection of byproducts-free (pet)food. And they deliver–even to Brooklyn!”
Shopikon reviews Whiskers! Good summary of what we do.
“Whiskers Holistic Pet Care is much more than a quirky pet store. Owners Randi and Phil Klein opened the shop on E. 9th St. in 1988 and have been on a mission to educate pet owners about alternatives to mainstream pet care practices ever since. Whiskers focuses primarily on cats and dogs, but they also provide information about caring for birds and other small creatures.”
Click here for full article.
“One day while walking home from work, I came across this “holistic” pet shop called “Whiskers.” There was a whole section of herbal remedies and supplements that I had never seen before. The man who was working in this section asked me if I needed help. I told him that my cat was dying of diarrhea and wondered if he had any remedy for it. He said “yes.” He told me not to buy anything in the store (I immediately trusted him!) and to go to the supermarket, buy some chicken breast and sweet potato, cook them well, and blend them in equal parts into a mushy food. He told me to give this and nothing else to my cat for three days (my other cat could eat it too). He said that this would bind his stool and give him his appetite back. I had nothing to lose so I did it. At first, the cats sniffed this mysterious orange stuff and walked away. But they came back later, hungry and curious. They ate it. They ate it for three days. And lo and behold, my cat’s diarrhea disappeared. I ran back to that store and hugged that man. “What should I do now?” I asked him.
He then instructed me to start changing them over to a raw diet and to simply stay away from canned food. That’s right. Raw meat. No grains, no fillers, no salt, no by-products or parts, no broth, no gelatin, no fish, no flaxseed… just meat – as they were meant to eat (a few veggies too, but they aren’t necessary). There were some commercial brands of raw food that were quite good or I could give them my own. I decided to try the frozen stuff first to see if they could tolerate it. (Tolerate it? They’re felines! This is what their bodies have evolved to digest!).
Okay, okay… so there is a happy ending. My cats have been eating raw meat ever since. That was about 5 years ago. Since then my cats have both gained weight. Their coats are shiny and silky. They are more energetic today than they were 10 years ago. Neither of them has had a UTI or diarrhea or anything. They go to the vet once a year for check-ups and my Vet marvels at how Nelson has recovered and how beautiful they both look.
The best part is that they behave like hunters – little lions that they are.”
“Reese’s reason for counting her pennies became clear when we arrived at our final stop: Whiskers Holistic Pet Care (235 East Ninth Street; 212-979-2532; http://www.1800whiskers.com).
“This is a great pet store,” said Reese, who became a vegetarian after visiting the Catskills Animal Shelter several months ago, where she bonded with cows and horses and a pig that “you could lie on top of and he was so happy he would almost purr.”
“I’ve always had a huge love of animals, but I was disconnected in a way,” she added. “The experience of really connecting with animals right in front of you and hearing what goes on inmeat factories…I couldn’t eat meat anymore. I felt like I wanted to do more, so I went to an animal shelter in Queens and met all these dogs and cats, and I’m going to start volunteering there. They also need food, so I thought I should start putting my money where my mouth is.”
Inside, Reese grabbed a basket to stock up on tasty canine treats, which she had already arranged for the store to deliver to the Queens Community Animal Shelter the following day.
“We have $43 for food and a $5 tip for the driver,” she said. But first, she picked up a box of Bunny Kraze Greens for Hector and Achilles ($3.99). “These are greens that you grow yourself and then feed to the hamster,” she explained. When asked what she had against pre-made greens (or, ummm, goldfish), Reese laughed. “You’re right! This is like growing Triops in a tank. The whole process is very exciting.”
We would expect nothing less from the daughter of a research scientist whose idea of childhood fun was to accompany her dad — the head of neurobiology at the National Institutes of Health — to the lab on weekends, where they’d have horseshoe crab races or spray silicone on the floors and “skate” down the halls.
“We were around all these animals, though I was always really disturbed by the experimentation,” she recalled. “I wrote my college essay on animal cruelty instead of on myself, so this goes way back…To the dog food we go!”
She placed her basket on the floor and began filling it with enticingly named Wellness and Merrick puppy products. Campfire Trout, Thanksgiving Turkey, Chicken Drumette, Wild Buffalo and even Grammy’s Pot Pie went into the pile.
“That would be a great burrito,” Reese opined of the vegetarian Sweet Potato formula. “And you can’t go wrong with Cowboy Cookout. I’m so happy about this… What is venison?” We reply as she’s poised to toss another can in the cart.
“Oh gross,” she shuddered. “I can’t buy that. It just feels wrong, with Christmas and reindeer and all that. Blitzen almost got blitzed! I’m going to put this back.”
The burgeoning activist counted the cans (17, at $1.79 and $1.89 each) and decided to spend her last $3 on some Waggers Originals Natural Treats, which included Savory Casserole, Hearty Stew and a yummy-sounding Peanut Butter and Rolled Oats cookie (woof!).
The cashier entered the shelter’s delivery information into the computer and tallied up the damage ($46.59, with tax and driver’s tip), bringing Reese’s grand FWD Shopping With total to $99.51.
Guess paying attention in third grade math class really does pay off.
“My main interest has always been helping others, but performing and creative expression is crucial, too,” Reese said as she buttoned her coat before heading back outside. “So putting them together, like for the Red Cross thing, is great because it uses everything. Today was perfect, too, because I got something for myself, which is really fun, but then I did something good, as well. It’s the perfect balance.”
Like the complex icon she so skillfully portrays in “Cirque Jacqueline,” Reese is the true
embodiment of a multifaceted Renaissance Woman, circa — make that cirque — 2005.”
A must listen, Whiskers’ Phil Klein talks holistic pet care on NY Talk Radio.net. A lot of important info, make sure to check out both parts.You can find both interviews here.
“Our guest early pioneer of the alternative, holistic pet care movement Phil Klein. Phil is the owner of the famous holistic pet store in NYC called ‘Whiskers’. Part 2”
Let us know what you think. Do you still have questions? Are you interested in a specific topic? Please let us know!
Randy Klein, Whiskers‘ own, talks about natural living. Take a quick look:
“We as human beings, enjoy a wonderful and blessed freedom of choice. We choose what we wear, where we live, how we occupy our time and what we put inside our bodies. In contrast, our pets live in a state of total dependence upon us. We dictate when they go out, where they sleep and of course, what and when they eat. For this reason, it is vital that we who are concerned about healthful living give the care and feeding of our four-legged friends the same thoughtful attention we give to our own health and well-being. Sadly, for most of us, the dietary decisions we make for our nonhuman loved ones are largely determined by television commercials and/or what happens to be on sale at a given moment. They deserve better.”
You want to read more right? Here is the full article. Please let us know what you think, or any sort of comment. We love to hear from you!
“I wish that could say that my cats, Lewis and Clark, get nothing but the best, but that would be a lie. How healthfully they eat varies, just like it varies with me, and for all the same reasons. According to my schedule, they eat: Solid Gold, Iams or, in the most dire of circumstances, Purina Cat Chow from the deli on the corner. I’ve never heard any complaints.
Today I wandered into Whiskers Holistic Pet Care in the east village with a friend and was left feeling inadequate and guilty as a pet owner. Irresponsible, even.
Living in New York I’ve grown accustomed to being in shops, surrounded by merchandise that I know I can’t afford. It just usually happens at the Barney’s Co-op or ABC Carpet & Home and not pet food stores.
At Whiskers I got into a conversation with one of the owners, Randy. Somehow the topic of what I feed my cats came up.
“Do you eat meat?” she asked.
I didn’t know what to say. I weighed all possible options and outcomes and opted for the truth. “Yes, I do,” I said.
“Then share,” she said.
Whiskers has been open since 1988 and occupies a small, crowded space on east 9th Street. The store has another location in Astoria. At the east village store I peered into one of the gigantic freezers that sit on one side of the store and pulled out what looked like a plastic take-out container of some frozen tofurkey salad like one might find at Whole Foods. I saw what looked like carrots, meat and pasta. It looked delicious, like something that I would absolutely eat. It was dog food.
My friend, Robbie, was there for Primal Canine Beef Patties; Primal Feline Chicken and Salmon Nuggets; Nupro Silver with Glucosamine, MSM, and Ester-C; and Halo Dream Coat. I would probably eat all these items, as well, if they were offered me a silver platter with a ramekin of ranch dressing.
At the end, my guilty conscience prevailed and I left with Primal Feline Chicken and Salmon Nuggets, four of which are defrosting in the fridge and the rest of which are occupying not a small amount of space in my already crowded freezer.”
Thank you for the kind words! Stories like this make our day. Click here for his blog post.