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General Mills, YouTube
General Mills, YouTube

General Mills Wants You to Show Off Your Bunny's Athletic Chops

General Mills, YouTube
General Mills, YouTube

Let's face it: The Olympics are great, but they're just not cute. Sure, it's a unifying world event that lets top-class athletes compete for the glory of their countries, but it could also really use some adorable whiskers and velvety soft fur.

Luckily, General Mills is holding their own cuddlier version of the sporting event. The Rabbit Showdown is a competition of athleticism, determination, and fluffy tails. Rabbit owners around the world can film their pets competing in events like hopping hurdles or scurrying the 100-centimeter dash. Your beloved bunny can hop, scamper, and leap into a gold, silver, or bronze medal. All you need is a camera and a rabbit with a special talent to apply (tiny sweatbands are a plus). You can then send your video to RabbitShowdown.com for a chance to win big. Medal winners will get their likeness displayed on commemorative cereal boxes along with other mysterious prizes (we're guessing cereal).

The event is being hosted by the Trix mascot, who is now a real bunny. The competition is a celebration of General Mills's decision to move away from artificial flavors and colors. Trix, Reese's Puffs, Cocoa Puffs, Cookie Crisp, and other cereal brands have already made the switch (Lucky Charms has been a little trickier). With more "real" ingredients come more real mascots, hence the Trix Rabbit's new appearance. Don't worry: The mascot still talks.

“After listening to our consumers, General Mills was the first cereal maker to announce its commitment to remove artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources. We are proud to continue to lead the category by reaching the 90 percent completion milestone across our cereal portfolio,” General Mills marketing manager Briana Falk said in a press release. “The #RabbitShowdown is a fun way to celebrate real progress with really cute furry friends, as we continue on in our journey to make cereal even better.”

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holidays
Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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Animals
If You Want Your Cat to Poop Out More Hairballs, Try Feeding It Beets
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Have you ever wondered if there’s a way to get your cat to poop out its hairballs instead of hacking them up? If so, you’re likely a seasoned cat owner whose tolerance for gross stuff has reached the point of no return. Luckily, there may be an easy way to get your cat to dispose of hairballs in the litter box instead of on your carpet, according to one study.

The paper, published in the Journal of Physiology and Animal Nutrition, followed the diets of 18 mixed-breed short-haired cats over a month. Some cats were fed straight kibble, while others were given helpings of beet pulp along with their regular meals. The researchers suspected that beets, a good source of fiber, would help move any ingested hair through the cats’ digestive systems, thus preventing it from coming back up the way it went in. Following the experiment, they found that the cats with the beet diet did indeed poop more.

The scientists didn’t measure how many hairballs the cats were coughing up during this period, so it's possible that pooping out more of them didn’t stop cats from puking them up at the same rate. But considering hairballs are a matter of digestive health, more regular bowel movements likely reduced the chance that cats would barf them up. The cat body is equipped to process large amounts of hair: According to experts, healthy cats should only be hacking hairballs once or twice a year.

If you find them around your home more frequently than that, it's a good idea to up your cat's fiber intake. Raw beet pulp is just one way to introduce fiber into your pet's diet; certain supplements for cats work just as well and actually contain beet pulp as a fiber source. Stephanie Liff, a veterinarian at Pure Paws Veterinary Care in New York, recommends psyllium powder to her patients. Another option for dealing with hairballs is the vegetable-oil based digestive lubricant Laxatone: According to Dr. Liff, this can "help to move hairballs in the correct direction."

[h/t Discover]

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