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Natural pet stain removers

Oh no! Your cat has peed on your sofa or rug. Before you reach for the Windex or bleach, consider these other cleaning solutions for a natural remedy without the harsh chemicals.

White vinegar and baking soda

Both white vinegar and baking soda are well known for their cleaning abilities. On it’s own, white vinegar is great for cutting grease and releasing burned on food from pots and pans, whereas baking soda’s absorbent and abrasive properties are great for cleaning bathtubs.

When the two are combined, they create a chemical reaction. The byproducts of the reaction are salt and water, which may not have a lot of cleaning potential on its own. Yet, the magic happens when carbon dioxide is released, bubbling up and breaking apart stains.

To mix up a cleaning solution in a spray bottle, you can follow this recipe. Or, you can sprinkle the baking soda on top and spray the vinegar onto it.

Nature’s Miracle

Readily available online, in pet stores, and in some super markets, Nature’s Miracle is a handy go-to enzymatic cleaner. To make their cleaners, Nature’s Miracle cultivates bacteria. These bacteria create enzymes such as urease that naturally break down urine.

However, it takes a great deal of the product to eliminate the stain. So if you’re looking to clean your entire couch or a spot that you didn’t realize had been peed on time and again, you’ll need to purchase the jug size of it. For quick cleanups, though, it can’t be beat!

Homemade citrus cleaner

While it is often mistakenly referred to as an enzymatic cleaner, it is possible to create a homemade citrus cleaner out of orange peels, yeast, and brown sugar. The cleaning power comes from the alcohol produced when the yeast consumes the sugar. The orange peels themselves do have terpenes in them, which also have cleaning abilities.

This cleaner may be useful for pet stains that you would commonly use alcohol to clean, but isn’t recommended for tougher stains like cat pee.

Do you have a favorite cleaner that you use around your home? Be sure to let your pet sitter know! Our pet sitters pay extra attention to keeping your home just as clean as you left it. Email us to schedule a meet and greet with one of our sitters today!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by Domenico Salvagnin on flickr

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How to care for a senior cat’s coat

As cats age, their grooming needs change. Just like in humans, their skin becomes less elastic and more brittle. Some cats may find it difficult to reach every spot that needs to be cleaned. Here are a few tips to help you keep your senior cat’s coat as clean as a junior’s!

Regular brushing

Brushing your cat’s fur helps to remove dead hair that can cause painful mats and an upset stomach due to hairballs. Thankfully, most cats enjoy being brushed. However, if your cat is uncooperative, try to do it once or twice a week in short 15 minute bursts. If your cat continues to protest, it may just be a matter of finding the right brush for his or her type of fur and temperament. Also be on the lookout for uncomfortable matted fur that needs special attention from a licensed groomer.

Taking a bath

Older cats that have trouble grooming themselves may have excessive buildup of naturally occurring oils on their fur. For these kitties, you can dampen a cloth and gently pet your cat with it to help redistribute the oils and remove dust and dandruff. In these cases, you won’t need soap, but you can also use specifically labeled pet wipes. Do not use baby or scented wipes.

A full bath isn’t always necessary, but kitties who have come in contact with oil or a sticky substance may need to be washed in the tub. The ASPCA has step by step instructions for how to bathe your cat in the tub.

Things to look out for

Even before you brush or bathe your cat’s fur, it’s important to run your hands through their coat and skin to check for sore spots, scabs, flea dirt, otherwise irritated skin. Pay special attention to the area under the tail for any feces that need to be trimmed off with scissors. Rice-sized particles under the tail can indicate tapeworms, which need to be treated by a vet.

You should also bring your cat in for a check up if you notice any other skin abnormalities, or if your kitty still has hairballs or an upset stomach despite regular grooming.

Do you have a senior cat with a special coat care regimen? Be sure to let your sitter know! Our friendly pet sitters are happy to follow your cat’s routine while you’re away. Call for a quote today!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by Tracie Hall on flickr

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Why do cats like catnip?

Some cats just can’t seem to get enough of that member of the mint family known as catnip! You might be surprised that cats of every stripe, including lions, tigers, and bobcats, react to it, too! But have you ever wondered what it is about catnip that kitties seem to love?

What is nepetalactone?

It all boils down to the plant’s chemistry. An essential oil called nepetalactone is thought to stimulate the receptors for euphoria in kitties’ brains. Not just for felines, nepetalactone has been grown as a medicinal herb for humans as well. When made into a tea, catnip can have a calming effect similar to chamomile tea. Concentrated nepetalactone can also repel mosquitoes!

What is its effect on cats?

Some cats react in a very big way! It’s not uncommon to see your cat roll around in it, become hyperactive, or even mellow out. Some cats can get aggressive once they get a whiff of catnip. Once it’s eaten, however, catnip appears to calm and mellow effect on cats. The euphoric reaction to catnip last about ten minutes, and then cats may not respond to it again for about two hours.

Why don’t all cats care for it?

Even though the reaction to catnip can be seen across all cat species, only about 50 percent of cats inherit the gene that makes them sensitive to it. Young kittens of about 3 to 6 months of age also won’t have a response to it. Since the potency of catnip can be lost overtime, it’s best to either grow your own or keep dried catnip in a tightly sealed container for the best effect.

Does your cat go crazy for catnip? We’d love to see it! Share a video with us on Instagram!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by katieB50 on flickr

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Resources for cats with kidney disease

When cat is diagnosed with chronic renal failure, the news can be devastating. It’s important to keep in mind that kidney disease in cats is not a death sentence! Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to help you understand and manage your cat’s symptoms.

Read up on the subject

One of the best places to start is Tanya’s Comprehensive Guide To Feline Chronic Kidney Disease. There, you will find databases on symptoms, treatments, and foods. With careful monitoring of your cat’s symptoms, you can use the guide as a resource to help you better understand your vet’s advice and treatment options.

Join a support group

Joining a well established support group, such as the Cats with Chronic Renal Failure~Support Group on Facebook, can be beneficial in several ways. For one, there are hundreds of members who have had first hand experiences with CKD first hand. Interacting with individuals who have successfully managed the disease can be more useful than trying to interpret static information on the web. Members can also provide recommendations for vets, pharmacies, and pet product suppliers. Just be sure to take their opinions with a grain of salt, and always consult your vet.

Work with a reliable vet

If you believe that your cat is just a tad more sluggish than usual, you are probably right. After all, you know your cat better than anyone else. Therefore, building a relationship with a good vet who trusts, believes, and respects your opinion is critical to managing your cat’s health over the years. You should also aim to take your cat in for a urinalysis and bloodwork every six months so that you can spot potential complications before they become unmanageable. Don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion if you ever feel that your current vet doesn’t care about your cat as much as you do.

Has your cat recently been diagnosed with kidney disease? At Katie’s Kitty, we have pet sitters with experience in administering oral medications and sub-cutaneous fluids. Schedule an appointment to meet one of our sitters today!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by Dan Zen on flickr

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Does your cat like to watch TV?

They say pets resemble their owners, and it seems to stand true for pet parents and kitties who love to watch TV together. Maybe your cat stares intently at the screen, pops up, or even swats at it! If you’ve ever wondered what’s going through your kitty’s mind, allow us to shed a little light on the situation.

Can cats perceive moving images like us?

It’s a common misconception that pets like cats and dogs are only attracted to the flashing lights on the TV. The truth is, your typical television isn’t displaying moving images at all! It’s actually redrawing still images at a rate fast enough that our brains will interpret the images to be moving, which is at least 60 Hz (cycles per second). Cats’ brains process visual information at about 55 Hz, so they do indeed see the same moving images that we do.

What do cats like to watch?

As it turns out, cats like to watch the same things on TV that they like to watch in real life In one study, shelter cats without access to outside windows were given television screens. The cats in the study responded the most to programs featuring their natural prey such as birds, rodents, and fish. Anecdotal evidence has also shown that cats can be attracted to quickly moving objects such as basketballs and soccer on television.

Is it safe for cats to watch TV?

According to Dr. Jillian Orlando, DVM, a veterinary behavior resident at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, sitting too close to the TV won’t hurt your cat’s eyes. However, she goes on to say, “If your cat is really intent on ‘hunting’ the television, don’t let her watch the TV unsupervised. And if you have a large flat screen, mount it to the wall, in case kitty decides to take the leap.”

What are some alternatives to leaving on the TV?

It’s also easy for your cat to become frustrated with prey that they cannot catch, such as laser lights and images on screens. Whenever possible, provide alternatives such as window perches and plenty of interactive toys to help relieve the tension. If you normally are very noisy while you’re home, leaving on a radio can also help your cat to feel less lonely without the risks of kitty toppling the TV.

Have you found that leaving the TV on while you’re out of town isn’t quite enough to keep your cat company? Nothing can compare to the warmth and love a pet sitter can provide while you’re away from home. Call to request a quote today!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by Barbara M on flickr

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How to tell if your cat has seasonal allergies

As the flowers begin to bloom, you may find yourself reaching for a Claritin or Zyrtek. Did you know that your cat may be suffering from seasonal allergies, too? Here’s how to determine if your cat is as allergic to the springtime as you are.

Respiratory problems

The sneezing and coughing that you might associate with human seasonal allergies are not as common in felines. While excessive amounts of pollen can cause your cat to sneeze or cough, respiratory distress should always be treated as a veterinary emergency.

Don’t wait to take your cat to the vet, because sneezing and coughing could actually be the signs of more serious problems such as infections or organ failure.

Environmental allergies

Allergens such as pollen, mold, and fungus, and even household cleaners can irritate your cat’s skin. You may see biting or scratching at the affected areas, especially around the head. If your cat typically shows these symptoms around the change of seasons, or days when the pollen or mold count are especially high, he or she may be suffering from seasonal allergies.

Your vet may recommend a special shampoo that can help remove allergens from your cat’s fur. Severe allergies may be referred to a dermatologist who can run under-the-skin tests to determine the exact cause of the irritation.

Flea and food allergies

Allergic reactions to fleas and certain ingredients in food could also be the source of your cat’s discomfort. As little as one flea bite can cause a serious reaction in cats that can lead to endless scratching, raw spots, and even loss of fur. Your vet can recommend an appropriate flea treatment and prescribe prednisone or hydrocortisone to alleviate the symptoms.

Food allergies can also manifest as skin irritation. In order to treat them, your vet may prescribe a special hypoallergenic veterinary diet. Certain grain free and limited ingredient diets may also be suitable for your cat, and your veterinarian can help you decide which is right for you.

Do you have a cat with seasonal allergies or other special needs? Our pet sitters can visit, once, twice, and even three times a day to give medication. Give us a call to find out more about our services!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by Johnny Lai on flickr

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What you need to know about kitten season

Now that the weather is beginning to ease up a bit, feral cats are finding that it’s the ideal time of year to reproduce. Rescue organizations call this time of the year “kitten season” because their shelters become flooded with baby kitties as the cats give birth.

Here’s what you need to know about kitten season.

What to do if you find kittens

If you find a pregnant cat or a litter of kittens, call your local animal rescue organization. Kittens have a much better chance at survival when they are cared for by humans, and a rescue organization can help place them with a loving home.

How to help during kitten season

Now is the perfect time of year to volunteer at a cat rescue. You could help out onsite at the shelter or sign up to be a foster parent. The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals offers classes on how to care for kittens if you think you might be up for the important task of fostering them.

Adoption during kitten season

It’s also the perfect time of year to adopt a cat, but be sure to kitten proof your house, first! However, if you have extra love to give, consider following.

Kittens never have a hard time finding a home, but their mothers and other older cats tend to sit in the shelter for much longer. Try to rescue an older cat whenever possible. Not only will it make more space for the shelter to save other cats, but you’ll also save your own cat from sitting there for months, or even years, without a home to call their own.

Have you recently adopted a kitten? Our pet sitters love taking care of the juniors and the seniors! Book your pet sitting visits today!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by Jennifer C. on flickr

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Why do cats chatter at birds?

Spring has sprung, and the birds have begun making their nests. You may have noticed your cat glued to the window, captivated by the fluttering birds, and chattering at the sight of them. Have you ever wondered why they do this? No one knows for sure, but here a few theories.

It may be a clever trick

Scientists studying the vocal calls of monkeys in the Amazon forest of Brazil once observed a wildcat imitating the monkeys’ sounds. Since feral and domestic cats also display this chattering behavior when hunting prey, some scientists believe that it’s a form of deception that cats use to lull their prey into a false sense of security before they pounce. The next time your cat chatters out the window, see if you can spot the bird. The bird’s beak and your cat’s calls may be in sync!

It may be a form of preparation

Some people believe that the chattering behavior is actually practice for when cats spring on their prey. Being ambush predators, cats will pounce and kill their prey very quickly. They accomplish this by biting down and shaking their jaws to break its neck and spine. You may have seen some of this residual instinct when your house cats eat canned or dry food. Therefore the chattering behavior may be a “practice run” for the actual moment kitty springs into action!

It may have to do frustration

Other cat behaviorists suspect that the chattering comes from excitement and frustration, especially since it’s most often observed when a cat is at the window or chasing an inaccessible laser pointer. If your cat seems upset, you can defuse the tension by offering a play session with a physical toy that can be caught.

Do you ever wonder what adorable hijynx your cat gets into while you’re away? Our pet sitters send nightly updates with photos and videos of your kitty. Request a pet sitting quote today!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by Jeff Eaton on flickr

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Why does my cat bury food?

Upon finishing a meal, you may have noticed your cat sweeping a paw over what remains. This adorable behavior is natural and harmless, but have you ever wondered why they do it?

Instincts from their wild ancestors

In the wild, a cat is both predator and prey. Just like burying their feces hides any evidence of their presences from those they hunt and those who may hunt them, cats will bury their leftovers in order to remain as inconspicuous as possible. Cats aren’t scavengers, though, so they won’t return to buried food after they have finished. However, it’s not uncommon for other cat species such as bobcats, mountain lions, and leopards to stash a cache of food under ground or in a tree to return to later.

What to do about excessive burying

Some cats may take this natural instinct to the extreme by hiding their food under the rug or practically kicking their bowl across the floor. If your cat is a little too eager about burying the food, you can ease the behavior by picking up the leftovers as soon as kitty has finished eating. Cat behaviorist Pam Johnson Bennet also recommends reducing the portion size so that there is less left over. If you prefer to free-feed your kitties, you can also try various puzzle feeders to make them feel like they are more on the hunt.

Do you need someone to make sure that your cat is getting just the right amount of food while you’re away? Schedule a visit from one of our experienced pet sitters who will follow your feeding instructions down to the letter!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by Gary Winfield on flickr

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How to calm an overactive cat

Cats are ambush predators. In the wild, they have plenty of opportunities to run, jump, and climb trees. While a playful kitty can be a joy for a pet parent, a cat without an outlet for all of that energy be worrisome and exhausting. Luckily, there are plenty of positive ways to calm down an overactive kitty.

Add more play sessions

Most cats will be satisfied with play sessions of about 15 minutes at a time, at least twice a day. The best toys for interactive play mimic birds or bugs. Rods with strings, toys, or feather on the end provide a fun opportunity for you to be the puppetmaster of your cat’s prey.

Organize your cat’s activity

Toward the of of your playtime, build in a “cool down” period. Stopping playtime too abruptly can make your cat pounce you instead. Building in a cool down will signal to your cat that you’re about to change gears. Get into the habit of feeding your kitty directly after playtime, too. After he or she finishes eating, It will trigger his or her natural instincts to groom and take a nap.

“Catify” your home

Even if you have a small New York apartment, you can build plenty of vertical play space for your cat. Consider getting perches or cat trees that you can set next to a window. Many cats leap at the chance to watch birds and people alike. You can also fill your wall space with custom create fun perches, rope bridges, and play centers from Catastrophic Creations and The Vertical Cat.

Take the stress out of leaving for work

A cat who is left home all day will often become bored and destructive. You can curb this behavior by leaving out ample independent-play toys. Try placing all of your cat’s in an open toy box so that they can have fun taking them out throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to incorporate treat balls and puzzle feeders into your routine on your way out the door.

Ask the vet

Especially for a typically mellow cat, a sudden onset of extra energy may mean that your kitty is trying to tell you something. It could even be the first symptom of a more serious problem like hyperthyroidism. Therefore, it’s a good idea to take your cat in for regular check ups to catch problems before they get worse. Some vets can even recommend treatments to help sooth your kitty’s anxiety.

Are you worried about your cat getting enough attention while you’re away? Send us an email to schedule in home pet sitting visits with one of our friendly sitters.


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by donvix on flickr

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