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Why does my cat drop toys in the food or water bowl?

Many cat parents have come home to find the kitty’s favorite toy piled on top of the food dish or “drowned” in the water bowl. While it’s a fairly common behavior, scientists and cat behaviorists are just as baffled as the rest of us as to why cats place their toys in their food or water dishes. Here are a few theories.

A safe place to store leftovers

The domestic cat’s wild relatives such as leopards, bobcats, and wildcats have been known to store their food in a safe location, known as a cache. Since your typical indoor housecat doesn’t often have freshly caught prey leftover to eat for later, the closest substitute may just be a favorite toy. The closest thing kitty has to a safe location in their territory would be the food and water dishes in your home.

However, this caching behavior is not the same as burying food that has been partially consumed. A cat who buries food does not intend to come back to it later.

A gift from kitty to you

Another possible explanation has roots in the relationship between a queen and her kittens. When mama goes out to hunt for food, she’ll often bring back a her prey to show her offspring how to finish off and consume it. If kitty is bringing you her conquered toys (or even leaving you dead mice or birds) your cat may be expressing that she cares for you and wants you to eat well. After all, feeding someone a universal act of love that you show your cat every day.

Speaking of kittens, mama cats will also sometimes bring kittens who have wandered off back to their litter and nest. So it could also be that your cat regards scattered toys as her naughty little children who’ve wandered off again.

Just regular ole playtime

Last but not least, if you’re finding toys in the water dish specifically, it could just be the result of a rousing play session. Cats love fresh, running water not only for drinking, but also at entertainment! Some cats will sit and stare at a fountain or running water, and others may go a step further and dip in their paws to watch the ripples. So when it comes to “drowning” toys, it could be that kitties are combining two of their favorite things.

Does your cat have any weird quirks? Your pet sitter wants to hear about it! These funny variances in your cats’ behaviors is what makes them unique, and we love getting to know your kitties for who they are, quirks and all.


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 milivanily on pixabay

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How to keep your cat from unraveling toilet paper

Because cats are the silly little creatures that they are, we’ve written quite a bit on the blog about the various bathroom behaviors of cats. Yet, perhaps one of the most adorable and diabolical thing kitty can do is sneak into the bathroom and unwind the music roll! Here are a few tricks you can try to discourage your cat from unraveling the toilet paper.

Try the under-hang method

Believe it or not, when the toilet paper roll was first invented, it was intended to be hung with the leading edge facing the user. On the one hand, since kitties tend to pull the paper down toward themselves, hanging the roll with the leading edge against the wall would stop it from coming completely undone. On the other hand, if your kitty just enjoys spinning the roll, it might not be enough to stop him or her from completely shedding the paper in the process.

Change the type of dispenser

As the old adage says, “If you can’t change the behavior, change the environment!” Your toilet paper troubles could just be a quick equipment change away from total relief. For instance, did you know that they make toilet tissues that pops up much like facial tissues? If you don’t like the industrial feel, but like the idea of pop up toilet paper, you could try this canister by OXO that pops up an entire roll like a cool gadget in a spy movie!

Unfortunately it’s been out of stock everywhere for a while, but if you’re crafty, you can probably hack the mundane version with a spring. Or, you know, use it without the pop up feature at all. It’s still quite effective armor for your coveted toilet paper trove. Speaking of armor, some wall mounted dispensers have a cat deflecting shield (also known as a cover).

Or change the orientation

If you feel like don’t need to go to such extremes as buying a suit if armor for your TP, simply turning the roll vertically instead of horizontally may be enough to deter your kitty. This cast iron stretching cat toilet paper holder is a bit of a splurge, but it would make a great gift for a cat lover! Good news, they also have one for dog lovers, giraffe lovers, and dinosaur lovers, too! (But who doesn’t love dinosaurs?)

Hide the toilet paper!

Last but not least, if your cat is particularly cunning, you might just have to put the toilet paper completely away. You could keep it in the cabinet under the sink. For the cabinet-opening variety of cat, try using child proof cabinet locks, or just close the bathroom door to keep kitty out all together.

Do you have a room in your home that your cat isn’t allowed to go in? Don’t forget to let your pet sitter know!


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 Alan Turkus on flickr

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Why do cats stare at fire?

Have you ever seen your cat gaze lovingly at a flickering candle? Or perhaps your kitty is sitting cozily by the fireplace, captivated by the dancing flames. Today, we have an extra spooky edition of our “Why do cats…” feature for Halloween in which we explore why cats boldly stare into the fiery abyss!

Seeking warmth

Cats have special heat sensors that are concentrated around their face. Since kittens are born deaf and blind, they use these special sensors to locate their mama and littermates. As kitty gets older, these sensors only become more sensitive. Therefore, what appears to be your cat staring into the flame may actually be kitty’s way of zeroing in on the exact source of the heat.

Enjoying the show

Curious little predators by nature, cats are also attracted lights and objects that move quickly. Anyone who has seen a cat chase a laser pointer knows how easily a moving light can capture kitty’s attention. Moving images on a TV screen can catch your cat’s attention, too. So it may just be that they’re enjoying the unpredictable pattern of the light.

Sensing something we cannot

Alas, there are still some things about the way cats work that we simply do not know yet. Cats who stare at “ghosts,” into dark corners, and beyond walls are probably analysing information that’s imperceptible to us. With such incredibly acute hearing, eyesight, sense of smell, and even an ability to sense subtle air movements, cats probably experience the world with a clarity that we just don’t have.

Some mysteries are solvable. If you stay still long enough, you can see a fly flitter through the air, you can shine a flashlight into a dark corner, and you can press a glass to a wall to listen to mice scurry through. Yet, there isn’t much you can do to see a flame through the eyes of a cat!

Safety first!

Just don’t forget to keep your cat safe during these mystical encounters. Close a screen or divider across your fireplace, and keep candles out of kitty’s reach.

Are you worried about it getting too hot or cold while you’re out of town? Then be sure to show the pet sitter how to adjust the temperature in your apartment. Our pet sitters take extra care to make sure your kitty is comfortable while you’re away.


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 Michell Filion on flickr

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How to keep your cat away from table food

There’s nothing quite like sitting down to eat, only to have your cat hop up on the table and help himself to your meal! If you’re not thrilled with sharing your meal with your furry roommate, here a few simple changes you can make to correct the behavior.

Feed your cat first

You know what it feels like to have someone eat in front of you while you’re empty handed. Even if you weren’t hungry, watching someone else eat can work up an appetite for you. The same is true for your cat. Take a moment to feed your cat first, before you eat. Having a regular feeding schedule and routine will also help your cat feel more secure about mealtime, and less likely to try to grab a bite whenever there’s food around.

Clear leftovers immediately

Some cats develop a taste for table food by scavenging for scraps that are left out after mealtime. If your cat knows that food will be available on the counter, they’re eventually going to become bold enough to hop up at dinner time, too! Be sure put to leftovers in sealed containers in the fridge, clear the table completely, and wipe of your dining surface. You’ll also want to make sure you have a cat-proof kitchen trash can, as it’s another easy target for kitties who like human food.

Don’t give into temptation

It’s so hard to resist those big, round eyes, begging for scraps at dinner time. If your cat sits near you and begs for food while you’re eating, don’t give in! Feeding your cat table scraps after begging is only reinforcing the behavior. The same is true for cats that sit in your lap while you’re eating or jump onto the table. Be consistent and gently escort your cat from the problem area each time. After a while, kitty will get the hint.

Try a puzzle feeder

Some cats are tempted to purloin your meal not by a desire to satisfy their hunger or greed. Instead, they want a bit of a challenge! Cats are natural problem solvers, and they are designed to hunt and outsmart their prey before they eat. Puzzle feeders offer a positive alternative to put those instincts to good use.

Does your cat have a special meal time routine? Be sure to let your sitter know! Our pet sitters take extra care to follow your instructions 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 yomo 13 on flickr

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Why does my cat take food out of the bowl?

Does your cat take out kibble from their bowl? Do they hide their food? While you may think they’re just being messy or strange, there are actually a few reasons behind this peculiar behavior.

Dirty dishes

You wouldn’t want dinner served on a crusty dirty plate right? Cats are just like you! They prefer clean dishes. Make mealtime as inviting as possible by keeping the cat’s dish clean. Ideally, you should wash dishes after every use. If you’re unable to clean the dishes on a daily basis, consider investing in a week’s worth of cheaper bowls and rotating them out as necessary.

Hiding leftovers

Your cat’s survival instincts might be kicking in! In the wild, cats bury or hide their leftovers so as to not leave any traces behind for predators. In a domestic household, a swipe or two at their food is your cat’s way of “burying” kibble. In more extreme cases, some cats will even hide food under the rug or kick the bowl away! In this scenario, you can try reducing your cat’s portions to avoid leftovers altogether.

Whisker fatigue

Cat’s whiskers contain sensory receptors known as proprioceptors. When these get overstimulated, it results in a condition known as whisker fatigue. Usually, whiskers get stressed from brushing the sides of a dish or bowl during feeding. To cope, some cats remove their food from the bowl before they eat it. Fortunately, whisker fatigue can easily be remedied by replacing bowls with wide plates or free-flowing water fountains.

Does your cat have any interesting eating habits? Do they scatter or hide food? Let your pet sitter know! We’ll make sure your cat is fed while also helping to avoid any messes.


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 Melissa Wiese on flickr

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Why cats step back out of the litter box to pee or poop

Have you ever seen your cat scratch around in the litter box, only to step back out to poop or pee? Though sometimes a sign of a medical problem, there are actually many reasons your cat might pee or poop outside the litter box.

Dropping hints

Waste outside of the litter box can unfortunately signal that kitty isn’t feeling well. Whether “presents” turn up as pee or poop indicates which organ system might be having problems. For example, stray urine could hint at a urinary tract infection, while poop might be a sign of irritable bowl syndrome or constipation. To rule out health issues, be sure to check in at the vet.

Separating liquids from solids

Because of natural instincts, many cats prefer to urinate separate from where they defecate. If your cat is reserving the box for one type of business, a second litter box for the other type might be in order. Or you may need to change litter more often. Dirty litter means kitty thinks there’s enough clean space to urinate, but not enough to defecate in the same box.

Avoiding anxiety

Your cat might find the litterbox stressful! This is very common in multiple cat households. Tensions between critters results in cats feeling anxious and unable to stay in the box long enough to do business. Try uncovering the box or placing it in an open area, so your cats can see “opponents” and feel like they can easily escape. The wrong type of litter, such as perfumed litter or even dirty litter, can also make cats feel anxious.

Your cat is getting older

Just like humans, everyday functions become more difficult with age. Senior cats with arthritis may not feel physically comfortable enough to perch on their box and defecate. Or, if your cat has been declawed, scratching away at litter could be painful, and so they avoid the box altogether!

Not sure why kitty is peeing or pooping outside the box? Check in with the sitter to see if they’ve noticed any other issues. And of course, our sitters are available to help with any litter cleaning!


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 游 焰熾 on flickr

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Why do cats purr?

You’re sitting with kitty, scratching their ears, and then all of the sudden, you hear a familiar sound. There’s no mistaking the sound of kitty purring away! But why do cats purr in the first place?

They’re happy

Most cat-owners understand purring as positive behavior. It’s a sign your cat is content! This likely stems from when cats are kittens, and purring serves as vital communication between mom and babies. Kittens purr while they knead and nurse, and purring becomes associated with feeling safe, warm, and happy!

They’re uncomfortable

Unfortunately, your cat’s little motor doesn’t always signal an upbeat mood, but also discomfort. Purrs are to cats as smiles are to humans, and people smile for many reasons beyond happiness. When cats purr, their system releases feel-good endorphins. Because of this, many cats will purr to soothe themselves when they are sick, in pain, or anxious. If kitty is purring but otherwise seems distressed, check to see if they are injured or unwell.

They’re hungry

You’ve probably noticed that purring take one a whole different tone during mealtime. In fact, scientists have found that domesticated cats have a specific purr to indicate hunger. This purr is more urgent, and much harder to ignore. When recorded, scientists actually discovered that these purrs have a frequency similar to that of a crying infant. Hungry purring is your cat’s way of playing to your soft side so that you’ll break out a can of soft food!

Our pet sitters love to get your cat purring, whether during mealtimes or with lots of behind-the-ear-scratches. Call to have a sitter come by and give your cat lots of loving attention!


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 Leung Ching Yau Alex on flickr

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How to stop your cat from peeing on the bed in 4 steps

Did your cat pee on the bed…again? Regular accidents on the bed are a stressful and smelly problem. But it’s not hopeless! Learn to tackle those soggy sheets and get the cat back to using her box.

Step 1: Completely clean the urine

First thing’s first. Strip soiled sheets off the bed and do a check to find any and all stains. Use a blacklight to track down spots. To break down the urine, pretreat linens with an enzymatic cleaner such as Nature’s Miracle. You can also use the cleaner to blot or soak stains on the mattress.

Step 2: Take preventive measures

You won’t stop the messes overnight but you can start by taking precautions. To save your sheets, cover your bed with an old or waterproof blanket until the habit has stopped. Next, break the habit with the power of scent. Special sprays that mimic cat pheromones can be applied to the bed to keep kitty away. Similarly, you can encourage your cat to use their box with litters containing herbs that attract cats.

Step 3: Double check the litter boxes

The wrong litter box situation can discourage cats from peeing where they’re supposed to. Is their box too dirty? Are there enough litter boxes? Change the litter regularly, and if you’re unsure of how many boxes to use, a good rule is to have one box for each cat, plus one additional box. Also check to make sure the litter box is in a good spot. Cats prefer areas that are safe, clean, quiet, and open (i.e. not a closet or rooms with lots of foot traffic).

Step 4: Take a trip to the vet

When cats pee in noticeable places, they’re usually trying to tell you something. They might be hinting at a disease or even stress. Cats suffering from bladder problems, for example, will feel too anxious to go in their box and find relief elsewhere. Urine on the bed can also point to tensions with one of your other cats, or even you! Your vet will be able to determine if their distress is medical or psychological.

Concerned about your cat’s recent messes? If you’re thinking the box might be too dirty, our cat sitters are available to regularly clean, no matter how many litter boxes you have. And of course, we always check in to report any of your cat’s accidents.


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 Tina Lawson on flickr

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Why do some cats yowl at night?

You might think of it as the “witching hour.” It’s that magical time at night your kitty parades around the house, singing the song of his people at the top of his lungs. Maybe he or she even has a toy in tow. Have you ever wondered what exactly causes cats to howl at night?

Calling for a long lost friend

There are many reasons why cats vocalize. Many times, it’s to communicate with their pet parents that they’re hungry or that they want attention. Some vocalizations are reserved for other cats, though. Night-time howling, or “night calling,” has been observed in cats who used to live in a larger group of cats. Some believe that the kitties are trying to get in touch with someone they used to know.

Health and aging

Howling that happens both day and night can actually be a symptom of cognitive dysfunction and other serious illnesses, especially for older cats. If you senior kitty is a night howler, try to figure out if they also howl during the day. You may only notice it at night if that’s when you’re home. Likewise, if your cat stays outside of your bedroom while you are sleeping because they feel disoriented without you. Having someone check on your kitty during the day can help you solve that mystery.

How to help

After you’ve taken kitty to the vet and you’re sure he or she has a clean bill of health, Dr. Liz Bales suggests looking to nature for ways to solve the night howling conundrum. In an advice column for the Catington Post, Dr. Bales writes, “Cats hunt between 9 and 20 times a day, both day and night. So, it is very normal for your cat to be awake, active and asking for food at all hours of the night.” She goes on to suggest that hiding a portion of your cat’s meal throughout the night can help satisfy that natural instinct to hunt at night.

Have you ever wondered how your cat behaves while you’re away? Hire a Katie’s Kitty pet sitter! Our sitters are available for overnight stays as well as visits throughout the day.


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 The Grim Athiest on flickr

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Creating an emergency plan for you and your cat

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma’s pathes of destruction, it’s important to remember that humans are not the only victims of disasters. Cats, dogs, and other pets can get lost in the chaos of an emergency, too. Take a few minutes to create a disaster preparedness plan for your pets before an emergency happens.

Have stickers and proper identification

Your cat should be identifiable at all times in case they are ever separated from you. A tagged collar or microchip will help rescuers track you down as the owner. In case the unthinkable happens while you’re away from home, place stickers on your doors and windows to help emergency responders know that there are pets inside.

Make an emergency kit with pet supplies

Any emergency kit you assemble for yourself should also include supplies to tide kitty over for up to two weeks. This includes food and water, a can opener, litter and litter tray, cleaning supplies for messes, and medications, among other items. Your kit should also have a carrier in case you and kitty need to leave. Write your contact info down on the carrier. Acquaint your cat with the carrier before they need to use it. Keep in mind that you may need to run in a disaster, so any kits you prepare should be light enough that you can carry it on your back.

Establish a safe haven for you and your pet

When seeking out shelter for an emergency, find out if kitty is welcome too. While some shelters take pets, not all do. Contact your local emergency management office to verify if accommodations are offered for cats. If not, check the local animal shelter or boarding facility to see if they provide emergency pet housing. You can also research pet-friendly hotels or stay with family/friends who don’t mind having a furry guest.

Have an emergency contact

An emergency contact is someone who can care for your cat and serve as a trusted caregiver if you are suddenly unable to. Ideally, this person should have met your kitty and is familiar with looking after animals. They should always have a copy of your key — leaving a copy for them at your home is not enough. Talk with them beforehand to establish guidelines and expectations.

Emergency preparedness is all about being ready long before disaster strikes. The ASPCA even has an app so that you can have an emergency checklist and store your pet’s medical records in one place. Have a clear thought out plan, and of course, don’t forget to go over it in detail with your cat sitter.


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 kisluvkis on flickr

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