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Should you toilet-train your cat?

Have you been wondering if toilet training is right for your kitty household? Although a cat using a toilet can be quite the spectacle, there are several things to consider before “taking the plunge.”

What are the advantages?

The biggest advantage of toilet-training your cat is eliminating the need for kitty litter. The cost-conscious pet parent could save $70-$150 a year in cat litter, which can add up quite a bit over a lifetime.

Not to mention, teaching your cat to use the toilet means that you will no longer have to tolerate litter box odor or deal with unsanitary litter flecks scattered around your home or floating through the air.

As an added bonus, pet parents who are concerned with space issues appreciate not having a litter box to take up room, which is a concern for many New Yorkers.

What are the disadvantages?

One of the biggest disadvantages has to do with health monitoring. The volume, consistency, and frequency of urine and feces in the litter box are indicators of your cat’s health. When your kitty uses the toilet, you won’t be able to keep an eye on these factors. A clean bill of health for your kitty is also required to avoid the transmission of toxoplasmosis.

Older cats, cats who would have difficulty balancing on or gripping the slick seat, or cats who don’t like to share could also find the toilet to be troublesome. Additionally, some kitties may develop anxiety from falling in or not being able to satisfy the instinct to dig and cover their waste.

One final consideration is that toilet training requires a lot of patience, and accidents are bound to happen. House guests can also accidentally close the lid, leaving your kitty no choice but to eliminate on the floor.

Other things to try

Are you frustrated with your litter box, but still unsure if toilet training is right for your kitty? Consider trying automatic litter boxes and alternatives to clay cat litter until you strike a balance in the human-convenience-to-feline-happiness ratio.

Whatever method you choose, our pet sitters take extra care in ensuring a clean and happy home while you’re away. Give us a call to meet with one of our friendly pet sitters!

This post is a collaboration between Andrea Gores and Candace Elise Hoes.

Andrea Gores is an actor, playwright, and pet sitter for Katie’s Kitty.

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 minorleo on flickr

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Why do cats love the bathroom so much?

If your cat has ever jumped in your lap while you’re on the commode, snuggled up with your underpants, or reached under the bathroom door, you’re not alone. Yet, have you ever wondered why cats are so interested in the bathroom? Here are a few possible explanations.

Cats love routines

Cats are prone to chaining behaviors which are a series of actions that come one after another. Therefore, routines such as getting ready in the morning, taking a shower, and using the toilet are very interesting to your cat. Your kitty will even remember approximately how long you spend doing each task, and may come in to periodically remind you that you’re taking too long!

You’re a captive audience

Since cats like to learn about everything you do, they’ll eventually come to realize that you’re not going anywhere for a few minutes while you’re on the commode. Some cats will want to use this time to stand on the bathroom counter at eye level with you in order to observe you or control the interaction. Others may see it as the perfect time for a cuddle break.

You’re inadvertently rewarding the behavior

Who could resist an adorable little face begging for attention, especially when you have nothing to do but sit with your thoughts? If you regularly give your cat attention while you’re on the toilet, your cat will follow you into the bathroom because he or she has come to expect it. Even if all your cat does is paw under the door, when you eventually open it, your cat associates his or her actions with a positive result.

The bathroom is a unique place in your home

Some cats can run a little hot, so the stone tiles and smaller area of the bathroom create a perfect environment for cooling off. The safe, enclosed space of bathroom can even supply a refuge for a kitty who doesn’t get along with other pets in the household, especially when you’re in it. In the wild, cats seek out enclosed spaces for safety reasons, which may also be why they prefer confines of the sink.

Do you have a daily routine that you like to follow with your cat? Our pet sitters are more than happy to keep your kitty in the swing of things while you’re away. Call us 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 Kylir Horton on flickr

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How to encourage your cat to use a scratching post

Perhaps the only thing that’s more frustrating than having your cat claw your furniture is having them refuse the use the scratching post that you bought to remedy the problem. The good news is that training your cat to use the scratching post isn’t an insurmountable task. Here’s how to do it.

Try different kinds of scratching posts

Sometimes finding the right post is a matter of preference. Some cats prefer vertical scratching. A good vertical scratching post is as least as tall as your stretching kitty and doesn’t wobble. Some cats prefer the horizontal scratching boards that are readily available in pet stores and supermarkets. Posts wrapped in carpet can be uncomfortable because they snag the claws, so look for posts made of sisal and cardboard.

Place the post in an ideal location

If your cat has been scratching your couch or mattress, place several posts around each corner where your kitty scratches. You should avoid placing the posts in unappetizing or lonely areas such as by the litter box or in the basement. Cats often scratch when they first wake up, so try placing a post next to their sleeping area. Better yet, opt for a cat condo with boxes for napping and sisal scratching posts built in.

Reward good behavior

Cats need to scratch to stretch their muscles and shed the damaged outer layer of their claws, so discouraging your cat from scratching can be traumatic for them. Not to mention, cats respond better to positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement such as yelling. Positive reinforcement includes rewards like petting, speaking soothing words (“That’s a good kitty!”) and providing treats or catnip. Once your cat begins to use the scratcher, offer rewards as encouragement.

Discourage bad behavior

In some rare cases, your cat may persist to scratch your furniture because they are amused by your reaction to it. If you’re used to yelling or freaking out at the sight of your cat scratching your couch, switch to a neutral response instead. Then, you can proceed with placing your cat by the new scratcher and using the positive reinforcement methods mentioned above.

Make your furniture an undesirable scratching surface

However, one of the strongest deterrents for a cat is an unappealing environment. There are various anti-scratching aids available that can make your furniture less appealing than the scratcher, thus making the switch easier for your cat.

Once your cat has picked up the good habit of using a scratching post, don’t throw it away after it gets worn out. Now that post is great for really digging in deep and is covered in familiar and happy scents. Opt to buy an additional one instead.

Are you worried that your cat might scratch up your furniture while you’re on vacation? Schedule a visit from one of our pet sitters who can keep an eye on your kitty 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 M B on flickr

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What are therapy cats?

Studies continue to show that regular interaction with a friendly animal can have lasting health benefits. Visiting patients used to be a privilege reserved for dogs. However, in recent years, therapy cats have also been given the chance to help in the healing process.

What are therapy animals?

Essentially, animal assisted therapy involves bringing a therapy pet to a hospital, nursing home, classroom, or other facility in order to relieve anxiety. Therapy animals are usually certified cats or dogs, but other species such as birds and horses can also be certified. Therapy animals are different from emotional support or service animals because they are not permitted special accesses.

Are there pet therapy organizations in New York City?

The North Shore Animal league offers the Shelter Pet Outreach Team (SPOT) brings puppies and certified cats from their shelters to nursing homes, senior centers, and rehabilitation centers. However, the ASPCA is a community partner of Pet Partners, which is the nation’s largest nonprofit that helps train and match therapy pet teams across the country.

Would you and your cat make a good therapy pet team?

If your cat adores and can’t get enough of people, he or she might have what it takes. However, therapy cats should also be comfortable with going outside, loud noises, other animals, and being handled — even if it’s by someone who doesn’t have the best coordination or strength. Furthermore, you would also be a part of the pet therapy team. You would have to demonstrate the ability to give your cat effective commands as well as read when your cat is stressed or fatigued.

At the end of the day, therapy cats provide those in need with an opportunity to make a loving connection and build a relationship with another living creature.

Does your cat have a lot of love to give? Call to ask about how boarding your kitty in our sitters’ homes so that they receive around the clock affection while you’re out of town.

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 lovinkat on flickr

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Why does my cat drool while purring?

Have you ever wondered why your cat drools when he or she is happy? There are a number of possibilities. Some are benign, and some need medical attention. Here are a few explanations.

A remnant from happier times

Dr. John Bradshaw gained a lot of attention across the web when he suggested in his book, Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, that cats essentially see their pet parents as big, friendly mama cats. He told the International Science Times in an email interview that “The most likely explanation for their behaviour towards us is that they think of us as part mother substitute, part superior cat.”

Indeed, affectionate behaviors such as kneading and even meowing for food have been linked to actions performed by a kitten for its mom. Franny Syufy of the Spruce then postulates, “It occurs to me that kittens salivate when they are nursing, and they salivate in anticipation of it. Wouldn’t it then be normal for [a cat] to salivate when he is being held and petted by his surrogate mother, as the experience sends his memory back to those blissful days with his feline mother?”

Some cats are just “happy droolers”

In general, scientists don’t have a consensus on why this phenomenon occurs, though. According to Dr. Patty Khuly VMD of VetStreet, “It seems that a small but significant percentage of cats drool in response to positive stimulation, which is typically also accompanied by purring, rolling over submissively or rubbing their faces against the objects of their adoration.” She goes on to write that these kitties are lifelong “happy droolers.”

Some cats are not

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t rule out other potentially dangerous medical causes for excessive drooling. Purring isn’t always a happy signal, as some cats purr as a self soothing behavior in response to an illness or injury. Foreign objects lodged in the mouth, ingestion of a toxic plant, kidney disease, feline oral squamous cell carcinoma, and a number of other illnesses can also cause your cat to drool. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to bring your cat to the vet!

Are you planning a big trip? Book one of our pet sitters and rest at ease. We provide photos and updates on your kitty’s health and happiness levels — drool 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 Tom Williams on flickr

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How do I know if my cat is happy?

Fortunately for human pet parents, happy cats have no problem telling us how they feel! Usually vocal signs such as meowing and purring our our first clues. How do you know if your quiet kitty is happy, though? Here are a few hints.

Tail held high

The tail is the most expressive part of a cat. A tail held straight in the air is a sign of friendliness, while a tail held high with a little bend in the tip is a sign of affectionate respect.

Relaxed eyes

Just like in people, a cat’s upper eyelids will begin to lower when they are feeling content. A particularly happy kitty’s lower eyelids may even be raised a little, resembling a person giving a cheeky smile.


If your cat stares at you from across the room and blinks at you slowly, it’s considered to be the same as blowing a kiss! It’s best to smile and slow-blink back.


This behavior can be equated to a human hug. A cat will bop the object of its affection with the top of his or her head. They may headbutt your forehead, your back, another cat, their favorite box, or just about anything they enjoy.

Kneading paws

Nursing kittens knead their mamas’ bellies to stimulate her to produce milk. Adult cats will knead their pet parents, a comfy blanket, or even the air when they are particularly content. Some cats may attempt to suckle when they are feeling extremely affectionate.

Arched back

Not to be confused with the yowling or hissing arched back response that a frightened cat gives, when a cat approaches you with happy eyes and arches his or her back, it’s usually a friendly sign that means, “Pet me!” Be sure to pay special attention to when the cat wants you to stop, though.

Tummy pose

This one is often a point of confusion for many pet parents. A cat who is feeling trusting will roll over to show you his or her tummy. Not all cats will want you to touch their bellies, though, because it’s a very vulnerable place on a kitty’s body. Think of it like bowing to someone, only to have the person you bowed to smack the back of your head. Instead, you might want to pet the tummy-posing kitty under the chin or gently on the neck with one finger.

Would you like to see photos of our happiest kitties? Follow 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 Jenny Downing on flickr

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Destinations for cat lovers worldwide

Cats are the most popular pet in the world. It’s no wonder, then, that there are ranches, sanctuaries, islands, and sometimes even cities devoted to appreciation for feline kind. Here are just a few spots you might like to visit this year.

“Cat Island,” Aoshima, Ehime Prefecture, Japan

Aoshima, also known as “Cat Island” came to fame across the internet back in 2015, but it’s actually one of dozens of “cat islands” that Japan has to offer. On Aoshima, cats outnumber the residents 6 to 1! Once a small fishing community, the tiny island has now seen a surge in tourism. Everyone wants to get a peek at the happy island full of sleepy kitties. Another popular Cat Island is Tashirojima, or “Tashiro Island”, which is an island near Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture.

Big Cat Rescue, Tampa, Florida

This sanctuary may be named after its larger residents, but you’ll also be greeted by beautiful bobcats, exotic ocelots, servals, civets, and of course lions and tigers throughout the preserve. A tour of the sanctuary will also restore your faith in humanity. Not only will you learn a lot about so many species of cat, but you’ll also be heartened to learn that Big Cat Rescue only accepts animals once the surrendering organization agrees to cease their cruel operations in the fur trade and entertainment businesses.

Istanbul, Turkey

The city itself is an ancient port of call dating all the way back to the Ottoman Empire. Sailors would keep cats aboard their vessels to control stowaway rats, and the happy felines would jump ashore once their ships docked in Istanbul. As a result, the city has cats from all over the world. The people of Istanbul have come to regard the cats as their friends and neighbors, collectively feeding and giving medical care to the kitties while allowing them the freedom to live their lives in the wild. Their unique relationship is the subject of the documentary film named Kedi, which is coming to New York’s Metrograph Theatre in February.

New York City, New York

You might not think it, but the best destination for cats is right in your backyard. New York City is full of shopkeeper cats, all with varying levels of fame. From the immortal Matilda, the cat at the Algonquin Hotel who hosts a fashion show, to the late Keetah of Bleecker Street Records who met Grumpy Cat other internet cat sensations, the shop cats of New York have become their own larger than life legends. They even have their own book!

Did you know that we post photos of shopkeeper cats that we meet on our journey? Follow us on Facebook to see more photos!

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 from Aoshima by Sayoko Shimoyama on flickr

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2017 New Year’s resolutions for cat lovers

As another year comes to a close, as pet parents, it’s time to reflect and ask ourselves what we would rather do differently in 2017. Here are a few New Year’s resolutions to get you going.

Catify your home

Ever wonder what your cat does when you’re away? If your cat gets into mischief, the New Year can be a good occasion to finally redesign your living space with your kitty in mind. Plenty of vertical space provided by cat trees and wall mounts can help to keep your cat exercising Likewise, providing horizontal access to sunny windows can make for cozy sleeping spots and hours of bird watching fun!

Volunteer with or donate to rescue organizations

It’s a well known that pets have a lasting impact on a person’s emotional and physical health. Having a feline companion can help you get through some really tough times. If you find yourself without a cat, but with plenty of love to give, consider becoming a foster pet parent. You’ll give an animal a loving home and prepare them to pay it forward to their future adoptive parents. If you don’t have the space or the time to take on such a commitment, you can help these organizations continue to find loving homes for cats in need of care and attention.

Make time to play with your cat

If your cat had a New Year’s resolution, it would probably be to spend more time with you. You cat misses you when you are away. Cats can also be prone to loneliness when you’re home but not paying attention to them. While they don’t have much control over when you come and go, they do go out of their way to be affectionate with you. Take a moment to return the favor, and even try to initiate 15 minute play sessions for them twice a day. Remember, they may be only a part of your world, but you are their entire world.

Strike a balance with good cat news

With an especially tumultuous presidential election season and the passing of many beloved celebrities closing out 2016, many are feeling distraught over the volume of negative headlines on their newsfeeds. If you like to stay informed but feel overwhelmed by the news, balance it out by taking some time to read up on what’s happening in the world of cats. Love Meow, The Dodo, Cole and Marmalade, and CatCon Worldwide are all great channels to tune into when you need a pick me up.

Need a few more laughs and furry faces on your timeline? Connect us on Facebook and 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 manuelsvay on flickr

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Gift ideas for cat lovers

Need a last minute present for the cat lover in your life? Try one of these gift ideas that are sure to knock their socks off!

For the cat lover who also loves to cook

One part cat, two parts fun! Check out these adorable ceramic cat-faced measuring cups!

Who wouldn’t want to kiss the chef wearing an apron with a kitty peeking out of the pocket?

For the pet parent who keeps in shape

Your yoga buddy can start off every with positive energy when they hang this Yoga Cats calendar on the wall.

Splurge a little on this cat exercise wheel to go next to the exercise bike and treadmill.

For the kitty connoisseur who loves cat themed decor

Want to add a little feline grace to tea time? These screen printed tea towels will do the trick!

Show your pal that you care about their hardwood floors just as much as they do with these little paw socks for chairs and tables.

For the ailurophile who can’t get enough books

Help your study buddy take the stress out of studying for an exam with these kitty sticky notes for their textbooks.

How about this gorgeous coffee table book celebrating the Shop Cats of New York?

Don’t forget to get a little something for the kitty in your life! If you’re going out of town for the holidays, hire a Katie’s Kitty pet sitter. It’s like a vacation for you and a stay-cation for your cat!

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 Aaron Talt on flickr

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How to keep your cat off the keyboard

As anyone with a computer and a feline can tell you, cats love to walk on the keyboard. This may be a harmless nuisance in your leisure time, but it can be stressful when you have work to do. Let’s shed a little light on how to keep your cat off of your computer without upsetting you or your kitty.

Offer something more appealing

Cats will interact with objects out of curiosity and a desire to assert their social status. So, if you are wrapped up in your favorite book or spending hours online, your cat will naturally want to see what’s captured your attention, and may even want to take the place of it!

Cat whisperer Jackson Galaxy from the hit TV show, My Cat from Hell, recommends offering a “yes” for every “no.” Meaning, that once you make it clear to your cat that the computer is off limits, show your cat the alternative as a safe space. You can place a box with a comfortable blanket in it right next to your computer and make it extra rewarding by including treats and encouragement. The safe place may even just be your lap.

Make the workstation uninviting

If your cat walks across your keyboard when you aren’t around, you can try some of the same methods used to keep cats off the counter top. Ssscat sensors are canisters of air that make a hissing sound when something comes within range. If one behind your monitor, the sound will be enough to startle the cat and keep him or her away.

Alternatively, you can also place a mat covered with one side covered in double sided tape over your keyboard. Cats dislike sticky surfaces, so the mat discourage your cat from stepping on the keys. You might also want to consider a desk with a slide out drawer for your keyboard so that you can stow it out of kitty’s reach when it’s not in use.

Are there surfaces in your home that you’d like your cat to stay away from? Be sure to let your pet sitter know when you book an appointment. Call us today for a free quote!

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 JImmIe on flickr

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