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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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Could your cat be jealous?


Have you recently added a new cat to your family? Have you noticed a change in the behavior of your first kitty? If so, your cat may be dealing with a bit of that green eyed monster called envy.

What are the signs?

Hissing, spraying, growling, and fighting are indicators that your cat feels that his or her territory has been trespassed. It’s not just the household, but you come with the territory as well. All those times your cat rubbed against you, he or she was marking you with various scent glands. So when you’re giving another cat attention, don’t be surprised if your kitty starts to exhibit these signs of jealousy.

If you acquiesce to your jealous cat, you wind up confirming that this behavior works.
Instead, find a healthy balance when giving your cats attention, and don’t play favorites.

Careful introductions

Adding another cat to your household requires careful steps to ensure that balance is maintained. A slow, calm introduction should begin by sharing scents. Let your cats sniff each other’s beds and toys before they meet. You can also purchase natural spray that can encourage stress reduction and even produce “feel good” hormones in cats.

Sharing is not caring

A good rule of thumb is to have one litter box per cat in your household, and the same goes for their feeding and watering bowls. Cats don’t want to compete for resources, and if they aren’t given enough resource availability and security, tensions may rise into an all out war. Provide your cat with their own personal space, and that includes vertical territory.

What if it’s something else?

Perhaps your new addition to the family coincided with a new health issue for your cat. For example, you might mistake peeing outside of the box is a territorial behavior, but it could be a symptom of a urinary tract infection. It doesn’t hurt to seek veterinary attention just to be sure there aren’t any underlying health problems causing the new behaviour.

Are you going out of town, and want to be sure your cats get the equal attention they need? Give us a call to meet one of our pet sitters!

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

Photo by cäleidosc on Flickr

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5 easy DIY cat toys

Have you ever bought an expensive toy for your cat, only to have it be ignored? It’s not only disappointing, but it also hurts your wallet. Here are 5 easy do-it-yourself cat toys that you can have fun building while you save some dough!

Cardboard Rings

All you need is a pair of scissors and an empty toilet paper roll. Cut a small ring of cardboard from the roll, and voilà! You have a toy. Your cat will have tons of fun batting it around the room.

T-shirt Tent

Do you have a few too many band t-shirts lying around? With a pair of pliers, a cardboard box, and some wire hangers from the dry cleaners, you can transform any t-shirt into a stylish tent-shaped cat bed.

Yarn Pom Poms

Your kitty will love tossing these soft colorful toys around, especially if you rub some catnip on them! Simply wrap yarn around a large serving fork, then tie a string across all threads down the middle between the fork tines. After tying a tight knot, carefully slip it off the fork. After a little trimming, you’ll have a nice, evenly rounded pom pom.

Crinkly Cat Toy

This one is a handy cure for a kitty who likes to munch on plastic bags. If you aren’t afraid of a needle and thread, you can easily sew a pouch around a crinkly piece cellophane, like the kind that wraps souvenirs. It’s also a great way to reuse worn-out clothing like sweaters, socks, and jeans. The noisy cat toy is full of recycling fun for the win!

Cardboard scratcher

You don’t need to run to the store every time your cat wears through the cardboard scratcher. It’s really easy to do it yourself! It all starts with a cardboard box that gets cut into strips. Using hot glue to secure it, wind the strips of cardboard around in a spiral. After a few minutes, you’ll have a cool circular scratching pad that’s fit for a furry little king!

Do you have an idea for an easy to make DIY cat toy? We’d love to see it! Take a photo and share it with us on Instagram!


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 Dano272 on flickr

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Why does my cat drink from the faucet?

Have you been wondering why your kitty likes to drink water right from the faucet? It all comes down to instinct. Fresh, running water is the natural cat preference, and water that flows straight from the faucet imitates the streams, rivers, and brooks that their kitty ancestors used for survival. Not every cat displays faucet drinking behavior, but if your cat does, don’t be alarmed. It’s only natural!

Why not drink from the water bowl?

If you’ve neglected to wash your kitty’s water bowl for a day or two, you’ll notice that the bowl begins to develop biofilm, a slimy substance that develops when bacteria settles and grows on the surface of the bowl. This is understandably unappetizing to your kitty. A cat’s instincts tell him to steer clear of standing water, as it is more likely to be stagnant and therefore contaminated with harmful bacteria.

What is so attractive about that faucet?

It’s not only the fresh running water that attracts your kitty to the faucet, it’s the sound! Your cat’s keen ears pick up the sound of running water, as they would in the wild when seeking a clean water source. The movement of water is also attractive to your kitty’s eye. Running water has lots of kitty advantages; it’s fun to play with, it sounds like a rambling brook, and it tastes better because it is more oxygenated.

What if your cat drinks too much water?

If your cat seeks water from the faucet constantly, and seems like he just can’t get enough water, it might be time for a vet visit. Kidney disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism are common ailments of older cats, and a kitty who drinks more water than usual is a tell tale sign that something might be wrong.

What about that water bill?

Instead of running the faucet for your kitty, consider getting a pet fountain. Just remember that you’ll still need to clean it regularly, as pet fountains are just as susceptible to biofilm as any other drinking bowl.

Cats are happiest when they can express their natural instincts. Need someone to come by and refresh the water bowl, and maybe even run the faucet for your feline friend? Give us a call to meet with one of our pet sitters!


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

photo by Teresa Boardman on flickr

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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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