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Archive | Cats

Three ways to improve your cat’s quality of life

The actions you take today can ripple through your kitty’s entire lifetime. Here are three small changes that you can make to your pet care routine today that will have a lasting impact on your cat for years to come.

Use plates instead of bowls

Whisker fatigue is a common and easily avoidable ailment for older cats. Since cats’ whiskers are highly sensitive, many of the bowls found in the pet store are inappropriate for adult cats. The high and narrow sides on food and water dishes often mean that cats must constantly retract their whiskers in order to keep them from being irritated while eating or drinking. Over time, these muscles weaken from constant use until your older kitty’s whiskers hang down in discomfort. Therefore, it is best to feed your kitty off of a shallow plate.

Feed wet food and add a water fountain

Descended from the wild cats of the desert, cats evolved to draw most of the moisture that they need from their food and rarely drink standing water. When cats are only fed dry food, they may be more likely to develop kidney disease and urinary tract problems due to chronic dehydration. However, a filtered water fountain can encourage your cat to drink more water and stay hydrated. The sound of running water attracts cats, while a good charcoal filter can remove sediment and chemicals in your city’s water supply that may harm your cat’s organs.

Tend to your cat’s fur

Establishing a grooming routine while your cat is young today can help down the line when arthritis or another chronic health condition leaves your kitty’s fur looking lackluster. Not only is an unkempt coat unattractive, but matted fur is itchy and painful for your cat. Furthermore, resorting to shave an unruly coat can lead to other problems for your kitty.

Once you find the comb or brush that works well and your cat enjoys, grooming will eventually become a bonding experience. Likewise, the years of positive associations with grooming would mean that your cat is more patient with you and feels less stressed when their coat is harder to care for in their golden years.

By making these small changes today, you’re taking the best best to ensuring many happy and healthy years with your cat to come.


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 Matt Biddulph on flickr

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Why do cats wiggle before they pounce?

It’s a familiar sight – your kitty hunches low to the ground. Her eyes open wide. She gives her tushy a little shake-shake-shake, and then she springs into action! It’s a wonderfully adorable and terribly effective way to ambush prey, but have you ever wondered why exactly cats shake their booties before they leap?

Warming up

If you stop to think about it, you might notice that many human athletes exhibit a similar behavior as a warm up. Baseball players swing their bat a few times before the pitch, runners do quick drills on the starting line. It’s the same for cats. That adorable butt wiggle is partly a way for cats to loosen up their muscles and practice before the big moment. After all, careful preparation could mean life or death when there’s only one shot to catch a meal.

Gaining solid footing

In order to land just perfectly, cats have several biological mechanisms in place to help them accurately judge distance. One such evolutionary advantage is their vertical slit pupil eyes, but another is, you guessed it, the wiggle! By testing the ground beneath their paws and building up tension in their muscles, they are better able to gauge exactly how high and how far they could jump. You might see a similar behavior to the wiggle before your cat jumps onto a high shelf, for instance, in which they appear to bob up and down while they evaluate their jump.

Do you have a cute GIF or video of your cat getting ready to take a leap? Share it with us on Instagram or Facebook!


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 Matt Parry on flickr

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Can cats see in the dark?

Do you turn out all of the lights before you leave the house? You may be saving energy, but you’re literally plunging your cat into a lonely darkness! Let us “shed some light” on how well and what exactly cats are able to see.

Can cats see in the dark?

Yes and no. While it’s true that cats have better night vision than humans, they cannot see in total darkness. The reason being is that the tapetum lucidum, which is responsible for that otherworldly green glow in your kitty’s pupils, only works by magnifying what visible light is available. That means that cats can see much better than humans in low light, but they cannot see at all in complete darkness. So the next time you think about leaving your kitty in the dark, consider plugging in a little night light.

Is that why cats have slit pupils?

Again, yes and no. Having a slit, vertical pupil means that ambush predators like cats, snakes, and foxes are able to pull their pupils open much larger than creatures with circular or rectangular ones. This does let in more light. However, the slit pupil also maximizes the efficiency of seeing both vertical lines and increasing the blurriness in front of and behind an object. That means their brains are able to more accurately able to gauge the depth of an object without having to move.

How well can cats see?

Cats have many advantages over humans when it comes to vision, such as having more rod cells to help them dectect light. However, cats have fewer cone cells, which mean they see less vivid color. Cats also tend to be more nearsighted than humans, and can’t see under their muzzles at all! That explains why they can never seem to see the treat that you’re pointing at directly under their noses.

Do you leave a light on for your cat when you leave? Don’t forget to show your pet sitter how to turn on the lights in your home to make it a more “illuminating” visit for your sitter and your kitty. Give us a call today to be paired with one of our personable pet 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 Thomas Euler on flickr

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What to do if you find stray kittens

It’s the middle of summer and the height of the kitten season. If you have a feral cat colony in your neighborhood, you might stumble across a litter of kittens. Here’s what you should do if you find them outside.

Identify their age

On the one hand, if the kittens are 8 weeks or younger, separating them from their mothers can be detrimental to their health. Therefore, if the mother is present, it’s best to keep them together. On the other hand, if they’re 4 months or older, it may be too difficult to socialize them properly so that they can live indoors. It’d be better to trap, neuter, and release (TNR) them so that they can live our their lives happily within the colony. You can use the Alley Cat Allies’ handy visual guide to help you determine their age at a glance.

Locate the mother

Mama cats always return to feed their kittens every 3 hours like clockwork. If the kittens look clean and healthy, then mama probably isn’t far. However, if the kittens look dirty, sick, or it’s been longer than 3 hours since you’ve seen their mother, they need to be cared for right away.

Contact your local TNR community or cat rescue

Most shelters will tell you that during kitten season, they usually don’t bring in mothers with their litters due to a capacity issue. However, if mama is friendly and you’re interested in caring for the kittens, you should contact your local TNR community or cat rescue. Even if they aren’t able to take on the kittens themselves, they can point you in the right direction for community vet partners and even loan you no-kill traps to help you bring the litter inside.

Newborn feral kittens require a lot of attention, hard work, and socialization in order to grow up to be happy, healthy, friendly and adoptable indoor cats. Before you take on a litter of kittens, really ask yourself if you are able to commit the time and energy that they deserve.

Do you have a new kitten in your home? Check out other articles on our blog for advice on how to kitten proof your home, for more information on kitten season, and for more information about feral cat resources in New York City.


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 Christie D. Mallon on flickr

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How do cats decide where to sleep?


One week, kitty naps in the cat tree, the next it’s on the couch, and this week it’s on your neck! Have you ever noticed that cats change their sleeping areas often? What exactly is their criteria for picking a sleeping spot?

Blame it on the weather

Cats are experts at regulating body temperature. In colder weather, you’re more likely to find them curled up and snuggling up on top of the radiator cover. When the weather is warm, you might see them stretched out, commonly someplace cool like in a tiled bathroom. As TJ Banks, a long time cat parent remarks, “Here, summertime marks the great migration downstairs to the cellar or, at the very least, to the breezeway.”

The safety factor

The fact remains that sometimes, no matter how creative your cat bed is, cats simply prefer to sleep in a box. John Bradshaw, the author of Cat Sense, had this to say about it in an interview with Catser: “Cats in the wild are always looking for nooks and crannies to rest in because what they want is to basically have five sides out of six protected. . . . So a cardboard box is a great place to be ’cause for five sides out of six nobody can get at you and you can keep an eye on the sixth one.”

Cleanliness is next to “catly-ness”

As for why cats change the sleeping locations after a while, Marilyn Krieger, a certified cat behavior consultant, also tells Catser, “Cats are extremely clean, and if something becomes soiled they don’t want to spend time on it.” Meaning that after a while, the cat’s scent and bodily oils may spoil the location. After all, staying fairly low-odor is how cats elude predators and sneak up on prey in the wild.

Where is your cat’s favorite place to sleep? Show us by tagging us in a photo on Istagram or Facebook!


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 t_Stewart on flickr

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How to keep your cat safe during fireworks

The 4th of July is the quintessential summer holiday. People love to light up the grill during the day and watch the fireworks display at night. However, the louse bangs and flashing lights are no picnic for your cat! Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to keep your cat happy and calm during fireworks.

Create safe spaces in your home

In a quieter area of your house or apartment, make sure that your cat has access to places to hide. This can be under furniture like a bed, or in a cabinet or cubby hole, such as an empty cube in an Ikea bookcase. You can partially cover the area with towels and blankets to help drown out the noise.

Close windows and turn on music

Likewise, turning up music before the fireworks begin can help defuse some of the noise. Some relaxing instrumental music can help sooth your cat. You’ll also want to draw the blinds, close curtains, close any windows and doors. Not only does this keep noise down, but it’ll also help to block flashing lights and prevent your cat from escaping.

Make sure your cat is identifiable

In case your cat does get spooked and escape, make sure your cat is microchipped or wearing ID tags. Take a photo of your cat so that you’ll have the most up to date image to help others recognize them if they get lost.

Don’t try to comfort your cat

If you don’t have anywhere you need to be, plan to be home during the fireworks display. However, if your cat gets nervous, starts pacing around, or howling, do not try to comfort your cat by petting or playing with them. This will make your cat more upset, because you are acknowledging that something is wrong. Instead, praise your cat for calm behavior.

Do not change their diet, and do not give any calming remedies, especially if you’re unsure of how your cat will react to the changes.

Are you going out of town for the last minute? We still have pet sitters available for the 4th of July holiday! Give us a call for fastest service.


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 d_horkey on flickr

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Should your pet sitter visit every other day?

When hiring a pet sitter, many owners wonder how often their cat needs pet sitting visits. Because cats seem independent, it is easy to assume that a visit every other day will suffice. However, letting too much time pass between visits puts your kitty as risk! A kitty left alone for too long means that sudden problems would go undetected. Consider the following scenarios that could be alleviated by a daily pet sitter.

Veterinary issues could arise

A daily sitter can quickly respond to any health issues. If a cat gets an upset stomach, ingests something it shouldn’t, or suddenly stops eating because of illness, your sitter can prevent harm by spotting it sooner rather than later. Similarly, cats often don’t start showing signs of sickness until it’s too late: if no one catches those symptoms in time, it could mean that kitty is gone forever. A visit within 24 hour could mean the difference between life and death!

Unexpected problems with building facilities

Your house or building can experience an accident at any time: the heat can shut off, a pipe can burst, the power can go out. And your poor kitty can get stuck in the middle of it all! Additionally, maintenance workers or cleaners can cause issues by leaving doors or windows open: this means kitty could escape or worse! No matter the problem, your sitter is often the first person to know if anything has gone awry.

Bored and unattended cats can get into trouble

Cats are very clever and need stimulation. So when there’s no one to interact with, sometimes they get into trouble. They overturn their water bowls, knock items off counters, and accidentally turn on the stove! Many cats have managed to lock themselves in rooms without food, water, or a litter box. Then, they have accidents on the furniture and floors. Cats can get stuck in crevices or tangled in cords. A cat who gets bored will ease their restlessness by chewing or clawing things they shouldn’t. Your pet sitter can help mitigate any chaos by checking in on your little mischief-maker.

When it comes to leaving your kitty alone, the “what-ifs” are endless. We don’t recommend visiting every other day. Our pet sitters can visit once, twice, three times a day and even stay over night – as often as is necessary to make sure your kitty stays safe, happy, and healthy. Drop us a line to find out what our sitters can do for you.


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 Misko on flickr

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How to read your cat’s tail

Ever notice that your cat shakes its tail at you? It’s not a random tic; your cat’s tail movements are actually a form of communication! When your kitty motions with its tail, be it through thrashing or thumping, they’re expressing themselves though a special cat tail language. To give you the low-down on these signals, we’ve categorized them by mood.

Happy and excited signals

When your cat is friendly and content, their tail will stick straight up. Kittens to do this to their mama to show they want food, while grownup cats do this as a way to greet one another. Look extra carefully though. If their tail sticking straight up and vibrating a bit towards the end, it means they are giddy! Finally, a happy and affectionate cat may also curve its tail forward and over its back.

Angry and fearful signals

Your cat is on the defense when their tail is straight up and bristled. This could mean they feel scared, startled, or angry, as bristled hair is a way for them to look bigger and more powerful. Another indication of anger is a tail that thumps loudly on the floor. Similarly, a tail that thrashes back and forth indicates aggression and often means your cat wants to be left alone.

Playful and mischievous signals

A lively tail isn’t all bad news! Depending on the context, a tail that whips back and forth could simply indicate feistiness. Is your cat prowling birds or eyeing that toy you’ve got dangling over its head? In these scenarios, a thrashing tail means they are intensely focused. Similarly, your cat is feeling playful or excited when the tip of their tail twitches.

Knowing what a cat needs starts with knowing how to read their moods. Our sitters understand that the best way to treat a cat is to pay attention to and respect their feelings.


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 Tambako The Jaguar on flickr

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Why do cats rub their faces on me?

Kitties love to get up close and personal, and in more ways than one! In addition to cuddles and purring, you’ve probably noticed that your cat likes to rub their face against you. Whether it’s a quick caress or a straight-on head butt, rest assured that this behavior is normal. Let’s explore this feline sign of affection.

What is bunting?

When cats rub or butt their heads against a person, object, or another animal, it is known as “bunting.” Bunting is similar to “allorubbing,” which is when your kitty rubs their entire body against someone (or something). It is common for cats to bunt conspicuous objects, and the height of an object can determine what part of their face they use.

What is scent marking?

When cats bunt or rub, they are actually leaving their scent behind. This is known as “scent marking.” Your kitty loves to scent mark with their head because they have lots of scent glands there: glands can be found on your cat’s mouth, chin, ears, neck, and the sides of their face. Scent marking serves many purposes; cats do it as a way mark their presence or to get comfortable with a new place.

What is my cat trying To tell me?

So what does it mean when your cats bunts and scent marks you? It is thought that cats bunt animals or humans that they’re already friendly with as well as objects that are important to them. So a little face nudge is quite the compliment. It’s a way to say “I love you!” Your kitty’s bunting could also be an attempt to get some pets or ear scratches, as he or she has probably figured out that bunting earns them attention.

So, the next time kitty does some bunting, revel in the gesture and be sure to return the affection!

Do you have an extra affectionate kitty? Be sure to let your pet sitter know! Our sitters love to give cats exactly as much attention as they need. Sign up for a meet and greet 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 fletcherjcm on flickr

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Stealthy litter boxes

It’s no secret that apartments in New York City are small! There’s but so many places you can hide a litter box. If you don’t like the idea of your dinner guests seeing an unsightly cat pan, there are stealthier hidden options for you.

Litter boxes that look like potted plants

Who doesn’t like the look of a potted plant? They add fresh air, and some houseplants have natural deodorizing and toxin-removing capabilities. Now, you can buy a litter box that looks like a potted plant in a variety of attractive shapes. You can use the faux plant that comes with it, or replace it with a real live version of your own!

Build your own litter box holder

If you’re a crafty sort of person who likes to imagine your kitty as a pirate burying treasure, then you might want to build your own litter box concealment system. Or, if you’d prefer a chic look to your hidden litter box, you can convert an upholstered bench, too!

Keep the litter box in the tub or closet

A tried and true method of litter box concealment for a lot of New Yorkers is to just keep it in the tub or closet. If you put it in the tub, litter boxes that prevent litter scatter are best to avoid having gritty sand in the tub when it’s time to wash up. You’ll also want to avoid washing it down the drain, as it can cause a nasty (and costly!) clog. If you stash the box in the closet, consider adding an organizer or shelving to avoid losing space.

Do you have a clever hiding spot for your litter box? Make sure you show your pet sitter where it is! Our sitters pay extra attention to the litter box to make sure they stay clean and fresh. Book a visit 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 S G on flickr

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