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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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How to move with your cat

It’s that time of the year again. College students are returning to the city for school and it’s almost the end of the summer moving season, when the best deals on new apartments are starting to wind down. Once you’ve found the perfect place, you may find yourself wondering how to move with your cat.

Preparation

If your cat isn’t used to being in a carrier, place the carrier where your kitty has access to it two weeks before your move. Gradually start feeding your kitty and placing treats near the carrier until your cat becomes accustomed to it. During the packing process, it’s important to give your cat consistent attention and keep his or her feeding schedule as close to routine as possible. Minimizing changes will help mitigate any stress that could be caused by the moving process.

You’ll also want to have your moving boxes set up a couple of weeks before you need to pack so that your cat can adjust to them, too. If packing makes your cat seem anxious, place him or her in a quiet bedroom.

Moving day

While the movers are loading boxes, place your cat in a room with the door closed, and place a note on the door so that everyone knows not to open it. Have the movers load the items in your bedroom last.

It’s important that your kitty rides in the car with you on moving day, and not in the van. Try to keep your cat as comfortable as possible by keeping treats and water handy, as well as running the air conditioner in the car. This is extremely important for cats who are used to climate controlled environment, as a drastic change in temperature can lead to heat exhaustion.

Your new home

Set up your bedroom furniture first, and place all of your cat’s most familiar items in the room, such as the food, water, and litter box. This will become your cat’s calm room for the rest of the moving process. It’s best to keep your cat in one room until they feel comfortable so that he or she isn’t overwhelmed by the vast, unfamiliar territory. It usually takes an hour or two.

Placing your cat’s most familiar items in the new room, spraying Feliway, and spreading your cat’s scent via Pam Johnson-Benett’s “sock method” are also good ways to help your cat feel comfortable in the new home.

You should do a thorough walkthrough to make sure your new home is cat proofed, too Are all of the screens in place? Any large openings like unsealed dryer vents? Are there any pest traps left behind from exterminators? Once you’re confident that your cat is comfortable and your new home is safe, you can let your cat out to explore.

For more tips on how to make your move go as smoothly as possible, check out the Pet Place’s comprehensive guide.

Are you moving to another borough? Let us know! Katie’s Kitty has pet sitters in all five boroughs of New York City. We also have sitters available in the magical “sixth borough” of Hoboken and Jersey City. Send us an email to get matched up with the perfect pet 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 Douglas O’Brien 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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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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What you need to know about summer buzzcuts

It’s a familiar sight for many cat parents. The more the heat ramps up, the more your kitty spreads out. If you own a longhair cat, you may be especially worried that all of that fur is overheating your kitty. Before you take your cat to the groomer to get it all shaved off, consider the following.

Does long fur actually make your cat hotter?

Once the summer heat rolls around, you may find yourself removing extra layers and tying back your hair to help cool off. However, a cat’s coat is naturally designed to help keep it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. In fact, as Mark J. Stickney, DVM, explains to WebMD, cats “really get no benefit from being shaved.” They’re fairly small animals with a lot of surface area, so they are much more efficient at dispersing excess heat than human beings.

What’s the best way to care for your cat’s summer coat?

It’s also important to establish a regular grooming routine for your cat. If your kitty is an excessive shedder, then you should try a slicker brush or a silicone brush like the Zoom Groom to help remove the dead undercoat that can cause mats. If your cat needs to go to the groomer for excessive knotting, consider a “sanitary cut” instead of a full shave.

How else can you keep your cat cool?

Cats naturally seek out cool, dark areas when it gets too hot. In most apartments, the coolest place in the house is usually in a tiled bathroom. You can leave a few ice packs wrapped in towels to make the room even cooler. Consider getting a pet fountain to keep your cat hydrated, too. During the summer time, it’s also important to be mindful of heat exhaustion.

Are you prepared for the summer heat? Don’t forget to show your pet sitter where to find the air conditioner, thermostat, and/or any fans. In order to save energy, it’s also a good idea to let your pet sitter know at what temperature you usually switch the AC on.


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 Andrea Parrish – Geyer on flickr

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Tips to help your cat slow down at meal time

Has this ever happened to you? You put down food for your cat, who then gobbles it up and vomits almost immediately. If your vet has given your kitty a clean bill of health, then eating too fast is probably to blame. Here are a few things you can try to get kitty to slow down and enjoy their food.

Use a “slow bowl” or puzzle feeder

Slow bowls are essentially feeding dishes that place an intentional obstacle in your cat’s way. The result is a meal that is consumed and digested much more slowly. Puzzle feeders are similar, but in addition to getting your cat to slow down while eating, they’re also great for curing boredom and appeasing your kitty’s natural instincts to hunt and forage for their meals.

Mash the food against the plate

This trick works especially well for wet food on a small, shallow plate. Using the back of the spoon, press the wet food against the plate until it’s in a thin layer. This will cause your kitty to have to lick and work harder to get a bite, rather than chowing down and digesting pieces in giant gulps. You can also experiment with the shape of the plate. Think outside the “bowl” and try a mini muffin tin or an ice cube tray!

Put down food in stages

Some cats are simply overwhelmed by how much food that they see in front of them. Therefore, they feel the need to scarf it down as quickly as possible. Others tend to bury their extra food. To prevent both situations, you can try putting down a tablespoon of food at a time, or maybe half a can of wet food at a time. Wait until your kitty finishes the portion before them before putting down more.

You can even use this technique as way to get your tubby tabby a little exercise. Have your cat follow you throughout the house, and occasionally place little morsels of food during your promenade.

Do you have a special technique to get your kitty to slow down at diner time? We’d love to hear about it! Leave us a comment below, or connect with us on 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 Steve Abraham on flickr

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