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What is whisker fatigue?

In our recent conversations on the blog, you may have seen references to whisker fatigue. Today, let’s take a moment to explore and unpack what whisker fatigue really is.

Why are a cat’s whiskers important?

While many mammals have whiskers (also known as tactile hairs or vibrissae), cats’ whiskers are highly specialized sense organs. At the base of each whisker, a proprioceptor is can detect the slightest movements in air currents to help a cat catch prey. Proprioceptors also help cats determine if they can squeeze through tiny passageways. They even help cats judge shorter distances that they cannot see well because of their farsighted eyes and the blind spot beneath their muzzles.

What causes whisker fatigue?

Whisker fatigue occurs when the proprioceptors are over stimulated, usually due to constantly brushing against the sides of a water dish or food bowl. Think of it like a barrage of sensory information, much like watching a movie with too many loud noises and excessively vibrant colors. Some vets, such as Dr. Neil Marrinan of the Old Lyme Veterinary Hospital in Connecticut, prefer to think of it as more of whisker “stress” than “fatigue.”

What are the symptoms?

A cat experiencing whisker fatigue may pace around the bowl, remove all of the food before eating it, or refuse to eat at all even if they appear to be hungry. In an article with PetMD, Dr. Marrinan also warns that these could be the symptoms of serious tumors or gastrointestinal problems. When in doubt, you’ll rarely regret taking your cat to the vet!

How can whisker fatigue be prevented?

The simplest solution is to replace your cat’s food dish with a flat, wide plate without a lip on the rim. You should also change out your cat’s standing water bowl for a fountain or another free flowing water source with a wide basin. Most importantly, you should never trim your cat’s whiskers because it would negatively impact your cat’s balance and perception.


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 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 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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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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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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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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