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Tag Archives | cat safety

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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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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10 Tips for “Kitten-proofing” your home

Kittens! by London looks

Kittens are doubly curious, as they are both babies and cats at the same time! When you bring a new kitten into your home, it’s wise to take precautions to remove potential hazards in kitty’s new environment.

1) Install permanent screens on windows. Do not rely on window guards for children, use temporary bug screens, or crack the window slightly, as kittens can wiggle through them.

2) Tie cords for window blinds and curtains well out of your kitten’s reach. They may be tempted to play with the strings, but they could accidentally wrap around your kitten’s neck.

3) Store toys (for both cats and children) in a chest or box that closes securely. This is especially important for toys with strings and small pieces that could be swallowed.

4) Remove dangerous house plants. The ASPCA has a list of plants that are toxic to cats. If you’re not sure what species your plant is, it’s best to give it away or keep it outdoors.

5) Keep all medicines and cleaning products locked away. Even if the container is closed, it can still be chewed through.

6) Secure drawers, cabinets, and closets with child safety locks. Otherwise, cats could easily pull open the doors.

7) Secure the knobs on your stove. While jumping up and exploring, a cat’s paw could accidentally turn on the gas or a heating element.

8) Keep the oven, dryer, and dishwasher doors closed. Cats like to sleep in dark, warm places, so this could lead to disaster. Always perform a “kitten check” before starting up these appliances, and leave notes to remind others to do the same.

9) Close the toilet lid after every use. A kitten could fall in and drown, or the lid may close and hurt a cat playing in the water.

10) Store plastic in a dispenser that is kept in a secured closet or cabinet. Chewing on and swallowing plastic could harm your cat’s digestive track, or kitty could get trapped in the bag.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but you can read more at the Humane Society, Purina, About Home, and MEOW Cat Rescue.

Are you worried about leaving your kitten alone on vacation? Our pet sitters can come check on your kitty once, twice, or even three times a day to make sure everything is okay! Request a quote for multiple visits for kittens.


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.

“Kittens!” by London looks on flickr

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