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Why do cats like catnip?

Some cats just can’t seem to get enough of that member of the mint family known as catnip! You might be surprised that cats of every stripe, including lions, tigers, and bobcats, react to it, too! But have you ever wondered what it is about catnip that kitties seem to love?

What is nepetalactone?

It all boils down to the plant’s chemistry. An essential oil called nepetalactone is thought to stimulate the receptors for euphoria in kitties’ brains. Not just for felines, nepetalactone has been grown as a medicinal herb for humans as well. When made into a tea, catnip can have a calming effect similar to chamomile tea. Concentrated nepetalactone can also repel mosquitoes!

What is its effect on cats?

Some cats react in a very big way! It’s not uncommon to see your cat roll around in it, become hyperactive, or even mellow out. Some cats can get aggressive once they get a whiff of catnip. Once it’s eaten, however, catnip appears to calm and mellow effect on cats. The euphoric reaction to catnip last about ten minutes, and then cats may not respond to it again for about two hours.

Why don’t all cats care for it?

Even though the reaction to catnip can be seen across all cat species, only about 50 percent of cats inherit the gene that makes them sensitive to it. Young kittens of about 3 to 6 months of age also won’t have a response to it. Since the potency of catnip can be lost overtime, it’s best to either grow your own or keep dried catnip in a tightly sealed container for the best effect.

Does your cat go crazy for catnip? We’d love to see it! Share a video with us on Instagram!


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 katieB50 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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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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Toys for independent play

5345337946_9111728c33_zWhen you’re home, your cat draws joy and entertainment from you. However, when left alone for an extended trip or even just a long day at the office, your cat can grow bored and get into mischief. Here are some of the best independent play toys to keep your cat happy and out of trouble!

The Wrestle and Romp toy by Petstages has a crinkly interior and is the perfect size for cats to bite and kick! It also comes with durable tabs that your cat can use to fling the toy across the room.

Nothing tickles a cat’s fancy quite like a bunch of Yeowww catnip bananas. Cats love to lounge in a pile of fragrant catnip bananas, or you can leave them about the house.

Never underestimate the power of an inexpensive toy. Small paper bags filled with catnip are a good remedy for a kitty who likes to bite or rip things apart. Fold the bag over a few times, and then let kitty have at it!

Did you know that they make exercise wheel for cats, too? It can take some getting used to, but once your cat gets the hang of it, he will never want to step off of it!

A good cat tree goes a long way. You’ll want to make sure that it has plenty of high perches, a box or two for hiding, and enough stability that it won’t wobble when your cat jumps on it. Place the tree by a sunny window where your cat can watch the birds or people passing by.

If you really want to catify your home, you can install specially made cat furniture onto your walls. Items range from single floating shelves, elaborate cat staircases, and even Indiana Jones style rope ladder bridges!

Choosing the right toys to keep your cat entertained is very important, but nothing can replace human interaction. Our pet sitters can shower your cat in love and affection just like if you were home. Request a 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 Jessica Fiess-Hill on flickr

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Enter to win these toys on Instagram and Facebook!

contest-toys-2015-06Friends and fans of Katie’s Kitty rejoice! From June 23 through June 30th, we’ll be running two contests on Instagram and Facebook. Two lucky winners will be the recipients of this toy prize package.

Kitty parents agree that, in a cat’s eyes, the best toys are free. We’re not just talking about a paper ball, either.

These two sparkle toys will catch the light, and your cat’s attention. Best of all, they’re lightweight. With a simple flick of a kitten’s paw, the toy will fly across the room for hours of chasing and entertainment.

Likewise, these two little toy mice are the perfect size for batting around during the day and carrying around like trophies in the night. Don’t be surprised if your kitty leaves one as a gift in your shoe!

Best of all, these toys come in sets of two. You can keep one on reserve in case the other gets lost beneath the stove or sofa.

Interested?

Visit us Facebook and Instagram for a second chance to win.*

Best wishes and good luck!


*This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, 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.

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How to make Valentine’s Day gifts for your cat

This Valentine’s Day, consider doing something special for that little someone who shows you unconditional love and affection all year round.  Here are three simple projects you can try at home that will really let your cat know how much you care.

Valentine's Day catnip toyMake a Catnip Filled Origami Star

For a clever twist on the old paper ball toy that cats love so much, try crafting a lucky origami star with catnip in the middle.  The magic in these stars is twofold.  For one, their shape and size are ideal for your cat to swat around or carry in her mouth.  But two, they are a symbol of good luck for the upcoming Lunar New Year on February 19th.

Build a Corrugated Cat Scratcher

Cats love a good cardboard box for hiding, biting, and scratching.  If you have a box sitting around that your cat has partially destroyed, try upcycling it into a cat scratcher.  With a little extra time and patience, you’ll make a new claw-trimming toy that your cat will love.

Bake a Tasty Tuna Treat

When you bake a homemade treat for your cat, you can feel good about using the same quality ingredients that you could eat yourself.  After all, nothing says “I love you” quite like preparing a meal for someone.

Tasty Tuna Treats*

Two (2) 3-oz cans of chunk tuna in water
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
⅓  cup water

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Roll the dough to ¼ thickness on a floured countertop.
  4. Slice the dough into ½ inch treat sized squares.
  5. Bake the squares on a greased cookie sheet for about 20 minutes, or until golden.
  6. Allow to cool, and then serve to your favorite feline

*Recipe adapted from Must Love Cats and around the web.

What’s your favorite way to say “I love you, kitty” on Valentine’s Day?

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 “Chinese Lucky Stars” by Carine Felgueiras is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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