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How Often Should I Bathe My Guinea Pig?

You probably love to pet and snuggle your guinea pig. But while you’re stroking its soft little hairs you might wonder how often, if at all, you should give those locks a cleaning.  

Keep Bathing to a Minimum   

Overall, it’s best not bathe your guinea pig more than once a month, and most short-haired breeds only require it once or twice a year. Like cats, guinea pigs are excellent self-cleaners and it’s rare for them to need bathing. Baths can even pose a risk if done improperly, making your cavy susceptible to colds and dry skin. Guinea pigs also find bath time stressful! Keep bathing to a minimum, and instead, make sure your guinea pig’s habitat is as clean as possible.

When to Bathe Your Guinea Pig  

So if baths aren’t usually unnecessary, how can you tell when your piggie does need one?  

A gentle bath is okay if your pig has gotten particularly stinky or its hair is greasy and soiled. Long-haired guinea pigs are especially prone to getting dirt and waste stuck in their locks and might need bathing. However, if your piggie is mainly dirty in just one spot, like on its bum, wiping it clean with a towel might suffice.  

The other reason to bathe your guinea pig is if they have a parasitic or fungal infection. In this instance, a bath should only come at the recommendation of your exotic vet, who will give you detailed instructions for bathing.  

When Not to Bathe Your Guinea Pig 

There are certain times when you should refrain from bathing entirely. Pregnant guinea pigs and those under six months old should never get a bath. Baths are also a big no-no if your guinea pig has a cold or respiratory infection.

Tips for Bathing Your Guinea Pig 

For those rare occasions your guinea pig needs a wash, you can get the job done using a shallow bowl or pan, a few towels, and special guinea pig shampoo. Before starting, spend time holding your guinea pig, as this will help calm them. Always bathe your pigs in a warm room and use warm, shallow water. When bathing, be sure to keep your guinea pig’s nose and mouth out of the water.

Concerned about your guinea pig’s hygiene? Hire one of our pet sitters to help you keep their cages fresh and clean, which will reduce any need for extra baths. Call 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.

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay 

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How do I know if my gecko is happy?

Cats purr and dogs wag their tails. But how exactly do you know if your gecko is happy? While geckos might not display the same telltale signs of contentment as other pets, there are a few small hints that your gecko is doing a-okay!

It’s Sleeping Regularly 

New gecko owners might be concerned if their gecko spends lots of time hiding and sleeping. But it’s perfectly normal for a happy gecko to snooze all day. That’s because geckos are crepuscular reptiles, which means they’re inactive during the day. Geckos who are new to your home are especially prone to hiding out for large chunks of time as they adjust to their environment.

If your gecko spends the day in shut-eye, rest assured it’s doing just fine. Only be concerned if your gecko stays hidden for up to 24 hours or if they don’t emerge from hiding at all.

It’s Physically Active  

Though geckos like to sleep, that doesn’t make them total couch potatoes! A happy gecko is an active gecko and likes to explore once twilight hits. At night, check to see if your gecko is moving around or climbing any rocks or branches in its habitat. Ideally, he should appear curious, yet calm. Happy geckos also love to hunt, and will readily go after any live crickets you feed them.

It Flicks its Tongue

Geckos have a Jacobson’s organ that allows them to use their tongues to “smell” and “taste” the environment around them. Flicking their tongues is how they familiarize themselves with their surroundings and explore new objects. If you notice your gecko flicking her tongue, take it as a positive sign! It means she’s healthy and curious.

It Looks Healthy 

A happy gecko has a certain appearance. Your gecko should have bright, clear eyes, a slightly plump (though not distended) stomach, and a fat tail. When awake, they should seem alert and responsive. Take note if your gecko looks otherwise: eye discharge, a shrunken tail, sores, skin discoloration, and lethargy are all signs that your gecko may be in poor health.

Not sure if your gecko is content? Our exotic pet sitters are familiar with normal, healthy gecko behaviors and can assure you if your gecko looks happy.


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.

Image by Anrita1705 from Pixabay

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How to Give Your Cat More Sunshine

There’s nothing quite so adorable as a cat sprawled out in a patch of sunshine! Just like humans, cats thrive off of natural light. In fact, cats actually need the warmth of sunlight to maintain a normal body temperature and conserve energy.  

However, April showers are on the way, and you’ll want to be sure that your kitty can soak up some rays on the pretty days.  Here are a few tips to optimize your cat’s sunshine time.

Adjust the Windows 

Your windows are the best sources of natural light. In the winter, just a few small tweaks can boost the amount of light that shines through. Keeping curtains open during the day, removing mesh window screens, and trimming any outdoor foliage that blocks the sun are all good options. 

Relocate Your Cat’s Bed 

When the light shines into your home, your cat will likely find a spot on the floor where it can bask in its rays. However, you can encourage him even more by creating an inviting sleeping spot. If your cat has a favorite bed or cat tree, consider moving it to the area or your house or apartment that gets the most natural light. Add a few of their favorite toys or a piece of your clothing to help them feel comfortable.

Create a Designated Window Perch

If you don’t have one already, you can also install a special bed or sitting perch for your cat on a windowsill. Doing so not only offers them a secure spot for gazing outside (providing lots of entertainment), it also means they can sit and nap directly in the sun for as long as the daylight allows. Many cat perches are readily available for purchase online or at your local pet store. 

Update Your Interior  

Believe it or not, there are a number of ways you can update your décor to take advantage of any sunlight that does come in. Painting the walls white, using white or grey-colored coverings on furniture, and picking light-colored drapes allows sunlight to reflect, creating an overall brighter and lighter space for your cat.

If you’re worried about your cat’s warmth and happiness, our cat sitters can visit while you’re at work and open up the curtains to let the sun stream in.


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 Julian Majer from Pexels

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Do I Have to Keep My Rabbit in A Cage?

Out in their natural habitat, wild rabbits are active animals who love to run, jump and burrow. Of course, all that scurrying requires lots of space! With that in mind, you might be wondering whether it’s okay to keep them in a cage.   

Give Them Daily Roaming Time  

Like lots of pets, bunnies need plenty of exercise and stimulation. While it’s often necessary to cage your rabbit when you’re gone or sleeping, confining it to a cage all day is detrimental to its well-being; it denies your rabbit vital exercise, prohibits socialization, and increases boredom and lethargy.

To keep your rabbit happy and healthy, let it out of its cage at least once a day, giving it time to roam. Though at least one hour is necessary, aim closer to three or four. As a rule, never keep your rabbit cooped up for 24 hours at a time. If you’re concerned about your rabbit getting into mischief or causing damage to your space outside the cage, you can bunny-proof your home.  

Create an Indoor Pen 

If you want to compromise between keeping your rabbit housed and giving them room to play, consider creating an indoor rabbit pen. A large pen will ensure your rabbit stays safe in an enclosed habitat while you’re gone, yet one that gives her ample space. You can easily create a pen by purchasing a puppy pen online and setting it up in a section of your home. Add food, a litter tray and lots of toys to keep your rabbit stimulated.   

Designate a Rabbit Room 

If your home allows, you can keep your rabbit in a room all their own, where it’s free to wander and explore 24/7. A special rabbit-proofed room offers the same perks as an indoor rabbit pen, but of course with much more space! Similar to a pen, you’ll want to make sure your rabbit has access to its food, litter, and toys. To keep the rabbits from escaping, install a baby gate.   

If you’re worried about your rabbit getting ample time outside its cage while you’re gone, our pet sitters can stop by to let him out and make sure he gets plenty of supervised time to explore. 


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 Petar Starčević from Pexels

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What is Over-Grooming in Cats?

Anyone with a cat knows how much they love to groom. In fact, cats spend between 30% and 50% cleaning and combing their hair! But sometimes, cats end up grooming too much and the behavior becomes excessive, a phenomenon known as over-grooming. Read on to learn what over-grooming looks like and how you can help kitty cut back on all that licking.

Signs of Over-Grooming

Because cats already spend so much time grooming, it’s easy for over-grooming to go unnoticed at first. The most telltale signs are bald patches or areas of short stubble on their skin. Patches can crop up anywhere, but common places include your cat’s foreleg, an inner thigh, or belly. The patches might display redness or open sores.   

Common Causes of Over-Grooming  

A common cause of over-grooming is stress. When a cat licks itself, it’s body releases endorphins, a phenomenon that allows him to groom and soothe himself if he’s feeling particularly anxious. In other words, the more stress, the more grooming! Your cat might be stressed for a variety of reasons, including a new pet in the house, a change in her routine, or a recent move.

However, cats also over-groom due to medical problems. Itchiness from a skin infection, allergy, or parasite might cause your cat to groom to relieve irritation. Cats also tend to lick areas of pain or discomfort. For example, cats suffering from urinary tract infections will lick their genital region more often.   

How to Help Your Cat Stop Over-Grooming 

If you notice bald patches on your cat, the first step is to take your kitty to the vet to rule out or address any potential medical problems. You might also consider any changes in diet or environment that might be giving them allergies.

If your cat’s behavior stems from stress, it’s important to figure out the source. Doing so and addressing it is sometimes enough to stop the behavior. But if you’re stumped on what’s causing stress, remember that play is a great stress reliever, as is creating a vertical resting spot (such as a cat tree) where your cat can retreat and feel comfortable. If your cat is still having problems, pheromone-scented collars and sprays can help calm them.

Is your cat stressed and over-grooming? Our cat sitters can help you create a calming, stable routine for your cat, equipped with regular feeding times, fresh litter and lots of play time. Call 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.

Image by Buenosia Carol from Pexels

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Why Has My Cat Lost Weight?

cat

You haven’t changed her food, but suddenly your kitty feels a bit lighter and bonier. What’s going on?

While some people might mistakenly perceive weight loss as a sign of good health, sudden or unexplained weight loss in your kitty usually indicates a problem. Read on to learn more.

How to Tell If Your Cat is Losing Weight

Weight loss is a problem, but it’s not always obvious, especially if it’s gradual. If your cat has long or puffy hair, that could also conceal potential weight loss.

The best way to determine if your cat is losing weight is to pay attention before it happens. Make a habit of running your hands along your cat’s body each week. You should be able to feel his ribs, but ideally, they’ll be insulated with a thin layer of fat. If his ribs are prominent or sticking out, he might be underweight. A knobby, prominent spine could also indicate he’s underweight.

Common Reasons Cats Lose Weight

There are several medical problems that prompt weight loss. Diabetes, Gastrointestinal problems such as parasites or pancreatitis, cancer, and dental issues can all be potential reasons. In older cats, weight loss is often due to conditions like hyperthyroidism, diabetes, or kidney disease. If kitty is looking slimmer, pay attention to see if it comes with any other symptoms, such as diarrhea, frequent urination, poor appetite, and lethargy. Your cat might also stop eating due to stress or anxiety.

What to Do About Weight Loss in Your Cat

Take your cat to the vet as soon as you notice a problem. They’ll be able to confirm any weight loss and do a blood test or ultrasound to determine a potential cause. Based on the results, your vet might prescribe medication, surgery, or a special diet.

If the cause is non-medical, a reassessment of your cat’s feeding routine might be in order. Be sure her bowl is clean and accessible. Notice other pets as well, as they might be stealing her food or crowding her bowl. Also, consider any new or sudden changes in the environment that might be making her anxious.

With a little care and mindfulness, you can get to the bottom of your cat’s weight loss.

Our cat sitters pay close attention to your kitty, serving as an extra pair of eyes to look out for any sudden appetite or bodily changes. Call 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.

Image by Alexas_Fotos, from Pixabay

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Why do some cats eat their toys?

When your cat eats his or her toys, it can mean a costly trip to the vet to surgically remove them. You may be wondering what caused your cat to swallow the such inedible objects in the first place. Here are a few reasons. 

Teething

If you have a younger cat (not just a kitten), new teeth growing in can cause your kitty to chew on things. In order to lessen the danger of your cat accidentally swallowing the toy that they are gnawing on, opt for larger, safer toys that can’t be unraveled or lose stuffing.

Wild instincts

In the wild, cats play with their prey before they eat it. At first, it may seem like bad table manners to us, and even a little cruel, to play with food. However, behaviorists theorize that this instinct is a way for cats to determine if their prey is safe and healthy enough to eat.

Moreover, cats learn what to eat from their mothers. This is why cats can only learn how to eat mice from other cats. The instinct to eat the prey that they caught it still there, even if Mama didn’t teach them what exactly prey is. Therefore, the urge sometimes gets misplaced and transferred onto your kitty’s toys.

Health problems

In some cases, when cats attempt to eat objects other than food, it can be a sign of a serious health problem. Cats who lick metal objects, for instance, may be showing signs of liver failure. Similarly, diseases such as PICA can cause a cat to chew on materials that are dangerous to them. If you suspect that something is going on, it’s best to talk to your vet.

Remember, whether or not you have a cat who eats their toys, it’s a good idea to put toys away during unsupervised moments.

Are you looking for someone to mind your cat’s toys while you’re visiting family with Christmas? Send us an email to be paired with s responsible 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.

Image by MonikaDesigns from Pixabay

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What sound is your guinea pig making?

As any guinea pig parent knows, piggies can be talkative and expressive little guys!  With such a wide range of sounds, you may begin to wonder what they all mean. Here are a few of the most common ones: decoded.

Wheeking

Wheeking is a high pitched, repetitive sound.  It has some urgency to it, but it’s not as urgent sounding as a squeak from pain.  Sometimes, they recruit other piggies into wheeking with them. In the wild, guinea pigs wheek when they think there might be danger.  In the home, however, guinea pigs wheek when they think there might be food, such as when you open a refrigerator or are slicing vegetables.

Rumble strutting

Rumble strutting is fun to watch (and fun to say), but it’s a dominance display around other guinea pigs.  They make a low noise and waggle their hips in order to establish rank with other piggies.

Chutting

You may hear this noise if your guinea pig is out and exploring.  Chutting isn’t directed at anyone or anything. It’s generally believed to be a happy sound that means your piggy is content with whatever is happening that moment.

Complaining

Sort of a squeaky grunt, complaining happens when a guinea pig wants more space.  Something may be too close to them, or your guinea pig doesn’t want to share his or her food with a fellow piggy.

How talkative is your guinea pig?  Share him or her in 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.

Image by Livia Novakova from Pixabay

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Should you clean your cat’s teeth?

Anyone who’s had a sore tooth knows just how painful it can be.  But they hide their discomfort until it’s too late. A sore tooth can prevent your cat from eating, which can lead to other health problems.  So, what can you do to keep your kitty’s teeth clean?

Kibble, treats, and toys

Certain dry foods, treats, and toys are marketed as being helpful to your cat’s dental health.  The jury is still out on whether or not these products work, but anecdotal and manufacturer information seem to suggest that they can help remove plaque build up from your cat’s teeth. 

Cats especially love to crunch on kibble and small biscuit treats. Therefore, they are good for reaching the teeth in the very back of the mouth that aren’t usually used when you feed your cat wet food alone.

Toothbrushes and mouth rinses

You’d be surprised how much cats like getting their teeth brushed. This is because you can buy special toothpaste that is flavored like chicken! You can also buy a special toothbrush that fits over your finger tip.  Once a week, gently brush your cat’s teeth. You can also use this time to check for any sore spots or abnormalities in your cat’s teeth and gums.

Mouth rinses that come in a squirt bottle can be a little easier if your cat is fussy. Your vet may prescribe one if your cat has a sore tooth, but you don’t want to opt for a professional cleaning.

Professional cleanings

During a professional veterinary cleaning, your cat will be placed under anesthesia while they descale his or her teeth with special tools.  Any time your cat needs to be placed under anesthesia, there are inherent risks. Certain known and unknown risk factors, such as heart disease and genetic illnesses, can mean that your cat could pass away from being anesthetized during or after the procedure.  Even if your cat has been anesthetized in the past, they could have developed a new condition since then that would make recovery difficult or even fatal.  

If your cat has very bad teeth to the point where he or she cannot eat, a veterinary cleaning may be your only option.  Your cat may have to get the damaged tooth extracted. As always, talk to your vet about your cat’s specific health profile before any procedure, especially dental cleanings.  Keep in mind that veterinary cleanings and tooth extractions can be very costly. When it comes to keeping your cat’s teeth clean, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth its pound of cure!

Do you have special treats to give your cat?  Be sure to let your pet sitter know! We love to pamper your pet.  Give us a call 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.

Image by Martina Misar-Tummelsthammer from Pixabay

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How clean is your hamster ball?

On the one hand hamster balls are a great way for your hammy to get exercise outside of the cage without getting lost or injured.  On the other hand, they can get dirty pretty fast! Not only do they pick up debris from the floor, but they can also be receptacle for “accidents” such as poop or pee.  You wouldn’t want your beloved ham-ham rolling around in that! Try one of the following methods to clean your hamster ball every few days.

Soap and water

The first method is not dissimilar to washing dishes.  First, open your hamster ball lid. Then, rinse it thoroughly in clean, running water until all debris, urine, and feces are gone.  Next, use a sponge or cloth with a few drops of antibacterial soap to gently cleanse the inside and outside of the ball. Rinse thoroughly in clean, running water, and then set the hamster ball aside to air dry.

Cage cleaner

In the second method, you would clean the ball in running water the same way as you would in the soap and water method.  However, instead of using a soapy sponge, you would use small mammal cage cleaner that has been sprayed onto a paper towel.  Gently wipe the inside and outside of the ball, following the directions of the cage cleaner bottle. Wipe the cage cleaner off with a clean paper towel until dry, and then rinse the ball in clean, running water to remove any residue.  Set aside the ball to air dry.

Vinegar and water

Similarly, in the third method, you would follow all of the same steps as the cage cleaner method.  However, instead of using small mammal cage cleaner, you would use a vinegar solution. Dilute one part vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle.  Lightly spray the ball to disinfect and deodorize, rinse clean, and set aside to air dry. It’s important to note that hamsters are very sensitive to strong odors. If you do opt for this method, make sure that you have removed all of the vinegar before giving the ball back to your hamster.  

A few tips

When cleaning your ball, don’t use an abrasive sponge or scrubber, because they can scratch the surface of the ball, which not only makes it cloudy looking, but also creates little grooves for bacteria to hide in.  

You’ll also want to avoid using chemicals like bleach, because they are too strong and can harm your hamster.  If you do use soap, opt for a dye- and fragrance-free kind that is gentle on skin to protect your hammy. Once you’re finished cleaning the ball, clean and disinfect your sink, and then thoroughly wash your own hands.

Do you need someone to let your hamster get some exercise out of the cage while you’re away?  Hire a pet sitter! Our pet sitters pride themselves on maintaining a clean and entertaining environment for your pets.  Drop us a line 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 紫流 on Flickr.

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