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Arthritis in cats

Have you noticed that your beloved companion kitty has become slower in his or her golden years? It could be arthritis. Fortunately, there are things you can do to alleviate your senior cat’s pain. Here’s what you need to know.

What causes arthritis?

Just like in humans, cats have cartilage around their joints to cushion where the bones connect, and facilitate smoother movements. As they get older, this tissue begins to naturally degrade from use. Arthritis can also occur in younger cats due to an injury or infection. Some cats who are severely obese will develop arthritis due to the increased weight on their bones.

What are the symptoms

A cat with arthritis usually wants to minimize their movement to avoid causing themselves pain. You may see your kitty avoiding the litter box because it’s too difficult to climb inside. Likewise, he or she may hesitate to sit on the couch with you or jump onto the bed.

How is it treated?

If you suspect that your cat is suffering from arthritis, take your kitty in for a check up. Depending on the severity, your vet may perform a simple physical exam or take x-rays. Possible treatment plans include prescription pain medication, joint supplements such as Cosequin, or a weight loss regimen. There are also little things that you can do around the house to help your kitty, such as providing pet stairs, plenty of pet beds, and warm blankets.

Do you have adorable photos of your kitty curled up in a bed or blanket? We’d love to see them! Share them 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 Katzenfee50 on pixabay.

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Is it time to get your cat in shape?

The New Year is a time to look forward and look back. Just as we reevaluate our habits that have given us a little more “back” to look at, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look at our cats’ diets to see if there is any room for improvement. Here’s how to get started.

Check in with your vet

Cats come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s important to determine if your cat is actually in need of a weight loss. If you look at your cat from overhead and are unable to see a waistline it’s one thing, but if your cat is beginning to look very rotund, it’s time for a trip to the vet. Being overweight can cause your cat serious health concerns such as diabetes and arthritis. Losing weight rapidly can also be detrimental to your cat’s health. So, a visit to the vet should be the first thing on your to do list this year.

Change your kitty’s diet and routine

Consider switching your cat over to a higher quality wet food that have less fillers. Some ingredients aren’t as easily converted into energy in your cat’s body, so they wind up turning into fat. High quality wet foods are usually found in pet specialty stores, and the associates there are great to talk to if you’re feeling a little lost as to which foods are the best.

Even if your cat is on the highest quality food, you may be encouraging your kitty to overeat. Revisit the suggested portion sizes on labels of your cat’s favorite foods, and offer your cat several carefully-portioned meals a day instead of leaving dry food for grazing.

Get your kitty moving!

It’s a good idea to keep your cat active whether they need to lose weight or not. Start by increasing their play time. Fifteen to thirty minutes of dedicated play time is an effective amount of exercise. If your home has multiple floors, consider placing their food on one level and their litter box on another. This way, they can work lots of stair-climbing into their day, which means extra calories burned. You can even turn meal time into playtime by tossing kibble or making your cat work or “hunt” for his or her meal.

How much do you feed your cat? Our cat sitters are happy to follow your feeding instructions down to the letter. Book an appointment 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 Kapa65 on pixabay.

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Does Santa Claus have a cat?

We sure hope that Santa Claus treated you well this year. You may have heard the reindeer on your roof, but did you also hear a meow or a roar? Well, it depends on who you ask! According to some stories, Santa Claus loves cats as much as we do!

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

In 1902, two years after publishing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Frank L. Baum wrote another classic, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. Replete with fantastical creatures and characters, Baum’s book chronicles Santa’s life, explaining how he came to deliver toys to children. In this wonderful saga, Santa has two very important cats in his life!

Shiegra and Blinkie

In Baum’s tale, Santa is found as a baby in an enchanted forest by a mystical woodsman, who places him in the care of a lioness named Shiegra. Shiegra watches over Santa and protects him from the other forest creatures until he gets adopted. Later as a boy, Santa is given a special pet cat named Blinkie, who has “soft and glossy” fur. In fact, it is Blinkie who serves as inspiration for Santa’s very first toy, a wooden cat that he carves and gives to a neighboring child.


Baum’s book has been adapted into a graphic novel, an anime series, and a handful of films, including a claymation favorite from 1985. Here Blinkie is imagined as a black cat with green eyes and a little blue bow. The film even has a whole musical number devoted to the toy that Santa creates from her likeness.

Do you have a cat who inspires you? Share your photos 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.

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Why do cats chew on plastic?

Whether it’s Christmas lights, computer cords, straws, or plastic bags, some cats will seek out plastic in your home that you never knew existed. Chewing plastic is a common and risky behavior. If your cat swallows a piece, it can lead to a costly trip to the vet and sometimes even surgery to remove it. Being such a dangerous material to swallow, have you ever wondered why cats chew on plastic in the first place?

They’re teething

Between 3 and 7 months, kittens lose their baby teeth in order to grow a set of adult teeth. During this time, it’s perfectly normal for them to teeth. Just like human children, sometimes they will teeth on anything that will fit in their mouths. If your kitten is chewing on wires, provide safer and more attractive alternatives to stop the behavior.

They think it’s a toy

Have you ever seen your cat bat around a milk container pull tab? Or perhaps they finally caught a hold of a hanging phone charger and began to consume their caught prey. If your cat has found these plastic “toys” too appealing, it’s a big hint that it’s time to get some safer cat toys from the pet store.

Plastic hijacks their taste buds

Even a rinsed plastic food container from a leftover meal can absorb the aroma of the food it was holding, causing your cat to seek it out. Your cat may even knock over your trash can to get to it. Plastic bags also have a special coating that has an addictive flavor to your cat.

It might be pica

When a cat wants to eat something that has no nutritional value, it’s called pica. Pica can manifest for a number of reasons, such as dietary deficiencies, environmental factors, or compulsive disorders. Pica can also be the first sign of serious medical conditions, such as leukemia, tumors, FIV, and liver failure.

Or it could be something worse

As always, it’s a good idea to take your cat to the vet to rule out any medical problems first. Once your kitty is given a clean bill of health, you can talk to the doctor about how to change the behavior. When it comes to chewing on plastic, though, the solution is usually pretty simple. Keep all hazardous plastic out of kitty’s reach!

Are worried about your mischievous kitty that always seems to find plastic items to nibble while you’re out of town? Hire a pet sitter! Our sitters will keep a close eye on your cat. There’s still time left to book for the holiday! Don’t wait, book 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.

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How to create an advent calendar for your cat

Using an advent calendar to count the days until Christmas is a popular holiday pastime. Now, your cat can get in on it too! While there are plenty of treat-filled calendars you can buy, it’s also fun to make your own.

Research and gather supplies

Start by browsing advent calendar ideas on the web. Some sites offer printable templates you can cut and paste together with paper, scissors, and glue. While these templates aren’t meant for cats, per se, you can easily adapt them by replace human treats with cat treats. If you’re really crafty, try this one. It shows you how to make a cute display using poster board, a hole punch, and tin cans!

Assemble your calendar

Go ahead and follow the instructions for whatever template you’ve decided on. Set aside plenty of time. If you’re less on the crafty side or realize that you don’t have enough time for a more elaborate display, no worries! You can always buy store-bought envelopes, like in this tutorial, and personalize them with stickers and markers.

Pick out treats

Once you’ve laid out the basic template and put it together, select some goodies you want to put in your calendar. Feel free to shake things up and create a nice variety. How about some cat nip sealed in a little baggie? Or some smaller-sized cat toys like toy mice or tiny toy balls? Freeze dried single-protein treats also make for a tasty surprise.

Hang and enjoy

Once you’ve’ filled your calendar with treats, it’s time to hang. Place it some place your cat can’t easily reach, or else they will and spoil the surprise! When it’s displayed, commence the countdown!

Does your cat have special treats for when you’re out of town? Be sure to show your cat sitter! Our sitters make sure to keep your cat feeling loved and appreciated wile you’re gone. Book an appointment 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.

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Why does my cat always sit on me?

You’re all settled in on the couch, when suddenly, kitty jumps into your lap to snuggle. It’s one of the best things about being a pet parent, but why does your cat like to sit on you so much?

They’re seeking warmth

Cats have a much higher base temperature than humans. A healthy cat’s body temperature falls somewhere between 100 and 102 degrees. They purposely seek out warm spots so their bodies don’t have to work as hard to keep their temperature up. And it turns out, your lap is one of those warm spots!

They want security

Just like humans, cats feel more secure if they are close to someone else. If you’re a cat, you just can’t get any closer to someone than sitting on top of them. Sitting on you or sitting next to you, their idea of a giant friendly cat, helps them to believe that you’ll scare any predators away.

They want attention

Ever notice your cat sits on your lap right when you’re in the middle of reading a book or working on your laptop? That’s no coincidence! Your cat wants your attention, and he knows to settle right where you’re focused. Unfortunately, if you pet them, you’re likely reinforcing the behavior.

They’re naturally social

Just like people, some cats are friendlier than others. Temperament, personality, or even breed can influence how cuddly and social a cat is. Your cat may just be naturally drawn to people and like to have more bonding time.

They’re being affectionate

You may have guessed it, but snuggling up is just one of the many ways that cats show their love and affection. This is especially true if you’ve been at work all day and they’ve been alone.
Remember, there are lots of warm places to sit, but they chose you, after all!

Looking for someone to spend time with your lap cat over the holidays? Contact us to set up an appointment 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.

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Can you give your cat a cold?

Is there a cold going around in your office right now? When you’re sneezing and wheezing from a cold, you may be tempted to cuddle up with kitty for comfort. But you also may be wondering if you’re putting their health at risk. After all, can a cat catch a human’s cold?

How your cat catches a cold

Cats are especially sensitive to upper respiratory infections. And just like humans, they can catch colds if they contract a virus. While veterinarians once thought it was impossible for cats and humans to share the same illnesses, they now believe that some cold and flu viruses can spread from humans to cats.

How to take precautions

The good news? It’s extremely rare and highly unlikely that your cat will catch your cold. Cats are far more likely to catch cold viruses from other cats. However, if you’re still concerned, you can take precautions. Whenever you’re sick, wash your hands before or after handling your cat. Avoid any contact between their saliva and the mucous membranes around your nose or eyes (the same goes if they’re sick too!).

How to relieve your cat’s symptoms

So if your cat can catch a cold, how would you know? Look for symptoms like sneezing, sniffing, and a discharge around their eyes and nose. Your cat may also be lethargic and show poor appetite. If you notice these signs, take the cat to the vet, who will properly diagnose and set a course of treatment. In the meantime, keep your cat’s food dishes clean and change their litter often. Try to increase the humidity in your home and gently wipe any discharge from your cat’s eyes or nose.

Is your cat under the weather? Our cat sitters will make sure your cat is comfortable, clean, and fed while they recover. 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.

Photo by Dave Scelfo on Wikimedia Commons.

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Five reasons to be thankful for your cat

With Thanksgiving only days away, giving thanks for what we have is at the forefront of many minds. While, you’re probably already thankful for your cats (they’re cuddly and cute to boot!), here are five more healthful reasons to appreciate them this holiday.

1. Your cat helps you sleep better

Do you feel better with kitty snuggled in bed? You’re not alone! In a sleep study conducted by Mayo Clinic, 41% of participants reported sleeping better when their cat joined them (while only 20% said it caused disturbances). Sharing the bed with kitty can provide warmth as well as comfort and security.

2. Cats reduce stress

Research has found that petting a cat or dog not only lowers blood pressure but also releases feel-good chemicals like oxytocin. In other words, interacting with your cat decreases stress while boosting feelings of pleasure and positivity. No wonder you’re less anxious with your cat around!

3. They’re good for your heart

Less stress isn’t just good for emotional health, it’s good for heart health too. So it’s no surprise that having a cat significantly decreases your chance of heart problems. In fact, one study found that cat owners were 30% less likely to die of a heart attack than non-cat owners.

4. They provide companionship

Cats are a source of love and companionship. This may seem obvious, but don’t underestimate its benefits! Research has found that loneliness is hugely detrimental to overall wellbeing, even increasing your risk of conditions like dementia. Your cat’s not just keeping you company, they’re keeping you healthy!

5. Your cat makes you smarter

Okay, so maybe cats don’t make you smarter. But cat owners do tend to have a higher intelligence than dog owners. This is possibly because cats are less maintenance, and thus allow owners more time for work or intellectual pursuits. Either way, give yourself a pat on the back (or should we say noggin?).

Whatever your reason for giving thanks for your cat this Thanksgiving, don’t forget to book them a loving, attentive and caring pet sitter to keep them well looked after while you’re visiting your friends and family.

Haven’t booked yet? There’s still time left! Contact us 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.

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How to keep your cat out of the trash can

Can any sound compare to that characteristic thwump of your cat leaping into the trash can? Especially when Thanksgiving comes around, both formal feral cats and lifelong house cats can fall prey to the siren call of the kitchen trash can. It’s as if all of the flavorful trimmings and juicy scraps sing their names. It can be a tough habit to break when your kitty decides to start “dumpster diving,” but it can be done!

Try a new trash can

Even if you haven’t been putting flesh or bones into the garbage, you may have inadvertently tossed a takeout box or food wrapper that smelled too good to resist. Once a cat learns a new trick, it’s very hard to get them to unlearn it. That’s why on this blog, we’re big advocates for changing the environment if you can’t change the behavior.

Swing-lid trash cans and trash cans with lids that are easily opened by humans are also accessible to cats. Instead, a tall kitchen trash can with a foot pedal, wide lid, and lip that’s flush with the can should be better barrier. If you have a particularly clever kitty, you may want to freeze your meat scraps instead.

Consider composting

Composting is another good way to remove temptation. While many backyard composters advise against putting bones and meat into your compost, commercial composting companies can handle such leftovers. Many New York City buildings are opting into food scraps and yard waste collection programs, also known as “organics” collection. If you live in Jersey City or Hoboken, the Community Composting Company offers airtight, kitty-proof collection bins for your kitchen that can be picked up weekly or bi-weekly.

Are you still looking for someone to keep your cat out of trouble this Thanksgiving? Book one of our pet sitters! We still have availability, but don’t wait. Book 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.

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How to help cats handle changes in the home

Cats, like many pets, need a routine to help them feel safe and secure. When this routine is interrupted, even for positive reasons such as introducing a new baby to the home, sending a child off to college, or having a holiday party, it can be a very stressful time for your cat. Luckily, there are several ways you can help your cat cope with these changes.

Give your cat a consistent amount of attention

When times are changing, your first instinct may be to comfort your cat with extra cuddles and affection. However, this can actually send the wrong signal to your kitty. He or she may become suspicious of the extra attention and come to the conclusion that something is wrong.

Sometimes, the opposite happens. Especially when a new member is added to the home, you may find yourself preoccupied with tending to them. Unwittingly, you may be paying less attention to your cat. Instead, be sure to give your cat just as much attention after the change as you did before. No more, and no less.

Add herbal and pheromone remedies to your home

Pet stores sell a variety of holistic remedies that can help your cat calm down. Your vet may even have some in stock. Popular pheromone treatments are the Comfort Zone Feliway spray and Sentry’s Calming Collar. Other calming aids come in the form of treats or drops you add to your cat’s food. However, you should exercise caution. Some may contain harmful ingredients such as valerian, so it’s best to show your vet the ingredients listed before you administer them to your cat.

When in doubt, visit the veterinarian

Speaking of the vet, if your cat has become reclusive or has started showing signs of improper litterbox usage, don’t assume it’s just due to stress over the changes in your household. An upset routine can upset a cat to the point of developing medical ailment such as FLUTD. Not to mention, knowing that your cat has a clean bill of health can make life a lot less stressful for you, too!

Do you have a kitty that has problems with anxiety? Consider boarding with us for the holidays. Our boarders are able to provide additional attention while your kitty stays comfortable in the boarder’s home. Don’t forget to book early for the holidays!

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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