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Stealthy litter boxes

It’s no secret that apartments in New York City are small! There’s but so many places you can hide a litter box. If you don’t like the idea of your dinner guests seeing an unsightly cat pan, there are stealthier hidden options for you.

Litter boxes that look like potted plants

Who doesn’t like the look of a potted plant? They add fresh air, and some houseplants have natural deodorizing and toxin-removing capabilities. Now, you can buy a litter box that looks like a potted plant in a variety of attractive shapes. You can use the faux plant that comes with it, or replace it with a real live version of your own!

Build your own litter box holder

If you’re a crafty sort of person who likes to imagine your kitty as a pirate burying treasure, then you might want to build your own litter box concealment system. Or, if you’d prefer a chic look to your hidden litter box, you can convert an upholstered bench, too!

Keep the litter box in the tub or closet

A tried and true method of litter box concealment for a lot of New Yorkers is to just keep it in the tub or closet. If you put it in the tub, litter boxes that prevent litter scatter are best to avoid having gritty sand in the tub when it’s time to wash up. You’ll also want to avoid washing it down the drain, as it can cause a nasty (and costly!) clog. If you stash the box in the closet, consider adding an organizer or shelving to avoid losing space.

Do you have a clever hiding spot for your litter box? Make sure you show your pet sitter where it is! Our sitters pay extra attention to the litter box to make sure they stay clean and fresh. Book a visit 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 S G on flickr

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What you need to know about summer buzzcuts

It’s a familiar sight for many cat parents. The more the heat ramps up, the more your kitty spreads out. If you own a longhair cat, you may be especially worried that all of that fur is overheating your kitty. Before you take your cat to the groomer to get it all shaved off, consider the following.

Does long fur actually make your cat hotter?

Once the summer heat rolls around, you may find yourself removing extra layers and tying back your hair to help cool off. However, a cat’s coat is naturally designed to help keep it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. In fact, as Mark J. Stickney, DVM, explains to WebMD, cats “really get no benefit from being shaved.” They’re fairly small animals with a lot of surface area, so they are much more efficient at dispersing excess heat than human beings.

What’s the best way to care for your cat’s summer coat?

It’s also important to establish a regular grooming routine for your cat. If your kitty is an excessive shedder, then you should try a slicker brush or a silicone brush like the Zoom Groom to help remove the dead undercoat that can cause mats. If your cat needs to go to the groomer for excessive knotting, consider a “sanitary cut” instead of a full shave.

How else can you keep your cat cool?

Cats naturally seek out cool, dark areas when it gets too hot. In most apartments, the coolest place in the house is usually in a tiled bathroom. You can leave a few ice packs wrapped in towels to make the room even cooler. Consider getting a pet fountain to keep your cat hydrated, too. During the summer time, it’s also important to be mindful of heat exhaustion.

Are you prepared for the summer heat? Don’t forget to show your pet sitter where to find the air conditioner, thermostat, and/or any fans. In order to save energy, it’s also a good idea to let your pet sitter know at what temperature you usually switch the AC on.


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 Andrea Parrish – Geyer on flickr

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Tips to help your cat slow down at meal time

Has this ever happened to you? You put down food for your cat, who then gobbles it up and vomits almost immediately. If your vet has given your kitty a clean bill of health, then eating too fast is probably to blame. Here are a few things you can try to get kitty to slow down and enjoy their food.

Use a “slow bowl” or puzzle feeder

Slow bowls are essentially feeding dishes that place an intentional obstacle in your cat’s way. The result is a meal that is consumed and digested much more slowly. Puzzle feeders are similar, but in addition to getting your cat to slow down while eating, they’re also great for curing boredom and appeasing your kitty’s natural instincts to hunt and forage for their meals.

Mash the food against the plate

This trick works especially well for wet food on a small, shallow plate. Using the back of the spoon, press the wet food against the plate until it’s in a thin layer. This will cause your kitty to have to lick and work harder to get a bite, rather than chowing down and digesting pieces in giant gulps. You can also experiment with the shape of the plate. Think outside the “bowl” and try a mini muffin tin or an ice cube tray!

Put down food in stages

Some cats are simply overwhelmed by how much food that they see in front of them. Therefore, they feel the need to scarf it down as quickly as possible. Others tend to bury their extra food. To prevent both situations, you can try putting down a tablespoon of food at a time, or maybe half a can of wet food at a time. Wait until your kitty finishes the portion before them before putting down more.

You can even use this technique as way to get your tubby tabby a little exercise. Have your cat follow you throughout the house, and occasionally place little morsels of food during your promenade.

Do you have a special technique to get your kitty to slow down at diner time? We’d love to hear about it! Leave us a comment below, or connect with us on 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 Steve Abraham on flickr

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Natural pet stain removers

Oh no! Your cat has peed on your sofa or rug. Before you reach for the Windex or bleach, consider these other cleaning solutions for a natural remedy without the harsh chemicals.

White vinegar and baking soda

Both white vinegar and baking soda are well known for their cleaning abilities. On it’s own, white vinegar is great for cutting grease and releasing burned on food from pots and pans, whereas baking soda’s absorbent and abrasive properties are great for cleaning bathtubs.

When the two are combined, they create a chemical reaction. The byproducts of the reaction are salt and water, which may not have a lot of cleaning potential on its own. Yet, the magic happens when carbon dioxide is released, bubbling up and breaking apart stains.

To mix up a cleaning solution in a spray bottle, you can follow one of these recipes. Or, you can sprinkle the baking soda on top and spray the vinegar onto it.

Nature’s Miracle

Readily available online, in pet stores, and in some super markets, Nature’s Miracle is a handy go-to enzymatic cleaner. To make their cleaners, Nature’s Miracle cultivates bacteria. These bacteria create enzymes such as urease that naturally break down urine.

However, it takes a great deal of the product to eliminate the stain. So if you’re looking to clean your entire couch or a spot that you didn’t realize had been peed on time and again, you’ll need to purchase the jug size of it. For quick cleanups, though, it can’t be beat!

Homemade citrus cleaner

While it is often mistakenly referred to as an enzymatic cleaner, it is possible to create a homemade citrus cleaner out of orange peels, yeast, and brown sugar. The cleaning power comes from the alcohol produced when the yeast consumes the sugar. The orange peels themselves do have terpenes in them, which also have cleaning abilities.

This cleaner may be useful for pet stains that you would commonly use alcohol to clean, but isn’t recommended for tougher stains like cat pee.

Do you have a favorite cleaner that you use around your home? Be sure to let your pet sitter know! Our pet sitters pay extra attention to keeping your home just as clean as you left it. Email us to schedule a meet and greet with one of our sitters 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 Domenico Salvagnin on flickr

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How to care for a senior cat’s coat

As cats age, their grooming needs change. Just like in humans, their skin becomes less elastic and more brittle. Some cats may find it difficult to reach every spot that needs to be cleaned. Here are a few tips to help you keep your senior cat’s coat as clean as a junior’s!

Regular brushing

Brushing your cat’s fur helps to remove dead hair that can cause painful mats and an upset stomach due to hairballs. Thankfully, most cats enjoy being brushed. However, if your cat is uncooperative, try to do it once or twice a week in short 15 minute bursts. If your cat continues to protest, it may just be a matter of finding the right brush for his or her type of fur and temperament. Also be on the lookout for uncomfortable matted fur that needs special attention from a licensed groomer.

Taking a bath

Older cats that have trouble grooming themselves may have excessive buildup of naturally occurring oils on their fur. For these kitties, you can dampen a cloth and gently pet your cat with it to help redistribute the oils and remove dust and dandruff. In these cases, you won’t need soap, but you can also use specifically labeled pet wipes. Do not use baby or scented wipes.

A full bath isn’t always necessary, but kitties who have come in contact with oil or a sticky substance may need to be washed in the tub. The ASPCA has step by step instructions for how to bathe your cat in the tub.

Things to look out for

Even before you brush or bathe your cat’s fur, it’s important to run your hands through their coat and skin to check for sore spots, scabs, flea dirt, otherwise irritated skin. Pay special attention to the area under the tail for any feces that need to be trimmed off with scissors. Rice-sized particles under the tail can indicate tapeworms, which need to be treated by a vet.

You should also bring your cat in for a check up if you notice any other skin abnormalities, or if your kitty still has hairballs or an upset stomach despite regular grooming.

Do you have a senior cat with a special coat care regimen? Be sure to let your sitter know! Our friendly pet sitters are happy to follow your cat’s routine while you’re away. Call for 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 Tracie Hall on flickr

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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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Resources for cats with kidney disease

When cat is diagnosed with chronic renal failure, the news can be devastating. It’s important to keep in mind that kidney disease in cats is not a death sentence! Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to help you understand and manage your cat’s symptoms.

Read up on the subject

One of the best places to start is Tanya’s Comprehensive Guide To Feline Chronic Kidney Disease. There, you will find databases on symptoms, treatments, and foods. With careful monitoring of your cat’s symptoms, you can use the guide as a resource to help you better understand your vet’s advice and treatment options.

Join a support group

Joining a well established support group, such as the Cats with Chronic Renal Failure~Support Group on Facebook, can be beneficial in several ways. For one, there are hundreds of members who have had first hand experiences with CKD first hand. Interacting with individuals who have successfully managed the disease can be more useful than trying to interpret static information on the web. Members can also provide recommendations for vets, pharmacies, and pet product suppliers. Just be sure to take their opinions with a grain of salt, and always consult your vet.

Work with a reliable vet

If you believe that your cat is just a tad more sluggish than usual, you are probably right. After all, you know your cat better than anyone else. Therefore, building a relationship with a good vet who trusts, believes, and respects your opinion is critical to managing your cat’s health over the years. You should also aim to take your cat in for a urinalysis and bloodwork every six months so that you can spot potential complications before they become unmanageable. Don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion if you ever feel that your current vet doesn’t care about your cat as much as you do.

Has your cat recently been diagnosed with kidney disease? At Katie’s Kitty, we have pet sitters with experience in administering oral medications and sub-cutaneous fluids. Schedule an appointment to meet one of our sitters 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 Dan Zen on flickr

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Does your cat like to watch TV?

They say pets resemble their owners, and it seems to stand true for pet parents and kitties who love to watch TV together. Maybe your cat stares intently at the screen, pops up, or even swats at it! If you’ve ever wondered what’s going through your kitty’s mind, allow us to shed a little light on the situation.

Can cats perceive moving images like us?

It’s a common misconception that pets like cats and dogs are only attracted to the flashing lights on the TV. The truth is, your typical television isn’t displaying moving images at all! It’s actually redrawing still images at a rate fast enough that our brains will interpret the images to be moving, which is at least 60 Hz (cycles per second). Cats’ brains process visual information at about 55 Hz, so they do indeed see the same moving images that we do.

What do cats like to watch?

As it turns out, cats like to watch the same things on TV that they like to watch in real life In one study, shelter cats without access to outside windows were given television screens. The cats in the study responded the most to programs featuring their natural prey such as birds, rodents, and fish. Anecdotal evidence has also shown that cats can be attracted to quickly moving objects such as basketballs and soccer on television.

Is it safe for cats to watch TV?

According to Dr. Jillian Orlando, DVM, a veterinary behavior resident at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, sitting too close to the TV won’t hurt your cat’s eyes. However, she goes on to say, “If your cat is really intent on ‘hunting’ the television, don’t let her watch the TV unsupervised. And if you have a large flat screen, mount it to the wall, in case kitty decides to take the leap.”

What are some alternatives to leaving on the TV?

It’s also easy for your cat to become frustrated with prey that they cannot catch, such as laser lights and images on screens. Whenever possible, provide alternatives such as window perches and plenty of interactive toys to help relieve the tension. If you normally are very noisy while you’re home, leaving on a radio can also help your cat to feel less lonely without the risks of kitty toppling the TV.

Have you found that leaving the TV on while you’re out of town isn’t quite enough to keep your cat company? Nothing can compare to the warmth and love a pet sitter can provide while you’re away from home. Call to 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 Barbara M on flickr

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How to tell if your cat has seasonal allergies

As the flowers begin to bloom, you may find yourself reaching for a Claritin or Zyrtek. Did you know that your cat may be suffering from seasonal allergies, too? Here’s how to determine if your cat is as allergic to the springtime as you are.

Respiratory problems

The sneezing and coughing that you might associate with human seasonal allergies are not as common in felines. While excessive amounts of pollen can cause your cat to sneeze or cough, respiratory distress should always be treated as a veterinary emergency.

Don’t wait to take your cat to the vet, because sneezing and coughing could actually be the signs of more serious problems such as infections or organ failure.

Environmental allergies

Allergens such as pollen, mold, and fungus, and even household cleaners can irritate your cat’s skin. You may see biting or scratching at the affected areas, especially around the head. If your cat typically shows these symptoms around the change of seasons, or days when the pollen or mold count are especially high, he or she may be suffering from seasonal allergies.

Your vet may recommend a special shampoo that can help remove allergens from your cat’s fur. Severe allergies may be referred to a dermatologist who can run under-the-skin tests to determine the exact cause of the irritation.

Flea and food allergies

Allergic reactions to fleas and certain ingredients in food could also be the source of your cat’s discomfort. As little as one flea bite can cause a serious reaction in cats that can lead to endless scratching, raw spots, and even loss of fur. Your vet can recommend an appropriate flea treatment and prescribe prednisone or hydrocortisone to alleviate the symptoms.

Food allergies can also manifest as skin irritation. In order to treat them, your vet may prescribe a special hypoallergenic veterinary diet. Certain grain free and limited ingredient diets may also be suitable for your cat, and your veterinarian can help you decide which is right for you.

Do you have a cat with seasonal allergies or other special needs? Our pet sitters can visit, once, twice, and even three times a day to give medication. Give us a call to find out more about our services!


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 Johnny Lai on flickr

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What you need to know about kitten season

Now that the weather is beginning to ease up a bit, feral cats are finding that it’s the ideal time of year to reproduce. Rescue organizations call this time of the year “kitten season” because their shelters become flooded with baby kitties as the cats give birth.

Here’s what you need to know about kitten season.

What to do if you find kittens

If you find a pregnant cat or a litter of kittens, call your local animal rescue organization. Kittens have a much better chance at survival when they are cared for by humans, and a rescue organization can help place them with a loving home.

How to help during kitten season

Now is the perfect time of year to volunteer at a cat rescue. You could help out onsite at the shelter or sign up to be a foster parent. The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals offers classes on how to care for kittens if you think you might be up for the important task of fostering them.

Adoption during kitten season

It’s also the perfect time of year to adopt a cat, but be sure to kitten proof your house, first! However, if you have extra love to give, consider following.

Kittens never have a hard time finding a home, but their mothers and other older cats tend to sit in the shelter for much longer. Try to rescue an older cat whenever possible. Not only will it make more space for the shelter to save other cats, but you’ll also save your own cat from sitting there for months, or even years, without a home to call their own.

Have you recently adopted a kitten? Our pet sitters love taking care of the juniors and the seniors! Book your pet sitting visits 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 Jennifer C. on flickr

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