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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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Why do cats arch their backs?

Halloween is hot on our heels! Front porches and doorways are decorated with creepy goblins, spooky ghosts, and hissing black cats. Indeed, it seems it wouldn’t be Halloween without those iconic image of a black cat, arching its back and fluffing out its tail. Yet, does it ever make you wonder why cats do that?

Anxiety and fear

The black cats with arched backs and bare fangs that you usually see on Halloween merchandise at this time of year are exhibiting fear displays. A threatened cat will try to look bigger by puffing out the tail, arching the back, and turning to the side, This will often be accompanied by hissing and spitting, and a cat experiencing this level of fear or anxiety is likely to scratch or bite.


While petting your cat’s back, you may have also noticed that his or her back will arch affectionately. This is because cats mostly use body language to communicate. An arched back, a purr, and slowly closing eyes usually indicate that you’ve found a spot where you cat enjoys being petted.


Another reason your cat may arch his or her back has to do with stretching. Just like humans, right before a cat settles down to sleep, or as soon as he or she wakes up, a good stretch is in order. Cats will usually arch their backs first, and then walk forward a half step, extending the back and hind legs in the process.

Do you have any photos of your cats mid-stretch or dressed up for Halloween? Show us on Instagram! We’d love to keep in touch.

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 macyvi on pixabay.

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Why do cats sleep so much?

Whether lolling in the sun or curled up on the couch, it may seem like your cat sleeps all day. In fact, cats spend an average of 16 hours a day sleeping! But why do cats sleep so much? And should you ever be concerned about your cats sleeping habits?

They’re conserving energy

Like their ancestors, cats are predatory animals, and crepuscular too! This means that they’re predisposed to hunt and be most active at dusk and dawn. While your kitty may not “hunt” the way a lion or tiger does, she still spends lots of time pouncing, stalking, and playing. This takes up lots of energy! Cats sleep so much during the day in order to conserve as much energy as possible.

They’re not quite sleeping

While cats get lots of shut eye, only 25 percent of that time is spent in deep sleep. The rest of the time they’re dozing in a light sleep. You can tell because a cat in light sleep will twitch his or her ears, respond to noises, and wake more easily. In other words, kitty probably isn’t sleeping quite as heavily as you think.

They may be ill

While all cats sleep during the day, factors such as age, personality, and even the weather can have an effect. Kittens and older cats, for example, tend to sleep longer: closer to 18 hours. Cold temperatures and rainy days can also cause kitty to get a little sleepy. However, health is an important factor too. If you notice your cat sleeping far more than usual, don’t hesitate to check with the vet to make sure it’s not hypothyroidism or another serious ailment.

Whether you have a sleepy kitty or a furry little ball of energy, rest assured that our cat sitters will give your cat exactly as much attention as he or she prefers. 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 macyvi on pixabay.

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Is your cat’s poop too smelly?

Let’s face it it isn’t meant to smell like a basket of roses, but if your kitty can clear the room after having a bowel movement, you may start to wonder if your cat’s poop smells much worse than it should. Here’s what you should know about cats and their malodorous poops.

Problems with diet

Just like in humans, a poor diet can lead to an upset stomach for your cat. Whenever possible, you should opt for a high quality wet cat food. Wet cat foods provide more moisture, which can make bowel movements easier for your cat. They also tend to contain less fillers, which mean that there are more digestible ingredients. Often times, what’s causing the odor in the litter box is the bacteria working to digest the parts of the food that your cat could not.

Likewise, if you have your cat on a rotation diet, take note of which days seem to be the worst for litter box odor. There may be a certain brand or flavor to blame. Suddenly switching your cat’s food can also lead to an upset stomach.

Health concerns

Inappropriate litter box usage is one of the tell tale signs of health problems. Many serious illnesses such as chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and more make their presence known by irregular waste. Furthermore, parasites such as worms and certain malignant microorganisms can give your cat an upset stomach and unpleasant litter box experience, too.

Choice of cat litter

After you’ve taken your cat to the vet and he or she has been given a clean bill of health, and you’re quite sure after consulting with the vet that your cat is on the appropriate food, you may want to blame the litter box itself.

Some cat litters smell worse than others. For instance, natural plant based litters and unscented clay litters need to be completely changed often because they hold onto odors. The problem could also be that your cat isn’t covering up the poop, which you can imagine would have the same effect as someone in your family who never flushes the toilet.

Are you worried about your cat’s litter box smelling up your apartment while you’re out of town? Hire a pet sitter! Our pet sitters scoop the litter box daily. 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 schuger on pixabay.

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Why do cats lay on clothing?

Have you ever put on a bathrobe, warm and fresh from the dryer? That plush comfort and dreamy aroma are enough to whisk you away to a better mood.

Now, have you ever folded fresh laundry, only to have your cat come and cuddle up in it? Chances are, kitty feels the same way about your clothes as you did about that bathrobe! Don’t worry, here are a few tips to help correct the behavior without stealing the moment from your cat.

Create a better cat bed

As the descendants of desert-dwelling African wild cats, domestic cats will often instinctively seek out warmer places. Sometimes, your pile of fresh laundry is the closest thing that fits the bill. Not to mention, it has an added layer of comfort because it smells like you. You can recreate these warm, fuzzy feelings by making a cat bed out of an old sweatshirt or t-shirt that you no longer wear. Place it into a cardboard box or use it as an outer sleeve for a self-warming mat.

Have a sacrificial pile of clothes

Consider setting aside a pile out of your comforter or the clothes that you wear the least often. You can encourage your cat to nestle into it by leaving a helping of treats or catnip there. By making the approved pile more appealing than the clothing that needs to be washed or folded, you’re providing a “yes” for a “no.”

Change laundry locations

When all else fails, you should always fall back on that golden nugget of cat wisdom: “If you can’t change the behavior, change the environment.” Get into the habit of folding your clothes behind a closed door. Or, immediately after you’ve finished folding your laundry, put them away in a drawer instead of leaving them out.

Does your kitty have a favorite place to sleep? Our pet sitters want to make sure your kitty stays relaxed and comfortable while you’re away. So be sure to show your pet sitter where all of his or her favorite nap time locations are.

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 Vnukko on pixabay.

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