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How do cats keep their balance?

Have you ever noticed that your cat can balance on the thinnest of edges effortlessly? Meanwhile, we humans struggle to stay upright when the subway jerks us around at rush hour. Here’s a little insight into their feline grace.

The magic happens in the inner ear

Just like in human beings, a cat’s sense of balance comes from the inner ear. Kittens are able to identify which way is down from birth. However, according to Vetstreet, kittens are able to right themselves mid air at four to six weeks, and by ten to twelve weeks they are able to strut their stuff across a narrow plank.

That’s because they have long, flexible backs and no collar bones. Their claws also help them grasp branches. If they fall, cats point their faces down and the rest of their body whips around until all four paws are facing the ground.

The tail adds a counter balance

Much like tightrope walkers hold a horizontal pole and gymnasts extend their arms and legs to catch themselves before they fall off of a balance beam, cats also tip their tail to either side in order to stay on track. The tail isn’t required of all cats, however, as several bobtailed and tailless breeds are able to balance themselves just fine.

What about cats that fall over?

A fall here and there may be clumsiness, but if your cat falls repeatedly, there may be a medical condition to blame. One such condition is feline cerebellar hypoplasia. Cats with this disorder are sometimes referred to as “wobbly kitties” because they have trouble keeping their balance, but are otherwise capable of living long, healthy lives.

Feline vestibular disease can show up without warning and leave the same way. It is an illness of the inner ear that is often times idiopathic. Symptoms include head tilting, darting eye movements, and vomiting. Your vet may want to perform an MRI, x-ray, or blood tests to rule out more serious illnesses such as neurological disorders, infections, or cancer.


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 OmaW on Pixabay.

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Winter preparedness for you and your cat

One day it’s in the fifties, but later in the week it’s below freezing! Who can predict these rapid changes? Hopefully you made it through the recent cold snap without any trouble, but just to be on the safe side, here are a few precautions you can take to make sure you and your kitty stay safe and warm next time.

Backup water supply

When the temperatures drop, pipes can burst. Utility companies respond the best they can, but sometimes they can’t keep up with the demand, leaving you and your kitty without a source of fresh water.

Not only is it a good idea to have an extra jug of water for drinking, but it’s also a good idea to fill up several large water bowls for your kitty. What’s more, not only can leaving a faucet on a slow drip prevent your pipes from freezing, but they can also serve as a makeshift water fountain.

Space heaters

If your building’s heat is served by baseboards or radiators, then it’s actually provided by a source of hot water. The boiler heats and distributes extremely hot water through pipes that run through the heating units. Then, the gills which surround the pipes inside the heater help to dissipate the heat into the room.

Therefore, if an important pipe breaks in your building, you could find yourself without heat, too! On nights below freezing and in high rise buildings with a lot of glazing, you’ll feel the difference in temperature really quickly. Don’t wait to buy a space heater because they will all be sold out. Buy one ahead of time in order to keep you and your cat safe and comfortable.

Blankets

If you’re hit with a triple whammy and the water, heat, and power go out, make sure you have several warm blankets on hand. You can curl up with kitty beneath the covers. It’d be a good time to read a book with a battery powered reading light, too!

Are you worried about leaving your cat alone during the next cold snap? Hire a pet sitter! Our friendly sitters can check on your cat and report back to you on how your kitty (and your apartment) are holding up in the cold weather.

Drop us a line today to learn 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 StockSnap on Pixabay.

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Calming Remedies for Cats

Does your cat become a Nervous Nelly as soon as you leave your home? Maybe there are other changes in the household, such as moving to a new apartment or the addition of a new family member that has upset your kitty’s routine. Whatever the cause, a calming remedy isn’t far away.

Get a clear bill of health

First thing’s first. Take a trip to the vet! You should always take your cat’s anxiety very seriously. If left untreated, anxiety in cats can to lead to serious illnesses such as FLUTD. You’ll want to rule out that your cat’s discomfort isn’t actually caused by an underlying illness, too.

Try pheromone based remedies

While you’re at the vet, ask about calming aids based on pheromones. Pheromones are chemicals that animals release in order to communicate with one another. Calming aids based on them mimic the happier chemicals to help calm your kitty down. Many vets stock these items over the counter.

Some pheromones come in the form of a spray that can be spritzed around your home. The spray is especially useful if you want to target areas of inappropriate urination. Others come in the form of a special collar that slowly releases the “feel good fragrances” throughout the day, staying with your kitty wherever he or she goes.

Ask about calming drops

Calming drops that can be added to water or food are also becoming a popular option. Your vet may prescribe a medicinal sedative to help calm your cat in extreme cases, but there are also herb based drops that can be found over the counter. When it comes to selecting this sort of calming aid, it’s very important to consult your vet. Some drops contain ingredients that are dangerous, such as Valerian root. That goes for chewable calming treats as well.

At the end of the day, nothing can compare to an experienced pet sitter visiting your cat while he or she is home alone. Our sitters make every effort to ensure that your kitty stays relaxed. We even offer hour-long, twice daily, and overnight visits. Don’t wait to book a pet sitter for your next trip! 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.

Photo by e-zara on pixabay.

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Should you leave the heater on for your cat?

Wow! Those temperatures just dropped like a rock. At this time of the year, you may find yourself cranking up the thermostat or bringing out the space heater just to stay warm. If you’re trying to save energy, you may be wondering just how low the temperatures should go for your cat.

How cold do you usually keep your home?

As the days grow shorter, cats will grow a thicker undercoat to help insulate them from the cold. This is part of how feral cats are able to survive outdoors in the harsh winter months. Many pet parents claim to drop the thermostat as low as 60 degrees F during the day without a problem, but the official jury of veterinarians is still out.

Besides, one of the perks of being an indoor cat is that your kitty gets to enjoy many of the same modern conveniences that you do. As a rule of thumb, if you feel uncomfortable in your home, your cat probably does too. Not to mention, a sudden drop in temperature can make for a difficult adjustment.

What are some special considerations?

When setting the thermostat for your cat, be sure to consider certain factors that may make your kitty warmer or colder. Perhaps you have a kitty with long, poofy fur? Then he or she might be more comfortable at cooler temperatures. What about a hairless cat? Maybe boost the thermostat a bit for that kitty.

Do you have an older cat without much body fat? Then your cat would likely appreciate a few extra degrees. Small kittens and their mother also benefit from warmer temperatures.

What are some alternatives?

If you’re really trying to save energy, consider using passive heating concepts such as draft guards, weather stripping, and thermal curtains. They will literally keep both the heat and your money from flying out the window! Likewise, try to provide kitty with some self-warming options. Plenty of fluffy blankets, cat beds, and cozy cat caves are all good options .

Are you worried about the chill nipping your cat’s paws while you’re away? Nothing beats having someone come check on your kitty in person. Drop us a line to be paired with an attentive 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.

Photo by Dimhou on pixabay.

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Why do cats knead with their paws?

Whether you call it “puddy paws,” “making biscuits,” or simply “kneading,” there’s no mistaking that spreading and folding motion of a cat’s paws that means pure happiness. Have you ever wonder why they do that?

As happy as a kitten

It all begins in the first weeks of life. Small kittens will knead their mother’s belly to encourage her to produce milk. However, it doesn’t simply stop with nursing. Happy kittens will eagerly knead just about anything. It’s not uncommon to see them kneading their siblings, their mother’s neck, or the leg of their human caretakers, too.

Getting ready for a nap

Cats in the wild will sometimes find a soft bed of grass on which to take a nap. They will carefully flatten the grass until it’s dense enough to be comfortable. While we humans aren’t likely to have much grass indoors, you may see your cat kneading a blanket or a cat bed in the same way. If it’s a particularly soft or warm blanket, your cat may even start purring while doing so.

Sharing the group’s scent

There are also scent glands in the pads of a cat’s paw. By kneading blankets, siblings, and even you, your cat is reinforcing the scent that helps your cat feel safe and secure within his or her territory.

Do you have a photo of your cat making “puddy paws?” Share it 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 Pitsch on pixabay.

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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.

Adaptations

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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