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Natural Remedies for Litter Box Odor

A stinky litter box can be an embarrassing problem. Even if you scoop your litter box daily, a fresh “deposit” from your kitty can send unpleasant aromas back into the air.  If you’re wondering how to remedy the problem in a pet-safe, nontoxic way, consider the following solutions.

Natural remedies that work well

Special scented, pet-safe, soy and beeswax candles can be purchased online and even in many veterinary offices.  Some even contain an enzyme that helps to cleanse the air. After you clean the litter box, lighting one for an hour a day can help remove any smells that may still be lingering in the air.

If you have a chronically malodorous litter box, the litter itself could be to blame, too.  Some clay litters do a good job absorbing liquid but not always the smells. Others are heavily laden with perfumes, which only cover the odor with an even stronger scent.  Consider switching to a pine, walnut, corn, or paper litter instead. Not only are they recycled and environmentally friendly, but they have subtle and natural scent.  

Natural remedies that won’t work

Essential oils may seem like a safe bet at first.  They are derived from plant extracts, and they have a pleasant fragrance.  However, cats can’t break down essential oils in their bodies. If they ingest, inhale, or absorb these oils through their skin, it could lead to fatal poisoning.  It’s best not to use an essential oil diffuser in your home with cats. If you have a question about a cleaning product that uses essential oils, show the ingredient list to your vet.

What’s more, you may not have considered an air purifier to be a “natural” product at first, but their most basic components are a fan, a pre-filter made with activated charcoal, and a HEPA filter made from glass strands.  Many people place air purifiers near litter boxes with hopes of controlling the odor. While it’s true that the air purifier may catch airborne cat litter particles, thereby reducing the smell a little bit, most household models aren’t designed to capture the ammonia and urea that causes the odor in the first place.

Are you worried about your litter boxes’ odor level reaching extreme heights while you’re out of town?  Hire a pet sitter! Our sitters will diligently scoop the litter box every single day. Drop us a line to be paired with one 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 Yuyu Pang from Pixabay.

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3 Tips to Keep Your Cat Safe on Halloween

Trick or treaters, scary movies, and get togethers are all things that make Halloween a blast for adults but can easily spook your cat!  Be mindful of these three tips this year so that your cat can enjoy Halloween, too, this year!

Provide a sanctuary

Even mellow cats can become irritated and overstimulated when people come over for a party.  However, having children ring your doorbell and shout “Trick or Treat!” can be just as startling for your cat.

Therefore, it’s always a good idea to have a room set aside for your cat on Halloween.  Place food, water, and the litter box someplace quiet and away from your guests. Consider leaving music or a TV on to drown out the noise, and shut the door.  Many cats go missing on Halloween when they dart out the door.

Be careful with decorations

Wispy spider webs and blinking lights on strings not only set the mood, but they look like toys to your cat.  Keep them up high where your kitty can’t reach them, and be extra mindful of placement if your cat is a notorious jumper or climber.

Candles can pose a risk, too, for cats who like to watch their flickering flames.  A sudden noise can make your cat knock the candle over, risking burns to themselves and fire to your home.  If all you’re going for is the effect, opt for flameless candles instead.

Keep candy out of reach

Small, fun sized candy bars are the perfect size for a mischievous kitty to take when no one is looking.  Even if your cat just wants a toy to swat around, they could accidentally ingest wrappers, chocolate, or artificial sweeteners.  These can all lead to fatal veterinary emergencies, so it’s best to simply keep treats where your kitty can’t get to them.

Do you have any photos of your cat in a Halloween costume?  Share them with us on Instagram or 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.

Image by Margo Lipa from Pixabay.

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Don’t forget these 3 essential pet supplies!

Imagine you’re going out of town on a trip that you’ve prepared for weeks in advance. You’re all packed, the pet sitter’s been booked, and you’ve left out a carefully calibrated amount of supplies on the counter. While you’re out of town, you have to extend your visit when the unexpected happens. 

The last thing that you want to worry about is whether or not your pet sitter has everything that they need until you get back, especially if you’re somewhere remote and unreachable. Here are three essential supplies that you’ll always want to have — just in case.

Extra food

While it may seem easy enough to reorder more food if it begins to run low, it’s better not to run the risk of lost or damaged packages. Not to mention, if you happen to receive an unusable batch of food due to a recall or other unsafe condition, your cans or kibble might run out faster than you had expected.

Extra litter

Depending on the type of litter that you use and the number of cats that you have, the entire litter box may need to be changed out every few weeks or so. You might not be gone so long as to need a complete litter change, but when the poop is constantly being scooped, the litter level will likely need to be replenished every now and then.  

Extra baggies

In a world that’s increasingly frowning upon single use plastic bags, (we’re looking at you Jersey City and Hoboken!) it’s easy to run low on poo poo bags.  Even if you usually reuse the bags from the supermarket, it’s a good idea to have a roll of doodie bags as a backup. Extra liners for the kitchen trash and recycling are good to have on hand, too.  That way, you can come home to freshly changed receptacles.  

Do you have any supplies that you like to keep on hand?  Drop us a line in the comments below!

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 cats show their bellies?

One minute your cat is purring, the next he or she rolls over and strikes a pose — a belly pose at that! An experienced cat parent knows better than to pet that tempting tummy.  Yet, if it’s not an invitation, why do cats show us their bellies? Here are a few reasons.


Most people have seen a “belly pose” while petting their cats.  Usually, the cat will purr loudly and roll around before you’ll see his or her tummy.  A belly pose is a display of affection, and it’s best admired from a distance. Don’t make the mistake of petting your cat’s exposed belly, or else you could be in for a nasty scratch from all four paws!  


As social creatures, cats must learn their position (or social standing) within their group.  Sometimes, this is achieved through trial and error. Perhaps they play too roughly with a higher ranking cat, or they commit some other faux pas.  The cat of higher status may growl or swipe with a warning paw, and then the lower ranking cat will concede by showing his or her belly.


Sometimes, cats simply enjoy some tummy time when all is well. Similar to humans, some cats have been known to sleep on their backs with their bellies to the sky.  Since the belly is one of the most vulnerable areas on a cat, cats will only sleep in this position when they feel safe, healthy, and content. If you see your kitty sleeping this way, take it as a sign that you’ve provided your cherished pet with a comfortable cat habitat.

Do you have a photo of your cat showing off his or her fluffy belly?  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.

Image by Daga_Roszkowska from Pixabay 

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Why do bearded dragons jump?

They may not seem so at first, but bearded dragons are quite the little acrobats. If you’re not careful while handling your beardie, he or she could be in for a rough landing. So, why exactly do they take that leap of faith in the first place?

They’re exploring

Just like babies of many species (especially kittens!), younger bearded dragons want to explore their environments. That means that your hands may not be nearly as interesting as the rest of the room. Since their depth perception isn’t as good as yours or mine (or kitties, I love cats), they don’t realize how far down the ground is when they dive from your grasp!

They’re not used to being handled

Don’t expect your bearded dragon to be used to being handled right away.  At first, practice holding him or her over a bed, only a few inches or so from the surface. Your dragon needs to learn that you will not drop him or her. Over time, after many years of safe handling, your dragon may even turn into a cuddle bug!

They’re stressed out

If your beardie is climbing up the side of the tank, it’s a sign that something is very wrong.  “Glass surfing,” or “glass dancing” as it’s also known, happens when something is amiss in your dragon’s environment. There are a number of factors, but common ones include an enclosure that is too small, improper temperatures, rearranged decorations, and a perceived threat from a reflection or another dragon nearby. Even boredom or lack of stimulation can make your dragon try to climb out of the tank.

Are you worried that your bearded dragon won’t get enough attention while you’re away? Hire a pet sitter! Our sitters will ensure that your dragon has a clean, comfortable, and stimulating environment.  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 Milchdrink on pixabay.

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Is an automatic feeder right for your cat?

Have you ever visited a fellow pet parent and noticed that they had a nifty automatic feeder?  You may be wondering if such a gadget might make your life simpler while you’re home and out of town.  Consider the following before you bring one into your home.

What kinds of automatic feeders are available?

Automatic feeders work well for both wet and dry foods.  Wet food dispensers usually include a freezer pack to keep the food fresh until it pops open.  Dry food dispensers may pop open, rotate, or gently disperse a measured portion of kibble from a larger reservoir.  

On the one hand, automatic feeders can be controlled by simple low-tech timer mechanisms. On the other hand, they be ultra-high tech, boasting features such as digital programmable displays and smartphone apps!

Which situations are best for an automatic feeder?

Believe it or not, automatic feeders are best suited for when you’re going to be home.  They’re a clever solution for early morning kitties who like to wake their parents for their breakfast.  They’re also a nice back up option for those days that you know you’ll be coming home late, or if your cat prefers to eat a snack in the middle of the day while you’re still at work.

Keep in mind, though, that while dry food dispensers can last for several days at a time, wet food dispensers will likely need to be washed and replenished daily.

Will an automatic feeder be all my cat needs while I’m out of town?

Nope!  Nothing beats real live human to feline interaction.  Your cat needs more than just food and water everyday.  A trusted caretaker can play with your kitty and monitor his or her health.  Having someone stop by your apartment daily also means that you have an extra line of defense in case any other important automated systems malfunction, such as heating and cooling.

Are you looking for someone to check on your kitty while you’re out of town?  Contact us to be paired with one of our attentive pet 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 meineresterampe on pixabay.

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Is catnip safe for cats?

Have you ever seen your cat roll over, become lazy, or hyperactive when he or she smells catnip? Perhaps your cat has even become aggressive after sniffing or ingesting it. Such effects can make you wonder if catnip is really safe for your cat.

What exactly is catnip?

Catnip, catwort, and catmint are all members of the mint family. They produce an essential oil called nepetalactone, which stimulates euphoria when cats encounter it. Nepetalactone is also what makes brewed catnip leaves into a soothing tea for humans.

It’s very safe, with only a tummy ache as a possible negative side effect if your cat eats too much. If you share homegrown catnip with your cat, be sure to remove any stems that could cause blockages or puncture your cat’s GI tract.

Why do cats act intoxicated when they smell catnip?

Once a cat gets a whiff of catnip, some pet owners describe the effects as the cat appearing to be “drunk” or “high.” Yet, these kitties are simply very pleased to have found this special treat. The “catnip effect” wears off in about 10 minutes, and your kitty won’t react to catnip again for about two hours, similar to olfactory fatigue in humans.

Do you have catnip on hand for your cat? Be sure to show your cat sitter where it is! Our sitters love to pamper your pets with as many treats and toys as you do. 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 StockSnap on pixabay.
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What happens during a 30 minute pet sitting visit?

Booking in-home pet sitting visits for while you’re out of town is one of the most loving and responsible decisions you can make. Basically, when you have a vacation, your pet gets to have a stay-cation. Your pet sitter will update you daily with notes about how your pet is doing, but you may wonder what else goes on during a 30 minute visit. Read more to find out!


Usually the first thing your pet sitter will do is feed your pet. It’s a good idea to leave detailed instructions, as our pet sitters will follow your them down to the letter. If your pet gets special supplements or medications, this can be done at the beginning of the visit or near the end.

Clean up

Next your pet sitter would wash your pet’s food dishes, or load them in the dishwasher as per your instructions. Additional clean up would include scooping the litter box for your cat, or cleaning the cage for your exotic pet.

Play time!

Here’s the fun part. After the daily chores such as cleaning and feeding are complete, the rest of that time is used as play time! If you have a cat, that could mean time playing with his or her favorite toys. Your kitty may enjoy being petted or brushed, or simply snuggling instead.

If you have an exotic pet, such as a bird or reptile, play time could mean supervised out of the cage time. Let your pet sitter know if your bird or lizard likes shoulder rides!

Of course, if you have additional considerations that you would like your pet sitter to address, please let us know! Contact us today to be paired with a thorough and thoughtful pet sitter before your next trip. There’s still time to book for Memorial Day!

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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Why do cats like to lay in sunlight?

Many of our furry feline friends love to sunbathe. In fact, behind the curtains of a sunny window is the first place many pet sitters will look for a sleeping kitty. Yet, have you ever wondered why, even on the hottest days, cat seem to bask in the sun?

They’re creating vitamin D

Cats create vitamin D the same way humans do. When we go into the sun, our skin produces an oil. This oil is broken down by the sun’s radiation, creating vitamin D3. Then, the vitamin is reabsorbed into our skin. Cats create the same oil, but it remains on their fur and doesn’t come in contact with their skin after it’s broken down. Instead, they ingest the vitamin when they groom their fur.

They prefer the warmth

Another popular theory is that cats simply prefer to be warm. The domestic cat’s ancestor is the African wildcat, which is a desert dwelling feline whose body is designed to operate at peak efficiency in warm climates. A cat’s body temperature is also much higher than ours, at 102 degrees Fahrenheit. That could make them more susceptible to feeling chilly than we are, at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

They’re storing energy

While a cat is sleeping, his or her high metabolism will drop. According to, “The sunlight helps overcome a drop in basal metabolism associated with shutdown during sleeping.” Meaning, a cat can store and save the energy from the sun in order to compensate for the decrease in metabolism. Then, they can use this bonus energy for activities later. How cool is that?

Are you looking for someone to help maintain the perfectly warm environment for you sun-loving kitty? Give us a call to be matched with the perfect pet sitter 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 photochur on pixabay.

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Should you trim your cat’s claws?

Cats have many adaptations that help them hunt their prey such as keen eyes, finely tuned whiskers, and razor-sharp claws. Their eyes may be beautiful and their whiskers may be cute, but you may not enjoy their claws tearing your furniture or breaking your skin! Is it time to trim your cat’s claws?

Can claw trimming be done at home?

If your cat has a gentle demeanor and doesn’t mind being held, you may be able to trim your cat’s claws at home. There are several videos available on the web that demonstrate how to wrap your cat in a towel, also known as a “purrito,” to help keep your kitty from squirming. Then, you would use specially designed nail trimmers to snip off only the tip of the claw.

What about scratching posts?

Scratching posts are a great alternative to trimming your cat’s claws yourself. They redirect unwanted behaviors, which can help save your furniture from being shredded. They also help your cat naturally shed the outer layer of the claw.

Look for scratching posts made from wood, sisal rope, and cardboard. Emory board scratchers are actually dangerous for your cat. They remove too much of the claw and expose the vein, called the “quick,” underneath.

Can a professional do it?

Your vet may offer claw trimming for a fee, but it could be pretty pricey. If your cat scratches your vet or vet tech, they’ll probably order a claw trimming so that it doesn’t happen again. Declawing your cat, in which your cat’s bones are surgically removed, is not recommended. It can cause permanent disfigurement and lifelong pain for your cat.

However, if you regularly have your cat groomed, ask about claw trimming as part of the services. In general, it’s not a part of pet sitting services, so it’s a good idea to get your cat’s claws trimmed before you go out of town.

Are you worried about your kitty clawing your furniture when you go out of town? Hire a pet sitter! Our sitters will give your cat plenty of love and attention, which can help to reduce unwanted behaviors such as inappropriate scratching. 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 meineresterampe on pixabay.

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