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How far in advance should you book pet sitting visits?

So you found out at the last minute that you have to travel for work, or perhaps you forgot all about that family get together out of town. Do you still have time to book a pet sitting visit? Read more to find out.

Last minute visits

While booking at the exact last minute isn’t ideal, our pet sitters may be able to accommodate your request. More often than not, your regular pet sitter will be available. However, if your pet sitter is fully booked, we’ll do our best to pair you with another one of our friendly pet sitters.

A week in advance

Booking at least a week in advance for last minute trips is ideal. That way, you can schedule a meet and greet with your pet sitter and show them the lay of the land. Meet and greets are also a great way for you and your cat to get to know your pet sitter before you go out of town.

Three weeks in advance

For services that have limited availability, such as twice daily visits, overnight stays, and boarding, booking at least three weeks in advance is the best way to go. It’s also a good idea to book three weeks in advance around popular holidays.

As soon as you know

In most scenarios, booking pet sitting visits as soon as you know that you have to travel is the best way to go. If you’re not sure of the exact dates because you haven’t booked your flights, it’s a good idea to reach out to your regular pet sitter to see if they’re available for roughly the dates of your trip.

Keep in mind, though, that they won’t be able to hold your appointment until you’ve made a deposit. You may want to make your deposit as soon as you know and add or subtract dates later just to be on the safe side.

Ready to book a pet sitting visit? Drop us a line to get the ball rolling!

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 Uschi_Du on pixabay.

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The Guardian Cats of Tashiro Island

There are several “cat islands” around the world. They are islands where the feline residents outnumber the human ones. However, this is only one such island where the cats actually saved the humans’ lives.

The 2011 Tsunami

This March marks eight years since the great earthquake and following tsunami rocked Japan. Tashiro Island, home to a small fishing village with only 50 elderly residents, was ravaged by the tsunami, too. However, the island is home to hundreds of cats. The villagers saw the cats running to higher grounds, and because their trust in the cats was so great, they fled to higher ground, too.

The Recovery

Before the earthquake the island was well known by cat lovers worldwide. The residents created an online fundraiser to request help rebuild the island in exchange for small gifts. Support poured in, and the villagers quickly made the repairs to restore the island to the functioning fishing and oyster cultivation site it had been for ages.

The Guardians

After the tsunami, the residents of the island looked upon the cats as good spirits and named them the Guardian Cats, but their reverence for their furry friends dates much further back than that. Fishermen have always looked to the cats to predict the weather. When they hide before a storm, the fishermen know that the sea will be rough.

The Shrine

The residents of Tashiro Island love their Guardian Cats so much that there is a shrine to them at the center of the island. Long ago, a fisherman accidentally injured and killed a cat with a rock. That cat was given a shrine. Since then, all of the cats who have passed on the island have been memorialized with figures there. Visitors draw cats on rocks and leave them at the shrine as a tribute.

Do you have a guardian cat of your own? Share a story with us in the comments, and be sure to tell your friendly pet sitter all about it. We love to swap stories about our feline friends.

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 Gorilla Jones on Wikimedia Commons.

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How to train your cat to drink from a fountain

So, you’ve bought a new water fountain for your cat! Pet fountains are the choice of many attentive pet parents because they offer a fresh source of water that is constantly renewing itself. Yet, what do you do if kitty won’t drink from it? Read more to find out.

Step One

Move your cat’s previous source of water close to the fountain and turn the fountain off. If your cat used to drink from a ceramic dish, for instance, place the dish very close the fountain. The fountain should also have water available in it, so that your cat gets used to the idea of it being a source of water as well.

Step Two

Stop refilling the previous source of water. Eventually, the water in the previous dish will taste stale and run out. If you have a kitty who enjoys drinking from the bathroom sink, avoid the temptation of opening the faucet for your kitty during this time.

Meanwhile, continue to wash and refill the fountain with the still water in it as if it were the new water dish. Turn the fountain on for a few hours at at time so that your cat gets used to the sound.

Step Three

After the water has run out in the previous dish, remove it completely. Once your cat is comfortable with drinking from the fountain while it is off, turn the fountain on more often. Eventually, your cat will even begin drinking from the spout.

What to do if these steps fail

If you’ve tried the steps above to no avail, give it one more shot. If the process fails twice, you might want to consider a different fountain. Some common “complaints” that cats have about fountains include the noise level and material, so opt for a gently trickling steel or ceramic fountain with a very quiet motor instead.

Fountains also have to be cleaned regularly, so a dirty fountain could be turning your kitty away. Other fountains splash water that can scare your cat, in which case you should adjust the pump.

Does your cat like his or her water fountain? Be sure to let your sitter know. Our sitters are happy to refresh all of the water sources in your home, even if you let your kitty drink from the sink. Book a visit with 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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Cats of the ice and snow

Are you excited for a little snow to fall tomorrow? Is your cat excited, too? Whether you have a purebred cat or a moggy, you might have a kitty who longs to be outdoors, fearlessly bounding over the blankets of snow. Check out these three winter-loving cat breeds who watch the downy flakes with particular interest.

Photo by David Shankbone on Wikimedia Commons.

The Maine Coon

Maine Coons are rightly nicknamed “the gentle giant” because they are the largest breed of domestic cat. Their origins aren’t well documented, but has been hypothesized that the Vikings brought with them longhaired landrace cats, which are cat breeds that develop naturally in an environment due to isolation from other species. Then, the cats were thought to have interbred with North American wildcats, lending them their strong build. They are highly native to Maine, which is reflected in the breed’s name.

Photo by Pieter Lanser on Wikimedia Commons.

The Norwegian Forest Cat

Like the Maine Coon, the Norwegian Forest Cat is another landrace cat which is native to Norway. There, breeders prefer to call them the Norse Skogkatt. Like the Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cats are thought to have arrived with the Vikings, too, interbreeding with local feral cats and wildcats. It’s also thought to be related to the Siberian Forest Cat and Turkish Angora, which may have been brought by Crusaders.

Photo by TatianaDm on Pixabay.

The Siberian Forest Cat

Simply known as the Siberian cat to most breeders, the Siberian Forest Cat is an ancient cat breed that is thought to be the ancestor of all longhair cat breeds. It is also a landrace breed that developed on its own over time. It’s rare to see them in the United States, though. Importing them from Europe, where they are more popular, can be a prohibitively long and expensive process.

Do you have a wintry longhaired cat? Share a photo 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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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.


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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