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Do I Have to Keep My Rabbit in A Cage?

Out in their natural habitat, wild rabbits are active animals who love to run, jump and burrow. Of course, all that scurrying requires lots of space! With that in mind, you might be wondering whether it’s okay to keep them in a cage.   

Give Them Daily Roaming Time  

Like lots of pets, bunnies need plenty of exercise and stimulation. While it’s often necessary to cage your rabbit when you’re gone or sleeping, confining it to a cage all day is detrimental to its well-being; it denies your rabbit vital exercise, prohibits socialization, and increases boredom and lethargy.

To keep your rabbit happy and healthy, let it out of its cage at least once a day, giving it time to roam. Though at least one hour is necessary, aim closer to three or four. As a rule, never keep your rabbit cooped up for 24 hours at a time. If you’re concerned about your rabbit getting into mischief or causing damage to your space outside the cage, you can bunny-proof your home.  

Create an Indoor Pen 

If you want to compromise between keeping your rabbit housed and giving them room to play, consider creating an indoor rabbit pen. A large pen will ensure your rabbit stays safe in an enclosed habitat while you’re gone, yet one that gives her ample space. You can easily create a pen by purchasing a puppy pen online and setting it up in a section of your home. Add food, a litter tray and lots of toys to keep your rabbit stimulated.   

Designate a Rabbit Room 

If your home allows, you can keep your rabbit in a room all their own, where it’s free to wander and explore 24/7. A special rabbit-proofed room offers the same perks as an indoor rabbit pen, but of course with much more space! Similar to a pen, you’ll want to make sure your rabbit has access to its food, litter, and toys. To keep the rabbits from escaping, install a baby gate.   

If you’re worried about your rabbit getting ample time outside its cage while you’re gone, our pet sitters can stop by to let him out and make sure he gets plenty of supervised time to explore. 


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 Petar Starčević from Pexels

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The easiest way to pill your cat

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So your vet has prescribed a pill to help improve your kitty’s health, but you’re not sure how to administer it. The good news is that pilling a cat can be even easier than you’d think! Here’s how it’s done.

Prepare well in advance

Some cats will run and hide at the sound of a pill bottle! If this is the case, take out the pills an hour or more before you need them. You can also store the pills in the same drawer as your treats to keep your kitty guessing.

Getting your cat used to being handled will also ease the pilling process. Without giving a pill, regularly hold your cat’s head and practice gently opening his or her jaws. Afterward, give your cat treats, praise, and plenty of petting to help build positive associations.

Disguise the pill in treats or food

With a Greenie’s Pill Pocket®, you can place the pill in the center and then roll the pocket in your hands to completely hide the medicine. For a less expensive option, many Temptations treats come with a soft center. For smaller pills, break the treat in half and hide it in the treat.

If your cat eats wet food on a schedule, you can use this to your advantage. Before the full meal, scoop a little of the wet food into a spoon. Then, place the pill in the middle of the food and let your cat eat from the spoon, pill and all!

Don’t forget to ask your vet first if the pill can be taken with food.

Mix it up!

If you have a crushable pill, use a mortar and pestle to grind it down. Mix the powder with ¼ teaspoon of water, tuna juice, or chicken-only broth. Load the mixture into a needle-less syringe, and then squirt it into the corner of your kitty’s mouth. Do not squirt the liquid into the front of the mouth or too far down the back or else it will gag your cat.

Your vet can also tell you if your cat’s pill can be crushed and mixed with food or water, or if your cat’s gel cap pill can be opened and sprinkled over wet food.

If all else fails

Ask your vet about pharmacies that can specially formulate flavored medicines. The Dechra Academy also has a comprehensive video to help you pill your kitty manually.

Did you know that Katie’s Kitty has pet sitters that can give oral medication to your cat? Give us a call to 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 Th_icky on Flickr

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Four tips to keep your cat calm while you’re gone

"Cat sleeping on her back" by Ian BarbourDoes your kitty cry as soon as you leave for the day? Does he or she get nervous at the sight of your suitcase, or shred your things while you’re away at work? Here are 4 tips that can help you keep your cat’s separation anxiety in check.

1 – Play classical music

Time and again, studies show the benefits for classical music in both people and animals. Julie, one of our Midtown Manhattan pet sitters and the master at soothing even the toughest customers, recommends playing music for your kitty while you’re away. She brings a radio to appointments, having heard that, “In London, all the shelters have them and it’s been proven to calm the animals.”

Leaving the TV on to a channel with birds and putting a cat tree by a window can also help your cat feel a little less alone.

2 – Add Feliway

Jenn, who manages our pet sitters in Queens, recommends using Feliway. Available at most online and physical pet stores, “Feliway has the “feel good” cat pheromones in it that cats naturally release when they rub their faces on corners and do putty-paws into blankets and cat beds,” Jenn explains.

It comes in both spray bottles and diffusers, which she says are both “helpful during other stressful events, too, such as moving and trips to the vet, and introducing new cats to one another.

3 – Practice coming and going

Pam Johnson-Bennett, one of the leading experts in feline behavior, suggests making coming and going as undramatic as possible. She writes, “Don’t make a big production about leaving.” Prolonged goodbyes can broadcast upsetting feelings to your cat.

Additionally, items like suitcases, purses, coats, and keys can be triggers for cats with separation anxiety. “If your cat starts to get tense whenever he hears you pick up your keys or if he sees you reach for your purse or coat, then practice doing those things several times a day without actually leaving.”

4 – Have someone visit your cat

Last, but not least, be sure to have someone come by to check on your kitty while you’re out of town. Whether it’s a pet sitter or a close friend or relative, it’s important to have someone who can play with your cat and keep them company. Be sure to leave out your kitty’s favorite toys and brushes to help remind your kitty of the good memories of you until you return.

Your pet sitter can set up puzzles that can be set after he or she leaves, such as balls filled with treats, paper bags full of catnip, or timed feeders that pop open later in the day to keep kitty entertained even after they’re gone. Give us a call to learn more about what our sitters can do for you and your kitty companions.


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.

Cat sleeping on her back” by Ian Barbour is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Meet Julie – Our Midtown Manhattan Pet Sitter

Julie, friend of animals and pet sitter extraordinaire.

Julie, friend of animals and pet sitter extraordinaire.

Pictured here is the kind-hearted friend of the felines named Julie. She has been a Katie’s Kitty pet sitter since 2007. Having lived in the East 50’s for over 25 years, she is intimately familiar with the Midtown Area. Even after clients move away, Julie remains good friends and in touch, saying, “Their cats became family to me.”

An artist’s approach to empathy

Julie grew up in California, but after college, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting. She even made appearances on Broadway! An artist through and through, she soon found new life working as a commercial artist and sculpting portraits in bronze, glass, and marble.

Much like acting, Julie feels that sculpting requires a certain compassion that has translated over to her passion of pet sitting. “Doing portrait sculptures demands empathy if you are to do it well,” she reflects, “You need to feel yourself in another person’s shoes to better understand their personality. Now, of course, I try to feel myself in another’s paws!”

Above all else, Julie ensures that her clients, and their kitties, can sense kindness, respect, and and understanding. She notes, “ It’s an intimate affair being allowed into someone’s home, building, and life to care for a pet.”

Julie's cat, "silly."

Julie’s cat, “silly.”

With cats as her constant companions

Julie views empathy as an important skill that she has been working hard to cultivate since early childhood — and she learned it from her own cats! At one point in her life, Julie was the guardian of 7 feline friends. “It was like living in the Serengeti plains, and I was allowed to join them in their habitat, which was my apartment.”

During that time, she also learned how to give oral medications and sub-cutaneous fluids, as well as easing other ailments that trouble aging cats. Without so much as a second thought, she even turned down an opportunity to sail the Greek Islands. “I would not leave my cat that needed fluids daily for kidney problems.” That was that.

Today, Julie is the guardian of this golden girl named silly (who prefers the lower case like bell hooks). “Believe me, silly is quite spoiled,” Julie says with a contented laugh. After a costly bout with liver inflammation, silly begrudgingly switched from commercial canned foods to a healthier diet that includes fresh salmon from the supermarket.

Now, life is good. Silly is 14 years old, and together, Julie and her cat dance, play tag, and enjoy a ton of games every day. Silly especially loves to be massaged and hugged. “Playfulness is good if they want it,” Julie mentions, “My silly is a touchy-feely cat, but some aren’t. I respect their boundaries.”

An expert with the toughest kitties

Julie recalls that her first few assignments were with what others would consider “problem cats.” “To me, there are no aggressive attack cats — only cats who feel fearful and become defensive.” In fact, Julie views these kitties as more feral and closer to their ancestors, which is something to be cherished. “If you sit down and really listen and watch, they will let you know how they wish to be treated… with love and respect.”

One kitty only ever appeared as a bump under a blanket that didn’t want to be disturbed. However, after Julie read to her and played music, she began to come out and get more comfortable. “Cats will come around on their own time schedule, not yours. It’s that wonderful independent streak that makes them so special.”

Whether there are shy, sweet, or even first time owners’ cats, Julie is happy to share her intimate knowledge of felines with whoever requests it. She often brings toys and a radio to her pet sitting appointments. For some clients, she even offers advice such as how to rearrange furniture and cat trees to give kitties a better view out the window.

A word of advice

As for how to keep your kitties calm while you’re gone, Julie offers the following advice, “Remember to leave a light on, and some classical music. Call Katie’s Kitty for the finest cat sitters in New York City! We are insured and bonded to boot!”


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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What causes aggression in cats?

Flash by Anne WornerMany pet parents have seen it first hand. Your cat may be friendly and affectionate one moment, and then turn aggressive the next. What happened? Here’s a little insight into why a cat may suddenly lash out.

Petting

Petting can cause a very confusing type of aggression. Your cat seems to be enjoying your attention, yet he or she may suddenly turn and scratch or bite you.

Just as bowing to another person symbolizes humility by putting yourself into a vulnerable position, cats show their bellies as a sign of trust. You wouldn’t slap someone in the back of the head when they bow to you, but this is how some cats feel when you touch their belly when they roll over.

Similarly, some cats only like to be petted a definite number of times, and some cats only like to be petted on the head or neck. Many cats don’t like to be picked up or turned on their backs. Your best bet is to pay attention close to how your cat is reacting while you pet him or her.

Play

Play can also suddenly turn aggressive. You can discourage rough play behavior by bringing new toys that direct the cat’s attention away from your body, like balls or feathers on sticks.

Don’t teach your cat to play with your hands or feet. It may be cute as a kitten, but it’s a tough (and painful) habit to break when kitty grows into an adult.

Some cats play rough, but play should always be silent. A hissing or growling cat is not playing and should be left alone.

Fearfulness

Routines keep animals feeling safe and calm. Sometimes, all it takes is rearranging furniture or adding a new housemate to make some cats feel as if their entire worlds have been flipped upside down.

Hearing a familiar, calm, and gentle voice can also help to soothe an anxious cat. You can try singing, talking about your day, or reading a book aloud. The sound of your voice will also help your kitty to know where you are in the house.

Comfort foods such as treats or canned food for a kitty on a dry diet can also help ease the tension. Some cats like company while eating, but some cats feel safer if you leave the room so that they can eat in peace.

More resources

Alas, sometimes there a triggers beyond your knowledge or control that may upset your cat. The ASPCA has a more comprehensive website on aggressive behaviors and solutions that may help you find the answer.

The most important thing to remember is that if a cat becomes aggressive towards you, give him or her space. If a cat wants to be left alone, it’s important to respect that.


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.

Flash” by Anne Worner is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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How to meet friends of felines in New York City

15197021552_dd9ee798faNew York City is filled to the brim with events and opportunities to meet like-minded individuals from any community. So, how do you go to find fellow feline aficionados? Here are a few ways to get started.

Join the NYC Cat Meetup

New York City is fortunate enough to have a Meetup group that is dedicated entirely to cat-lovers! In the past, this group has arranged outings to the Egyptian cat exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum as well as a trip to Meow Parlour, which is the first cat cafe to come to New York City. There have even been casting calls for Animal Planet documentaries.

Attend this year’s Broadway Barks

On Saturday, July 11, Broadway Barks returns to Shubert Alley for the 17th year in a row. Stars and celebrities come out to proclaim their love and support for both cats and dogs. The event and concerts are completely free, but the proceeds from raffles, silent auctions, and sales of signed memorabilia benefit local animal organizations. Previous years’ events have lead to the adoption of 200 shelter animals. Maybe it’s no wonder, since Tony-award winner Bebe Neuwirth strutted out on stage and declared herself a proud cat lady before introducing some of the adoptable cats one year.

Sit in on TNR Workshops and Events

Have you ever wanted to help a colony of feral cats in your neighborhood? The NYC Feral Cat Initiative, which is organized by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals, runs regular events and workshops throughout the year. You can satisfy your handy side by learning how to build feral cat shelters, or spend an adorable hour learning how to bottle-feed kittens. Chances are good that you’ll meet like-minded individuals that love to help cats as much as you do.

Volunteer with a shelter or rescue

Perhaps your home is feeling a little empty, but you’re not ready to adopt a cat of your own. If you become a pet foster parent, rescues will pair you with a loving kitty and plenty of pet supplies to take care of it. If you are unable to keep a cat in your home, you could volunteer at a shelter instead. Not only will you be helping cats in need, but you’ll become a part of a caring network of animal lovers.

Looking for more events, tips, and tidbits on everything feline in New York City? Follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our blog.


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.

“A girl with her cat” by Niels Kliim is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Pet Halloween costumes are quite the rage

dog-halloweenIf you think Halloween is just for people, you couldn’t be more wrong! Pets are getting in on the act now, too – and it’s turning into big business!

From Business Insider:

It’s time to start prepping Fido for trick-or-treating.

The pet Halloween costume business is booming, with consumers expected to spend some $350 million to dress up their pets, according to the NRF.

Earlier this year, we stopped by the trendy James Hotel in SoHo, New York for a dog Halloween fashion show put on by PetSmart.

From caterpillars to bats, cowboys to hamburgers, these are the hottest pet costumes this Halloween.

This golden retriever opted for the banana split costume. While we liked the theme of ‘retro dessert,’ we think she should have picked something that didn’t wash her coat out so much.

Read more here.

If you decide to dress your pet up for Halloween, we have a few pointers to help ensure it goes smoothly.

  • Make sure you can get the costume off easily. Costumes that are complicated to get off may pose a danger if your pet starts having problems.
  • Make sure it fits properly. Tight costumes can cause health problems and costumes that are too loose may make it easy for your pet to trip and harm himself.
  • Stay with your pet at all times. If your pet is left alone wearing a costume, it could cause bodily harm if something snagged or tightened, or if the animal swallowed costume pieces.
  • Remember that some pets don’t like costumes. If your pet falls into that category, don’t force it.

What about your pet? Will your best friend be strutting around Manhattan decked out in a too cute for words or simply scary costume this  Halloween?

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Animal sanctuary threatened by Los Angeles wildfires

As wildfires burn in the Los Angeles officials have ordered area residents to leave. However, in spite of the orders, Tippi Hedren is staying at her animal sanctuary and hoping for the best.

Thick black smoke hovers overhead as dozens of lions, tigers and other large cats roam actress Tippi Hedren’s animal sanctuary, seemingly unfazed by a wildfire raging only a mile away.

Fire officials ordered Hedren, who starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 horror classic “The Birds,” to evacuate the Shambala Preserve days ago. But she sees no need to load up the animals yet.

“Nobody wants lions and tigers going down the road,” Hedren, 79, told The Associated Press on Tuesday in a phone interview from her home on the preserve in northern Los Angeles County.

“We’ve never had to do that. I’m knocking on wood right now. We’ve been through floods, fires, incredible things Mother Nature has the capability of handing us.”

Hedren, mother of actress Melanie Griffith, said she has spoken with the Fire Department and has steel crates and trailers ready to move the 64 big cats if the fire gets closer to the property. In addition, the preserve conducts fire clearance every six months and has a 22,000-gallon water tank, a lake, firefighting pumps and backup generators.

Read the rest of Tippi Hedren’s animal preserve threatened by fire.

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