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How to Give Your Cat More Sunshine

There’s nothing quite so adorable as a cat sprawled out in a patch of sunshine! Just like humans, cats thrive off of natural light. In fact, cats actually need the warmth of sunlight to maintain a normal body temperature and conserve energy.  

However, April showers are on the way, and you’ll want to be sure that your kitty can soak up some rays on the pretty days.  Here are a few tips to optimize your cat’s sunshine time.

Adjust the Windows 

Your windows are the best sources of natural light. In the winter, just a few small tweaks can boost the amount of light that shines through. Keeping curtains open during the day, removing mesh window screens, and trimming any outdoor foliage that blocks the sun are all good options. 

Relocate Your Cat’s Bed 

When the light shines into your home, your cat will likely find a spot on the floor where it can bask in its rays. However, you can encourage him even more by creating an inviting sleeping spot. If your cat has a favorite bed or cat tree, consider moving it to the area or your house or apartment that gets the most natural light. Add a few of their favorite toys or a piece of your clothing to help them feel comfortable.

Create a Designated Window Perch

If you don’t have one already, you can also install a special bed or sitting perch for your cat on a windowsill. Doing so not only offers them a secure spot for gazing outside (providing lots of entertainment), it also means they can sit and nap directly in the sun for as long as the daylight allows. Many cat perches are readily available for purchase online or at your local pet store. 

Update Your Interior  

Believe it or not, there are a number of ways you can update your décor to take advantage of any sunlight that does come in. Painting the walls white, using white or grey-colored coverings on furniture, and picking light-colored drapes allows sunlight to reflect, creating an overall brighter and lighter space for your cat.

If you’re worried about your cat’s warmth and happiness, our cat sitters can visit while you’re at work and open up the curtains to let the sun stream in.


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 Julian Majer from Pexels

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What is Over-Grooming in Cats?

Anyone with a cat knows how much they love to groom. In fact, cats spend between 30% and 50% cleaning and combing their hair! But sometimes, cats end up grooming too much and the behavior becomes excessive, a phenomenon known as over-grooming. Read on to learn what over-grooming looks like and how you can help kitty cut back on all that licking.

Signs of Over-Grooming

Because cats already spend so much time grooming, it’s easy for over-grooming to go unnoticed at first. The most telltale signs are bald patches or areas of short stubble on their skin. Patches can crop up anywhere, but common places include your cat’s foreleg, an inner thigh, or belly. The patches might display redness or open sores.   

Common Causes of Over-Grooming  

A common cause of over-grooming is stress. When a cat licks itself, it’s body releases endorphins, a phenomenon that allows him to groom and soothe himself if he’s feeling particularly anxious. In other words, the more stress, the more grooming! Your cat might be stressed for a variety of reasons, including a new pet in the house, a change in her routine, or a recent move.

However, cats also over-groom due to medical problems. Itchiness from a skin infection, allergy, or parasite might cause your cat to groom to relieve irritation. Cats also tend to lick areas of pain or discomfort. For example, cats suffering from urinary tract infections will lick their genital region more often.   

How to Help Your Cat Stop Over-Grooming 

If you notice bald patches on your cat, the first step is to take your kitty to the vet to rule out or address any potential medical problems. You might also consider any changes in diet or environment that might be giving them allergies.

If your cat’s behavior stems from stress, it’s important to figure out the source. Doing so and addressing it is sometimes enough to stop the behavior. But if you’re stumped on what’s causing stress, remember that play is a great stress reliever, as is creating a vertical resting spot (such as a cat tree) where your cat can retreat and feel comfortable. If your cat is still having problems, pheromone-scented collars and sprays can help calm them.

Is your cat stressed and over-grooming? Our cat sitters can help you create a calming, stable routine for your cat, equipped with regular feeding times, fresh litter and lots of play time. 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.

Image by Buenosia Carol from Pexels

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Why Has My Cat Lost Weight?

cat

You haven’t changed her food, but suddenly your kitty feels a bit lighter and bonier. What’s going on?

While some people might mistakenly perceive weight loss as a sign of good health, sudden or unexplained weight loss in your kitty usually indicates a problem. Read on to learn more.

How to Tell If Your Cat is Losing Weight

Weight loss is a problem, but it’s not always obvious, especially if it’s gradual. If your cat has long or puffy hair, that could also conceal potential weight loss.

The best way to determine if your cat is losing weight is to pay attention before it happens. Make a habit of running your hands along your cat’s body each week. You should be able to feel his ribs, but ideally, they’ll be insulated with a thin layer of fat. If his ribs are prominent or sticking out, he might be underweight. A knobby, prominent spine could also indicate he’s underweight.

Common Reasons Cats Lose Weight

There are several medical problems that prompt weight loss. Diabetes, Gastrointestinal problems such as parasites or pancreatitis, cancer, and dental issues can all be potential reasons. In older cats, weight loss is often due to conditions like hyperthyroidism, diabetes, or kidney disease. If kitty is looking slimmer, pay attention to see if it comes with any other symptoms, such as diarrhea, frequent urination, poor appetite, and lethargy. Your cat might also stop eating due to stress or anxiety.

What to Do About Weight Loss in Your Cat

Take your cat to the vet as soon as you notice a problem. They’ll be able to confirm any weight loss and do a blood test or ultrasound to determine a potential cause. Based on the results, your vet might prescribe medication, surgery, or a special diet.

If the cause is non-medical, a reassessment of your cat’s feeding routine might be in order. Be sure her bowl is clean and accessible. Notice other pets as well, as they might be stealing her food or crowding her bowl. Also, consider any new or sudden changes in the environment that might be making her anxious.

With a little care and mindfulness, you can get to the bottom of your cat’s weight loss.

Our cat sitters pay close attention to your kitty, serving as an extra pair of eyes to look out for any sudden appetite or bodily changes. 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.

Image by Alexas_Fotos, from Pixabay

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Is a rotation diet right for your cat?

Could you imagine if your parents fed you the same thing, day in and day out, for the rest of your life? It seems like an unlikely scenario for humans, but many pet parents unwittingly give their cat the same food every day.

Even though commercial pet food is formulated to be a complete and balanced meal, not having enough variety in your cat’s diet can lead to problems down the road. You may want to look into the rotation diet for your cat.

What is a rotation diet?

Variety is the spice of life. The rotation diet, which is also referred to as rotation feeding, builds on this concept. You give your cat a variety of brands, flavors, and textures on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

By changing up which foods you feed your cat on a regular basis, you’re also one step closer to mimicking the diet of your cat’s wild ancestors. Even feral cats know that the secret to getting as many nutrients as possible is to eat a varied diet. That is why house cats that used to live on the street are thought to be more picky about eating the same food everyday.

What are the benefits of a rotation diet?

Moreover, having your cat accustomed to eating several brands of food can help you avoid having to do a sudden pivot if one of the varieties is recalled or out of stock, which could upset your cat’s stomach if done incorrectly. The rotation diet can also help your cat avoid developing food allergies, intolerances, and deficiencies that can develop after a lifetime of eating only one kind of food.

What are the drawbacks?

Not every cat takes to trying a new food very well. Mild stomach upset can occur, so talk to your vet about an appropriate probiotic to give your cat to support the transition. You may also want to mix the new food and the old food until your cat is able to eat the new food on its own. If you find that your kitty isn’t thrilled about certain flavors during your trial period, don’t get discouraged. This process is about learning about what your cat likes and doesn’t like.

How do you begin a rotation diet?

The best time to begin a rotation diet is to start when your kitty is young, but you can begin a rotation diet at any time in their life. Just be sure to check in with your vet if your cat is on a prescription diet or has any illnesses. Rotation diets can still be done with different prescription flavors, textures, and brands, but it’s better to do so under the advice of your vet.

For healthy kitties, you can begin by researching the best cat foods, keeping in mind if your cat has any allergies or flavor preferences. You can buy individual cans from the pet store or write to companies for free samples. Then, make a chart and keep notes of which brands, flavors, and textures your cat seems to enjoy. Once you’ve established a good spread of foods to choose from, you can either devise a schedule, create a pattern, or just choose cans at random. Your cat will be thrilled to find out what’s next at each meal time!


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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Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?

Have you ever wondered why you don’t see a mouse-flavored cat food sitting on the shelf in a pet store? Pet parents who want a diet that is as close as possible to what their cat would eat in the wild may may find the omission to be baffling. Let’s dig a little deeper to find out what’s going on here.

Pet food has to be appetizing, but to whom?

One common explanation as to why you don’t see mouse meat on the menu has to do with who buys it. Pet food labels and ingredient lists are meant to be attractive to the consumer, which why you may see ingredients that cats wouldn’t eat in the wild but sound tasty to us, such as kale and cranberries. It is believed that human consumers would find the idea of feeding their cat dead mice unappetizing, so it’s not an avenue that’s often explored in product development.

Where do pet food ingredients come from?

For commercial pet food manufacturers, the cost of the ingredients in their cat food formulas is a major consideration. While poultry, beef, fish, and even venison are raised and processed for human consumption, mice are not. Some premium pet food manufacturers may use rabbits, but they are also a food source for humans, and therefore are more readily available to manufacturers. Mouse meat may be such a rare protein that it simply isn’t worth making cat food recipes that revolve around it.

How do regulations factor into the equation?

Mice as a food source aren’t approved by the Department of Agriculture, either. Shaun Belongie, the national brand manager for Friskies, explained to Mental Floss that the FDA “holds pet food to the same sanitation and safety standards as it does human food, approving ingredients it deems appropriate, and necessary, for an animal’s diet.”

Moreover, most of the cat food that you would find on the shelves of the pet store are formulated to meet the standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The AAFCO is a non-governmental organization made up of state and federal officials that set the guidelines for the nutritional value of pet food. While AAFCO itself does not enforce any regulations, many states require that commercial pet foods pass their standards.

But if you search hard enough…

If you’re really determined to find mouse meat for your cat, you may have considered that mice are raised for use in labs and as food for pet snakes. They have to come from somewhere, right? It turns out that mice are actually in very high demand. When it is in stock, you can buy ground and whole-prey mouse meat from specialty farms such as Hare Today, along with over novel proteins such as bison, alpaca, and guinea pigs!

It does come with a warning that the freezing and grinding process removes some of the nutrients, and it does not meet AAFCO standards. Another word of caution for vegetarians and the squeamish: it can be a little unsettling to see what your cat’s food looks like before it’s been processed. I’ll leave it at 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.

photo by suju on pixabay

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Hyperthyroidism in cats

Hyperthyroidism is a very common disease in older cats. It usually affects cats who are at least 10 years of age, and the average age of diagnosis is 13 years old. Many pet parents are surprised by the diagnosis, since the symptoms can be subtle and gradual. The good news is that hyperthyroidism in cats a highly treatable and manageable disease.

What is hyperthyroidism?

When the thyroid becomes enlarged, usually due to a benign, non-cancerous tumor, it produces excess hormones that can have an adverse and fatal effect on vital body organs, such as the heart. The thyroid is responsible for producing hormones that regulate vital functions, such as body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, bowel function, and metabolism.

What are the symptoms?

Usually a heart murmur or fast heartbeat is the first clue to hyperthyroidism that your vet may notice. Afterward, your vet may order a blood test that checks for increased levels of thyroid hormone. However, at home, the symptoms can be much more subtle. Since the thyroid regulates so many aspects of a cat’s body, you may notice symptoms that include increased irritability, weight loss despite an increase in appetite, increased activity, increased drinking and urination, vomiting, and diarrhea.

How is it treated?

After diagnosis, your vet may recommend that you give your cat a pill, usually methimazole, two or three times a day. Methimazole in pill form is usually inexpensive and fairly safe, but other methods of administration include liquid suspensions and a gel that can be massaged into the back of your cat’s ear. One of the downsides of methimazole is that it has to be administered for life. It takes a few weeks to reach effectiveness, and ceasing the prescription can lead to a dangerous increase of thyroid hormone.

What are other treatment options?

Another treatment option is a radioactive iodine injection. It’s a more pricey treatment, and it involves hospitalization for several days while it runs its course. Since the thyroid uses dietary iodine to create its hormones, the radioactive iodine absorbs into the thyroid, thereby shrinking it permanently.

Building on the same principal, therapeutic veterinary diets have been recently developed that limit the amount of iodine your cat consumes. Lastly, surgery may be performed to remove your cat’s thyroid glands, so it’s always best to follow the advice of your vet when considering your cat’s unique circumstances.

If your cat has been recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, talk to your pet sitter about possible ways to pill your cat. Even the sweetest cats can become difficult when it’s time to take their medicine, so it’s best to schedule a meet and greet with your sitter to show how your cat prefers to be dosed.


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 PROMartin Cathrae on flickr

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Why do cats give “love bites?”

Have you ever loved someone so much you couldn’t stop biting them? If your answer is “no,” then you probably aren’t a cat. However, it’s not uncommon for purring, happy cats to gently chew on their owners’ fingers. This behavior is known as “love-biting.” Let’s explore why love bites happen.

What is a “love bite?”

Love bites occur when your cat is enjoying being petted. It’s an affectionate behavior, and it’s usually not intended to hurt you. Experts believe that this behavior goes back to kittenhood. In their natal litters, kittens will play and bite each other as a way of bonding and practicing for adulthood.

Love-biting may also have to do with restoring dominance. Cats who are related or very friendly with one another will engage in mutual grooming, called allogrooming. Allogrooming is a social activity that not only shows affection, but also reinforces a hierarchy. All of the grooming attention is usually focused around the head and neck, and the “groomee” will usually turn his or her head toward the affection, much like when being petted. The groomer may nip the groomee as a gentle reminder of who’s in charge.

How is it different from other bites?

You can tell the difference between a love bite and other bites because usually your cat is still purring when he or she nips you. The bite may hurt a little, but your cat won’t have any intention clamp down hard or break your skin. Another common bite that can come from petting has to do with over-stimulation. In the blink of an eye, your cat’s emotional level flips from very pleased to highly irritated, and kitty could bite you in an attempt to tell you to stop.

If you attempt to pet a cat and he or she lashes out at you without seeming to have experienced any joy, then that cat might be looking to give you an aggression bite that says, “Go away!” Usually a cat will scratch or hiss first as a warning, but declawed cats and cats in an extremely bad mood may jump straight to biting.

Do you have a bitely kitty? Be sure to tell your pet sitter! During our first meet and greet, we usually ask if your cat may bite. Don’t forget, love-biting is still a form of biting, so it’s good to let your sitter know what to expect.


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 Keith Kissel on flickr

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Common urinary tract diseases in cats

Just like people, cats can develop urinary tract problems that send them on frequent, painful trips to the “bathroom.” Luckily, a vigilant pet parent can catch and treat these problems quickly with the help of a vet. Here’s what you need to know.

What are common urinary tract ailments?

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is one of the most common reasons that pet parents take their cats to the vet. It’s a general term used to describe disorders that occur lower in the urinary tract, such as in the bladder or urethra. Inflammation of the bladder (called interstitial cystitis), bladder stones and crystals, and urinary tract infections are also common problems.

What are the symptoms?

Since cats are masters at disguising their pain, you might not notice a problem immediately. Watch for clues like inappropriate urination around the house that could occur because your cat associates the pain of urinating with the litter box and tries to avoid it. You may also notice your cat attempting to use the litter box more frequently, but only producing a small amount of urine. The urine itself may be bloody, cloudy, or smell very strong. A leaky bladder and “accidents” while sleeping can also be signs of urinary tract distress.

Some cats will howl or meow frantically because the pain can be very intense. A cat that cannot pass urine is having a medical emergency, and needs to go to the vet immediately. If left untreated, a blockage in the urethra can cause a fatal rupture of the bladder.

What are the treatments?

During a physical examination, your vet may feel your cat’s abdomen to determine the state of your kitty’s bladder. A series of tests such as urinalysis, bloodwork, ultrasounds, or x-rays may be ordered based on the patient’s history and any findings from the exam.

Once the cause has been determined, treatments range from fluid therapy and urine acidifiers to surgery. Sometimes, the severity of the treatment depends on how quickly the problem is diagnosed, so it’s extremely important that you take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.

Can urinary tract problems be prevented?

Unfortunately, some cats, especially males, are predisposed to developing urinary tract diseases. However, the best thing you can do to avoid problems down the line is feed your kitty a high quality wet food diet and provide ample access to fresh drinking water.

Is your kitty on a strict diet due to urinary issues in the past? Don’t forget to tell your pet sitter! Our sitters make every effort to follow your feeding guidelines down to the letter.


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 MarPockStudios on pixabay

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Why do cats run around at night?

Some pet parents call it the “zoomies,” others call it the “witching hour.” Whatever you call it, it’s no secret that cats seem to be especially cooky in the middle of the night. Let’s “shed some light” on the situation.

Are cats nocturnal?

It’s a common misconception that cats are nocturnal (most active at night), when they’re actually crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk). This is because one of their favorite prey animals, mice, are also most active when people are less likely to notice them creeping through their food stores.

In fact, cats manage their activity throughout the day in shorter wake and sleep cycles than people do. So, often times it seems that their sleep schedule is at odds with our own. As masters of conserving energy, cats have been known to sleep from 16 to even 24 hours in a day! You can bet that once they’re awake, they’re going to make the most out of it.

Are they keeping you up at night?

While it’s perfectly natural for your cat to fly around at night like a bat out of “you know where,” all of the noise from their prancing around can easily wake you up. Luckily, the best solution to cat behavior problems is to provide an approved outlet for the unwanted behavior.

On the one hand, if your cat likes to rummage through your closet, dig in your laundry basket, or run behind your couch, you might want to leave a few treat puzzle balls or toy mice for kitty to find in there. That way, the satisfying reward will signal the end of their hunt.

On the other hand, if your cat is the kind that zips back and forth through the house, you may want to leave out cat tunnels and boxes to help them spend that extra energy. There are even wall mounted cat play centers available that can channel their scurrying activity into a different room far from your bedroom.

By the way, did you know that we have pet sitters available for nighttime and overnight visits? Having someone spend the evening with your cat while can provide peace of mind while you’re away.


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 Kerri Lee Smith on flickr

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Would your cat like a water fountain?

If you have a cat who hops up for a sip of fresh water from the faucet, or perhaps sneaks a gulp of not-as-fresh water from the commode, chances are good that your kitty is looking for a rapidly replenished source of water. By providing your kitty with a pet fountain, you can offer a cleaner, safer, and more sanitary source of water to quench kitty’s thirst.

Why your cat should drink more water

In the wild, cats rarely drink from a pool of standing water. Sharing the same wisdom of outdoor enthusiasts, cats know that the cleanest water comes from a running source. With the sound of trickling water, pet fountains appeal to your kitty’s wild instincts, enticing them to drink more than they would from a bowl of still water.

Moreover, cats rely on the moisture in food for hydration. Therefore, cats who are at the risk of chronic dehydration dry food diets, bowel trouble, or other ailments such as kidney disease could benefit from the much need encouragement to drink more water.

Choosing the right fountain

The best pet fountains have scratch resistant, non-porous surfaces that are easy to clean. You’ll also want to watch out for parts that have sharp corners that are hard to reach with a sponge. High-fired ceramic and stainless steel basins are both good choices. Most pet fountains come with a filter and a pump that are usually made out of plastic, so that’s something to keep in mind if your cat has a plastic allergy.

Both online and brick and mortar stores stock a variety of fountains, but you can easily make one yourself. That way, you can control the flow rate, filter medium, and the reservoir materials based on your own needs.

Keeping your fountain clean

It’s a common misconception that pet fountains with filters are self-cleaning. As a matter of fact, all water basins are prone to biofilm accumulation, even if the water is constantly moving. Since the filters that come with most pet fountains only offer two stages of filtration and have fairly loose mesh, they aren’t able remove bacteria other contaminants that get dissolved in the water.

That’s why it’s a good idea to set up a subscription for your filter refills, and plan to change them as often as you change the litter. If you have more cats in your household, you’ll probably have to change it more often. Each time, thoroughly wash your fountain in hot, soapy water, and use a bottle brush to clean any narrow spaces.

Do you have a pet fountain in your home? Be sure to show the pet sitter! Our pet sitters are happy to keep the fresh water flowing for your kitty. Give us a call to find out more about our services 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 rihaij on pixabay

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