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The five most memorable cat stories of 2017

Where did the year go… As we prepare to say so-long to 2017, let’s take a look back at the cats who captured our attention the most.

5. Dexter the 20-Year-Old Shelter Cat

Dexter was already 20 years old when he was adopted from a local shelter: that’s practically 100 in human years! Because of his age, Dexter’s new family assumed he would pass away soon. But this senior sweetheart lived on for another two years! Dexter bonded especially well with the family’s young son, receiving lots of cuddles and affection, and reminding us all that it’s never too late for love.

4. Luna the Quinceañera Cat

In Latin American culture, a quinceañera is an elaborate celebration thrown when a girl turns 15. For her birthday, Luna the cat was lucky enough to get her own! Luna’s family went all out with a party, food, balloons, cake, and even a special dress for Luna. Luna took it all in stride, and was especially happy to get her own can of birthday tuna. Believe it or not, Luna’s quinceañera was one of the most viral stories of 2017.

3. BenBen The Saddest Cat

BenBen was a shelter cat just on the brink of being put down. Considered unadoptable, he suffered from a crushed spine, several lacerations, and facial injuries that left his face in a permanent frown. But hope came just in the nick of time! BenBen was adopted by a loving family, whose care and attention put him on the road to recovery. While BenBen still looks sad, he is truly a happy kitty now!

2. Hurricane Harvey Cat

The Hurricane Harvey Cat is an image of defiance and grit! This cat was famously captured while paddling his way through flood waters, a snarl on his face and a glimmer in his eye. The viral image provided some much needed encouragement and humor after Houston’s devastating storm.

1. Bone Bone The Fluffiest Cat From Thailand

Last but not least, wrapping up this list on a positive note, is Bone Bone. Have you ever seen such a fluffy cat? With over 30K followers on Instagram, Bone Bone is a feline megastar. Bone bone lives in Thailand, where his owners love to take him out to the park and to meet fans, all while he wears his signature spiky backpack. What a cutie pie!

Psst! Don’t forget to book a pet sitter for your memorable cat. And with that I bid you cheers, and, if I don’t see you, a happy New Year!

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 ArchaeologistDurmus on pixabay

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The Icelandic Christmas Cat

“Oh no! The giant Yule Cat has come for me!”

You may have heard of the Krampus, but have you heard of Iceland’s infamous Yule Cat? A creature with sharp teeth and glaring eyes, the Christmas Cat of Iceland is a fabled holiday monster. But who exactly is this ferocious creature and what makes him so scary?

The legend of the Yule Cat

Definitely not the cuddliest of kitties, legend has it that the Yule Cat prowl’s Iceland’s snowy countryside. The cat is said to devour those who don’t have warm clothing to wear for the winter. As a result, it is a tradition in Iceland for family members to gift each other new clothes for Christmas. According to some, the Yule Cat is the pet of another Icelandic creature, the giantess Gryla, who is said to kidnap, cook, and eat children who misbehave. Gryla’s sons, the Yule Lads are quite mischievous themselves — licking pots and slamming doors. How rude.

The Yule Cat’s origin story

Like most monsters, the Yule Cat is more fiction than fact. The story of the Yule Cat originally came from farmers. They told the tale as an incentive for their workers to finish processing the autumn wool before Christmas. It was said that those who worked hard and finished the job on time would be rewarded with new clothes, while those who failed would face punishment from the Yule Cat.

History of the Yule Cat

Iceland’s Christmas Cat is regarded as an ancient tale, but evidence shows that the earliest written accounts of the creature date back no further than the 19th century. It later became popular through the Icelandic poet, Johannes ur Kotlum, whose epic poem describes the cat’s terrifying features.

Are you thinking of buying some cute outfits for your kitty now? Share photos of them with us on Instagram and Facebook! And if you’re going out of town for the holidays, don’t hesitate to schedule a sitter for days that 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 Alexa’s_Fotos on pixabay

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Thanksgiving Safety Tips

13348088923_e3fbb02983_zThanksgiving is a festive opportunity to gather with cherished friends, beloved family members, and plentiful food. One thing to be thankful for this year is the company of your cat companions and their good health. Here are a few ways to help you keep your kitties healthy and happy during Thanksgiving celebrations.

Take care in the kitchen

Many cat parents have stories about the times their kitties rubbed against their legs and sent them stumbling. Now, imagine that happening while you’re holding a hot tray from the oven, a kettle of boiling water, a sharp knife, or even a frozen turkey.

Each year, 86,629 Americans visit the emergency room due to trip over a pet or pet related items. Not to mention, burns, fractures, lacerations, or worse could result from dropping objects on your cat in the kitchen. Therefore, it’s safer to keep kitty in the bedroom while you’re cooking.

Be mindful of your guests

Likewise, if you’re going to be having a lot of company over, you may want to designate the bedroom as a safe space for your cat. Some cats can become fearful and stressed in the company of loud strangers, so it’s important for kitty to have a retreat when he or she is feeling overstimulated.

You’ll also want to make sure your guests know the protocol around your cat to avoid being bitten or scratched. Discourage your guests from giving your cat table food and have cat-specific treats from the pet store handy instead.

Know which foods are harmful

Some human foods are safe for cats to eat in small quantities, such as cooked skinless chicken breast, eggs, broccoli, corn, and pumpkin. Other foods should be avoided, like cooked bones, fat trimmings, onions, garlic, sweeteners, and cranberries. Keep in mind that while the base food could be safe, the herbs and seasonings it was prepared with could be inappropriate. So you might want to think twice about giving kitty a piece of turkey or pumpkin pie.

When in doubt, treat your cat with a special can of pet food instead. Always keep the phone number to poison control handy and the emergency vet handy.

Last but not least, are you going out of town? It’s not too late to book a pet sitter! Give us a call and we’ll make sure that your kitty has company for the holidays.

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 Jenny Downing on flickr

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Grumpy Nami’s Spring Giveaway

Once upon a time, on a very chilly March day, Katie’s Kitty decided to hold a giveaway on Facebook*, offering one dozen Catnip Crocheted Easter Eggs as a prize.

Two good friends of Katie’s Kitty offered to have their special girl, Nami, pose in an photo shoot.

Nami was more than happy to promote the giveaway as a kitty.

A happy Namine with egg basket.

A happy Namine with egg basket.

Yet, once the bunny ears were on, she became the grumpy Nami Bunny.
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Have you seen this cat in Chinatown?

Maneki-NekoThis Thursday, February 19th, is the start of the Lunar New Year. Thousands of New Yorkers will flock to Chinatown this weekend to take part in the festivities. Even though it is sometimes referred to as the Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year in New York City is a multicultural festival that celebrates of the coming of spring and the rebirth of the Earth.

One of the tastiest ways to ring in the new year is to stop in your favorite restaurant in Chinatown to consume symbolic, lucky foods. Oranges and tangerines represent wealth and good fortune. Long noodles represent a long life. There are even dumplings that resemble the shape of an old-fashioned silver ingot that was once used for Chinese currency.

If you’re planning to dine in Chinatown this weekend after the parade, chances are you’ll see a little cat statue with its paw raised as you enter a restaurant. Sometimes with a motorized moving paw, the cat statue is beckoning for you to enter. If you haven’t heard of the “Maneki-neko” before, consider the lucky calico bobtail statue a sign of welcome.

The Maneki-neko often misinterpreted as waving because the Japanese gesture for “come here” is performed with the fingers curled down with the palm facing forward, much like how your cat would jiggle her paw at you.

According to a Japanese folktale, a wealthy lord was taking shelter from a powerful storm beneath a tree by a humble temple. The temple’s cat caught his eye by reaching up her paw and to call the lord to her. As soon as the lord approached the cat, lightning struck the tree. Ever grateful, the lord rewarded the poor temple with riches. Today, the Maneki-neko has been adopted by many cultures as a way to welcome customers and good fortune.

Do you have a lucky cat in your life? Show us on Instagram! We’d love to see how your cat calls good fortune to you.

Photo by Kouran, on flickr

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 make Valentine’s Day gifts for your cat

This Valentine’s Day, consider doing something special for that little someone who shows you unconditional love and affection all year round.  Here are three simple projects you can try at home that will really let your cat know how much you care.

Valentine's Day catnip toyMake a Catnip Filled Origami Star

For a clever twist on the old paper ball toy that cats love so much, try crafting a lucky origami star with catnip in the middle.  The magic in these stars is twofold.  For one, their shape and size are ideal for your cat to swat around or carry in her mouth.  But two, they are a symbol of good luck for the upcoming Lunar New Year on February 19th.

Build a Corrugated Cat Scratcher

Cats love a good cardboard box for hiding, biting, and scratching.  If you have a box sitting around that your cat has partially destroyed, try upcycling it into a cat scratcher.  With a little extra time and patience, you’ll make a new claw-trimming toy that your cat will love.

Bake a Tasty Tuna Treat

When you bake a homemade treat for your cat, you can feel good about using the same quality ingredients that you could eat yourself.  After all, nothing says “I love you” quite like preparing a meal for someone.

Tasty Tuna Treats*

Two (2) 3-oz cans of chunk tuna in water
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
⅓  cup water

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Roll the dough to ¼ thickness on a floured countertop.
  4. Slice the dough into ½ inch treat sized squares.
  5. Bake the squares on a greased cookie sheet for about 20 minutes, or until golden.
  6. Allow to cool, and then serve to your favorite feline

*Recipe adapted from Must Love Cats and around the web.

What’s your favorite way to say “I love you, kitty” on Valentine’s 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 “Chinese Lucky Stars” by Carine Felgueiras is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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New Year’s Resolution for Cat Lovers

new year's resolutions for cat loversIt’s a fresh, new year and promises linger in the air.  It’s a time to change out old habits for newer and smarter ones.  Factoring your feline friend into the equation could just be the extra boost you need to follow through on your promises this year.  Here are some of the most common new year’s resolutions, modified to include your cat.

Resolve to Eat Right and Lose Weight

You have a choice in the food that you eat, but your cat depends on you to plan a healthy diet. This year, re-examine your cat food to see if the nutrients are appropriate for your kitty’s current stage in life.  If your cat is a little roly-poly despite a high quality diet, switching to measured portions may be all that’s needed to shed the extra weight.

Resolve to Travel More

Traveling can be more fun for humans than their feline companions.  So once you return home, include your cat in the adventure by giving stimulating souvenirs, such as peacock feathers from Palos Verdes for swatting, Icelandic sheepskin rugs for sleeping, and tiny stuffed animals from any giftshop with which to run around and holler at night.

Resolve to Save Money and Save Lives

If you want to spend your money more wisely this year, consider making a tax-deductible donation to a cat rescue or no-kill shelter.  You could pay part of the adoption fee for older cats, donate blankets and food, or donate your time volunteering.  By doing so, you’ll save the lives of many animals without bringing home any more cats.

Resolve to be More Health Conscious

When you get into the habit of taking your cat for regular exams, not only will your cat gain comfort and familiarity with the vet, but you are establishing a benchmark for comparison that can help identify problems sooner.  Buying a wellness plan will motivate you to go more often, keep up with dental care and vaccinations, and take some of the monetary sting out of emergency visits.

Do you have any other new year’s resolutions that include your cat? If so, we’d love to hear about them!

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 Leung Ching Yau Alex on flickr

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How to keep your cat safe for the holidays

keep your cat safe during the holidaysIt’s getting cold outside, but with your trusty feline afoot, there’s plenty of warmth and laughter to be found in your home. However, two symbols of the season, the Hanukkah menorah and Christmas tree, can be particularly hazardous for your inquisitive kitty. Here are a few tips to keep your cat safe while you enjoy the time-honored holiday traditions.

The Menorah

Anyone who has played with a laser pointer knows that dancing lights attract the curious eyes of felines. The flicker of a candle can have the same effect. Keeping your cat out of the same room as your menorah when it is lit will preempt sniffing or pawing at the flames. Make sure the candles are completely extinguished before you go to bed, especially if your cat loves to prowl around at night.

A menorah looks very enchanting on a windowsill, but your cat may knock it over to get a better view outside. Try to place your menorah on a heat-resistant surface at least a foot away from flammable materials like curtains.

Realistic LED lights are not as much of a fire hazard, but try to secure excess slack and use a cord cover. Your kitty can get tangled in the wires, or chew on the cable and get a severe electric shock.

The Christmas Tree

In the wild, cats hide in trees to avoid predators. Your cat might launch itself into the tree just for old time’s sake. A smaller tree will minimize the amount of foliage to come crashing down. You can also place your tree in a corner, or tether it to a wall.

The enticing scent of nature may call a curious kitty to investigate the Christmas tree, but orange peels, hot sauce, vinegar, camphor, and store-bought repellents may be malodorous enough to keep your cat away.

Cats love a fresh source of water, but fertilizers and preservatives that are sprinkled in your tree’s water can make your cat very ill. Opt for a tree stand that has a completely covered reservoir, or cover it with tin foil.

Regardless of the type of celebrations you take part in this holiday season, please be sure to consider your pets and their safety. The holiday will be much brighter for you and your pets.

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 zanastardust on flickr

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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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