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Why do some cats eat their toys?

When your cat eats his or her toys, it can mean a costly trip to the vet to surgically remove them. You may be wondering what caused your cat to swallow the such inedible objects in the first place. Here are a few reasons. 

Teething

If you have a younger cat (not just a kitten), new teeth growing in can cause your kitty to chew on things. In order to lessen the danger of your cat accidentally swallowing the toy that they are gnawing on, opt for larger, safer toys that can’t be unraveled or lose stuffing.

Wild instincts

In the wild, cats play with their prey before they eat it. At first, it may seem like bad table manners to us, and even a little cruel, to play with food. However, behaviorists theorize that this instinct is a way for cats to determine if their prey is safe and healthy enough to eat.

Moreover, cats learn what to eat from their mothers. This is why cats can only learn how to eat mice from other cats. The instinct to eat the prey that they caught it still there, even if Mama didn’t teach them what exactly prey is. Therefore, the urge sometimes gets misplaced and transferred onto your kitty’s toys.

Health problems

In some cases, when cats attempt to eat objects other than food, it can be a sign of a serious health problem. Cats who lick metal objects, for instance, may be showing signs of liver failure. Similarly, diseases such as PICA can cause a cat to chew on materials that are dangerous to them. If you suspect that something is going on, it’s best to talk to your vet.

Remember, whether or not you have a cat who eats their toys, it’s a good idea to put toys away during unsupervised moments.

Are you looking for someone to mind your cat’s toys while you’re visiting family with Christmas? Send us an email to be paired with s responsible 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.

Image by MonikaDesigns from Pixabay

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What sound is your guinea pig making?

As any guinea pig parent knows, piggies can be talkative and expressive little guys!  With such a wide range of sounds, you may begin to wonder what they all mean. Here are a few of the most common ones: decoded.

Wheeking

Wheeking is a high pitched, repetitive sound.  It has some urgency to it, but it’s not as urgent sounding as a squeak from pain.  Sometimes, they recruit other piggies into wheeking with them. In the wild, guinea pigs wheek when they think there might be danger.  In the home, however, guinea pigs wheek when they think there might be food, such as when you open a refrigerator or are slicing vegetables.

Rumble strutting

Rumble strutting is fun to watch (and fun to say), but it’s a dominance display around other guinea pigs.  They make a low noise and waggle their hips in order to establish rank with other piggies.

Chutting

You may hear this noise if your guinea pig is out and exploring.  Chutting isn’t directed at anyone or anything. It’s generally believed to be a happy sound that means your piggy is content with whatever is happening that moment.

Complaining

Sort of a squeaky grunt, complaining happens when a guinea pig wants more space.  Something may be too close to them, or your guinea pig doesn’t want to share his or her food with a fellow piggy.

How talkative is your guinea pig?  Share him or her in a video 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 Livia Novakova from Pixabay

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Should you clean your cat’s teeth?

Anyone who’s had a sore tooth knows just how painful it can be.  But they hide their discomfort until it’s too late. A sore tooth can prevent your cat from eating, which can lead to other health problems.  So, what can you do to keep your kitty’s teeth clean?

Kibble, treats, and toys

Certain dry foods, treats, and toys are marketed as being helpful to your cat’s dental health.  The jury is still out on whether or not these products work, but anecdotal and manufacturer information seem to suggest that they can help remove plaque build up from your cat’s teeth. 

Cats especially love to crunch on kibble and small biscuit treats. Therefore, they are good for reaching the teeth in the very back of the mouth that aren’t usually used when you feed your cat wet food alone.

Toothbrushes and mouth rinses

You’d be surprised how much cats like getting their teeth brushed. This is because you can buy special toothpaste that is flavored like chicken! You can also buy a special toothbrush that fits over your finger tip.  Once a week, gently brush your cat’s teeth. You can also use this time to check for any sore spots or abnormalities in your cat’s teeth and gums.

Mouth rinses that come in a squirt bottle can be a little easier if your cat is fussy. Your vet may prescribe one if your cat has a sore tooth, but you don’t want to opt for a professional cleaning.

Professional cleanings

During a professional veterinary cleaning, your cat will be placed under anesthesia while they descale his or her teeth with special tools.  Any time your cat needs to be placed under anesthesia, there are inherent risks. Certain known and unknown risk factors, such as heart disease and genetic illnesses, can mean that your cat could pass away from being anesthetized during or after the procedure.  Even if your cat has been anesthetized in the past, they could have developed a new condition since then that would make recovery difficult or even fatal.  

If your cat has very bad teeth to the point where he or she cannot eat, a veterinary cleaning may be your only option.  Your cat may have to get the damaged tooth extracted. As always, talk to your vet about your cat’s specific health profile before any procedure, especially dental cleanings.  Keep in mind that veterinary cleanings and tooth extractions can be very costly. When it comes to keeping your cat’s teeth clean, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth its pound of cure!

Do you have special treats to give your cat?  Be sure to let your pet sitter know! We love to pamper your pet.  Give us a 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 Martina Misar-Tummelsthammer from Pixabay

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How clean is your hamster ball?

On the one hand hamster balls are a great way for your hammy to get exercise outside of the cage without getting lost or injured.  On the other hand, they can get dirty pretty fast! Not only do they pick up debris from the floor, but they can also be receptacle for “accidents” such as poop or pee.  You wouldn’t want your beloved ham-ham rolling around in that! Try one of the following methods to clean your hamster ball every few days.

Soap and water

The first method is not dissimilar to washing dishes.  First, open your hamster ball lid. Then, rinse it thoroughly in clean, running water until all debris, urine, and feces are gone.  Next, use a sponge or cloth with a few drops of antibacterial soap to gently cleanse the inside and outside of the ball. Rinse thoroughly in clean, running water, and then set the hamster ball aside to air dry.

Cage cleaner

In the second method, you would clean the ball in running water the same way as you would in the soap and water method.  However, instead of using a soapy sponge, you would use small mammal cage cleaner that has been sprayed onto a paper towel.  Gently wipe the inside and outside of the ball, following the directions of the cage cleaner bottle. Wipe the cage cleaner off with a clean paper towel until dry, and then rinse the ball in clean, running water to remove any residue.  Set aside the ball to air dry.

Vinegar and water

Similarly, in the third method, you would follow all of the same steps as the cage cleaner method.  However, instead of using small mammal cage cleaner, you would use a vinegar solution. Dilute one part vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle.  Lightly spray the ball to disinfect and deodorize, rinse clean, and set aside to air dry. It’s important to note that hamsters are very sensitive to strong odors. If you do opt for this method, make sure that you have removed all of the vinegar before giving the ball back to your hamster.  

A few tips

When cleaning your ball, don’t use an abrasive sponge or scrubber, because they can scratch the surface of the ball, which not only makes it cloudy looking, but also creates little grooves for bacteria to hide in.  

You’ll also want to avoid using chemicals like bleach, because they are too strong and can harm your hamster.  If you do use soap, opt for a dye- and fragrance-free kind that is gentle on skin to protect your hammy. Once you’re finished cleaning the ball, clean and disinfect your sink, and then thoroughly wash your own hands.

Do you need someone to let your hamster get some exercise out of the cage while you’re away?  Hire a pet sitter! Our pet sitters pride themselves on maintaining a clean and entertaining environment for your pets.  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 紫流 on Flickr.

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Can cats share your Thanksgiving feast?

Thanksgiving is almost here!  If you’re the sort of person who loves to cook for holiday guests, you might have a cat circling your ankles like a little land shark, waiting for a taste of the delectable feast.  It’s only natural to wonder, then, is it okay for your cat to 

Can cats eat turkey?

At first, logic seems to suggest that if pet food companies offer turkey flavored cat food, then it must be alright for them to eat the real deal.  Slow you roll, there! You can only feed your cat a small amount of turkey under the proper conditions. It must be cooked thoroughly or else you’ll risk giving your cat salmonella.  Remove the skin and never feed the bones, because they are a choking hazard. Likewise, you shouldn’t leave the carved carcass for your cat to chew on because the bones could fracture and puncture your cat’s gastrointestinal tract.

Seasonings are also a risk factor.  According to the ASPCA, “While sage can be a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving stuffing, it (and many other herbs) contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression in pets, especially cats.”  Be especially mindful of garlic, onions, and chives, which can cause severe anemia. Keep your cat away from the stuffing, too!

What about side dishes?

If you’re really falling for those big sad eyes that your cat is giving you while you’re preparing Thanksgiving dinner, Phillip Mlynar of CatTime.com suggests using “simple cheats” method.  For instance, your cat can have a little lick of mashed potatoes before you add any dairy or seasonings.  Likewise, a very small scoop of pureed pumpkin from the can (not pumpkin pie filling) should be okay.

When all is said and done, the ASPCA recommends keeping your pets as close to their regular diet as possible for the holidays.  With many new sights, smells, and people afoot, keeping your cat on the same feeding routine will provide one constant in your kitty’s life.  More importantly, it’ll take one hazard out of the equation when it comes to your cat’s health.

Have you made last minute Thanksgiving plans?  Drop us a line! We have friendly and professional pet sitters available for the holiday.


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 rihaij from Pixabay

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Thanksgiving treats for your rabbit

What’s not to be thankful for when you have a pet rabbit?  They fill your home with a warm, and happy presence. If you’re looking for a way to show your bunny just how much he or she means to you this holiday, consider the following treats!

Apples

When cutting up apples for the pie, set aside a few for your bunny.  It’s best to leave the skin on for nutritional value, especially if it’s organic.  Just be sure to wash it thoroughly. According to Susan A. Brown, DVM , it’s an especially good to give fruit as a treat to your rabbit every morning.  If your bunny doesn’t come to you for the morning treat, then you know it’s time to go to the vet.

Brussels sprouts

If you don’t have a baked brussels sprout dish on your menu this year, consider adding one!  It’ll be an excuse to pamper yourself when you drizzle on the maple syrup or a splash of wine, and an even better excuse to pamper your rabbit with a non-leafy vegetable that’s in season.

Parsley

To some it’s a garnish, to others it’s an essential ingredient, but to your rabbit it’s a real treat!  If you’re looking to mix up your bunny’s leafy green intake, consider this aromatic herb. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t feed it often, though, due to its high oxalic acid content.  

Whichever treat you decide to surprise your bunny with this Thanksgiving, be sure to introduce it slowly so that you can watch for any signs of stomach upset.

Are you looking for someone who can keep up with your rabbit’s carefully planned diet?  Hire one of our pet sitters! Our diligent pet sitters will follow your instructions to the letter.  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.

Image by Ajale from Pixabay

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Will indoor cats grow a “winter coat?”

When the daylight shortens, cats don’t need to go to the store and buy big puffy jackets! Lucky for them, they simply grow a thicker undercoat to keep them warm in the winter time. But if a cat stays inside a temperature regulated home, will he or she still grow a winter coat?

What is a “winter coat?”

To understand what a winter coat is, first one must understand how a cat’s fur coat functions. Guard hairs are the long, visible hairs that give a cat his or her pattern and color. Underneath the guard hair layer is a thick, fluffy layer of fur called an “undercoat.” The undercoat is what keeps the cat warm, and it’s usually a grayish color. When the undercoat thickens up for cold weather, it’s referred to as a winter coat.

When does it grow in?

Winter coats begin fluffing up in the fall, when the daylight begins to shorten. Even though indoor-only cats don’t really need the extra insulation, they will still grow a winter coat if they are exposed to enough sunlight. That is because the thickening of the fur doesn’t have to do with temperature at all. On the contrary, it’s a response to the amount of daylight that’s available. 

Is there anything that you need to do to prepare for it?

Most cats are pretty self-sufficient when it comes to grooming, but sometimes senior cats need a little help. Senior who aren’t as flexible as they used to be will sometimes get matted fur when their thicker coat begins to grow. The winter coat can sometimes become tangled with the shorter fur that needs to fall out to make room for the longer fur. 

Are you looking for someone to keep up with your senior cats grooming routine? Drop us a line! We have the perfect pet sitter waiting to meet you!


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 eendeckel from Pixabay

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Why do crested geckos “fire up?”

As if their uniquely spiny, frilly, and eye-lashey charm weren’t enough, crested geckos naturally change colors to become even more beautiful before your very eyes. Read on to find out what this process is called and why it takes place.

What is “firing up?”

Crested geckos are nocturnal, so when they wake up in the evening, it’s their time to shine! When your crestie awakens, he or she will fire up, which is an intensifying of its skin tones. This is when your gecko will have the richest variation in pigmentation and color. 

Think of firing up a lot like booting up a computer, or turning on a cellphone, or starting up a car. When it’s active, it’s “fired up!” If you want to watch your gecko change colors in the tank without disturbing him or her, install a blue or black light.

What is “firing down?”

It follows that if a crested gecko fires up during the nighttime when it’s most active, it would fire down during the daytime, when it’s time to go to sleep. Firing down is a form of camouflage. Since it’s lighter during the day when cresties rest, becoming lighter in color helps them to blend in at the time when they are less active and more vulnerable.

Think of firing down a lot like the Human Torch, who would say “flame off!” when he was finished fighting crime for the day. Some cresties seem to be fired up or down all of the time, which is perfectly normal. But keep in mind, they will also change color in response to stress and mood.

Are you looking for someone to check on your crested gecko during the evening? Contact us to make arrangements with a pet sitter who can check on your crestie at night.


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 Karen Arnold from Pixabay

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When to choose boarding over in home pet sitting

Both in home pet sitting visits and boarding in a pet sitter’s home have their perks, but you may be on the fence about which service to choose.  How do you know when boarding is the right choice for your cat? Ask yourself the following questions to decide.

How does your cat behave when left alone?

Destructive behavior is a strong indicator of a cat with separation anxiety.  Bored and anxious cats get into trouble when they are left alone for too long.  If you come home to a total mess, even when you were only gone for a few hours, it might be a good idea to board your cat during your next trip.  That way, your kitty can experience the calm, loving presence of a cat sitter who tends to his or her emotional needs and cleans up after him or her.

Is someone going to be in your home while you’re out of town?

House guests who are inexperienced in looking after cats can inadvertently stress your kitty.  If your guests are vacationing in your home, they may disrupt your cat’s routine. Their noise can also upset your cat, especially if your home is usually very quiet. Moreover, house guests who aren’t used to having cats around might leave windows or doors open through which your cat can escape, or they can create other hazards for your cat. 

Having a pet sitter come to check on your cat doesn’t work as well in these situations because their visits can accidentally interrupt your guests’s enjoyment of your home. Instead, you might want to board your cat for the peace of mind that your cat will be with someone who pays close attention to him or her.

Does your cat need medication?

Sometimes, the least stressful environment is your own home, and moving your cat could aggravate his or her medical condition.  Certain medications, when properly labeled and prescribed by a veterinarian, can be administered by a professional pet sitter who visits your home.   

However, if your cat recently underwent surgery or needs vital medication at precise times, medical boarding at a vet’s office is the wiser way to go.  Just be sure to ask if someone is on staff around the clock, as some practices do not have a veterinary doctor present when the office is closed.

Do you need help deciding if in home visits or boarding is right for you and your kitty? Send us an email, and we will pair you with a friendly sitter or boarder who can answer your questions and guide you.


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 Navigirl from Pixabay

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Are guinea pigs affectionate?

How can you tell if your guinea pig likes you?  Fortunately, guineas are very affectionate pets, and they have several ways of showing how much they care about you.  If it’s your first time parenting a guinea pig, you’ll recognize some of the behaviors below from some of your other favorite pets, too!

Licking

Many animals lovers with recognize being licked by their pet as a universal sign of affection.  Guinea pigs will lick, or groom, other piggies as well as their pet parents, too.

Kissing

Even though most people would consider licking to be the animal equivalent of kissing, guinea pigs actually give kisses a lot like a human!  It’s not quite nibbling, because they don’t use their teeth. Instead, they gently and repeatedly nip you with their lips for just a moment.

Nuzzling

When a happy guinea will brush its head against you or one of its fellow piggies, it’s known as nuzzling. Cats show this behavior, too, which is called bunting or allorubbing.

Purring

Perhaps their most cat-like behavior is purring.  After you’ve petted or tickled your guinea for a while, you may hear them squeaking.  However, when they’re really content they will emit a smooth, trilling sound. Some would describe it like a pigeon cooing, others say it’s like a cat’s purr.

Are you looking for someone to keep your guinea pig happy while you’re out of town? Hire a pet sitter!  Our sitters do more than just clean. We will pet and play with your guinea pig so that he or she will feel well loved while you’re away.  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.

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay.

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