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Tips for the environmentally friendly pet parent

Earth Day is a time to pause and reflect how we can be kinder to Mother Earth, this living rock that’s hurtling us through the universe. When it comes to taking care of pets, there can be a lot of waste involved, though. And we’re not just talking about the poo poo! Here are a few tips to help you become a more environmentally friendly pet parent.

Use biodegradable cleaners

When your kitty makes a piddle in an inappropriate place, do you reach for a chemical cleaner? Specialty pet stores stock alternative cleaners that are gentler to the planet. Many of them are enzymatic, biodegradable, even organic. As an added bonus, unlike some household chemicals, these eco-friendly cleaners are gentler to your pet’s paws.

Choose an environmentally friendly cat litter

Have you ever wondered where your cat litter comes from? Where do they get the clay for cat litter, and what happens to it once it’s thrown into the landfill? Other cat litters are made of recycled or plant based materials, such as shredded newspaper, corn husks, walnut shells, and even compressed sawdust. Just be sure to package the used kitty litter in a biodegradable bag so that it gets a chance to break down properly.

Choose recyclable food packaging

Food packaging is often overlooked. Bags of kibble or tubs of wet food may be lightweight and convenient, but the bags themselves aren’t always recyclable. Look for packaging that can be recycled in your area, such as cans and plastic bags with the number “2” recycling symbol. The same goes for cat litter. You can buy it in bulk in some stores, just bring your own container and refill it indefinitely. You’ll save money and the environment!

Do you have any tips for going green with your pet? Drop us a line on Facebook!

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 klimkin on pixabay.

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Why you should choose a professional pet sitter

Imagine you have a long trip coming up. Perhaps you’re going overseas or somewhere that doesn’t allow pets, so taking your furry children with you is out of the question. Should you call a friend or family member, book a low cost casual pet sitter, or go with a professional pet sitting company? Here are a few things to consider before you make your decision.

Knowledge and experience

One of the greatest advantages of using a professional pet sitter over a friend, relative, or occasional pet sitter is the wealth of knowledge we have. Our pet sitters are mature adults who have years of experience taking care of animals. That professional knowledge is crucial in moments that others may miss, such as very subtle signs of illness in your pet.

Professional pet sitters visit at regular intervals and monitor creature comforts such as the temperature of your home on boiling or frigid days. We also know the importance of keeping your pet’s area clean and their food and water bowls full every single day. Not to mention, playtime with your pet is built in to our visits to keep their mind stimulated and their spirits calm.

Courteous correspondence

Furthermore, we understand that your miss your pet while you’re away. That’s why we send detailed emails with photos and videos of your pet every day. We also respond to communication quickly and courteously to help keep your mind at ease.

Proper screening

Are you concerned about just who is coming into your home while you’re gone? Our pet sitters are screened before they begin working with us, so you can rest assured that someone who is trustworthy is watching over your home and your pet.

Insured, licensed, and bonded

Last but not least, professional pet sitters are insured, licensed, and bonded. Meaning that should the unexpected happen, we are properly covered and able to set things right.

Are you looking for a reliable pet sitter? Book an appointment 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.

Photo by Daga_Roszkowska on pixabay.

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Don’t forget to tell the pet sitter these three important things

You want to make sure that your pet sitter is as prepared as possible to watch your kitty, but there are probably a thousand things on your mind as you prepare for your trip. Here’s a handy checklist of the three most important things to tell your pet sitter about your cat.

1. Medical history

Your kitty may have a clean bill of health leading up to your trip, but certain chronic illnesses such as pancreatitis and FLUTD have a way of flaring up at the least opportune moments. Even if your cat doesn’t currently take medication, it’s important to tell your pet sitter what the symptoms of a relapse look like so that they can be prepared.

2. Diet

One of the things that you’ll likely go over in your meet and greet is how to feed your cat, but don’t stop at simply showing your sitter where the food is. You should let your pet sitter know if it’s okay to give your cat extra food if they still look hungry, as seniors and kittens sometimes need extra nutrition. Does your cat usually have a good appetite one day, but snub the food another day? Does your cat have any food allergies? Do they nibble on any plants? Can they have treats?

3. Temperament

Usually, your pet sitter will ask if your cat bites. Most pet parents will say no, because their cat is very sweet. However, it’s important to mention if your cat will give “love bites” during play time or if they might nip when he or she wants attention. It may not be a bite of aggression, but it’s still a bite!

You should also mention how your cat’s mood is in general. Is your cat cool as a cucumber? Does your cat hide under the bed for strangers? Is your cat energetic or playful? It’s important to mention how your cat’s mood is in general because a change in temperament could signal a developing health problem. Keep in mind, though, that some cats behave differently when their parents aren’t around.

Are you on the lookout for a pet sitter that’s as thorough as you are? 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 Didgeman on pixabay.

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Should your pet sitter keep the keys in between visits?

Hey, kitties! Those are piano keys, not door keys!

So you’ve returned from your trip. Everything looks as clean as the day you left, and your cats are calm and relaxed, having spent time with a wonderful pet sitter. You may be wondering if you should ask for the keys back, or let your pet sitter hang onto them until the next visit. What do you do?

Save time with a spare set of keys

Having a spare set of keys saves you and your pet sitter time. Not only will coordinating key pick ups and drop offs no longer be a concern, but last minute trips become more efficient. If you suddenly need to travel, a spare set of keys for the sitter to keep means that you can focus on your trip with one less thing to worry about.

What about concierge buildings?

Some buildings have a front desk with a key checkout system. At first, this may sound very convenient. However, issues with the front desk check out system arise more often than you might imagine. The building can have an improperly recorded permission to enter. If you are on an airplane or are otherwise unavailable when the front desk calls to verify, then your pet sitter is denied access. Having a spare set of keys for the sitter to hold onto takes this out of the equation.

What about security concerns?

Furthermore, if you have more than one person with access to your front desk keys such as a housekeeper or a friend, having them pass between so many hands increases the security risk. Especially on holidays, when the regular front desk staff isn’t available, the keys may be improperly checked out, misplaced by the staff, or not returned at all. This is why a spare set of keys for the pet sitter is crucial. You never want your pet sitter to be unable to visit your cats because of a lock out.

What about for emergencies?

While we like to prepare for virtually everything, the unexpected can happen. You should give an additional copy of keys to a friend who is in town as a backup. A lock box or a key cafe are also good options. As a part of your emergency contacts list, you should also provide the building super’s name in case there is a problem.

Looking for a trustworthy pet sitter while you’re out of town? Our pet sitters guard your keys like the precious pieces of metal that they are. 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.

Photo by Pexels on pixabay.

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Questions for your pet sitter

When you first meet your pet sitter, you probably have a thousand questions and just aren’t sure which ones are the best to ask. Never fear, this handy list will steer you in the right direction.

“What time of day will you visit?”

This is an important consideration if others will be in your home during your trip, such as a housekeeper or a friend who also checks in on the cat. You can also discuss a window of time that keeps your kitty on his or her schedule.

“How long is each visit?”

Sometimes your cat needs a little extra care that takes longer to do. Maybe you have an energetic kitten who needs a lot of play time. Or, you may have a kitty with separation anxiety. After your sitter gets to know your cat and your cat’s routine during the meet and greet, it’ a good time to discuss if longer visits might be better for your kitty.

“What will you do in inclement weather?”

While we make every effort to visit your cat as agreed upon, sometimes hurricanes, blizzards, and other unpredictable weather events can prevent your pet sitter from visiting, especially if public transit shuts down. Have a chat with your sitter about perhaps leaving extra food or if impromptu overnight stays are possible.

Miscellaneous questions

Our pet sitters are often very interesting, creative people. Many of us are actors, artists, writers, and more. We’d love to chat about what we do in addition to pet sitting. Ask us about our own pets, too! Don’t forget to ask, “Is there anything else that you’ll need from me?” It’s a great way to make sure that there isn’t anything left unaddressed, especially if you’re lost in a good conversation.

Would you like a chance to get to know your pet sitter before you book? Fill out our contact form to get the ball rolling 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 Uschi_Du on pixabay.

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How to make the most of a meet and greet

One unique feature of our company is that we offer meet and greets with our sitters before you book your appointments. It’s your opportunity to see if your cat sitter is a good fit for your kitty family. Here are a few tips to make the most of the meet and greet meeting.

Schedule the meet and greet around meal time

Having your sitter come around your cat’s dinner time offers two important opportunities. For one, it gives you a chance to show your pet sitter your cat’s routine. And, two, it helps your cat to associate your pet sitter with food. This is especially helpful for shy cats who will come out when they hear a can opening, but would have otherwise stayed in hiding.

Show your sitter the cleaning supplies

A good practice is to leave the pet cleaning supplies on the counter before you leave for your trip. However, sometimes kitty can get into big messes while you’re gone, such as knocking over a plant. Show your pet sitter where you keep additional cleaning supplies, too, such as the vacuum cleaner.

Other considerations

Does your apartment have a thermostat, or do the windows needs to be cracked if the radiator has made the apartment too warm? Do you prefer to keep the air conditioner off? Are there any rooms where your cat isn’t allowed while you’re gone? These are all good things to review. Don’t forget to show your pet sitter where the light switches are, because they can be hard to find in a dark apartment during an evening visit. You should also have your pet sitter test the keys before they go.

Eager to be paired up with a friendly pet sitter of your own? Drop us a line to be matched 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 guvo59 on pixabay.

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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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