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How to keep your cat out of the trash can

Can any sound compare to that characteristic thwump of your cat leaping into the trash can? Especially when Thanksgiving comes around, both formal feral cats and lifelong house cats can fall prey to the siren call of the kitchen trash can. It’s as if all of the flavorful trimmings and juicy scraps sing their names. It can be a tough habit to break when your kitty decides to start “dumpster diving,” but it can be done!

Try a new trash can

Even if you haven’t been putting flesh or bones into the garbage, you may have inadvertently tossed a takeout box or food wrapper that smelled too good to resist. Once a cat learns a new trick, it’s very hard to get them to unlearn it. That’s why on this blog, we’re big advocates for changing the environment if you can’t change the behavior.

Swing-lid trash cans and trash cans with lids that are easily opened by humans are also accessible to cats. Instead, a tall kitchen trash can with a foot pedal, wide lid, and lip that’s flush with the can should be better barrier. If you have a particularly clever kitty, you may want to freeze your meat scraps instead.

Consider composting

Composting is another good way to remove temptation. While many backyard composters advise against putting bones and meat into your compost, commercial composting companies can handle such leftovers. Many New York City buildings are opting into food scraps and yard waste collection programs, also known as “organics” collection. If you live in Jersey City or Hoboken, the Community Composting Company offers airtight, kitty-proof collection bins for your kitchen that can be picked up weekly or bi-weekly.

Are you still looking for someone to keep your cat out of trouble this Thanksgiving? Book one of our pet sitters! We still have availability, but don’t wait. Book 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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How to help cats handle changes in the home

Cats, like many pets, need a routine to help them feel safe and secure. When this routine is interrupted, even for positive reasons such as introducing a new baby to the home, sending a child off to college, or having a holiday party, it can be a very stressful time for your cat. Luckily, there are several ways you can help your cat cope with these changes.

Give your cat a consistent amount of attention

When times are changing, your first instinct may be to comfort your cat with extra cuddles and affection. However, this can actually send the wrong signal to your kitty. He or she may become suspicious of the extra attention and come to the conclusion that something is wrong.

Sometimes, the opposite happens. Especially when a new member is added to the home, you may find yourself preoccupied with tending to them. Unwittingly, you may be paying less attention to your cat. Instead, be sure to give your cat just as much attention after the change as you did before. No more, and no less.

Add herbal and pheromone remedies to your home

Pet stores sell a variety of holistic remedies that can help your cat calm down. Your vet may even have some in stock. Popular pheromone treatments are the Comfort Zone Feliway spray and Sentry’s Calming Collar. Other calming aids come in the form of treats or drops you add to your cat’s food. However, you should exercise caution. Some may contain harmful ingredients such as valerian, so it’s best to show your vet the ingredients listed before you administer them to your cat.

When in doubt, visit the veterinarian

Speaking of the vet, if your cat has become reclusive or has started showing signs of improper litterbox usage, don’t assume it’s just due to stress over the changes in your household. An upset routine can upset a cat to the point of developing medical ailment such as FLUTD. Not to mention, knowing that your cat has a clean bill of health can make life a lot less stressful for you, too!

Do you have a kitty that has problems with anxiety? Consider boarding with us for the holidays. Our boarders are able to provide additional attention while your kitty stays comfortable in the boarder’s home. Don’t forget to book early 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.

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Why do cats arch their backs?

Halloween is hot on our heels! Front porches and doorways are decorated with creepy goblins, spooky ghosts, and hissing black cats. Indeed, it seems it wouldn’t be Halloween without those iconic image of a black cat, arching its back and fluffing out its tail. Yet, does it ever make you wonder why cats do that?

Anxiety and fear

The black cats with arched backs and bare fangs that you usually see on Halloween merchandise at this time of year are exhibiting fear displays. A threatened cat will try to look bigger by puffing out the tail, arching the back, and turning to the side, This will often be accompanied by hissing and spitting, and a cat experiencing this level of fear or anxiety is likely to scratch or bite.


While petting your cat’s back, you may have also noticed that his or her back will arch affectionately. This is because cats mostly use body language to communicate. An arched back, a purr, and slowly closing eyes usually indicate that you’ve found a spot where you cat enjoys being petted.


Another reason your cat may arch his or her back has to do with stretching. Just like humans, right before a cat settles down to sleep, or as soon as he or she wakes up, a good stretch is in order. Cats will usually arch their backs first, and then walk forward a half step, extending the back and hind legs in the process.

Do you have any photos of your cats mid-stretch or dressed up for Halloween? Show us on Instagram! We’d love to keep in touch.

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 macyvi on pixabay.

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Why do cats sleep so much?

Whether lolling in the sun or curled up on the couch, it may seem like your cat sleeps all day. In fact, cats spend an average of 16 hours a day sleeping! But why do cats sleep so much? And should you ever be concerned about your cats sleeping habits?

They’re conserving energy

Like their ancestors, cats are predatory animals, and crepuscular too! This means that they’re predisposed to hunt and be most active at dusk and dawn. While your kitty may not “hunt” the way a lion or tiger does, she still spends lots of time pouncing, stalking, and playing. This takes up lots of energy! Cats sleep so much during the day in order to conserve as much energy as possible.

They’re not quite sleeping

While cats get lots of shut eye, only 25 percent of that time is spent in deep sleep. The rest of the time they’re dozing in a light sleep. You can tell because a cat in light sleep will twitch his or her ears, respond to noises, and wake more easily. In other words, kitty probably isn’t sleeping quite as heavily as you think.

They may be ill

While all cats sleep during the day, factors such as age, personality, and even the weather can have an effect. Kittens and older cats, for example, tend to sleep longer: closer to 18 hours. Cold temperatures and rainy days can also cause kitty to get a little sleepy. However, health is an important factor too. If you notice your cat sleeping far more than usual, don’t hesitate to check with the vet to make sure it’s not hypothyroidism or another serious ailment.

Whether you have a sleepy kitty or a furry little ball of energy, rest assured that our cat sitters will give your cat exactly as much attention as he or she prefers. 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 macyvi on pixabay.

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Is your cat’s poop too smelly?

Let’s face it it isn’t meant to smell like a basket of roses, but if your kitty can clear the room after having a bowel movement, you may start to wonder if your cat’s poop smells much worse than it should. Here’s what you should know about cats and their malodorous poops.

Problems with diet

Just like in humans, a poor diet can lead to an upset stomach for your cat. Whenever possible, you should opt for a high quality wet cat food. Wet cat foods provide more moisture, which can make bowel movements easier for your cat. They also tend to contain less fillers, which mean that there are more digestible ingredients. Often times, what’s causing the odor in the litter box is the bacteria working to digest the parts of the food that your cat could not.

Likewise, if you have your cat on a rotation diet, take note of which days seem to be the worst for litter box odor. There may be a certain brand or flavor to blame. Suddenly switching your cat’s food can also lead to an upset stomach.

Health concerns

Inappropriate litter box usage is one of the tell tale signs of health problems. Many serious illnesses such as chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and more make their presence known by irregular waste. Furthermore, parasites such as worms and certain malignant microorganisms can give your cat an upset stomach and unpleasant litter box experience, too.

Choice of cat litter

After you’ve taken your cat to the vet and he or she has been given a clean bill of health, and you’re quite sure after consulting with the vet that your cat is on the appropriate food, you may want to blame the litter box itself.

Some cat litters smell worse than others. For instance, natural plant based litters and unscented clay litters need to be completely changed often because they hold onto odors. The problem could also be that your cat isn’t covering up the poop, which you can imagine would have the same effect as someone in your family who never flushes the toilet.

Are you worried about your cat’s litter box smelling up your apartment while you’re out of town? Hire a pet sitter! Our pet sitters scoop the litter box daily. 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 schuger on pixabay.

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Why do cats lay on clothing?

Have you ever put on a bathrobe, warm and fresh from the dryer? That plush comfort and dreamy aroma are enough to whisk you away to a better mood.

Now, have you ever folded fresh laundry, only to have your cat come and cuddle up in it? Chances are, kitty feels the same way about your clothes as you did about that bathrobe! Don’t worry, here are a few tips to help correct the behavior without stealing the moment from your cat.

Create a better cat bed

As the descendants of desert-dwelling African wild cats, domestic cats will often instinctively seek out warmer places. Sometimes, your pile of fresh laundry is the closest thing that fits the bill. Not to mention, it has an added layer of comfort because it smells like you. You can recreate these warm, fuzzy feelings by making a cat bed out of an old sweatshirt or t-shirt that you no longer wear. Place it into a cardboard box or use it as an outer sleeve for a self-warming mat.

Have a sacrificial pile of clothes

Consider setting aside a pile out of your comforter or the clothes that you wear the least often. You can encourage your cat to nestle into it by leaving a helping of treats or catnip there. By making the approved pile more appealing than the clothing that needs to be washed or folded, you’re providing a “yes” for a “no.”

Change laundry locations

When all else fails, you should always fall back on that golden nugget of cat wisdom: “If you can’t change the behavior, change the environment.” Get into the habit of folding your clothes behind a closed door. Or, immediately after you’ve finished folding your laundry, put them away in a drawer instead of leaving them out.

Does your kitty have a favorite place to sleep? Our pet sitters want to make sure your kitty stays relaxed and comfortable while you’re away. So be sure to show your pet sitter where all of his or her favorite nap time locations are.

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 Vnukko on pixabay.

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Why do cats puff their tails?

It’s that time of year again. Fall is here and the stores are brimming with spooky masks, witches on brooms, and silhouettes of black cats perched on fences with arched backs against an orange sky. If your home has a happy kitty, you may not have seen your feline friend bare his or her fangs so fiercely, but you’ve likely seen your kitty make a puffed tail pose for other reasons. Let’s explore why it happens.

Moments of play

When your cat’s tail fluffs up and doubles its size, it’s experiencing a phenomenon known as piloerection. Tiny muscles in the skin at the base of hair follicles contract and make the hair appear to be standing on end. When it happens in humans, we refer to it as getting goosebumps.

Just like in humans, this reaction is involuntary and can be brought on for many reasons, both physical and psychological. Have you ever been so excited that you’ve gotten goosebumps? The same can happen in felines at play, causing them to get puffy tails that curl like question marks. A very giddy cat may even shake his or her tail like a rattle, which is a lot like giggling.

Moments of anger and fear

Just as a bear rears up on its hind legs to make itself seem larger, cats puff out their tails and arch their backs when they’re frightened in an effort to make themselves seem bigger than they are. Coupled with an ear splitting screech, this display can startle an intruder long enough for kitty to make a quick escape. Likewise, a cat who is severely agitated will often give a warning by making him or herself seem larger. You may also notice a ridge of fur standing up like a razor along the spine.

Whether your cat “laughs” along with you with a fluffy, quivering tail or surprises you with a big poofy warning, be sure to discuss it with your pet sitter! Our sitters are always mindful of your cat’s emotional state. 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 blhphotography on flickr.

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Does your cat have ear mites?

It’s common to see kitty giving her ears a good ol’ scratch. However, if your cat is scratching excessively, she might have a case of ear mites. But what exactly are cat ear mites and how can you spot them?

What are ear mites?

Cat ear mites are tiny, crab-like parasites that can infest a cat’s ear canal. Ear mites love to feed on the ears’ oils and wax, making your kitty very uncomfortable. Symptoms of ear mites include excessive ear scratching, head shaking, a brown waxy secretion, scabs around the ear, and a foul odor. Your cat may also take on a “lopsided” look, favoring one ear over the other. Inside the canal you may notice a substance that resembles coffee grounds. Though usually not serious, ear mites left untreated can cause damage to the eardrum.

Where do they come from?

Highly contagious, ear mites usually come from other cats. While both indoor and outdoor cats are susceptible, outdoor cats are more prone as they’re more likely to run into other cats. Because ear mites spread so easily, you will need to check any other pets for symptoms if your cat gets infected. Though ear mites prefer cats, they can also infect dogs, rabbits, and hamsters.

How can they be prevented?

If you suspect your cat has mites, bring them to the vet to make sure it’s mites and not another type of ear infection. Once properly diagnosed, ear mites can easily be treated with medications and a thorough ear cleaning. However, the absolute best treatment is to prevent cat ear mites before they happen. Check your cat’s ears regularly for any signs or symptoms. You can also apply topical medications like Revolution to ensure your cat is protected from ear mites and other unpleasant critters.

Our sitters take careful note of your cat’s health and appearance. If anything looks off, they’ll be sure to notify you right away. Call to schedule 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 PublicDomainPictures on pixabay.

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How to help shy cats come out of their shells

Just like people, cats come in all different personalities: silly, grumpy, playful, and of course, shy. If your cat is on the timid side, never fear! With a little patience and time, you can help your cat come out of its shell.

Establish a reliable routine

All kitties are sensitive to changes in their environment and routine. If you have a shy kitty, it’s important to keep a regular schedule. Feeding them on a consistent timetable and scooping their box daily will let them build trust and feel comfortable. Make a point to socialize with them daily. If your cat is play motivated, schedule regular play sessions, which will build their confidence.

Let them make the first move

When socializing with a shy cat, let them approach you on their own terms. You can start simply by sitting in the same room and gently talking. As our sitter, Andrea Pearlstein explains, “I find that it helps, at each visit, to always speak softly — or sing softly! — to kitty, even if she’s in hiding.” This alone may pique your kitty’s curiosity. And that’s great! If they approach, offer a hand to sniff. If they still seem interested and don’t back away, try gently petting around their heard and ears.

Don’t force interactions

However, if your kitty stays hidden, don’t force them out. Let them stay put. Never pull them from a hiding spot or hold them against their will. Instead, continue to work with them. Our sitter, Julie Prince, found that music and reading out loud were her best tools for a cat who refused to budge. “I simply sat…and read to her. And, I brought her music to listen to. A few months later, when I was booked again, altho’ she was still very testy, she came out, walked around, and went and sat…on her scratching post glaring at me. I still read to her since she clearly did not want to be touched. Great progress!”

The most important step is to be patient: all cats warm up at their own speed. As Julie says, “Cats will come around on their own time schedule not yours. It’s that wonderful independent streak that makes them so special.”

Is your kitty particularly shy? Our pet sitters will take time to make sure your cat feels safe and comfortable. 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 PublicDomainPictures on pixabay.

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How to prevent one cat from stealing food from the other

Some cats are food motivated, eagerly polishing their plate after every meal. Others may be less motivated, eating more slowly or even leaving food behind. So what do you do when your kitty who is more food motivated tries to steal food from the kitty who is less so?

Try feeding them multiple times a day

If one kitty leaves food behind that the other finishes, it may be a sign that the first cat’s portion is too large. Commercial pet foods usually list a feeding chart based on your cat’s ideal weight. Once you’ve determined that you are feeding the correct amount, you should also consider if you may be overfeeding your cat per sitting. Breaking the meal into two or three servings per day will encourage your cat to eat the entire smaller meal before another opportunistic kitty does.

However, if you know that one of your cats will always leave a certain amount of food behind, you can take this into account when feeding both of your cats together. You would simply lower the other portion so that by the time that cat finishes off one plate, the addition of other plate’s leftovers will comprise one complete serving for that kitty. It just takes a little arithmetic.

Try feeding them separately

Feeding your kitties separately is another easy solution. You can feed them on either side of a bathroom or bedroom door by placing the eager kitty’s food down first. Then, once he or she has darted inside and started munching away, you would gently close the door and place the other serving on the opposite side of the door.

The separation doesn’t have to be a physical barrier, though. You could also feed them out of each other’s line of sight or simply sit between them. When it comes to giving treats, the separation can be as simple as tossing treats for the food motivated kitty to chase after while discreetly placing a pile of treats for for the less motivated kitty to eat at a slower speed.

Try making them work for their food

Puzzle feeders work by rewarding your cat with food every time they solve a puzzle. They can be more or less complicated depending on your cat’s skill level and motivation. If your hungrier kitty is also the clever one, giving him or her the puzzle will slow him or her down long enough to let your more casual diner finish his or her meal. Alternatively, if the slower cat is the “brain” of the bunch, a puzzle feeder can make his or her meal inaccessible to the other cat who cannot solve the puzzle.

Try a tastier food

Sometimes, the cat with a less voracious appetite is the one who needs a little encouragement. Experiment with more palatable foods to see if new textures or flavors will motivate him or her to eat more quickly. Sometimes, rotating the flavors from day to day is all that is needed to keep kitty interested in eating.

Are you worried about maintaining the feeding routine for your hungry bunch while you’re out of town? Hire one of our friendly pet sitters! We make every effort to follow your feeding instructions to the letter. You can even show us in person when we come for a meet and greet before your trip!

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 PublicDomainPictures on pixabay.

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