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Four tips to keep your cat calm while you’re gone

"Cat sleeping on her back" by Ian BarbourDoes your kitty cry as soon as you leave for the day? Does he or she get nervous at the sight of your suitcase, or shred your things while you’re away at work? Here are 4 tips that can help you keep your cat’s separation anxiety in check.

1 – Play classical music

Time and again, studies show the benefits for classical music in both people and animals. Julie, one of our Midtown Manhattan pet sitters and the master at soothing even the toughest customers, recommends playing music for your kitty while you’re away. She brings a radio to appointments, having heard that, “In London, all the shelters have them and it’s been proven to calm the animals.”

Leaving the TV on to a channel with birds and putting a cat tree by a window can also help your cat feel a little less alone.

2 – Add Feliway

Jenn, who manages our pet sitters in Queens, recommends using Feliway. Available at most online and physical pet stores, “Feliway has the “feel good” cat pheromones in it that cats naturally release when they rub their faces on corners and do putty-paws into blankets and cat beds,” Jenn explains.

It comes in both spray bottles and diffusers, which she says are both “helpful during other stressful events, too, such as moving and trips to the vet, and introducing new cats to one another.

3 – Practice coming and going

Pam Johnson-Bennett, one of the leading experts in feline behavior, suggests making coming and going as undramatic as possible. She writes, “Don’t make a big production about leaving.” Prolonged goodbyes can broadcast upsetting feelings to your cat.

Additionally, items like suitcases, purses, coats, and keys can be triggers for cats with separation anxiety. “If your cat starts to get tense whenever he hears you pick up your keys or if he sees you reach for your purse or coat, then practice doing those things several times a day without actually leaving.”

4 – Have someone visit your cat

Last, but not least, be sure to have someone come by to check on your kitty while you’re out of town. Whether it’s a pet sitter or a close friend or relative, it’s important to have someone who can play with your cat and keep them company. Be sure to leave out your kitty’s favorite toys and brushes to help remind your kitty of the good memories of you until you return.

Your pet sitter can set up puzzles that can be set after he or she leaves, such as balls filled with treats, paper bags full of catnip, or timed feeders that pop open later in the day to keep kitty entertained even after they’re gone. Give us a call to learn more about what our sitters can do for you and your kitty companions.


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.

Cat sleeping on her back” by Ian Barbour is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Meet Julie – Our Midtown Manhattan Pet Sitter

Julie, friend of animals and pet sitter extraordinaire.

Julie, friend of animals and pet sitter extraordinaire.

Pictured here is the kind-hearted friend of the felines named Julie. She has been a Katie’s Kitty pet sitter since 2007. Having lived in the East 50’s for over 25 years, she is intimately familiar with the Midtown Area. Even after clients move away, Julie remains good friends and in touch, saying, “Their cats became family to me.”

An artist’s approach to empathy

Julie grew up in California, but after college, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting. She even made appearances on Broadway! An artist through and through, she soon found new life working as a commercial artist and sculpting portraits in bronze, glass, and marble.

Much like acting, Julie feels that sculpting requires a certain compassion that has translated over to her passion of pet sitting. “Doing portrait sculptures demands empathy if you are to do it well,” she reflects, “You need to feel yourself in another person’s shoes to better understand their personality. Now, of course, I try to feel myself in another’s paws!”

Above all else, Julie ensures that her clients, and their kitties, can sense kindness, respect, and and understanding. She notes, “ It’s an intimate affair being allowed into someone’s home, building, and life to care for a pet.”

Julie's cat, "silly."

Julie’s cat, “silly.”

With cats as her constant companions

Julie views empathy as an important skill that she has been working hard to cultivate since early childhood — and she learned it from her own cats! At one point in her life, Julie was the guardian of 7 feline friends. “It was like living in the Serengeti plains, and I was allowed to join them in their habitat, which was my apartment.”

During that time, she also learned how to give oral medications and sub-cutaneous fluids, as well as easing other ailments that trouble aging cats. Without so much as a second thought, she even turned down an opportunity to sail the Greek Islands. “I would not leave my cat that needed fluids daily for kidney problems.” That was that.

Today, Julie is the guardian of this golden girl named silly (who prefers the lower case like bell hooks). “Believe me, silly is quite spoiled,” Julie says with a contented laugh. After a costly bout with liver inflammation, silly begrudgingly switched from commercial canned foods to a healthier diet that includes fresh salmon from the supermarket.

Now, life is good. Silly is 14 years old, and together, Julie and her cat dance, play tag, and enjoy a ton of games every day. Silly especially loves to be massaged and hugged. “Playfulness is good if they want it,” Julie mentions, “My silly is a touchy-feely cat, but some aren’t. I respect their boundaries.”

An expert with the toughest kitties

Julie recalls that her first few assignments were with what others would consider “problem cats.” “To me, there are no aggressive attack cats — only cats who feel fearful and become defensive.” In fact, Julie views these kitties as more feral and closer to their ancestors, which is something to be cherished. “If you sit down and really listen and watch, they will let you know how they wish to be treated… with love and respect.”

One kitty only ever appeared as a bump under a blanket that didn’t want to be disturbed. However, after Julie read to her and played music, she began to come out and get more comfortable. “Cats will come around on their own time schedule, not yours. It’s that wonderful independent streak that makes them so special.”

Whether there are shy, sweet, or even first time owners’ cats, Julie is happy to share her intimate knowledge of felines with whoever requests it. She often brings toys and a radio to her pet sitting appointments. For some clients, she even offers advice such as how to rearrange furniture and cat trees to give kitties a better view out the window.

A word of advice

As for how to keep your kitties calm while you’re gone, Julie offers the following advice, “Remember to leave a light on, and some classical music. Call Katie’s Kitty for the finest cat sitters in New York City! We are insured and bonded to boot!”


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 prepare for a visit from your pet sitter

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As a courtesy, our pet sitters like to schedule a meet and greet in order to get to know you, your kitties, and your household before you go away on a trip. Here are a few pointers for a helpful and thorough introduction between your pet sitter and your cat.

Feeding supplies

If at all possible, have your pet sitter come around the time of day when you usually feed your cat. That way, in addition to simply showing the sitter where the food is, you can also demonstrate how to prepare it.

Cat waste disposal

For a sitter, knowing the location of the garbage chute or trash room is every bit as important as knowing the location of the litter box. You’ll also want to point out where you store your any cleaning supplies in case kitty makes a mess while you’re gone.

Health and Wellness

If your kitty has a history of making hairballs or has missed the litter box in the past, please tell your sitter. Unusual furballs or litter box behavior is how pet sitters know if your cat is feeling ill. Of course, if you kitty needs any medication, it’s a good idea to show your sitter how to dose your cat.

Toys, toys, toys!

An active cat is a happy cat. When we come to visit, our sitters will give your cats as much attention as they like. So, if your cat has a favorite brush, laser pointer, jingly ball, or feather on a stick, feel free to show your sitter where they are and how to use them. Scratching posts help to keep your cat entertained while you’re gone, but if you aren’t able to get one before you leave, please remember to trim your cat’s nails. Long claws can be uncomfortable for your kitty and dangerous for your sitter.

Favorite spots

Showing your sitter where you like to sit to pet your cat can go a long way to helping older cats or more mellow kitties feel well loved while you’re away from home. If your cat is shy and has any preferred hiding locations, let us know as well.

Katie’s Kitty pet sitters are very knowledgeable and friendly, so feel free to bring up any questions or concerns you may have on your mind. Remember, we love hearing about how your cats are doing after your visit. So be sure to send us photos on Instagram or find us 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.

New Toy!” by R∂lf Κλενγελ is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Should your pet sitter visit only every other day?

every other day pet sitting visitsEverybody knows how independent cats can be! Some cats don’t want anything more than food, water, and a warm place to live. Others are extremely affectionate, and can’t get enough love and attention from anybody who wants to dish it out. And, even very friendly cats can be aloof at times.

Because of that independent streak in our feline friends, some people don’t see a need for their pet sitter to visit their cat every day. Once in a while we get a request from someone who want us to visit their cat every other day, or even every three days. Many pet sitting companies require at least one visit per day for cats.

(Please keep in mind that in this blog post, we’re talking about people who ask us to visit their cats in their own home. Our cat sitters who board pets in their homes are with the cats every day, and in many cases, all day.)

Having your pet sitter visit your cat every day while you’re away means he or she will discover issues sooner rather than later. It also means those things can be dealt with hopefully before they become larger issues. Waiting 48 hours, or more, between cat sitting visits may be inviting trouble. It may be as simple as picking up an item your cat knocked off of the counter or as drastic as discovering your cat is suffering from an urgent health problem.

You know how much mischief your cat can get into when you’re home. When you’re away they can get even more creative! Oftentimes that mischief is quite harmless, but it can also result in something that needs to be handled as quickly as possible. Here are a few examples of what pet sitters at Katie’s Kitty, and other pet sitting companies, have encountered.

  • Urgent health issues that need to be tended to immediately.
  • Running out of food or dumping a water bowl.
  • An autofeeder malfunction, which results in food or water not dispensing.
  • Cats locking themselves in a room (with food and water in another room).
  • AC or furnace malfunction, leaving cats in extreme cold or heat.
  • Cats refusing to use a dirty litter box and soiling the house.
  • Bored cats inventing games, such as clawing furniture, climbing curtains, etc.
  • Cats jumping on the counters and accidentally bumping a knob on a gas stove to the ‘on’ position.

Any one of the above examples can result in emergency health issues for your cat, or costly repairs for your home. And because cats have such delicate systems, a very manageable health condition can quickly turn into a life threatening situation. Having someone visit your cat every day will help cut down on the potential for that happening.

Even though cats can be quite independent, they do need us to keep them safe and healthy. Part of our job as guardians is to make sure our pets are cared for even when we’re unavailable. So while scheduling every other day visits for your cat will be more economical for you, it’s not the best option for your cat. If your cat likes attention, she’s going to fare much better while you’re away if you provide her a substitute human. And even cats that are not very social need to have someone make sure they’re OK. The last thing you want for your cat is for him or her to be in some type of distress whether it’s because of a health issue or some silly hijinks.

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Communicating with your pet sitter is important

how to hire a pet sitterHere at Katie’s Kitty, part of what we do is to ensure you and your pets are comfortable with our pet sitter prior to any pet sitting visits. When taking on a new pet sitting client we have plenty of questions for our clients about their pet and home. Our clients are also encouraged to ask their pet sitter if they have questions about the service they provide. We want everyone to have clear expectations, and asking for information is the best way to achieve that.

If you intend to hire a pet sitter for the first time, read this short article from Boston. com. It’s written for a new pet sitter, but it also provides an excellent “how to” for someone who intends to hire a pet sitter for the first time.

From Boston.com:

When pet owners leave for vacation, business, or a quick family visit, they need to find an ally to help them care for their pets. Enter the pet sitter.

Yes, the pet sitter. A savior to pets and owners alike! So before you jump head over tail into your next pet care job, read these tips on how to be the best pet sitter you can be!

Discuss expectations.
Before you agree to take any pet care job, discuss with the owner what their expectations are and learn their pet’s needs. This enables you to make sure that you are qualified. If the pet has medical needs that you aren’t comfortable performing, it’s better to know now and not when it’s too late.

Depending on the pet, you may be required to stay at the owner’s home to care for it. Other pets may only require a check-in, clean water, and food. Note: If you are going to stay at the home, be sure to confirm additional details (Will you have your own set of keys? What doors should you use? Is there a doorman? Will their alarm be disarmed? Have they told their neighbors?) for the duration of your pet care job.

Some owners appreciate a daily check-in. Send a photo of their pet via text message. This will let them know you’re taking care of their pet and will put a smile on their face!

Schedule a “practice visit” with the owner.
Even if you know the owner and the pet, you should schedule a time to visit their home and conduct a “walk through.” You may already know where the toys are and where the food is kept, but “practicing” may provide additional insight. See where extra kitty litter and doggy walk bags are kept. See how the pet behaves when people enter the room.

The owner will also be checking to see how comfortable the pet is with you. If the pet is not comfortable with you, it may be best not to take the job. Don’t get discouraged: You want what will be best for the pet. If the pet is anxious, it’s best for the owner to find someone who puts their pet at ease.

Read the rest of the article here.

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New York City pet sitters are scheduling holiday pet sitting visits

New York City pet sitter. Katie's Kitty NYC cat sitters and dog sitters care for pets in Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, and Long Island.If you will be going out of town for the holidays, we encourage you to book your pet sitting or cat boarding as soon as possible. Here at Katie’s Kitty we have a number of host families in New York City who will care for your cat or dog in their own home, so your pet will not need to be left alone during your time away. We also have cat sitters and dog sitters who will come to your home and care for your pet if you would rather they stay in their own environment.

Regardless of the type of care you’d like for your pet during the holidays – staying with one of our pet sitters in his/her home or in your own home – please give us a call as soon as possible. We want you to have the pet sitter of your choice caring for your pets, and the way to ensure that is to book your pet care services as soon as possible.

If this is the first time you’ll be using our services, we offer a complimentary play date or meet and greet. During this meeting you, your pet sitter, and pet will spend time getting to know each other. You will also go over details of your pet’s care, complete necessary paperwork, and have a chance to ask about the pet sitter and Katie’s Kitty.

You’ll find a list of Frequently Asked Questions on our website to help you learn a little more about Katie’s Kitty and how our pet sitting and pet boarding services work.

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Prepare your pets & home for your pet sitter

Before going out of town and leaving your pet in your pet sitter’s care, you’ll want to do a few things around your home to make sure everything is in order. Here are a few suggestions from PetsitUSA on how to ready your home, and your pet, for your time away.

Preparations for your pet

  • Ensure that there will be enough food, treats, kitty litter, etc. for the time you will be away.
  • Let your pet sitter know where your dog’s leash is kept.
  • If you have a carrier for your pet, let your pet sitter know where it is kept.
  • If your pet is on medication, notify your pet sitter ahead of time. Leave detailed instructions on its use, even if you tell your pet sitter verbally how it’s administered.
  • Put ID tags on each of your pets.
  • Provide outdoor pets with plenty of water, shelter, and a secure enclosure.
  • Leave toys for your pet to play with while you’re away.

Preparations for your home

  • Inform your pet sitter of anything that may be out of the ordinary (sinks that don’t drain properly, toilet that overflows, etc.).
  • Show your pet sitter where the thermostat is and how to operate it. Be sure to leave it set at a comfortable temperature for your pets while you’re gone.
  • If anyone will be in your home during your absence, let your pet sitter know. Because of safety concerns, many pet sitters will not enter a house if they see someone there. Also, be aware that many pet sitting businesses will not accept jobs if they are requested to share pet care responsibilities with others, or if someone else will be in the home while they are caring for your pets.

You’ll find the full article, Prepare Your Home and Pet for Your Pet Sitter, on PetsitUSA.

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The pet sitting business is growing

In spite of the economic issues, the pet industry is still going strong, and pet sitting is one business that continues to grow.

Christie Joy goes to work every day in jeans and a T-shirt and works with some real animals. “The best part of pet-sitting is it’s something you can be proud of and passionate about,” says Joy, of Treasured Pets, Tyler, Texas. She takes care of all types of pets and enjoys getting to know the pets and their families. “It’s an intimate business because not only are you taking care of what some people feel are their children but you’re going into their homes,” says Joy.
It’s Raining Cats and Dogs

People spent more than $43 billion on their pets last year, according to Pet Sitters International (PSI) and the American Pet Products Association.

[…]

Pet sitters do more than show up to pour out a few scoops of food and refill the water bowl. Joy says they also might administer medications, walk dogs, play with cats “and, my favorite, give out treats.” Most pet sitters also perform house-sitting duties such as bringing in mail or taking out trash, opening and closing blinds and turning alarms and lights on and off.

Read the rest of Top jobs: Pet sitter

 

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From military officer to pet sitter

Former military officer now owns pet sitting businessThe former Corporal Wendy Waghorn, of Canada, is now Pet Sitter Wendy Waghorn. She’s traded in her military life for one that includes plenty of dogs, cats, and other pets.

When former military Corporal Wendy Waghorn was deployed overseas in Turkey, she never thought she would miss her dog so much. Little did she know then that missing her dog would soon bring thousands more into her life.

Now running one of the largest pet sitting businesses in Kingston, Waghorn never suffers a dull moment.

“I honestly havn’t even missed the military,” she says. “I am so busy with all of these animals, I’m now busier than I ever was.”

Waghorn has been all over Canada and has now chosen to stay put, here in Kingston. She says it was hard not knowing exactly what she wanted to do when she stepped out of the military.

“I actually had to wait two years to fully support myself but my business, Kingston Pet Sitting, took off quick.”

Much of Waghorn’s business has been through word of mouth and online. With over 600 customers and over 1,000 animals a year, she couldn’t be more pleased with the success.

Read the rest: Former military corporal produces Kingston’s largest pet sitting business.

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