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What you need to know about kitten season

Now that the weather is beginning to ease up a bit, feral cats are finding that it’s the ideal time of year to reproduce. Rescue organizations call this time of the year “kitten season” because their shelters become flooded with baby kitties as the cats give birth.

Here’s what you need to know about kitten season.

What to do if you find kittens

If you find a pregnant cat or a litter of kittens, call your local animal rescue organization. Kittens have a much better chance at survival when they are cared for by humans, and a rescue organization can help place them with a loving home.

How to help during kitten season

Now is the perfect time of year to volunteer at a cat rescue. You could help out onsite at the shelter or sign up to be a foster parent. The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals offers classes on how to care for kittens if you think you might be up for the important task of fostering them.

Adoption during kitten season

It’s also the perfect time of year to adopt a cat, but be sure to kitten proof your house, first! However, if you have extra love to give, consider following.

Kittens never have a hard time finding a home, but their mothers and other older cats tend to sit in the shelter for much longer. Try to rescue an older cat whenever possible. Not only will it make more space for the shelter to save other cats, but you’ll also save your own cat from sitting there for months, or even years, without a home to call their own.

Have you recently adopted a kitten? Our pet sitters love taking care of the juniors and the seniors! Book your pet sitting visits 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 Jennifer C. on flickr

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What are therapy cats?

Studies continue to show that regular interaction with a friendly animal can have lasting health benefits. Visiting patients used to be a privilege reserved for dogs. However, in recent years, therapy cats have also been given the chance to help in the healing process.

What are therapy animals?

Essentially, animal assisted therapy involves bringing a therapy pet to a hospital, nursing home, classroom, or other facility in order to relieve anxiety. Therapy animals are usually certified cats or dogs, but other species such as birds and horses can also be certified. Therapy animals are different from emotional support or service animals because they are not permitted special accesses.

Are there pet therapy organizations in New York City?

The North Shore Animal league offers the Shelter Pet Outreach Team (SPOT) brings puppies and certified cats from their shelters to nursing homes, senior centers, and rehabilitation centers. However, the ASPCA is a community partner of Pet Partners, which is the nation’s largest nonprofit that helps train and match therapy pet teams across the country.

Would you and your cat make a good therapy pet team?

If your cat adores and can’t get enough of people, he or she might have what it takes. However, therapy cats should also be comfortable with going outside, loud noises, other animals, and being handled — even if it’s by someone who doesn’t have the best coordination or strength. Furthermore, you would also be a part of the pet therapy team. You would have to demonstrate the ability to give your cat effective commands as well as read when your cat is stressed or fatigued.

At the end of the day, therapy cats provide those in need with an opportunity to make a loving connection and build a relationship with another living creature.

Does your cat have a lot of love to give? Call to ask about how boarding your kitty in our sitters’ homes so that they receive around the clock affection while you’re out of town.

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 lovinkat on flickr

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What is New York City’s feral cat initiative?

If you live in New York City, you’ve probably spotted a feral cat, if not several! You might have noticed them skittering into alleyways or ducking under cars. Who are these little critters and what makes them different from your kitty at home?

What is a feral cat?

A feral cat is one who hasn’t been raised by humans, and as a result, is not used to interacting with people. Because they haven’t been socialized, feral cats are too fearful to be handled and are unsuitable for adoption. Feral cats are not quite the same as strays, as many strays are former pets who are lost or have been abandoned. While feral cats do not live with humans, many are dependent on them for food, whether it means eating scraps from a dumpster or treats left out for them by members of the community.

What are New York City volunteers doing about it?

Unfortunately, the feral cat population has reached drastic levels in New York City. Fortunately, organizations such as the New York City Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI) have devoted themselves to reducing the feral population through humane means. They promote a method known as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), a process in which cats are humanely caught, vaccinated, spayed, and then released. NYCFCI trains community members to safely catch feral cats and bring them to proper facilities for neutering.

How can you get involved in your area?

If you have spotted feral cats in your neighbored but are unsure how to help, you are in luck! NYCFCI offers resources on how to safely provide food and other resources for feral cats. You can also take one of NYCFCI’s TNR trainings to actively help reduce the population in your own area. In addition to NYCFCI, there are many local groups who work closely with the feral kitties in their communities.

If you are looking for a companion, you may be interested in adopting or fostering a feral kitten! Feral kittens are young enough to be socialized and find permanent homes with people. And of course, dollar donations to TNR initiatives and local cat shelters are always helpful!

Are you looking for someone to care for your newly adopted feral kitten? Book a meet and greet with one of our friendly pet sitters. We can come visit your kitty, once, twice, or even three times a 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 by Leans on flickr

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Creative cat beds

A comfortable cat bed can provide your cat with a feeling of safety and comfort. The high sides helps cats to feel safe from surprises during nap time, and the fluffy material helps keep them warm. There are a variety of beds to suit any style apartment. Here are a few of the most creative cat beds to choose from.

Felted cat beds

These beds are crafted by hand, and they come in a variety of captivating colors and shapes. A quick search on Etsy reveals a wide variety marbled cat cocoons, more Tim-Burton-esque figures with twists and swirls, and event tents, trees, and hobbit houses that you can make yourself!

Miniature model tent

Speaking of tents, have you ever noticed that outdoor stores have smaller display versions of large tents? What do you suppose happens to them when the model is discontinued or the store goes out of business? Well, if you’re like this Reddit user, you can talk your way into taking home a new deluxe tent for your kitty companion!

Hammocks for under tables and chairs

Space is at a premium in New York City, so this hammock that can be tied under your chairs and end tables are the perfect space saver. Your kitty will enjoy a semi-hidden retreat, and you’ll get to feel extra clever for creating more usable square footage in your apartment.

Suction cup window perches

Practically every cat enjoys a nice nap in the sun. If your window doesn’t have a ledge for kitty to perch on, you can use this sturdy perch instead!

Shark bed

Last but not least is the ever popular shark bed, which is particularly a hot commodity during Shark Week! Shark cat beds are actually produced by several manufacturers, so be sure to read the reviews and shop around for the best price!

Does your cat have a favorite sleeping spot? We’d love to see it! Share a photo with us on Instagram or 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 KeithJustKeith on flickr

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How to meet friends of felines in New York City

15197021552_dd9ee798faNew York City is filled to the brim with events and opportunities to meet like-minded individuals from any community. So, how do you go to find fellow feline aficionados? Here are a few ways to get started.

Join the NYC Cat Meetup

New York City is fortunate enough to have a Meetup group that is dedicated entirely to cat-lovers! In the past, this group has arranged outings to the Egyptian cat exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum as well as a trip to Meow Parlour, which is the first cat cafe to come to New York City. There have even been casting calls for Animal Planet documentaries.

Attend this year’s Broadway Barks

On Saturday, July 11, Broadway Barks returns to Shubert Alley for the 17th year in a row. Stars and celebrities come out to proclaim their love and support for both cats and dogs. The event and concerts are completely free, but the proceeds from raffles, silent auctions, and sales of signed memorabilia benefit local animal organizations. Previous years’ events have lead to the adoption of 200 shelter animals. Maybe it’s no wonder, since Tony-award winner Bebe Neuwirth strutted out on stage and declared herself a proud cat lady before introducing some of the adoptable cats one year.

Sit in on TNR Workshops and Events

Have you ever wanted to help a colony of feral cats in your neighborhood? The NYC Feral Cat Initiative, which is organized by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals, runs regular events and workshops throughout the year. You can satisfy your handy side by learning how to build feral cat shelters, or spend an adorable hour learning how to bottle-feed kittens. Chances are good that you’ll meet like-minded individuals that love to help cats as much as you do.

Volunteer with a shelter or rescue

Perhaps your home is feeling a little empty, but you’re not ready to adopt a cat of your own. If you become a pet foster parent, rescues will pair you with a loving kitty and plenty of pet supplies to take care of it. If you are unable to keep a cat in your home, you could volunteer at a shelter instead. Not only will you be helping cats in need, but you’ll become a part of a caring network of animal lovers.

Looking for more events, tips, and tidbits on everything feline in New York City? Follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our blog.

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.

“A girl with her cat” by Niels Kliim is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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NYC may lift the ban on ferrets as pets

ferretSince 1999 it has been illegal to own a ferret in New York City, but that may soon change.

From CNN:

Ferrets could be making a comeback in the Big Apple.

The furry, four-legged animal — long absent from the city — could weasel its way back into the hearts of New Yorkers based on a petition submitted to the Department of Health asking it to repeal the city’s 15-year ban on ferrets as pets.

The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said Wednesday that it is considering an amendment to the Health Code.

Ariel Jasper, a Brooklyn College master’s student, said she drafted the petition in January because she has always loved ferrets and wants to correct the current Health Code, which she claims contains many inaccuracies about ferrets.

“I looked into the Health Code and I saw that they were labeled as wild, dangerous animals, and that confused me because ferrets have been domesticated for over 2,000 years,” Jasper told CNN. “They were actually domesticated before the cat,” Jasper said.

Owning a ferret is legal in 48 states, including in the remainder of New York state, she added.

Jasper said that as part of her petition, she recommended mandatory rabies vaccinations for the animals, spaying and neutering, leash laws, as well as micro-chipping requirements so that they can be tracked if anyone gets rid of them.

Read more here.

Many of our pet sitters have experience caring for ferrets and other exotic pets. So if you need a pet sitter for your exotic pet, please give us a call.

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Free pet adoptions in NYC this weekend

maddiesIf you’re thinking of adopting a dog or cat, this weekend is a great time to do it. New York City shelters and rescue groups are offering free adoptions as part of the Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days.

From the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals:

Thousands of cats and dogs will be available for FREE adoption from more than 90 New York City area rescue groups and shelters!

May 31 & June 1, 2014

Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days, the biggest free pet adoption event in America, is back this year, and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals is again leading the charge in New York City! We want to place thousands of dogs and cats in qualified forever homes on May 31 & June 1, 2014. Free adoptions will be offered throughout the weekend at participating shelters and other adoption locations, and at two large, outdoor adoption events in Union Square, Manhattan.

Why Free Pet Adoptions?

Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days is helping rescue organizations in New York City and other communities around the country to find homes for more animals, including senior animals and those with treatable medical conditions — all of whom can make wonderful companions. The goal of Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days is to give all healthy, senior, and treatable shelter dogs and cats a second chance. The event also will help rescue organizations financially, thereby allowing them to save even more lives.

See the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals for more information about Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days in NYC. And remember, after you adopt your new buddy, Katie’s Kitty Pet Sitting is available when you need us!

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In March, New Yorkers can adopt for free at Bideawee

Bideawee animal shelter, New YorkMarch is a great time to adopt a new friend into the family. But March is definitely the time for New York cat and dog lovers to get Lucky –  literally! In honor of the Irish, the folks at Bideawee are naming all of their puppies and kittens “Lucky” and letting them go to a new home without a fee.

From Bideawee:
Getting Lucky means something different to everyone. To Bideawee and animal lovers everywhere, it means long walks in the park, lots of kisses in the morning and a warm snuggle when you get home.

In March, we’ve made getting Lucky as easy as possible by changing the names of all our loving dogs and cats that are 6 months and older to “Lucky.” And as luck would have it, Bideawee is letting pet lovers make Lucky a part of their family for free.

Your luck will run out on March 31st, so be sure to visit one of our adoption center locations in Manhattan or Westhamton to adopt your lucky one this month.

Of course, you’re also free to choose your own name once you adopt one of these Lucky ones. Once you bring them home…we consider you both Lucky.

Visit Bideawee online for more info or go there in person to get your Lucky little friend!

And, of course, after you bring your new buddy home, you’ll want a pet sitter in your corner. So give us a call and one of our pet sitters will come meet you and the new lucky love in your life.

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NYC dog walkers urged to be careful of metal surfaces

Dogs electrocuted in New York City due to melting snow, ice, and metal surfacesDog owners in New York City are being urged to be careful when walking their dogs. As the ice melts, the snow and water come in contact with metal surfaces, which can electrocution. The New York Daily News reports that a number of dogs and people have been electrocuted so far.

A group of concerned dog owners has issued an emergency alert warning pet owners in all five boroughs to be careful of stray voltage while walking the sidewalks.

The New York Council of Dog Owner Groups said the melting snow mixed with salt is a potentially dangerous combination for pets, who can get shocked while walking over Con Ed manhole covers and grates.

“NYCdog urges all pet owners to exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings,” said the alert, which was posted to the group’s Facebook page Wednesday night.

The group advised dog walkers to avoid manhole covers, sewer caps, metal gratings and Con Edison repair sites, as well as all overhead scaffolding at construction sites.

This is just one more reason why we’re all so ready for warmer weather to get here. With any luck, spring is just around the corner. But, as long as there is melting snow NYC dog owners and dog walkers need to be careful where we are walking.

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Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals celebrates 10 years

Jane Hoffman, of Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, an organization dedicated to making New York City no-kill, is celebrating their 10th anniversary. The

From Global Animal:

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to making New York a no-kill city.

With its 150 member nonprofit shelter and rescue groups, the organization has much to celebrate—from reducing the city’s euthanasia rates to addressing animal overpopulation and control. Thanks to their tireless efforts, the Alliance has helped save over 240,000 animal lives.

In fact, the city’s euthanasia rates at Animal Care & Control (ACC) have plummeted 74 percent since 2005 (from almost 32,000 dogs and cats per year to just over 8,000), giving New York the lowest rate of euthanasia per capita of any major U.S. city.

Unfortunately, with tens of thousands of cats living on New York City streets, the majority of animals entering shelters are feral cats, which is why the Alliance is placing emphasis on their NYC Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI).

The NYCFCI has proven successful in managing feral cat colonies and decreasing the city’s feral cat population thanks to the Alliance’s humane, non-lethal Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program.



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