Top Menu

New York City Pet Sitting Services
Cat Sitting and Boarding ~ Exotic Pet Sitting


Tag Archives | pet health

Why does my cat drink from the faucet?

Have you been wondering why your kitty likes to drink water right from the faucet? It all comes down to instinct. Fresh, running water is the natural cat preference, and water that flows straight from the faucet imitates the streams, rivers, and brooks that their kitty ancestors used for survival. Not every cat displays faucet drinking behavior, but if your cat does, don’t be alarmed. It’s only natural!

Why not drink from the water bowl?

If you’ve neglected to wash your kitty’s water bowl for a day or two, you’ll notice that the bowl begins to develop biofilm, a slimy substance that develops when bacteria settles and grows on the surface of the bowl. This is understandably unappetizing to your kitty. A cat’s instincts tell him to steer clear of standing water, as it is more likely to be stagnant and therefore contaminated with harmful bacteria.

What is so attractive about that faucet?

It’s not only the fresh running water that attracts your kitty to the faucet, it’s the sound! Your cat’s keen ears pick up the sound of running water, as they would in the wild when seeking a clean water source. The movement of water is also attractive to your kitty’s eye. Running water has lots of kitty advantages; it’s fun to play with, it sounds like a rambling brook, and it tastes better because it is more oxygenated.

What if your cat drinks too much water?

If your cat seeks water from the faucet constantly, and seems like he just can’t get enough water, it might be time for a vet visit. Kidney disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism are common ailments of older cats, and a kitty who drinks more water than usual is a tell tale sign that something might be wrong.

What about that water bill?

Instead of running the faucet for your kitty, consider getting a pet fountain. Just remember that you’ll still need to clean it regularly, as pet fountains are just as susceptible to biofilm as any other drinking bowl.

Cats are happiest when they can express their natural instincts. Need someone to come by and refresh the water bowl, and maybe even run the faucet for your feline friend? Give us a call to meet with one of our pet sitters!


Andrea Gores is an actor, playwright, and pet sitter for Katie’s Kitty.

photo by Teresa Boardman on flickr

Continue Reading

Should you toilet-train your cat?


Have you been wondering if toilet training is right for your kitty household? Although a cat using a toilet can be quite the spectacle, there are several things to consider before “taking the plunge.”

What are the advantages?

The biggest advantage of toilet-training your cat is eliminating the need for kitty litter. The cost-conscious pet parent could save $70-$150 a year in cat litter, which can add up quite a bit over a lifetime.

Not to mention, teaching your cat to use the toilet means that you will no longer have to tolerate litter box odor or deal with unsanitary litter flecks scattered around your home or floating through the air.

As an added bonus, pet parents who are concerned with space issues appreciate not having a litter box to take up room, which is a concern for many New Yorkers.

What are the disadvantages?

One of the biggest disadvantages has to do with health monitoring. The volume, consistency, and frequency of urine and feces in the litter box are indicators of your cat’s health. When your kitty uses the toilet, you won’t be able to keep an eye on these factors. A clean bill of health for your kitty is also required to avoid the transmission of toxoplasmosis.

Older cats, cats who would have difficulty balancing on or gripping the slick seat, or cats who don’t like to share could also find the toilet to be troublesome. Additionally, some kitties may develop anxiety from falling in or not being able to satisfy the instinct to dig and cover their waste.

One final consideration is that toilet training requires a lot of patience, and accidents are bound to happen. House guests can also accidentally close the lid, leaving your kitty no choice but to eliminate on the floor.

Other things to try

Are you frustrated with your litter box, but still unsure if toilet training is right for your kitty? Consider trying automatic litter boxes and alternatives to clay cat litter until you strike a balance in the human-convenience-to-feline-happiness ratio.

Whatever method you choose, our pet sitters take extra care in ensuring a clean and happy home while you’re away. Give us a call to meet with one of our friendly pet sitters!


This post is a collaboration between Andrea Gores and Candace Elise Hoes.

Andrea Gores is an actor, playwright, and pet sitter for Katie’s Kitty.

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 minorleo on flickr

Continue Reading

Why does my cat drool while purring?

Have you ever wondered why your cat drools when he or she is happy? There are a number of possibilities. Some are benign, and some need medical attention. Here are a few explanations.

A remnant from happier times

Dr. John Bradshaw gained a lot of attention across the web when he suggested in his book, Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, that cats essentially see their pet parents as big, friendly mama cats. He told the International Science Times in an email interview that “The most likely explanation for their behaviour towards us is that they think of us as part mother substitute, part superior cat.”

Indeed, affectionate behaviors such as kneading and even meowing for food have been linked to actions performed by a kitten for its mom. Franny Syufy of the Spruce then postulates, “It occurs to me that kittens salivate when they are nursing, and they salivate in anticipation of it. Wouldn’t it then be normal for [a cat] to salivate when he is being held and petted by his surrogate mother, as the experience sends his memory back to those blissful days with his feline mother?”

Some cats are just “happy droolers”

In general, scientists don’t have a consensus on why this phenomenon occurs, though. According to Dr. Patty Khuly VMD of VetStreet, “It seems that a small but significant percentage of cats drool in response to positive stimulation, which is typically also accompanied by purring, rolling over submissively or rubbing their faces against the objects of their adoration.” She goes on to write that these kitties are lifelong “happy droolers.”

Some cats are not

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t rule out other potentially dangerous medical causes for excessive drooling. Purring isn’t always a happy signal, as some cats purr as a self soothing behavior in response to an illness or injury. Foreign objects lodged in the mouth, ingestion of a toxic plant, kidney disease, feline oral squamous cell carcinoma, and a number of other illnesses can also cause your cat to drool. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to bring your cat to the vet!

Are you planning a big trip? Book one of our pet sitters and rest at ease. We provide photos and updates on your kitty’s health and happiness levels — drool and all!


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 Tom Williams on flickr

Continue Reading

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

13348088923_e3fbb02983_zThanksgiving is a festive opportunity to gather with cherished friends, beloved family members, and plentiful food. One thing to be thankful for this year is the company of your cat companions and their good health. Here are a few ways to help you keep your kitties healthy and happy during Thanksgiving celebrations.

Take care in the kitchen

Many cat parents have stories about the times their kitties rubbed against their legs and sent them stumbling. Now, imagine that happening while you’re holding a hot tray from the oven, a kettle of boiling water, a sharp knife, or even a frozen turkey.

Each year, 86,629 Americans visit the emergency room due to trip over a pet or pet related items. Not to mention, burns, fractures, lacerations, or worse could result from dropping objects on your cat in the kitchen. Therefore, it’s safer to keep kitty in the bedroom while you’re cooking.

Be mindful of your guests

Likewise, if you’re going to be having a lot of company over, you may want to designate the bedroom as a safe space for your cat. Some cats can become fearful and stressed in the company of loud strangers, so it’s important for kitty to have a retreat when he or she is feeling overstimulated.

You’ll also want to make sure your guests know the protocol around your cat to avoid being bitten or scratched. Discourage your guests from giving your cat table food and have cat-specific treats from the pet store handy instead.

Know which foods are harmful

Some human foods are safe for cats to eat in small quantities, such as cooked skinless chicken breast, eggs, broccoli, corn, and pumpkin. Other foods should be avoided, like cooked bones, fat trimmings, onions, garlic, sweeteners, and cranberries. Keep in mind that while the base food could be safe, the herbs and seasonings it was prepared with could be inappropriate. So you might want to think twice about giving kitty a piece of turkey or pumpkin pie.

When in doubt, treat your cat with a special can of pet food instead. Always keep the phone number to poison control handy and the emergency vet handy.

Last but not least, are you going out of town? It’s not too late to book a pet sitter! Give us a call and we’ll make sure that your kitty has company 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.

photo by Jenny Downing on flickr

Continue Reading

Toys for independent play

5345337946_9111728c33_zWhen you’re home, your cat draws joy and entertainment from you. However, when left alone for an extended trip or even just a long day at the office, your cat can grow bored and get into mischief. Here are some of the best independent play toys to keep your cat happy and out of trouble!

The Wrestle and Romp toy by Petstages has a crinkly interior and is the perfect size for cats to bite and kick! It also comes with durable tabs that your cat can use to fling the toy across the room.

Nothing tickles a cat’s fancy quite like a bunch of Yeowww catnip bananas. Cats love to lounge in a pile of fragrant catnip bananas, or you can leave them about the house.

Never underestimate the power of an inexpensive toy. Small paper bags filled with catnip are a good remedy for a kitty who likes to bite or rip things apart. Fold the bag over a few times, and then let kitty have at it!

Did you know that they make exercise wheel for cats, too? It can take some getting used to, but once your cat gets the hang of it, he will never want to step off of it!

A good cat tree goes a long way. You’ll want to make sure that it has plenty of high perches, a box or two for hiding, and enough stability that it won’t wobble when your cat jumps on it. Place the tree by a sunny window where your cat can watch the birds or people passing by.

If you really want to catify your home, you can install specially made cat furniture onto your walls. Items range from single floating shelves, elaborate cat staircases, and even Indiana Jones style rope ladder bridges!

Choosing the right toys to keep your cat entertained is very important, but nothing can replace human interaction. Our pet sitters can shower your cat in love and affection just like if you were home. Request a quote 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 Jessica Fiess-Hill on flickr

Continue Reading

10 Tips for “Kitten-proofing” your home

Kittens! by London looks

Kittens are doubly curious, as they are both babies and cats at the same time! When you bring a new kitten into your home, it’s wise to take precautions to remove potential hazards in kitty’s new environment.

1) Install permanent screens on windows. Do not rely on window guards for children, use temporary bug screens, or crack the window slightly, as kittens can wiggle through them.

2) Tie cords for window blinds and curtains well out of your kitten’s reach. They may be tempted to play with the strings, but they could accidentally wrap around your kitten’s neck.

3) Store toys (for both cats and children) in a chest or box that closes securely. This is especially important for toys with strings and small pieces that could be swallowed.

4) Remove dangerous house plants. The ASPCA has a list of plants that are toxic to cats. If you’re not sure what species your plant is, it’s best to give it away or keep it outdoors.

5) Keep all medicines and cleaning products locked away. Even if the container is closed, it can still be chewed through.

6) Secure drawers, cabinets, and closets with child safety locks. Otherwise, cats could easily pull open the doors.

7) Secure the knobs on your stove. While jumping up and exploring, a cat’s paw could accidentally turn on the gas or a heating element.

8) Keep the oven, dryer, and dishwasher doors closed. Cats like to sleep in dark, warm places, so this could lead to disaster. Always perform a “kitten check” before starting up these appliances, and leave notes to remind others to do the same.

9) Close the toilet lid after every use. A kitten could fall in and drown, or the lid may close and hurt a cat playing in the water.

10) Store plastic in a dispenser that is kept in a secured closet or cabinet. Chewing on and swallowing plastic could harm your cat’s digestive track, or kitty could get trapped in the bag.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but you can read more at the Humane Society, Purina, About Home, and MEOW Cat Rescue.

Are you worried about leaving your kitten alone on vacation? Our pet sitters can come check on your kitty once, twice, or even three times a day to make sure everything is okay! Request a quote for multiple visits for kittens.


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.

“Kittens!” by London looks on flickr

Continue Reading

Exercise routines for your cat

4645032071_fd1c453b4c_z

Cats need exercise to maintain strong muscle mass, high functioning organs, and an ideal body weight that will help them live happily and healthfully into old age. What’s more, a cat that does not exercise enough can become bored, destructive, or just plain irritable. So, what are the best ways to keep your cat in shape?

Turn mealtime into playtime

Ever notice that trail of felines behind you when you open a can or pour some fresh kibble? Dr. Karen Becker of Mercola Healthy Pets suggests using this behavior to your advantage. Try leading the furry parade around your house, stopping at intervals to put down small portions of food. “Believe it or not, I can keep my cats moving for 20 minutes this way,” she boasts. You can also make a game out of moving your cat’s dishes between higher and lower surfaces to encourage them to climb and jump.

Choose more stimulating toys

Cats will get the most out of a toy that caters to their hunting instincts. Dr. Rolan Tripp recommends moving toys to mimic prey animals. In a Q&A with WebMD, he says to “take a laser pointer and skitter it across the floor like a bug [or] get a wand toy that looks like a bird and pretend to land and take off.” Remember to let your cat “win” and capture the toy in the end. Dr. Jean Hofve, author of The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care: An Illustrated Handbook notes that it’s especially important to follow up playtime with the laser pointer with something the cat can physically catch to avoid fixation and frustration.

Make play the highlight of your day

Even older cats enjoy an invigorating play routine. Get in the habit of playing with your kitty 2-3 times a day, for 10-15 minutes at a time. The best times to play are when you come home from work and right before bedtime to burn off extra energy that could be expressed in unwanted ways.

Whether you have a chaotic kitty or a tubby tabby, our pet sitters know how to keep your cat exercising and entertained. Give us a call to find the perfect playmate for your kitty while you’re away.


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.

Milo” by David DeHetre is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Continue Reading

How do I prevent shedding?

Furminating angusSave for perhaps the owners of Sphynx cats, virtually every pet parent has found their clothes and household fabrics covered in fur. So, what causes shedding?

Natural causes

Outdoor cats grow and shed coats according the seasons. This is usually triggered by changes temperature and the hours of light in a day. For indoor cats, artificial lighting and air conditioning can interfere with these natural signifiers. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to see shedding year-round.

Medical conditions

However, shedding in excess can be caused by allergies, infections, and pests. Stress can also lead to excessive shedding. If you notice that your cat is over grooming one area, biting, scratching, or losing fur in large patches, you should consult your vet.

Once your cat has a clean bill of health, try one of the following to help alleviate the plague of fur around your house.

Add brushing to your routine

In addition to removing dead fur that can cause tangles, studies have shown that spending time brushing or petting your cat can have health benefits for you as well. Some cats enjoy a slicker brush, or Kong’s Zoom Groom may be a good alternative. Deshedding tools like the Furminator are actually blades that can help to remove the dead undercoat before it becomes a larger problem.

Try wipes and washes

Sometimes, older cats in particular need a little help from their pet parents for grooming. You don’t need to douse your kitty with water, though. There are a variety of dry shampoos and gentle wipes available at the pet store that can help you keep your cat’s coat clean and shining.

Feed a balanced diet

You may be surprised the difference a high quality food can make. Look for foods that are high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and are easier for your kitty to digest. Finding a food that’s both healthy and appetizing for your individual cat can take some trial and error, but here is a comprehensive list to set you on the right track.

Think outside the box

Last, but not least — if piles of fur have become a nuisance in your home, you can try adding attractive throws that can be easily washed to your furniture. In the same vein, adding a pet bed may give your kitty a more preferred comfy surface where you don’t mind so much fur.

Shedding is a fact of life for kitties, which is why some of our pet sitters keep a lint roller handy. Just in case.


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.

Furminating Angus” by Paul Joseph is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Continue Reading

How to treat heat exhaustion in cats

8094680465_e4db76bd7b_b

Summertime is in full swing in New York City. In the hotter weeks ahead of us, elderly and obese cats can find themselves at greater risk for heat exhaustion. Even youthful felines can get into trouble during the hot months, especially if your kitty is used to living in air conditioning. Here’s what you can do to prevent and treat heat exhaustion.

Prevention

In your home, make sure your cat has access to cool, shaded areas and a large supply of water. If you need to take your cat to vet, do not use public transportation. Buses and trains may be air conditioned, but platforms are not. If you call for a taxi or car, be sure to have the driver turn on the air conditioning. Never leave your cat by itself in a car, not even with the air conditioner on.

Signs and symptoms

In the early stages of heat exhaustion, you may notice your cat becomes more restless as he or she is looking for a cooler place. Your cat may also begin excessive grooming to try to cool down. If your cat displays any of these symptoms, you need to intervene immediately:

  • Panting/open mouth breathing
  • Cherry red tongue and gums
  • Sweaty paws
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Stumbling, staggering
  • Rectal temperature over 105 F

Treatment

If your cat is conscious, get your cat into a cooler environment immediately. Soak a hand towel in cool water and drape it over your cat’s side. Treat the ears and pawpads by dabbing them with room temperature water. Try to coax your cat to drink with a clean dropper full of water in the corner of your cat’s mouth. After your cat recovers, be sure to take your cat to the vet. Your vet will check for organ damage and replenish fluids.

If you came home to find your cat unconscious in a hot environment, PetMD recommends soaking your cat with cool (not cold) water, and placing a bag of ice or frozen vegetables between your cat’s legs. Rush your cat to the vet.

Remember, never use cold water to treat heat exhaustion as it can shock your cat.

If you’ll be out of town for a few days during the summer, consider having a pet sitter come by to check on your kitty. Even if your cat is usually fine alone, a pet sitter can ensure that your home a comfortable temperature, and that your cat has access to plenty of fresh water.


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 Koen Photos is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Continue Reading

Problematic Jerky treats back on the market

dogJerky treats made by Purina and Del Monte have been blamed for the deaths of hundreds of dogs, and illness in thousands of others. As a result, the treats were pulled from the shelves in 2013 in a nationwide recall. However, in spite of the fact that the cause is not known, Purina and Del Monte have decided to make the deadly treats available to dog owners once again.

From NBC News:

Two of the top-selling brands of jerky treats for pets will soon return to U.S. store shelves, a year after a nationwide recall and with government experts no closer to solving the mystery that has linked the products to hundreds of animal deaths and thousands of illnesses.

Nestle Purina Pet Care officials say they’ll reintroduce a line of Waggin’ Train treats for dogs starting next month, including products made from a single supplier in China and new products sourced entirely in the United States.

“We’ve worked hard to put in place the highest quality controls in the dog treat industry,” Waggin’ Train President Nina Leigh says in a promotional video.

And Del Monte Foods Corp. officials said they’ll resume selling Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky Strips and Chicken Grillers Recipe treats in March using U.S.-sourced meat.

Federal Food and Drug Administration officials told NBC News they know about Nestle Purina’s plans and have reviewed them, but they said the company doesn’t need special permission, known as pre-market approval, to reintroduce the treats. And they said they couldn’t discuss the review.

“As with all meetings that might include discussion of proprietary business information, the content of these meetings is confidential,” spokeswoman Juli Ann Putnam said. She couldn’t comment about Del Monte.

That’s despite repeated FDA warnings that consumers should avoid jerky pet treats after the agency received reports that since 2007, nearly 600 pets, mostly dogs, have died and 4,500 have been sickened after eating chicken, duck and sweet potato products made in China. That figure is up by 900 reports since October.

Read more here.

Because these treats are back on the market does not mean they are safe, so please heed the FDA warning and find an alternative treat for your pets.

Continue Reading