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Should your pet sitter visit every other day?

When hiring a pet sitter, many owners wonder how often their cat needs pet sitting visits. Because cats seem independent, it is easy to assume that a visit every other day will suffice. However, letting too much time pass between visits puts your kitty as risk! A kitty left alone for too long means that sudden problems would go undetected. Consider the following scenarios that could be alleviated by a daily pet sitter.

Veterinary issues could arise

A daily sitter can quickly respond to any health issues. If a cat gets an upset stomach, ingests something it shouldn’t, or suddenly stops eating because of illness, your sitter can prevent harm by spotting it sooner rather than later. Similarly, cats often don’t start showing signs of sickness until it’s too late: if no one catches those symptoms in time, it could mean that kitty is gone forever. A visit within 24 hour could mean the difference between life and death!

Unexpected problems with building facilities

Your house or building can experience an accident at any time: the heat can shut off, a pipe can burst, the power can go out. And your poor kitty can get stuck in the middle of it all! Additionally, maintenance workers or cleaners can cause issues by leaving doors or windows open: this means kitty could escape or worse! No matter the problem, your sitter is often the first person to know if anything has gone awry.

Bored and unattended cats can get into trouble

Cats are very clever and need stimulation. So when there’s no one to interact with, sometimes they get into trouble. They overturn their water bowls, knock items off counters, and accidentally turn on the stove! Many cats have managed to lock themselves in rooms without food, water, or a litter box. Then, they have accidents on the furniture and floors. Cats can get stuck in crevices or tangled in cords. A cat who gets bored will ease their restlessness by chewing or clawing things they shouldn’t. Your pet sitter can help mitigate any chaos by checking in on your little mischief-maker.

When it comes to leaving your kitty alone, the “what-ifs” are endless. We don’t recommend visiting every other day. Our pet sitters can visit once, twice, three times a day and even stay over night – as often as is necessary to make sure your kitty stays safe, happy, and healthy. Drop us a line to find out what our sitters can do for you.

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 Misko on flickr

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Best alternatives to declawing your cat

3518056742_b571affaa6_zDoes your kitty tear up your furniture or lash out at you with her claws? Before you consider declawing your cat, learn the facts about what the procedure actually entails. There may be more kinder alternatives than you realize.

What is declawing?

The Humane Society of the United States has this to say about declawing: “Too often, people think that declawing is a simple surgery that removes a cat’s nails—the equivalent of having your fingernails trimmed. Sadly, this is far from the truth. Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.”

What are the side effects?

Declawing can cause more problems than it solves. The procedure can result in chronic pain in the paw caused by bone spurs. It also makes your kitty less likely to use the litter box due to pain when scratching. Since removing the bones causes the paw to meet the ground in an unnatural stance, cats can develop back pain and soreness similar to wearing ill-fitting shoes.

Furthermore, cats without claws are unable to defend themselves, resorting to biting, bunny-kicking, and more violent means of protection when they feel threatened.

Why do cats scratch?

Understanding why your kitty scratches is the first step in correcting it. Scratching is a natural and necessary behavior for cats. It helps them stretch their muscles and remove the dead outer coating of their claws. Contrary to what some may believe, cats do not scratch furniture to be vindictive or seek revenge.

However, scolding your cat for scratching without offering proper alternatives can cause your kitty to crave the negative attention. Often times, what humans view as a destructive behavior can be remedied by a few small changes around the house.

What can you do instead?

Need more advice on how to keep your kitty from scratching? Ask your pet sitter about nail trimming and training aids 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 psyberartist Alex on flickr

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Group works to help save fellow New Yorkers’ pets

Jenny Olsen, a Katie’s Kitty pet sitter and co-organizer of Safety Net, works with pet owners to help them keep their pets in hard times.

NEW YORK — Sitting in an animal shelter’s lobby for six hours with a crossword puzzle is a good day for Jenny Olsen.

It means people aren’t surrendering their animals to the shelter — and that Olsen doesn’t have to talk them out of it.

Monday morning was relatively uneventful for the co-organizer of Safety Net, a New York City Animal Care and Control program devoted to catching desperate pet owners when they fall under financial constraints.

“Surrenders are on the rise, but adoptions are, too,” said Olsen, her eyes automatically shifting to the swiveling doors of the ACC’s 110th street shelter, scanning for hesitant owners and pets.

“People come in and we talk to them. We say, ‘If we could help you solve your problem, whatever your problem is, would you want to keep your pet?’ “

More often than not, the answer is no. Of the hundreds of people that Olsen and other Safety Net volunteers encounter in shelter lobbies each month, around 60 percent of owners still surrender their pets.

But then there are the hundreds of other New Yorkers who are willing to fight for their pets, those who pave a way through disastrous situations.

Safety Net, established two years ago, provides New York City pet owners with almost anything needed to prevent a surrender: low cost veterinary fees, food, animal behavior training, legal assistance, boarding and foster homes.

The condition for eligibility — aside from dire financial strain — is simple.

“If people don’t want to work with us, it won’t work,” Olsen said. “We can’t do it all for them.”

What Safety Net does, though, is quite a bit. With the help of 40 volunteers, it operates a seven-day-a-week hotline service, fielding calls about everything from fleas to foreclosures.

The necessity of the go-to network is clear: in January, 115 pet owners called seeking assistance. Last month, 240 people picked up the phone in the name of their pets.


Queens native Tony Aponte is one Safety Net client who certainly falls under the “trying” category. Within the past two months, both Aponte and his fiance lost their jobs. Last week, they were evicted from their studio apartment in Jackson Heights.

Aponte brushed off their ongoing stay at a local homeless shelter, focusing only on who he described as a “very, very good boy”: Rocky, his 7-year-old American Pit Bull.

“My concern was not having a place for him to be beside us. Just to lay down with us in the bed,” Aponte said.

Rocky had been living in the couple’s van for the past week, as their shelter does not allow pets. Aponte has been trying to spend as much time as he can with the dog, leaving him alone only after 11 p.m., the shelter’s curfew hour.

As Aponte described his dire situation during a phone interview, he was driving around Manhattan in the van, with Rocky snoring in the backseat.

“On Tuesday morning, we walked Rocky and put him in the van and people called the police, thinking the dog was abandoned. The police came and it was this whole big show, saying that we couldn’t be leaving him there,” Aponte said.

With the looming threat of abandoning Rocky in a shelter, Aponte called Safety Net’s hotline. Olsen, whom he dubbed an “angel from above,” sprang into action with the rest of her team, including co-organizer Joy Friedman.

Like the majority of their volunteers, Olsen and Friedman, who hold full-time jobs, consider themselves “unpaid employees,” Olsen says.

Their work led to Rocky’s recent placement in a temporary boarding center, which costs around $80 a week, with the hope that a more permanent foster home will soon become available.


Safety Net, Olsen says, is still trying to recruit additional volunteers and foster homes. For more information, visit

Read more about Safety Net at Zootoo.

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