Top Menu

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


Tag Archives | tough cats

How to stop your cat from peeing on the bed in 4 steps

Did your cat pee on the bed…again? Regular accidents on the bed are a stressful and smelly problem. But it’s not hopeless! Learn to tackle those soggy sheets and get the cat back to using her box.

Step 1: Completely clean the urine

First thing’s first. Strip soiled sheets off the bed and do a check to find any and all stains. Use a blacklight to track down spots. To break down the urine, pretreat linens with an enzymatic cleaner such as Nature’s Miracle. You can also use the cleaner to blot or soak stains on the mattress.

Step 2: Take preventive measures

You won’t stop the messes overnight but you can start by taking precautions. To save your sheets, cover your bed with an old or waterproof blanket until the habit has stopped. Next, break the habit with the power of scent. Special sprays that mimic cat pheromones can be applied to the bed to keep kitty away. Similarly, you can encourage your cat to use their box with litters containing herbs that attract cats.

Step 3: Double check the litter boxes

The wrong litter box situation can discourage cats from peeing where they’re supposed to. Is their box too dirty? Are there enough litter boxes? Change the litter regularly, and if you’re unsure of how many boxes to use, a good rule is to have one box for each cat, plus one additional box. Also check to make sure the litter box is in a good spot. Cats prefer areas that are safe, clean, quiet, and open (i.e. not a closet or rooms with lots of foot traffic).

Step 4: Take a trip to the vet

When cats pee in noticeable places, they’re usually trying to tell you something. They might be hinting at a disease or even stress. Cats suffering from bladder problems, for example, will feel too anxious to go in their box and find relief elsewhere. Urine on the bed can also point to tensions with one of your other cats, or even you! Your vet will be able to determine if their distress is medical or psychological.

Concerned about your cat’s recent messes? If you’re thinking the box might be too dirty, our cat sitters are available to regularly clean, no matter how many litter boxes you have. And of course, we always check in to report any of your cat’s accidents.


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 Tina Lawson on flickr

Continue Reading

How to encourage your cat to use a scratching post

Perhaps the only thing that’s more frustrating than having your cat claw your furniture is having them refuse the use the scratching post that you bought to remedy the problem. The good news is that training your cat to use the scratching post isn’t an insurmountable task. Here’s how to do it.

Try different kinds of scratching posts

Sometimes finding the right post is a matter of preference. Some cats prefer vertical scratching. A good vertical scratching post is as least as tall as your stretching kitty and doesn’t wobble. Some cats prefer the horizontal scratching boards that are readily available in pet stores and supermarkets. Posts wrapped in carpet can be uncomfortable because they snag the claws, so look for posts made of sisal and cardboard.

Place the post in an ideal location

If your cat has been scratching your couch or mattress, place several posts around each corner where your kitty scratches. You should avoid placing the posts in unappetizing or lonely areas such as by the litter box or in the basement. Cats often scratch when they first wake up, so try placing a post next to their sleeping area. Better yet, opt for a cat condo with boxes for napping and sisal scratching posts built in.

Reward good behavior

Cats need to scratch to stretch their muscles and shed the damaged outer layer of their claws, so discouraging your cat from scratching can be traumatic for them. Not to mention, cats respond better to positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement such as yelling. Positive reinforcement includes rewards like petting, speaking soothing words (“That’s a good kitty!”) and providing treats or catnip. Once your cat begins to use the scratcher, offer rewards as encouragement.

Discourage bad behavior

In some rare cases, your cat may persist to scratch your furniture because they are amused by your reaction to it. If you’re used to yelling or freaking out at the sight of your cat scratching your couch, switch to a neutral response instead. Then, you can proceed with placing your cat by the new scratcher and using the positive reinforcement methods mentioned above.

Make your furniture an undesirable scratching surface

However, one of the strongest deterrents for a cat is an unappealing environment. There are various anti-scratching aids available that can make your furniture less appealing than the scratcher, thus making the switch easier for your cat.

Once your cat has picked up the good habit of using a scratching post, don’t throw it away after it gets worn out. Now that post is great for really digging in deep and is covered in familiar and happy scents. Opt to buy an additional one instead.

Are you worried that your cat might scratch up your furniture while you’re on vacation? Schedule a visit from one of our pet sitters who can keep an eye on 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.

photo by M B on flickr

Continue Reading

Cat-scratched leather couch triage


Oh no! Your cat scratched up your leather sofa. What do you do? You may think that the leather is ruined, but before you buy a completely new couch, try one of these less expensive alternatives.

For quick repairs

Whether your kitty nicked the sofa by mistake or she has shredded at the arm until it looks likes a million tiny strings, you can do a quick patch job with a hair clipper and leather conditioner. Basically, you would use the clipper to remove the excess fibers and restore the leather to a mostly even surface. Then, the leather conditioner is applied to blend in the damage. For most purposes, you probably wouldn’t even notice the difference.

For more extensive repair

If kitty has been clawing at your couch for several years now, or perhaps the leather is starting to crack and show its age, you can perform a more extensive repair by using a multi-step leather repair kit. The components may vary, but most kits include a cleaner, filler, colorant, and conditioner. The process is similar, but the results are superior.

Keeping kitty away for next time

After restoring your leather, you’ll likely want to discourage kitty from scratching it again. Most cats won’t bother with a leather couch so long as there is a more appealing scratching post available. If your cat still won’t break the habit after that, you can use safe and humane training aids such as rubber nail caps or double sided tape.

Leather couch alternatives

Perhaps you’re ready for a change, and you’ve decided that the leather couch just has to go! For your next purchase, consider a material made from microfiber. Microfiber, also known as ultrasuede, microsuede, and faux suede, is made of ultra-tiny nylon threads that are densely woven together and bonded. Therefore, the material is stain-resistant and an unappealing surface for kitties to sharpen their claws.

Not sure if you have enough cat friendly furniture in your home? Schedule a meet and greet with a Katie’s Kitty pet sitter. Our pet sitters have years of pet sitting experience and tons of knowledge pertaining to keeping your kitty happy and healthy in your home. Call us 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 Rob Marquardt on flickr

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

What causes aggression in cats?

Flash by Anne WornerMany pet parents have seen it first hand. Your cat may be friendly and affectionate one moment, and then turn aggressive the next. What happened? Here’s a little insight into why a cat may suddenly lash out.

Petting

Petting can cause a very confusing type of aggression. Your cat seems to be enjoying your attention, yet he or she may suddenly turn and scratch or bite you.

Just as bowing to another person symbolizes humility by putting yourself into a vulnerable position, cats show their bellies as a sign of trust. You wouldn’t slap someone in the back of the head when they bow to you, but this is how some cats feel when you touch their belly when they roll over.

Similarly, some cats only like to be petted a definite number of times, and some cats only like to be petted on the head or neck. Many cats don’t like to be picked up or turned on their backs. Your best bet is to pay attention close to how your cat is reacting while you pet him or her.

Play

Play can also suddenly turn aggressive. You can discourage rough play behavior by bringing new toys that direct the cat’s attention away from your body, like balls or feathers on sticks.

Don’t teach your cat to play with your hands or feet. It may be cute as a kitten, but it’s a tough (and painful) habit to break when kitty grows into an adult.

Some cats play rough, but play should always be silent. A hissing or growling cat is not playing and should be left alone.

Fearfulness

Routines keep animals feeling safe and calm. Sometimes, all it takes is rearranging furniture or adding a new housemate to make some cats feel as if their entire worlds have been flipped upside down.

Hearing a familiar, calm, and gentle voice can also help to soothe an anxious cat. You can try singing, talking about your day, or reading a book aloud. The sound of your voice will also help your kitty to know where you are in the house.

Comfort foods such as treats or canned food for a kitty on a dry diet can also help ease the tension. Some cats like company while eating, but some cats feel safer if you leave the room so that they can eat in peace.

More resources

Alas, sometimes there a triggers beyond your knowledge or control that may upset your cat. The ASPCA has a more comprehensive website on aggressive behaviors and solutions that may help you find the answer.

The most important thing to remember is that if a cat becomes aggressive towards you, give him or her space. If a cat wants to be left alone, it’s important to respect that.


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.

Flash” by Anne Worner is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Continue Reading