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Cats and Covid-19

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As we try to navigate our way though daily routines – going to work and running errands – the dark cloud of the current coronavirus pandemic adds its ‘Fear Gray’ filter to every activity.

By now, most of us are using popular tunes to time our hand washing, stocking up on sanitizers and being more attentive to maintaining safe spaces with others. Anything to stay healthy. But what about the family pet? Is he / she in trouble? What do we need to do to keep them just as safe and healthy?

According to the World Health Organization, “At present, there is no evidence that companion animals / pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus.”

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However, the hand washing warning is reiterated to protect against other common bacteria (E coli / Salmonella) that is more commonly passed between animals and humans.

As we all breathe a collective sigh of relief, I want to take this opportunity to pass along some very helpful information that really bears repeating in terms of keeping your pet safe.

The Bay Area Newsgroup and East Bay pet advocates put together a really comprehensive list of preventative measures you should take for your pet. Here is the full list. The four that stand out to me are:

  • “Seek out reliable sources for updated information. The Centers for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov; World Health Organization, http://www.who.int; and World Small Animal Veterinary Association, http://www.wsava.org, are good places to go for information on the virus.
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, the CDC recommends you minimize contact with your human and animal companions. Identify a family member or friend who can care for your pet.
  • Have crates, food and extra supplies, including medications, on hand for quick movement of the pet. Two weeks’ worth of food, medicine and other supplies is recommended. A pet first-aid kit is also good to have for any unplanned situation.
  • Ensure your animal’s vaccines are up-to-date in case boarding becomes necessary.”

This is truly where there saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” couldn’t be more true!

One thing you don’t need to worry about: masks. Pets don’t need masks. Even if you happen to stumble across various articles like this one with an unidentified cat in an unidentified part of China wearing a makeshift human mask. In this case, an ounce of prevention is probably just pissing off the cat! Stay safe out there cat lovers, and please let me know of anything else you come across that could be helpful!

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Cats vs. Christmas Trees – Game On!

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Ahhhh, the holidays. As if there isn’t already enough to deal with, let’s not forget about the ongoing saga of most cat owners: How best to decorate a Christmas tree without the cats using it as their personal playground. To be fair, for a cat a Christmas tree is like a Willy Wonka Cat Toyland: all kinds of little sparkly, shiny, twitching things just begging to be pounced upon, and in a huge tree, no less!!

Personally, it’s not really Christmas without the tree. I have figured out some (not always successful) ways to work around it over the years: using smaller trees with just lights, or placing the tree behind a chair and decorating only the top. Actually, other festive decorations like lighted greenery on the mantel and big snowflakes above the kitchen cabinets make up for compromises in tree decoration and for me it is totally worth it. If it means avoiding a fully decorated tree crashing to the floor at 3 a.m. or emergency vet visits because a cat ate something she wasn’t supposed to, then I’m good.

That said, it still doesn’t really solve your problem. So whether you are new to this or just looking for a new way to have you cat and Christmas tree too, I may have a solution that will. For starters, where better to look for whatever you need than Reddit? One of the best resources out there for stuff you need and didn’t know you needed, I would head there first. Of course, the various cat sub reddits will probably be chock full of great tips, but recently in LPT (Life Pro Tips) I found these gems:

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MJG2007 gets my upvote! And a Silver! But as right as he/she is, it is still a little counterintuitive to those of us who love trees. And cats. We will figure out a way, dammit!

And then there is Animal expert Erin Rachel. I stumbled across this very informative YouTube video with lots of great ideas not long ago. Perhaps something here will work for you:

Actually the dried orange and lemon around the bottom of the tree may just have me rethinking my own strategies — I may have to give that a try! Thanks Erin! Hopefully something she suggested may work for you, too. Or maybe you are lucky like _UWotM8 from the Reddit suggestions above and have cats that will just sleep under the tree! Please IG the crap out of that for all of us who can only dream! Whatever road you take, do us all a favor and please report back — we really need to know what works, so we can start our planning for next year now! lol. And have a safe, happy, tree incident free holiday. Cheers!

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Grateful

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As we are double checking shopping lists, Black Friday deals and preparing turkey brine, I am counting my blessings — something I try to do frequently. At the top of the list is always the sweet, fluffy, cute and rambunctious cats I get to spend my days with.

When I first started this business, I remember thinking about how great it would be to give cats a specialized level of care that I thought they would insist upon. My focus was on all the ways I could play, dote, cuddle, and spoil cats that seemed to be missing in most care options. And because I just felt it was obvious and necessary.

The beauty of this is not only do I get to pamper these rascals, but enjoy their company, silliness and unique feline-ness as well. And it really is a privilege. This Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks for just that. Of course there are litter boxes and hairballs to be cleaned, and every so often some intermittent fussiness, but although it sounds cliché, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Often times I get asked why I don’t post more about about my cat clients. Actually it is something I have been wanting to do and hope to make a frequent part of these posts in 2020! In the meantime, I will let you get back to your holiday prep, but with my sincerest thanks for being a part of my extended growing family. My cup runneth over! Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours!

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Spoiler Alert: 5 Ways to Spoil, Indulge and Celebrate National Cat Day

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Today is National Cat Day — the second of two (ok three if we factor in Black Cat Day) days that raise awareness for cats. You may recall, International Cat day is August 8th.

According to nationaltoday.com, “National Cat Day reminds us that just when you think your cats have lost interest in you, they’ll turn around and melt your hearts.” Well, that’s every day in my house – and my work, so I consider myself pretty lucky to be graced with so much adorableness!

National Cat Day got it’s start in 2005, created by lifestyle writer Colleen Paige, with the intent “to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of cats that need to be rescued each year and also encourage cat lovers to celebrate the cat(s) in their lives for the unconditional love and companionship they bestow upon us.”

With that in mind, let’s do something special for a cat or four. I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I have shared here, but I’m sure the good ol’ ball of string and a few special treats would be just fine. Honestly, if you have a special way you spoil your kitto, I’d love to know.  In the meantime, here are mine:

1). Donate to a Rescue. There isn’t a cat lover I know who wouldn’t take in several more if they were able, so it goes without saying that rescues are heaven sent. Whether you volunteer your time, support a fundraiser or just contribute to their Amazon wish list, every donation is greatly appreciated. Cozy Cat Cottage and Cat Welfare Association are just two of many great local organizations, so please keep this in mind no matter what day or time of year as the need is always pretty significant. They can’t do it without you!

CheekBrush2). Cheeky Brushing. Thelma just can’t get enough of this, and still has yet to figure out that we have the Catit Self Groomer brush on the wall by the basement. Regardless, no sooner does she finish her dinner than she makes her way to the back hall, outside the laundry room (where we keep the cat food and brushes) for her daily ‘treat’. Lest we forget, her sweet (constant) little meow is sure to remind us. Most cats really love this, so spend a few extra minutes today on one of their favorite indulgences.

3). Extra Playtime. Right now, Buttons is probably sleeping. But make no mistake, not long after she awakes and gets a good strrreeettch she will be in the mood for one of our games. I wrote about one of our favorite pastimes here, but she also loves chasing and hiding little sparkly pom poms & other toys. Do your cat the ultimate favor: pause Netflix, leave the clean up for later and spend some extra time with them, whatever their silly little playtime wishes.

4). Fire up YouTube. Have you guys figured this one out yet? Not only is YouTube fun for watching cat videos, but also entertaining your cat. Yup. Several channels have music and television specifically designed to keep your cat occupied and / or cradle them to sleep! I know, right? This video in particular, has lots of great feedback and most swear by how effective it is at putting their cat to sleep. I have yet to try it with the girls, but it almost worked on me, so that counts, right? And when they wake up, treat them to:

WeezyBreakfast5). Breakfast in Bed. Ahem. Need I say more? Ok, I will admit this is truly not something I would really do, other than like this one time. But a little special indulgence now & then is a necessary thing, right? Now I am curious: How do you spoil your cats? And to all the cats out there — thank you for providing all of us mom’s and dad’s the pleasure of your company! We are celebrating you. And your bed hogging / 3 am playtime / never a dull moment part of our lives!

 

cat life, Cat Nip

Cat Sitting Questions and Answers

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Whether you are new to cat sitting or just interested in learning more, I’m glad you are here. When it comes to cat sitting, no two businesses are alike. And with technology and apps adding a new layer of convenience to the equation, it also adds to the level of confusion on the best fit for your needs.

Recently I sifted through some of the most popular questions I get asked. Here they are with my answers. Hope this alleviates a little anxiety and sheds light on your best choice.

Are you a cat sitter or a pet sitter? What is the difference?

Great question! I am a cat sitter. I specialize in the comfort and care of cats. This way my time is solely focused on really understanding them, and I customize my service to their individual needs. While this sounds simple and self evident, one of the interesting things about cats is that — like kids — they all have little idiosyncrasies that require special attention. For example, Mike, a flame point Siamese is a real people lover and craves a lot of attention, while my own cat Weezy is very shy and prefers to be left alone. This is important because while you (their owners) know of these personality traits and how best to cater to them, the same holds true for whomever you trust with their care. Only I have come to find that most sitters still don’t make this a priority like I do, so your cat is left without some of the one on one time it really needs! It is my intent to be consistent with the care you give and that means how much (or little) attention to give, or whatever other little ways I can make them happy.

The majority of folks in this business are pet sitters. They primarily take care of dogs, but also will take care of cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and other pets. Because they care for a variety of animals, the services tend to focus on the basics: feeding, watering,  walking, removing waste. Because I spend all of my time with cats, the basics are only a small part of what I do. I also don’t carry the scent of dogs other animals when I visit my cat clients which I can tell they really appreciate!

Do you bring the cats to your house? Where do you care for them?

No. First of all, I have three of my own at home but more importantly cats are territorial and prefer the comfort of their home, so that’s where I care for them. Not only is this more convenient for you (no dropping off / picking up) but it is safer. When you think about just how nice it is that your cat will be able to sleep in his own bed while you are away, it really doesn’t make sense to move them and have them confused about where they are not to mention having to deal with you not being there.

Let’s say I am thinking about hiring you to care for my cat. How can I be sure my cat will be getting the care I want it to?

Wait till you get home and see how happy he is!  ; )  Honestly, I love this question because I seriously felt this way when I was looking for help with my own cats. I totally get that a lot of businesses don’t practice what they preach, so I invite you to include Alexa, Siri or whatever recording device will verify that everything is being tended to.

The whole point of my work is to mimic the environment and care your cat is used to and familiar with, down to the tiniest detail. Before I even get started, I always meet with each new client so you can get to know me. I want you to be comfortable, and it is also a great way for me to meet your cat and make sure he / she is comfortable, too!  During this time, we will review what is most important in caring for your cat, along with the details of how they are fed, who their veterinarian is and general things about your home. I take very thorough notes and can provide references from happy cat clients. I am also always asking for feedback so I know you are 1000% satisfied! I love doing what I do but it only works if you and your cat are happy.

Some of my friends use pet sitter apps and swear by how easy and convenient they are. Are you going to have an app?

The pet sitter apps are convenient — I, too have friends that use them. Most of them have dogs and the app lets them know where the dog is being walked and when it does its ‘business’. The apps work much like Uber: once a pet owner needs the service, they notify the app, which in turn notifies random, available pet sitters in the area. The pet owner leaves a house key in a key box on their front door. The pet sitter picks up the pet / walks it and drops back off, communicating exclusively through the app. This is where, for me at least, the convenience is not worth it because most often the pet owner and pet sitter never meet. Although the pet sitters are vetted, I think we have all heard of stories where the sitter didn’t properly care for the pet / snooped through the house / invited a friend over & so forth. Either way, I need to know who is caring for my pet, that they are bonded & insured and are capable and trustworthy.

I meet every one of my clients often more than once. After the initial meeting, I have never run into a situation where it has been inconvenient for someone to get a hold of me even on short notice. Clients email / call / text and it works just as effortlessly, so I don’t see a reason to have an app at this time.

Aside from just care for cats, what else makes you different from other pet sitters?

I value each relationship I have with both client & cat, so I work to make the experience as effortless and rewarding as possible. With that in mind, I don’t tack on fees for our initial meeting and things like dropping off and picking up keys. I feel charges for things like that are awkward, and an inconvenience. I also offer a variety of ways I can pamper your cat (more on that in a minute) and often spend extra time if needed.

In addition to care for cats, I work really hard to provide my clients with an engaging and interactive community experience so they can learn and share everything cat. I feature a ‘kitto blog’ on my website, and you can find me on Facebook and Instagram.

Finally, I am very keen on noticing changes in cat behavior. Cats can be very tricky when it comes to hiding their own troubles, but for someone who spends as much time around cats as I do, they can’t easily hide things from me!

So how do you pamper cats?

I start by getting as much information as I can from their moms & dads. Anything and everything the cat loves is important in providing the best possible experience. Often, younger cats like lots of playtime whether with paper balls, toys or games and older cats like to be brushed or cuddled in a lap and petted. So, brushing, reading stories, special treats, rubbing bellies and cuddling are all ways to spoil a cat.

I really would love your help. What is the best way to get started?

Fantastic! Fill out the form on my ‘Let’s Talk’ page on my website, or email me with your name, phone number and some detailed information about your needs at catsitter@mycatcompanion.com.

Thank you!