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4 Qualities to Look for in a Cat Sitter

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Finding a responsible, professional sitter can be challenging. Not only are you trusting your pet sitter with your beloved four legged friend, you’re trusting them with your home, too. Plus, there are thousands to choose from these days, as more people take on dog walking, cat sitting and pet care as a side profession. Below, we’re outlining the four key qualities to look for in a cat sitter. Starting with…

TRUST. For and foremost, they must be able to prove that you can trust them (a feeling is not enough!). All pet sitters should have at least a few references readily available in your first meeting.

EXPERIENCE. With pet sitting becoming a popular side gig for many, it’s important to find one that not only has experience, but also fully understands cat behavior, and has years of experience. This means they know what to do under various circumstances, and won’t be stumped or confused by your cat’s behavior or temperament. An experienced cat sitter has seen it all.

BONDED AND INSURED. We can’t reiterate the importance of this enough! We urge you to only consider pet sitters that are licensed, bonded, and insured. Pampered Pets sitters are also trained to notice irregularities with your pet as well as with your home, so they come knowing how to appropriately assess various situations.

ATTENTIVE TO YOUR CAT’S NEEDS. A good cat sitter has an innate understanding of feline behavior; they are knowledgeable, responsible, and in tune with your cat’s needs, whether it’s extra play time, a soothing cuddle on the couch, or no attention at all – whatever the cat prefers.

What qualities are important to you in a pet sitter? Feel free to share in the comments!

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Cat’s Nose

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We know so much about the furry felines that keep us company day and night — from their funny ticks to their food preferences – but do you know just what makes their noses so unique? Here are 5 interesting facts…

  1. The color of a cat’s nose is directly related to the color of its fur. Colors range from pink, black, grey/blue, chocolate, and even “lavender,” and sometimes become darker with age.
  2. A kitten’s nose is fully developed by the time it’s born, so it can learn to quickly distinguish its mother’s scent and get to know the other kittens in the litter (before it even has its sight or hearing!). Chemical smells and pheromones released from the mother’s glands are thought to reduce stress in kittens and provide them with a feeling of security and safety.
  3. Appetite is stimulated through the nose. Unlike humans, cats have very few taste receptors on their tongues, so hunger is stimulated through smell rather than flavor. If they can’t smell their dinner, they won’t necessarily want it!
  4. A cat’s nose is considered to be about fourteen times stronger than that of humans. This makes them excellent scent detectors, and they use their noses to identify territories, to detect chemical signals, and to get to know other cats. This also means there are strong smells they really don’t like, including citrus, mint, and tea tree oil.
  5. Cats communicate through chemical signals that they detect through smell. It’s hard for us to imagine communicating through smell – after all, humans rely on scent far less than our furry companions – but cats use their noses daily to understand the world around them. Oftentimes, if your cat is continuously scratching or marking furniture (or more preferably, his scratching post), he is leaving his scent, or “cat perfume,” which makes him feel secure in his surroundings — and he thinks it smells quite nice!

What Do Dogs Dream About?

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It’s widely understood that dogs dream. If you have a pup, you’ve inevitably witnessed an active dream of some sort, and I’ve seen it all with my furry companion, Juniper (I’m convinced she dreams about playing with her best friend, Luna, and chasing bunnies. Lots of bunnies). While we’ll never know for certain what exactly our furry pets dream about from day to day, researchers have made strides in decoding a sleeping canine’s brain. Spoiler alert – it’s not that different from our own. Here’s what we know so far…

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Q&A: What to Know About Dog Flu

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It’s that time of year; with the kids back at school and germs on the rise, everyone is more susceptible to the flu, even our pets. That’s right: with a recent canine influenza outbreak in the Midwest, dog owners are concerned and asking questions. So, today we’re breaking down everything there is to know about dog flu and what we can all do to be prepared….

Q: What is canine influenza?

A: Canine influenza is a respiratory disease in dogs. There are two currently strains identified: H3N8 and H3N2. Both are considered highly contagious. Frustratingly, influenza viruses are able to change quickly and develop new strains.

Q: Where have dogs been diagnosed with the flu?

A: Dog flu was first diagnosed in Florida in 2004 and has since spread around the country. States affected with the flu include Chicago, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Montana, Louisiana, and North Carolina, among others. At the moment, canine influenza has yet to spread to New York or New Jersey, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stay vigilant and up to date on its whereabouts.

Q: How is it transmitted?

A: A dog can become infected by being in close contact with another dog with the virus, especially in kennels, dog parks, groomers, crowded sidewalks, and shelters. Again, it is highly contagious and spreads similarly to a human virus via respiratory secretions (coughing or sneezing) or by being in contact with a contaminated object like a leash or collar. The virus, while originally transmitted via horses, has only been shown to affect other dogs, and in some cases, cats.

Q: What are the symptoms, and what is the treatment?

A: A common question is whether you can tell if your dog has the flu. Yes – once exposed, an infected pup will feel under the weather and may cough, sneeze, run a fever, and have a loss of appetite. Luckily, the virus is rarely fatal. Veterinary guidance is recommended if a dog shows signs of the flu, and a vaccine is available for at-risk canines.

Have more questions? We’ve found this website about canine influenza to be very helpful and informative. If your state has been infected, we recommend taking a look at this article, which outlines prevention and control in detail. Meanwhile, we always urge pet owners to practice cleanliness and safety when it comes to petting other dogs and letting your own furry friend interact with other canines. Hoping everyone’s four-legged pals are healthy and happy!

Cats May Be More Similar To Dogs Than We Think

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We tend to think of cats and dogs as being polar opposites. “I’m a cat person,” we explain when passing on the opportunity to pet a pup. But are our beloved felines and canines as different as we think? An experiment conducted in Japan suggests otherwise…

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Ways to Help Pets Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

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After the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many pets have been displaced or affected, so we wanted to share ways we can all help in the aftermath. Please feel free to pass this post along to friends and family, and we encourage you to spread the word. Any help, no matter how small, makes a big difference!

The Humane Society has been deployed to Texas and is working tirelessly to rescue, transport, and rehabilitate lost pets. They are taking donations here.

Houstin SPCA and SPCA of Texas are assisting pets and people evacuate North Texas, and providing shelter for hundreds of animals. Last Friday, they rescued 123 cats from a cat shelter! Here is where you can donate.

Austin Pets Alive is currently providing shelter for more than 600 pets, and is need of crates, cat litter, bedding, and more. See the complete list here.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary has a page on their website dedicated to Hurricane Harvey, including breaking news, wishlists, lost and found pets, ways to donate and ways to volunteer.

Donating is not the only way to help. If you’re in the area, consider fostering one of the animals, volunteering at a shelter, or dropping off supplies (most shelters are in need of towels/blankets, cat litter, toys, newspaper, and crates). We also recommend following a Facebook page like this one to stay up to date on how you can help.

Sending our love and best wishes to all the furry animals in need right now!

Image via bestfriends.org.

Do or Don’t: Raw Food Diet for Cats

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Fellow cat owners: what do you feed your cat? Have you ever considered a raw food diet for your furry feline? Below, we’ve outlined the pros and cons. We’d love for you to chime in, too!

Cats, like dogs, can benefit from a raw food based diet. After all, their carnivorous diet in the wild is as “raw” as it gets, and if you have a cat that hunts, you may already know this! If you’re considering switching up your furry pal’s diet, here’s the 411:

A good raw diet consists of mostly dark muscle meat, and can include whole eggs and some fish for omega-3 fatty content. Why do it? For one, some veterinarians believe the elimination of starch is good for their health and energy (after all, they wouldn’t eat starch in the wild). While veggies aren’t necessary, you can try including carrots, kale, zucchini, or a small amount of pureed plain pumpkin.

Where cats will reap the most benefits is from consuming organs like kidneys, gizzards, brains, hearts, bone, and livers. This might seem odd but remember, cats are carnivores, and can digest these parts much faster than kibble (bonus: the bones are good for their oral health, too).

The flip side? Of course, it’s not as convenient as scooping out a cup of kibble or popping open a can of wet food. It’s an exacting process and much more time consuming, especially since it’s so important the diet is nutritionally complete and includes all the vitamins and supplements needed to keep your furry friend healthy. Also, if you are handling raw meat in your kitchen you want to make sure you buy only high quality ingredients and sanitize your counters after every feeding.

Every cat is different, and the switch to raw food should be under the CLOSE supervision of your veterinarian or cat nutritionist.

What do you think? Do you feed your cat a raw food diet? Any tips? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Read more about the topic here.

What Makes Dogs So Friendly?

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There are many things that make our furry canines so easily lovable; their unconditional love, their loyalty, their big floppy ears and their goofy personalities. But what makes them so friendly, and so completely content to socialize with humans? The reason may surprise you…

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