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Why Should I Hire a Cat Sitter?

When you leave town, deciding what to do with your cat can be a challenge. Should you hire a cat sitter? Should you board your cat? Or should you find a kind friend to step in?

She Gets to Stay Home

Cats are the most comfortable in their own space. By allowing them to stay in areas that are familiar, you cat will be happier and much less stresses. She can maintain her normal routine, feeding times, litter box and familiar space.

Keep Her Healthy

Cats who stay home are not exposed to other animals or illnesses. When boarding a cat she will be exposed to other cats and possible illnesses. Cats can easily become sick with an upper respiratory infection, which is what plagues shelters because it can travel through the air.

 

Make Sure She Eats

Cats that are stressed often stop eating, leading to a cascade of health problems. With a sitter, your cat can stay home and remain as stress-free as possible.

Sitters Notice Changes

Cats can become ill quickly, or not show symptoms until they are very sick. Since you kitty will be at home, changes in behavior will easily be noticed quickly with a sitter checking on her daily.

Home Security

With a sitter coming at least once a day, your home will appear lived in and remain secure. Sitters can bring in mail and newspaper, change lights and blinds, and take care of any other household concerns. This can prevent theft and make sure that your house is cared for in your absence.

Schedules

If you are considering hiring a cat sitter, no matter what sitter you use, we have a list of ideas for schedules. The schedule for your cat depends on your cat’s personality and finding the right one is important to keep her happy and healthy.

Questions?

If you are curious about our services or animal care in general, feel free to contact us! We are very active on social media and you can find up on Facebook Live regularly answering questions about animal care. Join us!

What Can My Cat Eat On Thanksgiving?

 

Thanksgiving is an exciting time of year for pet parents and their pets. They get to meet new people and possibly beg for some tasty turkey. Many pet parents (me included) want to share some of the wonderful food with our kitties, but this is not always a good idea. This blog will include what you can share with your kitty and some yummy treats so that your kitty can participate in the festivities.Thanksgiving

What can you share with your cat? 

Cats can eat a very diverse diet including meat, fish, some fruit and vegetables. However, their diet cannot include processed human food, foods high in sugar or foods with extra salt or seasonings.

1. Green Beans

A few green beans, fed occasionally is actually good for fluffy, but these aren’t the green beans in your green bean casserole. Keep your kitty’s green beans simple by steaming them until soft. Before cooking cut the green beans into small, 1/2 inch chunks.  For a special treat mix in some chunk tuna or wet food. Feed these as a treat or with your cat’s meal for a special Thanksgiving treat.

2. Baked Squash and Carrots 

Again, feed in moderation squash and carrots are good for your kitty. Make sure the squash and carrots are fully cooked before feeding it, as undercooked veggies are indigestible for your cat. Some people like to bake the squash at 350 degrees until soft, but you can also steam them (again until soft). Make sure you do not add any oil or seasoning to these vegetables. The fully cooked squash and carrots can be served mashed up or cut up in small, 1/2 inch chunks.

3. Turkey 

Cats can join in on this aspect of Thanksgiving fun. Make your kitty his or her own special turkey or set some meat aside. Cats cannot handle the seasoning or baste you put on your turkey, so simply bake the turkey in the oven, plain. Bake the turkey until fully cooked, raw turkey can make your kitty sick. Make sure you choose lower fat portions of the turkey and remove any bones before feeding. Cut the turkey up into small chunks or shreds. This can be feed as a treat for a few meals, like on Thanksgiving day. Turkey can be high in calories so feed only a small amount.

 

 


Special Thanksgiving Treats

Want to make your kitty something special for the holiday, try out these treat recipes special for cats.

Tuna Yum Yums

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of non-fat milk
  • 1/2 can of tuna
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or fish oil
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Optional: a teaspoon of catnip, mint, or parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place parchment paper on a cookie sheet
  2. Mash or cut the tuna into small pieces, mix in the flour and milk
  3. Pour in water and vegetable oil, then mix well
  4. In a separate dish, beat the egg
  5. Mix the beaten egg into the tuna mix
  6. Mix well, until the mix becomes dough-like
  7. Shape the dough into small balls, about the size of blueberries, and place on the baking sheet
  8. Cook the dough for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Stick a toothpick in to check that the treat is fully cooked
  9. Cool for an hour before feeding to your kitty and make sure not to overindulge them

 


Kitty Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of tuna or salmon
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1/2 can of your cat’s favorite food
  • 1 teaspoon of dry cat food or treats

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the wet ingredients in a bowl
  2. Pour into a Tupperware or small casserole dish
  3. Top with dry food or treats
  4. Serve a small amount to your kitty

Feed this casserole in moderation, 1-2 tablespoons per day. Store in a closed container, in the refrigerator, for up to a week.

 

While most foods on the Thanksgiving table are off-limits for your cat, these treats and tips can help make the holiday special for your cat. Let us know how your cat likes these treats by commenting on our Facebook page or commenting below!

 

Homemade Valentine’s Day Cat Treats

Is your cat that lucky Valentine this year?  After all they are our special friends and constant companions. So celebrate the day with these delicious Valentine’s day cat treats!  And show your precious little fur baby some extra love.

Baked Tuna Valentine’s Day Cat Treats 

 

These treats add a little oomph to plain canned tuna.

Ingredients:

  • Canned tuna
  • Cat friendly garnish (like catnip or wheat grass)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place parchment paper on a baking sheet
  2. Mix one can of tuna and one tablespoon of garnish in a medium bowl
  3. Use a teaspoon to scoop the tuna mix onto the baking sheet
  4. Form tuna mix piles into a heart shape on the baking sheet
  5. Bake these treats for about 5 minutes or until they are warm

Feed this Valentine’s day cat treat in moderation, too many treats can give your cat a stomach ache.

Spinach and Chicken Valentine’s Day Cat Treats

Many cats crave some roughage (like spinach) in their diets, it’s the reason many cats try to eat house plants. These treats are a great way to add some variety to your cat’s diet, all in the form of a tasty treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound of steamed boneless, skinless chicken thigh
  • 1 cup of spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of quick cooking oats
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and place parchment paper on a baking sheet
  2. Place the cooled chicken, spinach, oats and egg into a food processor or blender and blend until the mixture is smooth with some chunks
  3. Pour the chicken mixture into a bowl and add the flour, mixing with your hands
  4. Roll the dough out on a floured surface and cut with a small heart cookie cutter OR make thumbnail sized balls and flatten them
  5. Place the shaped dough on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick can be cleanly removed

Be sure to completely cook the chicken before adding it to the treat mixture. Feed these treats in moderation and break larger treats into cat sized pieces .

Cooked Salmon 

Cooked salmon is great as a special Valentine’s day cat treat. Many cats love this tasty fish. Be sure to cook all salmon thoroughly (by steaming or grilling) to make it safe for your cat. For this special treat, dice a small amount of cooked salmon and feed it to your kitty in a dish.

 

Valentine’s day can be filled with dangerous food for your cat. However, these Valentine’s day cat treats are sure to safely woo that special feline in your life.

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Cat Lovers

 

Does your Valentine love cats? Because cat lovers are a very passionate bunch. And that means they usually love to get gifts from them or about them. So, here are some Valentine’s Day gifts for cat lovers sure to make that special Valentine in your life happy.

Cat Valentine’s Day Cards

There are many amazing Valentine’s Day cards with cats on them or cat-themed. Check out Etsy and Pinterest for some cute handmade cards to send to that special Valentine.

Fancy Cat Supplies 

While your cat may not need those fancy,new ceramic bowls, they sure would look good in your house. Many cat lovers would enjoy some nice looking cat accessories. For nice bowls and beds check out TJ Maxx or your local pet store.

Cat Clothing

No, I don’t mean clothing for cat (although that could be a good gift)! Cat clothing is anything with cats on it. For some cool T-shirts check out the Fort Collins Cat Rescue, or other rescue organizations. For other cool cat items, check out Etsy or Amazon. They carry everything from cat gloves to cat necklaces.

Self-Defense Cat Key Chain 

This is a really great Valentine’s Day gift for cat lovers. It combines two awesome things, cats and self-defense. This key chain is shaped like a cat, you put your fingers in the eyes and can use the ears to poke your attacker. This gift is sold all over and can also be found on Amazon.

Sponsor or Adopt a Cat

Most rescue organizations have a sponsorship program for their cats. In these types of programs, a donor pays for the cats adoption fee and sponsors some of its care. This makes it easier for shelters to take care of the cat and helps the cat find a home. You can sponsor a cat or donate in someone else’s name as a gift.  This can make a great Valentine’s Day gift for cat lovers.

Whether you are looking for gifts to give a cat lover on your behalf, or on the cats, these gifts are sure to please. I hope your Valentine enjoys these Valentine’s Day gifts for cat lovers.

How to Pick a Cat

 

Getting a cat can be an exciting and intimidating experience, but with some guidance and tips the process can be easy and rewarding. There are a few key factors that will help you choose a new pet, such as age, and personality.

  • Age can be a huge factor.

There are benefits to adopting a kitten or an adult cat.

Kittens are a great addition to a family with children or dogs. Younger kitties are more accepting of new circumstances and easier to adapt. However, many kittens at the time of adoption (usually 8-10 weeks old) have not fully grown into their personality. Any feline you adopt from a shelter at this age should already be fixed and have gotten their first few vaccinations. Yet, they will still need their rabies vaccination and other vaccinations. These can added to the upfront medical cost of the kitten.

One benefit to older cats is that their personality is fully developed. Additionally, adult felines are usually already fixed. Plus up to date on all of their vaccinations for the year. Senior cats are a good addition to many families; most seniors are calm and just want to spend their golden years giving you their affection.

  • Choosing the personality is very important.

Just like humans, cats can have many personalities.

What temperament you choose depends on what type of companion you are looking for. Do you want a cat that will play with you? A cat who loves to sit in your lap? Or a cat who is independent? Shelter staff should be able to tell you more about a cat’s personality.

If you are looking for a playful cat, look for cats who come to the front of their cage to greet you and are interested in toys. For a lap companion look for those who seem to enjoy being rubbed. For a calmer, independent cat look for a cat who seems relaxed.

Some felines do not show their true personality in a shelter setting (being in a shelter is pretty stressful), so it is helpful to spend the most amount of time with them as possible. If they were in foster care, you may be able to talk to the foster family about their behavior in home setting. How a cat acts in a shelter is a good preview of how the cat will act at home.

Adopting a new feline family member is a huge decision, but with these tips and the help of shelter staff, you should be able to pick out the perfect best friend.

What are the Best Pet Sitting Options for My Older Cat?

 

Leaving our pets at home can add stress to any trip, but when your older cat is the one being left at home, it can make it all the more stressful. Luckily, there are a few good pet sitting options for your older cat.

Let’s take a look at a few of these options:

  • Hire a pet sitter

This is by far the best option, but sometimes people tend to think it is too expensive. But making sure your cat has the best care while being in the comfort of home is worth it. Older cats don’t like to be taken away from their comfort zone, so bringing the caretaker to them is a great option.

  • Board them at the vet

Boarding is also good for a cat that doesn’t mind being away from home. It can be hard for cats to adapt to the sterilized, yet loving environment; but it doesn’t mean it’s not a good option. Older cats sometimes have medical conditions that can be best left attended to a veterinarian while you are away.

  • Have a dependable friend/family watch them

This is often popular decision because it’s pretty inexpensive. This can work when you have a really close friend care for them as one of their own. The problem with this option is that sometimes is when an emergency happens. If they have a flat tire, accident or aother situation, your pet may take a back seat to their situation. Pet sitters and boarding facilities have systems in place to ensure that your pet has care, no matter what emergencies arise.

As you can see, there are a lot of different pet sitting options all with their own respective pro’s and con’s. It will always come down to your specific situation, but we are always here to help!

If you’re looking for a pet sitter don’t hesitate to give us a call and set up an appointment! 

 

 

What Does a Pet Sitter Do?

 

You have finally decided that getting a pet sitter is right for you and your pet. But at the same time you are wondering, “what exactly does a pet sitter do?” While we do have one of the most rewarding jobs someone can have, we do much more than love and play with animals all day. There is a lot that goes into professional pet sitting than meets the eye.

Yes, we give TLC including cuddles, walking & playing with pets.

Our primary concern is taking care of your pet’s immediate needs; walking, feeding and giving them love and attention is our first concern. But we also are trained for emergency situations, CPR, plus other important knowledge in case your pet was to fall ill while you are away.

We also do a combination of other helpful tasks for your pet and home.

  • Our sitters are trained to be able to administer any medicine needed
  • We can provide hospice care for older pets
  • Overnight visits
  • When you’re away a pet sitter can give your home a “lived in” feel by leaving lights on or opening/closing blinds
  • Cleaning litter boxes
  • Changing water/food bowls

It’s good to know your home and your pets are being looked after, especially when you’re going away on vacation. You never know what kind of situation can arise while you’re not at home; pipes can burst, HVAC units or power can go out and pets can get stuck in any manner of places. That’s why having a pet sitter is even more beneficial than just a walk, a few belly rubs and fresh food.

Pets who have pet sitters or other pet care services (such as walking) are happier, get more exercise, have less stress and more socialization, plus they have healthier urinary tracts and diets.

Contact us today to find out more! 

 

Valentine’s Day Gifts For Cats

 

Is your kitty your Valentine this year? What do you get him or her? Cats generally don’t like chocolate or roses, but these gifts are sure to win your cat’s heart over. Here are some great Valentine’s Day gifts for cats.

Catnip 

Most kitties love catnip! Catnip can be a great Valentine’s Day gift for cats. For a gift sure to please buy or make your kitty a catnip toy. Making a catnip toy at home is easy.

Catnip sock toy:

  1. Start with a children’s or small sock, catnip and a needle and thread
  2. Fill the sock with catnip
  3. Sew the top of the sock closed with the needle and thread
  4. Give the sock to your kitty

Another great catnip gift is fresh catnip. You can find fresh catnip at pet stores or grow it from seeds.

Treats 

Treats are awesome Valentine’s Day gifts for cats. A cool new treat is flaked tuna. These are thin flakes of freeze dried tuna that can be fed as treats or as a topping for food. For some homemade treat ideas, check out our previous blog posts on Valentine’s Day treats for cats.

Collars 

A new collar is a fun Valentine’s Day gift for cats. Many cats will love a collar with hearts on it (and maybe a bell). Be sure to fit the collar correctly to keep your cat safe.

Furniture 

A cat tree is a sure win for Valentine’s Day gifts for cats. For a new cat tree check out your local petstore. For a smaller gift try a new cat bed or scratching post. Want to make a homemade cat bed? Take a small box and decorate it, with lots of hearts using construction paper and child-safe markers. Place a pillow in the box and you have a wonderful DIY cat bed.

Valentine’s Day can be a great holiday to share with your cat. These Valentine’s Day gifts for cats are sure to make your cat’s day.

Why I Love Being Your Sidehill Sitter

Being a pet sitter is the best job in the world! I have worked many other jobs in the pet care industry, but working for Sidehill as a pet sitter is my favorite job I have ever had. Here are three reasons I love being your pet sitter and love being a Sidehill sitter.

1. At Sidehill we strive to give the best care to your pet. 

We know that leaving your pets at home can be scary! As a pet parent I feel the same way, but I trust Sidehill 100% to keep my animals happy and safe.I know that all of our sitters do everything we can to keep your animals content. We love to give extra belly rubs, extra play time and sometimes extra treats. Additionally, all of our sitters go thought lots of training, including pet first aid and CPR, to keep your pet safe.

2. We get to form relationships with the pets we take care of.

 Many of our clients at Sidehill book regularly, so we get to develop relationships with pets. One of my favorite experiences as a pet sitter was developing a relationship with a shy dog. I have watched this dog and his brother and sister multiple times. Each time he barked at me and did not want anything to do with me. This went on for a few visits, then slowly he started warming up to me. Finally he wanted to hang out with me, I know soon I will be able to pet him. This experience was very fulfilling and why I know forming relationships with pets is so important.

 

3. We get to make clients feel safe.

Another cool part of my job is forming relationships with my clients. Our clients are really cool people and really care about their pets. Leaving your pet in the care of a stranger is so hard. For this reason, we do client meetings. During a client meeting your sitter gets to learn about your home and pets. The other benefit to client meetings is that you get to put a face to your pet sitter. Knowing who your pet sitter is really helps make our clients feel safer about leaving their pets at home. Additionally, we always offer to text or email our clients each day. This allows the client to check up on their pet and helps them feel safer.

 

Being a pet sitter is a really amazing job. I get to work with awesome pets and learn new things every day. We love getting to work with you and your pets and can’t wait to meet you (or see your pets again)!

 

Clicker Training Tips

 

There are many different positive reinforcement training methods available to both cat and dog owners. One of my favorite methods is clicker training, it is a good way to quickly train your pet with less treats than traditional training.

Clicker training is used by thousands of animal trainers to teach all types of animals. It can be used to teach dogs obedience, leash manners, agility and many other things. It can also be used to teach tricks and other positive behaviors to cats.

What is clicker training?

Clicker training is using a sound (generally a clicker) to positively reinforce your pet for a behavior he or she is doing. In clicker training, a click is used every time a good behavior happens and treats are given later (which means fewer treats).

 

Why should I clicker train my pet? 

Clicker training has a couple of cool benefits. Clicker training allows you to reward positive behavior more quickly than giving your pet a treat. Depending on your reaction time, you could be clicking 10-15 seconds after your pet does the positive behavior. Giving a treat to your pet generally takes a longer time, which may cause your pet to forget the positive behavior he or she did. This helps your pet learn what the behavior you want to see, and learn it more quickly.

Because you click for each behavior rather than give your pet a treat, you feed less treats per training session. This is really helpful if you are working with an overweight pet or do not want your pet to gain weight.

 

How do I get started clicker training? 

Clicker training is all about associating a sound with a reward, so start by picking a sound. Pick a sound that is easy to make and distinct (will not be heard outside of training). For example, it is not recommended you use a clap because your pet will hear clapping outside of the training session and may get confused. This is the reason many people use the clicker. It is a very distinct sound, and it may be quicker to make than any sound you can make on your own. Clickers are easy to find at pet stores and generally cost around $2.

 

Next get started with your first sessions of training. These sessions will be very treat heavy, so pick a treat that your dog likes. Because clicker training is all about associating a sound with a reward (like a treat) you will be clicking and giving your dog a treat per click. Start by getting your dog’s attention, and simply clicking the clicker. After each click, quickly give your dog a treat. Do this for a few 5-10 minute sessions. After a few sessions, start mixing in simple behaviors with clicking. For example, have your dog sit, then click and treat. Do this for a few sessions and slowly wean down to only treating for every 10 clicks. Be sure to give your pet some treats after each session to tell him that he did a good job.

Next move on to the first behavior you want to teach, do so slowly. Because your dog is new to training, still give treats pretty frequently during the sessions. If you are teaching a complicated behavior, like how to walk nicely on a leash, use multiple steps to teach this. For simple behaviors you can use one step. An example I am going to use is teaching a pet how to come. Have someone hold your pet at the other end of the room and use your come signal. Only when your pet comes to you, give a click and give a treat. Repeat this behavior, give a click and treat the second and third times. The next time your pet comes, give only a click. Repeat this for the remainder of your session, mixing in a few treats with clicks. At the end of the session give your pet treats to tell him he did a good job. At each training session, reduce the amount of treats given during the session to only treating at the end. Do this until your pet masters the behavior.

 

Clicker training is a great way to teach pets positive behaviors. Be sure to use treats your pet likes and keep training sessions short for success!