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Biggest Pet Sitting Adventure YET!

Buster Boy
Buster Boy & Liza hanging out
Lucy the beagle sharing with her kitty cat friend Belle
Lucy the beagle sharing with her kitty cat friend Belle
The sweet little ducklings
The sweet little ducklings
Mia...are you smiling?
Mia…are you smiling?

 

Recently, I got a request for a pet sit for 8 dogs, 11 cats, 19 ducks, 20 something chickens and 2 sweet little ducklings.  The potential clients sounded like they were almost afraid to ask if I would be interested in doing the job.  I think they thought it would be a little overwhelming but oh my…I was SO excited!!  We talked about options and I suggested a 12 hour overnight with a midday potty visit for the puppies.  Why?  Because it would give their sweet furry and feathery babies the MOST one on one attention! 

The three musketeers

Lucy, Buster Boy & Amber soaking up the sun during a midday doggie walk

Grace resting on her belly

When a dog gets comfy during a pet sit, we know that they are happy we are there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, off they went to their long away, long awaited vacation.  Many of us are in that predicament these days right?  But, these two furry parents were VERY MUCH in need of a vacay.  Let me tell you how that makes ME feel, we know how it made THEM feel right??!!  Well, just the thought of being able to GIVE them that vacation without a lot of worry (let’s be honest, no matter who watches our fur babies, we have a little worry).  It gave me that burst of energy, excitement and great feeling of giving that I needed as well.  We did a full walkthrough of the feeding schedule, food bowls galore, wet food, dry food, treats, chicken and duck feed, watering hoses, we checked all of the boxes.  Was it a LOT of info you ask?  YES!  But, one reason we do a contract AND we use the online Time to Pet system is to track every single detail about every single furry and feathery pet.  All the way down to the ducklings, we had a plan.  All of this info was entered into Time to Pet and when I went to the house the first time, I was READY!  I had my plan of action in my pocket – aka on my iphone in my Time to Pet app. 

Lilly loves to watch

Lilly loves to cuddle on the couch anytime, any couch, especially with her toy chicken.

Day ONE – One thing I told my 2 legged clients was that by the time they got home in a week, I would have all of the furry baby’s names memorized.  Well, let me tell you, day one, that didn’t happen.  But, as I scanned through my app dishing out their food, I called them by name when I put their food down for them.  Within 2 days, I had it down!  Now, the chickens and ducks probably have their own names if I had to guess but I didn’t push it, I’ll save that for next time!  HA!  Cuddle time on Day one was so funny, a few of the puppies weren’t quite sure if they knew me well enough to cuddle, then a few of them were trying to climb on my lap and of course I let them.  I had a dog at my feet when it was cuddle time who wasn’t a couch potato, one on the next couch snoring and giving me lovey eyes, one on the back of the couch giving me the eye and one that wanted a lift onto the couch for some snuggles.  And, one on his bed in the kitchen passed out from the excitement.  Then, downstairs, I had 3 more that wanted nothing but to tell me about their day and what they saw and did and of course they wanted lots of pets.  It was HEAVEN!  And THAT was just the DOGS!  Cats…oh my..talk about a great group of kitties!  They all go in and out so it was like having multiple 5 year old children, in and out and in and out.  But, they all seemed to know when the yummy wet food was going to be distributed and lined up for their ration.  The kitties downstairs have their pad to themselves and absolutely are total love bugs.  Lots of pets, brushing and loves, they just wanted more and more which I happily gave them every visit I was there.  You see, they are all rescue pets, not sure if you know about rescue pets but they KNOW they have been rescued from a bad situation, they KNOW that the food they get is an amazing gift, they KNOW that each pet they get is out of LOVE and attention.  They KNOW that the roof over their heads is to be thankful for.  If being with them doesn’t teach us something about life and how thankful we should be for the small things, nothing will! 

Belly rub please?

Belly rub please? Well, of course!

Day SEVEN – I really should have written in my journal each day to share all of the funny things, the messy things, the challenges involved taking care of 60+ animals but I really didn’t take the time, maybe next time I will and share a diary, if you’re interested.  Honestly, after Day one, we got on a schedule, a routine and we all benefited from it.  What’s amazing about furry and feathery pets is they LOVE a routine.  Just like a newborn baby needs a routine, so do the furry family.  Once that routine is set after day one or two, we are all more settled in our role in that routine and what we are going to do and when.  Do you know why?  NO surprises, nobody gets upset, everyone is H.A.P.P.Y.  They expect and realize what comes next and for me, the routine helps me stay on track so we are all taken care of and everyone is happy!  One night, I remember we were sitting on the couch during cuddle time at about 9pm and my stomach started growling. I looked at the puppies and said, well you all got your ration but I forgot mine!  I had brought a sandwich for dinner and put it in the frig when I arrived and forgot to eat it.  Why?  Because THEY come first.  Yes.  One of my favorite things in the whole wide world is helping others.  Why?  Because it comes naturally to me, it is rewarding, it makes my heart swell.  Some people may think that when you jump up to help others in their time of need, whether it is 2 legged, 4 legged or feathery, that it’s too much, that it’s about yourself and not them.  NO WAY!  As a giver, it is ALL about them and what they need.  And, yes, sometimes you forget to take care of yourself but all you have to do is stop and realize that you need that sandwich and you get up and go and get it for YOU and all is well again in the world.  They sometimes call us Empaths.  I guess it’s true, I am an empath.  Maybe that’s what makes me good at giving to people and their pets.   If that’s the case, I’ll take it.

Cooper..those eyes

Some cats just grab your heart and Cooper is one of those…those eyes!

So, back to our story, my clients came home HAPPY and relaxed from their wonderful vacation.  I got a call from one of them the next morning with GLOWING words of appreciation.  He said everyone was so HAPPY!  The house smelled so CLEAN!  And, he noticed a few “improvements” I had done to the place – ie: a pee pad under the kitty boxes for someone who doesn’t always get all the way in the box before pottying.  J  How does this make me feel??!!  EXCITED, LOVED, APPRECIATED!  THIS is why I do what I do.  Although this was a challenge, I accepted it whole heartedly knowing I could do it. If I didn’t think I could, I would have told them and declined.  But, nothing better to me than a good challenge.  Wow. My heart was overflowing with love when I left their home after the last visit.  Beyond blessed knowing I can do what I love and love what I do.  The love I received was much more than the love that I gave and boy did I GIVE! 

The ducks and chickens free roaming living the good life

The ducks getting a dip in the pond

Little Bit and her chickens

Little Bit hangs out in the chicken coop, they don’t seem to mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed this, let me know if you would like to see more stories about my pet sits, maybe even a play by play.  Enjoy the pics!  I took about 100 more if you want to see more of the amazing furry and feathery babies.  And, just to let you know, I DID learn ALL of their names….Bebe, Agnes, Amber, Anderson, Belle, Victoria, Victor, Lucy, Prissy, Liza, Mia, Rusty, Lilly, Little Bit, Grace, Cooper, Charlie, Blackie, Buster Boy, the chickens, ducks and 2 ducklings.  🙂

Buster Boy cuddling in his blankey

Buster Boy cuddling in his blankie

Agnes oh how sweet you are

Agnes oh how sweet you are

Kitties hanging out

Living their best life, these rescue cats are so amazing

Liza posing

Liza posing in the yard

Thanks for listening,

Kelly Catlett

PROUD Owner

Waggs 2 Whiskers, LLC

Victor the orange kitty cat
Victor the orange kitty cat
Little Bit watching over the chickens
Little Bit watching over the chickens
Is there something behind me? I know there's something behind me.
Is there something behind me? I know there’s something behind me.
Charley and his kitties having dinner with his puppy friends supervising
Charley and his kitties having dinner with his puppy friends supervising
Amber snoozing, her fav pastime
Amber snoozing, her fav pastime
Bebe doing her best to have a good nap
Bebe doing her best to have a good nap

Feline Enrichment Series Part 4

Feline Enrichment Series Part 4
Feline Enrichment Series Part 4
Feline Enrichment Series Part 4

Feline Enrichment MATTERS – Feeding enrichment & prey drive

We here at Waggs 2 Whiskers have been BUSY CATS during this pandemic!  We have been taking advantage of as many trainings as we can push into our brains.  One in particular REALLY put us over the edge about Feline Behaviors & Enrichment.  It was an amazing webinar put on by our wonderful Pet Sitters International (PSI).  They are awesome providing many opportunities for continuing education for their members.  

This is a 4 part blog series (YES….it was THAT GOOD).  The webinar was graciously put on by Dr. Marci Koski of Feline Behavior Solutions.  We are going to break down what we learned into 4 parts for this series:

1 – Cat’s Basic Nature 

2 – Feline Environment, Enrichment & the benefits

3 – The Four C’s of Enrichment for felines – part 1.5 – toy suggestions/the five senses

4 – The Four C’s of Enrichment for felines – part 2 + prey drive

We have now released Part 1 on Cat’s Basic Nature, Part 2 on Feline Environment, Enrichment & the benefits of making sure your kitty cat have both available to them & also Part 3 – Cognitive and Sensory Enrichment.    

If you missed any of them, go to our website at this link:  https://www.waggs2whiskers.com/blog/

NOW, it’s time for Part 4 – Feline Enrichment MATTERS – Feeding enrichment & prey drive.  Also, how as a pet sitter we can HELP provide this enrichment during our visits with your kitty. 

First, let’s talk Feeding Enrichment:

If your kitty cat seems to be less interested in their food than normal, before thinking something may be wrong, try some of these ideas to make sure she isn’t just bored.

  • Ration their daily food by hiding it throughout the home to give them a chance to search and use their prey drive to find their food. As we learned in Part 1 of this series, cats have an excellent sense of smell and they will search out for food.  Just keep an eye on your hiding spots to be sure they are actually finding and eating it.  Then, you will know if it’s boredom or if they are losing their appetite for some other reason. 
  • Put their dry kibble and/or treats in a container of some sort or even a paper towel roll or TP roll and let them reach in and get it out. It’s not only fun for them but us as well.  Nothing better than watching a cat jump and roll around, better than TV anyday.
  • Food puzzles – You can find these in your local pet store but you can also make them! Try googling some homemade cat puzzles, lots of great ideas from things you have around the house and maybe some duct tape.
  • Snuffle mats – These are really cool and if you don’t know what they are, go to this site – these are handmade by an amazing small business – http://www.beansnbones.com/product/snuffle-mat/ These are normally made for dogs but are great for cats as well since their food is small and treats as well.  They will love it!
  • Frozen chicken broth or milk – consult your veterinarian before offering the milk, some veterinarians may suggest against it. But, if you freeze chicken broth in an ice cube tray and then put one on a plate for your kitty to lick on, this also offers enrichment to their day.
  • Slow Feeders – they have some mats, some are called lucky mats, that you can put wet food on to offer the kitty enrichment during eating rather than them just gulping it down in one sitting.

Think SIMPLE, you may think it’s really not going to make a difference but it truly does to your kitty, it’s kind of like a human having the same thing to eat day after day and never changing up what we eat or how we eat it.  Think about it, it would be very, very boring!

Cat Prey Drive:

A cat has a natural prey sequence:

1 – Stare

2 – Stalk & Chase

3 – Pounce & Grab

4 – Kill Bite and Bunny kick

A feline’s natural prey are rodents, insects, reptiles and birds.  When looking for toys for them to play with think of these preys. 

  • Try some kicker toys, battery operated interactive toys.
  • Interactive wand toys that you can play with them like one called Da Bird. You can get a 3’ or 6’ wand with a string that you can change the attachments on – there are feather attachments, birds, mice, rats, items made of deer fur, insect lures, cat charmer and worm teasers. How cool is that?  You can just switch out the toys for playtime. 
  • For shy, slow or senior cats – Try a cat charmer fleece wand, cat dancer cardboard, wire toy with long peacock feather or fuzzy worms.
Martini the cat and our owner Kelly

Cat sitting at Martini’s house is so fun

How WE can help as a pet sitter:

One thing about cats that most of us know is that they get stressed when their routine changes.  It’s sometimes hard to see this stress but knowing your cat, even the slightest change can bring the stressers out.  Which is where we as kitty sitters can swoop in and help!  The social interaction is the most important piece.  Social kitties are usually first to meet us at the door and we love that.  We talk to them and pet and scratch them, we can also provide brushing.  

Some kitties aren’t interested in making new friends.  From what we have found, we can develop a relationship over time with them if they want to accept us.  And, we are happy to try anything. 

We suggest leaving their toys out, allowing us to play with them, we can provide enrichment in all of the ways we have spoken of in this blog series.  And, we are happy to provide this service as part of our cat sits.  Sometimes, if your kitty is shy and just wants to observe us, we are happy to talk to them and even read a children’s book to them to allow them to get used to our voice and our mannerisms.  We allow them to get to know us at their pace. 

But, if they want to play, we just ask our clients to let us know where the toys are, we love to play.  We can also set up some tents for them to play in while we are away.  We can also provide feeding enrichment for them after playtime to give them something to do while we are not visiting.  We always put away and toys that aren’t suggested to be left out with kitties unsupervised such as wand toys or bags that have handles that they could get caught up in while at home alone.  Safety first is very important to us.

Just to sum up our series, in two words…Enrichment Matters!  Feline Enrichment allows for expression of natural behaviors and helps to reduce stress.  Providing enrichment for your kitty can build a lasting and positive relationship and help to avoid any negative behaviors. 

There are so many great ideas here to offer your indoor kitty cat.  Just pick a few and see what they think.  Providing enrichment for them is a gift.  As we all know, staying in the house a lot can make us want to climb the walls.  So, if your cat is doing that or using destructive behavior or are just bored, it’s time to provide them with some enrichment to spice up their lives!

Thanks so much for tuning in to our Feline Enrichment series!  I have truly enjoyed providing this series to you.  Please let me know what you think and if you have any questions!

Kelly Catlett

PROUD owner of Waggs 2 Whiskers

Medicine Hat
Ferragamo getting his belly brushed

Feline Enrichment Series Part 3

Turbo the cat

Cognitive & Sensory Enrichment

 

We here at Waggs 2 Whiskers have been BUSY CATS during this pandemic!  We have been taking advantage of as many trainings as we can push into our brains.  One in particular REALLY put us over the edge about Feline Behaviors & Enrichment.  It was an amazing webinar put on by our wonderful Pet Sitters International (PSI).  They are awesome providing many opportunities for continuing education for their members.  

This is a 4 part blog series (YES….it was THAT GOOD).  The webinar was graciously put on by Dr. Marci Koski of Feline Behavior Solutions.  We are going to break down what we learned into 4 parts for this series:

1 – Cat’s Basic Nature 

2 – Feline Environment, Enrichment & the benefits

3 – The Four C’s of Enrichment for felines – part 1.5 – toy suggestions/the five senses

4 – The Four C’s of Enrichment for felines – part 2 + prey drive

We have now released Part 1 on Cat’s Basic Nature & Part 2 on Feline Environment, Enrichment & the benefits of making sure your kitty cat have both available to them.  

If you missed them, go to our website at this link:  https://www.waggs2whiskers.com/feline-enrichment-series-part-1/

NOW, it’s time for Part 3 – Cognitive & Sensory Enrichment – let’s talk TOYS!!! 

Let’s get real, MOST people may think that toys are just for dogs.  NOT true!  Cats need this enrichment, possibly MORE than dogs.  Remember in our talk about cat’s basic nature & their adaptations in Part 1 of this series?  SO mportant for kitty cats!  If you didn’t see this, go back and take a look now and then read on!  Now, Part 3.

Cognitive Enrichment in cats allows them to think and problem solve.  There are many items out there to purchase for your kitty cats but you can also make things at home and offer simple tasks for cats that can help them with this type of enrichment in their daily lives.  Here are some great ideas to use:

1 – Agility courses – YES, you can provide this for your cat!  Get creative!

2 – Commands – Cats CAN learn how to sit, spin and fist bump with training just like a dog!

3 – Puzzles – provide food in puzzles and interactive toys.  You can even put treats in a paper towel roll and let them try to get it out, it’s THAT easy!

4 – Clicker training – cats can learn through clicker training!  Check out this book – Clicker Training for Clever Cats by Martina Braun.  You can also look up ‘clicker training’ on Youtube to see some ways to try it with your cat.

5 – Innovative game – when you want your cat to try something, encourage them and then reward them with a treat like a dog.  They do learn in this way as well.

Here are some play session tips for you to use:

  • First of all, limit your play sessions to 2 per day at about 15 minutes each, one before bedtime is always good if you are looking for ways to get them to rest when you do.
  • Always play before feeding – cat’s normal behavior is in order – hunt, eat, groom, sleep
  • Rotate toys and lures and you can use catnip spray to renew them. But, switching them in and out during play sessions is a great idea to keep them interested.
  • Move lures like real prey items and wind them down at the end to indicate the “death” of the toy, don’t stop in the middle of a wild play time
  • Play with one cat at a time if possible, this gives them the chance to focus on the toy on their own
  • Shy cats may want a slower or smaller toy
  • Don’t forget the older cats, try new things to find what they like to play with
  • Don’t give up during playtime if the cat seems to have lost interest. Some cats may “reset” to the staring phase, it doesn’t mean playtime is over.  And, remember, it may take them a little time to figure out what they like
  • An interesting fact to go with this play session – house cats spend 25% of their day hunting while feral cats spend 50% of their day hunting. Increasing that 25% of house cats closer to the 50% of feral cats will mean you will have a happier, more content cat at home

Sensory Enrichment will offer your kitty cat stimulated senses.  Here is how you can help them to stimulate those 5 senses.

When offering new stimulants for your cat, be sure to BE SAFE and supervise them when in use and put them away when you aren’t there so they won’t get consumed, over stimulated or tangled.  Also, providing those stimulants while you are home can also let you have that one on one time with your cat that they absolutely adore.

Try some of these ideas to help to bring those 5 senses alive in your cat:

  • Other animals on TV or video
  • Laser pointer or flashlight
  • Catnip bubbles
  • Herbs & spices – mint, chamomile, dill, catnip – check to be sure any you use are safe for use with your kitty cat
  • Scents from other animals on a clean rag – if you have outside animals like farm animals – cows, sheep, horses – rub the rag on them and bring it in the house for your kitty to check out.
  • Pine cones, leaves, shells, branches from outside
  • Water, ice cube play
  • Packing paper from your shipments – boxes too!
  • Feathers, antlers
  • Whole veggies or fruits
  • Indoor cat garden – google this, so many great ideas
  • Nori seaweed
  • Music, wind chimes

There are so many great ideas here to offer your indoor kitty cat.  Just pick a few and see what they think.  Providing enrichment for them is a gift.  As we all know, staying in the house a lot can make us want to climb the walls.  So, if your cat is doing that or using destructive behavior or are just bored, it’s time to provide them with some enrichment to spice up their lives!

Thanks so much for tuning in to our Feline Enrichment series!  Next week, we will have Part 4 of our series – Feeding Enrichment!  Come on back and see us then!

Kelly Catlett

PROUD owner of Waggs 2 Whiskers

Martini
Ferragamo
Lily the beauty

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