DID YOU KNOW: What to Do When Your Indoor Cat Escapes Outside?

DID YOU KNOW: What to Do When Your Indoor Cat Escapes Outside?

This is a topic that comes up often in our neighborhood chats. It’s not surprising that your cat wants to explore. After all, it’s pretty interesting on the other side of the door. Trees to climb and things to stalk and chase. They get to practice their natural hunting skills, mark a new territory, and sharpen their nails.

Most of the time when cats dash out the door or work their way through a screen, they stay pretty close – usually less than five houses away. But once out, they may decide that the sensory overload is too much for them, become scared, and hide. Cats are territorial and their territory is in their house so they seek shelter out of fear. When you go out to look for them, they may even be watching you, but are too afraid to respond to your calls. They may stay hidden in silence for days until their hunger outweighs their fear and then will emege from their hiding place.

If your cat gets outside, it’s important to do a physical search for them immediately, and don’t give up too soon. Look under bushes, sheds, decks, and porches. Ask your neighbors if you can check for your cat on their property. Your neighbor may be willing to keep an eye out to report your cat if spotted, but is not likely to crawl under their deck or shed they way that you would. If you see an open garage, check there too. Put up signs, post on social media (Nextdoor, Pawboost, your FB page}. Include recent photos and your contact information. When it gets dark, shine a flashlight where you are looking. A cat’s eyes will be easily detected in the light.

You can also set up a humane trap in a place where you can check it frequently. You may be able to borrow one from Animal Control or a rescue group. Place some yummy food in the trap to lure your cat inside. If your cat is skittish, it may take days or even weeks to enter the trap. Don’t be discouraged. Professional cat detectives use wildlife cameras. They set out a plate of food and the camera snaps pictures of the animals that come to eat. You can set one up near your home to see if you can spot your cat wandering across the lawn, going under cars or moving around when it feels safe to do so. Most cats are more active at night or in the early morning – times when you are not likely to be paying attention.

Sometimes cats will hang out with feral cat colonies in order to get food. Try to find out if there are any near your home and see if your cat is among them. When you are reunited with your cat, make sure you cat proof any escape areas to prevent your cat from being displaced again. Make those areas unattractive with repellent sprays, aluminum foil or by putting sticky paw on mats that lay by the door.

For your cat’s future safety, be proactive by placing a breakaway collar with your name and number, spay or neuter your cat, and keep your cat up to date on vaccinations. Another tip is to create an enriching environment so your cat is more interested in staying inside. Cat trees, games, food puzzles, and toys are some basic suggestions to keep your cat happier on the inside. Catios are more expensive but provide a safe, enclosed space for your cat to experience being closer to nature. Indoor cats are safer, healthier, and live longer than outdoor cats. An indoor cat can live up to eighteen years or more while the average lifespan for outdoor cats is five years.

It’s a good idea to contact veterinarians, and rescue organizations as they are often contacted by people who find cats in an attempt to reach their owner. Call and visit shelters. The most important ingredient in a successful outcome is your search. Be patient, look often in the same area, and vary the times of your route. Understand that your normally friendly and loving cat will act differently if it is panicked. It still loves you, but it is overcome by the fear of being in an unfamiliar place. Don’t take a wait and see approach. Putting your cat’s dirty litter box out to encourage it to return is passive and not effective. Do take an active approach by continuing to physically search. Your cat’s well-being depends on it.

Sometimes cats escape when a pet owner has recently moved. These cats may be already stressed because nothing is familiar and their owner may be noisily unpacking, moving furniture, and ignoring them. These cats are over threshold to begin with before darting outside and may take longer to find. Don’t give up. I have heard of cats like this being spotted two months after escaping. Until you know for sure that your cat is not alive – do not lose hope. There are cat detectives that will provide consultations and give you advice should you need more assistance. I recommend Kat Albrecht at Missing Animal Response Network. I heard her give a fascinating presentation at a Pet Sitter’s International conference that I attended. She has an awesome success rate.

Wrapping Up the Old and Ringing in the New

Wrapping Up the Old and Ringing in the New

Thank you for spending 2021 with us. We hope this year was a good year for you and that you approach 2022 with excitement and wonder about what lies ahead. I am happy to report that 2021 picked up momentum as the year unfolded. Our loyal clients returned, new clients are booking requests at a steady pace, we have added a new service (reactive dog training), and we are thrilled to continue to do what we love.

A lot of considerations come with running a small business. Are we doing our job better than anyone else? Is my staff happy and adequately trained? Are they being paid a decent wage? Am I being responsible with expenses? Am I delegating too much or not enough? I analyze every aspect of running a business: staffing, training, financials, scheduling, invoicing, and make adjustments to keep operations running smoothly. I used to believe I would reach a point where things would hum along. Did I miss it, is it just around the corner, will I know it when I am there?

What I do know, is that I am exactly where I need to be. Through my experience with Davy, my GSD, I discovered an area in our community that wasn’t being served – reactive dog training. These dogs have struggles and so do their owners. Working with reactivity is different than training for basic skills. It wasn’t until I studied reactive dog training for Davy that I realized how valuable this training would be for others who have reactive dogs like him.

My four-year Fear Free Elite training and subsequent studies from world leaders in the field of reactivity have honed my skills to offer a special, game changing eight-week program. From my initial results this year, I know this program can help both ends of the leash and build an unbreakable bond in your partnership.

I love learning, teaching, and being an entrepreneur. I enjoy working with pets and my team, and have a strong curiosity to learn and do more. My vision is to intertwine training with my pet-sitting and dog-walking services when applicable to do so. I have two areas of training: 1) walk and train and 2) reactive dog training. The first deals with what we encounter when walking dogs including, standing still while being leashed, not jumping up on us, walking calmly on a loose leash, and mastering the art of drop it/leave it/trade up. Reactive dog training is a highly specialized field for this community of pets and pet parents. In all of our training we use Fear Free methods to ensure a pleasurable experience for all involved. Contact us to inquire about our next session.

Happy Pet! Happy Home!

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DID YOU KNOW? 10 Smart Ways to Boost Your Pets’ Mood

DID YOU KNOW? 10 Smart Ways to Boost Your Pets’ Mood

  1. Rotate Toys. Instead of leaving all the toys out, pick them up and offer them a few at a time. Change it up so your dog isn’t bored.
  2. Go on Walks. Dogs love to sniff and explore. If they spend time in the house all day, it’s a good way for both of you to have quality time together.
  3. Train Obedience. A dog that understands what you expect is happy to oblige. They want to please you. A dog with manners is easier to spend more time with.
  4. Teach a New Trick. One of the ways my dogs and I got through the pandemic was finding ways to have fun. High five, find it, go around, sit in the middle, and leg weaves are just a few of the long list of tricks. Cats are good tricksters too.
  5. Maintain a Healthy Weight. Obesity in pets is a big problem today. Look at all the choices of pet food today geared toward trimming excess pounds. Your pets will feel better in the ideal weight
  6. Play Games. They are beneficial for building confidence and focus, and are fun activities for mental and physical stimulation. You can play games with toys or food. Tug, fetch, flirt poles, hidden treats, and scent games are all good examples. Choose a game appropriate for your dog’s breed and size.
  7. Be consistent with Rules and Boundaries. Everyone in the household is included. Dogs learn from us all the time. They watch and respond according to our praise and reinforcement or lack of it. Giving them mixed signals will confuse them.
  8. Give them a Good Grooming. A bath—if needed—a brushing, or a comb out helps keep them clean, removes allergens from their coat, and gives you a chance to check for fleas.
  9. Verbal and Physical Praise. Talking to them, petting them, or giving them a simple massage makes them feel safe, secure and loved.
  10. Introduce new, good quality treats from time to time. Spread them around the house, drop some among their toys, let them seek and find. It’s fun to discover their favorites.

Cats Special Mention: Keep pine needles away; hang cat safe, shatter-proof tree ornaments with string instead of wire hooks; skip the tinsel and fake snow; avoid mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias. If your tree is live, cover the water source to prevent your cat from drinking. Double check that cords and wires are not exposed and turn off the lights when you leave. Spend some time with your feline fur babies and enjoy a few magical moments together.

We Speak Dog and Cat

We Speak Dog and Cat

There is a trend in my industry for pet sitters who used to care for dogs and cats to streamline their services to cats only. Why is this happening? There are some advantages: easier scheduling, indoor visits, not as physically demanding as walking a dog, weather has less of an impact, most visits can be made in the late morning and early afternoon giving the pet sitter more down time. It’s tempting to consider, but I can’t see choosing one over the other. We love both and our training and client testimonials reflect that.

We are just as comfortable caring for either and our Fear Free approach puts both species at ease. We observe temperament and body language and use a quiet and gradual approach with each pet we visit. We love it when a shy cat or a fearful dog relaxes and accepts us.

We know where cats hide, how much food and water they consume, and if the litter box is being used appropriately. Our keen observations, noted in our visit reports, put pet owners at ease. When a kitty is ready for enrichment, we are happy to oblige with toys, wands, fetch, laser lights, and more.

There are many professional pet sitters, like us, who are skilled in lovingly caring for both cats and dogs in a calm manner that keeps them safe, secure, and relaxed. Over the years we have received many testimonials from cat clients who are delighted to come home to happy and relaxed cats – for first time. Some are incredulous that we have gotten their cat to leave the closet for a treat or some playtime. We win them over because we understand them and use a considerate approach to earn their trust.

Contact us for a fear-free, positive experience with your pet (dog or cat) next time they need proper care. We would love to establish a relationship with you and your furry companion.

Happy Pet! Happy Home!

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Creating Harmony for Dogs, Cats, and Holiday Guests

Creating Harmony for Dogs, Cats, and Holiday Guests

We welcome family and friends over the holidays. It’s a time of gratitude and celebration that may include joyful gatherings, good food, pleasant conversations, and fun. Sadly, for many pets, the holidays mean stress, fear, and anxiety. Strangers come and go, it’s noisy, the house is filled with different decorations, and the quiet routine is disturbed. Pets can’t find a place to settle and they don’t sleep as well. These are some triggers that make this season of the year challenging for pets.

You can help your pets stay calm by setting up a safe space for them (crate, room, x pen) where they feel secure and can get away from the activity. This quiet spot can be adorned with their favorite toys or chews, sprayed with Adaptil (dogs) or Feliway (cats), and calming music from the radio. Set this up in advance. Cats need a litter box, water, food, scratching post, and something familiar.

Ask your visitors to respect your pet and not to overwhelm them with unwanted attention or inappropriate food. You can set aside some of their usual treats for a pet lover to drop on the floor by your pet instead of offering it by hand.

Watch your pet’s body language to make sure they are comfortable. If they look away, shake off, yawn, pant, or act tense – encourage them to go to their safe spot. Oh, and most pets aren’t crazy about wearing a costume.

If your pet is a food thief, keep the serving areas out of his reach. Some dangerous holiday items are uncooked bones, chocolate, bread dough, sticks of butter, macadamia nuts/grapes and raisins, avocados, alcohol/cannabis/human medications, and sugar-free products containing xylitol (gum, some peanut butter). If you are traveling with your pet, make sure you are aware of where your pet is and keep them away from rodent control poisons and anti-freeze.

Watch the entryways. If your dog or cat is a door dasher, take steps to block this from happening. It’s a good idea to have a name tag secured to your dog’s collar.

If you use mistletoe or holiday tinsel, please keep these away from your cat.

Your pets are used to a quiet routine and aren’t used to strangers. It’s important to support them so your gatherings aren’t a source of stress. The signs of anxiety are so subtle, they can easily go unnoticed and your holiday ruined..

Be smart, be safe, and create wonderful holiday memories for your guests and all the members of your family.

Anyways, happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving from Crocketts Critter Care

Happy Pet! Happy Home!

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DID YOU KNOW? How to have healthy, happy indoor cats

DID YOU KNOW? How to have healthy, happy indoor cats

A cat’s emotional and physical well-being is determined by how well pet parents are meeting a cat’s needs.  These needs are equally divided among social, eating, sleeping, grooming, and hunting.  Cats are both predator and prey and are literally analyzing everything in terms of being safe or being in danger.  This includes every time they interact with you or other people, hear a sound, see a movement, smell something different.  They are doing this every second of every day.  Knowing this, we can provide a safer and more enriching environment to keep our pets healthy and happy.  Here are some tips to help:

Play should always mimic hunting styles and include all aspects of the hunt (eye, stalk, chase, pounce, kill) and  engage a cat’s senses of sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. There are a multitude of toy choices or activities that are satisfying. Some of my favorites are toys on a pole, wand toys, and laser lights (providing the cat gets the red dot in the end).  Interactive play between a pet owner stimulates the brain, provides exercise, combats boredom, and strengthens your relationship.  Plus, it’s what cats like to do.  Keeping cats inside where they are safe while providing enrichment makes for a happy and healthy cat.


Feeding can be done with food puzzles and slow feeders.  Ditch the bowl for something that encourages foraging and hunting.  Move the food around the house at different locations so they can search. Where would your cat want to eat?  Feed it there!  If you have a multi-cat household, spreading the food around gives cats more personal space to eat.  Some cat behaviorists believe that how we feed a cat is as important as what we feed them.

Cats sleep 12-16 hours a day.  Heated cat beds, perches, boxes or containers, a carrier, quiet places, and a spot in the sun are wonderful accoutrements for a sleepy cat.

Grooming is super important and serves more purposes than you might imagine.  It hides a cat’s scent from predators, cleans injuries, removes debris and parasites from fur, and disperses natural oils in the skin.  Cats love to be washed and enjoy grooming their housemates as well.  One thing we can do for them that they like is wash their whiskers and mouth with a warm washcloth. 
Cats, being social animals, would enjoy an indoor environment that engages all of the senses.  Cats love window perches, vertical climbing spaces, wall shelves, sun beam chasing, catios, cat friendly-music, videos, cat plant grass, fish tanks, and companionship. You can even bring the outside in by gathering leaves and placing them in a box for your cat to explore. 

Take a look around your home from your cat’s perspective and see what delights you can add to your cat’s world.  Giving your cat ways to display their natural behaviors will help reduce stress and give them more choices.  Happy Cat, Happy Home!