~ Submitted to Crockett’s Critter Care by James Mallory.
KitKat, our Ginger boy, came to us unexpectedly about seven years ago. While we were visiting family out of state, a little kitten ran into their garage and wouldn’t leave. He was all alone and only about four weeks old. We waited to see if his mother or siblings would join him – but no one did. That weekend we opened our heart and home to a new furry companion.
He has remained an indoor kitty but still retains his outdoor instincts which we indulge by taking him for a lot of rides in his outdoor kitty carriage. A great way to keep him safe and secure while still enjoying the outdoors.
KitKat loves to play and his orange tunnel with his spinning ball is his favorite toy. When he is not keeping us company, he likes to hang out in “his” sunroom where he can keep an eye on the backyard birds.
His small circle of friends outside of family includes our pet sitter – his loyal caretaker since we brought him home.
What is your proud pet story? Contact us so we can all hear it.
I was a lucky winner of a raffle drawing at the Pet Sitters International Conference this year. My prize was a forty-five-minute consult with Marci Kosti, PHD, a well-known cat behaviorist. I prepared ahead and asked my Facebook friends and colleagues what their most pressing cat concerns were. Some of the concerns went beyond the scope of an introductory consult but other issues fit easily into a Q & A format.
Here is a summary of the answers to my questions with Dr. Marci:
When pet owners consult with you, what are the topics they want to discuss most often? The top concern is from pet owners who have cats that are not getting along and are looking for ways to create cat harmony in their household. The second most frequent topic is house soiling.
How important is early interaction between kittens and humans regarding their friendliness toward their owner and other people throughout their lifetime? The sensitive socialization period for kittens is 2 to 8 weeks. Studies have shown that kittens that have been gently handled (even just 15 minutes a day) are more likely to be friendly, more willing to explore, and more able to handle stress as they develop. Exposure to more than one person, other pets, environments, and situations provide kittens with positive associations that will last a lifetime.
As a pet sitter, we often administer medications to cats. What are some of the best methods that you have found for cats to accept this process? Less handling is better when giving medicine to a cat. For pilling, the best treat that Dr. Kosti has found is whipped cream cheese because it is sticky and yummy. Place a pea size portion with the medicine tucked inside on the very end of a knife or spoon. When the cat goes to lick it, it sort of sticks to the cat’s tongue and then goes into the mouth to be swallowed. To get the cat to accept this, start with a few portions of the cheese without the pill and then the one with the pill followed by one more lick without the pill. This way the cat doesn’t suspect the medicine each time. Some other good choices are Churu’s, Albacore tuna, marsh mellows, Easy Cheese cheddar and bacon, canned salmon, baby shrimp, Bonita fish flakes, anchovy paste, and Fancy Feast foil packets of any flavor. We also talked about adding medicine to a liquid paste in a syringe and letting the cat lick it off the tip of the syringe. Both of these methods can be completed without any hand holds so the cats aren’t stressed and look forward to medicine time. Dr. Kosti shared a great video by Feline Fundamentals that shows positive ways to medicate your cat which I thoroughly enjoyed watching. You can view it on Youtube.
What are the best ways to deter a cat from scratching the furniture? Scratching posts placed near the furniture that the cat is scratching. Make sure it is the right size and is sturdy. If the cat is reaching up then the post should be one that matches the cat’s height preference. The same applies for cats that scratch the carpet. These cats prefer scratchers that lie on the floor. There is a variety of scratchers to chose from. Consider buying several. Initially, you can sprinkle cat nip on the scratcher to get the cat’s attention.
What are your thoughts about cats exploring outdoors in a stroller? Dr. Kosti loves it and has tried it with all of her cats. However, only one of them took to it after training. It needs to be properly introduced with gentle training. If a cat doesn’t like it and growls, hisses, trembles, freezes, snaps or swats – then stop. This is not going to be a pleasant experience for that cat.
Feeding stations vary a lot from one house to another. Sometimes food bowls are close together near the litter box and other times they are spread out. What do you advise your clients to do? Cats are very fussy about this. They don’t like their food bowl near the water or the litter box. They also don’t have a drive for thirst even though they need water. I have found that the best feeding station is one that has the food apart from the litter box and away from the water bowl. It’s also a good idea to have several water bowls in areas that the cat is near because they may drink more water that way. This is especially important for senior cats.
Litter box issues are complex issues that can’t be addressed in this format. Dr. Kosti gave a ninety-minute presentation which I found valuable on litter box issues and house soiling at the Pet Sitters International conference. The first step in resolving these issues is a veterinary check- up to determine that the problem isn’t medical. Then a review of litter box basics (location, design, type of litter, and maintenance) and some simple adjustments may be all that is required for your cat to behave appropriately. As a pet sitter, I have a lot of experience in this area and may be able to help.
When it comes to cats that don’t get along in their multi-cat household – it may be time for you to reach out to a cat behaviorist. Dr. Marci Koski, a Certified Feline Behavior & Training consultant, successfully helps cat owners restore harmony in their homes. The testimonials on her website are from satisfied customers who wish they would have contacted her sooner. I am very impressed with her understanding of cats and her willingness to share her knowledge with me. I highly recommend her to you. She is amazing and will be happy to talk with you.
What is your proud pet story? Contact us so we can all hear it.
At Crockett’s Critter Care, our first meeting is a chance for us to get to know your pet and your expectations. Taking the time to introduce your pet to our sitters is the foundation for establishing a positive relationship. Together we’ll talk about your pet’s personality and needs. We will discuss your pet’s health and what we can do to support it. Then together, we’ll create a schedule that will work for you and your pet so that you have a happy home.
Shy Cats and Fearful Dogs
We enter quietly (without ringing doorbells) and usually let your pet come to us with little fanfare. It is a time for us to observe whether your pet is friendly or fearful with strangers. We many not look at your pet or lure it toward us if it is frightened. We respect your pet’s space.
We are concerned with your pet’s physical and emotional well-being. We don’t force ourselves on your pet. We let your pet approach us when it is ready. We are trained to understand your pets’ body language and we adjust our behavior accordingly.
To show we’re friendly and safe, we may toss a few high value treats (the good stuff) to create a positive association with us. We want your dogs to approach us with happy tail wags and your cats with contented purrs when we come to visit.
With patience, gentleness, and the right approach we believe that we will win your pet over. We move slowly, speak softly, and allow your pet to choose us. Some pets love us immediately and some need time and distance to build trust. We don’t rush this introductory phase. We are in it for the long haul and hope that our first meeting is the beginning of a long and happy relationship with each pet and its owner.
Here kitty, kitty…
If you cat is hiding when we arrive for our client meeting, let it stay where it is. Don’t try to pick it up and bring it out to meet us. It is hiding to avoid us because it is afraid. We are fine with that. Many of these cats will come up to us in their own time. Meanwhile, on our kitty visits, we will make sure your cat is healthy, eating, drinking water, and using the litter box appropriately. We like to do a head count to make sure no one is stuck in a closet.
For shy cats in hiding, we will sit in a safe spot and read out loud or just talk to your cat softly. We may continue to toss a yummy treat its way. We have pheromones that we can spray on your cat’s bedding and a music cube that plays calming music that we can leave behind to alleviate your pet’s anxieties. Many of our clients are amazed at the pictures we send of their scared cat or fearful dog relaxing in close proximity to us.
Our initial meet and greet is a courtesy visit to determine if we can meet your expectations and your pet’s needs.
Once we’ve determined that Crockett’s Critter Care can provide the care your pet needs on the schedule you require we’ll set up our visit plan. And we take the time to learn where all the pet supplies are so we aren’t perceived as cat burglars by your protective pet. We need to know where the treats, leash, and cleaning supplies are located so that we can safely and confidently care for your pet.
Professional Pet Sitter
Crockett’s Critter Care pet sitters are trained in pet first aid/CPR and receive ongoing education in our field. Our experience, training, and knowledge make us the professional choice for caring for your pet when you need a pet sitter or a dog walker. Jeanne Crockett, the owner of Crockett’s Critter Care, was chosen as Pet Sitter International’s 2020 Pet Sitter of the Year. This honor was judged on providing pet sitting excellence, adherence to superior business ethics and standards, and outstanding contributions to the industry and local community.
Let us introduce ourselves to you and your pet. We’re here to care for finned, feathered, and furry critters as if they were our own.
In August, 2002, I was visiting my cousin in Wilmington when we decided to visit PetSmart to see when they would have a pet adoption. Fortunately, they were having one that very night, and had just brought out several crates with new kittens. As soon as I saw two little orange tabby faces in one box, I claimed them for mine, male littermates, two months old, Gus and Grover. For two months I enjoyed being MomCat to two babies. Unhappily, Gus succumbed to FIP at four months old, and Grover became an only cat. He adjusted very well, taught us some games to play with him, and learned to take naps with us.
Grover has been a very sociable, friendly cat, not afraid of strangers, and has always been healthy. Now at age eighteen, he does nap longer but is still active. He claims every chair and bed in the house with a couple of favorites in each room. At his last “well-kitty checkup” the vet pronounced him a fine cat, and said to give him whatever he wants. He is still friendly, likes to cuddle, and sleeps at our feet. I am thankful for each day that he is still with us.
Submitted to Crockett’s Critter Care by Meet Grover by Mary Ballard
What is your proud pet story? Contact us so we can all hear it.
The notch signifies that the cat is part of a community of feral felines that have been spayed or neutered and are being cared for. They are part of a TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) neighborhood program to trap, test, spay or neuter, vaccinate and release the feral cats back where they were found. These cats are not your neighbor’s pet that goes inside and out. They are feral or wild and belong to no one.
When the cat or kitty is under anesthesia for surgery, a small portion of its left-ear is removed so that the cat colony care takers know that this cat does not need to be trapped again for this procedure. It’s a good thing. No new litters will be born and the cat can be returned to a closely managed cat colony. So when you see a cat like this, it is healthy, vaccinated, and spayed or neutered, and well cared for.
Neighbors Helping Cats
There are pockets of people involved in this program everywhere and several are in New Bern. Their purpose is to provide a life-saving solution to a cat overpopulation problem. These cats live healthier lives than the strays that are left to fend for themselves.
I have seen the success of this program in my neighborhood through a group named Derby Cats. They take the cats to Spay Today, Inc., a low-cost spay/neuter service in Greenville where $55 covers the cost of spay/neuter, rabies vaccine, and a 3 way combo vaccine (distemper). Derby Cats also provides pre and post-op care, any necessary medical care, food, litter and transport all made possible by the generous donations from our neighbors.
During the process, some of the friendly cats are placed into foster care where they can be socialized and adopted into a home. The ferals are released where they were picked up or, if that is not possible, are sought after as barn cats.
To learn more about Derby Cats, become involved, or make a donation, please visit their Facebook page.
A traumatized kitten from a trash can coffee cup finds a home, health, and happiness.
What Was That?
It’s 3:00 am, and five-pound Dora is tearing around the living room, attempting to climb the blinds and curtains and everything else she knows is off-limits during the day. All that can be seen is one little eye glowing with glee as she speeds by. “Having one eye doesn’t slow her down a bit,” says Ben, who found her on the side of a busy road almost six years ago when she was only five weeks old.
A Rough Start
“She was hiding in an empty cup by some trash,” Ben remembers. He noticed her little head poking out and pulled over. “She ran right to me, meeping and crying.” Dora was in a rough shape, weighing only nine ounces and covered in fleas and scratches. She also had significant trauma to her left eye, which couldn’t be saved.
Happily Ever After
Sweet Dora never seemed to mind the loss of her eye. She even tried to play with her stitches as soon as she came home from the vet after surgery. More recently, Dora’s job has been class mascot as Ben’s wife, Rachel, taught elementary school online. “Dora Zoomed with me every day. She’d walk all over the keyboard, sniff the camera, and twitch her tail when she heard my students talk. The kids loved it. She’d take a nap by the window to supervise.”
Hobbies & Habits
Dora’s hobbies include tackling her 17-pound older cat brother, Fluffy Ed, and napping with her more patient older brother, the Magical Mr. Mistoffolees. She also enjoys listening for the sound of a lid being removed from a rotisserie chicken container so she can roll on her back and beg by showing her fluffy belly.
~ Written by Rachel Donnelly
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