Anxious Cat? Giving Your Kitty a Calm and Happy Holiday Season

an anxious cat near a sack full of Christmas gifts

The holidays are a busy time full of new experiences. This can make for a stressful time for your kitty and, in turn, for you. Luckily, there are ways you can help your anxious cat remain calm and happy this holiday season. Let’s take a look at the important things in a cat’s life, and how you can maximize their comfort by understanding their point of view.

Sense of Smell

Your cat’s sense of smell is much more acute than humans’. In fact, they mark their scent on objects and people to help them feel safe and secure. This is also how they place boundaries on their space. When you are cleaning your house, try to leave your cat’s favorite area somewhat undisturbed so their natural pheromones will remain a comfort to them. Think about things like their tree, scratching posts, bedding, even their carrier. This way, when things get stressful for them, they will have a place to retreat to and feel calm and safe.

Sensitive Hearing

Your cat’s hearing is also better than a human’s. In fact, it’s approximately four times more sensitive than ours. Cats also hear higher frequencies than we can, but they have a harder time determining where sounds are coming from. This is why your kitty can be startled when we think we are using a normal tone of voice.

A nice quiet volume will help to keep your cat calm, whether it is a low soothing voice when you are petting them, or some soft music playing in the background. When the volume is up, like when you are having a party, provide a hideaway that can mute the sounds. This may mean placing towels or blankets over their bedding or carrier so they can block out some of the uncomfortable noise.

Importance of Routine

During the holidays it is important to keep up a routine to help your kitty feel relaxed and happy. Routines can include their wake up tactics, feeding schedule, nap times, getting brushed, having their favorite treats, and play times. Each of these events have a meaning and purpose to your cat, so maintaining these normal behaviors will help you keep their holidays happy.

Keep Essentials Convenient

You know your cat’s behavior better than anyone, so work with them to make things as stress-free as possible. For example, if you know that they run to the master bedroom when they get scared or nervous, you might expect that they will spend the entire day of the big party in there.

As you are cleaning, cooking, and getting ready for the big event, they know that something new is coming. Then the actual party itself will bring new challenges for them to face. Prepare this space with an easily accessible litter box, food, treats and toys to keep your kitty comfortable and able to control their environment.

Let Them Stay Home With Little Friends Pet Sitting & Dog Walking

We love our pets, and we want to include them in the important parts of our lives as well as the day-to-day living. However, sometimes we need to consider what would be best for our friends and make appropriate arrangements. If your cat hates any kind of car trip, perhaps it’s time to think about having your cat stay at home while you make your holiday trip.

Little Friends Pet Sitting & Dog Walking can help you out over the holidays in a number of ways. During our cat visits, we make sure to keep your kitty happy and cared for by providing fresh food, water, and litter box maintenance. We also get to know your kitty ahead of time with our free in-home consults, so we will be able to spend some quality time with their favorite type of play or special grooming time.

You’ll receive an online report card update about your cat while you’re away. We will also help you with mail retrieval, rotating blinds and lights and even watering plants. Your cat will be well taken care of while you are away for the holidays, and both of you will have time to enjoy the season. Instead of returning to an anxious cat, you’ll come home to a calm kitty!

We hope that you and your kitty have the happiest of holidays!

 

 

First-Time Cat Owner in Charlotte? We’ve Got You Covered

Congratulations on becoming a first-time cat owner! You are going to have so much fun getting to know your new friend. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed right now, that’s normal, but we have some great advice and resources for you. So read on and we can give you tips on everything from great local shops to picking the right people to help you out with your cat care.

Tips for the First-Time Cat Owner

Finding the Right Vet

First things first, you will want to choose a vet that you can form a good relationship with. It’s important to find someone you trust. Ideally, they will have a long-term care relationship with your cat so they can advise you on any issues with a good understanding of your cat’s behaviors, medical background, and temperament.

If you have friends with pets, ask them who they use as a vet and why they like them. Local referrals can be really helpful in finding a good fit for you and your pet. You will be looking for someone who is great with animals, but who is also a good communicator with you.

At your first checkup appointment, your cat will receive its first round of immunizations. Work with your vet to set up a schedule for the rest of the immunizations and their needed timing. You will also want to set up an appointment with your cat to be neutered at the age that your vet advises. Write down any questions that you might have, so you are sure to cover everything you need.

Pet insurance is also a consideration for any first-time cat owner. Once you have a vet in mind, if you would like to carry pet insurance, you can call around to find a policy that will work with your chosen veterinarian.

Pet Sitters on Your Care Team

Now that you’ve found a great vet, you will want to find the perfect pet sitter for your cat. Cats are known for their independence, but as they live with us, they become dependent on a regular routine. Working with a pet sitter will assure you that your cat is cared for while you are gone by providing meals, play time, and even some cuddle time.

Getting your cat used to interacting with a cat sitter will give you confidence when you need to be away for a period of time. Little Friends offers unlimited, free in-home consults so you will have a chance to see how your cat reacts and know that you are making a good match for your cat. Setting up pet sitting services is easy, and it gives any first-time cat owner peace of mind to know that their feline friend is well taken care of.

Essentials for Your Cat

Kitten plays with toy mouse

As you are getting started, you will need some basic supplies for your cat. Here is a list to get the first-time cat owner started:

  • Cat carrier or crate
  • Food and Water Bowls
  • Healthy food appropriate for cat age category
  • Litter box and cat litter
  • Collar and ID tag
  • Scratching post
  • Bed
  • Toys

A word about toys: cats, just like humans, have a wide variety of personalities. As you are getting to know your cat, find out what kind of toys they like to play with. Some cats love to dance on two hind feet as they stretch to catch a toy on a cat wand, while others like to bat around a furry toy mouse on the ground. Others are enamored with catnip and some don’t like it at all. Once you know what your cat prefers to play with, you will have many options to keep your cat entertained.

Where to Shop in Charlotte

There are so many great options for cat owners to shop in Charlotte. Here are a few that really stand out for the pet owner who wants to make a special life for their new companion:

  • Pet Wants – You can find healthy small-batch pet food for your cat here. They are made with all-natural ingredients and don’t have any fillers. The staff is happy to educate you on what is in their pet food and help you to make the right choices for your pet. They also sell a variety of other specialty items like treat, balms and sprays.
  • Four Dogs Pet Supplies – (Yes they sell things for cats here). You can find the essentials for your cat like beds, toys, collars, bowls, leashes, and grooming products. What makes this place special is they have an animal gallery that features animal art created by Carolina artists.
  • 4 Paws Holistic – If you are looking for holistic options for your new cat, try out 4 Paws Holistic. They specialize in pet food and treats that do not contain corn, wheat, soy, preservatives, byproducts or artificial colors.

Don’t Worry – You’ve Got This!

This is an exciting time for you and your cat as you get to know each other and form a bond that will last for years to come. You are going to be a great pet parent, and if you have any questions, you can always contact us.

 

 

Adopt a Kitty: Charlotte’s First Cat Cafe and Other Local Cat Rescues

If spending some quality time with happily purring felines is your cup of tea, you’ll love the “cat cafe” concept at Charlotte’s Mac Tabby. Embracing a trend that’s spreading across the country, Charlotte’s first cat cafe allows patrons to pay by the hour to hang out with their very special cats. With a terrific menu featuring local coffees, teas, kombucha, and snacks, the cafe area is actually kept separate from the cat lounge. Guests are allowed to take their food and drinks in with them as long as they don’t share with the kitties.

a sleeping cat at a cat cafe in Charlotte

Many guests find themselves falling in love with one of the cats after their visiting time is up, and that’s okay! All the feline friends at Mac Tabby are searching for a family and are available for adoption! In fact, finding homes for orphaned kitties is one of the cafe’s biggest priorities. Mac Tabby also offers live music, cat yoga, art with cats, and kitty time for kids. Make a reservation online or drop-by for a unique experience where you just might find your next feline family member.

If you don’t have time to sip a latte or do a little cat pose with the kitties at Mac Tabby but you’re thinking of adopting, you can always adopt a cat through a number of local cat rescues. Try checking out these spots for kitties in need of a home.

Catering to Cats and Dogs

Catering to Cats and Dogs is the volunteer rescue group that works with Mac Tabby to keep their cafe full of adoptable felines, and you can work with them directly if you prefer. They pull cats from crowded animal control facilities where they may be facing euthanasia. They then place them in foster homes while they wait to find their new family.

Catering to Cats and Dogs stands out as one of Charlotte’s local cat rescues thanks to the adoption events they host throughout the greater Charlotte area. You can also virtually visit and inquire about their adoptable cats on their website. All Catering to Cats and Dogs pets, including the cats at Mac Tabby, are all fully vetted and microchipped before being placed in their new homes.

The Humane Society

Of course, The Humane Society of Charlotte is also a great place to find a purr-fect new family member. The Humane Society has a no-kill philosophy and offers shelter, medical care, and rehabilitation for homeless pets until they find loving homes. They house a large number of cats at their main facility, where visitors may meet and interact with cats in person. Their currently available cats are also listed online. Like most local cat rescues, they make sure their adopted kitties go home with a spay or neuter, all shots, and a chip. Cats adopted from the Humane Society also come with 30 days of free veterinary insurance.

More Resources and Local Cat Rescues

A few other local cat rescues where you can find cats looking for a fur-ever family include:

Remember, when you adopt a cat from Mac Tabby, or any rescue group or shelter, you’re really saving two lives. The one you take home, for sure, but by adopting you’ve created an opening at the cafe, shelter, or foster home. This makes room for them to help another orphan, as well.

Taking Care of Your New Feline Friend

Once you’ve brought your new four-legged family member home from one of these local cat rescues, Little Friends Pet Sitting is ready to help. When you’re out of town, we will take care of your cat as one of our own. We offer daily visits for cats from just a quick 10-minute check-in all the way up to a full hour. We’ll make sure the litter box is clean, fresh water is available, and that your kitty is fed, groomed, and enjoys some playtime with favorite toys. We can even schedule overnight stays so your cat doesn’t have to spend a night alone. Please contact us today if you’d like to learn more about our special services for cats. We’d love to help!

Millennial Dog Owners Love Charlotte!

There’s a lot of reasons why millennials are flocking to Charlotte, especially those millennial dog owners! Charlotte is one of the fastest growing big cities in America for millennials, and it has so much to offer, from affordable housing to fabulous pet-friendly restaurants, patio bars, parks and much more. Charlotte is also home to a lot of big job-makers in the financial and banking industry. So whatever brought you and your pet to Charlotte, we’re certainly glad you’re here. We’re going to share with you a few favorite restaurants, shops, and entertainment locations in Charlotte that welcome both you and your dog!

Dog-Friendly Bars and Restaurants

The first few stops on our list are some of our favorite dog-friendly breweries in Charlotte. There are so many dog-friendly pubs and breweries in our city, you could visit a different one every day of the week! The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery is a German-style brewery, pub and spacious 8-acre beer garden where you and your dog are both welcome. There’s plenty of outdoor seating and umbrellas for shade. Their menu is loaded with delicious German style food and beer favorites!

Another hometown favorite is the Noda Brewing Company where your pet is welcome both inside and out. Their tap-room has a long list of beers that you’ll enjoy trying, so make sure you and your fur friend stop by and check out Noda’s when you need some relaxation time!

A third pet-friendly brewery to visit in Charlotte is the Triple C Brewing Company. Here you and your pet can also enjoy outdoor seating and umbrella-covered tables, endless choices in year-round beers, and free pretzels and dipping mustard!

If you’re in the mood for authentic Latin-style food, Sabor Latin Street Grill is definitely worth checking out. Their tables under the front awning are dog-friendly. With eight locations in Charlotte that welcome both you and your pet, this unique restaurant specializes in dishes from El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico, and Colombia. From street food, to tacos, to burritos, they’ve got something for everyone! Don’t forget to try one of their specialty margaritas or mojitos.

For those of you that love pizza, both you and your fur friend are welcome to dine in the outdoor seating area at Pure Pizza. This particular style of pizza is made with the health-conscious person in mind! These self-described “Farm Lovin Pizza Freaks” proudly use organic vegetables and flour to create their healthy pizza pies. So if you’re wanting to try an organically focused pizza restaurant with your pet, you’ll want to try a slice at Pure Pizza. You can get a glass of wine or a pitcher of beer to go with you meal here too!

Dog-Friendly Shopping

And after you and your fur friend have enjoyed a great meal and beer, you can walk the calories off at Sleepy Poet Antique Mall. The location in Charlotte has over 50,000 square feet full of antiques, vintage, and unique home decor. Your leashed pet is welcome and you two can spend the whole day wandering their aisles! You might not have anything in mind that you really need, but in a place of this size, and with so much retro variety, we’re sure you and your buddy can find something that catches your eye!

In the market for a new book or a unique gift? The Paper Skyscraper welcomes dogs! For more than 25 years, this now 5000 square foot neighborhood shop specializes in cards, books, gifts, and much more. They’ve got great selections of notebooks and paper, in addition to old-school games and a variety of eclectic items.

Some of Our Favorite Dog Parks

There are so many dog parks in Charlotte. Here are just a few to check out:

  • Frazier Park – 16.5 acres with clean drinking water available for the dogs. A very clean and beautiful park. It’s a great place to walk your dog.
  • McAlpine Creek Park – 114 acres that has a dog park. Nice paths, creeks, and bridges can be found at this park. A dog-friendly park with clean paths and trails.
  • Freedom Park – 98 acres of pet-friendly area which includes trails, ponds, water fountains, and walking paths and trails, in addition to, 5 outdoor shelters with grills.

A Few Closing Thoughts

Currently, Charlotte is ranked the #1 city in America where millennials are moving to. There’s enormous opportunity in Charlotte, and many great places for both you and your dog to visit once you get here! It’s a growing city that’s filled with great places to eat, drink, shop and have fun. Best of all, such a large percentage of these establishments welcome pets! Charlotte really is the ideal city for millennial dog owners.

And for those of you that are new to Charlotte, you and your fur friend will have to make it a point to come meet Terry Richardson, owner of Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking. Terry, a true animal lover and parent to five dogs, opened up Little Friends in 2009. She now employs over 60 pet sitters and the business services over 1000 pet clients. Little Friends has numerous locations throughout Charlotte and they offer a variety of services to help serve as a substitute parent for your best fur friend, when you’re unable to. Their services include pet sitting, pet walking, pet taxi, errand service and many more! Feel free to contact them today with any of your pet related questions that you may have. They look forward to walking your dog and making a new fur friend!

 

 

 

 

Living and Working in Pet-Friendly Charlotte

In beautiful Charlotte, companies in all industries are interviewing and hiring personnel, and people continue to move here from all over the country. As these new Charlottetonians find a place, put down roots and embrace the area they build a life. Single folks with or without children, married couples, those with partners and entire traditional families, are all flocking to Charlotte. Most of these are young movers and shakers who dive headfirst into both active work and social lives.

A huge consideration when moving is how short can I make my commute? Another major concern is will it be pet-friendly? Many transplants bring along their best four-legged friends, and many others will be adopting a fur friend in the near future.  Luckily, Charlotte is one of the most pet-friendly cities in the nation with 6 off-leash dog parks and a general trend of being very welcoming for pets and their owners.

Dog Parks in Pet-Friendly Charlotte 

  • William Davies Park
  • Barkingham Park as Ready Creek Park
  • Frazier Dog Park
  • Fetching Meadow at McAlpine Creek Park
  • Shuffletown Park
  • Mallard and Clark’s Creek Greenway

We love to take our pups of all ages to play in the open air, socialize with other dogs and exercise their hearts by running their little legs off. As the old saying goes “a tired puppy is a happy puppy.”

Why Hire a Dog Walker or Pet Sitter?

The problem is, we moved here to work and have jobs we like, but this can be demanding. Our best friend is home alone while we are gone 8 to 10 hours each day. The guilt weighs on us. Maybe a neighbor can be persuaded to take your buddy on a walk in the afternoon, though that can create a lot of other issues. Are they reliable? Will they treat your pal right? Do you trust them with someone you love?

Perhaps you are a cat lover. Your little meow mix may not require quite as much attention as a dog, but cats need ear and chin scratches too. If you are only home to sleep because you are burning day and night hours in order to meet a deadline or have to go out of town, who is giving your little whiskered one attention?

Little Friends is the Ideal Solution

Thankfully Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking has an experienced staff to take up the slack when you just can’t. You can schedule your pet sitting times so that your fur buddies receive one on one attention in increments of 10, 20, 30, 45, and 60 minutes. The longer the visit, the more the sitter can do. Of course your baby gets more attention, but they will also do things like get your mail, rotate blinds and  water your plants.

Dog walking has the same increments of 10, 20, 30, 45, and 60 minutes including a potty break, fresh water and snack you have provided.  The staff and sitters are all insured and bonded and all have been through a thorough interview process and background check. All pet sitters must love pets, and also have to prove a history with pets. All of the sitters have either owned pets, previously sat for them, worked with animal rescue groups or even worked in a veterinary clinic. With over 70 sitters providing services to over 1000 clients, the reputation of Little Pets speaks for itself. Here is a guide to the sitters who will love and take care of your pets.

Little Friends has a big footprint covering a lot of real estate. In fact, if you find they don’t already cover your location you are invited to call them to see if your location can be added to their coverage area. Established in 2009, Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking has long been serving Charlotte’s pet needs with excellent service and has gained a great reputation. They truly do make your pet a priority when you are unable to.

 

Why You MUST Have an In-Home Consultation With Your Pet Sitter

If you need someone to watch your pet while you’re out of town or if you are looking for a dog walker to visit your dog while you are at work, then an in-home consultation is crucial. You will be bringing this new person into your home and into your pet’s life. For that reason, the two of you should meet before they begin working for you. Here are some reasons a consultation is so important:

You Get a Sense of the Sitter

Your pet sitter is going to be coming into your home when you are not there. If you are going through a reputable agency, you should have some reassurance that this person has had background checks and been thoroughly vetted. Even if that’s the case, you should still meet to get a sense of this person. An in-home consultation gives you a good idea of how comfortable you will be allowing this person into your home to care for a cherished member of your family.

Your Pet Gets to Know the Sitter

It is so important for any prospective pet sitter to meet your pet ahead of time. Sometimes cats can be skittish when it comes to strangers, but dogs may be even more of a concern. If your dog is territorial or just anxious, he will definitely need to see that this person has your seal of approval. Letting the pet take his time to check the pet sitter out while the two of you talk can help to alleviate fears. This means your pup will be much more comfortable with the sitter the next time they meet.

The Sitter Can Be Introduced to Routines

Obviously, the sitter is going to be caring for your pet, so it is a good idea to introduce them to your pet’s routines. Show them where your pet’s supplies are kept. Let them know when and how much to feed your pet. You may even show them the route you take your dog when you go walking, and of course where their harness or collar and leash are kept. This is also a good time for the sitter to understand what rules your pet is expected to follow, like not jumping or sitting on the furniture. Your sitter will also have the opportunity to see what commands your pet is familiar with like “sit” and “stay.”

How to Introduce Your Pet

When the pet sitter comes into your home, the two of you may just sit and chat, initially. This will give your pet the chance to check out this new person without any pressure. Here are some things you can try when introducing your pet to someone new:

  • Keep him in another room until the sitter has settled in. Once the pet sitter is seated, you can release your dog or cat.
  • Let your pet make the first move. While the two of you talk, your dog or cat may come to investigate. Your dog may sniff or your cat may rub up against her. The visitor should not make any eye contact or attempt to touch your pet until the pet has made the first overtures. This indicates that they are open to being touched.
  • Allow the sitter to offer your pet some treats. This will help to build a bridge. Do not allow treats to be offered if your pet is behaving in a shy or fearful manner. This could actually reinforce the anxious behavior.

Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking offers in-home consultations free of charge. This allows you to meet with a sitter who is experienced, bonded and insured and whose background has been thoroughly checked. This gives you peace of mind and allows your pet to acclimate to a new caregiver while you are present. This also gives you and the sitter the opportunity to discuss your pet’s needs and routines. For more information or to schedule your consultation, visit our website or give us a call today. You can also fill out the new client paperwork here.

Entertaining Your Pets with Music & TV!

I’m sure that you or someone you know will turn on the radio or the TV when they are leaving a pet alone in the house.  I bet you’ve also wondered if this is really effective, or if we, as humans, do it because it gives us a little peace of mind.

But are our pets really entertained?

Image from Huffington Post

Research shows that it CAN be effective!

Music, depending on the genre, can help relieve stress and anxiety in pets.  Different types of music can garner different types of reactions.  Classical music, for example, can calm and relax your pet, whereas rock music may cause hyper or even aggressive behavior.  Playing some soft, calm music can help your pet rest, relax, and go to sleep.  Researchers also say that it’s best not to play music around the clock, just at strategic times during the day, like meal time, bed time, or when you know you will be leaving the house.  It becomes less effective if played 24/7. There are many apps you can download, for cats and dogs, that offer different types of music for different situations.

Image from National Geographic
Pets LOVE watching TV!

Having the TV on helps alleviate separation anxiety, improving your pet’s state of mind when they are home alone.  TV seems to be more effective with dogs than cats.  According to the Alpha Dog Blog, dogs prefer watching other dogs on TV.  They also respond positively to sounds of praise, happy human voices, and squeaking toys.  There is now a TV channel with 24/7 programming called DogTV!  And for our feline friends, there are interactive videos and DVDs for cats called “Meowvies” that can be found all over the internet!

Pet shelters have been using music and video to help calm and relieve anxiety in their furry residents.

The ASPCA has said in their blog recently that it has helped tremendously. The shelters play music for a couple of hours, and not every day.  And by doing that, and avoiding overexposure, they feel it has made the biggest impact.

Please keep in mind that while music and TV are great to use to help us take care of our pets, they should not be used as substitutes for other important activities, such as play time or cuddle time.

TV and music can be a wonderful addition to your pet’s healthy, well-balanced life!

Share with us!!

Have you tried this with your pet? Do you have a specific radio station or CD you play?  Does your pet react to a specific TV channel? Do they not react at all?  Have you had any negative experiences with music or video in regards to your pet?  Let us know, we want to hear from you!

References:
The Alpha Dog Blog, NY Times Blog, Huffington Post,
thebark.com, petspyjamas.com, aspcapro.org

Your Comments are Crucial to our Company!

One of the many things that Little Friends Pet Sitting has benefited from are the reviews we get from our clients.  The rave reviews about how wonderful their sitter is are always nice.  But, we also like to get feedback on what we can do to improve service are helpful as well.  Truth is essential, in business and in life.  Our goal is to have our client rely on us completely, and to receive the service they expect and deserve.

I know the saying goes, “No news is good news,” but we feel the exact opposite.  We want to hear from you!  What did you enjoy most about your visit?  How was your experience with your sitter?  How did your pet respond to your sitter?  How was our communication with you?  Do you feel like all of your needs were met?  If not, what could we do differently next time?

With the growth of social media, and online presence, here are some ways you can let us know what you think to help us improve our business and services:

Click on links below to check us out on different social media outlets, and feel free to leave your review, as well as see what others are saying about us!

 

 

                     

 

 

We value your opinions!  Let us know how we’re doing!