Cats

Pet-Sitting ROCKS!

We recently went on a road trip for 12 days and decided to give pet-sitting services a try for the first time. Best. Decision. Ever.

I’ve noticed for some time now that pet-sitting has become more and more popular but I had never really considered it. We generally only go away from home for 3 or fewer days and for that amount of time we can easily leave out extra food and water and the cats are fine. Lonely maybe, but generally ok to be alone for a few days (compared to dogs.)

Twelve days was far too long to consider leaving them alone and we don’t live close enough to family to ask them to swing by. We considered asking the neighbors. We have quite a few friendly neighbors who might have been willing and able to help but in the end we thought it might be easier to pay for a guaranteed service.

I can’t tell you what a relief it was to know that someone would be stopping by on the exact days we had agreed to!  No worrying about whether the person you’ve asked as a favor might have something else more important come up, an emergency of their own, or whatnot that might prevent them from following through. If the sitter has an emergency, the service sends a back up sitter. End of story.

Lucky for me, I have a number of pet loving co-workers and I was given a referral for a local service, Leash4Lease, instead of just picking a name at random. Leash4Lease was professional, friendly, and so easy to work with. My sitter even frequently sent me text message updates and pictures to let me know the boys were doing just fine. It was such a treat to hear from her and such a blessing to not have to worry about the house or the cats. And, as an added bonus, the cats didn’t puke at all while we were gone! They usually do when we leave for short periods and leave them alone. I suspect Olli overeats and makes himself sick. I don’t know if the simple act of having someone come to the house every other day for a few minutes reduced their anxiety over being alone or if the stars simply aligned in our favor. Regardless, we were over the moon pleased with our first pet-sitting experience. A big thank you to our sitter Amanda for her kind and caring treatment of our fur babies!

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If you’re looking for a pet-sitting service in the Kitsap County or nearby areas, I highly recommend Leash4Lease. They offer a full range of professional pet services including pet-sitting, dog walking, house-sitting, doggy sleepovers, and more! Check ‘em out. 🙂

There are two means of refuge from the misery of life – music and cats.
~ Albert Schweitzer

Catio Update

I am pleased to report that the catio has been a raging success! The boys love coming and going on their own and I LOVE not having to open doors all the time or shoo incessantly meowing kitties from the room.

We still have room to grow but for now, we went the easy route and outfitted the catio with a modest cat tower. Using some leftover wood from other projects, we added an upper tier shelf to the left that allows them to get to the top of the tower and a lower shelf over the cat door.

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As you can see, they have been making good use of everything. 🙂

Cats are connoisseurs of comfort.
~ James Herriot, James Herriot’s Cat Stories

Spoiled Rotten Kitties

The boys had free reign of our apartment porch in Louisiana for two years. It was fenced in with gardening border to prevent them from escaping. Since moving back to Washington, they have a much larger house to roam but no outdoor space. So we built a catio!

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If you’re not familiar with catios, they are essentially outdoor enclosures for cats. There are lots of designs available online if you want to build your own and lots of sources for ready-made designs that you can just buy and install as well. If you are handy with building things yourself, you might even design and build your own which is what we did.

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Sourcing out the wire was more of a challenge that we anticipated. And it’s not easy to work with.

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We built two side panels that are 3 foot wide by 8 foot tall and a center panel that is just shy of 6 feet wide. This was the best size to fit our available porch space.

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We added a door to the long side to be able to go inside to place cat furniture or build interior platforms for maximizing the vertical space.

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Painting, painting, and more painting.

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We used the primary and trim colors of the house. I thought was overkill when Don suggested it but he was right. It looks much better than it would have if we hadn’t painted it. It blends nicely with the house.

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It took us about three weeks to complete and maybe 20 hours total. It’s still a work in progress and needs some finishing touches. We also want to add platforms to give them things to climb up and to have different places to watch the activity outside. For now we’ve accomplished the basic build and are working on training the boys to use the doggie door. So far they aren’t loving the access door but I know they will figure it out with time. They are able to push through it to come IN if we put them out but they have yet to venture out on their own.

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Once we have the vertical space filled out with additional levels I think they will be much more comfortable and interested in exploring. I have a feeling it’s just a little too cramped for now. Milo doesn’t like to share close quarters and he likes high places. I think he’ll really appreciate having somewhere to sit 6 or 7 feet high. He also feigns indifference to life when he’s observed. Once he gets a chance to go out unobserved and unaccompanied by Olli, I have a feeling he’ll settle right in. And once he does, Olli will follow suit. Little brother like big brother. 😉

Adventures In Cat-sitting

The boys are getting along great with the in-laws. They got their first look at a gas fireplace this week.

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Milo inspected while Olli lounged. Glad to hear they liked it – we’ll have one in the new house too!

Olli also warmed up to the cozy cat beds Jean bought. I knew he would eventually. He spills out a bit but he managed to wedge himself in there.

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Milo, of course, pulled a Houdini out the back while the folks were grilling salmon for dinner – and they didn’t even know! LOL But true to form, he didn’t go far and they rounded him up once they realized he was missing. The little stinker.

Can I go in the garage instead?

Can I go in the garage instead?

I love all the updates Jean! Thanks for taking such good care of my fur-babies. They clearly aren’t wanting for attention and love. 🙂

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Olli even snuggles up to the old guy. Awww…

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.
Anatole France

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Missions Accomplished

Well, we did it. We flew the boys up to Washington State and they are in good hands with family until we finish wrapping up our move from Louisiana.

It was a long day of travel for all of us but we made it with no unfortunate incidents.

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I was terribly worried about the process of going through security at the airport. I was prepared for them to ask us to remove the boys from their carriers but I was so nervous about how it would actually go. Leading up to the trip, I talked our travel plans over extensively with our vet and she gave us Acepromazine to help calm the boys during the long day. We gave the boys their first dose at the house before starting the 3 hour trip to the airport. By the time we reached the security checkpoint, they were groggy and docile and, thankfully, the Houston airport has private screening rooms which are completed enclosed, not just curtained areas. Both boys (one at a time) stayed quietly in my arms while their carriers were scanned through the x-ray machines. And for me, knowing that we were in an enclosed area where I wouldn’t lose them if they fought me was a huge relief. 

Once we got through that hurdle we had hours to wait for our plane. Shortly before boarding we gave the boys another dose of Ace. (The vet recommended every 4-6 hours.) We got on and settled fairly easily. We had upgraded our seats to Economy Plus that morning for a little extra room for us all and boy am I glad we did. We flew back sans kitties to Louisiana this week in Economy and the difference in space was significant. I think we would have had a massively difficult time maneuvering the carriers under the seats in Economy. Economy Plus was definitely the way to go, and might be our choice for all future traveling.

We were delayed almost an hour before take-off for a ‘maintenance issue’ and then the flight was 5 hours long, so about an hour before landing the boys started to wake up. They were starting to meow and scratch at their carriers in protest. I took each in turns to the bathroom and gave them one more dose of Ace which carried them through the rest of the flight, waiting for baggage, and then the drive to Don’s parents’ house.

Finally after about 12 full hours, we were DONE. No potty accidents. No lost kitties. What a relief.

Mission 1: Accomplished.

We were with the boys for a full week in their temporary home. They were a little uncertain at first but settled in fairly quickly.

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Olli kept his distance for the first day. His ‘stranger-danger’ sense was on high alert but eventually he came out to investigate the surroundings.

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He even remembered those strangers whom he had seen at his house a year or two before.

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Milo, ever adventurous, wanted to explore the outside.

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We allowed a few supervised visits. And even one unsupervised until he escaped the backyard and was found looking guilty on the FRONT porch.

Olli is not the adventuring type but he came out to sniff the surroundings. Just a little.

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Milo found a perfect lounging area, just his size.

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Of course, Olli stole it.

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Wait a minute, something isn’t right in this picture! 😛

With so many snuggle spots and a house twice the size of our apartment, the boys probably hardly notice that we are gone!

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But I MISS MY KITTIES!!! Thanks to the benefits of technology, I get photos every day or so by text. Thanks Jean! 😉

Mission 2 was also accomplished – we found a house! Cross your fingers folks. We close June 2nd if all goes well. It all feels very unreal and exciting at the same time.

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, he turned into a butterfly.
~ Proverb

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