How to prepare your cat for your vacation time

GA_Surf n' Sand Cat bannerAs cool as it would be to bring your kitty on vacation, sometimes it just can’t happen. So to keep everyone’s sanity intact, plan ahead and leave her in the best care possible.

You’ve been waiting all year for this season: Summertime! Long days, beach attire and a well – deserved vacation J All good and fabulous but, have you planned for your kitty too? ‘Cause unless she’s going with, your planning is not quite done.

That whole thing of “cats can take care of themselves” is a farce. We certainly act like we don’t give a damn if you’re here or not while at the same time give you the “how dare you leave me” look, but that’s only ‘cause we work hard on our craft and we love to cause you extra grief. We are the best actors in the animal kingdom. Need proof? Start by just mentioning the word suitcase. You know the look you’ll get. Check out my buddy Billy here:

I see that suitcase... all cool... LEAVING WITHOUT ME? HOW DARE YOU! Pics by Yencie Ayala

I see that suitcase… all cool… LEAVING WITHOUT ME? HOW DARE YOU! Pics by Yencie Ayala

Not good at all! But the ugly truth is that the feline can’t always accompany you on your trips. A few reasons could be:

  • Health issues
  • Age
  • Kitty not quite so social
  • Trip is really a business one

Whatever the case you need to find someone to take care of kitty while you’re away. And finding the perfect individual is not as easy as you think.

The best solution (and probably the cheapest) is asking a friend to come by and check on her. Bonus points if the friend already knows the cat and gets along with her. If that isn’t the case, invite him/her over a few times so both can get used to one another.

If none of your friends are cat people, you then have to:

  1. obviously get new friends
  2. hire a pet-sitter

This process can take a bit of time so don’t leave it ‘til last minute. There are many online sites to check, also the vet office and your local shelter keep names of people they trust. You want to find someone with good references (that will be checked), experience and most importantly, is liked by your CAT.

Just like that friend who doesn’t know your cat, the pet sitter candidates should visit a couple of times so they can interact with kitty. You know your cat better than anyone, you will know when the right person comes along.

Once the person is hired, he or she has to learn the cat’s routine. Granted, they won’t spend all day with her (unless they’re also housesitting) but the idea is to try to keep her routine as normal as possible: same food, don’t move the litterbox, favorite toys, instructions for medications, etc.

We act all tough... to hide the tears!

We act all tough… to hide the tears!

You want everything to go smoothly, but life is unpredictable, which means keep important information easy to find:

  • Vet office numbers and address
  • Pet Emergency Kit
  • Cat has to be up to date on her shots and be microchipped
  • In case of emergency person to contact

She will miss you no matter what. To help with the loneliness, leave a few shirts around her favorite napping spots. Your smell will help her calm down.

Enjoy your trip and please, bring her something cool!

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Cómo preparar a tu gato para tus vacaciones

Llevarte a tu gato de vacaciones suena fantástico pero no siempre es posible. Para que todos disfrutemos de la experiencia, necesitas planificar con tiempo y conseguirle el mejor cuidado posible.

Llevas contando los días hasta llegar a este momento: ¡Temporada de verano! El sol sale por más tiempo, andar en traje de baño es aceptado y te vas de vacaciones J Todo suena fabuloso, pero ¿has planeado para tu gato? Porque a menos que vaya contigo, la lista no está terminada.

Eso de que “el gato se cuida solo” es mentira. Oh sí, actuamos como si nos da igual si estás o no mientras te damos el look de “cómo te atreves a dejarme”, pero es sólo porque nos gusta angustiarte. Somos los mejores actores del reino animal. ¿Necesitas más evidencia? Solamente menciona la palabra maleta. Ya verás cómo te mira el gato.

¡Nada cool! Pero tristemente no siempre te puede acompañar en tus aventuras. Algunas razones son:

  • Problemas de salud
  • Edad
  • Gato no es muy sociable
  • El viaje es más de negocio

Cualquiera que sea el caso, necesitas encontrar a alguien que lo cuide mientras estás fuera. Y dar en el clavo con la persona ideal no es tan sencillo.

La mejor solución (y la más barata) es pedirle el favor a un amigo de confianza. Ganas extra si el amigo ya conoce al minino y son panas. Si ese no es el caso, invítalo a casa varias veces para que se conozcan mejor.

Si ninguno de tus amigos quieren ayudar entonces tienes que:

  1. obviamente conocer nuevas amistades
  2. contratar a una niñera de mascotas

Este proceso toma tiempo así que no lo dejes para lo último. Hay muchos lugares online que puedes chequear, también preguntar en la oficina del veterinario y en tu refugio local. Necesitas a alguien con buenas referencias (que vas a verificar), experiencia y lo más importante, que TU GATO se lleve con ella.

Igual que con los amigos que no conocen al gato, las (los) candidatas a niñera deben visitar par de veces para que interactúen con el minino. Nadie conoce a tu gato mejor que tú, te darás cuenta cuando la persona perfecta hace su aparición.

Una vez contratada, tiene que aprender la rutina del gato. No que vaya a estar todo el día con él (a menos que también cuide la casa), pero la idea es mantener la rutina del minino lo más normal posible. Así que tiene que aprender a qué horas come, dónde está el arenero (y limpiarlo diariamente), cuáles son sus juguetes y juegos favoritos, y muy importante, instrucciones sobre medicamentos si está tomando alguno.

Quieres que todo salga bien, pero la vida es impredecible, para evitar tragedias debes colocar información importante en un lugar accesible:

  • Teléfono y dirección del veterinario
  • Equipo de emergencias del gato
  • El minino debe tener sus vacunas al día y estar identificado con microchip
  • Persona de contacto en caso de emergencia

Tu gatito te va a extrañar comoquiera. Para ayudarlo con la soledad, deja algunas camisas sin lavar donde se acuesta a dormir siesta. Tu olorcito lo ayudará a calmarse.

Disfruta de tu viaje y ¡tráele algo cool!

Catify to Satisfy: New book helps the kitty at home and those waiting for one.

GA_Comments_circle. blueThey did it again. Because when the mission is this big, one book is not enough. Catification opened all cat-friendly humans’ eyes to some basic understanding about living with a feline: you want her in the house ? (yes you do) then you have to make the space appealing to her, bringing some of her favorite outdoor activities inside in order to avoid temptation as well as making life with kitty all the more enjoyable.

Who are these amazing humans / cat behavior experts you ask? Of course, I’m talking about Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin! Now these two totally speak cat; they get under our claws, read our whiskers tea and dig into the litterbox… Putting all that info in book form to convey to you – our human friends – what we need so we can feel at home in your house.

CATIFY blad.pdf

She is not chillin’. This shy kitty needs her confidence back. Jackson can help. Courtesy of “Catify to Satisfy”.

The new book is called, Catify to Satisfy (out November 17, 2015). It includes excellent advice from Jackson’s ultra impressive cat knowledge to help bring the mojo back to your cat and Kate’s fabulous cat-approved decorating ideas to make the home a feline friendly one. But wait, there’s more! Not only you get their expertise, you also get stories (with pics and design plans no less) of wonderful humans that completely catified their homes with ramps, cat trees and my favorite CATIOS, so the kitties can safely enjoy the outdoors.

Catify to Satisfy coverAre you ready to Catify your home? Pre-order the book today because Tarcher/Penguin Publishing will donate $1 to the Jackson Galaxy Foundation which focuses on re-thinking the shelter experience so both rescued animals and staff can envision a more positive outcome. Education is key.

That deserves some extra purring!

EN ESPAÑOL Continue reading

Peeing outside the box

Where is it“My cat is peeing outside the litterbox” is a common concern amongst feline guardians – usually new ones. Sometimes it’s a sign of a medical issue, but the majority of the cases are completely human created. They want a cat but hate the idea of a litterbox in the home, disguising them in ways that are so outrageous, even our highly trained noses can’t find.

Felines are majestic creatures that sadly share some un-godly characteristics with every other living beings on the planet; we pee and poop and need a spot to do it in. If it’s not the litterbox, watch out ’cause anything goes! plants, couches, antique rugs, your precious boots…

Sometimes the problem gets so out of hand that the poor kitty ends up at the shelter when a simple solution would’ve solved the case: Get a litterbox. Maybe 2. It is part of the “Living with a Cat” kit.

Continue reading

Urinary Tract Infections and Cats: pain and misery surround the litterbox

Stress is a big factor in FLUTD. Cat's litterbox area should be a relaxing one. Pic: Glorimar Anibarro

Stress is a big factor in FLUTD. Cat’s litterbox area should be a relaxing one. Pic: Glorimar Anibarro

There are many ailments that can ruin the mood for any cat (fleas, allergies, a bath); but none are as effective in achieving its goal as the pesty Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD).

Yes, it is the “hurts when I pee” disease and it is a serious condition.

You’ve probably met a cat dealing with it:
• goes regularly to the box but nothing comes out
• crying when peeing
• constantly licking the eliminating zone
• will leave a trace before arriving to the litterbox

and the even worse cases where:
• there is blood in the urine
• the feline simply avoids the box – Allow me to defend my peeps here. We really don’t understand what’s happening in our body, we just know it hurts like hell when we visit the box. So naturally we assume the box has something to do with the pain, therefore, it is way better to stay far away from it! 

None of these symptoms are to be taken lightly. Continue reading

The Importance of Routine in a Cat’s Life.

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This week we explore the fascinating part that routine plays in a cat’s life. Have you noticed how we always bathe in the same sequence? How we know that mealtime is coming? How we insist on playing with the old nerf balls instead of the new ones? Is it OCD? No. For us it is Cat-Sanity.

Dr. Avocado, I need your advice: What’s with all this “cat’s need routine” deal? I take mine on trips all the time and she never seems to get upset about it. Thanks, Mario.

 Mario: Seems that your kitty is like me, enjoying a change of scenery every now and then. But I bet that even in the wildest trip she still wants to be fed at exactly the same time, play at the same time and visit the litterbox at (say it with me) the same time. For us routine means relaxation; is our calm inside the chaos; a security blanket that tells us that everything is going to be ok. Even our wild cousins there in the jungle live by it, catching prey at dawn and dusk everyday. It is part of our personality and if you want to live with us, you have to respect it.

A detail that escapes some humans when they start bitching that their cat is suddenly peeing outside the box or waking them up at odd hours of the night. To them I ask first: what has changed in the house? Could be as simple as a new couch, a total remodeling of a room to the epic arrival of a baby or a new boyfriend… any of these will cause us trauma and we will let you know about it by changing some of the usual habits. It is not to anger you; more as a cautionary tale of “hey, next time, consult the cat” before you change her favorite chair. As time passes, we learn that the changes are here to stay (except maybe the boyfriend) and adapt to our new surroundings. So be patient.

New TV? Must pass the cat's inspection. Photo: Glorimar Anibarro

New TV? Must pass the cat’s inspection. Photo: Glorimar Anibarro

Esta semana hablamos sobre la importancia que tiene la rutina en la vida de tu gato. ¿Has notado que siempre nos bañamos en la misma secuencia? ¿Cómo sabemos que la hora de la comida se acerca? ¿Por qué insistimos en jugar con las pelotas viejas en lugar de correr con las recién compradas? ¿Es OCD? No, para nosotros es Cordura Felina.:

Dr. Avocado, necesito sus sabios consejos: ¿qué tan cierto es eso de que los gatos necesitan una rutina durante su día? Al mío me gusta llevarlo de paseo a todas partes y nunca se ha quejado. Gracias, Mario.

Mario: Tu minino es de los míos, disfruta del paseo y un cambio de ambiente. Pero de seguro quiere su comida a la misma hora, disfruta de jugar todos los días a la misma hora y visita el arenero, (dílo conmigo) a la misma hora. A nosotros los gatos la rutina nos relaja, es nuestra calma dentro de todo el caos, nuestra seguridad de que todo está bien. Hasta los primos que viven salvajes allá en la selva tienen su rutina, cazando en la mañana y al atardecer. Es parte de nuestra personalidad y si quieres convivir con los felinos tienes que respetarla.

Este detalle se le pasa a muchos humanos y se quejan de que el gato de repente está orinando fuera de la caja o despertándolos a mitad de la noche y no entienden por qué. A éstos les pregunto: ¿qué ha cambiado en la casa? Puede ser algo tan sencillo como un sofá nuevo, la remodelación de un cuarto hasta eventos épicos como la llegada de un bebé o un nuevo novio… todo esto nos causa un pequeño trauma y te dejamos saber nuestro disgusto cambiando algunos hábitos normales. No es para enojarte, es para decirte que la próxima vez, “consultes al gato” antes de cambiar su sillón favorito. Con el tiempo nos vamos dando cuenta de que el cambio vino para quedarse (menos el novio quizás…) y nos adaptamos al nuevo look de la casa, así que ten paciencia.

Got a question for Dr. Avocado? Send him an email, or find me on Twitter or Facebook
¿Tienes una pregunta para el Dr. Avocado? Escríbele a su email:

*ATTENTION: I am not a veterinarian. I am a proud member of the Felis Silvestris Catus family, (translates to “domestic cat” –  an inside joke in the cat community) that kindly shares his knowledge of our species to you. I can’t provide specific treatments for your feline friend. Please refer to your veterinarian. Meow!   /   *ATENCION: No soy veterinario. Soy un orgulloso miembro de la familia Felis Silvestris Catus (que se traduce en “gato domesticado” – chiste interno entre la comunidad gatuna), que con amor comparte su conocimiento de la especie con ustedes. No puedo proveer detalles específicos para tratar a tu amigo felino. Por favor, llévalo al veterinario. ¡Miau!

Messing up the litterbox

GA_litterbox treatment
Digging deep. Changes are coming. All will be revealed in time.
Excavando hondo. Vienen muchos cambios. Todo se revelará a su tiempo.


Entry Log #3

GA_To Space
At last! Finally found the litter box.
¡Al fin he encontrado el arenero!