Archive for Pet Sitting

Pine Pellet Litter and a DIY Litter Box

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Pine (Wood) Pellet Litter and a DIY Litter BoxAs a pet sitter, I see and experience lots of different pet products, from food and treats to toys and even litter. Yes, litter.

I try to go green whenever possible so I prefer biodegradable litter which is available in pine pellets, recycled newspaper pellets, and litter based on corn, wheat, walnut shells and safflower seeds. The litter I personally have been using for almost a year is corn based and you can buy it here. A 9-pound bag easily lasts as long as 30-pounds of clay litter and, in my opinion, controls odor much better.

Biodegradable Litter

  • Comes from a renewable, sustainable source
  • Virtually dust free
  • Weighs about half as much as clumping clay litter
  • Superior odor control
  • No silica dust so healthier for your cat
  • Safe if ingested during grooming

Biodegradable litters can be composted if you are so inclined. I wrote about that, well, actually my cat wrote about that, here. Even if you use biodegradable litter, it still stays in the landfill pretty much forever if you dispose of it in a plastic bag.

Clay Litter

  • Strip-mined
  • Non-renewable
  • Non-biodegradable (it sits in a landfill forever)
  • Heavy
  • Contains silica dust which can cause health problems for your cat when inhaled
  • Dust gets all over everything
  • Doesn’t control odor very well
  • Can build up in your cat’s digestive system

Pine Pellet Litter

Recently, I began caring for some cats who use pine pellet litter. I am always glad when I find a client using biodegradable litter.

While I was cleaning the litter box, I remembered that I had tried pine pellet litter once many years ago and quit using it because it is so hard to scoop. Unlike other types of litter where you scoop out the clumps, the pine litter falls apart as it absorbs liquids. The litter needs to be sifted rather than scooped and this is very time consuming in a traditional litter box.

Special sifting litter boxes are intended to remedy this. These double boxes allow the wet litter to fall through an insert which holds the intact pellets. I tried one of these, too, many years ago and found them somewhat unsatisfactory. Mostly, they were just plain too small and the sides were too low, which is the case with litter boxes in general.

DIY Pine Pellet Litter Box

What actually prompted me to write this post is a pin I saw on Pinterest. The blogger at Meow Lifestyle created her own wood pellet litter box. She used plastic storage boxes, similar to the ones I’ve used for my litter boxes for years, so I really like the project. The boxes are large and the sides are high which gives your cat plenty of room and keeps more litter in the box. Click on the link for complete instructions.

Pine Pellet Litter and a DIY Wood Pellet Litter Box

Photo courtesy Meow Lifestyle

 

What type of litter do you use? If you use biodegradable, do you compost it? If you try this project, let me know how it works for you.

If you are not up for making your own box, here are a few suggestions.

 

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Savvy Pet Care Update

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This blog has been pretty quiet for a while and I have not been providing pet sitting services in Southern California since late 2013. For health reasons, I decided to “retire” at the end of 2014 and move from Southern California to Northern California. Although I had not been actively pet sitting, Kelly continued to care for pets in her area.

Kelly and I are now neighbors and serving clients in Pine Grove, Jackson, Sutter Creek, Martell, Volcano, Pioneer and Amador City. We are accepting new clients and looking forward to giving you peace of mind, where your pets and home are concerned, while you are away.

I’ll also be back to providing informative articles and reviews on the blog!

June is Adopt a Cat Month

If you are looking to add a kitty to your fur family, June is Adopt a Cat Month.

adopt a cat month


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My Commitment to Support Hummingbirds

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When I lived down in Southern California, we had four small hummingbird feeders around our patio. We had two pair of beautiful orange colored rufous hummingbirds that the four feeders were a bit much for, but it was worth it just to see them in heated battle over the feeders.

During the moving process from South to North, we would be gone for a couple of weeks at a time. The feeders were low upon our return, but not empty. Whew! To our amazement, one of the moms had built her nest up in a corner under the patio cover. We tried avoiding using that door as much as possible, but we were moving. We were very happy to see that even though we were only feet from her nest, she endured the movement and noise we made and stayed. We were gone when the eggs hatched and the babies left the nest.

Hummingbirds at the feederIn March 2012, when we moved to Amador county, we really weren’t sure if we would have hummingbirds at all at our elevation of 2860 feet in the lower mountains. I put out a couple of feeders to see if any were around. To my pleasure, there were about six. Again our four small feeders were plenty.

As June approached however, they were joined by a few more. We seemed to have become the hot spot in the neighborhood. By the beginning of June, there were around 30, and it was time to invest in a feeder with a larger well. I got one that held about three cups. We had to fill that one once a day and the other four twice a day. By mid June their number doubled again, so off I went to get yet another feeder. This one held a quart. But we enjoyed them so much we were happy to do it. Within another two weeks, we were filling all six of them two to three times using about a gallon or so a day. We figured there were well over 100 by this time.

The Hummingbird Super Highway

It was like the super highway for hummingbirds. You had to get used to them whizzing by as you walked around the yard. They were everywhere. As soon as the sun came up, the air was filled with chirping and humming. They feed the most at dusk and dawn so most of the feeders had hovering room only during those times. The wars and fights would ensue as they poked at each other, body slammed each other, and even grabbed the tails of another and drug it down off of the feeder. Some of the aerial battles were amazing and would go on and on.

At the end of September, and 75 pounds of sugar later, they started their migration, with fewer of them every day. By the end of October, we were back down to our original six for the winter. In winter, the mix has about a quarter to a third more sugar to keep the nectar from freezing, though when we knew it was gong to get down into the teens over night, we still took them in at bed time and put them back out in the morning. We had our first snow on November 10th last year. It amazes me how those tiny little birds survive the cold.

So, it’s now June and we have added to our collection of feeders. We now have five that hold a quart and three of the small 2-cup feeders. The small ones are empty by mid day and the others will last a whole 24 hours. We are already through the first 25 pound bag of sugar and June isn’t over yet. We figure at least 50% of the second generation came back, maybe more. Three of the neighbors have at least one feeder and our porch is covered with flowers. We purchased a 3-gallon decanter to have more nectar on hand. That way mornings aren’t such a production.

Decanter

Hummingbirds in your Pet Sitting Contract

Now, here is the thing about leaving for any length of time. We have made a commitment to maintain the feeders. If we both need to leave town, we have to include filling the feeders in our pet care contract. As a pet sitter, I understand that. If you have hummingbird feeders up, you need to as well. So in my pet care contract you will see

  • Feeding instructions for my horses
  • Nectar recipe and instructions on filling the feeders
  • Watering instructions for all of my potted flowers protected from the heat and the deer
  • Feeding instructions for the dogs — but only if we have a house sitter

So, if you have made the commitment to care for hummingbirds, remember, they don’t eat if there is nothing to eat. Make sure to include their care with your pet sitting.   


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Why Pet Owners Hire Professional Pet Sitters

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  • Pets are happier and experience less stress at home.
  • Diet and exercise routines are uninterrupted.
  • Travel trauma for both owner and pet is eliminated.
  • Pet’s exposure to illness is minimized.
  • Untrained or unwilling friends/family/neighbors need not be called.
  • In-home professional pet care provides added peace of mind.
Happy at home!

Happy at home!

 


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