Sunday, December 31, 2017

In Meowmorium: Gone But Not Furgotten

A few of my regular feline friends crossed the rainbow bridge this year.


Carlotta was originally from Italy. She was adopted along with her twin sister, Francesca by an American family working abroad. Sadly, her sister did not survive kitten hood, but Carlotta persevered and immigrated with her family to Chapel Hill, NC where she lived for over 2 decades as the queen of her English Tudor castle. I have encountered few cats as sweet and loving. She always wanted to be held and would grab your face with both paws and lick your nose. A loud meow was usually a command to chase her up the long staircase where she would lead you to a designated belly rubbing area, or an invite to follow her outside and join her lying on the grass and watch the sky. She was not only a fantastic friend, but also the puurrfect accessory to any outfit.

Skinny Cloud:

Skinny was born to be a star.  He was a purebred Tonkinese working the Cat Fancy circuit for the early part of his kitten hood, winning many blue ribbons. Soon he was adopted by a family in Durham, NC. He arrived early one morning by special hand delivery. He was loved by many humans and his feline brother, Boots. His favorite activity was getting piggy back rides, and in his golden years, lounging by the fire place. He passed just a few days shy of his 22nd birthday.


Klondike's parents found him beat up in an alley in Philadelphia. He had been declawed and then left in the street to fend for himself. The victim of many bullies, he learned to fight back by making a fist and punching. When dinner wasn't served fast enough he would punch me in my shoulder till I got up and served the tuna.  He reminded me of a kangaroo, often on his hind legs ready to throw a punch. When the doorbell rang at his penthouse flat in Center City, he ran meowing to the door to greet whomever it was. He was friendly but liked to sit in front of me when I was talking to people and if they approached me in what he considered to be too loud or quick of a move, he would growl at them. He was named Klondike because his parents liked to proclaim, "When he found us he struck gold!"

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas time means cats, cats, cats!

I've been visiting 10 different cat houses over these last 2 weeks, caring for over 20 felines. Here are just a few of them who were willing to pose.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Dear Cat Nanny, How do I deal with my allergic friends and family?

As the seasonal festivities begin, you and your devoted feline family are well prepared. Apple pie baking in the oven, cat nip scented stockings for all three of your four-legged children are already hanging over the fireplace. Then as you are setting the table, your sister, Suzie calls. She is bringing her new boyfriend Stanley, - she swears he is super cool, different from all the rest. “He has his own place, works full- time and even has a car,” she assures you with delight. But just one small snag in his greatness- she hesitates then takes a deep breath and sheepishly confesses with a hushed tone of concern, “Stan is violently allergic to cats.”

Less than twenty minutes after they arrive while enjoying eggnog and introductions, not so super cool after all Stan sneezes out his eggnog right into Aunt Mary's yams. He heads for the couch, wilting like a delicate daisy. “Do you have any Benadryl?” he asks. You head to the bathroom and search your cabinets until your finally find some expired generic antihistamine capsules.
Stan thanks you for the medicine and admits he should have been better prepared and taken some before he arrived. 'Well, yea, duh.' you think to yourself, and hide your eye roll, seen only by your youngest cat, Bootsie.
If only you'd had more time, here are some other things you could have done to make Stan's stay more comfortable;

  1. Thoroughly dust and vacuum- when you vacuum, use an allergen-proof vacuum cleaner bag or a vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filter.

  2. Create a “safe place” for your allergic guest; change all the linens and wash them in hot water, and keep the room feline-free for a day before someone like Stan the party pooper arrives. Wood floors contain less dander than carpets, but if you must have carpeting in the cat-free room, choose one with low pile, and steam clean often. Stan might be sanctioned to this room for his entire stay, but it's better than sneezing all over his girlfriend's family.

       3.Even the cleanest litter box can still contain allergens so use a brand of litter that is less dusty.

Here are some things Stan could have done in preparation when entering a feline occupied territory:

1. Avoid upholstered furniture- it's a dander danger zone in households with cats.
Hard wooden chairs are less of a cat allergen safe haven , so you're better off parking it there.

2. Non-drowsy antihistamines like loratidine (Claritin) can help keep you symptom-free. If you're planning a visit to a home with cats, you may want to ask your allergist about starting medication a few weeks beforehand. 

3. Tempted to try to fit in as a cat person in hopes of being accepted by your girlfriend's family? Don't do it. Even a quick butt scratch or belly rub can trigger an allergic reaction. If you find yourself doing this, wash your hands with soap and hot water as soon as possible afterward. 
4. If you know the cat guardians don't have a HEPA air purifier in the room where you'll be staying, you may want to consider investing in a small portable one for under $200.

But an ever cheaper and easier option might be to simply opt for a nearby hotel. There are plenty of hotels with no animal policies so Stan is guaranteed a one hundred percent fur-free zone.
Stan could also decide to build up a tolerance to cats by slowly beginning to spend more time around them.
Since 2015 the cat parlor business, originating in Japan, has exploded throughout the United States. Such places provide a public space to get coffee and baked treats while surfing the net on your laptop , all while being in the company of anywhere between 10-30 cats just dying to be pet, played with, or at least admired from a far. In such establishments, all the cats are up for adoption, but many people frequent cat parlous to get the love they are denied at home because of a spouse or roommate who claims to be allergic. However, some health professionals claim if you build up a tolerance, over time you will no longer be allergic.
Immunotherapy involves getting allergy shots once or twice weekly for up to six months, then monthly boosters for three to five years. Some individuals develop complete immunity, while others continue to need shots, and still others find no relief at all.

If a cat lover is strange enough to actually put people before your cats when you are looking to start your cat family, you could narrow your search to certain breeds.
Here are the top 3 cat breeds that have less of the two common allergens – Fel d 1 protein in their saliva and dander – than others. (Remember it's not necessarily the cat fur that causes allergies- for most allergy sufferers it's more about having a reaction to a cat's saliva and kitty dander.)

#1 – Siberian

The Siberian has less of the Fel d 1 protein than most other breeds. They are a gentle, somewhat lazy cat with a great temperament. Siberians are especially great with small (and sometimes annoying) kids. Their fur is quite long but their coat if more puffy than thick. Think cotton candy without the sticky coating. A Siberian kitten will cost you between $1,000- 2000 each.

#2 – Balinese

Like the Siberian, they have less of the Fel d 1 protein. For those that like the Siamese look, this cat is also known as the Long Haired Siamese. Like their Siamese ancestors, Balinese are sociable, vocal, playful and inquisitive, and considered among the most intelligent of all long-haired breeds. Kitten price $500-600. By the way, All Siamese cats are low on the hypoallergenic scale. So please before you spend lots of money on a fancy bred cat of any kind, I strongly encourage you to check out your local cat shelter for a basic Siamese to begin your feline clan, and see if this works for your allergic friends and family. Siamese are known for being smart, friendly, talkative, and good around kids.

#3 – Bengal

A cross between a domestic cat and an Asian Leopard, the Bengal is a stunning breed with a leopard spotted coat and hypoallergenic properties. Be prepared to pay handsomely for this kitty though, they usually start around $2,000 and can go up to $5,000. As a professional cat nanny, I regularly care for a Bengal who walks around his yard on a harness and loves to play. He quickly spots and catches all kinds of large prey, from bull frogs to prairie dogs. A Bengal is not the kind of cat you can leave at home with basic cat toys. He will need to be walked every day or require an extensive gym area for daily cardio workouts. Leo eats fresh roasted chicken and gives lots of love rubs, but typical of the Bengal breed, he is not a cuddler.

Not into fur? You might think the Sphynx is your cat. But contrary to common belief, the fur- free cats like the Spynx, are not the most hypoallergenic. Remember it’s not the hair, but the dander and saliva that cause allergies. However, this cat is low on the allergy scale and has quite the gregarious demeanor, but still not as hypoallergenic as a Siamese.
The closest thing to a totally fur-free cat that is hypoallergenic is the Cornish or Devon Rex- 2 breeds with very short curly coats, the Cornish Rex has an especially energetic personality.

However, no cat breed is 100% hypoallergenic. And maybe the question is are humans 100% worth the hassle? If someone is so allergic to cats that it's going to make them immensely uncomfortable, maybe this year it's finally time for THEM to make the holiday dinner. And depending on how much you actually like your friends and family you might take the time to roll that lint remover over your cat fur covered wardrobe as you sacrifice leaving them to join the troublesome humans.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Wiley has a nice place on a lake in Chapel Hill. Another chocolate Siamese feline blend! Still humid in Oct and he is enjoying it.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Cat Sitting in L.A- Brentwood

                                              Freya and Loki
                                                         Freya being mysterious.
                                                         Loki misses his daddy.
                          Beautiful Gwendolyn is 22 and obsessed with licking people.                                       
                                            Freya in her favorite spot
                                              enjoying the warm CA breezes.
                                            Hiding behind the bunny slippers.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sunday, July 2, 2017

My first Bengal!

Like a Siberian cat, the Bengal is hypoallergenic so those allergic to cats may enjoy these types of felines.

His dad was an Asian Leopard, his mom, an American Shorthair.

Cleo walks around his yard on a harness and loves to play. He eats fresh roasted chicken and gives lots of love rubs.