Digital Detox


Well we all made it through the holidays. I think this was the first Christmas I didn’t have a client emergency! Despite that I’m still pretty exhausted so, since January is a traditionally very slow month, I am taking a month long digital break. We don’t have television – not since 2007 – and I get text and email bookings so I will be on the computer or phone each day but I won’t be on news sites nor social media during this time.

This is not some sanctimonious “I’m too good for the Internet and if you were smart you’d follow my example” nonsense. I really dislike that attitude. This is for me to get some healthier daily habits in place during my slow time: meditation, more consistent exercise, daily grounding, normal human being bed times, things like that. I also need to be more creative in my real life and want to start writing again.

Once a new habit is practiced for 30 days there’s a high likelihood that it becomes permanent. My goal is to have those habits in place once busy season begins again.

If you need to contact me the Fat Tabby number is my cell phone. I’m also on WhatsApp.

Have a peaceful January!

Another Goodbye

It’s with mixed emotions that I have to say “Happy Tails” to another long time client. Lily and her mom Tara are moving back to their Sacramento hometown after over two years in Sonora. I walked Lily upwards of twice a week for those two plus years and it’s hard to say goodbye even though good things await them.

Here I am with Lily this afternoon on our very last walkabout. Yes I cried. I’ll miss this happy little girl very much.


Silly Lily and Auntie Jan

Important Info on Grain Free Diets

Sierra Veterinary Care in Sonora has been doing a lot of work and research on grain free diets. There is new info out there that points to them causing severe illness. If you don’t follow Sierra Vet on Facebook it would be a good idea. Here’s their latest post on the grain free issue. (Note: I’ve never liked grain free – my cats’ fur looked awful on it years ago and I stopped. I feed ProPlan Indoor with a Purina Vet formula for urinary issues.)

“Remember that grain-free issue I have been ranting about for months?? UCD School of Veterinary Medicine released the paper on which diets they are seeing the disease in. Some may say I’m biased but our veterinary school is the best in the world!!

In short it includes: Taste of the Wild venison and Legumes, ACANA (multiple formulas), 4health (multiple formulas), Zignature Lamb, Instinct Lamb, Nutrisource chicken and rice, Kirkland Signature, FROMM (multiple formulas) and Orijen. If you are feeding these diets we strongly advise you change diets faster than you can say FOOD TRIALS ARE SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT!! This entire disease would have been avoided had companies done feed trials on their food. Their AAFCO statement should say their food underwent a feeding trial.

If the food your dog is on isn’t on the above no no list, we still strongly advise changing to a diet that has had a feed trial done on it because a diet can easily be poorly formulated and be flying under the radar. The easy ones we suggest feeding are: Hill’s Science Diet (my personal favorite), Royal Canin, and PurinaProPlan. Here’s the article for your reference:

All Booked Up


To quote the legendary Porky Pig, “THAT’S ALL FOLKS!” I am at maximum capacity for the holidays with no wiggle room for any more bookings.
Any other calls will be put on a waiting list in case of cancellations. I also won’t be taking any new clients until after the first of the year.

Have a great Holiday Season everyone!

Christmas is booking up fast!


I’ve got four spots remaining for Thanksgiving but only two left for Christmas. Please book quickly to reserve your spot. Also please know that I will not be able to accomodate any last minute requests for most of November and December. Please always check but know that it’s extremely difficult at the holidays to fit folks in last minute. Thank you!

Vacation and Holiday Scheduling

Summer is winding down as is my crazy 24/7 summer sitting schedule. I have some much needed slow time the next few weeks and wanted to update the Fat Tabby Family about the upcoming holidays. I’ve been meaning to do this every year but it seems I think about it one day then the next day it’s November 30th. 

Many of you know that I have an annual holiday party for my kids and grandkids (just had grandchild #4 yesterday!). This is my 9th year doing it – it’s usually the second weekend of December after the Thanksgiving rush and before the Christmas rush. Sure it’s early in the season but I’m always very overbooked during Christmas and everyone is spread so thin trying to make it to all their stops. I got fed up with that and decided to take matters into my own hands and create my own holiday tradition. In the past I tried to close Fat Tabby for a week and this year I am giving myself the gift of sticking to that schedule since I’m usually pretty slow.

So this year I’ll be closed and unavailable from Tuesday December 4th through Monday December 10th so please plan accordingly.

When it comes to the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holidays themselves I am going to try to limit myself to 6 to 8 client visits per day. Many years I can top 12 or 13 and that’s just too much up here in the mountains as the weather can slow my schedule down greatly during the winter (I’ll never forget the nightmare of the 2015 Christmas snow with all the valley people blocking every road from Twain Harte on up!). Please remember that it will be first come first served for reservations. I’ve never had to turn a client away and hope not to do that but last year really took a tremendous toll on me physically, and it took me weeks to recover, so I want to put preventative measures in place now.

Please check my snow policy and dog and cat sitting requirements under the “My Services” tab above. Let’s make this winter as cozy and comfortable for us and your fur kids!

This post is also going out via the mail to the Fat Tabby Family in the coming week so look for it in your mailbox but if you look at the column on the right and the second block down it says “follow this blog by email.” If you are member of the Fat Tabby Family please follow this blog as I don’t send out newsletters usually and all my news and information appears here first. I then will post it to the Fat Tabby Facebook page but even that isn’t as reliable as getting the posts by email. As you can see I average maybe one post a month so you won’t be spammed.

Thank you for being a part of the Fat Tabby Family!

Holidays Are Coming ‘Round the Mountain


Today is the final holiday of summer and believe it or not I’m already booking for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Once again Fat Tabby will be closed from December 4th through the 10th for my annual Yule party for my kids and grandkids (#4 grandchild who is #3 granddaughter due any day now).

Please plan on booking ahead as my holiday slots will be limited to eight separate client visits and two of those visits are already taken. I’m determined not to drive myself to the brink of exhaustion this year like previous years but I make that promise to myself every year and have yet to keep.

What A Pet Sitter Does and Does Not Do

I’m having more and more folks who want to hire me mainly to do a lot of non-pet sitting related things so it’s time to revisit what I can and cannot do as a pet sitter. I am not a house sitter and people are confusing the two.

Pets I will care for: Dogs, cats, birds, fish, koi, rabbits, exotic pets that do not require live meals, small caged animals like rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, reptiles. This is daily maintenance of food and water and includes litter box cleaning, dog poop scooping (if I can find it in the yard), accident clean up in the house, hairball clean up, newspaper changes in bird cages, litter changes for rabbits and other small caged animals.  I will brush your dog and cat for fun and if there are too many stickers in their fur.

What I will not do: I do not wash and scrub cages or empty and scrub out litter boxes. I will not scrub your floor if the bird poos outside the cage. I do not clean ponds. I do not groom pets. I am not a dog trainer.

Livestock I will care for: chickens, ducks, goats, sheep, horses, pigs, hogs (have to be fed from OUTSIDE their enclosure).

What I will not do: clean cages or pens or muck stalls. I do not clean up chicken poop – I have asthma.

Wild animals: I will fill a couple (2) bird feeders – hummingbird or otherwise – but the hummingbird food MUST be pre-made and in the fridge. I will not make hummingbird food. I will fill water troughs for wild animals.

Plants I will care for: Any including cannabis – up to 15 potted plants but I cannot water daily during busy season. If you have an extensive array of plants I suggest buying “plant nannies” for the hot season or put them on a drip system. I am happy to water once or twice a week but any time spent watering is that much less time I have to spend with your fur children and my insurance does not cover plants.

Plants I will not care for: Over 15 plants that need to be hand watered – especially daily – or exotics like orchids. I do not have a good track record with orchids.

ANTS: Every house is currently inundated with ants. I will clean what is affecting your pet’s food and water but I cannot clean up all the ants nor try to find out where they are getting in. I will “moat” your pet’s food and water in a larger pan with water to keep the ants from getting in the bowls. I will not scrub up the ants from the house and I will not use poison around pets (or myself as I have asthma). How you deal with them will be up to you upon returning.

I don’t fix broken appliances, fountains, toilets, sinks, etc. Yes – I’ve been asked to do this.

Thank you for understanding what I can and cannot do given my time, schedule, and insurance coverage.

New Emergency Policy

In the past year I’ve had a large number of client illnesses that required emergency trips to the vet. This puts a great strain on both me and your fur child. While some emergencies were unforeseeable many were preventable if what appeared as small issues were given the attention they deserved. This way the heartbreak and extreme stress you and I both suffer will be minimized. Remember: I have many clients and I go through this with each one when there is an emergency. I know pet sitters who were in business for many years and had not one emergency while I have had ten in the past twelve months alone. In two cases the pet had to be euthanized the illness was so severe.

While “poop happens” here are a few things you can do to help prevent these types of emergencies:

I would like to suggest that, prior to your trip, you fully examine your pet yourself. Pay attention to small things – they may be nothing now but could erupt into full blown emergencies with the added stress of your absence. Run your hands over their bodies and look into every nook and cranny. I can’t stress the importance of this enough when it comes to elderly pets. If you plan on being gone for a few weeks a visit to your vet (especially if it has been a while) would be ideal. Get a clean bill of health for your peace of mind AND mine.

Listen to your gut. Is, as I like to say, your “Spidey Sense tingling?” Have you been noticing something is just “off” with your pet? Don’t assume that they’ll be just fine – remember your absence is stressful. Yes, your pets love me and I love them but I am not you. It’s you they want. If you feel something is wrong it probably is. If I could teach my human pet parents one thing it would be to trust your gut.

Be Available:
I understand there are times where you will be out of reach. But if I have called you and let you know that there is something wrong with your pet please make every attempt to be available. I realize that might mean you adjust your itinerary but until I give you the “all clear” I MUST be able to reach you. I do have authorization to treat but there are many times the treatment will either be extensive or, as was the case last weekend, involve the decision to euthanize. I cannot and will not authorize euthanasia – you must speak with your veterinarian and authorize that yourself.

There is now a $50 charge on all emergency situations. This includes initial transport ($25) time spent on phone, vet consultation, paperwork completion, update calls from vet and to client. Subsequent trips to vet for same emergency are $25.

Please help me help your pet and be ever vigilant for their wellbeing so they can be happy and healthy while you are gone.