Cats That Love Close Ups!

Up close and personal with my favourites on my cat sitting adventures 🙂

cat care in south shields


whitburn whiskers cat care


cat sitting south tyneside


cat sitting south shields


cat sitting in cleadon


cat sitter whitburn sunderland


cat sitting southwick

Much missed Maisie

cat sitting boldon colliery


cat care south shields


cat services in south shields


pet care whitburn sunderland

… and Cassie (pretending to be a cat)

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

Penguin Christmas Bow Tie Cat Collar

Inspired by a very famous little penguin, have a peek at this lovely little cat collar which is definitely my favourite for Christmas 2014.

Penguin Christmas 2014 cat collar

Lovely Boop-cat showing off his penguin bow tie

You’ll find lots of tumbling mini penguins set against an arctic blue background and as always, my collars are all handmade in not so sunny Sunderland using lightweight, flexible material and an adjustable safety buckle.

Penguin Christmas 2014 cat collar

Lyla looking a bit like a penguin herself in her fetching tuxedo!

Each collar comes with a matching penguin charm to finish off the festive look, dangling from a split ring so that you can attach your cat’s name tag too.

Penguin bow tie cat collar

A dinky penguin charm

Head over to my Etsy shop to have a look at all the other bow ties. And remember, penguins don’t jump – they bounce!

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

Christmas Bow Tie Cat Collars

‘Tis (nearly) the season to be jolly and merry and don’t forget to include your festive felines this year! These Christmassy bow ties are just purrfect for your little ones (and can be bought from our Etsy shop).

Christmas Tree Cat Bow Tie Collar

Mr. Boop wearing his Merry Christmas tree cat collar

All of the collars are handmade (by me!) and are fully adjustable and feature a safety breakaway buckle so your cats can go off on their adventures without worry of getting stuck anywhere! The bow ties are made of light weight cotton so won’t slow them down either!

Christmas Bow Tie Cat Collar

Lyla-cat modelling a Snowman Bow Tie Collar

All bow tie cat collars have a lucky charm (snowmen, stockings, reindeer or Christmas trees to name just a few!) dangling from a split ring where you can attach your cat’s ID tag.

Santa Claws Bow Tie Cat Collar for Christmas Present

Boop is excited for Santa Claws!

There are some more designs in my online shop but I just wanted to show you a few of my favourites. And I’d best say a big thank you to Lyla and Boop for being very patient and modelling so well – mind you, they love having their photographs taken!

Christmas Bow Tie Cat Collar Holly Design

Lyla-cat wearing her jolly holly Christmas bow tie

Best wishes!

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

How to Make Homemade DIY Cat Shelves

Some of the cat activity centres my customers have for their feline friends are amazing! There are some really creative and stylish ways of making the life of an indoor cat more interesting and now we’re settled in our new home we’ve been looking at something for Lyla and Boop (especially as they’re grounded until we can catio our back garden!).

We didn’t really have the space for a ceiling-high cat tree and found them to be quite pricey too. We also wanted something a bit more permanent – and fancied the challenge! So Mr Whiskers and I decided to set about making our own DIY cat shelves. Ta da!

Wall of cat shelves

Cat shelves leading up to the top of the bookcase

We chose a corner of our living room that looks out into the garden and gets the most sun, drawing a rough sketch of what we wanted. The shelves were built just above the sofa so our cats can jump off the sofa arms onto the first shelves. Because Lyla spent a year in a cage before we rescued her, she has a bit of trouble jumping sideways – but up is fine. So the most important thing is making sure the shelves were close enough together so she wouldn’t be too scared to try! We also needed the shelves to be quite wide so that if they wanted to turn around they wouldn’t fall off or get stuck (like Boop does on our mantelpiece). We wanted the cushiony parts of the shelves to be removable for easy cleaning and above all – be a really easy project to do – so no priming, undercoats or paint needed!

Cats sitting on shelves

Loving their cat shelves!

So first of all – the materials! This is what we used;

  • Big pine shelf boards that can be cut into the sizes you want
  • MDF strips to support the shelves
  • Wood bead 15mmx18mm which is found in the “decorative mouldings” section (e.g.)
  • Carpet off-cuts
  • Cotton fabric (big enough to cover the bottom of our shelves and wrap round the sides)
  • Wall brackets, screws & plugs
  • Corner braces
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Junior hacksaw
  • Saw
  • Staple Gun
  • Scissors
  • Stanley knife
  • Superglue or wood adhesive
  • Pen, pencil, ruler & a rubber (if you’re anything like me for mistakes and changing your mind!)
Cat shelves for indoor cats

Boop playing with his pom pom

From the big pine shelf board we measured out four separate shelves then used a general handsaw to cut them to size.

DIY cat shelves

Leaving the wood bead to dry – we had to cut a fiddly corner piece to fit around some pipes

The strips of wood bead are used to create a raised edge or lip on your shelves (to save a few pennies we only put wood beading around the edges that weren’t attached to the wall). Using a junior hacksaw to cut the right sizes, we then just glued these strips to the shelves using a wood adhesive although superglue would work too.

DIY cat shelves

It doesn’t have to be neat, does it?!

Once the strips were fully attached and the glue had dried we got out our pieces of material and cut them to size. Using the staple gun we attached the material snugly so that it covered the bottom side of the shelf and wrapped round the sides, as neatly as we could! We weren’t too worried about what it looked like on the top of the shelf, as that section will have removable squares of carpet covering the untidy bits. The carpet pieces can easily be removed for cleaning but give the cats something comfortable to sit on, and grip onto while jumping. No sandpaper, primer, undercoat, paint or varnish needed! Hurray!

DIY cat shelf

Carpet et voila!

When cutting the carpet to size, we found using a marker pen on the reverse side and cutting using Stanley the knife worked well.

Cats using cat shelves

Playing follow the leader

Once all the four shelves had been made, we marked where we wanted them to be on the wall so they would lead to the top of the bookcase and have even gaps between them. We used our drill to make holes big enough for the plugs to go in to protect the wall, then popped the bracket on, and used a screwdriver to tighten the screws in. We also used a few pieces of MDF we had lying around to support the corner brackets as they’ll receive the most pounce from our two cats. We also used corner braces to secure these tightly.

Cat activity for indoor cats

Boop watching the birds outside

We thought the cats might be a bit nervous at first, so we left them to figure the shelves out themselves in their own time… and nothing! No interest at all! So we grew impatient, used a bit of treat bribery and with one shake of the dreamies bag – Boop had climbed to the top of the bookcase in seconds. Lyla was a little bit more wary, as we knew she would be. She tends to think that new things are suspicious traps but she was too curious to resist… and when we came downstairs yesterday morning they were both sitting on separate shelves – looking out for breakfast!!

So what do you think??

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

Cat shelves

Our new view from the sofa under the shelves!

A cat sitting bank holiday in sunny South Shields!

The sky’s a funny colour and there’s this big bright ball of light shining up there! Can we really be having such a lovely bank holiday?! These furry felines think so!

Jemaine chasing bumblebees

Jemaine out exploring

We’ve had a brilliant morning; full of sunlight, ladybirds, bumble bees, watering plants and taking our inside toys outside! I’m not sure what they think of my sun tan lotion though – I think they’d prefer eau de catnip.

Fogle sunbathing

Fogle  doing a spot of sunbathing

Lovely to get some fresh air and roll around in dirt and dust and twigs and tall grass and chase insects… straight after I’ve carefully brushed you (that’s right super furry Fogle, I’m talking to you!!!)

Maisie getting some vitamin D

Maisie getting some vitamin D

Well you didn’t think you were the only ones having a holiday did you?! While their owners are off away gallavanting – we’re having a great time enjoying ourselves. One of the lovely things about using a cat sitter is that your cats can still go outside while you’re away. A shame for them to miss this weather after all!

Bret playing with his mouse

Bret playing with his mouse

And of course, there’s still enough sunshine for me to have a lovely lunchbreak with my own balls of fluff! They get very cross if I don’t give them the same attention I give to my extended family after all!

Lyla getting her cuddles

Lyla getting her cuddles

Hope you’re all having a brilliant weekend, I know we all are : )

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

It’s very nearly springtime…

…I can say this with certainty because my dad sent me a picture of snowdrops from his allotment this morning! They may have been covered with a light frost… but they were definitely tinkly-bell snowdrops! Which got me to thinking of the things I want to do this Spring!

Build an outdoor catio for Lyla and Boop. We started plans for this last year, but with the great British weather, uncertainties over a house-move, a new kitten in the family – and general humming and hah-ing it got put off! But not for long… I’m busy doodling designs and pricing materials right now!

The Sunflower challenge. March is a great time to start planting your seeds in the house before popping them out in what will hopefully be a frost-free April. I’d like to have a Whiskers family competition; Me, Richy, Lyla and Boop.

Make Lyla and Boop new springtime collars. Last year I made Boop and Lyla pawprint cat collars for their Christmas box. Since then I haven’t spent nearly enough time getting to grips with my sewing machine but I think these two deserve something a bit brighter as it gets a bit warmer. I’d love to make a big batch of collars and sell them on behalf of some of the brilliant animal rescue charities in the area. Watch this space : )

Fabric cat collar

Boop’s homemade christmas cat collar (and Lyla’s poorly chin – all healed now!)

Eating Easter food (yom nom nom). I get so excited about hot cross buns with lemon curd and strawberry jam – you wouldn’t believe! Oooh and then there’s creme eggs. And chocolate crispy cornflake cakes with mini eggs and fluffy yellow chicks on top. And then there’s actual Easter eggs themselves. So. Really. I mean chocolate. I get very excited about all the chocolate! Oh. And decorating hard boiled eggs (I like to make them into cats, obviously).

Find baby animals! I’m on the lookout all the time. But specifically, I’ll be visiting Washington Wildfowl Park to look for baby chicks and listen to the otter talks. My favourite farms are Hall Hill in Durham and White House near Morpeth where you can bottle feed the goats… and then at a push, there’s always hanging out the window to look for lambs while driving. Especially black lambs. They’re special.

And of course… seeing old furry friends and meeting lovely new customers. It’s been a bit quieter over the winter months as everyone saves up their pennies for the summer holidays but already I’ve had the pleasure of looking after some of my favourites from last year. I’m also really looking forward to meeting lots of new clients who are busy organising their 2013 trips away.

For a quick read about home pet sitting please click here – or feel free to get in touch for a chat. I am always happy to talk about your furry friends!

Wishing everybody a happy and healthy springtime!

Rachel x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

World’s First Liliger Born in Siberia

Say hello to Kiara – the world’s first Liliger! The cub was born last month in Novosibirsk Zoo in Siberia and it’s thought that she’s the only one of her kind in the world. A little bit magic maybe 🙂

She’s a very rare quarter tiger; her mum is a liger called Zita (a cross between a tiger and a lion) and her dad is an African lion named Samson. But she’s not being looked after by her liger mother or her lion father – but instead an ordinary domestic house cat (and an extreeeemely lovely looking one at that). The cat plays with Kiara and keeps her warm 🙂

Breeding rare protected animals is of concern for wildlife laws as hybrids often suffer from growth disorders but so far so good for little Kiara. Normally lions and tigers would attack each other on sight, so natural cross breeding of the two species is rare but has been known to happen even in the wild.

So will Kiara be a fan of swimming like a tiger? Or happy being part of a pack like lions? Who knows? An adult liger can be twice as heavy as a lion so let’s wait and see how big Kiara gets. Hercules, the world’s most famous liger lives in a Miami zoo and was recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records as the largest living cat on Earth, weighing over 410 kg!

Visitors will be able to see Kiara when she’s a little bigger next month. Mr Whiskers wants to know if he can have one for Christmas *sigh* as if our little Boop wasn’t enough mischief!

Head over to the BBC – Siberian Zoo Breeds the World’s First Liliger to see the full video.

Rachel x

(The Cat Whiskerer)