bubble cat carrier backpack

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 what’s a bubble cat carrier backpack?

Jeez, that’s all we need are more cat carriers. OK, so we know the backpack part, but the bubble part piqued my interest – what is a bubble cat carrier?  U-pet has designed a series of cat carriers that made me stop, look, laugh and say “I want one of those! Maybe…”

cat carrier backpack with bubble window

bubble cat carrier backpack by u-pet




There are three versions of carriers: a cross body, a backpack and a style u-pet calls sport series. Each style offers limited color choices. The best part is, they all have the bubble window.



u-pet has designed three versions:

u-pet red cat carrier with bubble window

u-pet red cat carrier






the backpack A series, $99
in 3 more colors








cross body A series cat carrier,
for $99


u-pet sport cat carrier

u-pet sport cat carrier

the u-pet sport series cat carrier comes in yellow or pink, for $79








Guess what my cat Toby is getting for Christmas…just in time for winter travel.

contact info for u-pet
147-39 Cherry Ave,
Flushing, NY 11355

+1 646 661 7332         +1 646 661 7331

keep your cat safe in summer heat

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In much of the country, summer temperatures can get quite high: so how to keep your cat safe in summer heat? With all the fur they wear, my kitty care is concerned about keeping our cats safe in the summer when it gets hot.
Here’s some tips to keep your cat safe in summer heat.
(from My Kitty Care and ARF)

Cats need fresh water

filtered fresh water
photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

To keep cats healthy, a water bowl must always be available for your cat. Cats need fresh water, every day. Fresh water keeps cats safe from otherwise becoming dehydrated. Every morning my cat gets fresh filtered water. In the heat of the summer, I’ll refresh my cat’s water bowl with cool, filtered water, at the end of the day too. That keeps my cat safe and healthy.

cat at window with screen

cat at open window with screen and additional screen
photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

Cats love to sit at the window, but during the hot summer days and nights, if your window is open, have secure screens. City cats who may live high above street level must be especially protected.

Adjustable Window Screen

45 in. x 24 in. Adjustable Wood Frame Wondow Screen




If your windows don’t have screens at all, or for additional security, you can buy separate expandable screens at most hardware stores for less than $10 each.


If you’re traveling with your cat, do not leave your cat in an unattended car. Even with open windows, a car can absorb so much heat, that very quickly your car can become an oven. Have you ever gone shopping, then in an hour (or less) you return to your car, open the door and are hit with overwhelmingly intense hot air? That’s what your cat is cooking in. In some states, it’s actually illegal.

Also, check your cat for ticks. Yuck. Even indoor cats may have ticks.

♥   Let’s keep our cats safe and healthy.  ♥

Boarding my cat

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Whether it’s a vacation, or renovating your house, do you think “Should I be boarding my cat?” Most people don’t think about having options for their cat. Increasingly, pet service businesses are recognizing the need for boarding  cats: hotels for cats.

luxury cat bed

luxury cat bed by Cedel Pets and Style

According to Stanley Coren’s May 2013 article in Psychology Today, Americans have 86 million cats and 78 million dogs. 33% of households have cats! whereas 39% have dogs (because 52% of households have more than one cat! but only 40% have more than one dog). Meanwhile, only 11% of people bring their cats on a vacation with them. Whereas 34% of families bring their dogs with them on vacation. Ok, so why do most pet services not offer boarding for cats?
Virginia Donohue, owner of Pet Camp, a day care and boarding business in San Francisco,says “With cats it’s difficult to have as much volume as with dogs,” Donohue said. “Cats are just more challenging economically.”

In 2014, Americans were projected to spend an estimated $4.73 billion on pet grooming and boarding services, according to the APPA (American Pet Products Association) pet owners survey. Just 5 percent of cat owners opt for kennel boarding or cat hotels, but average spending on services — $337 a year for cats — is double what it was at the time of the 2011-12 survey.

The a Happy Cat Hotel owners

Meg and Chris Raimo, owners of Happy Cat Hotel, in Kitty Kabana suite

In a January 2015 article in the Hartford Courant:
A Windsor, Connecticut couple, Chris and Meg Raimo, who also run an in-home pet care business, Home Sweet Home Pet Care, saw an opportunity.
In the latest APPA survey, 85 percent of cat owners cited love and companionship among their reasons for having a cat. Fifty-seven percent likened their cats to a child.
– yeah, we know that (My Kitty Care sure does) –
Chris said “Cat owners want the same services as their canine counterparts and are every bit as doting.” Chris said he found only two other cats-only boarding facilities in Connecticut, both along the shore. A third is a feline veterinary practice that also has cat boarding.
“Doing what we do” Meg Raimo said, “We see people treat their cats the way the most passionate people treat their dogs, they’re just not as visible. You don’t see them in dog parks.”
Reiki therapy, massage and other services once reserved for humans are not uncommon at facilities for both dogs and cats.
Rates at the Raimos’s The Happy Cat Hotel, run from $30 to $45 a night depending on the size and amenities in the room. There are 12 rooms to choose from, with eight more planned. Sizes range from 250 to 500 cubic feet. The largest, The Happy Cat Lounge, features a fake bar and a toy piano.

Boarding my cat The Happy Cat Hotel Bonsai room

The Stowaway room

The smallest, The Stowaway, has portholes and an open suitcase for a bed. Unlike the crate-like kitty condos, all of the rooms have 8-foot ceilings. Amenities include a comfy bed; climbing trees, walls and bridges; room-to-room and exterior windows; and bushes for hiding. For a few extra dollars, customers can add 24-hour web cam access, pick-up and delivery service, and corn- or walnut-based natural cat litter. Daily email updates on cats are no extra charge.
Kitty guests at the Happy Cat Hotel stay in themed “destination” rooms that evoke famous cities, historical figures and vacation getaways. One, called Uncity Kitty, looks like a rustic western lodge, with a fake fireplace and an outhouse covering the litter box. Other rooms include Cleocatra, Paris for the Weekend, and urban themed Mancattan.

One customer, Mary Minto, said her sibling tabbies, Gus and Salsa, enjoyed  three nights at Happy Cat Hotel so much, she had to lure them back into their crates with treats for the ride home. The two stayed in a seaside-themed luxury room, Kitty Kabana, and were lounging in a hammock suspended from the ceiling when she arrived to pick them up. “It’s a really great environment,” said Minto, a 32-year-old physician’s assistant and West Hartford resident. “They were happy. They actually didn’t want to come home. They were comfortable in there and hanging out. There were no issues.”

Chris and Meg Raimo said their business the Happy Cat Hotel has grown by about 20 percent a year since they opened it in 2007. They are in a leased 2200 square foot space, and currently have 20 full and part time employees. They serve about 180 families in Greater Hartford and the Farmington Valley.
The Happy Cat Hotel is close to I-91, so the couple had hoped to attract snow birds and vacationers on their way to and from Bradley International Airport, but instead, they said the range of customers has turned out to be much broader. “We have customers getting their carpets cleaned who bring a cat for a day,” said Meg, a former pet groomer. “We have people having Christmas parties looking for some place their cat can stay for the evening.”

Boarding my cat, The Happy Cat Hotel

The Happy Cat Hotel, Bonsai room,

Without the hotel, Alex Zaid said he and his wife, Carly, would probably not have left town for the Thanksgiving weekend. Their 5-year-old cat, Taj, had just had surgery and needed monitoring. Jack, their other cat, freaked out to the point of getting ill the last time they boarded him, Zaid said. When they arrived to pick up the cats this time, “they were great,” said Zaid, an actuary who lives in Glastonbury. “Taj had finished his medications and was super affectionate,” he said. “Jack was fine too.” The cats stayed in the Happy Cat Lounge. Zaid called the fake piano and other features “pretty cool”, but it was the care, not the bling ,that impressed him most. “Chris plays with the cats and gets to know them,” he said. “That was the factor that made the difference for us.”

Capt. Kitt’s Luxury Cat Boarding in Clinton, Ct. another is owned and operated by Valentina DeCosta and her husband Timothy Siegler. They offer nightly shrimp and tuna “cocktails”, soothing classical music, and aroma therapy using organic lavender oil. The typical stay is about nine days, customers come from as far as New York City and Rhode Island, Valentina said, and have a multitude of reasons for boarding their cat. One cat stayed for six months, DeCosta said, while its owner was in Singapore for an extended stay.

Cats staying in the Winsor, Ct. Nautilus Quarters, a deluxe condo is $50 a night. The kitty guests enjoy a 10-gallon aquarium and the sounds of the nearby fountain. Others condos have views of bird feeders and caged parakeets, both of which are safely separated from cats behind glass.
“We have met and exceeded our projections,” Meg Raimo said. “We are beyond thrilled.”
By Loretta Waldman, Hartford Courant
Here is a list of some boarding options for your cat
– My Kitty Care is only making suggestions of places based on research, not actual endorsements, since we haven’t been able to personally visit and assess these facilities. This list is to help you if you’ve decided “I want to board my cat” Go to their websites, call the cat hotel and ASK questions. I would scrutinize boarding my cat as carefully as I gather information when I’m booking a hotel for my family.

cat hotel Meowhaus, Portland, OR

Inside Meowhaus, cat hotel Portland, OR

portland, OR Meowhaus

Campbell, CA The Kitty Hotel

La Mesa, San Diego county, CA –   Kitty Care Hotel

Ithica, New York –  The Bed and Biscuit

East Islip, NY Catspa 631 277 3675

Shoreline, WA Purrfect Cat Boarding

Now you do have the option to say “I should be boarding my cat.”

Flying with a Bengal cat

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Ivana Franco says she and Dexter are off to Texas soon. It will be Dexter’s first flight, so Ivana said she read the post how to fly with a cat and got some helpful information.

Dexter, Ivana Franco's cat

Dexter, Ivana Franco’s cat







She wants to make sure Dexter is comfortable and won’t freak out!
So Ivana emailed my kitty care with questions about flying with a Bengal cat – here’s part of my kitty care’s response

It does seem better to use the soft “Sherpa” style cat carrier when your cat travels under your seat, as apposed to a hard cage, which you’d need for cargo (TO BE AVOIDED!) and like The Scratching Post recommends: bring a tape measure. As for wheeled carriers, that has not been investigated. We thought about placing the carrier on a portable two wheeled cart, but we believe walking around the airport, or sitting holding the carrier so that your cat can see and feel you helps keep them calm. Another tip is if you have room in the carrier, a small towel inside it so that your cat an bury themselves and feel safe may help. Thanks for asking about wheeled carriers, though, we will investigate and a post about that will be published at some point.

Good luck Dexter and Ivana, and safe travels. My kitty care looks forward to hearing how you both do with your flight.

Dexter,  Ivana Franco's cat

Smiling Dexter, Ivana Franco’s cat

Dexter! You must be smiling because you live with Ivana who loves you so much.

thanks Ivana

How to fly with a cat

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How to fly with a cat – on a commercial flight it requires some preparation. Here are some practical tips to help you and your cat fly safer and more comfortably. My Kitty Care followed Toby who takes his first ride on an airplane. For domestic flights, proof of shots from your vet is not necessary, but for international, you must have papers from your vet validating your cat’s shots, but this depends on the airline and destination, so be sure to research this. For Toby, this was a  domestic flight from New York to Florida (USA) which lasted about three hours, but of course the actual time Toby spent in his carrier was much longer.

Toby in carrier at airport

cat in carrier at airport – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

So the first thing to consider is total time: leaving your house, getting to the airport, then there’s waiting for departure at the airport (hope there are no delays), flight time, possibly picking up checked baggage, car rental, anything like that which adds the time your cat is kept inside his/her carrier. If your cat has done little or no traveling, try driving around with your cat in the carrier. Start with a short jaunt, then try a longer one. Also, keep the carrier visible and accessible in your house, so that your cat gets use to it.

vents on cat carrier bag

cat carrier – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

• Here are a few more tips to prepare your cat and you for the trip.
You need a harness  – check out buying a harness for your cat, or at least get a collar.It’s important because you can attach an ID tag, and a leash, and you’ll want to have both. The tag you should keep on your cat from the moment you walk out your door, until you arrive at your destination. The leash is because going thru TSA, you must take your cat out of her/his carrier – and your cat may FREAK. According to a TSA agent who I spoke to, cats have been known to jump out of their owner’s arms: at best, after you retrieve your cat, you are both very upset, but still make your flight. Or the worst case scenario: your cat isn’t found till two weeks later, dehydrated, REALLY FREAKED and your cat may become too terrified to ever try to travel again.

Next, buying a cat carrier is an important preparation. The cat carrier must have proper ventilation, and be big enough for your cat to turn around while inside it.

cat carrier bag 17" L

cat carrier size – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

Also,  you must get a carrier with specific dimensions, according to the airline you’re traveling on – which means check your airline. You might even want to bring a tape measure to the pet store, just to make sure.  Here’s a few examples:
Jetblue has maximum dimensions of 17″ L x 12.5″ W x 8.5″ H, and total weight of your cat and carrier not to exceed 20lbs.

whereas US Airways has maximum dimensions (a soft carrier) of 17″ L x 16″ W x 10″ H

Southwest maximum is: 18.5 L x 13.5 W x 8.5″ H

cat carrier under sea

cat carrier under airplane seat – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

these sizes are to fit under the seat in front of you (hmmm, kind of suggests which airline has a little more space)

Pet ticket CU

pet airplane ticket – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

Although your cat is considered carry on (meaning you’ve used your allowed carry on) the airlines somehow also get to charge you for your pet, from $95 – $125 one way. Plus, most airlines require booking your cat’s “ticket” in advance.

Another suggestion is to use a wee wee pad –

photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

cat carrier – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

and keep a spare in the carrier pocket. Treats are always appreciated too – right Toby?

wee wee pad and treats for flying with cats

ca t treats – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

Toby did quite well.

cat carrier on airplane

flying cat in carrier – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

Cats can travel on commercial flights, providing you and your cat take the time to prepare for your flight.

How to buy a harness for your cat

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How to buy a harness for your cat – why? Because traveling with your cat requires some preparation, and to start, your cat needs a collar or harness. Your cat needs one so you can hook a leash onto it (do not keep leash attached to collar or harness when your cat is in a carrier) and also to attach an ID. So for my cat Toby, I saw this harness and it looked comfortable.

cat harness

Photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

I brought it home and tried it on him…

cat harness too small

Photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

I know he’s a big guy, but this was embarrassing.

cat harness label with size

Photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

Then I noticed that the tag has measurements for your cat’s neck and girth, and general size based on weight, in this case 8-12 lbs.

Now I know, collars and especially harnesses have sizes.

tape measure

Photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

ok Toby, time to take your measurements for your neck and girth.

measuring a cat's girth

Photo by shari smith dunaif 2015





Toby’s girth is 18″ – I’m going to either exchange this soft harness for a BIGGER one, or just go for a collar.




The other purpose for a collar or harness is to attach an ID tag (contains split ring)

ID tag for a cat with split ring

Photo by shari smith dunaif 2015


ID tag for a cat

Photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

I got this at Petco for $11.00 plus tax, which includes the engraving.

How to travel with your cat

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               how to travel with your cat

 A recent online survey conducted by Petplan pet insurance found that more than 78% of respondents vacation with their pets.
So traveling with your cat? Here are 4 tips
photo by shari smith dunaif 2014

photo by shari smith dunaif 2014

It’s important if you’ll be traveling with your cat to ensure that he/she is healthy, safe and happy when coming along on any trips. We spoke with Dr. Rebecca Jackson, a staff veterinarian at Petplan, for some advice on how to have a safe trip with cats in tow.

1. Identification is key. While nobody likes to think of their cat going missing, one in three pets actually will get lost during their lifetime, and without identification, a whopping 90% of them never find their way back home. In fact, according to the American Humane Association, only about 2% of lost cats ever find their way back to their original owners. (The number is a bit higher for dogs at about 15%.) That’s why it’s so important to always be sure your cat has a collar tag with your cell phone number on it, so if she happens to slip away or is accidentally let outside, you can be immediately reached by phone should someone find her. A microchip with updated contact information can help further increase your chances of a happy reunion, and it’s harmless for your cat to get one.

2. Carriers are your best friend. Use a cat carrier when transporting your cat, and don’t be tempted to let her out once you’re in the car. Having a loose cat in the vehicle could cause a huge distraction to the driver, and could post a serious threat to your cat’s safety in the event of an accident. Be sure to secure the carrier itself, as well — most have a strap or handle where the seatbelt can be looped through — so that if you need to hit the brakes, your kitty will stay safe. As an added bonus, staying in a comfy carrier will also help your furry friend feel safe and secure, and could help reduce her stress.

3. Lower his stress level. As mentioned above, some cats become stressed by travel, and some may even suffer from motion sickness. There are plenty of products designed to naturally help cats settle down, including pheromone sprays and calming treats, as well as medicines that can help relieve stress and curb car sickness. Talk to your vet about what’s best for your cat’s particular needs.

4. Plan ahead. Think of your cat like a child, and always travel prepared. You never know when an overnight trip might turn into an extended stay, so be sure to pack extra cat food, any medication or supplements and kitty litter. Don’t forget to toss a pet first aid kit into the car, too, in case your kitty has an accident or injury while you’re away from home. One other smart thing to bring with you is a health certificate from your veterinarian. Plan ahead for this, since it takes time to get the paperwork, depending on where you’re heading. This could require an office visit, certain vaccines or even blood work.

thanks The Daily Cat by Cheryl Lock

Driving with your cat

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cat carrier in car, grab the seat belt

grab the seatbelt                                                      photo by shari smith dunaif 2014

Driving with your cat is inevitable when we take them somewhere, like the vet. The other day I was driving my cat Bear to her vet;  she sat in her cat carrier, in the front seat of my car and I thought about “driving with your cat.” I feel safer when I strap her in with the seatbelt

Pull over cat carrier –

cat carrier in car, pull seatbelt

pull seat belt over cat carrier                                photo by shari smith dunaif 2014

cat in cat carrier with towel

Bear in carrier, feeling safe under towel            photo by shari smith dunaif 2014






I always place towels in carrier, so cats can wrap it around themselves and feel secure, and/or pee…

cat carrier inside car  with seatbelt

cat carrier inside car with seatbelt                      photo by shari smith dunaif 2014




but remember, they’re not secure inside cat carrier, so drive especially carefully