The Original Cat Lady | St Gertrude of Nivelles

Saint Gertrude of Nivelles was a historical figure and her memorial is celebrated on March 17.

Gertrude was born on March 17, c. 626 in Landen, Kingdom of Austrasia, which is now located in Belgium. Unlike many other 7th-century women, she refused to be married in a pre-arranged marriage.  Instead along with her mother, Gertrude founded the Abbey of Nivelles, now located in Belgium’s Walloon region. She served as an abbess there until the age of 30.

One of the reasons she’s regarded as a patron saint of cats is the fact that she was always kind and welcoming to all feline creatures which resided around the Abbey of Nivelles. She offered them food and love. Moreover, she also showed great devotion to holy souls and at the time people depicted the holy souls in her paintings as mice. Since everybody knows felines’ affinity towards chasing mice, people eventually linked Gertrude to both species.

The idea that St. Gertrude of Nivelles is the patron saint of cats dates back to the 1980s. The very first recorded document where Gertrude is defined as a patron saint of cats is a Metropolitan Museum of Art catalogue from 1981. However, her veneration as a holy protector against rodents dates back to the 15th century.

Above info from Catalogical


Why is There No Chinese Year of the Cat???

This year’s Chinese New Year is the Year of the dog and begins on Friday, February 16. Which is great, we LOVE dogs…but why is there no Chinese Year of the Cat? Why is the cat, an animal that usually well represented in the Chinese culture, so notably missing? Our Pawsome team of investigative reporters find out…


Legend has it, a looooong time ago, the Jade Emperor decided that the earthly calendar would be represented by 12 animals, and ordered the beasts and birds of the world to come to his palace, the first dozen getting the job.

At the time, the cat and the rat were good friends. When they heard the news, the cat said to the rat: “We should arrive early to sign up, but I usually get up late.”

The rat promised to wake his pal up so they could go together but, because he was so excited, he forgot and went alone.

On the way, the rat bumped into the tiger, ox, horse and other animals – who were all much faster than him.

He hatched a plan and convinced the ox to carry him on his back – on the condition that the rat sang throughout the journey.

The ox arrived first, but the rat sneaked in front of him and became the first lucky animal.

By the time the cat arrived, the selection was over – which is why the cat hates the rat and will always try to chase him.

Want to learn more?



Pets who are afraid of thunderstorms, fireworks and other audible fears may pant, drool, pace, whine, try to escape, cower and shake, have house training accidents or even destroy furniture. It is very important to help the pet as soon as you see these fears start to stop them from getting worse.


  • Stay with them during storms or fireworks and allow them to be in a space they are most comfortable in.
  • Some pet prefer their crate, while others prefer your lap or–believe it or not–the bathtub – the more quiet the area, the better.
  • Turn on the fan, TV or radio to help block the noise.
  • Speak calmly and cheerfully to them.
  • Distract them with something fun like their favorite toy or treats.
  • Give a calming massage or petting session.


One of the most effective and long lasting things you can do for your pet is to follow a desensitization training program, a type of behavioral therapy use on all animals, designed to help them progressively relax in the presence something that causes fear, phobias or aggression. There are many training programs available with professional trainers, You-Tube videos and even phone apps.

Another helpful supplement is Melatonin (marketed for people) which can be found at local vitamin stores or drug stores, as always you should consult your veterinarian before giving your pets any non-prescribed medications.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you pet is so nervous during thunderstorms or fireworks that they are in danger of hurting themselves or seems very panicked please contact your veterinarian.

THE TALE OF TWO SISTERS | Professional Pet Sitter vs Boarding

When you plan a vacation, you can’t always take your pet with you. It’s important to make plans for your cat or dog so they’re well-fed and properly taken care of while you’re away. There are several options for traveling pet parents – hire a professional pet sitter or board them at a doggy daycare or kennel.

Below is “The Tale of Two Sisters,” one of whom chose to hire a pet sitter, and the other who chose to board their dog…

SISTER A | Hired a Professional Pet Sitter:

  • Received real-time email feedback after each visit with pictures of her pups and details if they were fed, given fresh water, played and had treats.
  • Paid a per visit fee which included all her dogs which totaled $45/day.
  • Enjoyed her vacation and was able to relax, feeling great in the knowledge her dogs were being well taken care of .

SISTER B | Boarded Dogs:

  • Had to delay leaving for vacation to drop off dogs during kennels drop off hours.
  • Did not receive any feedback or news on how her dogs were adjusting to the new surroundings and other dogs at the kennel.
  • Was not greeted by happy dogs when she got home and had to wait for the pick up hours to see them.
  • Paid a per dog fee which totaled $80/day.
  • Stressed out her entire trip not knowing how her dogs were doing, hoping they were ok and feeling guilty for having left them.

More Pros of Hiring A Professional Pet Sitter:

  • Your pet can keep their routine and not pick up any bad habits form other dogs. Especially if you own a puppy or kitten, sticking to a bathroom and feeding regimen is essential.
  • Kennels can harbor highly contagious illnesses like kennel cough, intestinal parasites, and distemper. When your pet remains in the safety of their own home, exposure to these diseases is minimal.
  • In the event of an emergency, Pawsome Palz is trained to handle any health emergencies that may occur.
  • If you have a pet with special dietary or medical needs, Pawsome Palz administers medications.
  • Pawsome Palz gives special attention and playtime; things that kennels charge extra for.
  • Pawsome Palz brings in mail, waters plants, and turn lights on/off to deter burglars while you’re away.

The KEY to Ticks…..Literally

It’s here, tick season that is, and while I mentioned in a previous blog the best ways to avoid them, I want to share with you my secret to dealing with those persistent buggers who still find a way to attach themselves……


WHAT IS IT? – The tick key is a handy little tool that makes it easy and mess free to remove embedded ticks in one shot and attaches to your key chain. Works on all animals and people too (my husband had to use it twice on me just last week).

WHERE CAN I FIND ONE?Pet Value carries Tick Keys, but if you are not a local you can also find one on Amazon, average cost is about $7.

Please remember this tick season is expected to be a bad one and to check your pets on a regular basis regardless of having them on a tick control already. Don’t forget to check yourself as well…I wasn’t even sniffing around bushes and rolling in anything and I got two!




It’s a smell you will never forget and my first experience with it was not with a client, but my very own dog, Gritz. A dog who is afraid to go off the porch at night, but one night decided to bolt off after something in the dark. That something was a skunk, and he got it gooooooood.

Lucky for me, I had had a conversation not even 48 hours before the “Gritz-ident” with someone who uses a formula made from hydrogen peroxide, baking soda & dish soap on her own dogs. I searched the internet for the recipe and BOOM, it worked. He didn’t smell anymore and we could let him back in the house.

Here is the recipe I used from the Humane Society on “De-Skunking Your Dog”  and cannot encourage you enough to have some hydrogen peroxide on hand, the other two ingredients you probably already have.


  1. Keep them outside & check the eyes for irritation – flush with water if necessary
  2. Mix the following ingredients together – 1 Quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 Cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap
  3. Use rubber gloves, wash your dog with the solution and leave it on for a bit (recipe times vary on line, I did 5 minutes, but don’t leave it on too long, peroxide can bleach fur), rinse thoroughly
  4. Wash them again, but this time with pet shampoo
  5. Treats for everyone, including yourself 🙂


Tick Season Is Coming, Are Your Pets Prepared?

It’s never to early to start thinking about the 2017 tick season. As temperatures get warmer, people will want to walk and let their pets out longer and more often. Due to the mild winter we have had here in Virginia, the 2017 increased number of ticks is bad news for dogs and cats.

So why are ticks such a problem for pets?

Extreme discomfort causes excessive itching or scratching. If left untreated, bites may lead to health problems and illnesses such as typhus and Lyme disease.

So what can you do to prevent tick bites in the first place?

Avoid areas where ticks are likely to lurk – such as heavily wooded areas and high grasses.

Administer tick control products onto your pet – contact your local veterinarian for specific products that target both fleas and ticks.

Mow your grass, cut your bushes back and rake your leaves – ticks are not immune from your lawn, keep your grass short to minimize the chances of infestation.

Complete “tick checks” daily – a few ticks on your pet isn’t a major problem but can become a major problem once an infestation occurs. Using a “tick key” tick remover helps best with extracting them. This preventative measure is very easy and doesn’t take much time out of your day.

Taking a preventive rather than reactive approach can amount to reduced stress and less money out of your pocket in the long-term. If you must take a reactive approach, be sure to check your pet often as ticks can be very difficult to completely remove once they have established themselves.

By taking these few steps, you can enjoy outside time with your pet without having to worry about you and your pet’s health.

Should You Worry About BPA Levels For Your Pets – YES!

Being a member of Pet Sitters International, I receive weekly email news briefs about hot topics in the pet sitting community and one in particular caught my attention as it was something I had wondered myself; Should people worry about BPA levels for their pets? The answer the article from, says yes, but focused on something I was not even considering being the source for concern….canned pet food.

WHAT IS BPA? – BisphenalA, or BPA, is a chemical building block that is used primarily to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. It is commonly found in plastic bottles and food can liners.

WHY SHOULD I BE CONCERNED? – BPA is an endocrine disrupter, which means it mimics or interferes with your body’s hormones and “disrupts” the endocrine system. The glands of the endocrine system and the hormones they release influence almost every cell, organ, and function of the body. This in turn can affect growth hormones, hyperactivity, obesity, immune system and has been linked to cancer.

The articles I reviewed referring to pets  (you can find links at the bottom of this blog) all refer to a recent study published by the journal Science of the Total Environment which analyzed the BPA levels in dogs; some of whom were fed just dry food vs those who were fed just canned food who had 3 times the levels of BPA after just two weeks. Please refer to the links if you would like to read in more detail.


  • Monitor how your pet’s food is packaged
  • Switch out plastic bowls to glass or stainless steel ones
  • Avoid hard plastic toys and instead look for toys made of all-natural materials

I welcome your comments below and will update with any new research that comes my way.

Article Links | Should You Worry About BPA Levels in Your Dog? A New Study Says Yes

Science of the Total Environment | Bisphenol A (BPA) in the serum of pet dogs following short-term consumption of canned dog food and potential health consequences of exposure to BPA

Time | The Dangers in Your Dog’s Canned Food

Mayo Clinic | What is BPA?


Tips For A Healthy & Hydrated Cat

You might have noticed that cats tend to stear clear of water. In general most cats don’t seem to drink enough water according to Despite your cats naturally independent ways they might need some encouragement from time to time, in their uptake of water and liquids. My favorites from the above article are listed below:

  • Try placing ice cubes in their food for a little extra fun and moisture. They also tend to absorb some of the food flavors making these objects even more enticing.
  • How about some tuna flavored water.
  • Everyone likes fresh water and your cat is no different. Keep their water refreshing.
  • Running water, from taps or fountains can entice some cats to drink more. How about you turn it into a game and bonding experience for the two of you.
  • Your cat might have specific tastes. You might try different style water bowls.
  • Keep the water bowl away from the litter box. It might be the reason they drink less often.