Should You Change Your Pet’s Diet During the Summer?

As people, sometimes our eating habits and body weight fluctuate during the summer. Usually this can be attributed to increases or decreases in our activity level or caloric intake. These changes can also happen to our pets. Warmer weather sometimes brings with it a need to feed your pet more or less food to meet their nutrition needs. Here’s your guide to your pet’s diet and nutrition during the summer!

The Science Behind Yearly Changes in Appetite

Fluctuations in your pet’s appetite throughout the year are totally normal! In fact, these changes in appetite have been noticed by other pet owners. While many studies haven’t been conducted on the matter, what little research has been done suggests that changes in daylight and temperature affect appetite.

English and French scientists determined that appetite in felines seems to decrease during the summer. One study on yearly fluctuations in appetite found that indoor and outdoor cats eat the most during January, February, October, November and December. In the study, those same cats ate the least amount of food in June, July and August. It should be noted that the researchers studied too small a population of cats to find statistically significant results. This means more research needs to be done before we know for sure how the months affect appetite. However, these initial findings are promising until further research is carried out.

Does Your Pet Need to Eat More or Less During the Summer?

It’s always a good idea to pay close attention to your pet’s diet. This goes for all year long — not just during the summer. That being said, seasonal changes in temperature and hours of daylight have been known to affect hormone levels in mammals. This can alter metabolism. In other words, it changes how much food an animal needs to eat to stay healthy.

Whether or not you need to alter your pet’s diet during the summer will depend on if you notice any changes in their activity level and weight. Cats and dogs who do nothing but sleep in the air conditioning all summer might need to actually eat less this time of year. On the other hand, pets that are more active — playing in the yard or going on long walks — might need to eat more during the summer.

You also need to keep tabs on your pet’s weight. There are ways to tell if your pet is getting overweight or underweight. First, ask your vet what the ideal weight range is for your pet. This can vary from pet to pet, so your vet knows best — not some online calculator. Your vet can talk to you about best feeding practices and whether your pet should be eating more or less. They can also talk to you about switching up what type of food you give your pet. Your vet may even recommend a food specifically for weight loss. In general, you shouldn’t be able to see your pet’s ribs. However, if you press lightly on their torso, you should be able to easily feel these bones. You shouldn’t have to dig through layers of fat.

Do you change your pet’s diet during the summer? Let us know on Facebook!

Cat and Dog Sunscreen Safety

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, you might wonder if your pets need sunscreen. The answer is yes! Even if you have an indoor pet, your animal might benefit from cat or dog sunscreen. Here are some quick facts about sun protection for pets.

Why Do Pets Need Sunscreen?

Even though most dogs and cats are covered in fur, they are still susceptible to sunburns and skin cancer. Some of these serious cancers include hemangioma, hemangiosarcoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanomas. A quick way to prevent skin cancer is to reduce your pet’s sun exposure by keeping them in the shade, covering them in shirts or hats and slathering on some sunscreen.

Is My Pet at Risk for Skin Cancer?

While it’s possible for all cats and dogs to get skin cancer, fair-skinned and fair-furred animals are more at risk. Animals with short fur are also more susceptible to burns and cancer. This is similar to how fair-skinned humans are more at risk for sun damage.

This is why it’s a good idea to put cat or dog sunscreen on your pet if they are going to be outside or even just spending time lying in the sun inside. Even if you have an indoor pet or an animal with dark fur, it doesn’t hurt to apply sunblock when you know they’ll be exposed to the sun’s rays.

When Is It Best to Apply Cat or Dog Sunscreen?

Use common sense when deciding to apply cat or dog sunscreen. The same time you would apply sunblock to your own skin is a good time to apply sunscreen to your pets. Opt for sunscreen when you know your pet is going to spend time outside or it’s sunny out. It’s especially important to apply sunblock during peak sunlight hours which are between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This block of time is when sunlight is strongest and most likely to cause skin damage. Again, just like how you would with your own skin, it’s also wise to reapply sunscreen after a few hours or when your pet is sweating a lot or swimming.

Where On My Pet’s Body Should I Apply Sunscreen?

You should apply sunscreen everywhere! Sunblock is especially useful when applied to areas of the body that have less or no fur. Here are some parts of the body that are particularly at risk for sun damage:

  • Tummy
  • Nose
  • Tips of the ears
  • Around the lips
  • Groin

Please note that you need to make sure the sunscreen doesn’t get in your pet’s eyes. It’s also wise to do a patch test to see if your animal has an allergic reaction to the sunscreen before you apply it all over their body. Then go ahead and apply it liberally. As with humans, apply the sunblock several minutes before your pet will be out in the sun. Also try to discourage your pet from licking it off!

What Kind of Sunscreen Should I Use?

Only use sunscreen that is specially formulated for pets. Cats should only use cat sunscreen and dogs should only use dog sunscreen. These sunblocks should not contain para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) or zinc oxide as these are harmful to pets. It’s also beneficial to limit your pet’s time in the sun during peak sunlight hours. You can also try using hats, shirts and goggles to further protect your animal from the sun’s rays.

Do you use pet sunscreen? Let us know on Facebook!

11 Ways to Keep Your Pets Cool This Summer

It’s summer! That means the weather’s hot in Los Angeles and pet parents are looking for ways to keep themselves and their animals from overheating. Here are 11 ways to keep your pets cool!

Stay Inside

We know it’s sunny out and it’s tempting to be outside, but scorching temperatures are rough on our furry friends. Hot pavement can burn delicate paws! One of the easiest ways to keep your pets cool is to simply keep them indoors.

Fans

Never underestimate the cooling effects of a fan. Turn on a ceiling fan or get a portable fan and set it to circulate air around the room. You’ll feel better in no time!

Air Conditioning

If you’re one of the lucky people in LA with air conditioning, then we salute you. If not, what are you waiting for? Don’t wait until the next heatwave to buy a window air conditioner. We assure you that all of them will be sold out. You’ll end up driving to Best Buy, Sears and Home Depot in one day in 110-degree heat for nothing. Trust us, we speak from experience.

No Hot Cars

Under absolutely no circumstances should you ever leave your pet in a car during the summer. Even on a 70-degree day, the vehicle’s interior can warm up to dangerous temperatures in mere minutes. So even if you’re running quick errands and parking in the shade, leave your pet at home instead of leaving them behind in a parked car.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is important for pets all year round! Dogs and cats don’t regulate their body temperature like humans do and water is important for them to stay cool. Leave a bowl of cool water out for your pets at all times. When you leave the house with your animal, bring a bowl with you so your pet still has access to water.

Ice Cubes

If it’s warm out, chances are that your pet’s water is warming up real fast too. Drop some ice cubes in their bowl to keep the water cool.

Shade

By shade, we don’t mean “throwing shade.” We just mean getting out of the sun. Get yourself a giant umbrella and you’ll see what a huge difference it makes!

Kiddie Pools

Regular swimming pools are awesome, but not exactly economically feasible for some of us. But kiddie pools are for everybody! Pro tip: Host a pool party with your friends — of both the human and doggy variety. You can even set up a snack table in the pool and have chairs with the front legs sticking in the pool so humans can cool their feet while they eat tasty treats. Meanwhile, their canine companions can swim!

Hoses

Embrace your inner child and crank up the hose! If you have a sprinkler attachment, even better!

Dog Beach

If the weather gets super hot, it’s time for a trip to the coast. Head to the beach for a nice cool dip in the water. We recommend Rosie’s Dog Beach in Los Angeles County!

Pupsicles

No, that’s not a typo. Dogs love getting their own pupsicles. The easiest way to make them is simply by freezing low-sodium broth into cubes. You can also make them with plain yogurt and peanut butter. Yum!

How do you plan to keep your pets cool this summer? Let us know on Facebook!

The Best Pet-Friendly Hotels in Los Angeles

At Adopt & Shop, we think any trip is better if our pets come along. Sure, you can leave them at home at a kennel or with a pet sitter, but vacations are wonderful with our four-legged besties in tow. And luckily there are plenty of pet-friendly hotels in Los Angeles! We did our research, so no matter your price point, there’s a place for you and your pet to stay. Here are the best cat- and dog-friendly hotels in LA!

Motel 6

Number one on our list of pet-friendly hotels in Los Angeles is Motel 6. It’s super affordable and you can find a Motel 6 in practically any major city or town. These motels are the least expensive on our list, but you can still count on them for a clean room. Plus, all of their locations are pet-friendly! Motel 6 has a pretty standard pet policy. You’re allowed up to two animals per room. Pets need to be supervised and well-behaved so they don’t bother other guests.

La Quinta Inn & Suites

The majority of La Quinta Inns & Suites are also cat- and dog-friendly hotels. It’s still very affordable while being a step up in quality and price from Motel 6. La Quinta’s pet policy is also fairly standard and similar to that of other pet-friendly hotels in Los Angeles. You may have as many as two pets in each room. You’re also required to sign a Pet Policy Agreement upon checking in.

Beverly Wilshire

The Beverly Wilshire is the height of luxury. Some of LA’s most wealthy inhabitants, as well as visitors to the city, choose this place for their stay. The hotel has uniformed doormen and is operated by the Four Seasons. The property has multiple restaurants, including BLVD, which is Michelin-starred. During your stay, you’ll also have access to a spa and pool. However, pets get spoiled too! Each pooch gets a dog bed, bowls and treats. Only one pet is allowed per guest and each animal must be under 15 lbs.

Fairmont Miramar

If you’re craving a place with an ocean view, then the Fairmont Miramar is the hotel for you. It is located just across the street from the Pacific Ocean. And unlike most other pet-friendly hotels in Los Angeles, this one doesn’t charge any fee for your pet’s stay. The Fairmont Miramar has gone through several renovations since being built in 1924 and it won’t disappoint. Enjoy the 32 bungalows with private patios or guest rooms with city and ocean views. Be sure to also check out Fig restaurant and Exhale Spa.

Loews Santa Monica

This 347-room establishment rests across the street from the iconic Santa Monica Pier, making it perfect for trips to the beach. You’ll love the 13 fire pits, ice cream shop, farm-to-table restaurant and 4th-floor pool with an ocean view. Meanwhile, your animal will love the pet room service menu! The “Loews Loves Pets” program includes other goodies for your pet, including water bowls, leashes and litter boxes. It costs $25 for your animal’s stay.

What are your favorite pet-friendly hotels in Los Angeles? Let us know on Facebook!

5 Tips for Lost Pet Prevention

It’s every pet parent’s worst nightmare: Getting separated and realizing your animal is lost. So how can you prevent it? Here are five ways to prevent a lost pet!

Stay Home

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? But one of the easiest ways to keep you and your pet from getting separated is to stay home. On days like the 4th of July, more pets than ever are separated from their owners. This is because pets get scared and confused in all the chaos of the holiday. Even normally well-behaved pets might startle at the sound of fireworks or a parade. The simplest way to avoid these hazards is to stay home. Stay indoors and lock your windows and doors. We also recommend turning on music or the TV to muffle “scary” noises like firecrackers.

Calming Aids

A stressed-out pet is more likely to make a run for it, so we recommend using calming aids on days like July 4th and New Year’s Eve. Swaddle your pet in blankets or have them wear a ThunderShirt. You can also try giving them an herbal calming aid — we sell a few varieties at Adopt & Shop. Lastly, you can ask your vet if they recommend a prescription for anxiety.

Leash & Harness

As stated earlier, even the most well-behaved pets can get spooked and make a run for it. If you’re leaving home and won’t be somewhere with a locked fence, you absolutely must put your pet on a leash (yes, cats too!). We also recommend getting your pet a harness which prevents choking at the neck. Adopt & Shop offers every type of leash and harness imaginable for dogs and cats so you and your pet can safely stick together.

Collar and Identification Tags

The simplest way for someone to recognize a lost animal as someone’s pet is to look at their identification tag on their collar. Glancing at ID tags takes a split second and doesn’t require the use of a microchip scanner. This is why we require all animals adopted from our store to have ID tags. Each tag should have the pet’s name and your phone number. We carry a large number of tags in our store, big and small, in a variety of shapes and colors. We even engrave them for you on the spot!

Microchips

But what if a lost pet slips out of their collar? How can they make their way back to their owner? This is where microchipping becomes so important. Microchips are the only permanent form of identification. They’re the next line of defense after ID tags. We offer microchipping at Adopt & Shop.

There are several misconceptions about microchips. What folks need to know is that microchips are not GPS trackers. Instead, microchips are tiny pieces of tech about the size of a grain of rice. Each microchip, when scanned, will produce a number. If the microchip is registered, the number will be connected to the pet owner’s contact information.

This is why registering your microchip is so crucial. Without registration, microchips simply do not work. You can register your pet for free with Michelson Found Animals at Found.org. Our registry is free to register, free to use and free to update.

Is your pet microchipped? Let us know on Facebook!

Calming Aids for Pets Who Need to Chill Out

It’s not unusual for dogs or cats to have periods when they experience anxiety. However, if their anxiety is prolonged or making them completely miserable, it might be time to look into calming aids. New Year’s Eve and the 4th of July are particularly difficult for pets because of fireworks, parades and strangers in the home. In fact, shelters see a huge increase in the number of lost pets coming through their door during these times of year. After all, even normally well behaved pets can get spooked by loud noises and run off.

Here are some general tips to contain flustered pets so the two of you don’t get separated:

  • Make sure your pet always wears a collar and an ID tag with their name and your phone number.
  • Keep pets inside during parades and fireworks. Shut windows and doors to help hide the sound. You can also turn on music or the TV to muffle the noise.
  • If you have guests over, you might want to keep your pet in a separate room. This will keep them from running away every time a guest enters or exits your home.
  • If you leave the house with your pet, always keep them on a leash. Even normally super-obedient pets might get skittish and make a run for it.
  • Make sure your pet is microchipped and that the chip is registered. You can register your chip for free at Found.org!

Stop by Adopt & Shop if you need to pick up a collar, ID tag, leash or microchip!

Homeopathic Options

Comfort Zone is a homeopathic solution available in both diffuser or spray form. We carry the diffuser in Adopt & Shop Stores. It is a reusable plug-in base with a Feliway liquid pheromone. Each diffuser lasts 30 days and covers a space of 600 square feet. We recommend using the diffuser as a preventative measure as opposed to a treatment. In other words, start using the diffuser before your pet experiences anxiety.

Another homeopathic option available at Adopt & Shop is Earth Animal Calm Down. It’s an organic herbal blend made with alcohol, Chamomile, Passion Flower, Lemon Balm and other herbs and flowers. It helps calm pets during travel, grooming, fireworks and more.

Adopt & Shop also carries Life by Tropiclean, another calming aid supplement. We offer varieties for both cats and dogs. Life is made with a blend of coconut oil, L-Theanine and herbs. It supports healthy rest without making your pet drowsy.

Other Calming Aids

Swaddling your pet like a baby is another great option for calming them down. We highly recommend Thundershirts. They come in a bunch of different sizes for pets of all varieties. Pro tip: Use the Thundershirt several times before your pet experiences anxiety. This will get you the best results.

If none of these options do the trick, speak to your vet about stronger options. There are many prescription medications available for animals who experience severe anxiety or compulsive behaviors. Your vet will be able to recommend the one that is best for your pet.

What calming aids have you used? Let us know on Facebook!

Pet Travel 101

Traveling in general is super stressful. And it just gets more stressful when you factor in bringing a pet. Which mode of travel you choose when traveling with your dog or cat depends on you and your pet. Your pet’s well-being should be the ultimate deciding factor, not what is most convenient for you. For example, it might be cheaper to drive somewhere, but carsick pets might fare better on a plane. Before you begin your journey, make sure all of your pets have a collar and ID tag (both of which you can get at Adopt & Shop!). You also need to double-check that all animals are microchipped and that each chip is registered.

You also need to think about where you’re going:

  • Will your pet be happy at your destination?
  • Is your host pet-friendly or should you get a hotel?
  • Will other pets in the home get along with your animal?
  • Are the other animals in the home healthy, vaccinated and neutered or spayed? Is yours?

If your pet is most likely going to be unhappy no matter how you choose to travel, you need to seriously consider leaving them at home. Have a trusted neighbor, friend or family member watch them while you are gone. You can also look into pet hotels, many of which are cage-free and have a doggy daycare-like format. This way your pooch gets to interact with other animals and exercise all day. This helps keep your animal entertained and eases separation anxiety in your absence.

Here are pet travel tips based on mode of travel:

Traveling by Train

One option for traveling with your pet is getting to your destination by train. Do know that only some railroad companies allow pets on their trains. Amtrak permits some pets, so you’ll need to check before your journey if you can bring your animal with you. As with all modes of travel, service animals are allowed to travel with their owner, regardless of which railroad company you use.

Traveling by Air

Pet owners with smaller animals, such as cats and small dogs, can keep their animals with them during a flight. It will likely cost at least $100 per flight in addition to your usual airfare. Generally pets and their carriers must weigh less than 20 lbs. We recommend carrying your little one in a soft-sided carrier. Adopt & Shop sells several carriers that are ideal for flying.

Airlines generally require that pets stay in your lap or under the seat in front of you for the entire duration of your flight. They must be well-behaved and not obstruct the aisle. Animals that do well on flights are calm, quiet and people-friendly. You can speak to your veterinarian about calming aids that your pet can take during the flight. You can also give your pet their favorite blanket or a dirty tee-shirt that smells like you. Both of these can help with any anxiety they might experience during the plane trip.

Emotional support animals and service animals get to fly for free. They are also protected under the Air Carrier Access Act or ACAA. While booking your trip, make sure you are familiar with the airline’s rules for these animals. Many airlines require documentation from a medical professional that you must file prior to your flight.

Traveling by Car

A roadtrip with your pet tends to be a safer bet than traveling by plane or train because you can make as many stops along the way as you like. However, you have to factor in that animals might get carsick and vomit. During stops, you can feed your pet, give them water and give them a chance to go to the bathroom. Pet owners should invest in a quality crate or pet seat belt in case of an accident.

What are your pet travel tips? Let us know on Facebook!

The Best Outdoor Activities in Los Angeles

Spring is upon us! The weather is warmer, the birds are chirping and our pets are begging to go outside. Not sure what to do? Here are our favorite outdoor activities in Los Angeles!

Walking

Walking is excellent exercise for you and your pet, whether you have a dog or cat. And yes, cats can go for walks too! As with dogs, we recommend you get a walking harness and leash (both available at Adopt & Shop!) for your cat to keep them safe.

Before you even put on the leash, first introduce your cat to the harness indoors and let them walk around the house with it on. When they seem comfortable, clip on the leash indoors. Let your cat take the lead. Let them lead you around the house. When your cat gets used to indoor walks, you can try going for a walk outside. Only gently use the leash to veer your kitty away from obstacles like busy streets.

Hiking

Los Angeles may be a major city — complete with smog, traffic and skyscrapers — but it also happens to be a great place to unplug and connect with nature on a nice hike. The number one choice of celebrities and regular folk alike is Runyon Canyon. It’s both dog-friendly and Instagram-friendly so you’ll want to take a photo or two. You might also want to try Bronson Canyon, home to Adam West’s Batcave!

Going Out to Eat

Springtime is before the oppressive heat of summer sets in, so it’s the perfect time to eat outside. LA is riddled with fabulous restaurants that have pet-friendly patios. Many of them will even provide a bowl of water for your canine buddy. We’re big fans of Sage Bistro in Culver City. It’s vegan too!

Picnics and BBQs

Another dining option when the weather is good is having a picnic or BBQ! Los Angeles has tons of pet-friendly parks that simply require you pick up after your animal and keep them on a leash. We love Lake Hollywood Park. It has picnic tables, grills and a dog park and is located smack underneath the Hollywood Sign!

Shopping

Not exactly the rugged type but still want to get a little sunshine? After all, even if you’re not outdoorsy, you still need to get a lil’ vitamin D. If this sounds like you, then you might want to hit up one of LA’s outdoor malls. Many of these are dog-friendly, including the Americana, Third Street Promenade and the Grove. If you’re looking for something totally unique, try the Melrose Trading Post. They even share snaps of visiting pups on their Instagram page!

Dog Parks

Spring is the perfect time to go to the dog park with your pooch! LA is home to a bunch of terrific dog parks too. We are a big fan of Alice’s Dog Park in Pasadena. It has two main areas — 2.5 acres for large pups and 1 acre for the little ones. The park is lush, grassy and fenced in so you can let your dog off leash.

What are your favorite outdoor activities in Los Angeles? Let us know on Facebook!

The Basics of Owning a New Dog

Congratulations on your new dog and for saving a life! We have provided you with all the information we have on your new pet. Unfortunately, we don’t always have a complete background on our animals. We pull our adoptable pets from shelters in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, so sometimes we know very little about their past, and the behavior they exhibit in a shelter is sometimes different than it is in a home setting.

Sharing your life with a dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience! There are a lot of things to consider before bringing home a new dog. Setting up boundaries is extremely important, such as deciding where your new dog will sleep, will they be allowed on the furniture, what is your plan for training and more. And proper pet care is essential. All dogs need fresh water, nutritious food, a warm and safe home and exercise.

Exercise

Dogs love to play and require enough exercise to burn calories, stimulate their minds and help satisfy their urge to run, chase, fetch, dig and chew. If they do not get enough exercise and stimulation, dogs will get bored, which tends to lead to destructive behaviors.

The amount of play your dog needs depends on age, breed, gender and personality. For example, a young Retriever will need more exercise than a senior Chihuahua.

Grooming

Frequent brushing can reduce shedding, prevent or remove mats and help keep your dog clean. Some breeds require professional grooming. If you are comfortable bathing your dog at home, use a mild dog shampoo and rinse thoroughly. Fleas and ticks are very common. You should be checking your dog frequently and maintaining preventative flea treatment.

Housing

We require that all of our pets are given a safe shelter. We want your new dog to be treated as part of the family! Providing them a safe and quiet place of their own will be important as they adjust to their new home. We recommend getting an appropriately sized crate or just a dog bed in a quiet room. In Los Angeles, it is illegal to tether a dog for more than 3 hours within a 24-hour period. We do not adopt out “guard dogs” or outside animals.

Licensing and Identification

The city of Los Angeles requires all dogs to be licensed and up to date on their rabies vaccination. To obtain your dog license, you will need a copy of your pet’s spay/neuter certificate and rabies vaccination certificate. You can apply for a license by looking up your city’s website and applying online.

All pets adopted out from Adopt & Shop have a microchip. Microchips are a small electronic chip about the size of a grain of rice which is implanted under their skin. Each microchip has a unique identification number. If your pet gets lost, shelters and vets can scan them and look up your contact information. It is very important that you keep your pet’s microchip registration up to date if you move or change your contact information.

We require all of our dogs to leave our care with an engraved identification tag. Two methods of identification are best in case one fails. It is important to have an ID tag on your pet with your phone number so that a finder can call you directly and quickly.

If you have any questions about your new dog’s health or behavior, do not hesitate to reach out! You can call us at 310-933-6863.

Diary of a Kitten Foster Parent

Here is a day in the life of Sydney, one of our kitten foster parents. She is currently fostering two kittens, Morty and Tank. This is what her average day is like!

Morning

  1. Food prep: First I make the kittens’ food for the day. My kittens each eat about half a can of wet food a day right now since they have both graduated from nursing and being bottle-fed. I mix their wet food with a couple tablespoons of water, a handful of chopped spinach and half a carrot. Everything is put into a blender and mixed until mostly liquified with some chunks.
  2. Weigh-in: The kittens are weighed every morning before they eat. This is to ensure they are maintaining a healthy weight. The goal is to get them to gain enough weight so they can be neutered. Then they’ll be ready for adoption.
  3. Feeding: I do the first feeding of the day. After cleaning food bowls, this is the first round of gruel.
  4. Cleanup: Most kittens are messy and will get food and fecal matter all over the place. Generally, the older they get, the cleaner they are. Sometimes this step includes a quick bath or cleaning with a warm wash rag for the really messy ones. You can also use disposable grooming wipes. Luckily my two kittens are fairly clean so this step isn’t too time-consuming.
  5. Playtime: All the time is playtime with kittens, but it’s a good idea to help them get out some of that kitten energy right away in the morning.

Afternoon

  1. Naptime: If kittens aren’t playing, eating or making a mess, they are sleeping. They nap all day long throughout the day.
  2. Playtime: Kittens have usually a 30-minute play fest amongst themselves. I watch adoringly.
  3. Feeding: I leave food out for them all day so they eat when they’re hungry.
  4. Cleanup: I clean up any poop or food that has been spread around.
  5. Naptime: See above.
  6. Playtime: See above.
  7. Feeding: See above.
  8. Cleanup: See above.

This cycle repeats several times each day.

Evening

  1. Weigh-in: First step in the evening is another weigh-in. After the last nap before about 7 p.m., I weigh them again to see the weight change throughout the day.
  2. Feeding: I feed them the second batch of gruel, which they eat throughout the night.
  3. Cleanup: I do a deep clean in the evening. I clean the litter box, change bedding (towels), disinfect the food area and floor and give baths or wipe-downs for messy kittens if needed.
  4. Playtime: I let the kitties exercise and get out some of their endless energy so maybe they’ll be quiet while I sleep.
  5. Snuggle time: if you’re lucky they might want to cuddle, but they’re cats sooooo…

This was my schedule back when the kittens needed to be bottle-fed:

  1. Feeding: Feedings take place every two hours, day and night. Bottles are filled with KMR (kitten milk replacer) mixed with warm water. You must reheat the mixture from the fridge for every feeding by heating the mixture in a pot of boiling water, then letting it cool to the correct lukewarm temperature for their little tummies.
  2. Bathroom: Bottle-fed baby kittens can’t use the bathroom on their own. Their mamas have to stimulate their bowels by licking them. So while you feed the baby with the bottle, you stroke their face and backs with a toothbrush to mimic being cleaned by their mama. Then you use a warm washcloth to gently message their groin area until they do their business. Then use a clean section of the rag to clean up any mess. Gross, I know.

Kittens are helpless and control your whole life. But it’s so much fun and so rewarding!