We Have a Winner!

Although no one who played our trivia name game in April guessed correctly as to which name is most common among the pets of Northwest Pets DC, I really wanted to give away a t-shirt, so I put the names of all those who played into a hat and drew from that pool. And the winner is….. (drumroll):

Leslie Scott!

Leslie, along with the majority of folks who played, guessed that Chloe was the most common name.

In fact, the correct answer to the trivia question is Ziggy. I have three kitty clients who all go by this name. Interestingly, there is no duplication of names among the rest of my furry clientele at this point!

The Ziggys


And because so many people answered with her name, here she is – the one and only – Chloe:


The MuttMix Project

I stumbled across this interesting project via the FACE Foundation’s blog, and invite my readers to participate if they’re interested (or to at least just read about it, even if they don’t want to take the survey/quiz).

From the “About the MuttMix Project” page of the International Association of Animal Behavioral Consultants:

“The idea of breeds and pet dogs are intimately connected…”

“What does this mean for mixed breed dogs? Since these breed categories are so strongly ingrained in our notion of “dog,” naturally our brain tries to put any new dog we meet into one or more of these categories…”

“We take individual characteristics that match our notion of breeds and use those traits to build a box to mentally house our mutt. And, since we have notions about breeds and behavior, we now also have a mental box of behavior we expect from this dog, all based on appearance.”

“Are we actually any good at this? First of all, can we do a good job of judging the mix of breeds in a mutt by looking at them? Second, do our preconceived notions about behavior and physical traits hold true?

This experiment aims to answer the first question. Using genetic markers, and a panel of known pure-bred dogs, we can confidently determine the ancestral mix of breeds represented in an individual dog. All of the images you will be asked to judge in this experiment are of dogs that have been tested, so we know what mix of breeds they represent.

Now, we need your help in finding out how well people are able to guess these breed mixes based on appearance.”

Click here to take the survey



Trivia Time: A Name Game

According to Babycenter.com, the most popular baby names in the United States so far in 2018 are Emma and Liam.

Can you guess which pet name is most popular among Northwest Pets DC’s clientele?

Below is a list of names of all the pets I’ve had the privilege to care for since the inception of NWPDC in late summer 2017. One of these names belongs to three of my pet patrons. Guess correctly and be entered in a drawing to win a Northwest Pets DC t-shirt!

One guess per person.
Drawing will be held on May 1.
You can reply in several ways:  in the comment section of this blog; by emailing northwestpetsdc@gmail.com; in the comment section after any post mentioning this contest on Northwest Pet’s DC’s Facbook page; or via private message on the Facebook page.

And without further ado, here are the names from which to choose:

Aida Grace Oskar
Annie Gracie Otto
Antonio Growley Pal
Atlas Harley Pax
Belle Isabel Pepper
Billie Josie Peshak
Birala Juju Plata
Bitty Keo Poki
Boots Kira Poppy
Brooks Langston Potato
Buster Lilac Promise
Buttercup Linus Regals
Celementine Little Bit Ringo
Chloe Louisa Rocky
Claude Lucia Sandra
Claudia Lucky Skookumchuk
Ellie Lucy Snowshoe
Emmett Mango Tommy
Fergus Matty Tubman
Frankie Midnight Tupelo
Fryja Milo Violet
George Nigel Wallace
Gizmo Oliver Ziggy

Three’s Company

I wanted to hold off on announcing the newest member of the household until I knew for sure that there would be felicity among the felines, and I’m happy to say that after three weeks, it looks like things are going to work out.

Archimedes – also known as Archie and formerly known as both Piddles and Juneau – has made himself quite comfortable since being given run of the place after the initial introduction period, during which he was sequestered in the living room so that he and the incumbent kitty Alex could slowly get used to the idea of each other.

While I took care to do all the things the experts suggest when introducing a new kitty to the home, I think Alex’ good nature deserves a fair amount of credit for things going so well; Archie has a lot more energy than I anticipated, and Alex has been incredibly patient with this younger cat’s playful antics. He occasionally gives Archie a well-deserved smackdown when he’s had enough, and Archie respectfully backs off.

Because I think it would be a mistake to take this peace for granted, Archie sometimes gets to stay in “his room” – the living room – overnight, so that Alex can enjoy sleeping in the bed with me without fear of ambush. Luckily, Archie is chill enough that this doesn’t seem to bother him.

Anyway, I just wanted to use this introduction to Archie as a reminder of how important it is to take things nice and slow when introducing a new cat  to the home. I found the following material from Fancy Cats Rescue (the folks who took such great care of Archie while he waited for his forever home) to be useful, and recommend it to anyone who will be introducing a new kitty to a home that already has other pets.

Introducting Your New Cat

Alex lets Archie lounge on everyone’s favorite scratcher/lounger.
Archie wonders if there’s any chance he can attack that tail without fear of reprisal.


Archie says his goodbyes to the volunteers from Fancy Cats, who will miss him very much!


Cat Food Review

If you’re the kind of pet parent who occasionally angsts-out as to whether you’re providing the healthiest possible diet for your furry friend, you’re not alone. But it can be really tough to find the right food, with all the options available and all the differing opinions on what types and brands of food are best.

So I was pleased when someone from Reviews.com sent me the following article with their research into the best cat foods currently on the market. There’s a lot of information here, but I appreciate the methodical way they’ve broken it down and presented it (there are some great infographics in here) and would encourage anyone who is interested in the topic of feline nutrition to check it out, and to let me know what you think.

Update April 20, 2018: One of my clients purchased the #1 recommended wet food on the Reviews.com list, and her cats won’t eat it. I purchased the Merrick Before Grain dry, and my cats seem to like it so far. As kitty palates vary, if you do decide to try any of the foods on this list, I would recommend buying a small quantity first to see make sure your kitty likes it.

The Best Cat Food

New Billing Option

Puppy with "Well that sounds easy" bubble over head

I am happy to announce that Northwest Pets DC is now offering automatic billing for those clients who are interested.

Your credit card details can be securely stored in our payment system*, eliminating the need for you to manually log onto the website and submit your credit card information on our payment form.

Of course, those who would prefer to submit their payments manually are welcome to do so.

If interested, please contact me at northwestpetsdc@gmail.com so we can set up a time to discuss and to go over any questions you might have.

*I use Stripe for online payment processing due to its reputation as one of the more secure platforms available.

No Silver Bullet

If you’ve ever cared for a pet with chronic anxiety, you know how heartbreaking and frustrating it can be. You may have had someone, perhaps even your veterinarian, recommend pheromones to you as a good way to help alleviate the anxiety and improve the behavior associated with it.

There is debate within the animal behavioral community as to the efficacy of pheromones in treating anxiety and its resultant behaviors. Until more robust, non-industry funded studies have been completed, I remain agnostic as to their effectiveness.

In the meantime, I think we would do well to guard against recommending or using them as the sole or primary means of addressing anxiety issues. Chronic emotional and behavioral issues require a thoughtful, well-planned course of treatment, in which pheromones may play a role.

I really appreciated the following article by Dr. Mikel Maria Delgado, which focuses on the most widely used and recommended feline pheromone product, Feliway, and does a great job of breaking down the topic and summarizing the studies that have been conducted. The comments following the article are helpful, too.

Another study shows that Feliway doesn’t work: Trying to make sense of the pheromone mess

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!


Although not as cool as a Jackalope, or a Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitten, this hybrid creature (whom some are suggesting should be considered its own species) is an intelligent master of adaptation.

Also, my brother is pretty convinced he saw one of these on a neighborhood trail in Northern Virginia a few months ago.

Anyone in the DC area ever encounter one of these?

For those who don’t have time to watch the documentary, here’s a nice, concise article in Smithsonian Mag on the topic. Coywolves are Taking Over Eastern North America

Mobile, Merry & Bright

Feature photograph of Max Bailey’s “Zara” Persian kitten figurine by Ruffings.

The coming holidays will be my first as a pet sitter. Like many professional pet sitters, I will spend the next few weeks on the go from early in the morning until well into the evening. No festive dinner with family; no enjoying my neice and nehphew’s excitement  as they open their presents by the tree; no leisurely Christmas morning brunch filled with mimosas and laughter. I admit that I have experienced a few moments of sadness in anticipation of this fact.

But early this morning, as I drove to visit one of my kitty clients before the sun was fully up, I noticed the light displays in so many yards along the way. My car radio was tuned to a classical station that I’m pretty sure will be playing nothing but carols from now until the new year. There was a decorated tree waiting for me when I arrived at the client’s home. And it struck me that in my travels around town as a pet sitter, I will actually get to experience more varied festive holiday stimuli than I would otherwise.

Most importantly, I’ll get to spend time helping people’s pets feel a little less alone while their families are away, and hopefully help their families enjoy themselves a bit more, knowing their pets are in good hands.

When I look at it this way, I can’t think of a better way to spend the holidays.

Now, if we can just not let it snow…