Miami Pet Spotlight: Simba, a Domestic Shorthair

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Miami Pet Spotlight: Simba, a Domestic Shorthair

Owner: Marylynne

Winning over Shy Cats

Working for a Miami pet sitting and dog walking company, you experience your fair share of animal personalities and entertainment. Cat sitting is becoming more and more popular and recently I was lucky enough to meet a rescue cat named Simba, a domestic shorthair with a gorgeous gray tabby pattern who has curious eyes, a hesitant demeanor, and an enormous need for affection. Simba’s mother warned me he may not come out from his hiding place under the bed for the first few visits.  Sure enough, he stayed hidden for four pet sits!  I would coo sweetly at him from the other side of the bed sheets hearing his small nervous meows, but no luck.  

Finally, on the fifth visit, when I almost lost all hope, he ventured out to quickly sniff my hand. He would meow, come close for a quick pet, then walk away, rubbing on the wall or rolling on the floor.  He was flirting with me! Totally playing hard to get. Our next few days together Simba allowed me to pet him without running away and even got playful.  Just as we were becoming good friends our time together was over!  So much for progress.  I was interested to see if he would recognize me the next time.

Sure enough, weeks later I walked in and he was in the hallway waiting for me.  He looked at me with uncertain wide eyes and after a moment of hesitation he seemed to remember me. Maybe it was my scent?  I’m not sure, but he came right to my feet asking for pets.  He was getting braver by the day venturing into the kitchen and dining room, where I had never seen him go before.  His big eyes had softened and you could see he was relaxed.  His demeanor went from timid and skittish to calm and trusting.  He now runs to the door when I arrive, following me around as I do kitty chores, begging for treats and attention, which I am happy to give him! We are long time pals now!

We Learn to Be More Human around Pets

With each day and every pet, I realize how similar behavior is between animal and human.  We have common tendencies, habits, and personalities.  Very rarely do you become best friends with someone over night.  Creating a bond with someone takes time and trust.  And who hasn’t played hard to get? People are needy for attention in some form.  Also, many people only explore new territories once comfortable with the old. Simba treated me the same way you would meeting a new person for the first time, a bit guarded, but gave me a chance.  Simba is a pet dear to my heart and he has taught me, as crazy as this sounds, to treat animals as you would treat humans,with kindness, patience, and an open mind. Most likely they will respond the same way!  

What is a Domestic Shorthair (DSH)?

A domestic shorthaired cat does not belong to any one breed.  It has a long history of mixed ancestry, in other terms, the DSH is the “mutt” of the cat species. They come in all beautiful shapes, sizes and colors.

Does a DSH own you?  Here are a few tips to keep your kitty fit, healthy, and happy:

  • Spay or Neuter Is a Must!  They will be less territorial, saving you the smell and need for new furniture.  
  • Yearly Check Ups! The DSH is not purebred, which has given the breed an immune defense against hereditary diseases other cats encounter.  More commonly you will see them suffer from diabetes; cystitis, or bladder inflammation; upper respiratory ailments and hyperthyroidism.
  • Adjust Their Diet! As your cat ages, nutrition needs change as well.  Give them an age-appropriate and proportionate diet.  

These simple precautions gives your furry friend the best chance for a long loving life!

Fun Facts about Your Cat:

  • The tabby color variation is the most common DSH
  • Colors of a DSH include black, tuxedo, silver tabby, ginger, ginger and white, calico, blue, blue and white and white
  • Lifespan ranges from 10 – 15 years
  • 95% of the domestic cat population in North America is the DSH

Interested in a Domestic Shorthair of your own?  Visit your local shelters, like the Humane Society of Greater Miami, for more information.  Are you in the Miami area and in need of a Miami Pet Sitter?  Please contact us at www.equipawspetservices.com.  

Author: Meghan Hunter, Equipaws Director of Client Relations and pet sitter in Brickell

Meet Our Pet Sitters: Stefanie Caro, of Raggid Art

Miami artist Stefanie Caro in front of her mural

Our pet sitters are supportive, loyal animal lovers who do a wonderful job caring for our clients. They are also very talented outside of the pet sitting profession! Stefanie Caro, one of our pet sitters in Brickell, is an artist who expresses herself in many mediums (check out her website, RaggidArt.com). We are so proud of her because she recently completed a gorgeous commissioned mural in Jupiter (pictured above). We have also commissioned pet portraits from her for friends and family. They were so spot-on that we wanted to share her beautiful illustrations and artwork with you, and delve into her process a bit. Read on if you’d like to get to know the process behind creating art in Miami, are curious about how to commission the perfect artistic gift, or if you’d just like to get to know her a little better!

Pet Sitter, Artist, All-Around Wonderful Human!

Stefanie is one of our most hardworking pet sitters in Brickell. It’s no coincidence that her solid work ethic permeates all layers of her life. Often times, people have the image of artists being free-spirited flakes; that’s not the case with Stefanie. “The thing about creative outlets is that they attract people who are very emotional. Some people wake up and change their minds and flake out and it’s justified on their end. But it’s not what gets you to progress. I will be there when I say I’m going to be there and work as hard as I can until I’m satisfied.”

Her latest commissioned work was a mural for DD’s Cupcake Shoppe in beautiful Jupiter. The mural took her five days to paint, working from eight in the morning to six in the evening, stopping only when the sun went down and it got too dark to see. She laughs, “The stupid perfectionist in me has to get it right. Ill get caught up in a cat’s whisker for 10 times as long as I should. I’m my own worst critic; the people I’m making things for wouldn’t be able to tell a difference between a day’s work and 5 days’ work but I’ll be able to tell the difference and that’s what bothers me. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night.” We love her work and think her persistence and perfectionism are evident in the finished product.

Becoming an Artist

Many people see such talent and wonder where artists got their start. Stefanie has been an artist as long as she has memories. “I don’t remember when I wasn’t drawing. I found this drawing I made in preschool. We were supposed to do self-portraits and I drew myself with a pencil in my hand, my hand has a thousand fingers and the pencil has this crazy curly lead that was drawing myself. It’s something involuntary to me at this point. It’s ingrained in me. It’s the most effective way that I can communicate. As I kid I was very quiet and shy and hated phones. I didn’t make a call till college. Art has always been a way for me to express myself. It’s not so much always about me. I want to say things about other things as well.”

The Meaning of Art

“I loved being a kid and growing up with stories. That needs to be continued; if not we are all lost. I get sad when I see kids with toy cell phones. What are we teaching kids? That’s not real, not life, doesn’t do anything for them. It doesn’t push them beyond boundaries- it’s not thinking, not creative, not playful.”

“Art is very important to me. It’s one of the first things as a species we used to communicate ideas to progress as society. It’s sad the way things go now that art is very commercialized and I don’t think that’s where it should be going, especially in Miami. Some people tell me to cater to what sells, then you won’t be broke all the time. I don’t want to. If I’m to create with a paycheck in mind, I might as well go dance on tables. At the end of the day they’ll both make me feel like shit.”

Stefanie’s Preferred Medium: I love ink. I love using fountain pens and quills and that mechanical stuff. I love that. Watercolor…I like it but I hate that I can’t control it like other paint, it’s a hate/ love relationship. Someone told me to try gouache and I’m working with it. Hard to find. But there’s a certain satisfaction to going to the store and trying things instead of shipping. Trying things out.”

Focus:  I have a graphic novel I’ve wanted to write for years. I want to focus on writing that and organizing it. I’m not the best writer; I’m trying to talk to a few of my friends who have experience with writing graphic novel steps to produce and market it. Right now I’m hiding away from the scene taking time off to do some research how to get this thing started.

The Artist’s Influences: I used to be a big Disney dork; growing up reading fairy tale books and illustrated children’s books I was always really interested in animation and wanted to be an animator for a long, long time or illustrate a story. So I think that artwork is a lot more interesting when there is something behind it instead of ‘I had an impulse and I picked up a paint brush.’ It’s cool but I can’t relate to that as much as something with a background…I’m influenced by nature, animals, the organic world, cells and bacteria and insects, and things that live inside other things. I love all that nonsense.”

Our local artists are a positive force in Miami’s development as a cultural center. Stefanie is an important, versatile member of this movement, mastering illustration, murals, digital work, and photography. We’ll show you her wonderful pet portraits and delve into her passions in our next blog post.

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Professional Pet Sitters Week

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Thanks to Our Wonderful Pet Sitters!

March 1, 2015 marks the beginning of Professional Pet Sitters Week, a week designated by Pet Sitters International as a time for appreciation for pet professionals. Pet sitters like us practice home service and become essential members of our clients’ families. We believe that at-home care is the best choice for Miami’s dogs and cats, and are thrilled to be a part of elevating the home services industry with our professionalism, dedication, reliability, and love of pets!

We have had a great year, with hiring four new employees and meeting many new clients, and we could not be more grateful. We began this company in 2011 with a small core of just Flavia and Frankie, and with many people in Miami unaware of what pet sitting even was.

We’ve come a long way! We now have ten employees, all trained under Flavia, all willing to go above and beyond for our clients. They have been available for last-minute pet sits when our clients take ill and need to go to the hospital. They have helped Flavia bake homemade dog treats into the late hours of the night, and they volunteer at events that Equipaws helps sponsor supporting local dog rescues.

Our clients love us because of the quality of our care, and that’s a team effort. It is our mission to be a part of Miami’s pet professional community for as long as we live, and hopefully beyond (no, not as the ghosts of pet sitters, but through our families!). Working with animals is more than a job; it’s a calling for many of us. So if you see one of our pet sitters on the street, walking a pup or just enjoying themselves off duty, please tell them you appreciate them!

And for those who don’t know what a professional pet sitter does, please take a look at our blog posts:

  1. Pet Sitting Services: What to Expect from Equipaws!
  2. What Is a Professional Pet Sitter Anyway?
  3. Our Pet Sitting Policy on Shared Responsibility, and Why We Enforce It
  4. Why Hire a Pet Sitter in Miami