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Consultations

lisa-noteHelping families keep their companions happy and healthy is a big part of what I do. I’ve learned tons about kitty physical, mental, and emotional well-being through my extensive experience with my own cats, professional cat sitting clients, foster cats (most of whom have had special needs), researching cat & dog health topics for customers at a premier healthy pet supply store, and providing the same service to a handful of pet industry stores and service providers.

I helped people solve cat- and dog-related problems free-of-charge for decades. (I still provide these services at no charge to my cat sitting clients.) Since starting my blog, I’ve routinely gotten questions from people I don’t know who discover my blog and ask me to help them solve cat-related problems and I’ve always assisted for free. When the 2020 pandemic brought my business (and income) to a screeching halt, there was a simultaneous influx of questions from around the world. I decided to begin charging for this work after a week in October when I made $0 & did no pet sitting, yet I spent 29 hours talking, emailing, & texting advice to people who reached out to me. That happened during a 4-week stretch when I had no income at all. That’s when I realized I was doing myself no favors by spending my time giving free advice at the same time when I was relying on unemployment income and food stamps.

“I tell the Trio that you are their Auntie. The Trio tells me that you are their guardian angel.” ~ The Trio’s mama (Donna Doerer)

For medical advice

Consulting with me is not a substitute for consultating with a veterinarian. When people mention things that could be symptoms of veterinary issues, I will recommend working with a cat’s doctor first. (I do not charge for referrals.) I come into the picture after your veterinarian rules out or resolves underlying health issues.

It can be challenging to find holistic veterinarians and veterinarians who are nutrition-literate. I know of several holistic vets who do phone and email consultations and I’m happy to spread their contact info far and wide. I also know a handful of excellent holistic veterinarians and vet health practitioners in the Olympia, Washington area of the United States.


How can I help?

Ask me about any cat-related issue you want help with. I’m honest & upfront if I don’t think I can help. I don’t charge anything if I can answer in just a few minutues or if I refer you to a medical professional or someone else.

Below are examples of problems I can help with.

  • jane-thank-you-note-consultVomiting undigested food – “My cat throws up food right after he eats. I thought it was because he eats too fast and I tried to slow him down but he still does it. What can I do.” = This is one of the most common problems I help people fix. I have 2 simple, easy tips that are an immediate solution most of the time, and I know quite a few more tips I haven’t written about yet. (First you’d talk with your vet, of course.)
  • Integrating new cats and dogs into the family – “We just adopted a new cat and my older cat is reall pissed of. Is there anything I can do to make this a more peaceful transition?” = I hear this sort of question at least a dozen times each year. I know a bunch of solutions for you to try. After chatting with you for a little bit, we can figure out what options are most likely to help your family.
  • Feeding multiple diets in multi-cat households – “All 3 of my 3 cats have to eat different prescription diets. How do I make sure everyone is eating their own food and not eating what they’re not supposed to eat?” “My fattest cat has to have a restricted diet and my thin cat needs to eat as much as she can. What do I do?” = This is another situation I’ve lived with myself. At one time I had 5 cats on 3 different diets. There are some awesome products that can help, and there are also some logistical details you can manage without spending money on special expensive electronic dishes.
  • Ideal food/diet – “What is the best cat food?” = Asking a nutrition-literate veterinarian is the best way to get an answer to this question. If you can’t afford to work with a vet on this, I might be able to help. Most veterinarians, veterinary nutritionists, and other scientists agree that there is no such thing as one perfect food for everyone. What works best for one individual, might not be good at all for another. Finding the optimal diet for any individual animal depends on that individual’s nutritional needs. This means starting with a clear understanding of that animal’s veterinary history.
  • Hairballs – “Our cat throws up a lot more hairballs than the average cat. Is there anything we can do to reduce those?” = There are about a dozen things we can do to reduce hairballs. By asking you a few questions, I can tell you which tips are most likely to help in your specific situation. (First you’d have a vet rule out or address underlying medical issues, of course.)
  • Overgrooming – “My kitty is licking all the fur off his tummy. What’s going on?” = After checking with a vet who can diagnose or rule out pain or allergies causing overgrooming, talk with me to hear how some of my clients have addressed this when it’s a purely behavioral issue.
  • Peeing outside the box – “Why is my cat peeing just outside her litter box? Is it because her bottom hangs over the edge of the box and urine gets out? Is there a medical problem?“= After suggesting that you get your cat to the doctor ASAP (ER clinic, please) , we can talk about litter box setups that can cause cats to pee outside their boxes. Taking a quick peek at your set-up usually reveals an obvious fix. Often it’s a simple matter of moving litter boxes to a different location, using a different style of box, or changing the orientation of the box. I’ve written about a few solutions, and there are quite a few more that I haven’t written about yet.
  • Matted fur – “What can I do when my cats get fur mats? They both get mats a lot and they don’t let me cut off the mats and I can’t afford to keep taking them to to groomer.” = Oh boy, am I familiar with this issue! I’ve lived with and taken care of many cats who develop awful mats of hair. I know several tips to preventing mats from forming and calmly (gently) removing mats that have built up.
  • Giving medications to cats who are very resistent to the process – “Our cat is supposed to get pills twice a day and he’s violently opposed to letting us do this. The doctor called him fractious. Are there any tips you can give us?= I provide in-person tutorials when possible. I can also provide tips and support through video calls, phone, or email.
  • Giving shots, sub-q fluids, and test glucose levels - “Our cat was just diagnosed with diabetes. I can’t figure out how to prick his ear to get a good blood glucose reading. And I’m nervous about giving him an insulin shot for the first time.” “My cat needs to get subcutaneous fluids at home. I’ve never done that before and I don’t know where to start.” = I’ve been teaching, coaching, and cheerleading people as they learn how to do these things for many years. I’ve blogged about a few of my biggest tips for learning to give subcutaneous fluids. There are a few tips for practicing on inanimate objects that seem to work wonders in building people’s confidence.
  • nancy-thank-you-note-consultTraining cats to use inhalers – “My kitty was diganosed with asthma and my doctor told me to get her an inhaler. How on earth will I get her to use that thing?!” = In addition to pointing people to this helpful video from Aerokat, I’m happy to help people learn how to train their cats to use inhalers.
  • Trapping stray/feral cats – “We’ve been feeding some shy, stray cats and now we want to get them fixed. How do we trap them when they’re so shy? They refuse to use the humane/live trap!” = I’ve learned quite a few things the hard way through decades of doing this myself. There are some basic tips that work every single time.
  • Behavioral issues like scratching furniture, cats grieving the loss of a family member, aggression toward other family members, etc = I can’t even count how many questions I get each month about behavior that starts all of a sudden and for an unknown reason. After a brief conversation with you, I can usually help or can tell you about possible underlying medical issues that you’ll want to talk with your veterinarian about.
“You were amazing! The personal attention to the cats was great… You asked about things we had not thought of. You were great, Kari!” ~ KB & MB
  • Litter tracking – “My cat tosses lots of litter outside her litter box. Is there anything I can do to keep the litter area less messy? Different mats outside the box don’t help. Is there a litter box that will keep litter inside the box?” = This is a concern that almost every household struggles with. By visiting hundreds of homes and seeing hundreds of attempts at solving this problem, I’ve found a couple details that usually do the trick.
  • Collecting stool or urine samples in multicat households – “I need to get a stool sample from 1 of my 5 cats. How do I know which poop is from which cat?” = I’ve tried lots of ways of doing this with my own cats and have heard many stories from my clients. In addition to the tips I’ve already blogged about, I can describe additional techniques and would tailor my suggestions to your particular needs. Buying an inexpensive motion sensing (security) camera would be really helpful if you can afford it. (I wouldn’t charge someone to simply tell them which inexpensive camera works the best.)
  • Preparing cats for an upcoming stressful event like moving to a new home, traveling, hearing fireworks, hosting loud parties, or taking a trip to the vet = There are many ways to reduce anxiety and help keep cats calm when you know something stressful will happen soon. Some veterinarians will prescribe medications, holistic vets will recommend supplements and naturopathic solutions, I can suggest a variety of environmental changes, calming products, and nutritional supplements that can make a huge difference.
  • An indoor-only cat suddenly gets outside and is LOST = Call me immediately and I’ll be there with you ever step of the way! It’s best to know right away the most likely places where he’ll be and the best ways to lure him to you! Also, you want to avoid doing things that will make him run farther away from you.
  • Making life more comfortable for arthritic cats = “My cat has arthritis. I give him supplements to help but is there more I can do to keep him comfortable? What are some signs that he’s feeling worse and is starting to have breakthrough pain?” = Nutrition-literate veterinarians would advise you on supplements and holistic treatments to keep your darling from feeling achy. I have found many additional tips through helping my own cats and my clients’ cats be more comfy. This is another topic for which having me visit is ideal because I can usually walk in and immediately see a few details that people will want to adapt for an arthritic cat.
  • kelsey-thank-you-note-consultCats who don’t drink enough - “Our cat was diagnosed with early stage renal failure and the doctor said we should get her to drink more water. But she never drinks from her water bowl. What can I do to get her actually drink?“= I have tons of advice about increasing moisture in your cat’s diet and keeping them hydrated. What’s most successful for one cat might be less successful for another, so I’d customize my suggestions to your individual cats.
  • How do I know when it’s time to schedule euthanasia – “How do you know when ‘it’s time’?” = I wish everybody had veterinarians who knew them and their families as well as mine knows me. I wish every city had doctors as willing to help people gauge the situation as we have in Olympia with Peaceful Transitions Services. I’m honored to help people who don’t have those resources or who simply want input from someone who has fostered and adopted many terminally ill cats. End-of-life issues vary a lot and I can help you through this difficult time. I never pressure people into doing what I would do or what I think they should do. Rather, I act more like a counselor who helps people make a difficult decision that aligns with their own beliefs, their cat’s personality, and the situation at hand. I can help families process difficult decisions, assess quality of life, weigh treatment options, accompany you to exams and treatments, brainstorm how to clarify and express your concerns with your vet, etc. I can be present before, during, and after euthanasia if you want that support and/or think your little one would like that. I’ll do whatever I can to help cats have an ending that is peaceful, gentle, and loving.
  • Creating shelters & setting up feeding stations for outdoor/feral cats – “I’ve been feeding some feral cats and racoons are eating their food. How can I prevent the racoons and other critters from eating the food I put out for the cats?” = I’ve blogged about some of my tips and I have enough solutions that I could teach a whole course on it. Ideally I’d visit your house to help you find the perfect spot, but a virtual tour can work very well.
  • Estate planning with pets in mind – “I want to make sure my cats are taken care of when I die. Do I set up guardians for them in my will? Should I set up a trust or something?” = Of course it’s best to work with an attorney on this and good attorneys will never make you feel embarassed about wanting to include your animals in your estate planning. If you live in Olympia or Seattle Washington, I can recommend a few lawyers who are extremely helpful in this regard. However, I realize many people DIY their estate planning. I can help you prepare for having this conversation with a lawyer or I can talk with you about some of the details you want to be sure to include if you DIY your will. I can help you avoid some of the things I’ve seen go wrong when people’s wills were incomplete or when certain pet-related details weren’t written into their wills.
  • Detering and preventing ants from getting into food dishes = I’ve already shared most of my solutions for this problem. But this is an example of just how many pet-related problems I can help with.

Whatever you need, just ask! I’m interested in helping, so contact me if you have other ideas about how I could help you help your furry little family member.

“Auntie Kari, the Cat Whisperer, spends time observing the cats… Out of a bazillion people, for some unknown reason, Kari has once-in-a-lifetime skills with animals. She is unique, in the world. Simply put, Kari is the BEST.” ~Tinny’s best buddy (John)

Fees and Scheduling

I accept many forms of payment: credit cards, checks, money orders, or cash.

I have a sliding scale of $30 – $50 per hour. You decide what amount in that range that fits your budget.

I still provide these services at no charge to my cat sitting clients. Some clients send “thank-you” donations or add tips when I care for their cats, which is greatly appreciated but not required.

I do not charge for referrals or for helping with topics that only take me a few minutes to help with. And I’m honest & upfront if I don’t think I can help.

There is a minimum 1 hour charge ($30-$50), paid in advance. If I only spend 15 min helping with your first question, I’ll still owe you 45 min of consulting about any topic, at any point in the future. I leave IOUs on the books – they never expire.

I’ll tell you in advance when we’re getting close to the one hour mark so you can tell me to wrap it up if you don’t want me to continue helping with the issue at-hand.

If our work is ongoing, I’ll send invoices periodically. I do this because I usually talk with people intermittently for 20-30 minutes at a time. Invoicing in intervals ensures that somebody doesn’t get an unexpectedly large invoice after a month or so of us working together. Also, it would be annoying to get a lot of small invoices from me.

Contact me if you have questions, want to schedule time to work together, or to get a list of references from families who’ve consulted with me.


More testimonials

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