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      How Does a Cat Cafe Work? - Cat Therapy

      How Does a Cat Cafe Work? - Cat Therapy

      Do you ever wonder what happens behind the scenes here at Cat Therapy? Here's some fun info about how our Cat Cafe works! 

      How does Cat Therapy help at-risk cats?

      It is estimated that approximately 860,000 cats that enter shelters are euthanized every year. Here at Cat Therapy, all of our cats are rescues who were at risk of euthanasia in high kill shelters and facing homelessness on the streets. By fostering these cats in our space, we are able to make more room in their facilities to use for cats that need immediate rescue, therefore saving more lives. By housing these cats in a comfortable, safe and nourishing environment, we drastically improve their quality of life and give them a temporary home while they wait to find their forever family. Without the stress of living in a cage like most shelter cats, the kitties are able to show their true personalities to potential adopters! Because our kitties live in a space where they are comfortable and socialized, adopters are able to connect with kitties in the same way that they would at home! To learn more about how Cat Therapy saves lives and increased adoptions, click here to read more about our mission! 


      How do you decide who comes to Cat Therapy? 

      We are in touch with our rescue partner Stray Cat Alliance every day. When they have cats that are ready for adoption and do not need to be at the vet office or specialized care foster homes, they're scheduled to come to us. This allows for our rescue partner to have those much needed resources ready for new, time sensitive rescues, like baby kittens or sick cats. They decide who comes to us in order to ensure we are helping them as much as possible. Sometimes we make requests to ensure we have a variety of ages and purrsonalities! But for the most part, kitties are assigned to us. 


      How do you make sure your cats are ready for a space like Cat Therapy? 

      As you may already know, we work with a wonderful rescue organization based in Los Angeles called Stray Cat Alliance. Whenever new cats arrive, they are examined by team members and our vet to make sure they are healthy and ready for the Cat Cafe life. They then stay in a kennel or a playpen for about a week to allow them to get comfortable with the space and the other kitties. A new environment can be overwhelming for kitties at first, so we always make sure they are comfortable before letting them roam around with the other kitties! Keeping them isolated for a period also allows time to monitor them for any symptoms of illness that they may have developed before coming to us. Then they get to come out, hang out with the other kitties, and enjoy pets and socialization from our visitors! This is one of the big reasons why all of our cats here get along so well! They are given time to become comfortable with the new environment and become friends with all the kitties! Our space also has a lot of hiding spots so cats can retreat and relax if they feel unsure about things during the first few weeks. 

      How do you keep the cats so healthy?

      All of our staff members are trained to recognize different health concerns in cats. Our cats are regularly examined to make sure they are happy and healthy. Because of this, symptoms of illness are caught very early, and the kitty is isolated to be treated and to prevent anything spreading to the other kitties. The kitties also get a weekly visit from a veterinarian to make sure their health is in tip top shape!

      What do team members do on a regular day that we don’t see?

      Every day before opening, a team member comes in early to feed the kitties, clean, and make sure the space is ready for visitors. Regular cleaning is extremely important to maintain the health of our kitties, and to make sure every visitor enjoys their time without any stinky smells! We do this morning cleaning for about 3 hours!! Throughout the day, our team continues to clean and scoop litter boxes to keep the space clean all day long. Once visiting hours are done for the day, a team member does another thorough cleaning of the space, feeds the kitties, and makes sure they have everything they need for the night! 

      Why are you closed on Tuesday?

      This day is super important for our cats. The morning starts with our usual cleaning and feeding, and then the kitties get a special treat: A visit from the vet! Every tuesday, we have a wonderful veterinarian from the Cat and Bird Clinic come over to give each of our kitties a checkup and make sure they are still in the best health. Later in the day we have a deep cleaning! Along with our twice daily cleanings, every week we have an extra deep clean to make sure the place is extra sanitary, and to help prevent health issues in our kitties. The cats also get a photoshoot on Tuesdays, that way we can promote them on social media with beautiful, professional photos! 


      Who designed the space?

      A Cat Cafe needs to be an environment that is appealing to the human eye, easy to sanitize and also provide what cats need to be comfortable. We designed our space ourselves, with the help of cat behaviorists. It provides cats with everything they need to thrive, from wall shelves to climb up on and observe the world, to lots of windows, hiding spots and a back room to retreat to if a break is needed. There's also access to litter boxes from all angles. Our gate separating the main area to the entrance is not completely cat proof but it does discourage them from spending time near the main door. 

      We hope you enjoy the space we made! Our cats sure do! 

      How can we schedule a visit?

      We are now open for safe visits! You can also book the space for a private visit. Walk ins are allowed but reservations are recommended to ensure we have a spot for you and the space ready to go! Appointments can be made on our booking page. Our space is cleaned and sanitized thoroughly every morning and between visits, so you can be assured that you are entering a clean and safe space with our kitties.

      CATNIP: What is it? What are the benefits?

      CATNIP: What is it? What are the benefits?

      We’ve all seen videos of cats going bonkers over a little plant called catnip. Rolling around, rubbing up against toys, and sprinting around the room may have been behaviors you have witnessed from kitties who have just come in contact with it. But what exactly is catnip and why does it cause cats to behave this way? Does it affect cats differently? What are the different ways that catnip can be used? 

      What is catnip?The catnip plant is a member of the mint family, and is native to Europe and Asia. It contains the volatile oil (an oil that evaporates in the air) nepetalactone, which is found in the plants leaves, stems, and seeds. 

      How does it affect cats? Cats can experience the effects of catnip in two different ways; inhalation and ingestion. When a cat smells catnip, inhaling the evaporated nepetalactone, it acts as a stimulant. Your kitty may seem extra alert and playful, running, rolling around, vocalizing, salivating, or being generally hyperactive.  When catnip is eaten, it acts as a mild sedative and has a calming effect on kitties. These effects only last between 5-30 minutes, and after that your kitty will be immune to catnip for approximately 2 hours immediately after it is used. Cats may also grow immune if it is given to them too frequently. 

      Cool fact: Not all cats are able to experience the effects of catnip. Results of studies have varied, but it is estimated that between 50-75 percent of cats are affected by the active ingredient in catnip. This is believed to be an inherited trait. If you have a kitten though, you won’t know if they are affected by catnip right away. Young kitties aren’t able to feel the effects of catnip until they are about 6 months old.

      Types of catnip products:

      • Dried loose leaves: This can be sprinkled on scratching posts, toys etc.
      • Sprays: These typically consist of catnip oil diluted with water. This can be sprayed on beds, toys, scratching posts, or litter boxes to make them more enticing for your kitty. They’re great because they’re not messy and it’s easier to use to refresh toys, scratching posts, etc. You can buy a great quality catnip spray at our store on 1213 State St Suite L, Santa Barbara CA! 
      • Dental chews: These keep your kitty’s teeth and gums clean and healthy and some contain catnip powder! 
      • Scratch pads and toys: Some come with catnip already in it! 
      • Live grasses: You can grow your own catnip! Just pick off fresh leaves, remove the stems, and dry them upside down!
      • Treats: There are lots of kitty snacks that contain catnip powder, or are catnip flavored!
      • Teas: Humans can enjoy the benefits of catnip as well! Catnip teas are actually very common. Similar to chamomile, it is said to have a calming effect and can improve symptoms of colds and other minor illnesses.

      Now that we know why cats like catnip and how you can get it, you can use it in your favor! What can catnip be used for?

      Training: Cats respond better to training through positive reinforcement. If there’s something they’re not supposed to be doing, you should offer them a “yes” instead. Using catnip is a great way to encourage that “yes”. For example, spraying a little catnip on their scratching post might help keep their claws off the furniture. Is your cat not interested in the new toy or bed you brought home for them? Sprinkle or spray it with catnip! Do they avoid the carrier at all costs when it’s time for a vet visit? Try a catnip spray like ours, which is also infused with CBD for an extra comforting and calming effect. 

      Exercise: If you have a sedentary kitty, you can use catnip to help them get exercise! Just a little spray or sprinkle on their favorite toy might be enough to jumpstart some playtime!

      Calming: If your cat experiences anxiety, catnip can be a great way to help relieve stress. Maybe you just brought home a new pet, or you are introducing them to a new environment. Changes like these are likely to cause some amount of stress for your kitty. Using a catnip spray, ideally infused with CBD like our Holistapet spray, can help relieve some of this stress. You can purchase it at our space, located at 1213 State St Suite L, Santa Barbara CA! 

      As a treat: Who says catnip can’t just be used for fun too?

      Choosing the best catnip:

      When choosing dried catnip, it is best to look for all natural and organic products. This way you can make sure that it is free of insecticides, pesticides, or any other chemical that could be harmful to your kitty. Reading the ingredients will make sure that you are purchasing 100 percent pure catnip.

      To much of a good thing...

      While catnip is completely safe, and your kitty can’t accidentally “overdose,” eating too much at once can cause your kitty to get an upset stomach. That is why sprays provide a better way to regulate dosage. If you are introducing catnip to your kitty for the first time, we recommend starting off with just a little to see how they react, especially if they have aggressive tendencies. If you are a multi-cat household, try introducing it to one cat at a time to see how they each react before giving it to them all at once. 

      Ready to try some of these tips and tricks? Stop by our store in Downtown Santa Barbara and get yours! This spray is infused with CBD oil, providing a fun yet calming sensation for your cat. You can learn more about the benefits of CBD for cats in our blog post about it here!

      CBD Hemp Oil for Cats 101

      CBD Hemp Oil for Cats 101

      Nope, CBD won’t get your kitty high! In fact, many pet owners and holistic veterinarians recommend it for it's health benefits. Read more about it below! 

      What is CBD?

      Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 60 compounds known as cannabinoids found within cannabis plants. There are many strains of cannabis, but marijuana and hemp are the two most commonly utilized by humans. Hemp, unlike marihuana, does not produce a “high” and is most commonly used for industrial and therapeutic purposes. CBD hemp oil is derived from this safer, more medicinal strain. 

      The cat products we offer at our store in Downtown Santa Barbara are from the #1 CBD for pets brand Holistapet and they have 0% THC, which means they are non psychoactive (no “high”). 

      Hemp has been used to sooth a variety of ailments for nearly 1,000 years. Despite being used mostly for humans in the past, new research is showing that the health benefits extend to pets too. Nowadays, holistic veterinarians and pet parents are singing the praises of CBD hemp oil as a natural and effective treatment for a growing list of issues in cats.

      How does it work? 

      All mammals and many other animal species have an endocannabinoid system which is an interconnected chain of receptors found in the brain, nervous system, glands, and organs. This system controls health and healing by acting as a command center and maintaining balance within the body.

      CBD oil produces therapeutic affects in the body by stimulating the endocannabinoid system to promote overall healing and wellness. It helps naturally regulate the system to maintain ideal balance and influence many internal processes related to pain, mood, sleep, and immune function.

      Studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD as well as its ability to reduce anxiety and pain, lessen seizure activity, and improve overall well being. In addition to its many medicinal benefits, CBD is also quite safe for cats as long as it contains little to no THC, like the products we offer here. It may even help improve your cat’s mood, skin, coat, and energy levels.

      What should you use CBD Hemp oil for in cats? Some of the most common uses are: 

      CDB Hemp Oil for Anxiety in Cats:

       Some cats suffer from chronic anxiety while others experience it only situationally. Like a visit to the vet, a new cat entering the environment, or moving to a new home. Stress isn’t only harmful to your cat, but it can also cause unwanted behaviors like urinating or defecating outside the litterbox, aggression, or destructive scratching. Even worse, some cats become physically ill as a result of their stress, refusing to eat or experiencing vomiting or diarrhea. For these kitties, CBD may help supplement the endocannabinoid system by altering serotonin signals. Seratonin is a hormone that helps regulate mood. CBD is thought to affect how the brain reacts to seratonin, much like many prescription antidepressants.

      CBD Hemp Oil for Pain in Cats:

      CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and it’s safe for cats. Rather than using steroids or harmful medications, this natural oil can relieve pain associated with joint pain, nerve conditions, injuries and illnesses. That is why many vets are recommending it. 

      CDB Hemp Oil for Gastrointestinal Issues in Cats:

      Many cats suffer from gastrointestinal problems such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and pancreatitis. Since it is a natural anti-inflammatory, many holistic vets recommend CBD hemp oil for their feline IBD patients. By reducing irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract, CBD may reduce IBD symptoms such as pain, discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, poor appetite and weight loss.

      CDB Hemp Oil for Chronic Upper Respiratory Infections: 

      Many cats suffer from life-long viral infections causing symptoms like chronic congestion, sneezing, and itchy, runny eyes. Veterinarians and pet parents have discovered that feline patients taking CBD hemp oil for other ailments have had the “side effect” of reduced URI symptoms.

      CBD Hemp Oil For Appetite Stimulation: 

      Cats are usually finicky eaters. You can imagine that when they are stressed, battling an illness or undergoing certain treatments, getting them to eat can be challenging. Cannabis stimulates the appetite and suppresses nausea. 

      Now that you know more about the health benefits of CBD in cats, go ahead and check out Cat Therapy's favorite CBD products at our location in Santa Barbara, located at 1213 State St. Suite L.