International Cat Care Conference

International Cat Care Conference

As a professional cat sitter and behaviourist, it is so important to make sure to stay up-to-date with the latest cat science.

Last month, I went to the International Cat Care Conference (aka Cat Weekend) in Birmingham. I do this every year so to make sure to keep up my cat knowledge by learning from experts of the cat world.

I arrived a little bit early as I liked to do just so that I am not stressed. (I don’t like stress. I can handle stress, but I don’t like it if I can avoid it. I am like a cat!)

Since I had a little time, so I browsed around some shops that we don’t have in Ireland…

And found these…

These were so cute and very good price as well!

As time was running out, I headed over to the Conference Centre. This is a new venue so the entrance wasn’t very clear. As I was wondering if I was in the right place, I spotted this guy!

So yes, I guess I was in the right place! Well done, International Cat Care! Such a nice touch!

Signing in at the event, there are so many lovely cat theme souvenirs to purchase. All proceeds will go to the great cause of International Cat Care in promoting the welfare of cats around the world.

Then got myself some breakfast…

And I settled down for a day of learning ahead of me…

Some of the lectures of the day includes my favourite cat behaviourist Vicky Halls talking about negative consequences of keeping cat indoors and how to deal with that.

The day was packed full of incredible talks. Check out the full programme here:

Day 1 – Saturday 16th September

iCatCare Feline Day 

09.00 Registration opens
10.00 From hospital to home – managing and supporting a cat with arthritis
Linda Ryan, Inspiring Pet Teaching
10.45 ‘Desperate housecats’ – the less obvious consequences of keeping cats indoors
Vicky Halls, VN, author and cat behaviour counsellor
11.30 Coffee break
12.00 The ultimate challenge – a stress-free vet visit
Sarah Endersby, iCatCare Veterinary Development Manager
12.30 Cats, wildlife and conservationists
Celia Haddon, author and cat behaviour counsellor
13.00 Lunch break
14.00 Ethical dilemmas – ‘natural mutation’ or a breed too far?
Sarah Endersby, iCatCare Veterinary Development Manager
14.45 From hospital to home – care for the cat with kidney disease
Linda Ryan, Inspiring Pet Teaching
15.15 Tea break
15.30 Raffle draw
15.45 Ethical dilemmas – what is right, what is wrong and how do you know?
Karen Hiestand, Teaching Fellow, University of Surrey
16.30 The super fosterer – how fostering cats can benefit their wellbeing
Vicky Halls, VN, author and cat behaviour counsellor
17.00 End

There was a raffle. I, unfortunately, didn’t win anything this year…

I had an amazing if a bit tiring first day of conference. There were so much information and new knowledge that I felt my brain was exploding.

Another interesting trivia, the conference centre was very close to the China Town, here I spotted the iconic pagoda…

As I was walking towards my AirBnb, I came across this little guy to round up my Cat Weekend nicely…haha

And the AirBnb also has a cat! Here he is coming to say hi to me…

Day 2 of the conference was quite unusual. It was a cooperation between International Cat Care and the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, it wasn’t the traditional sit-down-and-listen kind of day. Instead, all of us worked on a behavioural case together. The case was very interesting in a sense that it was so realistic! I bet most of us at the audience have dealt with similar case like this!

Here is the trailer of the case we worked on…be careful, grab your tissue.

The case: An owner has two cats, a Korat, aged 13 years, obtained many years ago from a breeder, and a six month old domestic shorthair kitten acquired from a friend of a friend  whose moggy was not neutered in time and was mated by a local stray tom. The owner contacts the vet because the young cat appears to be urinating and defecating outside the litter tray. The vet suggests the in-house nurse takes the case as she has an interest in behaviour and has been to some weekend seminars on the subject. And so the case unfolds to also include a homing centre.

It was such a pleasure to work with the amazing Vicky Halls on a case together…

Again, my head was exploding. The story was so sad that lots of us were tearing up. The good news – we all know it was fictional. The bad news is – stories like this happen all the time at our work.

On Day 2, we have another raffle! YEAH!

I had an amazing weekend and was quite pleased with myself. As I was heading to the airport, that’s why things started to go wrong…My return flight was delayed for 2 hour and 50 minutes! (They didn’t want it to delay for 3 hours or they needed to compensate us according to EU regulations…)

I camped out in the business lounge for 3 hours. I tried to make myself comfortable, got food and drinks, charge my phone and read a book…

I eventually made it home after midnight. And later on, I learnt that I was lucky because the next day, the infamous Ryanair mess started

All in all, it was an incredible weekend as every other year. If you are interested to join us next year, make sure to sign up the iCatCare Newsletter and get notification for future events.

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In the meantime, you might want to read the amazing Vicky Halls’ collection of cat books…

If you are at the International Cat Care Conference next year, please come and say hi! I would love to meet you!

Cat arts in British Museum

Cat arts in British Museum

On my last post, I shared with you guys my recent visit to London to check out the annual exhibition by the Society of Feline Artists.

I haven’t been to London for over a decade and haven’t been sightseeing in London for nearly two decades! (Now you know my age…)

I don’t personally like London very much (I am sorry to those who do like London, but I have so much bad experience, I really don’t like London). But I thought, ‘maybe I will give it another shot, it’s been a long time, maybe things have changed.’ Well, it has changed a bit but still London is not a place I would intentionally go to unless it’s for an event. I still don’t like it very much…

Anyway, since I was already there for the exhibition, I did give it another shot to do some sightseeing. Last time I did this I was 18 and I had no money. This time I am much older and have some money. Still not much! London is mad expensive as you all know! But I have at least a few quid to buy myself a drink that I didn’t have last time!

Plus, I know there are some cat arts in British Museum that I wanted to check out!

So after the exhibition, I walked from Waterloo to the compulsory sightseeing spot the Big Ben…

Then another compulsory sightseeing Buckingham Palace…The Queen was in that day, the flag was up.

Then I headed down to Piccadilly and discovered this delightful authentic Japanese confectioneries – Minamoto Kitchoan London.

I got one beautiful assortment for the Cat Man and Cat Boy as gift.

Check that out if you are ever in London, the treats are most delicious!

Minamoto Kitchoan London
Address: 44 Piccadilly London, W1J 0DS
Phone: +44 (0)20 7437 3135
Website: https://www.kitchoan.co.uk

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Then my plan was to head over to Chinatown. I have always wanted to visit the famous Chinatown of London but every time I am in London I never managed to find time to visit, so I was determined to make time this trip.

Along the way there, I noticed there is the show Cat on the Hot Tin Roof is on…haha!

Once I spotted the famous Chinatown Paifang, I knew I arrived.

The famous bilingual street signs…

It felt so great to be around my own people. In case you didn’t know, the Chinatown of London traditionally populated by mainly people from Hong Kong. I nearly felt like I was home hearing Cantonese language around me and the smell of authentic Hong Kong food in the air.

In case you didn’t know, the legendary Wong Kei Restaurant! I have meant to visit this place for two decades but yet never managed to do so. Finally I made it!

Wong Kei is famous for being probably one of the rudest Chinese restaurants in the world but provide good and cheap food. I got a bowl of lovely wanton noodle for £5.30, which as you know it’s very cheap for London. It tastes just like home. The men working in the kitchen also swear like mad, just like home in Hong Kong too! Oh, how I miss the ambience! So are they rude? YES.

If you want to try the Wong Kei experience next time you are in London, here is some information:

Wong Kei Restaurant
Address: 41-43 Wardour Street London, W1D 6PY
Phone: 020 7437 8408
Website: http://wongkeilondon.com
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 11:30a.m.–11:30p.m.

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Finally, British Museum…

Of course, the compulsory visit to the Cat Mummies…

And then the lesser known cat related exhibit in British Museum – Nebamun hunting in the marshes, Nebamun’s tomb-chapel. The exhibit is currently in Room 61 of British Museum.

If you look closer, you can see a cat helping the human with bird hunting.

As a Chinese person, I had to visit the Chinese ceramic collection. It is the biggest ceramic collection in the world outside of China.

Unfortunately, part of the Chinese exhibition is on renovation right now so I couldn’t see the second part of this…

All in all I had a great trip in London, full of interesting cat related stuff! But I probably won’t go back for a while, I still don’t like it very much and the whole time I feel very nervous about terrorism. And then two days after my visit, there was a bomb!

 

Do you look out for cat stuff when you go on holiday or is it just a mad thing I do? Share in the comment below! 

Cat sitter on holiday – France!

Cat sitter on holiday – France!

Today, I am doing a bit of a different post. For once, it’s not about cat sitting! It’s about me on holiday!

Colleagues in the pet sitting industry around the world know how difficult it is to get holiday when you are a pet sitters. It is one of the major difficulties in this profession. I spoke about this multiple times on this blog, like on here and here.

Due to the nature of this business, I work in the evenings and weekends. I constantly feel very guilty towards my husband and my son that we don’t have a lot of ‘normal’ family time. Even though I know they understand (for one, my husband is also a Certified Professional Pet Sitter) but still I feel I need to make an effort to get away at least once a year so to spend time with my husband and my son.

Since having my son, these occasions are not for tourism as such anymore. We will always go visit families, either in Hong Kong or in France. One – for my son’s language exposure, two – it’s handier to have helper at the destination when you are travelling with a toddler!

Have you wondered how does a cat sitter’s holiday look like? Today, you will get to take a peek at that!

As it turns out, we end up taking pictures of cats, cat stuff for cats, cat stuff for humans, cat books, etc…

We were visiting some family in a small town in France called Luçon. To get there we took a Ryanair flight from Dublin to Nantes and then train to Luçon.

Lucon.png

Useful information:  We were staying at Appart’City Cite Des Congres overnight to take the train to Luçon the next day. The hotel apartment is very simple but clean and sufficient for very good price. You have your own very well equipped kitchen, flatscreen TV, free Wifi and a reasonable bathroom. Nothing luxury but good enough. Location is amazing. It’s close to the airport shuttle, train station and old town. We are very happy with our stay there. 

Since we have one day in Nantes, we started exploring the city a bit and very quickly we discovered this cute little shop.

Dröm nantes babyshop design

We immediately noticed this…

Dröm nantes baby design shop

A very cute baby outfit with a cat on it, so we went straight in to browse. Then we discovered some more cute cat theme items…

Dröm nantes baby design shop

Dröm nantes baby design shop

Dröm nantes baby design shop

In case you want to check it out when you visit Nantes in the future, here are some information for you…

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p class=”r”>Dröm
Address: 31 Rue de Verdun, 44000 Nantes, France
Website: dromdesign.fr
Phone: +33 9 51 30 42 08
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10a.m.–7:30p.m., Sunday Closed

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The next day, we visited the main landmark – Château des ducs de Bretagne.

au des ducs de Bretagne

You can see my husband the Cat Man and my son in the shot 🙂

It’s really worth a visit even just to see the architecture. But of course, we noticed cat stuff, and this time it’s the big cat – a jaguar.

au des ducs de Bretagne

According to Wikpedia:

The Château des ducs de Bretagne (English: Castle of the Dukes of Brittany) is a large castle located in the city of Nantes in the Loire-Atlantique département of France; it served as the centre of the historical province of Brittany until its separation in 1941. It is located on the right bank of the Loire, which formerly fed its ditches. It was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany between the 13th and 16th centuries, subsequently becoming the Breton residence of the French Monarchy.

This is not a travel blog so I am not going to go on and on about the Château. I am also aware that fellow bloggers whose speciality are on travels would be doing a much better job than I do! But here are some information in case you want to visit this beautiful place too.

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p class=”r”>Château des ducs de Bretagne
Address: 4 Place Marc Elder, 44000 Nantes, France
Phone: +33 811 46 46 44
Website: http://www.chateaunantes.fr/fr
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10a.m.–6p.m. Monday closed. 

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After our morning visit in Nantes, we took the train to Luçon where we stayed for 10 days. There is not much to do in Luçon and that’s why it’s lovely. We got to do nothing and just relaxed!

There was a house that we walked pass nearly every day and we noticed they have a cat. Of course, I had to take a photo of this beautiful cat.

cat in lucon


We walked into this local gift shop in Luçon one day and discovered they have a nice selection of cat theme items…

The shop owner is a very friendly lady, check this out if you ever visit Luçon.

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p class=”r”>La Boutique de Nelly
Address: 11 Rue Georges Clemenceau, 85400 Luçon
Phone: +33 2 51 27 58 80
Website: http://www.laboutiquedenelly.fr
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10a.m.–12:30p.m., 2:30–7p.m., Sunday 10a.m.–12:30p.m.

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As if we didn’t get enough cat cuteness, as we walked down the street from the gift shop,  just two doors down, we saw THIS!

I have been told, apparently, this cat often took his/her nap at the window of this news agent during lunch hour when they close for lunch.

Later on during the opening hours, I went into the news agent to see if I can get to meet the cat but he/she wasn’t there. Instead, I got this amazing special issue magazine of which I am very pleased about! There are so many interesting cat trivia in it! It gave me so much inspiration for new blog posts!

le monde des animaux

If you ever want to visit this cat, this is the news agent…

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p class=”name”>Maison de la Presse
Address: 13 rue Georges Clemenceau, 85400, Lucon
Telephone: 02 51 30 93 98
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 07:30-12:30 & 14:30-19:00, Sunday 08:00-12:30

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During our stay at Luçon, we were so lucky to run into a flea market day.

Of course, I immediately noticed some interesting cat items!

With Ryanair luggage limits, I couldn’t get any of the decorative stuff, but I got lucky with the book sellers and found this interesting book!

If you are interested to get this book, click on the image below will take you to Amazon.co.uk

Useful information: I accidentally discovered this amazing website where all the flea markets in France is listed. Incredible! Check this out! https://vide-greniers.org


Being in France constantly reminds us how cat-unfriendly Ireland is! In the local supermarkets, we couldn’t help but notice the huge selection of cat products.

This is Intermarche. Everything in the shot are cat products. You can zoom in if you want to have a better look. There are 10 options of cat litter! In Ireland, we are lucky if the local supermarket has 1/5 of the size of this shelf. And often, we get maybe 3 options of cat litter! Also, have you noticed they even have a cute cat silhouette on top of the shelf to show you this is a cat section? Sigh…

img_7321

We also discovered this lovely series of children books at their book aisle.

We found out the original series is in English. So if you are interested in this children book series, you can check that out on Amazon by clicking the images below.

  

Intermarche
Address: 97 Rue du Président de Gaulle, 85400 Luçon
Phone: +33 2 51 56 11 24
Website: https://www.intermarche.com/home.html
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 8:30a.m.–8p.m., Sunday 9a.m.–12:30p.m.

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It’s not just one supermarket that has great cat selection, they all do. Hyper U is the same situation…

Cat food aisle…

Cat litter aisle…

I know! The fact that there is an aisle for cat litter! UGH!!!

And at their book shop, they even have a special promotion of all cat books! UGH!!!

You can see on the background, another special promotion is about hiking. So I guess their point of view is cat loving is a legit hobby, just like hiking.

Hyper U Luçon
Address: 20 Boulevard Michel Phelippon, 85400 Luçon
Phone: +33 2 51 56 02 06
Website: https://www.magasins-u.com/hyperu-lucon
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 8:30a.m.–7:30p.m., Friday to Saturday 8:30a.m.–8p.m., Sunday 9a.m.–12:45p.m.

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Overall we had a great time! We had a very simple holiday, just family meals, walks, going to the pool and check out the library, etc. but it was lovely to get to relax and just be with family. Being a cat sitter means we are out on the road all day every day of the year, so it’s luxury to us to be able to just sit and read a book on our holiday!

So do you spot cat stuff when you go on holiday or is it just a mad thing I do? Share your experience below! I would love to hear from you.