Kate Benjamin, author, designer, philanthropist, best selling writer and cat lover has a new kitten in her life! Kate has had cats her whole life and currently shares her home with her husband and eight adult cats, recently welcomed a new addition into their home. I asked her how the new kitten came about and some must have products for the kittens in all of our lives!
Ando was my true soul mate cat. He was shiny, sleek black with almond eyes that looked straight into your soul and he stayed by my side through both rounds of cancer treatment then passed away right after I finished chemo last year. I was heartbroken.
I have been missing him incredibly since he passed, and recently I had a very vivid dream about him. I woke up with an overwhelming feeling of sadness and I was on the verge of tears all morning when I got a message from a friend. She had received a call from a neighbor about some kittens with no mom. She asked if I could help so I thought nothing of it and said I would go get them and take them to a rescue that I work with. When I got there and looked down into this bin of black kittens, one of them was stretching up out of the box and yelling at me and I instantly though, oh my god, could this be? Turns out, Jeremiah Beandip as we are calling him, has pretty much all the same cat personality that Ando had; cool and confident with eyes that look into your soul. I’m pretty sure Ando came back to me and I am in awe.
I have had cats my whole life but I haven’t had a kitten in years. I agreed to take on his whole litter as fosters but I’m not keeping them all. Having kittens in the house I’ve learned a lot about how kittens need to develop a consistent play routine in order to get their energy out and to learn good behavior. We’ve had some issues with biting (still having them, but it’s getting better) so I consulted with some friends who are kitten foster experts. They all gave me great advice on how to use toys and movement to play with kittens and avoid using hands. Kittens need to feel like they are hunting but you shouldn’t be their prey.
Kate realizes that much as they need to play, they also need to sleep so having a great place where they feel cozy is an absolute must. She explains that she wants to keep them engaged but you don’t always want to have to be the person engaging them – sometimes you have to get some work done! That’s why having a place that provides stimulation for cats is so important. Kate knows of what she speaks as she is the co-author of the best selling books on Catification with her collaborator, Jackson Galaxy. I asked her how that came about.
Jackson was a fan of mine before he was famous, he will even admit that. He started following my blog early on when he was still in Boulder becoming the cat expert that he is today. I saw an early episode of his show and loved it! I soon found out that he had been trying to get in touch with me, so we connected and immediately hit it off, planning all kinds of collaborations including the concept of Catification which is a combination of his cat behavior skills and my design background.
Working with Jackson on the show, co-authoring two books and partnering on other projects has really changed my work. Up until then I had a basic understanding of cat behavior from reading a few things and living with multiple cats but I hadn’t really understood cat behavior on a deep level. Now I understand a lot more about how their behavior affects the design of objects and environments that they interact with. This has had a huge impact on my work and my relationship with cats.
That has developed now into a product line of my own. I’ve partnered with Texas-based Primetime Petz to create a line of designer cat products under the Hauspanther brand. I love working with them because it is a small company so we can get things done quickly without a lot of bureaucracy, bringing things to market right away. Plus, I have complete control over the products and the branding, which is my forte and the part I love the most.
Your site Hauspanther has the coolest, most unique, newest, dreamiest products for cats. By now you have probably seen it all! But do you remember your first “oh wow” look at that product?
I do remember on night stumbling across a website for Hepper, a company that made a spaceship like cat pod bed. I was so excited and emailed them immediately to ask if I could share it. Turns out they had just launched their website only hours before I found it (I was VERY good at searching!) and the owner, Jed Crystal, asked if I could please wait to the next day so he could finish a few things on the site. Jed is a good friend and we have worked together consistently ever since. He designed some of my most favorite modern cat products.
So now that you have a kitten around the house, and since it is kitten season, give us the quick must haves you are using with Jeremiah Bean Dip. What are your the must haves on your list and where can we find them?
Confession time. I should say I have more than one kitten around. Having agreed to foster the rest of Jeremiah’s litter, I insisted I wasn’t going to keep them all. However, this outcome will not be a huge surprise to my friends and followers. May I proudly introduce to you; Jeremiah Beandip, Horacio Queso and Pico de Gato! (PHOTO #4)
TOP FIVE TIPS FOR KITTEN SEASON WITH KATE BENJAMIN
- Another kitten! They have so much energy and really love to have a buddy (or two). It won’t make it twice as hard, it makes it easier.
- A hideaway. Kittens need a nice quiet space and it is important to provide one for them before they find some obscure corner where it takes you weeks to discover where they are. The Hepper Pod Bed provides a great place for the kitties to relax and refresh.
- A serious scratcher! Don’t complain about kittens scratching if you don’t provide something for them to scratch on. The Max Scratch is a substantial scratcher/climber that will really last.
- Toys! Lots and lots of toys! Kittens need so much stimulation. The more you rotate their toys the longer they will stay interested in them. Skip the catnip toys for kittens as they are too young to respond the chemical compound in it. Save the surprise for later
- A great carrier. It is never too soon to get your cats acclimated to their carrier. I love the KittyPak backpack for its style and because it helps the kitty see a bit of the world, that helps build their social confidence.
All products can be found at Hauspanther.