Cats like to think they're pretty independent; they're like the moody teenagers of the pet world. But, they really do need our help. Our feline friends not only rely on us for food and water but for affection as well. They actually need us a lot more than they realize.
Leaving a cat alone for more than twelve hours at a time is not recommended. That amount drops drastically if the cat has special needs. So, leaving them unsupervised while we skip off to Cancun isn't just risky-it's out of the question. But, that shouldn't stop anybody from taking a well-deserved honeymoon. Instead of postponing travel plans to spend more time with the cantankerous Mr. Pickles, we should look into hiring a cat sitter. They keep an eye on our sassy Siamese while we're gone and deal with any kitty-cat complications that arise. That peace of mind is worth the $15 to 20 dollars a day it takes to hire the average sitter. We don't want to leave our fur baby with just anybody, however. Here are six things we look for when choosing a cat sitter.
Things Every Great Cat Sitter Needs
A Love Of Cats
Ideally, the cat sitter should be a decorative cat plate or two away from feline-obsessed. He or she should have experience working with all sorts of cats — big ones, skinny ones, playful ones, and loud ones. They should also enjoy all the things that set dogs and cats apart, such as the latter’s typically rebellious attitudes. We should also leave them alone with our cats for a few hours and observe the cat’s reaction upon our return. If we return to a stressed out cat, or missing jewelry, it’s best to keep looking.
The Potential To Be A Cat Whisperer
When they get sick, cats don’t send up flashing neon lights. The difference between the yowl of a sick cat and a hungry one might be the matter of a single octave. A cat skipping a few meals could be the sign of a serious medical issue, but is also easy to miss. Seeing these signs is much easier for somebody who has years of experience working with and caring for cats. If we’re picking between two friends, we’d always go with the one with quality ‘catdar.’
If we can’t trust them, we don’t hire them. People with sticky fingers, no matter how good they are with cats, don’t get invited into our homes. The last thing we need is to spend our vacation worrying if our television will be where we left it. When forced to hire a stranger for cat sitting, we always ask for references. This gives us a chance to better understand just whom we’re letting into our home. And don’t forget that sometimes the less experienced or less scrupulous cat sitters will overbook and skip a visit or two. They know it won’t kill our cat, but we know it can be scary for Sergeant Fuzzy Boots - plus it isn’t what we are paying for.
Credentials And Referrals
When hiring a professional, always double check that they’re bonded, insured, and credentialed. When we’re not sure where to start our hunt for a cat sitter, we give our vet a call. They tend to have connections with reputable pet sitters and can make great recommendations. Always double check references before making a final decision.
A Detail-Oriented Mindset
We need a cat sitter who isn’t going to brush off the details. A sick cat getting their medicine a few hours late could end in a trip to the vet — or worse. While detailing the needs of our cat, we always keep a close eye on a potential sitter’s expression. If his or her eyes are starting to glaze over, we can go ahead and take them off our list. If he or she does not care about what we have to say, it’s unlikely that they will give our cat the care he needs.
A Good Memory
Some people have memories like a sieve. They are the types who would leave their own heads behind if it wasn’t attached. They are also the type who’d forget to feed our cat. If we’re going to hire an amateur, it should be somebody who kills at Jeopardy. If forgetfulness runs in the family, we suggest giving them a call every couple days to make sure that our cat companion is getting the love and attention she deserves.
Three Tools Every Cat Sitter Needs
There’s more to a smooth pet-sitting experience than picking the right sitter. We also need to give the person we hire the tools to succeed. So, before we pack our boogie board, we need to make sure that we leave our cat sitter with:
Write a sheet for the sitter listing feeding times and outlining our cat’s medical needs. If we want them to water the petunias, we’ll be sure to jot that down. The more detailed our instructions, the smoother the cat sitting process.
Some Cat Toys:
A good cat sitter spends about thirty minutes with each cat on a daily basis. We should make sure that they have fun doing it! Remember to leave a few cat toys out and to mention Mr. Kitty Fantastico’s favorites in the checklist we leave behind.
Ample Contact Information:
We always make sure it’s easy to get ahold of us in an emergency. So, we’ll leave the sitter with our phone number, email, and contact information for the local vet. Plus, a back-up connection, like a trusted neighbor or emergency contact is important. That way, if the water main breaks or the sitter can get to the house because the roads aren’t plowed, he or she will still have someone to contact as an emergency fill-in.
The checklist written. The cat sitter has been chosen. Now, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy that much-needed vacation. If we end up feeling feel guilty about leaving our cat behind, we can try incorporating one of our kitty cat resolutions into our schedule.