As a cat parent there may come a time when you want to know how to find a cat sitter. Whether you’re going on vacation or a business trip you’ll need someone to care for your kitty.
If you’re fortunate enough to have reliable friends or neighbors you’re very lucky. However, sometimes the unexpected happens and what would you do if they can’t spare the time to check on your cat?
These are important considerations especially if you’re going away for more than a few days. In this post you’ll discover top tips on how to find a cat sitter that’s awesome and your kitty will love!
We’ll cover critical questions you need to ask a prospective sitter, what you should watch for, and essential things you need to provide. Plus, keeping an eye on things, and what you can expect to pay a cat sitter.
3 Reasons Why You Should Never Rely On Friends
You may have a circle wonderful friends you socialize with, however, are any willing or able to look after your cat if you go away? Relying on friends isn’t always a good idea for 3 simple reasons.
- They may have the best intentions but a family emergency calls them away.
- Not all your friends may have experience on caring for a cat. This could mean over or under feeding, not engaging with your cat, or even forgetting to visit on a daily basis.
- Relying on a friend to look after your cat and she doesn’t do a good job could ruin your friendship!
Should You Use A Professional Cat Sitter?
Just as you wouldn’t leave your child with an inexperienced minder, the same should apply with a cat. Most of us view our cats as family and deserve the very best when it comes to pet sitting.
Hiring someone with experience who loves cats should be top of the list. While qualifications aren’t always essential, knowing how to apply animal first aid and some knowledge of animal behavior is beneficial.
A good cat sitter will fit all criteria as well as being trustworthy. Taking the time to do a bit of research on pet sitters in your area will pay off.
Start off by asking your veterinarian for referrals. Often they’ll have a list of reliable and trustworthy pet sitters. Although they may not be professional they will be highly rated.
Also, ask friends or neighbors. You may find someone through word of mouth. Good pet sitters aren’t always easy to find, but word spreads quickly if they are.
You could also check out pet sitting websites. However, expect to pay more if your sitter has to travel far. Not all will be local, and there may be additional fees.
Some pet sitters also look after the home as well. This is an added bonus and may include duties such as emptying rubbish bins, and house cleaning.
7 Questions You Need To Ask A Pet Sitter
Finding a cat sitter is something that shouldn’t be rushed. Not only should they have a genuine love of animals but able to bond with your cat as well.
You should always interview a prospective cat sitter in person. He or she needs to meet both you and your cat.
The following questions are those I feel are the most important, but there will be others you may want to ask. A good idea is to write them down on paper so you have them to hand.
1 How Much Experience Have You Had?
This is probably the most important question as you don’t want a cat sitter who’s never cared for other pets other than their own. Owning a cat or dog doesn’t mean you’re qualified to care for other people’s pets.
Don’t be afraid to ask how long he or she has been pet sitting. Also, the types of pets cared for. If your pet sitter has no experience of cats don’t hire.
2 What References Do You Have?
A good cat sitter will be in demand and hopefully have glowing references. If your sitter can’t provide any be wary.
Also, check any references are genuine. Your gut instinct should tell you if this person is honest.
3 Do You Have Your Own Cats?
This may seem an obvious question to ask, but someone who knows first hand all the little idiosyncrasies cats have is a better choice. Of course, there may be many reasons why that person doesn’t have a cat.
For example, living in rented accommodation. However, providing he or she has a genuine love of cats it could still work
4 How Many Times A Day Will You Visit And For How Long?
If you’re going to be away for longer than a few days your cat will get lonely. You don’t want a cat sitter unwilling to spend a bit of time keeping her company.
Even if you have several cats it’s still important they have some human company each day. Spending time in the home also allows your cat sitter to notice any problems.
Going off food isn’t uncommon if a cat is missing her human family. Contrary to what many people believe, cats do have feelings and don’t just view their parent as a big can opener!
5 Do You Have Any Training?
While your cat sitter may be the nicest most caring person, without training she could be putting your cat at risk. This is because just like humans, cats can have accidents or get sick.
Pet sitters serious about their job would invest time and money in animal first aid training. This would include giving CPR, which hopefully your cat would never need.
6 Are You Insured?
Most pet sitters serious about their work will be fully insured. This will give peace of mind should the unexpected happen.
Many will provide you with paperwork to read and fill in. This extra step is a sign of professionalism and dedication.
Pet sitting insurance is a policy covering general liability. This covers accidents inside the home such as breaking an expensive ornament.
Also, it would cover any oversights, such as your pet sitter forgetting your cat’s medication. In some situations this would require a visit to the vet.
7 Do You Have An Emergency Plan?
We’re all human and unexpected things crop up. If for example your pet sitter was called away on an emergency, what would be her back up plan?
How would your pet sitter cope if your cat needed emergency care? While being able to administer pet first aid is good, a visit to the vet would still be needed.
Make sure your cat sitter is able to get your sick kitty into a pet carrier and drive or walk her to your veterinary surgery. In some cases a pet sitter may use their own vet in cases of emergency.
In Home Pet Sitter Or Daily Visits?
While some pet sitting services offer daily visits others offer in home. Daily visits can be anything from 15 minutes to one hour, though I would recommend 30 minutes minimum.
This is to allow time for feeding your cat, cleaning the litter box and giving any medication. In addition, you want to allow your cat sitter enough time to provide company.
As mentioned previously, cats can suffer loneliness and miss the company of their human family. Make sure you agree on a time before committing yourself.
Alternatively, you could decide to have a cat sitter who stays in your home. This can also double up as house sitting.
This means your cat won’t be alone and your home will be more secure. As we all know, cats hate being taken out of their environment.
Having an in house cat sitter is a far better option than boarding in a kennel or cattery. In some situations a cat may be better off with full time company as opposed to daily visits.
This could be because of a disability such as blindness. Special needs cats require more care and shouldn’t be left alone.
Also, if you’re going away for a longer period of time you don’t want to leave your house empty. Having someone draw the curtains and put the lights on in the evening increases security.
Daily Updates On Your Cat While You’re Away
If you’re anything like me, a few days away from your beloved cat and you miss her. You may also be feeling concerned that all is well.
Investing in a pet camera can be a fun way to keep in touch with your cat or dog. They allow you to see your cat and even take snapshots.
Also, you can keep an eye on your home remotely. This is an added bonus and can give peace of mind.
Keeping in touch while you’re away
Whether you’re off on a weekend break or going away for several weeks you’ll want to touch base with your cat sitter. A good idea is to schedule a daily call.
This only needs to be a quick catch up to check all is well. You could also say “hi” to your cat!
What You Need To Provide
Before you hand your keys over to a cat sitter there are few things to consider. Most are obvious but can be overlooked unless you make a list.
My advice is to make a checklist and tick each item off as you go.
The top of your list should be your contact details in case of emergency.
Next, your vet’s phone number in case it’s needed. Also, a trusted neighbor or friend’s number.
This could be useful if the cat sitter loses your house key. Get an extra key cut just in case.
You need to make sure you have enough cat food to last while you’re away. This can include both wet food and kibbles, plus treats.
Also, you must make sure the cat sitter knows how much to feed your kitty and how many times a day. Most pet sitters with experience of cats should have a good idea anyway.
You don’t want your cat looking like a barrel on legs greeting you at the door! Nor do you want a skinny kitty that’s missed more than a few meals!
If your cat is on any medication you must make sure your sitter is capable of administering it. In many cases pills can be crushed and hidden in food.
Make sure you leave plenty of toys for your cat to play with. This is will help stop boredom.
As cat parents we all know how destructive a bored kitty can be! Interactive cat toys are a good option if you go away as they don’t require anyone to play along.
Clean Litter Box And Plentiful Supply Of Litter.
If your cat won’t have access to the outside you’ll need to make sure you have a clean litter box and enough litter to last until you get home.
Also you’ll have to show the cat sitter where to find the litter scooper, and bags to put soiled litter in.
Why Installing A Diffuser May Help Calm Your Kitty
Cats are creatures of habit and dislike change. Having a new person come into her home may make her stressed.
Many veterinary practices have Feliway diffusers installed to help calm patients! There’s no guarantee it will help your cat though.
How Much Should You Expect To Pay A Cat Sitter?
While most friends or neighbors won’t expect payment, a professional cat sitter will. Unless you have a friend who’s knowledgeable about cats and trustworthy you are better off hiring a professional.
However, what are the average fees and what can you expect to pay? Firstly, it will depend on distance traveled and how long you want each visit to be.
As previously mentioned, don’t skimp on time. Your cat may get lonely and it’s important the sitter has enough time to complete all tasks required as well provide company.
On average you can expect to pay $25 for a 30 minute visit, so three visits a day would be $75. Alternatively, if you opt for in house cat sitting you could be expected to pay up to $75 a night or $375 a week.
Though more expensive than boarding you cat it has many benefits as mentioned earlier. Cats prefer being in their own homes due to their highly territorial nature.
Plus, you’d have the added bonus of a house sitter as well. This would be the best option if you’re going on vacation for more than a few weeks.
I hope the tips I’ve shared on how to find a cat sitter have inspired you. It’s a good idea to check out a few cat sitter’s even if you don’t need one in the immediate future.
This is because it can take a while for your cat to get used to someone new looking after them. Maybe try a sitter on your next night away from home.
Even if your best friend has multiple cats it doesn’t mean she’ll make a reliable cat sitter. A busy lifestyle could result in missed visits.
Though completely unintentional your poor kitty could end up missing a few meals. Even your next door neighbor could forget to drop by!
Should you decide to let a friend feed your cat while you’re away you could always get an automatic pet feeder. Don’t do this if you’re going to be away for for more than a few days though.
Always take time doing your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Finding a suitable cat sitter can take time.
Use the questions I’ve outlined as a guide and add others to the list as you think of them. Remember to keep it to hand so you have it in front of you when interviewing.
Listen to your gut instinct and don’t hire someone you’re not quite sure about. Also, introducing your cat to the sitter is important.
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Wishing you a purrfect day:)