People have a tendency to believe their cat will be fine if they leave for a few days, as long as they leave enough food and water. The assumption is a cat will be fine alone for days, but many cats get lonely when home alone. A cat sitter provides companionship and care while their guardians are away.
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Reasons To Hire A Cat Sitter
For absences of more than one night, it’s a good idea to have a professional cat sitter check in on them periodically. If you aren’t sure whether to hire one, here are some points to consider:
- Does your cat suffer from separation anxiety when you’re away?
- Is your cat on medication?
- Does your cat often get into trouble when left alone?
- Does your cat like to explore and maybe get trapped in a remote spot in your house?
- Do you have multiple cats that have a tendency to not get along?
- Is your cat normally home alone during the day, but not overnight?
- Does your cat tend not to eat when stressed?
- Has your cat had a health condition in the past that may reoccur?
Leave emergency contact and vet information with them. Show them the location of your cat’s supplies (food/water dishes, food, litterbox, litter, litter scoop, cleaning supplies).
Discuss feeding times, amount of food, your cat’s favorite hiding places and any special behaviors.
Hiring The Right Cat Sitter
Provide specific instructions for the cat sitter regarding your expectations for your pet’s care. Make sure the sitter is clear on all tasks before he/she leaves. Get the sitter’s contact information and their preferred method of contact (text, phone call, email).
For cats on medication, leave very specific instructions on how often to administer the meds and the correct dosage.
If the cat sitter is someone new to your cat, schedule time for the sitter to visit to give your cat a chance to get to know them a bit. Observe how the sitter interacts with your cat.
Make sure you’re comfortable and watch for negative signs from your cat. Cats are good judges of character, if he/she doesn’t react positively to the sitter, pay attention. Interview other sitters before making a final decision.
This visit is also an opportunity to show the cat sitter how to administer meds to your cat, if necessary. This can cut down on stress for your cat if the method for giving meds is the same as usual.
To minimize your cat’s stress, leave an unwashed item of clothing out so they can be close to something that has your scent. Often, clients arrange a couple of shirts they’ve worn on the bed so their cat can still have their scent.
Pheromone diffusers, such as Feliway (need to begin using at least a month before your trip so cat can get accustomed to them) also work to manage stress for some cats.
If the cat sitter does not discuss charges, ask about methods of payment, and additional charges such as administering meds, or holiday surcharge that may apply.
Ask how long the person has been a pet caregiver. A person that’s been in the business longer often has valuable experience that helps remedy a difficult situation.
Updates should be provided (usually by text or email) periodically. Let the sitter know your preferred method of communication, and inquire how often updates will be provided.