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.
Great post, I have looked after my neighbors cats in the past, in their home and I agree it is very important to have someone check into them, play with them and play with them so they do not feel alone
I always hired pet sitters back when I had cats and had to travel. I wanted to be sure someone was checking on them multiple times each day.
Great suggestions. I think people assume that because cats can be independent they can be left for long periods alone. But I think having someone come periodically like a cat sitter is a perfect solution.
How often would you recommend someone check in on them? I’d think at least daily but I’m used to dogs who need more attention!
I recommend daily, at least. If a cat is on meds, or has a high degree of anxiety, I would say a couple of visits daily. Some of my clients do every other day, but I don’t recommend anything longer than that without someone checking on them
Yep. I’ve done both. I’ve taken a weekend trip and left for 36 hours and I’ve also left my cat while traveling to the Caribbean for a week BUT had her at a pet hotel. I agree with making sure they have more than food and water and someone looking after them especially when taking medication or if they have anxiety. The one or two times I left my cat alone, not only did I leave food and water. My next door neighbor was around and I left on the radio and Animal Planet so she would get bored. She did great.
I know someone who literally leaves his cat along for up to 5 days! I am NOT a fan of that. It can be very frightening for a pet to be left alone like that, they don’t understand what’s happening and that you’ll be back. Any pet can suddenly become ill or injured in their home and there would be no one around to help them. Someone should look in on them every day or two.
Love & Biscuits,
Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them
Agreed! 5 Days is too long without anyone checking in on them
We are lucky that my sister will come over and take care of our cat while we are away. If it is only a day or two, he doesn’t seem to mind, but if we are gone longer than that, he gets lonely. Fortunately, he has no trouble letting my sister know that needs some attention, and she will hang out and watch a movie with him. He gets by with a once a day visit, but my mom’s cat needs someone to come over twice a day.
I love that about cats, they let you know what they need! 🙂
We use a pet sitter for our cats. They are not traveling fans like my dog. They are so much more comfortable in their own home.
Having a meet and greet is critical for any cat sitter. Our sitters have a LOT of unstructions as we hace a lot of cats, if they just walked in off the street the cats would freak out totally.
I feel I need to say that catteries provide a good service if your cat is amenable to their environment, and if you simply can’t find a trustworthy sitter.
Yes, there are some cats that do ok in a cattery environment, but a majority prefer to stay in their home. Many cats just aren’t big travelers. One thing many cat boarding establishments/vets have done is to offer larger area similar to little condos for cats vs. the cages that used to be the only option, a real step forward I think. They offer platforms for them to climb on and windows to look out of, both things cats like…
I am so extremely allergic to cats, something I discovered when I adopted one! I own dogs and I couldn’t imagine leaving them for even one night without a pet sitter. I am amazed that cat owners seem indifferent at times. I know cats are more self-sufficient, but part of owning a pet is being there to provide them needed companionship. Pet sitters are not cheap, but it’s part of owning a pet. Maybe one night, but not several nights in a row. I see this ALL THE TIME. A friend starts dating a new person, and she spends all her time at his place, and her cat suffers as a result. I hope people share this post and get a clue!
I own a pet care business doing pet sitting and dog walking. People ask me on a fairly regular basis what I do when caring for cats. It’s all about education……trying to enlighten folks 🙂
I don’t worry about the girls if I need to be gone one night, but I do hire a cat sitter if I’m going to be gone longer. I like for someone to check on the girls to make sure they are okay and to give them a little bit of attention. The sitter cleans the litter box, feeds them, tries to groom them, and plays with them. She can also make sure the temperature in the house is fine. I make sure a future cat sitter has a meet and greet with the girls so I can observe how they interact with them.
Cat sitters provide an important service. Not all kitties like to travel! Mine will be traveling with me for the first time next month. I think they will like it, but this test will tell me if I really should just get a cat sitter next time. My angel kitty, Cinco, would have been far too stressed if I had tried to travel with him. Great tips on choosing a sitter. You need to know that the person you choose to care for your cat will love them as much as you do while you are gone.
Companionship alone is a huge reason for hiring a cat sitter. I know I’d be bored out of my skull if I were home alone for a couple of days, so it’s understandable that a cat would be too. Thanks for sharing this. I hope some pet parents consider this information when deciding whether or not hiring a cat sitter makes sense for them.
I like to put things in human terms so people will relate better to it. I hadn’t thought about doing that with this, you did a good job of it. Thanks!
I am sort of a cat sitter hehe! My mom travels a lot and her 2 kitties stay with me while she is away 🙂
Before I had my cat sitter, I boarded Lexy a couple of times. Luckily by the time I got Lola I found the best cat sitter in NYC. I know they’re well looked after when I’m away, and they are in the comfort of their home.