Every time my humans leave town, they have this strange woman come over to feed us and spend the night. She’s called a “pet sitter,” and my three roommates (two tabbies from the local rescue, and the fuzzy gray cat who showed up at the back door one day) tell me she’s okay, but I don’t believe them. She smells weird and even the food smells different when she gives it to us. Whenever this woman comes over, I spend most of my time under the bed until my humans return. Now they are pulling out those dreaded suitcases again, which means that pet sitter is coming back. Is there some way to get her out of the house so I can have some peace… or is it true, like my roommates say, that I can use her to my advantage?
I have to agree with you — pet sitters do smell weird and unfamiliar, and the food does taste different when they serve it. I think that’s mainly because their scent mingles with the food dish and hangs in the air after they’ve left us to eat. Humans have a really bad sense of smell, so they have no clue what a big deal this is. I can’t blame you for hiding under the bed when this stranger comes by. But it would probably be better for you if you came out of hiding to see just what this pet sitter is all about.
It’s true that pet sitters can be manipulated, just like any other human, but not as much as your roommates may believe. Most of them have a bunch of rules that they follow. Some of these rules were even set down by your own humans before they left. So if you’re an overweight cat who thinks you might weasel an extra treat or two out of the pet sitter, you’re probably out of luck — your humans have already warned her not to give you any. And she’s probably not going to give you any out-of-the-ordinary food or treats, no matter how yummy, because it might not agree with you. Even worse, if the vet has prescribed you any medication, you will still have to take it. On the other hand, if you like to play, you can probably get her to pull out your favorite toys. In fact, her job is to keep you happy so it’s likely she will play with you for longer periods of time than your humans do. And — surprise! — I bet she will also keep your litter box cleaner than your humans do.
So pet sitters are a mixed bag. If you are expecting special food or if you are sick, you’re not going to enjoy her very much. But in a lot of ways, she might treat you even better than your humans do. This goes especially for the sleepover ones like you’re getting. So hold your nose and give her a chance. If you decide you still don’t like her, you can always annoy her by wrestling on the bed with your roommates all night. That should at least show her who rules your home.