As you know, my human and I go out of town a lot! I’m a very busy kitty, and I have places to go and things to do. There’s only one problem….
What to do about the cats at home? Binga and Boodie never go anywhere except the vet, so they are always here. If my human’s boyfriend is home, he takes care of them, of course. But if he’s also out of town, then somebody needs to make sure they are fed, the litter boxes are changed, and they get some attention. For quite a long time, my human had a pet sitter who was awesome. But then she moved to another state, and my human had to find someone else. That’s always stressful. She did find a company she was really happy with, so that was a big relief. And since March 4–10 is Professional Pet Sitters Week, I thought this might be a good time to tell you why it’s important to use a pro.
Why You Need a Professional Pet Sitter
- They are reliable, while friends and family aren’t always. Do your friends and family really know your cats, or are they just doing you a favor and hoping to somehow get out doing the nasty stuff like scooping the litter box? A professional pet sitter is hired to do all the things required to keep your cats happy and healthy.
- A pro has experience in things like administering meds, handling cats (or not handling a cat that does not want to be handled), and a really good one will have a second sense about things like toys and petting.
- A real pet sitting business will be bonded and insured. This person will be entering your house while you’re not there. You want to feel good about that, and you want to know there is insurance in place if anything happens.
- A pro will come on time, stay the length of time you asked them to, never bring someone else with them (unless they are training someone — and then will make sure you are okay with that), and make sure your home is secure when they leave.
- A pro pet sitter will take the best care of your cats, and if any issues come up, they will not hesitate to contact you immediately.
You can find professional pet sitters through Pet Sitters International and The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. But finding a pet sitter is in one of their directories is just the first step. It’s important to interview them, discuss your cats (and other pets) with them, and make sure you have a good match. Not all pet sitters are right for your cats. One person my human interviewed years ago forced herself on Boodie and picked her up. Boodie was clearly stressed out by being picked up by a complete stranger. So that pet sitter did not get the job.
When you do find the right pet sitter, make sure you have everything they need. You should compile a list long before you ever need it. Also review it in the weeks before your trip to make sure it is up to date. Here’s what you should have to pass along to your pet sitter:
- The address and phone number of your regular veterinarian, and also the closest emergency vet clinic.
- Where the sitter will find the cat food and meds, if there are any meds. Also the location of your cats’ treats and toys.
- Your system of scooping litter and disposal, and the location of anything he or she will need. (Disposal bags, Litter Genie, etc.)
- The location of your cleaning supplies, in case of an accident.
- The location of your mailbox. Part of a pet sitter’s job is picking up your mail so that it’s not obvious that your home is unoccupied.
- If you have a security system, how it is run, and which lights should be turned on and off, if you don’t have a digital set up for that. We have curtains that needed to be open at breakfast and shut at night, so that went in our notes too.
- The likely hiding places for your cats, because they may hide from your pet sitter while he or she is getting to know them, or if they get sick.
- Any of your cats’ idiosyncrasies. For example, my human warned our pet sitter that while Binga is affectionate, she bites when overstimulated. Boodie sits up for a treat, and it’s a routine she enjoys, so my human told the pet sitter about that. Boodie wound up loving the pet sitter!
A professional pet sitter is more expensive than hiring your friend’s teenage daughter. But you know a pro will show up on time and not use your home as party central! You get peace of mind, and your cats may get a new pal.
I’m ready for my next trip! And so is Binga.
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