Are you thinking of going on vacation for the winter holidays? If you’re a cat owner, one of your top concerns for the holiday season is probably finding a cat sitter. While it may be tempting to bribe your neighbor’s ten-year-old to come and check on your cat every few days while you’re away, that really isn’t the safest or most secure way of having your cat looked after while you’re enjoying the holidays. Not only will having a dedicated cat sitter give you peace of mind while you’re traveling, but the companionship will make your cat feel much better as well.
Finding a cat sitter that you like and trust may take some time, so we recommend that you begin looking well in advance of the holiday season. Just like regular boarding facilities, pet sitters can quickly become booked by fellow pet lovers over the holidays. This just means that it’s even more important that you interview and suss out candidates before the holidays roll around. You’ll want to find a cat sitter that you find trustworthy, and with whom you are comfortable. If your cat has special needs, such as insulin injections, find a sitter who can give shots or attend to your cat’s unique requirements.
When it comes to finding a cat sitter, there are a multitude of avenues available to you. You can try asking your vet for recommendations, asking friends, or using online services such as Care.com, Rover.com, or Petsit.com.
Questions to Ask Your Potential Pet Sitter
Here are some questions that we recommend you prepare ahead of time before interviewing your potential cat sitter.
- Ask the cat sitter if she is bonded and carries liability insurance.
- Ask how long she has been in business and what experience with animals she has beyond pet sitting. (qualifications)
- Get a written list of references.
- Ask what the pet sitter likes about being a pet sitter.
- What services are provided with your pet sitters rates and what services would be extra or not provided?
- Will they be the one handling your pet while you’re on vacation? This question should be asked if you’re interviewing a service provider as opposed to an individual care provider.
- What will their procedure be in the case of an emergency, such as your cat becoming ill.
- What form of communication will the cat sitter be using to reach you
- How frequently cat you expect updates on your cat?
- What form will the updates be coming in? Emailed report cards, daily pictures, daily videos?
But wait, this conversation should be twofold. Here are some questions that a good cat sitter will ask you during your interview.
- Your potential cat sitter should ask you about your cat’s diet.
- Feeding schedule.
- Clean up process.
- Disposing of waste procedure.
- Games your cat likes to play.
- Usual habits your cat has.
- Your cat’s sleeping habits.
- Where you keep the cat food.
- Where the litter box and supplies are.
Responsibilities You Can Expect Your Cat Sitter to Perform
The responsibilities of being a cat sitter are many. A sitter should clean the litter box daily, but don’t expect her to clean a week’s worth of waste that you neglected to clean prior to your trip. You’ll need to let your sitter know where you store all of your cat-related supplies, including any medications for any of your cat’s illnesses or dietary concerns. You’ll also need to share some of your cat’s individual characteristics with your sitter, such as does your cat hide from strangers? Where are your cat’s favorite spots?
We recommend that you introduce your cat to your sitter before you leave for vacation. If you’re comfortable with it, you could have your first interview with your potential cat sitter at your house to see how your cat reacts. During the time when your cat sitter is watching your cat while you’re on vacation, we recommend that they visit once a day. This way, your cat sitter will be aware quickly if something is wrong with either your cat or your house. Having a cat sitter visit every couple of days may seem attractive due to the money you could save, but we think that having peace of mind is worth the extra money when financially possible.
The last two steps when it comes to securing a cat sitter are finalizing a contract and handing over important items and documents. Some cat sitters might ask you to sign a contract that itemizes dates of coverage, the cost of your services, and liabilities. You’ll want to discuss the terms of payment and whether payment is required upfront with your sitter before signing. Next, you’ll need to give the sitter a key to your home for the duration of your vacation. Exchange contact information that includes your name, phone number, emergency number, your vet’s number, and the number of the hotel you’ll be staying at or the landline of the house you’ll be staying with. Your cat sitter should provide you with all of her contact information in the contract, or on a business card. You may also want to give your veterinarian a letter to keep on file that says that while you are away, the sitter will have the authority to seek treatment for your cat if necessary, and you will be responsible for any fees.
Find a Cat Sitter for Your Cat This Holiday Season
Whether you’re going across the country or across the state, finding a cat sitter can make your holiday vacation plans go so much smoother. With the proper vetting and research, you can leave your fur baby at home knowing that they’re in safe hands. Happy holidays!