How to Choose a Cat Sitter

catHouse cats rely on their pet parents for food, water and the occasional treat. Other than these basic needs, cats seem to prefer an independent life. So why not just set out a three-day supply of food and water when you leave town for a long weekend?

Turns out, cats do need us — maybe more than we realize. Hiring a pet sitter will ensure that your cat has adequate food, water and supervision. This is especially important because these creatures are accustomed to human companionship and become stressed by its sudden absence. Plus, a pet sitter can contact a veterinarian if your cat becomes ill or injured.

As a general rule, your cat should not be alone for more than 12 hours. If your cat has a strict feeding schedule or requires medication, she may be able to spend only three or four hours alone. You can expect most professional cat sitters to come to your home at least once a day — more often if your pet’s health demands it.

It takes about 20 minutes for a professional cat sitter to care for one cat per visit. During the visit, the sitter will feed and water your cat and change the litter box. A cat sitter also will play with your cat, so be sure to leave plenty of toys — including a few new ones to keep your cat entertained.

Be sure to ask any cat sitter about their previous cat care experiences.. As a bonus, professional pet sitters are typically bonded and insured, which provides additional safety and peace of mind.

There are a number of boarding facilities that accept cats for overnight care, but this option may be nerve-wracking for cats that are used to a far more private (and quiet) environment. Hiring a pet sitter to watch your cat at home sidesteps this issue, and is often about half the price of boarding your cat away from home.

 

Expect your pet sitter to use a contract that details their services, fees and responsibilities — some sitters will even water houseplants or bring in the mail. Ask the sitter how they would care for your pet if a natural disaster occurred while you were gone, or if your pet becomes sick or hurt.

Most pet sitters will come to your home several days before their services are needed. This way, the sitter can meet the cat, get a quick tour, go over the cat’s schedule and answer (or ask) additional questions.

When you choose a professional  to cat sit, the time and effort you put into planning will help ensure that your time apart is a positive experience for your feline friend.

-from Animal Planet

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