Even a short, few day trip can be a big challenge to cat Carers. Contrary to dogs, our purring friends usually don’t like travelling and moving to a completely new territory. Is it really worth it to destroy their daily peace and order for a short vacation? Not necessarily. Stress induced by travelling and being in a foreign place can be minimised by leaving the cat at home, but who will be watching over him during your absence? FabCat - if you can’t ask your family or friends for help, definitely get familiar with an interesting and very useful service that is cat sitting (or pet sitting).
Catsitter - who is it and what can they offer for your kitty?
Let’s start from the beginning. A cat sitter is a cat “nanny”, male or female - a person whose services include visiting and taking care of your cat when they stay at home alone. Long weekends, holidays, business trips or vacation are just some of the situations when a cat really benefits from staying at home rather than travelling. As cat Guardians, we don’t always have the chance to pass on the cat care to family or friends, especially when the cat needs more than just giving them food and changing their water once a day. A pet sitter will take care of everything as it should be and will make sure that your cat feels great for the duration of your trip.
What does a cat sitter care entail? First of all, it includes washing your cat’s bowls and changing their food, cleaning up the litter box, checking on their general health and well-being, providing playtime and company, but also acting quickly and taking the cat for emergency vet visits when necessary. Cat sitters have enough experience (talking about people who are proven, have proper qualifications, references and experience) to see worrying symptoms - watery eyes, limping, skin irritation, litter box issues, lack of appetite, vomiting. During your absence they can take the cat to a specialist and start proper treatment as soon as necessary. With a cat who is looked after by a friend who doesn’t know much about cats, some of the symptoms might get missed and become simply dangerous for your cat’s health.
When can you use the help of a cat sitter?
Pet sitter services are available to cat Guardians at any time, not only for longer travels when the kitty has to stay home. Let’s imagine, fabCat, that your cat needs human interaction during the day, but your deadlines make you stay at the office for 12 hours straight every day. Cat sitting can be a great support in that scenario - a cat nanny will visit the cat during the day, fill the bowls, clean up the litter box and provide your kitty with some playtime and company. Additionally, a cat sitter help will be valuable with cats who need special care or take medication regularly (injections or subcutaneous fluids) - a visit from an experienced person will help you avoid situations in which the medications are not given to the cat regularly. We have had the pleasure of using the help of a professional cat sitter ourselves and they were experienced in a specialistic care for cats, which worked perfect for us.
The biggest “siege” for cat sitters happens around the summer vacations, holidays and the typical trip season. Who here among our fabCats ever wondered “what should I do with the cat” can raise their paws up in the comments. We obviously know that among your cats there are the adventurous personalities who love travelling and would love to spend their May long weekend on a walk in the forest, not at home. Others will be familiar with the holiday grandpawrents home well enough to treat it like a great entertainment, not a reason to be stressed. For the rest of the fabCats we recommend looking into cat sitting offers in your neighbourhood - having a trusted person in a phonecall’s reach means you won’t have to look around for anyone quickly, a week before a planned trip.
Is cat sitter necessary in your life?
Not always, although their help may come in really handy. As we mentioned before, for fabCats who have a chance of leaving their cats with their grandpawrents or at home with family or friends coming in for regular check-ups, cat sitting won’t be irreplaceable. However, those who have the dilemma of “what to do with the cat?”, with a cat sitting they can have another safe and less stressful option to care for the cat. And the stress-reducing effect and building up the cat’s sense of self confidence should be our priority - as cat Guardians we should remember that any change of surroundings is much worse for a cat than leaving them alone at home for the entire day, with the cat sitter visiting them once a day.
How to choose a good cat sitter?
This issue is perhaps the most worrisome, which is completely valid and understandable. How can you choose a stranger who can be trusted not only with the health and well-being of your furry companions, but with the safety of your house as well? A cat sitter will need to have access into your house, be able to stay there for 30 - 60 minutes at a time and go, leaving the house in the same condition. There’s also the problem of accepting new people by the cat - among you, dear fabCats, there surely are some cats who run away from any new hooman. A cat sitter wouldn’t have a chance to check the cat or play with them if they met only after you left. A cat male or female nanny should be found beforehand and chosen based on recommendations from other fabCats you know, your family or opinions found e.g. on the internet.
When you’ve found one or a few well-suited people or companies around you, it’s worth booking a first meeting to get to know them and introduce them to your cat. The fluffy one will have a chance to say hello to the nanny in your presence and you’ll be able to verify if you trust the person with your cat. If so - always make sure you sign a contract and include all the necessary conditions for you, your cat and the cat sitter. Thanks to having a formal contract you can be sure that in a crisis situation both you and the cat nanny have a written permission to take action.
Supurrvise your cat with a camera
A cat sitter can snap photos of your cat for you and report to you daily. From our experience, however, we know that when missing our cats, we’d love to see them as often as possible, not only when the cat nanny visits them. A great and relatively cheap solution is to install a small camera - set up on the kitchen counter, in the corner of your living room or the bedroom will allow you to watch your cats’ adventures while you’re gone, any time of the day. If you decide to use the help of a cat sitter and you are installing a camera (or if you simply have security cameras in your home and they’re recording video), be sure to communicate it to the cat sitter. It’s a matter of keeping an honest and open relationship, but also your own protection. A professional cat sitter shouldn’t have any objections to you having a camera on while you’re away.
Did you, fabCats, have at any point in your lives used the help of a cat sitter when you were travelling? How did it go with looking for one and leaving the cat in their care? Or maybe you’re hearing about this concept for the first time and are planning to check out cat sitters in your area? Be sure to share your stories in the comments below and speak up about your experiences. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that all your trips, either with cats or without them, run smoothly and without unnecessary stress :)