A Count Ability

Sari Reis is a pet care professional and owner of Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services in San Diego, California.

As a professional cat sitter and an owner of cats for more than thirty years I know that almost all felines have favorite hiding places. Often it is under a bed or behind a sofa and frequently it is in a closet. I even have one client whose cat climbs into a cabinet above the refrigerator when she wants to hide out.

During the initial consultation appointment it is important to ask where each cat, if there is more than one, likes to go when it needs to find refuge. Sometimes just hearing the key in the door will set them running off to their special place. It is the responsibility of a professional cat sitter to make sure they are able to find and observe each cat every time they visit. That is the only way to be assured that they are healthy and safe.

Since most cats do not respond to the “Come” command or the calling of their name, or “here kitty, kitty”, it is often a difficult task not only to locate them, (especially if the owner has indicated that they have several hiding places), but to physically check them for any potential problems. Sometimes hearing their canned food being opened or the sound of kibble hitting their bowl will bring them out…but not always. Regardless of how long it takes, it is the pet sitter’s responsibility to search every hiding place and nook and cranny to check out the cat’s well-being.

On the first visit for one of my clients who owns three indoor cats I was only able to physically account for two of them. Unfortunately of the three, two of them were very similar in appearance but varied in size. The two that I saw were not the two that were the same color and as they ran around the living room and kitchen I wasn’t sure if I had viewed the third one or was seeing the same one over again. I had to see the two similar ones at the same time to be sure I had accounted for all three.

After putting out their food, giving them fresh water and cleaning the litter box I had still only identified two cats. So I began looking into the hiding places that the owner had indicated; under her bed, in her bedroom closet, behind the living room couch, but still no sign of the third cat. I got down on my ands knees and looked under every piece of furniture, inside kitchen cupboards etc. Still no sign of her.

There was one door that the owner had kept closed while she was away, presumably to keep either the cats or myself out of the room. In desperation and making the executive decision to perhaps violate some privacy, I opened the door to the room. Sure enough there was the third cat. She had been locked in the room since the owner had left early that morning. If I not been persistent in locating her, she would have had no access to food, water or the litter box. Fortunately, she was none the worse for wear but I was certainly happy that I had found her and could report to the owner that all cats were well.

Since that incident I have asked all of my clients to make sure they can account for the whereabouts of all their animals before they leave.