Why You Should Hire a Cat Sitter

Cat SitterWhen going out of town, many cat owners leave a clean litter box and plenty of food and water, and assume that feline family members can take care of themselves. If you know your cat well, however, then you know that beneath that independent spirit lies a creature who needs attention and affection — on his own terms, of course.

Cat sitters can never substitute for a feline’s master, but they can meet your cat’s needs and ensure that he doesn’t suffer from too much change in his routine. Feeding times are particularly tricky when leaving a cat unattended. If he is accustomed to receiving food at specific intervals, then allowing free feeding even for a few days can affect his emotional and digestive health. Going back to his previous schedule when you return may cause further distress.

Cats are also fastidious creatures, as evidenced by their constant grooming. Leaving their litter box unattended for a few days may not seem like a big deal to their human owners, but to a feline it can be nerve-racking. If their bathroom area does not meet their standards, they will go elsewhere.

Although they would like us to think we need them more than they need us, cats depend on humans for companionship. Whether you choose to board your pets or have a sitter come to your home, your cat will handle your absence much more successfully with another human around. Cat sitters can maintain your feline’s routine, keep his environment sanitary and — most importantly to him — scratch that spot right above his tail while you are gone.

Photo: Flickr

Cost of a Cat Sitter – How Much Should You Pay a Day?

Cat SittingCat sitters’ fees vary from region to region and are based on fees for nearby animal boarding. Fees are also based on which service package you choose. All cat sitters should check on the animals daily, provide fresh water and food, empty the cat litter box if necessary and spend time with the animal.

If your cat has special needs or tends to get into trouble when you are away, the cat sitter will likely recommend an extended daily visit to your home, which may cost more than the basic rate. While cat sitters are capable of administering medication, if your cat has a serious medical condition, it’s wise to consider leaving the animal with a friend or loved one. If you do not have a nearby friend, consider a boarding facility unless you have previous experience with the cat sitter and are confident the animal will receive its medication on time.

Cat sitters will play, cuddle and stroke your animal and also check the animal for any unusual developments, such as a skin irritation, an eye infection, loose stools or extreme fatigue. Be sure to give the cat sitter an emergency number for you as well as the number to your veterinarian of choice. Cat sitters will be quick to inform you if your pet takes sudden ill.

For additional fees, cat sitters are usually available to provide services such as picking up the mail, bringing in the newspaper, watering plants, caring for the lawn and relaying phone messages.

When choosing a cat sitter, check references and spend time with the sitter and your animal to be certain the two get along well.

Photo: Flickr

What Can a Cat Sitter do to Take Care of Cats in His Care?

Cats are social creatures that love to be given attention. Unfortunately, you can’t always be around to give your cat the love it deserves. Whether you’re on vacation, visiting family, or both, you and your cat can highly benefit from hiring a cat sitter.

A good cat sitter should always be paying attention to your cats needs. This means both listening for verbal cues, such as meowing, and watching for visual cues, like watery eyes. When you pay attention to what your cat is doing, and how it is acting, you can gain insight into whether it is hungry, thirsty, playful, sick, etc.

You probably already know how much cats love to be pet, so you can understand the importance of having someone to give your cat attention when you aren’t around. A good cat sitter will spend time with your cat to ensure that it doesn’t get lonely when you’re not around.

Lastly, a good cat sitter will maintain your normal feeding schedule while you’re not around, making sure that your cat stays feeling secure and comfortable in your absence. If you stick to these tips, you’ll be sure to find a good, reliable cat sitter in no time.

Why Cats Need a Cat Sitter

Although cats have a reputation for being independent, this doesn’t mean that leaving your feline friends home alone for very long is a good idea. Accidents happen. Everything from a sudden illness to an overturned water dish can be disastrous if it happens while your cat is home alone, but a cat sitter can make sure these issues are handled promptly.

Having a pet sitter is even more important if your animal is older, disabled in any way, or you plan to be gone more than a normal workday. Kittens also benefit from the human socialization from a sitter.

A good cat sitter should know your cat personally, to the point that they are able to spot strange behavior. The sitter should also have no problem picking up your cat and inspecting it carefully. If your animal runs from them, hisses, or is otherwise opposed, especially if the cat is normally friendly, that particular sitter may be a poor fit.

An astute sitter will also be on the lookout for any other home issues arising from the pet, such as soiling incidents or overturned dishes. Having a sitter entering the home also deters burglary by making the home appear occupied.

Why You Should Hire a Cat Sitter

Cats seem to be much more independent creatures than dogs, less reliant on us to give them our every moment. But cats can become lonely and stressed too, especially if you are going to be away from the house for any prolonged period of time.

A cat sitter will be able to make sure that your cats are doing well, and they should do this with loving care. Check out the references of potential cat sitters, and call customers to see if they have been pleased with their services. Invite the potential cat sitter over, and see if she gets along well with your cats.

Cats do not do well in a veterinary or boarding facility, perhaps even less handily as a dog will. They are accustomed to moving around a lot more than some dogs do, and will resent the lack of space, and will miss the one on one interaction they get with you.

You will have an easier time concentrating on that late business meeting, or spending time away, if you know that someone is carefully and patiently taking care of your cats, while you can’t be home.

If you aren’t home, your cats may become stressed and bored. They will fare much better if you have someone stopping by, ideally twice a day or so, to check on your cats, pick their litter boxes, and make sure their food and water containers are full.

Additionally, cats may act out if they are left alone, ripping and scratching at furniture they usually ignore while you’re at home. Good cat sitters should be attuned to behavior changes in your cats, or anything that might indicate that your cats are not feeling well. They should provide some playtime and affection to your cats, so that the time you’re away won’t overwhelm them as much.

The Truth About Cats and… Cats

Lisa Ahmari is a pet nanny at and owner of Bellingham Bay Pet Nannies in Bellingham, Washington.

Every now and then I will hear a confirmed dog-lover say in a mystified voice: “I just don’t understand how people can love cats as much as dog lovers love dogs!”

The speaker is often someone who has never lived with a cat or has had a bad experience with a cat known to be impatient or aggressive. Very likely, this person has also been suckered by the untruths about cats that permeate our culture. Cartoons, such as “Lady and the Tramp”, which portray cats as devious, mean-spirited animals, as well as cruel myths from as far back as the Dark Ages, have made kitty-human relations an unfairly rigged game.

Those of us who have had the honor of befriending many kitties throughout the years know the truth: Cats are not devious or mean-spirited. They are not aloof and they do not “use” humans for food and shelter. The bond that is created between a cat and a human can be as strong and deep as the one that can exist between humans and dogs. The cat just speaks a completely different language than the dog. Humans who fail to acknowledge this and fail to learn the language of cats will never be privy to the magic, beauty, love and entertainment a feline companion brings into one’s life.

Dogs are pack-oriented, needing social connection to survive. Just like us. They have been interwoven into our society for more than 15,000 years. They are wonderful, sweet, fun companions. Cats are not pack-oriented. When feral, they join social groups for company, but not out of necessity. Because of this, they don’t play by the same rule book that is used by dogs and humans. After so many centuries of familiarity, the dog adores us almost by default. If a cat adores you, it is because he or she has CHOSEN you, making a CONSCIOUS decision to trust you and lavish you with loving attention.

The truth about cats? They are warm, charming, affectionate, elegant, dignified, playful, independent and strong. They can also be absolutely hilarious. Other than those who have physical or psychological ailments, I have never met a cat that did not have a sense of humor, but each has its own particular brand of humor.

Cats are graceful, sophisticated and self-confident. The majority of them are masters at setting boundaries and demanding respect from every being they meet. Most are furry little bundles of courage, almost from the time they leave the womb. They are softness and serenity and having a cat curled against you, purring with contentment, will do more to alleviate your stress than any trip to a spa.

So to the dog lovers who don’t understand us “cat-worshippers”, I commend (and share) your bond with our canine buddies. But until you are also owned by a cat, you’ll never know the magic you are missing.

Bellingham Bay Pet Nannies

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.

Cat Sitter Blogger Introduction

For those of you who are reading this blog, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Elliot, and I live on the Upper West Side of New York City with my wife Karen, and our dog Lucy (a Puggle – half Beagle and half Pug). We don’t own a cat, as my wife is allergic, but we are both animal lovers.

I own and operate a few websites, include a related dog website – DogWalker.com, a directory of dog walkers from across the US. I bought DogWalker.com in October of 2009 from the person who initially registered it in the 1990s but hadn’t built a website.

DogWalker.com was launched in November of 2009, and it now has dozens of dog walker listings. In December of 2009, I was able to buy CatSitter.com, a domain name that sat dormant for a few years. I thought it would be a great complementary site, since many companies who offer dog walking services also offer cat sitting services as well. I am excited to announce the launch of the site today.

If you are a cat sitter and would like to contribute blog posts on CatSitter.com, please contact me. I look forward to sharing cat stories with you and learning from and with you as well.