They may be more independent than dogs, but cats can’t be left alone while you’re out of town. Here are a few tips on hiring the right cat sitter.
Hiring a cat sitter can be a daunting process because there are a lot of people out there who are willing to pet sit but not all of them are qualified enough or even kind and patient enough. It’s a difficult task of weeding out who is right for this position takes a bit of time and plenty of research. But if you follow the tips below, it should make the process easier on you and you’ll hopefully be able to find a cat sitter who suits your needs, fulfills your requirements, and is a hit with your kitty as well.
Start by Researching Pet Sitting Services
Many small businesses open up every day offering pet sitting services, so doing a bit of research online may yield a surprising number of results in your area that you can further research and narrow down to the best candidates. Whenever you do come across a pet sitter or pet sitting company, though, be sure to look up reviews left by other customers. That way, you can gauge how effective they really are at what they do and if they really fulfill all of the claims that they make on their website.
You can also find pet sitters through referrals. You can ask your veterinarian, local humane society, or friends and family. You may be surprised to learn that these individuals know very qualified and dedicated pet sitters. But again, even though you’re getting a referral from someone you trust, it certainly doesn’t hurt to go a step further and look up reviews on these options as well.
Interview a Potential Cat Sitter First
Never hire a cat sitter blindly. Instead, take some time to interview potential cat sitters over the phone or, better yet, in person. You can meet in a public place or you can invite these pet sitters to your home to meet your animals and see how they interact with one another. This will tell you a lot about how these individuals react to new pets they have never met before, as well as how your cat will react to being around them.
Questions to Ask
During the interview process, you should find out what experience a pet sitter has with felines. Have they volunteered in animal sheltering and rescue? Have they owned cats themselves? Do they understand how to deal with cats of all ages and what goes into their care?
The pet sitter you hire should be insured and bonded. This means that commercial liability insurance will cover the costs associated with negligence and accidents while you are away from home and the sitter is taking care of your pets. Being bonded means you will also be protected in the event the sitter, or another employee of the pet sitting company, steals from you.
A reputable cat sitter will also provide you with a written contract stating the fees you are required to pay and the services that will be provided to you and your cat.
Ask for references from the cat sitter. Like reviews, these will help you determine if the individual is really a good fit and lives up to his or her claims.
Other Things to Consider Before Hiring
Before settling on a pet sitter, you should also be sure they have training in dealing with cats. This can include a certification in pet first aid, for example, or any other form of training that would make them qualified to deal with felines and really understand their needs.
Every cat sitter you interview should have a backup sitter available in the event they cannot make an appointment. This will ensure your cat is always taken care of. Just be sure to get plenty of information on the backup sitter(s) as well.
Your cat sitter should be associated with a reputable veterinarian who would care for your kitty in the event of an emergency. A good sitter will also know how to medicate your cat if necessary, and be more than willing to record detailed notes during every visit to fill you in on what happened. The sitter should even be willing to communicate with you while you’re away from home to assure you that everything is fine, as well as alert you right away to emergencies.
If you hire the right cat sitter, when you return home, your kitty will be safe and content, just as you left him. Taking the time to properly interview your cat sitter is a great way to ensure all will be well while you are away.
Lisa Selvaggio is a writer who has volunteered in animal rescue, caring for cats of all ages and learning their many quirks. She is certified in clinical pet nutrition, and enjoys helping pet parents give their fur babies the best care possible. Read more of her work online at LSA Writing Services.