Sunday, April 13, 2014

How to Be a Great Petsitter for Cats

by Amanda L. Maus DVM
Catalina Pet Hospital

Tucson, AZ

Previously, we have discussed how to screen a pet sitter for your own cats.  This time, we will look at how to be a great cat sitter for someone else.  Being responsible and trustworthy are the top qualities that a cat parent is looking for in a cat sitter.  They are entrusting you with a furry family member's health and well being. 

If you have not met the cat(s) before, arrange a meet and greet so that you can have an idea of the cat's personality and general appearance.  Ask the cat parent about any known health problems or odd behaviors.  Become familiar with where the food is kept, where the food and water dishes are located, where the litter boxes are, and where the cat's favorite hiding places are.  Discuss the exact dates of the trip and plan to be available for an extra day or two later in case of travel delays.  Ask if there will be a duty list provided and if not, take notes of the expected feeding schedule, etc.  Determine the frequency and method that the pet parent would like to receive updates.  Make sure you have emergency contact information for the pet parent and their veterinarian.

While pet sitting, follow the given instructions to help maintain the cat's routine which helps decrease stress.  Monitor the cat's appetite closely and only feed the food or treats in the quantity requested by the pet parent.  Allow extra time during your visits for some quality time, including petting and playing with appropriate toys.  When scooping the litter box, examine the bowel movements for consistency and the urine clump size and quantity.  Check all of the water dishes and refill with fresh water as needed.  Survey the the home daily for evidence of hairballs or vomit, as well as anything the cat may get in trouble with if they find it.  If you have any concerns, it is better to contact the pet parent than to wait.   Changes such as decreased appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, or urinating outside of the litter box may require a trip to the veterinarian. 

Following the guidelines listed above will help guarantee a successful pet sitting experience for everyone. 

PAWSitively CATS has adoptions on Saturdays at the shelter at 3432 E. Ft. Lowell Rd from 12-4 pm and at PetCo at 22nd/Harrison from 11am-3pm, or by appointment.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't ask for a better cat-sitter when I am out of town!!! She knows who she is! ;)