Hope you have great plans for the Labor Day weekend. And, if you are venturing out into the world, I hope you have a trustworthy and reliable pet setter.
Though this year has not been great for travel plans, many people are planning short trips and are not venturing too far from home. However, if your trip is longer than one night—or maybe two at most—away from home, we hope you have retained the best helper to keep Kitty’s world purring smoothly along.
Pet sitters come in both professional and amateur types. They offer many different services as well. Some will not only feed and play with Kitty but will brush her and give treats. They may water your plants, bring in the mail, and take out the trash. By enabling Kitty to remain in the comfort of her home, you are avoid the stressors and health risks she could encounter at a boarding facility. While it may be a temptation to bribe a neighbor’s kids to check on Kitty, this is not the safest way to get the peace of mind you want while you are travelling.
First, realize that you may not find a care taker immediately. You need to like and trust them with your feline as well as your entire domicile. The best ones will book up early for popular holidays, so start your search well in advance of when they are needed. Further, if Kitty has certain special requirements like pills or injections, prepare to take on a pro or semi-pro who has lots of good experience.
For the best sitter for your needs and those of your fur family member, start by asking for referrals from your vet, your pet store, and your cat-owning friends. You can research Pet Sitters International (petsit.com) and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (petsitters.org). Also, you can check with your local news and area websites under Pet Sitters. I know many a vet tech who moonlights as a pet sitter part time for extra cash. Perfect!
When you interview them, the applicants should ask you questions about Kitty’s care and feeding, disposing of wastes, the proper quantity and dispensing of food and treats as well as clean-up to be done. They should offer to scoop litter boxes daily, but do not expect them to change the litter box unless you will be away for a week or two. Further, they should inquire where extra food and litter is kept, along with toys and any other necessary supplies or medications.
For your part, you should provide enough food and litter to easily last the duration of your absence. You can question the sitter about how long she has been pet sitting and ask for references. You can advise the sitter about Kitty’s favorite hiding spots, favorite toys, and any traits peculiar to her. Does she hide from strangers? What else? Make sure the sitter will visit at least once per day and finally, you should negotiate the terms of payment. These will vary according to experience, the amount of services provided, etc. Don’t forget to see if Kitty likes them. If there is immediate bonding, that is awesome. But remember, Kitty is often shy or skittish at first around those she does not know.
After you hire your pet sitter, give them your house key before your trip. It is a good idea to provide written instructions on everything you went over. Provide a phone number where they can reach you in case of questions, and give them the vet’s phone number in case of emergency. If you will be away more than a couple of days, it is not a bad idea to let the vet know that the sitter will be responsible for Kitty during this time. If you can, provide the contact number of a friend or relative who they can call in case of unforeseen household issues. Tell the sitter you will call upon your return. Since sometimes travel delays occur. You may arrive home later than planned.
Finally, rest assured you have done your homework! You can enjoy your trip and not worry since your fur baby is in competent, trustworthy, capable hands.
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