The out-door lights are ready to go on anytime now. We are having some very mild weather, which is nice after the cold snap that surprised us last week. And I'm thankful for the warm nights for the ferals in our area. I'm still feeding some if you were wondering. I barely ever see them but the food is eaten nightly.
Sierra knows how to sleep. She is a master at 'tucking up' and has perfected many yoga positions that I remember when I joined a class a few years ago. This one is her own, though.
What to look for in a cat-sitter
I believe, after 20 years of cat-sitting, that there is 'no place like home' for your cat.
The first step to finding a good cat-sitter is to contact your vet clinic in your area and ask if there is a cat-sitter registered with them that they can recommend. If you are lucky, you may find that one of the vet-techs will provide cat-care in your home while you travel. Also, your local pet stores may have someone who is advertising through them and hopefully will have business cards there for the public. The best way to find one is word of mouth. The cat-sitter should be bonded. Always ask for at least three references and CALL THEM before your first meeting. Ask the cat-sitter if there is a fee for them to meet you and pick up the key so you don't find out after the fact.
Once you have found someone to care for your cat then the next step is to have a meeting with them in your home. Have a list of questions written down to ask and do expect the cat-sitter to also have many questions about your feline. A well-organized sitter will have a form for you to fill in that will provide them with all the answers they need about your cat, your home, your plans of travel and their fees. There should be a form that gives her/him instructions as to what to do if your cat needs vet-care while you are away. This needs to be signed by you with explicit instructions.
Your cat-sitter should immediately show interest in your cat and be willing to spend a bit of time for the cat to get to know them. That way it won't be such a surprise to your cat when she/he arrives to start cat-sitting. Show the cat-sitter where everything is kept and where the litter boxes are located. Be sure to go over the cleaning regime. Have the food cupboard well stocked and in easy reach.
Ask the cat-sitter what she/he will do to bond with your cat. Will they play and take time to groom if kitty allows?
If there is daily medication involved have the sitter arrive at a time when you are pilling your cat so the process can be shown easier. I recommend pill-pockets if the cat will eat them as it will be less stressful for your cat and no chance that your sitter will lose a finger. *ouch*
If there is insulin for diabetes to be administered the cat-sitter will have to arrive at a time to see the procedure and you must be very sure that they are comfortable with this. They need to know all the signs to watch for so again I can't stress how important that they come with some experience.
When trying out a new cat-sitter I recommend you do this when you are away for only a couple of days. You need to build confidence in the sitter before leaving your cat for an extended length of time.
Be sure to get your sitter's email address before you leave. That way, you can keep in touch daily for the first time if you so wish. Your cat-sitter should be fine with this.
Leave a key with your neighbour as a back-up for your sitter.
Go over what lights should be left on for the cat (and there should be a few) and leave a radio on perhaps in the kitchen so the cat feels less lonely between visits.
If you require two visits a day, keep curtains open where the cat likes to sit in the window and have the sitter close them at night.
So that is a bit on 'what to look for in a cat-sitter'. Because I am in a small town most of my business has come from word of mouth but I do advertise at vet clinics and pet stores.
Remember - you must feel comfortable with your cat-sitter so take your time with your interview. A love for cats should be clearly evident.
If there is anything I missed and you have questions...ask away!