Monday, November 18, 2013

There's no place like home

I continue to decorate the kitchen Christmas tree. YES! It is still standing although Audrey spends much of her day sitting by it pondering her next move. Cinnamon sticks add a nice aroma as you pass by. The Christmas music has begun and I baked chocolate cake for dinner while listening to Breath of Heaven by Vince Gil.
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!

hugs, Deb


  1. Great tips, Deb! We are really happy with the young woman who looks after our cats/barn animals. The cats really seem to love her, and she loves them! She meets all the criteria you set out above. :)

  2. Thanks for the great information, Deb.

    So glad the kitchen tree has not become another cat tree for AA! That is great that she is just looking! Bless her Sweet Little Heart!

    Lily, WA, USA

  3. Thanks so much Deb! I need to bookmark this post and remember it when I start looking for a cat sitter.

  4. WOW! That was very helpful. I think that it is important to find someone that really likes cats. Even though most cat people are dog people, not all dog people are cat people! We have been looking for a cat sitter for years. A good one is hard to find.
    Thanks for the tips! :)
    P.S. silly kitties! They make me smile!

  5. Excellent tips for cat sitters, Deb!

    Sierra's sleeping position is very welcoming!

  6. I never go anywhere so have never needed a cat sitter...but I'm glad there are people like you for those who do. I am worried this year about putting my tree up. This will be the 2nd Christmas for 2 of our cats and they seem wilder now than when they were kittens. My Persian is so good--I don't have to worry about her. Wish me luck!

  7. I haven't been by to visit in a while, but had some time, so here I am! I love the new header, I'll have to read back in older posts to see who created that delightful work. I love it!

    Christmas is coming and you will be ready! I love how you transition into the season using all the senses - wish I could experience the cinnamon and the other aromas from herbal teas and Christmas decor.

  8. Deb, we have never left our cats for very long. When we do have to leave for a weekend, our boys come over to take care of them. I did have a dear friend (she has since passed) who absolutely loved our cats and would come by to just visit and play with them when we were out of town. She was a treasure... and the cats loved her.

  9. This is my first time commenting but just had to let you know how much I love your blog! So comfortable and inviting.

    Love your tips as I aspire to be a cat sitter when I retire, though at 54, that won't be for a while yet! I live in the Washington, DC area and I have exchanged cat sitting with neighbors and other neighbors on my block have often commented on seeing me walk up the street with my fishing toy in hand. If I may add one tip for cat sitters or those looking for a cat sitter who have a more shy or nervous kitty is for the cat sitter to bring a book with them. One cat I've taken care of is very shy but always curious when I come over yet won't allow me to pet her. After I get all the business out of the way (food, water, and litter clean up), I'll sit and just read aloud the book I'm currently reading. Or, I bring a crossword puzzle and read the clues out loud and ask the kitties what they think a 7 letter word for ________ is?

    If the cats don't like to interact with you, I still think it comforts them to have someone there, plus you're not looking right at them when you're talking thus making you less of a threat.

    Oh, and I hope you don't mind that I'm stealing your idea of starting to gather lots of little Christmas trees to put in my curio cupboard with a string of lights--great idea!

    Christine with her five kitties:
    Sweet Pea, C. Lisa, Oliver, Toby, and Figaro

    1. Thank you Christine for your comment. Your suggestion to sit and read is a very good one and I know that shy cats will be comforted by you just talking out loud and making them feel less lonely. I do read sometimes when I cat-sit. I did a post on that once last year. I'll try to bring it up again. I made a point that cats love to be read to and they are comforted by the sound of your voice. If you have a blog, Christine, please let me know so I can 'meet' you cats. Deb

  10. Excellent post Deb you really love what you do and you are an excellent person and cat sitter! I don´t travel at all and it´s been 3 years since I went on holidays only for 3 or 4 days cause I miss my cats a lot! In that case a neighbour friend of mine Amelia takes care of them but I call her all the time asking if the oldies have eaten enough or if Peque who uses to dissapear for all day long has return! It´s so stressing... for both! God blesses you cat sitters for having such a big heart!

  11. Vow! nice ways to judge a good cat-sitter. Useful tips that can really make a difference when applied. Thanks.