Cat-Sitting Services: 3 tips for better cat sitting & why every other day visits shouldn’t be an option.
Picture this: You arrive at a home to check on a cat for a family whom you’ve been providing cat-sitting services while they are away on a two-week vacation. It’s Monday and the cat was timid, yet playful when you last checked on her on Saturday. Today when you enter the home, however, you find the cat unresponsive and lying in puddles of vomit. You scoop up the cat and race to the nearest emergency vet, while trying to reach the owners on their overseas trip.
After a quick examination, the veterinarian determines this cat had developed a urethral blockage and was unable to urinate. With this condition, her bladder had quickly become distended and kidney toxins were poisoning her blood stream. Once the blockage is relieved and intravenous fluids are given, the cat is expected to make a full recovery—but the chance for survival would have been virtually nonexistent had you arrived at the home even an hour or two later.
Lesson Learned: Cats need daily visits, too.
While relieved, the pet owners have learned a valuable lesson—anything can happen when a pet is left alone. As a pet sitter you’ve also learned a valuable lesson: Don’t let pet owners “bully” or persuade you into making exceptions to your policies regarding every day visits. Any type of pet-care arrangements, including the frequency of visits, should be included in your pet-sitting service contract and signed by the client. But, remember, if something goes wrong, who do you think the owner will blame?
Anything can happen when pets are left alone—and cats are no exception. From potentially lethal ailments like the urethral blockage to potential home damages from a cat accidentally loosening a water hose behind a washing machine, not checking on a cat daily while the owner is away can have costly—or tragic—consequences for your business.
3 tips for better cat-sitting visits
With 38.9 million U.S. households owning a cat, the odds are that cat-sitting services make up a large part of your pet-sitting business. While dogs may rule, cats are king—and true cat lovers spare no expense to ensure that their beloved kitties receive the best care possible. For pet sitters, keeping cat clients happy should be a top priority. While many may agree dog-sitting visits require more work, attention should also be given to providing quality cat-sitting services.
Consider these three tips to keep your clients meowing about your purrfect cat-sitting services:
- Playtime, playtime and more playtime! Feeding, watering and litter box maintenance are important—but cats “just wanna have fun!” Most cats are naturally active and playtime offers the important physical and mental stimulation they need. Remember to adjust the level of play to the cat’s age, health and physical ability and always avoid rough play. Homemade toys such as a knotted sock or cat-specific toys such as a feather dancer are often big hits. Just remember to have the clients’ approval for any toys you may use.
- Brush up on your basic feline grooming. Regular grooming for cats is important to not only keep cats looking and feeling good, but to also get them comfortable with regular handling. Weekly brushing or combing stimulates and conditions cats’ skin. It can also help prevent mats and control hairballs. It’s also a great bonding time for you and your kitty-clients—and a bonus cat-sitting service that owners will appreciate! Tooth brushing and occasional cleaning of the cat’s eyes and ears are other bonus services sure to be appreciated by the cat owner. As always, remember to make sure you have permission from the client to offer these cat-sitting services.
- Become a “litter box extraordinaire!” Litter box maintenance is a subject dear to the hearts of cat owners and a clean litter box equals a happy cat-owning client. Besides cleaning the litter box, make sure litter is always swept up from the floor around the box so that it does not get tracked around the house. Also make sure that litter is removed from under and shaken out of any rug that may be under or around the litter box. Note your litter box expertise in any promotions of your cat-sitting services—and they are sure to catch the eye of even the most discriminate cat owners!
Cat-sitting visits can be some of the most fun and relaxing visits of your day and offer a nice break from outdoor dog walks, particularly in inclement weather. Plus, every pet sitter agrees that there’s no feeling quite like that of having a particularly finicky, shy or timid cat finally warm up to you on your pet-sitting visits. Put policies in place, such as mandatory every day visits, and incorporate best practices like the three tips described above to make sure your cat-sitting clients receive the best service possible.
Pet sitters, are there any other tips you’d add for providing the best possible cat-sitting services? Are there any special tricks you use with your clients that have proven successful for your business?