People need cat sitters for many different reasons. Maybe they are heading out for an extended vacation or taking a weekend break away from home and the daily work grind. Sometimes cat parents have to leave home for planned business events or reunions, weddings, births, and the like. Or, perhaps they have unexpected or an unplanned trip to another city, for a funeral, or to see a medical specialist. A cat parent may even want someone to check in on their cats during the working day.
When they are absent from home, a cat parent is going to need the services of a dedicated cat sitter, and therefore this article aims to highlight the duties of a professional cat sitter. So, if you are a cat owner or a pet sitter, this post is going to help you. Please read on to learn more as we tackle the question: “What does a cat sitter do?”
The Purr-Fect Cat Sitter
Like all qualified pet sitters, cat sitters should love all pets but with a genuine liking of cats. After all, not all pet sitters are cat fanciers! Cat sitters should be trained, bonded, and insured.
So, what does a cat sitter do?
The Cat Sitter’s Duties List
The following is not meant to be a one-size-fits-all list. It is merely a suggested list. Cat sitters and owners can add or exclude anything as they see fit. Everything they deem as important, though, should be included in a contract between the two parties.
- Feeds their regular food per the directions of the client.
- Makes sure the cat has easy access to plenty of fresh water.
- Give the cat some challenging playtime with toys.
- Do a cursory check for injury, illness, hairballs, fleas, etc.
- Brush the cat as needed, especially long-haired cats.
- Clean litter boxes and replace litter as needed.
- Clean and sanitize any messes the cat may have made.
- Know the value of the cat, i.e., papered breeder, common, etc.
- Know the sex, age, and reproductive status of the cat.
- Neutered? Spayed? Pregnant? With kittens? Etc.
The following basic guidelines should be understood and practiced by every professional cat sitter. These points are for the protection of the beloved cats, the cat parent, and the cat sitter.
The wellbeing of the cats is always the sitter’s top priority.
Both parties need to be firm on this point. The wellbeing of the cat has to be the aim of both parties. It is, after all, the whole point of hiring a cat sitter.
This means all duties like feeding, litter box cleaning, playtime, messaging the client, etc. need to be clearly outlined in a contract signed by both parties. This should be common sense, but it is amazing how many times pet sitters are hired without a written contract.
There should always be a written contract.
Another way to look at it is that “you get what you pay for.” If, as a cat owner, you cheaply hire your teenage niece―or some other untrained person―you and your feline(s) could suffer an adverse outcome. Should the cat get lost, sick, or worse, then you’ll have no recourse―no one to blame but yourself―without a binding pet sitter contract.
At a minimum, the contract should stipulate the sitter’s rate as well as the responsibilities and liabilities of the sitter and the cat owner. And, contact information for both parties should be included in the contract.
A veterinarian’s emergency contact information (phone, messenger service, etc.) should be available to the sitter, preferably the client’s usual vet. But, a vet, the sitter, knows well is okay too, provided the client agrees to that in the contract.
The sitter should provide valid references.
While it is up to the sitter to provide references, it’s up to the client to follow through by contacting those references. That means the client should do their due diligence in advance of hiring any pet sitter.
Sometimes, due to emergency events, short notice can happen. Because of this, it is smart for the client to check references, backgrounds, licensing, etc. in advance of needing a cat sitter’s services. In other words, cat parents should do their sitter shopping in advance. You might want to try one or more sitters out, but, at the very least, don’t wait till the last minute to choose a sitter. That is a recipe for disappointment or worse.
As noted in the beginning, the reasons why cat owners may need to hire a cat sitter are varied and many.
But, the important thing is that the owner’s cat or cats are well taken care of in their absence. We can’t stress enough the importance of hiring a qualified sitter who loves cats. And one who agrees to the terms of a written contract. As a cat owner, it should be important to hire right and be willing to pay for quality service.
When you are ready to travel, we will be here and ready to help care for your kitties in your absence. Please reach out to 2 Paws Up Inc. Download our app 2 Paws Up at the App Store or on Google Play.