Last Updated on: June 25, 2018 by Ingrid King

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We’ve always had great luck with cat sitters. For almost 20 years, Ronnie took care of my cats. All my cats, going all the way back to Feebee, loved her. She went far above and beyond what I’d expect from an ordinary cat sitter. When she retired, I thought I might never be able to travel again, but once again, we’ve been fortunate: Valerie, the woman Ronnie sold her business to, has quickly become our new best friend

She doesn’t just feed Allegra and Ruby and clean out their litter boxes when she comes over. She also spends time brushing them, playing with them, and just hanging out with them. She often stays a little longer than her normal half-hour client visit if she feels they need a little extra attention.

I don’t like to travel because I miss my cats too much when I’m gone, but when I do, I feel more relaxed knowing that they’re in Valerie’s capable and loving care.

However, even though Valerie has been caring for my cats for several years now, I still leave her written instructions for each visit. They’re at least one full page long. Typed. And rather than thinking that I’m an out-of control control-freak, Valerie actually appreciates this attention to detail.

Your cat sitter needs to know more than just what and when to feed your cats. Providing the following information will make life easier for your cat sitter, and it will put your mind at ease when you have to leave home:

Preparations for your cat

  • Make sure there is enough food, supplements, medication, litter and other needed supplies for the time you’re going to be away. A side note for raw feeders: if your cat sitter is not familiar with raw feeding, it helps to freeze/refrigerate your cat’s meals in individual servings. That way, all your cat sitter will have to do is thaw and feed.
  • Leave detailed instructions for food, supplements and medications, and organize instructions by time of day.
  • Discuss with your cat sitter what to do if your cat is not eating. Sometimes, cats will respond to special foods or treats sprinkled on top of their regular food. Make sure your cat sitter knows all your tricks if you have a finicky cat.
  • Give your cat sitter’s name to your veterinarian so they’ll know that someone else will be caring for your cat while you’re gone. This is especially important if your cat has an ongoing health condition. You may also want to consider leaving your credit card number with your veterinarian’s office to cover any charges your cat sitter may incur while you’re away.
  • Make a list of your cat’s unusual habits.
  • Make a list of your cat’s hiding places.

Preparations for your home

  • Give your cat sitter two sets of keys: one to carry with her, and one to keep at her home as a back up.
  • Let your cat sitter know about anything unusual in your home (sinks that don’t drain, doors you want kept open or closed at all times, etc.)
  • If you expect your cat sitter to water your plants during your absence, leave detailed instructions. Not all cat sitters have green thumbs.
  • If you expect your cat sitter to turn on and off lights and open and close blinds during your absence, let her know.
  • If your cat sitter will arrive at your home after dark, make sure you leave an outside light on.

It should go without saying that you leave emergency contact phone numbers of where you can be reached while you’re away. Depending on where you travel, and how difficult it may be to reach you, you may also want to leave a local emergency contact.

Knowing I have someone like Valerie to care for Allegra and Ruby when I travel goes a long way toward peace of mind for me.

Do you have a cat sitter you trust? What types of preparations do you make for your cats before you go away?

Photo by Vasile Cotovanu, Flickr Creative Commons