With the holiday season in full swing and the new year approaching, you’re likely planning family trips or perhaps even scheduling that 2016 vacation. But if you’re booking a trip, be sure you’re making plans for your feline friend as well.
While most cats will be just fine spending a few days home alone if they have food, water and a litter box, accidents can happen. So the best way to keep your kitty safe — and give yourself some peace of mind — is to hire a responsible cat sitter.
Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect caregiver for your cat.
1. Ask for recommendations
Talk to your friends, family and veterinarian to see if they can recommend a pet sitter. You can also look for a sitter through the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and Pet Sitters International, two professional organizations for pet sitters.
2. Conduct Interviews
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential kitty caregivers, set up a time to meet to help you determine if a sitter is a good match for your cat. Here’s a list of questions to consider asking:
- How long have you worked in this profession?
- Can you provide proof of a clean criminal history?
- How much experience do you have with cats?
- What kind of training have you done, and what certifications do you hold?
- What kind of pet-sitting services do you provide? Will you simply stop by and feed my cat, or will you pet her, engage in playtime, etc.?
- Will you provide photos and updates about my cat?
- What will you do if my cat becomes ill? What’s your plan if my cat goes missing?
- Do you have a back-up sitter who can take over if there’s an emergency and you can’t check on my cat?
- Are you licensed, insured and bonded?
- Do you have a contract? What are your fees?
- Do you have references I can get in touch with?
3. Contact References
Now that you’ve interviewed your potential cat sitter, call the references he or she provided. Be sure to ask how long the sitter has worked for them and inquire about any problems that may have arisen in the past.
4. Make Introductions
You want to ensure that both you and your kitty are comfortable with the person who will have access to your home, so it’s important to test the waters first. Schedule a time for the sitter to meet your cat and see how they interact.
You may also want to consider doing a trial run. If there’s a day you’ll be out late or a weekend when you have an overnight commitment, arrange for the sitter to care for your cat for the day. This will give you the opportunity to see if the sitter provides adequate care, as well as alert you to any red flags.
While finding the perfect person to care for your cat may be a bit of work upfront, you’ll be able to enjoy your time away from home much more knowing that your kitty is in good hands.
by Laura Moss of Adventure Cats