Dog enthusiasts, take a brief pause; this one's all about the cats. You know, those enigmatic, freakishly athletic, and sometimes downright diva members of our households that can purr their way into our hearts and lives.
Leaving them with another person? A daunting thought. It's time to ditch the subpar sitters and find someone truly purr-fect. Here's your guide to finding a cat sitter that doesn't suck.
Exploring cat care options: which sitting and boarding services suit your feline?
When it comes to finding care for your cat while you're away, there are several options available, each with its own set of benefits. One popular choice is in-home cat sitting, where a sitter visits your home once or multiple times a day to feed, play with, and care for your feline. This option allows your cat to stay in his or her familiar surroundings, minimizing potential stress.
Another option is boarding at a cat-specific facility or a veterinarian's office. These places are equipped to handle cats and their unique needs, but it does mean your cat will be in an unfamiliar environment, which may be stressful for some.
Finally, there's in-home boarding, where your cat stays in the sitter's home. This can be a great option if the sitter has a cat-friendly environment and no other pets that might stress your kitty out.
Generally, cats tend to prefer their own territory, so in-home cat sitting often emerges as a favorite. However, the best choice ultimately depends on your cat's personality, comfort levels, and specific needs.
1. Recommendations rule
Cats aren't just pets; they're part of the family. And like any loved family member, you want the best for them. One of the most foolproof ways to ensure your cat's caretaker is top-notch? Personal recommendations.
Word of mouth: It might sound old-fashioned, but there's nothing like a glowing review from a friend or neighbor. It's not just about finding someone competent; it's about finding someone who understands the unique needs and personalities of cats.
Vet clinics: Often overlooked, your local vet might have an inside scoop. These clinics sometimes have bulletin boards or even a coveted list of known cat sitters. Remember, if a vet clinic is vouching for them, that's a pretty solid recommendation.
2. Do your online stalking (in a good way!)
In the age of technology, your next reliable cat sitter could be just a click away. The internet can be a treasure trove of potential sitters, but it's essential to tread with caution and know where to look.
Review platforms: Websites like Rover and Care are excellent starting points. Dive into those reviews, but don't just skim the surface. Look for reviewers who share similar cat concerns or situations as you do.
Social media: Check out their profiles. Are they sharing their daily cat adventures (with consent)? Or perhaps insightful articles about feline care? While it can’t tell you everything, their online presence can give you a glimpse into their cat-care philosophy.
3. The preliminary "cat-erview"
Before making any decisions, get to know the potential sitter. Think of this as a casual interview where you can get an overall feel for their energy and philosophy. Even better, a face-to-face meet ensures that your pet is comfortable in their presence.
Questions galore: The more questions they have about your cat, the better. It indicates genuine interest and a desire to tailor their care to your cat's specific needs. They should be asking about routines, diet, behaviors, and any other special requirements your cat might have.
House visit: This isn't just about them understanding your cat's environment. It's also about how your cat reacts to them. Remember, first impressions matter even in the feline world.
4. Look for specialized knowledge
Beyond the basics, there's something comforting about a cat sitter with a deeper understanding of feline needs.
Cat first aid: Accidents happen. It's crucial that your cat sitter knows basic first aid or, at the very least, shows a willingness to learn.
Behavioral insight: Some cats have quirks, from being shy around strangers to hating a particular toy's sound. A sitter with behavioral insights can navigate these unique traits, ensuring your cat stays stress-free.
5. Clear communication is key
A great cat sitter isn't just about the time they spend with your cat; it's also about the relationship they build with you.
Updates: You shouldn't be left wondering how your cat is doing. A worthwhile sitter will keep you in the loop, sharing cute moments, notable behaviors, or even just daily updates.
Emergency Protocols: Clarity is essential. Both parties should be clear on the steps to take in case of any emergencies, from sudden illnesses to unexpected house issues.
6. Trust your cat's instincts
Ultimately, your cat has the final say. No matter how impressive a sitter might seem on paper or in conversation, it's essential to note how your cat reacts around them.
Cats, with their keen instincts and particular preferences, can often pick up on nuances we might miss. If they seem unusually distressed or wary, it's worth taking a moment to reconsider. After all, their comfort is paramount.
7. Final touches
Before you finalize your decision, there are a few last steps to ensure a smooth experience.
Trial run: If possible, organize a short trial period. This will give both your cat and the sitter a chance to get used to each other before a more extended stay.
List it out: Never underestimate the power of a well-detailed list. Note down everything from feeding times to favorite toys. Over-communication is better than leaving things to chance.
Cat sit with care
It's 2023, and cat parents are taking the world by storm. We know what our curious copilots deserve, and we won't settle for anything less than exceptional. As you embark on this journey to find the best cat sitter, remember these guidelines and trust your instincts. Here's to many worry-free days knowing your cat is in great hands!
Lizz Caputo is the Manager of Content Strategy at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.