A guide to choosing a cat sitter to look after your cat in the comfort of your cats own home. Avoid the guilt of sending your cat to a cattery whilst you go on holiday.
You’ve been planning your dream holiday for years, but there’s one vital question that needs to be answered: what will you do with your cat?
Choosing someone to look after your beloved pet can be difficult at the best of times. When it comes to Siamese cats, one of the most vocal and active breeds out there, you have to be even more discerning.
Choosing a cat sitter opens up a world of benefits that a cattery just can’t offer. For starters, your feline friend gets to keep his routine and his habitat: the only difference is that he has new humans to play with!
A cat or pet sitter is someone who will look after your cat while you’re away. Unlike a ‘cattery’ where you put the cat into cat boarding for the duration of the period that you’re away, the sitter will come into your home and look after the cat in your absence.
The level of involvement a cat sitter will give varies, but all sitters should be upfront about what level of service they’re offering. Some will simply pop in once or twice per day to check-in on things, others will live in your home for the duration of the sit and keep your cat company.
Decide what level of attention you want from your sitter and make that clear from the word go. If, for example, you want someone to be around the cat 24 hours a day, making that clear initially will reduce the number of replies from sitters who simply visit the house once or twice per day.
When you post an advert online looking for a cat sitter you’ll be flooded with replies from eager animal lovers. The first thing to do is check their references. Many house and pet sitting agencies also require their employees to undergo a police background check (called a DBS check in the UK) which you can ask to see. Individual cat sitters may also have their own background checks.
It’s rare to find a pet sitter that specialises in cats and even rarer to find one that specialises in Siamese cats, so when looking through the pet sitter’s references you’re likely to see a mix of experience in looking after both cats and dogs as well as other animals. It’s important to prioritise those that specifically have cat sitting experience. Cats are a unique species and you want to make sure that the sitter you take on truly knows what they’re doing.
This is important if they’re going to be staying in your home during the length of your trip. Most references will probably be positive, so focus on references that specifically mention experience with cats.
Once you’ve compiled a shortlist it’s a good idea to meet the sitters in person. This can sometimes be difficult to arrange, as the cat sitters may live a long distance away. In these cases it’s a good idea to use Skype, or just have a good old fashioned chat on the telephone.
As well as getting a feel for the sitters, you should also use the opportunity to interview them. Questions you could ask are “what does a typical cat sitting day involve for you?” to find out their sitting style, or “have you any experience with Siamese cats?”
Siamese owners know that their cats thrive on attention and human companionship. While you’re interviewing the cat sitting candidates, think about which ones are most likely to stick around the house and give your pet the attention he or she needs.
Remember: your cat is going to be confused and missing you. You need someone who will be able to offer comfort, and you want them to bond with each other as quickly as possible.
If the cat sitters work remotely they’re likely to be in the house all day, and available to give your pet some love. The same goes if they’re retired and looking for a change of scene. People who are looking for a base while they explore the area, or who have a nine ‘til five job nearby, might be less suitable as they may be less able to give your cat so much attention.
TrustedHousesitters.com lists the most popular cat sitters first, ranking those that are older, have a lot of pet sitting experience and also have police background checks.
Remember: the final decision rests with you. Nobody knows your cat as well as you do, and you’re the only person who will be able to find a sitter who is suitable. Whether that’s young or old, relaxed or active, you need to trust yourself to make the right decision.
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Ross is a UK Siamese & Oriental Cat Breeder breeding and showing his cats and kittens under the prefix Burnthwaites . He is the author of various cat related websites and blogs including 'Siamese Cat Breeder'. When not showing his cats he can often be found stewarding or judging at cat shows. He works as a Web Developer and specialises in small business websites and content marketing. He is also a blogger, amateur photographer and videographer and last but certainly not least husband and father.