How To Find the Right Cat Sitter
17 November, 2017
Guest blog by Nat Smith
If you’ve ever looked for a pet-sitter, you know that it can be tricky to find the right person. One might turn up their nose at cleaning the litter box; another can’t be bothered to play with your cat; and the next person you ask has cat allergies! Just finding someone who’s up for the basics can seem like a challenge, so how do you hire a sitter who actually likes your cat–and will make sure they have a great time when you’re away?
There are a few essential elements to keep in mind as you embark on your search:
First, look for a truly qualified resource.
Sites that specialize in pet-sitting have proliferated in recent years, and some of them are selective and highly reputable. Of course, if you have a promising candidate in your immediate circles, then by all means hire them. However, it never hurts to have options. Look for a site that runs background checks, requires sitters to complete a detailed profile, and offers a secure payment system. Ideally, the site will insure the stay and offer 24/7 assistance to sitters, so they can reach a vet for advice in case of an emergency.
Next, plan ahead as much as possible.
You’ll want to allow yourself time to review all your options and find the best match. Provide information about yourself and your kitty, then browse through profiles and see who stands out. If you have past experience with sitters, keep in mind what made them successful (or not). Look for those same qualities. These may include reliability, enthusiasm, lots of experience, adaptability, or specific personality types that fit well with your cat. Remember, you’re not looking for a nebulous “perfect sitter”–you need the right person for your cat.
Have a list of questions for the cat sitter
As you start reaching out to sitters, be friendly. Ask questions, and be clear about what you’re looking for. Hopefully, two or three will be interested in the position and willing to meet you. Start with your first-choice candidate, and set up a meet-and-greet. This is essentially a job interview, although it can be totally casual and take place in your home.
Introduce your cat sitter to your cat and see how they interact
You’ll introduce the sitter to your cat, observe how they interact, and supply info about your home and the requirements of the stay. Does your cat allow the sitter to pick them up? Are they willing to play
or do your cats run and hide? Much of this will depend on your cat’s temperament, so don’t judge too harshly–especially if it took months for your cat to warm up to you! But if anything seems off, trust your gut. You can always move down your list and keep looking.
Once you make your choice, make sure to have suggestions and requirements ready
Once you make a choice, prepare for your trip and keep an open line of communication with the sitter. You can leave written instructions in case anything slips their mind, and encourage them to reach out with anything they need. Offer suggestions for activities and treats your cat enjoys, and let the sitter know about any restrictions or requirements–like staying indoors at all times, or dispensing medication on a strict schedule.
Do what you can to ease the transition, especially if your cat gets anxious. You might even allow some overlap, such as inviting the sitter to hang out with your cat during your final hour of packing. That way, when you finally go out the door, your cat will have a better sense of what’s going on and feel comfortable already.
Written by Nat Smith, Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.
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