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Should your pet sitter visit every other day?

When hiring a pet sitter, many owners wonder how often their cat needs pet sitting visits. Because cats seem independent, it is easy to assume that a visit every other day will suffice. However, letting too much time pass between visits puts your kitty as risk! A kitty left alone for too long means that sudden problems would go undetected. Consider the following scenarios that could be alleviated by a daily pet sitter.

Veterinary issues could arise

A daily sitter can quickly respond to any health issues. If a cat gets an upset stomach, ingests something it shouldn’t, or suddenly stops eating because of illness, your sitter can prevent harm by spotting it sooner rather than later. Similarly, cats often don’t start showing signs of sickness until it’s too late: if no one catches those symptoms in time, it could mean that kitty is gone forever. A visit within 24 hour could mean the difference between life and death!

Unexpected problems with building facilities

Your house or building can experience an accident at any time: the heat can shut off, a pipe can burst, the power can go out. And your poor kitty can get stuck in the middle of it all! Additionally, maintenance workers or cleaners can cause issues by leaving doors or windows open: this means kitty could escape or worse! No matter the problem, your sitter is often the first person to know if anything has gone awry.

Bored and unattended cats can get into trouble

Cats are very clever and need stimulation. So when there’s no one to interact with, sometimes they get into trouble. They overturn their water bowls, knock items off counters, and accidentally turn on the stove! Many cats have managed to lock themselves in rooms without food, water, or a litter box. Then, they have accidents on the furniture and floors. Cats can get stuck in crevices or tangled in cords. A cat who gets bored will ease their restlessness by chewing or clawing things they shouldn’t. Your pet sitter can help mitigate any chaos by checking in on your little mischief-maker.

When it comes to leaving your kitty alone, the “what-ifs” are endless. We don’t recommend visiting every other day. Our pet sitters can visit once, twice, three times a day and even stay over night – as often as is necessary to make sure your kitty stays safe, happy, and healthy. Drop us a line to find out what our sitters can do for you.

Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by Misko on flickr

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Four tips to keep your cat calm while you’re gone

"Cat sleeping on her back" by Ian BarbourDoes your kitty cry as soon as you leave for the day? Does he or she get nervous at the sight of your suitcase, or shred your things while you’re away at work? Here are 4 tips that can help you keep your cat’s separation anxiety in check.

1 – Play classical music

Time and again, studies show the benefits for classical music in both people and animals. Julie, one of our Midtown Manhattan pet sitters and the master at soothing even the toughest customers, recommends playing music for your kitty while you’re away. She brings a radio to appointments, having heard that, “In London, all the shelters have them and it’s been proven to calm the animals.”

Leaving the TV on to a channel with birds and putting a cat tree by a window can also help your cat feel a little less alone.

2 – Add Feliway

Jenn, who manages our pet sitters in Queens, recommends using Feliway. Available at most online and physical pet stores, “Feliway has the “feel good” cat pheromones in it that cats naturally release when they rub their faces on corners and do putty-paws into blankets and cat beds,” Jenn explains.

It comes in both spray bottles and diffusers, which she says are both “helpful during other stressful events, too, such as moving and trips to the vet, and introducing new cats to one another.

3 – Practice coming and going

Pam Johnson-Bennett, one of the leading experts in feline behavior, suggests making coming and going as undramatic as possible. She writes, “Don’t make a big production about leaving.” Prolonged goodbyes can broadcast upsetting feelings to your cat.

Additionally, items like suitcases, purses, coats, and keys can be triggers for cats with separation anxiety. “If your cat starts to get tense whenever he hears you pick up your keys or if he sees you reach for your purse or coat, then practice doing those things several times a day without actually leaving.”

4 – Have someone visit your cat

Last, but not least, be sure to have someone come by to check on your kitty while you’re out of town. Whether it’s a pet sitter or a close friend or relative, it’s important to have someone who can play with your cat and keep them company. Be sure to leave out your kitty’s favorite toys and brushes to help remind your kitty of the good memories of you until you return.

Your pet sitter can set up puzzles that can be set after he or she leaves, such as balls filled with treats, paper bags full of catnip, or timed feeders that pop open later in the day to keep kitty entertained even after they’re gone. Give us a call to learn more about what our sitters can do for you and your kitty companions.

Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

Cat sleeping on her back” by Ian Barbour is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Should your pet sitter visit only every other day?

every other day pet sitting visitsEverybody knows how independent cats can be! Some cats don’t want anything more than food, water, and a warm place to live. Others are extremely affectionate, and can’t get enough love and attention from anybody who wants to dish it out. And, even very friendly cats can be aloof at times.

Because of that independent streak in our feline friends, some people don’t see a need for their pet sitter to visit their cat every day. Once in a while we get a request from someone who want us to visit their cat every other day, or even every three days. Many pet sitting companies require at least one visit per day for cats.

(Please keep in mind that in this blog post, we’re talking about people who ask us to visit their cats in their own home. Our cat sitters who board pets in their homes are with the cats every day, and in many cases, all day.)

Having your pet sitter visit your cat every day while you’re away means he or she will discover issues sooner rather than later. It also means those things can be dealt with hopefully before they become larger issues. Waiting 48 hours, or more, between cat sitting visits may be inviting trouble. It may be as simple as picking up an item your cat knocked off of the counter or as drastic as discovering your cat is suffering from an urgent health problem.

You know how much mischief your cat can get into when you’re home. When you’re away they can get even more creative! Oftentimes that mischief is quite harmless, but it can also result in something that needs to be handled as quickly as possible. Here are a few examples of what pet sitters at Katie’s Kitty, and other pet sitting companies, have encountered.

  • Urgent health issues that need to be tended to immediately.
  • Running out of food or dumping a water bowl.
  • An autofeeder malfunction, which results in food or water not dispensing.
  • Cats locking themselves in a room (with food and water in another room).
  • AC or furnace malfunction, leaving cats in extreme cold or heat.
  • Cats refusing to use a dirty litter box and soiling the house.
  • Bored cats inventing games, such as clawing furniture, climbing curtains, etc.
  • Cats jumping on the counters and accidentally bumping a knob on a gas stove to the ‘on’ position.

Any one of the above examples can result in emergency health issues for your cat, or costly repairs for your home. And because cats have such delicate systems, a very manageable health condition can quickly turn into a life threatening situation. Having someone visit your cat every day will help cut down on the potential for that happening.

Even though cats can be quite independent, they do need us to keep them safe and healthy. Part of our job as guardians is to make sure our pets are cared for even when we’re unavailable. So while scheduling every other day visits for your cat will be more economical for you, it’s not the best option for your cat. If your cat likes attention, she’s going to fare much better while you’re away if you provide her a substitute human. And even cats that are not very social need to have someone make sure they’re OK. The last thing you want for your cat is for him or her to be in some type of distress whether it’s because of a health issue or some silly hijinks.

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Cat sitting and cat boarding tips

NYC cat sitterHiring a cat sitter to care for your pets while you’re away means finding someone who will provide your cat with enough care and attention to keep her happy and satisfied, while minimizing stress. Since cats are quite particular, you’ll want to make sure everything is in order before leaving your cat in someone else’s care.

At Katie’s Kitty, we offer both cat sitting in your home and cat boarding in our host family homes. And, while we have the utmost confidence in our cat sitters, we encourage our clients to get to know their sitter and ask questions before leaving. I this way you will be confident your cat will be well cared for. Here are some of the things to consider when you hire a professional cat sitter to pet sit or board your favorite kitty.

Unless dictated by an unforeseen circumstance (such as a hospital stay), do not wait until the week before your vacation or business trip to make arrangements for boarding your pet.

Be sure that you have a “good feeling” about the sitter before leaving your pet with him/her. Get to know your cat sitter!

Don’t assume you know exactly how your cat will be cared for by your pet sitter. Just because you had someone care for your cat in the past, it doesn’t mean your new pet sitter will do things the same way. Ask specific questions about the pet sitter’s routine and their home (if your cat will be staying in their home while you’re away).

Ask for references. Questions you might want to ask are (1) How many times have you used this particular service or sitter? (2) For how long was your animal boarded? (3) When was the last time you used this sitter (or the sitter’s agency)? (4) Would you use this sitter or service again? and (5) Did your pet seem perfectly okay in every way when s/he was returned to you?

Give your cat sitter good contact numbers – for you, your veterinarian, and emergency clinic. If your cat is being cared for in your home, be sure to let your cat sitter know where you keep your cat’s crate, and other emergency supplies.

For more information on what to look for when hiring a cat sitter, please see our full article, Points to Consider Before Boarding Your Pet.

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