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How to Choose a Cat Sitter

Sadly, pet sitting is a fairly unregulated profession and it's difficult to know what to look for if you  have never used a cat sitting service.

RSPCA suggests that if you are going to use a pet sitter to go to the National Association of Registered Pet Sitters (Narps UK). Click here for their guidance.

The very basic, minimum requirements for a cat sitter is that they are insured, DBS checked and have pet first aid knowledge. Make sure you do actually check these are up to date. 

There are other basic requirements I would always advise my friends and family to look out for when employing for a cat sitter, these are set out below.

1. Membership of a Professional Organisation.

  • There is no legal requirement for cat sitters to join any over seeing organisations.
  • If your cat sitter has voluntarily joined up to a professional organisation it means they are aware of professional pet sitting codes of conduct.
  • Membership of a professional organisation should mean that you complete/receive all the necessary information and forms that are necessary for the safety of your cat, your home/keys, your data etc.
  • It will mean that you have someone official to lodge a complaint with should the need arise.
  • Your cat sitter will be able to stay up to date with any new legislation and skills.

2. Choose Someone with Experience

  • A cat sitter should gain long term experience of cat sitting before offering their services professionally. Sim​ply "owning a cat" or "liking cats" isn't enough to give someone the level of experience needed to ensure the safety, health and well-being of your cat(s). Everyone has to start somewhere but this should done prior to​ setting up a business by volunteering for rescue organisations or cat sitting for friends, family and neighbours. This will ensure they receive an understanding of the different temperaments of cats.
  • Sounds obvious, but cats aren't dogs! Just because someone is great with dogs this doesn't necessary translate to our feline friends.
  • There should be a difference in the quality of care and experience your cat sitter has to asking a neighbour to look after you cat.  A professional cat sitter should have a wide range of experience to call upon if an emergency situation arises.

3. Choose Someone with Knowledge

  • Your cat sitter should have know all signs and symptoms of the major feline infectious diseases.
  • Your cat sitter should know all the signs and symptoms of feline parasites.
  • Your cat sitter should know the normal range of behaviours of cats.
  • Your cat sitter should have completed a pet first aid course.
  • Your cat sitter should know when to contact you (or substitute for you) or when to seek immediate veterinary assistance.
  • Your cat sitter should understand and be able to accommodate the very different personality types of cats.
  • Your cat sitter should know how to care for your cat(s) coat and be able to groom them.
  • Your cat sitter ought to know how to uphold the hygiene of your cats eyes.

4. Choose someone you can talk to and trust in.

  • Cat sitting usually takes place within the home (although I do have some cat clients where the cat and I sit and play/stroke in their garden if the weather is nice). You need someone you can trust in to give the care you have asked for.
  • You should be able to trust in your cat sitter to communicate about their developing relationship with your cat.  I have one cat client that loved me from the moment she met me (she still does) and one where he would run away from previous cat sitters, I felt blessed that in time, he would trot down the drive to greet me. I am always honest about how our relationship is developing. Sometimes, it's instantly, most of the time it's takes a few visits and others it's a slower pace.  I am always guided by the cat.

5. Interview, interview!

  • Please interview at least 3 cat sitters.  Just in the same way you would if you were interviewing plumbers.
Ask lots of questions:
  • ask about their experience, 
  • ask about any qualifications they may have,  
  • some cat sitters advertise a visit at rate of " up to 30 minutes", but what does that mean for your cat, is it a 30 minute visit or less than 30 minutes? Ask exactly how long are they going to stay with your cat(s),
  • ask what the cat sitter would do if the cat doesn't appear when a visit takes place,
  • ask what they do if the cat leaves through the cat flap part way through the visit,
  • ask if they are giving your cat a regular time (i.e 5pm?).
  • Asking lots of questions should help you decide who is the best person to care for your cat(s) when you're not there.
  • Go with the person you feel most comfortable with, someone you trust to give your cat(s) the best possible level of professional care in your absence.

To contact me for a free, no obligation consultation please just click on the button below.

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