One of our policies here at La Pawtite is that we provide pet care on a daily basis during our sitting assignments. That may not seem like it needs to be said, but you’d be surprised. There are often what we call “ignore the cat” requests in our line of work; many sitters have encountered this and while I’m sure there are sitters out there that will accommodate, we are not one of them.
The scenario often looks like this: The sitter arrives at the meet and greet for what she thinks is just for a pup. When she gets there, a kitty slinks by on his way past the commotion. The conversation runs along the lines of “I didn’t realize you also had a cat, what are the care instructions for this little guy?” to which the client replies “Oh, don’t worry about him, he’ll be fine with a few days’ worth of food.” Yeah, no. Even if he won’t come out of hiding for the first few visits, that doesn’t excuse the need to provide him with quality care.
There are no “every other day” visits with us or times when we would not determine the safety of each animal in the house and provide necessary care. It might be a turtle left upstairs in a fish tank that was not mentioned or a hamster on top of little Bobby’s dresser. They still need looking after since they can’t very well do it themselves.
This occurs mostly with cats, since they are very independent. Place down a litter box, a bunch of food and water and they should be fine for a couple of days, right? Well, perhaps, but would you want to take that chance with a living being that you’ve promised to look after? Anything can happen while your pet is home alone, and this is especially true for cats who typically have the run of the house at all times. There is always the possibility of a pet falling ill, and with no one to check on them, they could find themselves in serious, even potentially life threatening circumstances. Many parents of older cats think that since all the kitty does is sleep all day that he doesn’t need as much care. However, older pets often need more care as they age. Something they may have been able to bounce back from in their younger days affects them more in their older years.
If a sitter is unaware of the presence of other animals in the home, what’s to prevent them from shutting a door to a room thereby closing off access to food and water? I’ve also heard from other sitters of cats accidentally shutting themselves in somewhere or getting stuck in small crevices…if the sitter hadn’t shown up for their normal visit, poor Kitty would have been there for over 24 hours! Electricity can go out, pets can get anxious and start peeing on your couch, any number of things could go wrong while they are home by themselves.
I understand the need to save money on pet sitting fees, but this is not the area to be cutting corners. As a dedicated pet care professional, I could never in good conscious skip the care of an animal no matter how independent he or she seems.