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Whether you’re going away for the weekend or longer, you’ll enjoy your time more if you know that your kitten/s are being cared for properly.
The stress to kittens of being in an unfamiliar environment, such as a boarding facility, along with the fact that their immune systems are not fully developed to fight diseases, makes in-home care a better option. Although many people depend on friends and family to not always willingly watch over their felines, it may be beneficial to consider a professional pet sitter who is:
- Licensed to operate a pet sitting business and insured and bonded
- Certified by a professional pet sitter organization, which may require passing exams, agreeing to recommended quality standards, continuing education hours and adhering to a code of conduct and ethics
- Trained to recognize signs of illness and pain
- Committed to providing quality care, including Fear Free and proper handling
Being insured provides coverage for pets in the sitter’s care, custody or control, including in transport in a vehicle, pet taxi and other means; it covers damages to the home or property. Veterinary medical expenses for your pets may also be a part of the pet sitter’s insurance coverage. Being bonded provides compensation in the event of theft or property damage by the pet sitter.
When choosing a professional pet sitter, it’s important to:
- Check the websites of professional pet sitter associations to locate pet sitters in your area
- Visit the website of the pet sitters you’re considering to review their areas of service, fees, training (they may be licensed/certified/registered veterinary technicians, certified in pet CPR, able to give medications, injections and subcutaneous fluids) and other services (opening and closing curtains, watering plants and taking in the mail, newspapers and packages)
- Meet the potential pet sitters to see how they interact with your pets and have a list of questions to ask them, such as whether they provide lost pet flyers or carry a wallet alert card that includes your pet
- Request recent references who you can contact
- Ask for proof of licensing and bonding
Before you hire a pet sitter for a longer time period, such as a week or two coverage, do a trial run by having the pet sitter care for your pet for 1 or 2 days while you take a mini vacation. You’ll always want to provide the pet sitter with your pet’s:
- Health records
- Recent photos
- Microchip information
- Veterinarian’s contact information and directions to the veterinarian
- Unusual behaviors and hiding places
- Brushes, combs and toys (be sure that all wand toys are safely stored when not in use)
- Cat carrier, which is always out so that your feline learns to view it as a safe place to relax
- Discuss with your veterinarian what emergency services you authorize for your kitten during your absence
- Clip your kitten’s nails
- Gather all your kitten’s toys, supplies, medications and food and bowls in as few, safe places as possible
- Have plenty of extra litter so the pet sitter don’t run out
- Provide bags for dumping used litter and safe cleaning products in case accidents occur
- Put plants in as few places as possible, and provide a water meter, to prevent your plants from being under- or over-watered, and a watering container
- Alert trusted neighbors that you will be gone, give them your pet sitter’s contact information and vice versa in case of an emergency and, if possible, introduce them to your pet sitter
- Provide someone else with your house keys in case something, for example, a snow storm, prevents the pet sitter from getting to your home
- Provide your pet sitter with your travel and contact information
- Provide the names and numbers for your electrician, plumber, water and gas providers, security system, heating and A/C, home and car insurance and snow shoveler
- Provide your WIFI network and password
NOTE: If you’ve made new sets of house keys, always check that they work before distributing them.
If you’re away from home for pleasure, business, illness or an emergency, having a professional pet sitter care for your kitten/s will give you added peace of mind, and that’s worth a lot.