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Cat Sitter Tips: Important Things to Watch for When Cat Sitting

May 30 2024.

If you’re a cat lover, earning money cuddling kitties probably seems like the purr-fect job! But looking after cats comes with its own set of challenges, and it’s natural to worry about missing something important when pet sitting. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a cat sitter or are already a seasoned carer, it never hurts to know what you need to watch out for. And we’ve got you covered! Read on for Cat in a Flat’s cat sitter’s guidebook of major things to watch for when cat sitting. 

Should a cat sitter let a cat client out? 

As a cat sitter, is it okay to let your cat client outside? Every client is unique. As a cat sitter you may encounter the occasional paw parent who will ask you to allow their cat in and out of the home. If possible, try to avoid letting any kitty client outside while they’re under your care. Even the most independent feline can feel stressed by their owner’s absence. This could lead to them running away or refusing to come indoors. You don’t want to be responsible for a lost or injured cat. The best way to keep a kitty client safe is by keeping them indoors. 

Explain to the owners that you’re not comfortable allowing their fur friend outside when they’re not there. If they have a high energy kitty, suggest twice daily visits or overnight stays. Make sure to spend as much time as possible playing with Mr Whiskers to tire them out. And watch out for stealthy escape artists when you enter or leave your client’s home! Cats are very agile, and you don’t want your furry friend to slip out without you noticing. 

Cat sitter tip: If you have an owner who insists on their kitty being allowed outside while they’re away, try to find other ways to monitor the feline’s well-being. Check food and water bowl levels to ensure the kitty is eating and drinking. And request that the owner put up a cat cam. This way you can confirm Mr Whiskers is coming and going, even when you’re not around. 

Cat sitter tip: Watch for changes in a cat’s litter box usage

One of the early signs of stress in cats is a change in litter box behavior. Keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary, and check in with the owners immediately if you notice any changes. For example, it’s cause for concern if Mr Whiskers is peeing in different parts of the house or pooping outside the litter tray. You should also be worried if you notice your cat client is going days without pooping, or doesn’t appear to be using the litter box very often. 

Change can be stressful for felines, and it only takes a few minutes to check in with Mr Whiskers’ paw parents. Try to frame it as a friendly question so your kitty client’s owners aren’t alarmed. For example: “Hi, I noticed Mr Whiskers has been pooping outside the litter box the past few days. Is this normal behavior for him?” Or: “Mr Whiskers hasn’t pooped in a few days. Does he usually go more than a day without pooping?”

Cat sitter tip: Be vigilant about cleaning the litter trays daily (or twice a day if possible). A clean litter box will reduce stress and the likelihood of a kitty client acting out by protest pissing

Is it easy to be a cat sitter? 

Is cat sitting an easy job? Because felines tend to require less care than dogs, many people assume that cat sitting is an easy job. You should never take it for granted that kitties are easy to care for. Like dogs, cats can become stressed, lonely, or sad when their owners are away. It’s important to watch for any concerning behavior and alert your fur friend’s owners if Mr Whiskers becomes aggressive or overly withdrawn. Felines are also very routine-oriented. This means that as a cat sitter you need to follow a set schedule and spend time bonding with your kitty clients. This will ensure that their owners come back to a happy, healthy feline. 

There are other tasks that can make cat sitting a challenging job at times. You will need to clean your kitty client’s litter box daily, and empty and refill it as per the owners’ request. If you are looking after a feline that takes medicine, you will need to understand the dosages, schedule, and how to administer the medication. It’s also important to keep your furry client active by playing with them daily and helping them maintain a healthy diet. So, yes, felines can be low maintenance and looking after them is very rewarding, but that doesn’t mean a cat sitter’s job is always easy! 

Cat sitter tip: During the first meeting with your kitty client and their owner, always get a clear idea of what is expected of you. Some owners may want you to do additional tasks (such as water their plants) but you should know what these are up front. 

Cat sitter tip: Be prepared for cat sitting emergencies

Looking after cats is a big responsibility! Not only are people trusting you with their fur friend’s health and safety, but also with the care of their home. Make sure you’re prepared before you even start a cat sitting gig. Ask clients to leave a list of emergency contacts and information on what to do if something goes wrong. This should include alternate contact information for themselves, how to get in touch with their kitty’s vet, and numbers for a local friend or family member who can help out in an emergency. 

Always try to have a back-up plan for any scenario. Ask where Mr Whiskers’ crate or carrier is and know how to safely get them inside. Familiarize yourself with 24/7 emergency vets in the area just in case. And don’t keep emergency situations to yourself. Always tell your kitty client’s fur parents right away if there’s any issue. Your clients will appreciate the transparency. 

Cat sitter tip: Remember, personal emergencies can happen to you too! Make sure you have someone responsible on hand to step in if you’re suddenly unable to look after your feline friend. 

Would you like to learn more about cat sitting? Check out our blogs posts on how to approach a cat for the first time and five reasons why you should become a cat sitter. 

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