Home Cats Tips for Selecting a Cat Sitter You Can Trust

Tips for Selecting a Cat Sitter You Can Trust

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Whether for a work trip, vacation, or holiday travel, it’s important to secure cat care when you’ll be away from home. And be sure to secure everyday care in your absence. While even the most well-meaning cat parents may think that having someone check in on their cats every other day is okay as long as they have extra food or water, accidents and emergencies can happen. You should have someone visit your cat at least once every 24 hours while you’re gone—and more often, if your cat has any special needs.

When looking for cat care, your first thought may be to ask a friend to pet sit—but think twice. A friend may love your cats like their own, but a professional pet sitter has the experience, educational training and insurance coverage for any scenario that may occur with your pets or home while you’re away.

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Meet Any Potential Sitter In Advance

Never book the services of a pet sitter you have not met in person yet. A pet sitter should come to your home to meet you and your pet, and learn about your cat’s routine and your care requests. This is often referred to as an “initial consultation” or “meet and greet.” Many pet sitters offer this initial consultation free of charge, but others may charge a nominal fee that is, in many cases, applied to your first visit if you book their services.

The pet-sitting industry has grown tremendously over the last several years, so you have more options than ever before for cat care. With more pet-sitting options and a variety of online pet-sitter directories now available, you will need to be more prudent in your search for reliable pet care. Finding a pet sitter to provide the right pet-care services for your cat(s) requires an investment of time—but knowing the right questions to ask can help streamline this process.

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Questions to Ask a Potential Cat Sitter

To help select the perfect pet sitter for your cat(s), ask these questions:

  1. Do they have the proper business license, if required? If your city or state requires a business license, any professional will have a valid license or permit.
  1. Are they insured and bonded? Ask for proof of coverage that is tailored to pet sitting. A pet sitter’s insurance coverage should protect both your home and your pets.
  1. Can they provide proof of clear criminal history? This person will have access to your property and pets. Ask for proof of a current, clean background check.
  1. Will they provide client references? At your request, a potential pet sitter should have a list of references for potential clients you may contact. Some pet sitters also include testimonials on their company websites, and you can also check their online reviews.
  2. Will they use a pet-sitting services agreement or contract? The contract should detail the services that will be provided, along with all fees and the expected amount of time that will be spent with your pets.
  1. Are they a Certified Professional Pet Sitter and/or have they participated in other pet-care training, such as pet first aid? A qualified professional pet sitter will be trained in pet first aid and may also have a pet-sitter specific certification. Pet sitters committed to ongoing education will be up to date on best pet-care practices.
  2. Are they a member of a professional and/or educational association that provides access to ongoing education? Association membership demonstrates a pet sitter’s commitment to their profession—and provides them with access to up-to-date educational resources and business tools to help them offer the best services.
  1. Do they have experience with your specific type and/or breed of pet? Make sure they have specific experience with the type of pet you have. Experience in caring for special needs pets is also helpful if that is what you need.

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Many pet-sitting businesses use staff sitters. If anyone besides the owner will have access to your home, inquire about proof of their background check and pet experience as well.

While finding the perfect pet sitter will take time and effort, having a professional, reliable caregiver is a win-win for you and your cat!

Author Bio

Beth Stultz-Hairston has worked in the pet-care industry for nearly two decades and is the president of Pet Sitters International (PSI). PSI is the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters and dog walkers. PSI offers members resources and support at every stage of their business, and pet parents can search PSI’s Pet Sitter Locator, an online directory of its pet-sitting member businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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