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Catsitter - how do I know if I can trust him/her?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have to go on a 30-day trip to Hong Kong and my mom really doesn't want me to take my cat with me even though that can be a possibility. I am thinking of hiring a cat sitter who would come to my place and feed the cat and play with him for 30 minutes. However, how do I know if I can trust that person? She has her own website and stuff and everything looks good but then again I am letting a stranger into my apartment. It seems so risky... I have never hired a petsitter before. Can anyone share their experience with me? Do you pay the petsitter in advance? How can I make sure she wouldn't just take the money and not come at all?
post #2 of 11
She should be insured and have references you can call. and call them. Make sure you have all her information such as her address, her phone number, and if you can get it the license plate number on her car. This is all precaution, most likely uneccesary. You will be signing a cpntract with her spelling out your special instructions as to time she comes, how many times, what the vets name is and a release for her to take to the vet in the case of an emergency.
I used a pet sitter based on a coworkers recommendation and she was great. Also, the sitter should be leaving you a daily log of what took place.
You do not pay until you return and everything is ok.
If I were you, I would have a friend, or relative stop in a few times as well, just to see how things are going.
post #3 of 11
I've never used a pet sitter. Too scared. Besides I don't go anywhere. I have looked into it. I recommend you go through a pet sitting agency that should be liscenced and bonded. There is a national pet sitting association. Look for members in your area. If possible, hire the sitter for a short test or two before your actual trip. When are you leaving?
post #4 of 11
make sure they are licensed/bonded/insured. check references.

this website is a good place to start. http://www.petsit.com/index.html
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi, thanks for everyone responses.

I think it is a good idea to try her for a couple of days next month. I am going to Hong Kong in mid August so I have a lot of time. And I checked on that PSI Pet sitter site and she's registered. *feels better*
post #6 of 11
I was thinking more about this. If you go with a reputable sitter you should have no problems, especially if you test them out ahead of time. Try to find someone who can take over should something happen to the pet sitter (family emergency, accident). If you don't really have anyone, check out your local boarding facilities and see if they would take the cat in an emergency. Me being as paranoid as I am would probably contact the local animal control, giving them your contact info so if there were an incident, and they got a hold of your cat, they would know her situation. That's probably excessive, but I've seen to many episodes of Animal Cops.
post #7 of 11
Here is an article http://www.thecatsite.com/Care/17/Pe...ers-Guide.html also a tip- tell the cat sitter you will be gone one day longer than you actually will be. This way, you arrive home early when they don't expect you to. If she did a great job, pay her for the time you said you would be away, if not- take it from there.
post #8 of 11
Have you had her come over yet to meet the cat? I would want her to be at the house at some point to come meet the kitty while I was there to see how the interaction is. I wouldnt want someone my cats didnt like watching them.
post #9 of 11
Just curious, if you were to bring your cat with you to Hong Kong, wouldn't they quarantine it for a certain amount of time?
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by gailuvscats View Post
She should be insured and have references you can call. and call them.
You do not pay until you return and everything is ok.
If I were you, I would have a friend, or relative stop in a few times as well, just to see how things are going.
We're all insured and bondable where I work.
Do call references!
We leave an invoice on our last visit. Clients don't pay till after the services are provided.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy View Post
also a tip- tell the cat sitter you will be gone one day longer than you actually will be.
Interesting! I've had a couple of clients show up early. Not a bad idea, but you will need to pay for the time you scheduled!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhosaMyHercules View Post
Have you had her come over yet to meet the cat? I would want her to be at the house at some point to come meet the kitty while I was there to see how the interaction is. I wouldnt want someone my cats didnt like watching them.
We always do an "acquaintance session", which is free. That way people can meet the person who will be doing the visits, and you can see how they interact with your pets. That's always a good indication too - you want a good feeling about them and to see if your pets react positively.

The thing is with a lot of cats, they're often not too thrilled with the stranger coming into their house and don't want to play or be bothered. The sitter should behave accordingly. I don't harrass cats that don't want a lot of attention, as this will only stress them out. If the cats are friendly and want to play, then of course I will. I've even made cds with little videos and photos for my clients so they can see their cats were having fun while they were away!
I always act as though I'm being watched. Always be polite to the neighbours, I let people know who I am, and often times the neighbours/cleaning lady/friends etc report back to the client.
At the end of the day though, just like any business transaction, you have to trust that you're getting what you're paying for.
post #11 of 11
I too am a professional petsitter. I've done it for nearly 10 years. Pet sitting is the new trendy thing to do so they come and go rapidly. The advice people gave you here is great and I saw that you checked PSI. They're wonderful and that she's a member is a good sign. For one thing it's not cheap so it shows she invests in her business. One other thing I would suggest is talking to your vet and seeing if they are familiar with this sitter's reputation. They hear about pet sitters from clients all the time and are well equipped to gauge the quality of a potential sitter. Finally, absolutely do take a short trip before your long one. That will give you so much peace of mind and it will allow your sitter to begin establishing a reputation with your pets before the long trip. Once you've used a good pet sitter you'll never try another sitter/kennel/friend arrangement.
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