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any advice on petsitters?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
next week I have appts with 3 different petsitting agencies, I am going out of town for a few days next month, and I just wondered if anyone here has used a petsitter or has any advice?
post #2 of 32
I always make sure the pet sitter meets Max before I go away. I also ask them what they will do. It's not enough for me that they will feed him, give him water and clean his litter box. I want someone who will take the time to play with him or let him sit on their lap.

I thought I would have to hire a professional petsitter the last time I went away, but my friend (who has four kids, a husband and three dogs) offered to watch him. She ended up falling in love with Max and said whenever I went away, she would love to take care of him for me. I was very lucky.
post #3 of 32
I always use my cousins (19 and 21) to pet sit. They also own cats so they know what to do.
post #4 of 32
I am about to have the same problem. My old petsitter is now a crackhead, so I can't let her do it any more. She always came and stayed in the house the whole time I was gone. I can't bring myself to board them, so I don't know what to do. I guess I'll ask my vet if he can recommend someone.
post #5 of 32
Get a friend or family member to do it.
post #6 of 32
See if they're "bonded" as a security.

Ask if the person you interview is actually going to be the one caring for your pets.

Ask how often they're going to come to your house, and if they take time to interact with your pets instead of just feeding them.

Ask if they have any veterinary experience to spot potential health problems, and what they would do if anything happens.

Make sure they have your contact info, and medical history of your pets.

Let your vet know that this person will be caring for your pets, and ask if they need any special permissions for her to bring your pets in if needed.
post #7 of 32
I could never leave a stranger to care for my cat
post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 
I don't like the idea of a stranger either but there are lots of pet-loving people that will care for them. I have a list of questions, and I will chose the onbe that seems the most responsible/caring. wish me luck.
post #9 of 32
own business (part-time) for over 10 years. I am not insured or bonded and I don't advertise heavily. I am recommended by word of mouth. My clients absolutely love me (and that goes for their humans too!) They know I have a genuine love and concern for their pets and I have the reputation of being the best one in my area even though I am not insured or bonded. I returned to college at 35 yrs old to finish an elementary education degree. Once I get the degree, I MAY make a full-time career out of the pet-sitting, and then I will get insured. One thing to keep in mind, is that referrals are everything!! I am so good at what I do, that my clients never hesitate to refer me. Now, If I need to hire a pet-sitter, I would probably go to a neighbor (who doesn't already use me LOL!) and find out who they use and trust. If they are insured and bonded that is a bonus. If they aren't, That's o.k as long as they have a SPOTLESS record and are HIGHLY recommended.
post #10 of 32
Make sure the person has a contract and read it carfully. You can add or delete anything you like as long as the other person is agreeable and signs it too.

Lock rooms that are off limits. Have lights on timers while you are gone. Stop mail delivery and the paper unless the petsitter will bring it in for you. Put this in writing too.
post #11 of 32
i think of my cats as my children, and i for sure wouldnt leave them with a stranger, i would only leave them with a family member, or very close friend, i would make sure the person was reliable and not some one that would forget to do it or jsut let it go for some reason, i hope you find someone that will take very good care, for im sure they are special to you
post #12 of 32
I'd say the best is to ask a trusted neighbor or friend to take care of your cats. My neighbor Brian cat-sits Ivo. I totally trust him since he's been my neighbor for over 8 years and although he's allergic to cats, he makes an exception for Ivo (he helped rescue her).

Otherwise, I'd ask my vet. Perhaps one of the vet techs may be willing to do some cat-sitting or may have a cat-sitting job on the side (and if anything goes wrong, they would know where to take your cat). Also, I think your vet would be able to recommend trustworthy and caring people.

Oh, and I'd recommend leaving very explicit instructions with whomever cares for your cat. I always leave a schedule for feeding (with amounts), numbers of my regular vet and the number of the emergency vet, a letter of permission allowing Brian to seek veterinary care for Ivo, and numbers where I can be reached.
post #13 of 32
I agree with catlover67
One thing to keep in mind, is that referrals are everything!!
If you do hire a pet sitter a long long list of referrals would be best

and also with okeefecl
Oh, and I'd recommend leaving very explicit instructions with whomever cares for your cat.
when we left our cats with our friend i printed out instructions for everything and stuck them to the walls everywhere. There must have been about 40! Even the little things like, how to play with each individual toy... Or when the brush bobbie, and how, and... how to feed them... everything.

and with sicycat
I could never leave a stranger to care for my cat
me either we always get a close friend to cat sit for us.

In these sorts of situations you can never leave to much info.

Good Luck!
post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 
I have heard of some people leaving their cats in the care of a friend or neighbor and then being disappointed or mad at the caregiver when they got home. and I really don't know anyone well enough to trust with my cats. also, my family will all be where I am, it's a family reunion...well I do know someone that may be able to check in on them, but that would be 2 strangers, that they have to deal with. I'm not sure what's best yet. I would not leave them with a stranger if I had a choice.well I have the first appt. tomorrow, and 2 more on Wednesday...wish me luck...I hope I ask all the right things, I do have a list of questions. I have never done this before. I hate leaving my kitty cats. I asked a few months ago, and the only vet tech that does petsitting is busy in the time I will be gone. but maybe I will ask again, I think they may have a couple new techs there. the cats will be scared of atrangers coming into the house, so it will not be easy for them to check on them, but that is one thing they should be used to, (scared cats) so I am going to ask how they handle that. its 6 weeks away and I am already worried about it!
post #15 of 32
Sounds like you're trying to do the best you can for your babies. Just check references, leave lots of instructions, see how they interact with your pets, and trust your instincts. I'm sure you'll do fine!
Good luck
post #16 of 32
Ok....here goes...

Ask for a list of referrals or references from past clients, (preferably recent ones).

Make sure that they are willing, able and confident when it comes to medication if it is needed.

Point out any allergies explicitly and put this in writing.

Describe the personality of your furbaby. And get a friend that visits to drop by so that they may spot anything that you may have missed. Often they may think of something that they think is 'odd' for a cat.

Ask whether they will interact with your pets while away.

Provide a number for them to contact you in case of emergency. Provide them with the contact number(s) of your vet.

Tell the vet who is taking care of your cat and tell them, (in writing), what should be done if your cat needs veterinarian attention. Eg: You wish to be contacted before any procedures are performed.

Determine who is providing consummables like food, litter, treats and toys for the duration.

Provide instructions for what to do in order for the same routine to occur. Feeding times, litter changes, grooming, play time, etc.

Let the pet sitter interact with your cat. During the appointment take note of whether the cat approahes him/her or take note of what happens when the cat backs away. A good pet sitter will back off and not force the issue and let things happen.

Provide Lost Cat posters for each cat in case an escape occurs.

And try to relax. I know it's hard. I am in the same situation as you are for when I am going on holiday in September. And I started preparing back in May/June.
post #17 of 32
I tried interviewing pet sitting services more than a year ago and was very unhappy with the results. My cats were the judge and they would run and hide every time a new person would come in.
Classic cat behavior (IMO)— They know when certain people like them because they do not always run and hide when a stranger comes over. My cats only like pet lovers and can spot em' a mile away, LOL!

My boys literally hate one of my clients. When he pulls in the driveway, they haul arse! They do not reappear until he his G-O-N-E!

Over the years my cats have bonded with my housekeeper. When I go away, I hire her to do it. (She brings them Scooby Snacks every time she comes) If she can't watch the boys. I call only people that my cats know.... definitely friends or family.

Can't upset the furry kids!

post #18 of 32
Thread Starter 
well the sitter just left.I don't know, I don't think I feel too good about her... but I don't have anyone else to compare her to yet, on Wed. I meet the other 2, but the more I think about it, I don't feel right about her...dont you think she should have wanted to give the cats some attention? she barely did. I thought well maybe she is givng them space or does not know if they are friendly or not, but she knew they were, and I am thinking now, when I see other peoples animals, I talk to them and give them losts of attention, if they respond ,if not then I leave them alone.

another question, and maybe I'm looney to ask this,( I just told this to someone and they said, are your thinking your cats will choke?) well I don't know but I want the sitter to know what to do...is that weird? so I hope no one laughs, but what do you do if a cat is choking? she said the heimlich...is that right? on cats? also she is the only one, has no employees. I asked what if she can't do it or is called away while I'm gone, and she said she had people to back up, I asked if I could talk to this back up person, and she said she did not know if they were in town... sooo I have my doubts.
post #19 of 32
Trust your instincts! If you've gotten a bad vibe about this one, she doesn't pay attention to your cats, I wouldn't go with her.
Hopefully the others will be better. If it comes down to it, is there a place where you can board them?
post #20 of 32
That's true... I think you'll KNOW when you've found the best sitter for your cats by how you feel inside.
Good luck!
post #21 of 32
Thread Starter 
thanks. I just want someone that will care about them and take care of them like I do. I hate to leave them. wouldn't it be nice to take them in a camper trailer and they could stay in there, it could be their home away from home, and I would be there at night too. lol I can just picture it, traveling around with cats!
post #22 of 32
They have a BACK UP??? They were going to bring someone else into your home??? No Way. I wouldn't go with this one at all.

I watch those court shows and a girl was pet sitting for a lady and threw a party in the womans house. Someone at the party stole the cockatoos that were being "watched" by this girl. She said it wasn't her fault that someone took the birds.

Put into the contract that no-one else is allowed in the house except the sitter. Let the local police know that you will be out of town and to check on your home while away.

How long will you be gone?
post #23 of 32
A pet sitter who paid no attention to the cats? That doesn't sound right at all. When I asked my friend Robyn to catsit (even though she had not been around cats very much) she got right on the floor and let Max walk on her. Max loved her instantly and I knew he would be OK with her. As I mentioned before, she became a cat person by catsitting for Max.
post #24 of 32
Max walk on her
post #25 of 32
Thread Starter 
I do like the idea of a back up person, BUT I want to MEET that person that may possibly be in charge of my cats and in my house. no one comes near my cats without me approving them first.
I absolutely LOVE animals. if I walk to the mailbox and see someone with a dog, if the dog is friendly, I go right up to the dog and pet it and talk to it. I would do the same with cats. I know you have to "respect" them as she said, but come on, pay some attention to them! no way I will call her back.
I will be gone 4 days. but that is 4 long days because everday they want me to play with them and pet them, at different time thruout the day. they will wonder where I am. well as long as I can trust the person caring for them... and I am going to ask a neighbor to watch for things, to keep an eye on the house.
post #26 of 32
I posted earlier that I am a pet-sitter. To address funnyfelines concern about not "feeling right" about certain pet-sitters. Trust your instincts. When I go to be interviewed by potential clients. I explain that I also am a cat owner. I will "read" the client's cat's body language. If the cat is super friendly and comes up to me, I will respond with pets and sweet talk. If it runs and hides I may go with the owner and talk to the cat, but I won't chase after it just to give it attention that it is obviously not comfortable with.

As far as the "BACK-UP?" comment made by Dragon Lady, all I can say is this: I too tell people I have a back-up. I am only one person! I cannot always get to the client because of earlier jobs, school,etc. The "back-up" reassures my clients that someone will ALWAYS be able to look after their cat even If I am not able to personally make it. It is no different than a large pet-sitting outfit with one owner and several employees. The owner obviously cannot get to EVERY job (what if I had an emergancy for example?), so she/he has "employees" go on jobs too. My back-ups are my parents. Sometimes if I have an overnight dog sit, and some other client calls later and wants an overnight for the same dates, I HAVE to have a back-up or I can't take that job. Being a small outfit, I cannot afford to lose any regular clients. I understand the reluctance to hire "strangers". I, fortunately was referred to my first client by their housecleaner (she is a member of my church). I also used to work in my neighborhood grocery store. So, most of the neighbors got to know me by shopping at my store. I would get to know them and then they would hire me to take care of their pets. After awhile, the referrals spoke for themselves and that is how I got such a stellar reputation even without being insured or bonded.
post #27 of 32
Thread Starter 
I bet you would understand if the client wanted to meet this back up person tho, right? I agree,, if you had an emergency or got sick, whatever reason, there has to be a backup. but this lady was vague about me meeting the backup person...! and, Cassie came right up to her and she barely touched her. maybe it's just me, but when I see a friendly animal, I make a big deal over them, because I love to pet/talk to them.

well this afternoon there are 2 more interviews. I will let you know what happens.
post #28 of 32
Yes, Max likes to walk on people. He walked up to her, she let him sniff her and he climbed into her lap.

I absolutely think you should have someone watch your babies when you are gone. Like I said, I always do. I hope your interviews go better with the next two. You really need to feel confortable with the people who will be going into your house and taking care of your furbabies. Good luck in finding that person. Sending good vibes your way.
post #29 of 32
Thread Starter 
well I had the 2 interviews today. I liked them both. I am not sure yet who I will choose. Both are willing to come back a second time and meet the cats again, and feed the cats, then I can see how they do.
the first sitter that was here today, Leo came right up to, jumped onto the coffee table and let her pet him, but Cassie didn't. the next lady, it was the opposite. but they each had other things they were doing at the time, like naps or playing with a toy mouse,LOL.
Poor Charlie, the most scaredy cat of all them , hid under the bed the whole time, he has just now come out, about a half hour ago! poor boy had a scary day. so I gave him atteniton and treats,and we played with his toy mouse. now he is feeling better. I had fallen asleep on the couch, I woke up and there he was staring at me with big scared eyes! Louise hides too but she is fine as soon as the person leaves, she comes out like nothing ever happend.
post #30 of 32
This is my personal opinion about the back up.

I don't see why there would be an issue about a possible client wanting to meet or talk to them. And not even being sure of whether the back up would be in town or not to be able to contact them sounds like they're hard to get hold of. Definitely not a quality in a back up. They're meant to be reliable.

Trust your instincts and make sure you have referrals.
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