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Cat sitter woes

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for advice here. I've had the same cat sitter from my vet's office since I moved here in July. Last weekend was the fourth time we had hired her- two longer trips 3-5 days and one other long weekend trip. We had never had a problem before. The agreement was that she come twice a day sat, sun and mon a.m. The cats get their wet food twice a day with lysine mixed in due to rocky's herpes, and she was expected to keep the dry food filled and the water filled, as well as bring in the papers. We didn't go over the exact expectations because she's been here before and I also left a detailed note on the counter, along with five cans of wet food, several clean cat bowls and spoons. I had fed the cats their wet food before leaving friday night.
Fast forward to Monday afternoon. The weekly reminder paper was not brought in, and there was one small piece of mail in the box. Both were delivered Friday. The kitchen counter is exactly how I left it. There was dry food put in the wet food dishes on top of the dried up wet food. The cats have a total of four dry dishes, and two of them also had some dry food. All of the cats went crazy when I fed them their wet food. The one that isn't usually that affectionate to me practically smothered me with kisses.
I'm sure she didn't come as often as she was supposed to, and certainly didn't do the usual things. I have yet to pay her- she didn't leave me a bill like she usually does, and she still has my key. What would you guys do? I'm definitely not going to hire her again, but I don't know how to confront her. I feel bad for my babies- they were fine but I feel I let them down. I'm also surprised b/c you would think that a vet tech would know not to leave old food and that you have to be consistent with a cats diet. Also I saw some ants in the cat food area, which may or may not be her fault.
post #2 of 32
Personally, since you are going to have to deal with her when you go to the vet, I would pay her, get the key, and just cut my losses and never call her to sit again.
post #3 of 32
If it was me, I would probably just leave it alone, pay her and not hire her again. I wouldn't want to open a can of worms when the damage is already done and you know you're not hiring her again.
post #4 of 32
Do you pay her per visit? I wouldn't let her get away with it. If she is irresponsible with pet sitting how responsible is she at work as a vet tech. I would confront her and ask for an explanation.
post #5 of 32
I think it's perfectly fine if you express your dissatisfaction. How will she learn she did a bad job otherwise? I don't mean yell at her, but when you pay her I think you should mention that you weren't as please with her services this time and list the specifics and leave it at that.

She may want to volunteer info as to why. Maybe she had an emergency and couldn't stop by for the normal time. But maybe she'll just take your money and you just won't hire her again.

I think if you are polite and respectful, you have nothing to loose.

post #6 of 32
I would ask her genuinely, not in a mean way, what happened over the weekend that she wasn't able to make it to your house as usual. And just explain that you noticed the old food mixed in with the new food and you thought maybe something happened with her, is everything ok? cause this is not normally how you prefer your babies to be cared for.... who knows, maybe there was some sort of emergency that she wasn't able to spend the time she normally does. And if it doesn't satisfy your expectations, then just pay her, and ask for the key back immediately or wait a little and ask for it back later. That way she may not be as offended. You can always tell her that a relative is begging to help you out with your little darlings and you need the spare key.
post #7 of 32
If you are just concerned about the amount you are paying her, just let it go. My bigger concern would be her neglecting someone's pet in the future though. Did you get the referral through your vet's office?

Since there was such a big difference in the amount of care she gave your pets this time, it makes me wonder if she, personally, was actually the one in your house. I would get my key back ASAP if I were you.
post #8 of 32
Originally Posted by Rockcat
Since there was such a big difference in the amount of care she gave your pets this time, it makes me wonder if she, personally, was actually the one in your house. I would get my key back ASAP if I were you.

Good Point, I second that.
post #9 of 32
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Rockcat
If you are just concerned about the amount you are paying her, just let it go. My bigger concern would be her neglecting someone's pet in the future though. Did you get the referral through your vet's office?

Since there was such a big difference in the amount of care she gave your pets this time, it makes me wonder if she, personally, was actually the one in your house. I would get my key back ASAP if I were you.

Yes I got the referral through my vet's office.. That kinda makes me a bit concerned. I know she hadn't worked there that long when I first started with her, but that was 9-10 mos ago.
I'm going to give her another day or two to call.My cell phone died this a.m so I don't know if she called it, but she also has hubby's number. I was talking to a co-worker, and she also suspects that she wasn't the one that didn't the feeding. I'm also kinda ticked if that's the case b/c one of the reasons I hired her is b/c she is a vet tech. Now that I know my neighbors better I may ask them. They all have animals. Still not sure what approach I should use about it, but I'm going to take everyone's advice here under consideration!
post #10 of 32
I would talk to her about it. And express your concerns. After all she was paid to be taking care of a living animal. Its not like she was watering your house plants or mowing your lawn.You and your CATS depended on her to feed them. Granted she did feed them but not the right way.
You placed their lives in her hands. She should of done what was expected of her. Suppose the next client she doesn't even show up? Cats lives are a stake. And don't hire her again..
post #11 of 32
I didn't read all the posts after yours until after I came up with what I thought. My initial reaction was and still is that she wasn't the one who came in. There may be a perfectly good reason for this, if she was sick or something happened that she couldn't make it. Just ask her straight out and see what she says. A vet tech and a good pet sitter wouldn't put hard food in the old wet food like that.
post #12 of 32
I think you should say something - you left your pets in the hands of someone you thought responsible (and paid them for doing so) and it seems they haven't carried out their side of the bargain. It may have been a one off or she may do the same thing another time with someone else. Either way you're owed an explanation. Perhaps you could raise the issue in a casual, non confrontational way e.g. "I noticed you didn't use the wet food I'd left out - was there a problem?" and give her a chance to explain what happened. Even if there had been an emergency and she had to get someone else to go in she still owes you an explanation and apology for not doing what she was paid to do.
post #13 of 32
I had the same exact situation happen to me. Three years ago, my recently deceased male kitty (Mo) was put on daily thryoid and IBS medication and we took a trip for a week. I hired a vet tech at my doctor's office who regularly cat sat for several clients. She was young and a bit too enthusiastic (I guess "fake" acting would be more like it). But I put my reservations aside and told myself I was being paranoid. In the end, my fears came true. I think in a week's time she only came twice, but of course I couldn't really prove it. I should have counted the pills. Mo's condition worsened. I asked neighbors if they had seen her coming and going, etc. I paid her $150 nonetheless. I told myself I would keep my mouth shut to the vet since I had no proof. About six months later I got a letter from the vet's office saying this tech had to be fired and to never call her again to pet sit. It turned out that she was asked to watch the doctors cats and never showed up (and upon further investigation she was doing inappropiate things at the clinic too). I then came to regret that I never said anything.

I think you could say something directly to the doctor in confidence without fear that it would get back to her.

Now I am lucky -- the doctor's girlfriend is now pet sitting! So if anything happens I know my remaining kitties are in good hands!! The only odd thing is that I have to pretend that I don't know she is engaged to him!!

Good luck,

post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 
I may talk to the doctor.. Problem is it is a pretty large practice and I'm not sure of the politics there. I was given her name by one of the receptionists. There are more than one vet techs that pet sit. I think I will talk to a co-worker that has the same primary vet as me- she's known the vet a long time and may have a good idea if it's something I should share with her. I haven't yet heard from this girl about the bill or the key. I'm going to give it a few more days, I'm kinda of dreading calling her. I'm probably going to ask her if there was a problem with the wet food and lysine being fed, and why she never brought the paper in from Saturday. Next time I'm gonna ask a neighbor I think, I just don't like having obligations to people that way. I don't have a problem sitting for their animals, though the two other couples usually take care of eachothers. I'm also concerned b/c we may be taking a very long trip to the Phillipines next year and I think anything longer than a week is a long time to ask. Grr 60-75 bucks for practically nothing. I'm going to pay her I guess. I think my cats have forgiven me.
post #15 of 32
Why are you even considering paying her 75$? Don't give her anything. She didn't earn it. If you hired a babysitter and came home to find your kids in such a state, would you pay the babysitter? No! And then at least you can ask the kids what happened, with cats you have to assume the worst explanation for the evidence as it presents itself since they can't talk.

My initial reaction to this story was also that it wasn't her that was in your house. For one thing, why would somebody who supposedly cares about the animals do something like that? For another, she would care about being hired again or being recommended again. Did she clean the litterboxes?
post #16 of 32
Only good honest people deserve it!
I would report her to the vet where your doctor reccomends her to.
She does not deserve to have this job.
post #17 of 32
I was going to say before not to pay her but I thought I was just being NYC mean and b---chy. Especially if you think she didn't come to house but sent someone else-that's breaking a trust, you gave her a key to your home anything could have happened. Am I being NYC paranoid now?
post #18 of 32
Thread Starter 
I don't know about paying her.. I don't want any bad blood that way, but whoever did came did do a MINIMAL job, so perhaps deserves a MINIMAL payment.. Maybe tommorow I will call her and find out what the heck the scoop is.. Speaking of litter boxes, she had scooped them before, and not this time. I said in the note I left her (that obviously wasn't read) that she could get away with just scooping them once, and that one litter box had been moved to a different room. I cleaned them Thursday night and they were not cleaned at all Mon when I got home. It was on the side of overwhelmingly full for the two-three favorite boxes, the two upstairs were fine, but I just recently had a accident for the very first time due to litter negligence on my part so I'm trying to be very good. If I had expected a no scoop weekend I would have cleaned them Fri before I left, but I expected something!!
post #19 of 32
Thread Starter 
Okay, so the bill came today, and the key was in the mail with it. Now I'm even more ticked off, she charged an extra 2 bucks a day, so the bill was 5 bucks more than expected. In paretheses she wrote Memorial day weekend. If she raised her price or was going to charge more because of it she should have told us. In the back of my mind I was going to wait until I got the key back, so I have no excuse not to call tommmorow. Plus, I now have an ant infestation in the dining room, and I'm blaming her.. Though it could've happened anyway..

I'm just gonna ask about the wet food-supplement issue, and after her explanation inform her of my unhappiness about that, dry food on top of the dried up wet food, the bill, and possibly the fact that the paper was still in the box. I still haven't decided what I'm going to pay her.

On a side note, she used one of her employer's (my vets) envelopes to mail my bill, and I swear she probably used their mail machine to stamp it. Kinda inappropriate, don't you think?
post #20 of 32
hi, sorry to butt in at this late time, but I haven't been around much lately and came across this.
We are leaving for Las Vegas next saturday and I have been worrying about my son taking proper care of my cats. They also get 2 cans a day, each mixed with some dry food, and the auto-feeder is always full.
I talked to the neighbor guy & his girlfriend is staying there now, to look in on them. I am leaving him a house key so when I can't get ahold of my son he can get in to check on them. We do favors for each other so he is trustworthy and very responsible. My son tends to be irresponsible and isn't on much of a schedule. I don't think he will touch the litter boxes either. Last time his girlfriend stayed her with him while we were gone (he is 25 yrs. old) and she scooped and fed them I think.

Anyway....I would send her a check for 1/2 the amount with "paid in full" in the memo section and a note explaining her services were not what you asked for or received. And then tell her you intend to let the vets office know exactly how poorly she does her work.
Please dont pay her the full amount! That just reinforces the idea that she can get away with this and the next animal might not come out of it as well.
I hate it when people rip you off and then expect to be paid for something they never did, or did extremely bad.
post #21 of 32
I think you need to hire someone else...
post #22 of 32
I'm interested to hear how this turns out so keep us informed. There were definitely some very wrong things on her part and things were not done to a satisfactory manner. I think she deserves some payment but not what she is asking!
post #23 of 32
Yeah, let us know how this all pans out, I've been reading the thread and wondering.... BTW I wouldn't pay her the full amount either
post #24 of 32
Originally Posted by ckatz
Do you pay her per visit? I wouldn't let her get away with it. If she is irresponsible with pet sitting how responsible is she at work as a vet tech. I would confront her and ask for an explanation.
I completely agree. I would say exactly what you've said here - what you noticed - and question why she didn't follow your instructions. I'd definitely get your key back and never hire her again. I'm not sure about the pay - I personally wouldn't pay her, or pay her only half of what I normally do since she didn't do much.
post #25 of 32
Thread Starter 
On Monday I talked to the co-worker with the same vet. She recommended at least getting this girl's version, then maybe going down and talking to the office manager at the hospital. On Tuesday I left a message on her cell phone, just saying.. I got your bill, and I'd like to talk to you about what happened Memorial day weekend. Please call me at work. Still haven't heard from her.. Have decided that for now, she doesn't get paid till I at least hear back from her. If she really wants her money she will call or send me another bill. I got myself so worked up about it that I had make myself relax before and after calling her. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned "what happened" but maybe it will give her a clue that something is up.. obviously if she wasn't the one that came she will talk to the person that did.
post #26 of 32
That's great you haven't paid her yet. You deserve to find out what actually happened while you were away.
post #27 of 32
No, I think you saying "what happened" was good - let's her know you're upset and she better call with an explanation. Keep us posted, stand your ground.
post #28 of 32
How'd everything turn out?
post #29 of 32
Thread Starter 
She hasn't called me back, and I haven't paid her. Not sure what to do now, I hate leaving things hanging, and if I run into her at the vet it could sure be uncomfortable.. not that it wouldn't be now anyway. Someone else said maybe to wait and see if I got another bill from her.
post #30 of 32
I'd be honest with your suspecisions and ask her in a calm, non accusatory mannor if anything came up when you were away that maybe kept her from comming over as frequently as she was supposed to....and if she's honest and fesses up, i'd definitely discuss money with her and why she should not be compensated the entire amount because she didn't keep up her end of the responsibilities. Also, explaine to her that when you entrust her with your animals and your house that you take it as a serious matter and expect that your animals and house are treated in such a manner. I'd ask for the key back and definitely not hire her again.But definitely give her a chance to explaine herself without snapping. The best way to resolve it is to stay calm and discuss it open and honestly. If she gave you the slightest reason to suspect foul play, then definitely trust your gut instenct. It's there for a reason. Good luck!
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