As a pet-owner, it’s easy to believe that you’re the ideal candidate for house-sitting. You can clearly demonstrate in-depth experience at looking after pets, plus of course a love of pets. But unless you’re planning on leaving your own pets behind, organizing a house-sit where you plan to bring your own pets along can be challenging. As someone who’s house-sat multiple times bringing along my own small dog, here are my tips.
The Difficulties in Finding a House-Sit as a Pet-Owner
To understand why a home-owner looking for a house-sitter may be hesitant to choose someone with their own pet, it helps to consider why the home-owner wants a house-sitter. Often the home-owner’s pets aren’t happy at staying in a kennel environment surrounded by other pets. Their pets may be defensive and easily provoked by other pets, or just easily scared.
If you are intending to bring along your own pet to a house-sit, the same issues apply. If the house-sit includes a dog and you have a dog, the dogs may not like each other, especially if they are of differing sizes and temperaments. If the house-sit includes a cat and you have a cat, their cat may not take kindly to another cat intruding on its territory. And then there are the complications of combining dogs and cats! Also, many house-sits include multiple animals, both dogs and cats, complicating the balance of relationships further.
Even if both yourself and the home-owner are confident that your pets will like each other (and it’s impossible to know for certain beforehand, especially with the complication of being on one pet’s home turf), issues may arise. There’s the dilemma of what to do when you head out to the supermarket, leaving all the pets behind. Plus possible arguments between the pets over food, treats and toys. And meanwhile, you may have a month or longer house-sit stretching out in front of you, with pets that don’t get on. No wonder many homeowners go for the simpler option of choosing a house-sitter without any pets, when they want to be assured that everything will go smoothly.
Housesit in London
Dealing with Potential Conflicts
The best way to deal with these potential conflicts, and convince a home-owner that you are the right house-sitter for them, is to anticipate the issues that could arise. That firstly starts with knowing your own pet and their temperament, and not applying to house-sits that you’re not confident your pet will also enjoy. For instance, I have a small dog and I know that he’s not always comfortable around large dogs. So, I avoid applying to house-sits with dogs over a certain size. I also avoid applying for house sits with cats, at least indoor cats.
When applying to a house-sit, be upfront with the home-owner about your own pet and theirs. The biggest no-no would be to not mention at all that you’re intending to bring along your own pet, and spring it on them at the last moment. Include plenty of details about your own pet, so that they can make an informed decision. And be gracious if they turn you down.
As it’s always difficult to know how animals will get on in advance, it would be ideal to introduce your pets in advance, before a final decision is reached. However, this will only work if you live locally. In the house sits I’ve completed with my pet, this hasn’t been possible; instead we’ve had a long Skype conversation so we can at least clearly see each other’s pets.
Finally, at the actual house-sit be cautious about contact between the pets. When the pets initially meet, it’s ideal if they can meet on neutral territory, not inside the house. Then keep a close eye on all the pets during the sit, and if necessary separate them at times, especially when being fed meals. If you are leaving the house, it’s best if you can leave the pets in separate areas – such as two separate rooms inside the house, or one pet inside and the other outside. Discuss your plans for this in advance with the home-owner.
An extra tip: if you haven’t previously house-sat, consider firstly getting an initial house-sit and recommendation under your belt, without taking your pet. Plus, the easiest house-sits to line-up are repeat house-sits, where you already know that your own pet fits in happily in the household.
Exploring Venice with my dog
Factors to Keep in Mind for International Sits
If you are intending to bring your own pet along, keep in mind the requirements for taking your pet across country borders, before applying to international sits. Sometimes it’s easy to move around with your pet, such as within the European Union, as long as your pet has a passport and a rabies vaccine. But there’re other countries that are more difficult to enter.
In particular, some countries require most pet arrivals to go into quarantine. Examples include Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Japan, and Singapore. When bringing a pet into Europe, there are specific rules to be followed until a PETS EU Passport can be obtained. In these cases, leaving your own pet behind (perhaps with their own pet-sitter?) makes the most sense.
Shandos Cleaver is the founder and blogger-in-chief of Travelnuity, a travel blog focused on dog-friendly travel around the world. Currently travelling in Europe with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, Shandos realised there was a shortage of information about travelling with a dog. Travelnuity aims to provide hands-on information to other dog-loving travellers, whether about sight-seeing, transport options or where to stay, plus inspire more people to travel with their dogs.
Sure, you could become a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher or a police officer – all very admirable career paths – but let’s face it: playing with and caring for pets for a living sounds so much better and far more exciting than performing craniotomies or chasing down some of the most dangerous criminals the world has ever seen.
If that sounds like your dream job, then becoming a pet sitter is probably the perfect career for you.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to become a pet sitter.
1. Research the Profession
The first step to becoming a professional pet sitter is gaining a thorough and clear understanding of what the role entails. Below is an overview of responsibilities, required skills, working hours and salary prospects.
Pet sitting is basically babysitting for pets whose owners are on holiday, at work or who generally need to be away from home for long (or short) periods of time. You may be asked to host pets in your own home, pet sit in the owner’s home or simply visit and walk pets a set number of times each day.
You’ll be responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of the pets under your supervision. Typical responsibilities include:
- Feeding pets and putting out fresh water
- Brushing and grooming pets
- Bathing pets
- Cleaning litter boxes
- Walking dogs in all kinds of weather (the owner may request a certain walking distance)
- Vacuuming up pet hair
- Giving medications
- Taking pets to the vet in emergency situations
- Notifying owners of any injuries or sickness, and keeping them updated on their pets and home (this can include sending them photos of their pets)
- Following laws and regulations (for example, dogs should be held on a lead when being walked on a designated road)
You may be asked to perform additional tasks, especially if you’re staying over at the owner’s home while they’re away. These should be agreed on beforehand and can include:
- Cleaning the entire house
- Washing dishes
- Watering plants
- Cooking meals for the pets
- Collecting the owner’s mail
If these extras are not part of your services, then you might want to consider charging an additional fee for them.
Essential Skills and Qualities
First and foremost, you must love animals – whether they’re two-, four- or eight-legged (or legless); small or big; or fluffy, feathered or scaly. (If you’re not too fond of or allergic to a certain animal, you might want to make it a point to let clients know about this or choose your contracts more appropriately.)
Important skills and qualities required to perform the job, other than a love for animals, include:
- Being reliable and trustworthy
- Having excellent customer service skills
- Having strong interpersonal and communication skills
- Being empathetic
- Having a high attention to detail
- Being physically fit
- Being patient with pets
- Being willing to work outdoors
- Being organised and practical
Working Hours and Conditions
Pet sitting is not your typical 9-to-5 desk job. In fact, it’s anything but.
One of the biggest benefits of the profession is that it offers a great deal of flexibility, meaning you get to set your own hours. But, you may have to follow a set working schedule if you’re an employee at a company offering pet sitting services, and you may also have to deal with late-night calls and last-minute requests.
It can be a physically demanding job, as you’ll be responsible to taking dogs out for walks – sometimes for long distances, if requested. Travelling may also be involved if you’re pet sitting in the owner’s home, though you can choose to only take local jobs.
Emergencies may arise when a pet under your supervision becomes sick or suffers an injury and must be treated by a vet. It is of utmost importance that you require owners to fill out a detailed form with their contact details, their vet’s contact details, and relevant information about the pet (including age, breed, prior medical conditions, etc). Such emergencies may, in extreme cases, result in the death of the pet. If a vet recommends euthanasia, make sure that the owner consents to it – it is not your decision to make!
There’s also a certain personal risk involved in pet sitting. For example, you may have to deal with problematic animal behaviour, which may result in a few bite or scratch marks. Improper handling of dangerous animals (like venomous snakes, for example) can be life-threatening.
As an independent pet sitter, you’ll be able to set your own rates, typically anywhere between £10 and £25 an hour – sometimes more. Normally, you’ll start on the bottom end of the salary range and work your way to the top end.
If you choose to offer your services through an online pet sitting marketplace, note that you may be charged a commission which typically ranges between 10% and 20%.
The average annual salary for pet sitters is £29,843, though what you earn will largely depend on your experience, reputation and client base.
Free-ranging and feral cats lead complex and busy lives. They maintain far larger territories than most people realize, and these territories often contain a variety of environments, such as forests, farmlands, urban gardens and yards. Within these territories, cats explore, hunt and scavenge for food alone. They only occasionally interact with other cats. They don’t live in groups or even pairs, and they don’t seek out contact with other cats. In fact, they actively avoid it. Considering this natural behavior of cats, it isn’t surprising that it can be very difficult to introduce a new cat into an established cat’s territory, even when that territory is your home.
If you’re bringing a new cat into your home, be patient. The introduction must be gradual. Following the initial introduction, it can take a very long time for a relationship to grow. It takes most cats eight to 12 months to develop a friendship with a new cat. Although some cats certainly become close friends, others never do. Many cats who don’t become buddies learn to avoid each other, but some cats fight when introduced and continue to do so until one of the cats must be re-homed.
If your resident cat becomes aggressive when she sees other cats outside your home, you’ll probably have a difficult time introducing a new cat into your household. If your cat has lived harmoniously with other cats in the past, the odds are good that she’ll adjust to a newcomer. However, it’s impossible to predict whether or not any two individual cats will get along.
Unfortunately, there are no reliable guides for deciding the best matches among cats. Some cats are very social and enjoy living with other cats, while others prefer solitary lives. The individual personalities of the cats are more important than any other factor, such as sex, age or size. Be aware that the more cats you have, the higher the likelihood that there will be conflicts among them.
How to manage introductions
Step 1: Controlling first impressions
The first impression a new cat makes when she meets your resident cat is critical. If two cats display aggression during their first meeting, this may set the mood for their future relationship. For this reason, it’s best to separate your resident cat from your new cat when you first bring her home so that you can control their initial meeting.
The two cats should be able to smell and hear—but not see or touch—each other. Each cat should have her own food and water bowl, litter box, scratching post, bed, etc. Feed the cats near the door that separates them so they learn that coming together (even though they can’t see each other) results in a pleasant experience. In addition to regular cat food, feed the cats extra-special treats near the door as well, like tiny pieces of tuna, salmon, cheese, chicken or liver.
After two to three days, switch the cats’ locations so they can investigate each other’s smell. This also allows the new cat to explore a different section of your home. Some behaviorists suggest rubbing the cats separately with the same towel to intermix their scents. First gently rub one cat with the towel. Then rub the other cat. After the towel carries both cats’ scents, bring the towel back to the first cat and rub her with it again. After a few more days, play with each of the cats near the door. Encourage them to paw at toys under the door. Eventually the cats may play “paws” under the door with each other.
Step 2: Letting the cats see each other
After a week or so, assuming that you see no signs of aggression at the door (no hissing, growling, etc.), you can introduce the cats to each other. One method is to replace the door with a temporary screen door so that the cats can see each other. If you can’t use a screen door, you can try using two baby gates positioned in the door jam, one above the other.
Ask a friend or family member to help you with the introduction. Have one cat and one person on each side of the door, and start the introduction by setting each cat down a few feet away from the screen or gates. When the cats notice each other, say their names and toss treats to them, aiming the treats behind them. Over the next few days, continue to encourage feeding, eating treats and playing near the barrier, gradually offering the cats’ meals, treats and toys closer to the screen.
Step 3: Letting the cats spend time together
The next stage is to permit the cats to spend time together without a barrier between them. Supervise these initial face-to-face interactions carefully.
It’s good to bring the cats together when they are likely to be relatively calm, such as after a meal or strenuous play. Keep a squirt bottle handy in case the cats begin to fight. As the cats become more familiar with each other, allow them longer and longer periods of time together. If one cat spends most of her time hiding, or if one cat continuously harasses and pursues the other, please consult a professional.
If you’re bringing a new cat into a household with multiple cats, introduce each resident cat to the newcomer individually. After each of your cats has met the new cat one-on-one, you can start to allow all of the cats to mingle as a group.
Your cats will be more likely to get along if they’re happy in their environment. Look at the layout of your home. Make sure there are plenty of hiding spots for your cats. Some like to sit up high, on shelves and on kitty condo perches. Frightened cats, on the other hand, tend to hide under and behind things, so make sure you provide spots at floor level as well. Place food, water and litter boxes out in the open so your cats don’t feel trapped when they access these resources. Make sure you have a litter box for each cat, plus at least one extra.
Despite the stereotype, many dogs and cats learn to live together peacefully. Be patient and take the introduction process slowly, but know that whether or not your pets get along will also depend on their individual personalities. Follow these steps to maximize the chances of success.
- Make sure the cat has access to a dog-free sanctuary at all times.
- Sanctuary rooms can be any size but must have a secure door and ceiling.
- The space should include a litter box, scratching post, water, food bowl, and toys.
- Make sure to cat-proof the space by removing any poisonous plants, medicines, fragile knick knacks, and hiding or tying up cords.
- You might also set up some hiding places or tunnels to help the cat feel safer.
Keep the pets separate for at least the first 3-4 days. Prevent any contact until your new pet has had his vet checkup and been cleared of illness. Confine your new pet in a sanctuary room with the door closed or a separate floor of your house. The goal is to allow the pets to get used to each other’s presence without face-to-face contact. Even if they can’t see each other, they can hear and smell each other.
The idea is to teach them to associate the presence of the other pet with pleasant things, such as food. With each feeding, move their food bowls a little closer to the closed door. Continue this process until each pet can eat calmly right next to the door.
If your new pet is a dog, start teaching him basic obedience cues, such as “sit” and “down.” Keep training sessions short, pleasant, and rewarding for the dog. Learn more about training with Animal Humane Society’s Training School.
Once your pets can eat their food calmly right next to the door, conduct meet and greets in a common area of the house. Don’t use either animal’s sanctuary area. Keep the first few sessions short and calm. Keep the dog on a leash and let the cat come and go as he wishes. Do not restrain either pet in your arms, as injury could result if either pet behaves aggressively. Ask the dog to sit and reward him with small tasty treats for calm behavior. Give your cat treats as well. If either pet demonstrates aggression, calmly distract and redirect them. Toss a toy for the cat to lure him from the room, or call the dog’s name and reward his attention. Return the pets to their confinement areas.
Repeat these face-to-face sessions daily. Save your pets’ favorite treats for when they are together. If the cat attempts to leave the room, allow him to do so, and do not let the dog chase him. Try to end each session before either pet shows stress or aggression.
When the animals appear to be getting along well, allow them loose in the room together, keeping the dog’s leash attached and dragging on the floor so that you can step on it and prevent him from chasing the cat if he gets excited. If tension erupts, go back to the earlier introduction steps and repeat the process. Make sure the cat has access to a dog-proof sanctuary room at all times.
Kids often look for ways to earn a few bucks. Some baby-sit, while others mow lawns or assist family or friends with odd jobs. If a child is an animal lover, perhaps he or she would do well by starting a pet-sitting business.
My kids don’t have an official business but have always helped watch friends’ pets when those friends are out of town. They’ve had the opportunity to pet sit cats, guinea pigs, and even dogs. They started around age 6 and 8 (with my help), and now they are 15 and 17, and able to handle the entire operation on their own.
We’ve learned a lot about pet-sitting over the years — sometimes the hard way. We definitely know if we had to do it all over again from scratch, we’d do some things a little differently.
Here are four tips for helping your child create a successful pet-sitting business.
1. Consider the responsibility
Taking care of pets is a big responsibility, and one that should be carefully considered before taking on pet-sitting. When my children began their venture, I always accompanied them and supervised as they completed their tasks. Most articles I’ve read suggest a child would be ready to take on many of these responsibilities on their own around age 10. Truly, it depends on the child’s temperament and maturity level — a call best made by the parent or guardian.
2. Start small
When embarking on an adventure in pet sitting, it’s a good idea to start small. Perhaps start with one family, get acclimated and become comfortable with the new role. After one or two successes, slowly expand the business, while making sure the child has still allotted plenty of time to provide quality care and attention for each pet. Pet sitting is not about walking in, feeding cats, scooping litter boxes and leaving five minutes later. The pet probably feels lonely and craves playtime and the opportunity to cuddle. Never force a pet to cuddle — always follow their lead on the amount of interaction they prefer. Over time, a skittish pet may come around and warm up to the child.
Get the word out! It’s a good idea to start advertising services with friends, family and neighbors. Because the child already has a relationship with these individuals — and perhaps their pets — it will be an easier foray into their new business.
Help your child give the business a name and create inexpensive business cards. You can easily make these in Word, using business card templates bought at an office supply store. Make sure and use an adult’s phone number on the cards and create an email address just for the pet-sitting business ([email protected]). You can also create flyers to hand out to neighbors or pin up on bulletin boards in local businesses.
4. Spend time with the pets in the presence of their families
It’s important to meet with the family prior to taking on the responsibility of sitting for their pet. This is an excellent opportunity for the child to interact with the pet in the comfort of the family’s presence. The pet will likely feel more at ease and begin to develop a trusting relationship with the child. It may be helpful for a couple of these playdate visits before the child and the pet feel ready for the experience of interacting alone.
4. Make sure expectations are clear
A meeting with the family is also critical because that’s the time for becoming clear on expectations. The family for which my kids pet sit always has a checklist typed up for them and they email a copy to me. This is extraordinarily helpful. If there’s not a checklist, make sure the child takes copious notes and then reviews the notes with the family prior to the first pet-sitting visit.
Also make sure the child has all the important contact numbers, including the family, veterinarian and any close-by family members. Ask for a key. Some families use a security keypad to enter the home, but if the area loses electricity, there will be no way to enter the house and take care of the pets.
How much should the child be compensated? This will probably depend on the age of the child and the amount of responsibility he or she has undertaken. If the child is young, the parents will likely work through these details with the family. In my research, I found kids typically get paid anywhere from $5 to $10 a day for their services. This is in line with what my kids have always been paid.
Do you have any tips for kids starting a pet-sitting business? Tell us about it in the comments!
About the Author: Angie Bailey is a goofy girl with freckles and giant smile who wants everyone to be her friend. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, and thinking about cats doing people things. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that may or may not offend people. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.
When learning how to train your cat, you’ll start with very basic first steps that both reward good behavior and discourage the bad. But can you train a cat the same way you might train a dog? Yes and no. Because they’re highly independent animals, cats might appear aloof or uninterested in following your commands. That doesn’t mean you can’t influence their behavior, though. If you’re patient and consistent, your new kitten or older cat can be trained in no time.
What Do You Want to Train?
First, determine what you’d like your cat to learn, then move toward them in small ways each day. Before you start training your cat, however, consider what commands you’ll use and what types of behavioral actions you want her to learn. Think about what you may have wondered in the past: how to train your cat to use a litter box, how to keep her calm on trips to the veterinarian’s office, and the like. How can you teach her stop scratching your rugs or furniture? These are all options you can work on during training.
Some common objectives include:
- House training or litter training.
- Coming to you when you call or gesture.
- Staying calm and still for grooming.
- Interacting with you, other people, or other animals. , with you, or with another cat.
- Calm traveling (getting into carrier and riding in the car).
There are many important reasons to learn why and how to train your cat. But above all, teaching her to behave in certain ways will help her become social and content around humans and other animals. Training is also important for your own well-being; if your cat learns to be calm during nail-trimming or travel, there will be no anxiety for her or you. The better mannered your cat is, the better your relationship will be.
Keep Each ‘Session’ Short and Natural
Having determined which lessons you and your cat will master, it’s time to get down to business. First and foremost, your cat’s attention span is shorter than yours; you can’t expect her to stay interested every time you’re ready to be the trainer. Let the lesson dictate how long she’s willing to be in your company.
Because some kittens take to potty training quickly (or even before coming home with you) after watching their mother use a litter box, this type of training time may be brief. However, you may still need to lead her back to the little box in the early stages to remind her where it is. If you’re training your kitten to play with her toys (and you), however, the lessons might be more gradual. Cats often prefer to explore new toys on their own, which means your role should be to respect her space while remaining approachable during her exploration. Then once she’s acquainted herself with a new item, you can participate.
If you’re excited about training, you may want to jump right in and teach your cat everything at once. To be successful, though, it’s a better idea to practice one lesson at a time. Once your cat has mastered whatever you’re working on, you can move on to the next training exercise. When bringing a new kitten home, for example, you may want to litter train her right away. Once you’re done you can work on interacting with other pets, then calm grooming, and so on.
Don’t Limit Her to One Area
Once your cat has learned a command, practice it in different areas of your home. If you’re introducing a kitten to other preexisting pets, and only bring them together in the living room, she may believe the other animal only exists in that space. This isn’t a problem if your other animal is a fish, but if your kitten is meeting a dog, she needs to understand she’ll encounter him in other areas as well.
Much like litter training, some types of training may require using different areas of your home. If you are house training a cat, it’s sometimes necessary to have more than one litter box available. Keeping her from scratching carpet and furniture will also warrant a more comprehensive lesson, as she’ll find these items in more than one room.
Involve Other People
If the only two residents are you and your cat, you don’t have to worry too much about involving others in the training process. Yet you still want your cat to learn to be social, not territorial. Shortly after bringing your cat home, invite friends or family members over to socialize with your new pet. Just remind them not to be too forward with their introduction. Just as you practice training in small spurts, you should allow your pet the same leeway.
If you’re bringing a kitten into a larger family, it’s even more important to involve everyone in the training process. There are many reasons why the entire family should get involved, but it’s most important for consistency and relationship-building. After all, she’ll see these familiar faces every day! Everyone should be clear on the training goals and which methods you’ll employ to be successful.
Use A Reward System
Rewards to reinforce good behavior are great motivators, especially during training. There are two types of rewards for your furry new friend to test out. First, know she will enjoy any positive praise you have to share. Speak in a kind, upbeat voice and remind her how proud you are. Say, “What a good girl” and “good job!” while petting or scratching her fur so she knows these gestures mean well.
Cats also respond well to treats. Reward her with small kibbles of Science Diet® cat food when she correctly masters the commands you’re working on. One way to do this is to use a “clicker” system. When your cat preforms the right behavior or action, sound a tool that clicks, and then give her a treat that signals a job well done. Hearing this noise each time she does a job well done will reinforce the good behavior you’re training her to learn.
If It Isn’t Working
Training doesn’t happen overnight, and sometimes your cat will make a mistake. Can you train a cat to bounce back from it? Of course, but before you begin, you should come up with a plan for how to correct or guide her when she seems reluctant to catch on. Punishment doesn’t work well when you’re trying to train a kitten because your cat simply won’t understand why she’s in trouble. In fact, it could make her worse and feel more reclusive.
You’d never slap, shake, or physically correct your kitten during training, but don’t forget to keep your voice just as calm. If your cat feels threatened by you, not only will training begin to fail, but she’ll only learn to be afraid of you.
If you do need to redirect bad behavior (like scratching furniture) try making a quick, sharp noise. It’ll also help if you say the same phrase every time, such as “Bam!” “Whoa!” or “Yow!” The point is to make your cat alert, and distract her from the current action or behavior. Avoid words that you regularly use, like “no!” or “hey!” as your cat will get confused when she hears it in a different context.
Learning how to train your cat can be a fun experience for your entire family. Just remember to be patient and positive, and you’ll both get there.
For people who have never used a pet sitter, the idea of having overnight pet sitting can be a little daunting! Here we try to explain everything you need to know so you can decide if overnight pet sitting is right for you and your fur kids.
How Long are Overnight Stays?
At Wet Noses Pet Sitting, we offer two different overnights:
- Standard Overnight which is 9-10 hours long
- Extended Overnight which is 12 hours long, usually 7pm-7am
In most cases, unless you have a dog door or only have cats, we also require a visit during the day. We can help you choose visits that are best for you.
What Animals Need Overnight Stays?
We most commonly see overnight stays being used for dogs, but that is not to say that some cats do not appreciate them! If you have pets that are used to, and enjoy, company in the evenings, then overnights would be a good fit. You also may have pets that need to monitored more closely due to heath problems, or are young and exuberant and need more exercise! I have an older cat that likes to sleep on the bed next to a person, so even when we take the dog with us, we still get an overnight sitter.
What Happens During an Overnight Stay?
Depending on whether you chose a Standard or Extended Overnight, the sitter will have varying amounts of time.
- During a Standard Overnight, the sitter will have enough time for feeding, medications and a quick walk. The same basic activities that happen during a pet sitting visit.
- During an Extended Overnight, the sitters usually arrive between 7-8pm. This allows them time for playtime, a longer walk, plant watering and extra cuddling! During these longer overnights the sitter will generally spend the extra time hanging out with your pets and keeping them company. For households with a lot of pets, this extra time also allows the sitter to perform any additional tasks that are hard to complete during the day visits.
Where Does the Sitter Sleep?
The sitter can sleep wherever you are comfortable, but we often recommend that the sitter sleep in the room your animals are most accustomed to. The sitter can sleep in your bed, in a guest room or on a comfortable couch. Some animals do not mind where your sitter sleeps, but if you have a dog or a cat that has a specific routine, you should consider sticking with the normal bedroom.
Some clients will wash the sheets before leaving, especially for longer trips. Then the sitter will wash the sheets before you return. Some sitters prefer to bring their own bedding. These are details you can work out with your sitter during the introductory meeting. If you want to learn more about this specific topic, see our post here.
Still Having Trouble Deciding?
We have written up suggested schedules depending on what pets you have. Shy cats have very different needs than active dogs. Or Call Us to discuss schedules based on the specific needs of your pets!
You don't have to choose between your pet and your wallet when it comes to expensive vet visits. Prepare ahead of time for unexpected vet bills by finding the pawfect pet insurance.
Congratulations on your decision to add a new feline member to your family! Cats get a bad rap for being aloof and disagreeable, but they’re actually affectionate little animals who make wonderful companions. While welcoming a cat into your home is an exciting experience, it’s also one that calls for preparation. Felines are especially sensitive to new surroundings, so you want to make sure your new friend has as smooth a transition as possible.
Here are some tips on preparing for a cat adoption!
#1 Budget for the costs of a cat.
There’s a cost associated with taking care of a feline companion, and that amount depends on your cat’s needs and your own lifestyle. But expect to spend at least $405 for the first year and roughly $340 for each subsequent year. You’ll be able to save more if you adopt your furry friend from a shelter, as adoption fees typically cover initial vaccines, spaying or neutering, and microchipping.
Other costs that come with having a cat include veterinary care, food, treats, flea and tick prevention, litter, toys, and cat sitting. If you’re inclined to splurge on your four-legged pal, you can also add professional grooming, birthday cakes, and a pet camera to the list.
#2 Go shopping for supplies.
It’s important to have all the essentials ready before your cat arrives so that they can start feeling at home right away. Your cat will need:
- A breakaway collar and ID tag.
- Food and treats.
- A food bowl and a water bowl. Cats don’t like to eat and drink in the same spot as they don’t want their water supply to be contaminated, so place the bowls away from each other.
- A comfy bed. Cats like sleeping in different places; provide one or two extra beds if you can.
- A litter box. A litter box with a low opening on one side is a good choice for all cats, including senior felines and young kittens.
- Cat litter. A litter with a fine, sand-like consistency is recommended.
- A scratching post. Make sure it’s a new one! A used scratching post that has the smells of other felines will stress out your new cat.
- Toys. Play prevents boredom and satisfies your cat’s natural hunting instinct.
- Grooming tools. Brushing is especially important for long-haired cats.
- A well-ventilated cat carrier. This is a must-have for trips to the vet.
#3 Set up a safe room.
Cats are territorial critters and being in a strange place can make them feel uneasy. A safe room will provide them with the security they need as they adjust to their new home over the next few days or weeks. It can be any size, but it should have a door and ceiling. It needs to be private too—no kids, other pets, or guests allowed. Remind other human family members that the door is to remain closed at all times.
Furnish the safe room with food, water, a litter box, a scratching post, and a bed. See to it that there aren’t any items lying around that can harm your cat. Your new friend will likely be nervous and want to get away from it all—give them places to hide by draping sheets or towels over chairs. Cardboard boxes work well too.
Drop by the safe room frequently for short periods. During your visits, you can play or interact with your cat or just be in the same space doing something else. Make sure they have toys like mice and balls to play with when you’re not around.
#4 Cat-proof your home.
Once you’ve gained your furry friend’s trust, you can let them out of the safe room and allow them to explore the rest of the house under your supervision. But before you do that, you need to make sure that your home has been cat-proofed. Here are some things to consider:
- Remove any items that your cat might chew on, swallow, or knock over.
- Keep trash bins out of reach and securely covered.
- Never leave food out on the kitchen counter to discourage them from jumping on counters.
- If you have plants in your home, check if they are toxic to cats. Many plants are harmful to felines.
- Store toxic household products such as medications, cleaning supplies, and paint safely and properly.
- Venetian blind cords can cause strangulation; keep them short or tied up.
- Fishing rod toys pose the same risk; always put them away when not in use.
- Keep electric cords and plastic bags out of reach.
- Keep the windows closed during your cat’s first few weeks at home.
#5 Plan the introductions.
If you have other pets, do not try to introduce your new cat to them immediately upon arrival. A successful introduction will require a bit of planning and a lot of patience. Let your new addition and resident cat or dog smell each other from under the safe room door first before letting them meet face-to-face.
Being prepared when bringing a new cat home will help ensure a smooth transition for the newest member of the family!