Cat Sitting: A Case for Daily Visits
By: Jennifer Evans
Cats are self sufficient animals, which is why many favor them as pets. Since they are so independent, many are tempted, when hiring a pet sitter, to decide that their cat does not need daily visits. They may reason that with an automatic feeder, waterer, and litter box, a check-in every other day is sufficient. Due to past experience, Pawsitive Purfection Pet Sitting recommends daily visits for our feline clients for the following reasons:
As cat owners know, cats are curious and are able to find nooks and crannies that no one else is aware of, especially if they are alone and feeling bored or insecure. As an extreme example, when we brought our rescue cat home for the first time, she squeezed under our decorative grandfather clock and clawed her way to the top of the case! She may have stayed there indefinitely, not eating, if we had not heard her do it and were able to remove her and block access to that hiding place.
Even the most well-adjusted cat can do out-of character things when they are left alone, becoming stressed or anxious. Cats that are unable to eat for several days can develop a serious illness called idiopathic hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver disease. On one occasion, our pet sitter arrived and could not find the cat. After much searching and calling, she heard a meow — from under the floor boards in the bathroom! The house, an older home, had an access hole to the shower/bathtub plumbing in the bathroom cupboard. The cat, feeling scared and unprotected, had climbed in the maze of plumbing and could not find her way out once she was panicked. Had we not arrived, she would have been in a high-stress situation without food or water for days! While this does not happen often, even if your cat is just shy, we would like to be able to see them physically to ensure they are eating and using the litter box at least once a day.
Once a professional pet sitter becomes familiar with your pet, it will be easy for them to spot unusual behavior — the pet is just not “themselves.” Some illnesses can arise quickly, especially in elderly cats. A problem such as a blocked urinary tract can happen fast and can be fatal if not noticed and treated. A pet sitter scooping the litter will notice if it has been used and will look for symptoms of distress.
During a visit, one of our sitters was scooping the litter box. While doing this, the cat urinated on the plastic bag she was using and there was blood in the urine. She notified the owner. When we followed up with the owner, he told us the cat had been diagnosed with bladder stones and was put on a special diet. Eventually, the cat needed surgery to remove the stones. The disease may have gone unnoticed if the sitter was not checking on the cat daily.
Depending on geographical location, clients may experience weather extremes. In areas of the country where it can be very hot or cold, a heating/cooling system break down could leave a cat in a house that feels like an oven or an ice box. A pet sitter stopping by once a day could prevent this distress for the cat not to mention physical damage to a home from a frozen burst plumbing pipe!
When planning for your next vacation, include in your budget daily visits for the safety, health and sanity of your kitties!