Why hire a cat sitter for a short week end absence?

 

iStock_000004058320Smallcatpawingventianwindowblindssmallest

Companion cats rely on their humans for food, water and the occasional treat. Other than needing food and water, cats seem to prefer an independent life. So why not just set out a three-day supply of it when you leave the house for a long weekend?

Two keys reasons.   First, your cats need companionship, whether it’s yours or whether it’s someone with whom you entrust their care.  Keep their stress levels down by providing them with the attentiveness of a caregiver.  A qualified cat sitter will ensure that your cats have adequate food, water and supervision.  Second, your cat sitter will contact the veterinarian if your cats become ill or injured.

If your cats need special attention or medication, it’s all the more important to make sure your cat sitter visits your home at least once or twice a day.   Administering meds should be as consistent a routine as possible, for the cat’s well being.  A cat’s health can deteriorate quickly (you may have experienced firsthand with your cat) and the right care may save your cat’s life.

According to professional sources, it takes about 30 minutes for a professional cat sitter to care for one cat per visit. During the visit, the sitter will feed and water your cats and change the litter box. A cat sitter also will play with your cats, so be sure to leave plenty of toys — including a few new ones to keep your cats entertained.

If you hire a less experienced person, such as a neighbor or friend, make sure you choose someone reliable who will be able to come by at least once a day for at least 30 minutes.   For cats who don’t need special medical attention, a capable friend is a satisfactory option.

Be sure to ask any cat sitter about their previous cat care experiences.   Keep in mind professionals are typically insured, which provides additional peace of mind.  Professionals should provide you with at least two references and you should follow up with them.  You should also ask them what would they would do if your cat becomes ill or if there is an emergency.

Leave out a full set of care instructions for your cat sitter, including the location and frequency of feeding, litter box cleaning,  locations of toys, treats, and grooming tools.   A complete set of instructions should be provided for medications and where those are kept.  Provide your phone numbers for emergencies and the number of your vet’s office and emergency vet’s office (if different).  Professional sitters should come out to your home ahead of time to meet your cat(s), become familiar with where their things are located and ask questions.

Hire a qualified cat sitter and give yourself and your cats the gift of peace of mind when you need to go away.

Outdoor cats – what they do that you don’t know

Didga the Cat (with his human, not pictured).
Didga the Cat (supervised by his human, not pictured).

OK, so your cat has had his dinner, and is now pleading to you to let him outside, using his most convincing, nagging meowwwwwww.    You oblige.

So….what’s your cat’s next move?  Any number of potential adventures awaits him.

Unless your cat is Didga (see the picture above), I would suspect he is completely on his own, at will to come and go as he pleases.   Here are just a few of the many options he has available to him, depending on his environment and the time he spends out there.

  • He finds and chases insects (name your preference); birds; rodents and other wildlife.  Keep in mind your cat is not wild, he is domesticated and not created to run wild.  However, once his hunting instincts kick in, he would tell you otherwise.
  • If he’s lucky enough (again, from his perspective), he will catch them, play with them, and then consume them, in part or in full.  He may even bring the remains, intact or not, to your front door, as his gift to you.
  • Your cat may end up very sick from eating these various vermin, which may cause him and you much distress and cost you a pretty penny at the animal hospital.  If he’s fortunate, he will recover.
  • Crossing the street is another routine, as your cat will undoubtedly want to get from Point A to Point B.  It may be a quiet street, rarely occupied by vehicles.  On the other hand, it may be a busy highway.  It doesn’t matter to your cat.  He will try to cross it. (Can you tell where this story is heading?)
  • Your cat likes to think that all humans are kind and really, really like him, just like you do.  He is trusting.  Unfortunately, the world has both kind people and those who are nasty to animals..   Will he lead a charmed life and never encounter any of the nasties out there, while outdoors?  We hope and pray so, but it’s not certain.
  • Finally, what happens if the sunny, mild weather suddenly changes into a dark, threatening thunderstorm.  Where will your cat go to seek shelter?  He may run right home to you if he’s close enough, but that’s not always possible.  As for me, knowing my cat might be out there cowering somewhere would really bother me to think about.

As you can see, it’s not all sun and butterflies out there.  And, as you can tell, we definitely have a bias in this matter, and believe that companion cats should, whenever possible, remain indoors.  However, we understand it’s entirely up to you as a responsible and cat loving human, to make that decision.

Fortunately, there are plenty of cat toys and safer diversions available for indoor cats.  We invite you to go to MyThreeCats.com and check them out!

 

Humane Society Pic

Here’s Jane Marcus, of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, pictured with a new shelter cat!  Can you tell Jane likes cats?

This little guy, whose name is Furlington, has beautiful black fur that was badly matted when he arrived.  The kind shelter folks shaved him so his fur would grow back and transform him into his natural, handsome self.  Furlington is available for adoption now!

FullSizeRenderJane1

Planning For Your Pet’s Future… Without You

planning for your pet's future

Did you know that approximately 5 to 7 million dogs and cats enter US animal shelters each year, and approximately 3 to 4 million are euthanized? That’s 60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats. That’s a pretty staggering number, isn’t it?

It is so important to for pet owners to think about who will care for our pets in the event of our inability to do so, so that our pets don’t become a shelter statistic. Now maybe someone immediately comes to mind, when you think about who you would entrust your pet’s care to if you were not around. But there are still some things to consider:

  • DO NOT assume that the caretakers you have in mind, including rescue organizations, will accept the responsibility of caring for your pet. We’ve seen so many pets end up dumped in shelters because the designated caretaker had no interest in assuming the responsibility. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you speak with each individual or organization to make sure they are ready, willing, and able to care for your pet if you’re not.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. In other words, make a plan for more than one possible guardian for the care of your pet, should the need arise. This way, if the primary guardian you’ve selected is unavailable or unwilling when the time comes, your pet will not be left without a home. Circumstances change, so it is always best to have a back-up plan.

There are so many things to consider when planning for your pet’s future, and what works for someone else’s situation might not be right for yours. The ASPCA provides a lot of great information about planning for your pet’s future without you, and we highly recommend visiting their website to learn more.

Have you made a plan for your pets, should something happen to you? Their future is in your hands; please be prepared.