Choosing pet sitters to look after your furry friend while you're away on holiday can be quite a difficult decision and one that can cause pet owners to worry the whole time they are away.
So choosing one that you can trust is very important to ensure both you and your pet have a happy holiday.
The cat sitters industry is a relatively new one due to the fact that the cost of travel has decreased so dramatically over the last thirty years or so, making it much easier to take holidays abroad.
Add to this the increase in pet ownership during the same time period and we have a growing industry for people who want to earn money looking after other peoples pets.
Of course if you are lucky enough to have a good neighbour or a family member that is willing to look after your cats while you are away, then your pets well-being is not something you will have to worry too much about. Just make sure you bring home a nice big gift for your friends as a thank you!
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Deciding to hire someone to look after your cat while you are away has benefits for not only you but also your pet:
All of the above are good reasons in themselves to make sure that the pet sitters you hire are professional and fully qualified in cat care, as the responsibility placed on them is a large one considering that they are strangers to you.
The first place to start looking for a good cat sitting service is to ask at your local veterinary surgery if they can recommend anyone locally.
"Personal recommendation is one of the best ways to find someone you can trust"
Never use people who simply stick postcard adverts in shop windows as you have no way of knowing who they are!
The next option is to check your local yellow pages directory, to see if there are any pet sitting companies local to your area.
Lastly you can check the Internet. There have been many pet sitting services starting up over the last few years and some of the larger ones require every one of their sitters to have a qualification in dog and cat care and looking after other animals.
It is also worth checking out animal forums to see what other people are saying about particular dog and cat sitting companies.
It is important that before you hire someone to look after your pet, you ask them some questions to check their suitability:
Before going away on vacation it is important that you have good communication with your chosen pet sitter and make sure that they have all the information required to look after your pet to the best of their ability. Make sure:
Making sure that you have prepared everything for both your pet and the sitter before you go away will ensure that the whole process of looking after your furry friend will run smoothly.
We thought it would be a good idea to let you know of some of the experiences we have had in the past when leaving Little Mo in the care of someone else.
They were three very different experiences and certainly highlight the importance of trusting your pet sitters.
First year - We asked our new neighbour who we liked and who really liked Little Mo. We felt confident that everything would be okay.
However on our return, we noticed that a lot of the cat food we left was still remaining and that they had only been feeding Little Mo small meals. We also found cat faeces in several areas of the house, one of which was plain to see in the main entrance hall.
We couldn't believe it; it looked very much like they had not looked after her or our home very well at all. Luckily we had only been a way for a few days, so Little Mo was fine.
Second year - We used a cat sitter who had placed a small card in our local veterinary surgery. The vet did not actually recommend them but we thought that they looked professional and sounded trustworthy.
Wrong! While we were away our neighbour rang us three times to say that she did not think the pet sitter was visiting the house very often. It turned out that she was visiting, but at all sorts of different times of day, which is not what we had agreed. We were not happy, but luckily Little Mo was fine, thanks to our neighbour.
Third year - We found a cat sitting service that was recommended to us by a friend. They visited us before hand and we went through everything with them. They were very experienced in cat care and they asked lots of questions about Little Mo and how often we wanted them to visit the house to look after her.
They were great. We went away for a week and when we returned, Little Mo seemed to have hardly noticed that we had been away. She was well fed and contented, which is the best sign that she was looked after properly.
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