by Briana Malmstrom owner of Bat Country Pet Sitting
Do You Want Your Cat Sitter to Skip Visits, Withhold Medication, or ‘Ignore’ Your Cats?
Our scheduling of cat sitting services for your cats is very flexible, depending on their age, if they are senior kitties, or if they have any special medical or other health needs.
Most clients ask us to come once a day, while others might book an overnight visit or two along with two visits a day, during a long vacation.
Occasionally, we get a call from a potential new client who says one or more of the following:
- “I just want you to feed and take care of the dogs/other pets. Just
ignore the cat, I’ll set out food and he’ll take care of himself. You
don’t even have to check the litter, it’ll be fine.”
- “I think it’ll be fine if you come every other day. You just need to
top off their food and water, and scoop their litter if you feel like it.
They’ll take care of themselves.”
- “You won’t see Fluffy anyway! He’ll hide in the closet/under the
bed/in the attic, you won’t be able to check on him anyhow. Just
[insert basic tasks], he’ll be fine!”
- “I’m nervous about someone else giving Grumpy his insulin shot,
so you can skip it while we’re gone. I checked with my vet, and
he said it would be fine!”
Our answer? No.
We’re not going to ‘ignore’ your cat. Or skip visits or medication. Here’s why:
Cats are generally independent creatures, this is true. But behaving in an aloof or care-free manner in the home, in your presence, does not mean that cats, or any other pet for that matter, can literally ‘take care of themselves’, or that they require less monitoring and attention than any other animal in your care.
Most pet sitters have seen and heard of situations that would make you shiver with dread. An accident, injury, or health crisis can happen in less than 24 hours, and sometimes, in minutes. And even something as simple as an accidentally closed door can result in a bad situation, as well (no food, no water, no litter box).
The following are just a few examples of why it’s dangerous for a cat sitter to skip daily visits or ‘ignore’ your cat/s:
- FUS – Feline lower urinary tract disease, also called feline urologic syndrome (FUS), is the most common disorder affecting the lower urinary tract in cats. It can develop over time or within hours and tends to be worse in males, often resulting in bladder obstruction. If your cat’s urinary tract becomes blocked and remains untreated, the backup of urine toxins and pressure can lead to kidney failure and death in as little as 24 hours.
- In-home hazards – Cats seem to excel at finding small, flexible things to play with and chew on. These can include: cords and pulls for drapes and blinds, plastic trash liners or thin veggie bags from the produce section, electrical cords, bread bag twists, milk jug ‘rings’, fast-food bags and wrappers, the list goes on. If a cat becomes badly tangled in the pull-strings used to open and close blinds, and rescue isn’t coming for another 24 hours…that’s just bad news. And a cat can easily become injured, ingest, or choke on any number of small items.
- Senior cats and/or cats needing medication – An elderly cat doesn’t have the reflexes or health they once had and can get into situations they might not be able to get out of or become ill much faster. Also, cats with compromised health (diabetes, chronic kidney failure, etc) can suddenly ‘crash’ or experience a health crisis with very little warning. Asking your pet sitter to skip your cat’s insulin, for example, is dangerous. Please don’t gamble with your pet’s health–we wouldn’t.
- Cats, and other pets, CANNOT ‘take care of themselves’ – Let’s imagine a few scenarios:
- You put the cat’s food dish up on the washing machine, assuming Fido can’t get to it. Well, Fido does. Now he’s overfed with unfamiliar food (diarrhea! wooo!) and your cat is going hungry (which can quickly lead to a crisis, if the cat has certain medical conditions).
- It’s 100 degrees in Austin, and your air conditioning goes out. By the time the pet sitter arrives a day later, it’s over 90 degrees in your home.
- You have three cats and one litter box–that sucker needs scooping at least once to twice a day! But it’s not being scooped, so Kitty #1 gets upset and starts peeing outside of the box on your sofa, carpet or shoes, to state his displeasure.
- Fluffy has been hiding in the garage for three days. We can’t see if he’s alive and healthy, even if it’s just seeing his glowing eyes, and we can’t perform any kind of hands on assessment to ensure he’s not injured or ill. If he IS hurt–he’s going to take care of himself, right?
Your Pets Deserve Daily Care & Attention
No matter your reason for wanting your pet sitter to skip visits (you’re trying to save a few bucks, you think your cat is SuperCat and can open his own cans of food with his super-awesome laser vision, or your cat is perfectly capable of flipping the breaker switch in a power outage), just don’t do it.
Do your beloved cat the favor of providing him with daily care from a professional cat sitter while you’re gone, and don’t skimp on his meds, food supply, or waste clean-up.
A conscientious pet sitter will require at least one daily visit, if we have anything that is a breathing, living creature in our care. Yes, even tarantulas and goldfish! We won’t put your pet in danger for any reason, so please don’t ask us to.
We, and your critters, thank you!