If you have a cat and you plan on traveling, don’t worry about your cat too much. For one, cats are pretty self-sufficient and happy to stay at home while you’re away. Sure, you would rather donate your arms to charity than leave your dog alone in the house for an extended period of time, but cats are far calmer and less worried about life in general when you are away. While dogs might be happier somewhere else while you’re away, your cat will probably be just fine at home by him or herself while you travel. But, you still have to make sure that you have someone you trust ready and willing to check on your feline companion, to ensure that all is well and to keep the cat fed and watered while you are away.
The checklist you must have when it comes to caring for your cat while you’re gone is nothing difficult, but it is something that might help you prep your cat sitter. When your cat sitter is fully aware of the rules and goings-on in your house, he or she is more likely to take excellent care of your house and you are far more likely to enjoy yourself without so much stress and worry. So, without further ado, allow us to prep your cat sitter on your behalf so that you can enjoy your vacation or spend your time properly annoyed on a work trip.
Find a Cat Sitter
The first thing you have to do when leaving town is find a good cat sitter. You might ask a trusted friend or family member to stop by on their way home every day to check on your cat or you might choose to hire a professional cat sitter. Either is fine, just so long as you trust the person you are hiring and you know that you can count on them every step of the way.
If you do choose to hire a professional cat sitter, however, you’re going to want to check references. It’s important to remember that you’re allowing a stranger into your home to care for your cat while you are away, and that you are entrusting the lives of your animals with this person. You need to know that this person is going to be someone you can trust in your home and with your pets. You do not want to hire someone without first checking to ensure that the people he or she has worked with in the past are happy with the care and service provided to them and to their animals. It’s just good practice.
Leave a Letter of Authorization
All you have to do here is write a very simple letter. Simply authorize the person caring for your cat to provide your cat with emergency veterinary services if required and provide your contact information in the letter so that any vet caring for your cat can contact you to inform you of what might be happening if your cat is in danger, ill or in need of medical attention.
Stock up on Cat Food and Supplies
You don’t want to leave your cat home with a sitter and not leave enough food to get him through the time you are gone and enough litter to ensure that the cat’s litter box is clean at all times. Make sure there is plenty of everything, and that your sitter knows where to find all of it when you are gone. Be careful, though, to keep the food out of the cat’s reach since some cats are likely to help themselves to food by chewing on the bag until it opens (I’ve had two cats do this in my life even with fresh food in a bowl in front of them…it’s the allure of what they cannot have).
Leave a Key
Believe it or not, this is not as much common sense as you might believe. We actually have friends who left their dog home with a dog sitter while on vacation and forgot to leave a key behind for the sitter to get into the house to walk and feed the dog. It was a pretty ugly situation that required a lot of difficult work from far away, so please remember to leave behind a key so that your cat sitter is able to get into the house.
Leave your Travel Plans and Contact Information
You want your sitter to know where you are, when you’re coming home and how to contact you in case of an emergency, so please make this information readily available. A nice letter on the counter or even an email will suffice so that the sitter has the information on hand at all times.
Leave any Special Medications and Notes in Plain View
If your cat has any medical needs, please be sure that your sitter is aware of this. Some sitters might not be comfortable watching a cat that needs to have medication administered every single day (have you given medication to a cat?!) and many might not know and will not issue medication without a reminder note and visible access to medications. Leave dosage instructions and all the items needed to give your cat’s their medication so that they are able to be properly cared for in your absence.
Leave a List of Instructions
There are so many things that your cat sitter needs to know that you might not think about when you are prepping him or her for your departure. Write it all down and leave it somewhere visible. For example, you might want to let him or her know that the bathroom doors need to remain shut at all times (because they might need the bathroom when they’re caring for the cat and leave the door open by accident if they aren’t aware). Perhaps you’d like the sitter to turn off the lights when they leave the house or even leave them on so that it looks like someone is home. Make sure it’s all written down – even the most minute details.
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