JaneA Kelley is the author of the award-winning cat advice blog Paws and Effect
( paws-and-effect.com) and a contributing writer at Catster.com. She is a longtime
shelter volunteer and supporter and currently serves as the secretary and director
of social media for Diabetic Cats in Need, an organization that helped save the life
of her own diabetic cat. Find her on Instagram, on Facebook and Pinterest at /paws
andeffect, and on Twitter at @pawsandeffect.
It seems like pet sitters are advertising everywhere from magazines to online classified
sites to business cards tacked on a bulletin board at the pet supply store. But how do you
choose a good one? Here are some tips.
1/ START YOUR SEARCH EARLY.
“Finding a pet sitter to provide the right
pet-care services requires an investment
of time — time to do phone interviews,
time to conduct in-your-home meetings, and time to thoroughly check
references on those you’re considering
hiring,” said Beth Stultz, marketing and
communications manager for Pet Sitters
2/ NOT ALL PET SITTERS ARE
“Just because you’ve seen a sitter in an
online directory or even on a nationally
publicized site doesn’t ensure the sitter is a legitimate, qualified pet-sitting
business,” Beth said. “Anyone can post a
profile advertising pet-sitting services,
so it’s important for pet owners to take
a closer look to ensure they are hiring a
‘real pet sitter’ to care for their cats.”
3/ REVIEW QUALIFICATIONS.
Does she have veterinary experience?
Has she taken animal first-aid and CPR
courses? If your cat has special needs,
ask whether she has experience with
such cats. Is she a member of a profes-
sional pet sitters’ organization, insured
and bonded, and will she do the visits
herself or send independent contractors
or employees? Ask if she has client refer-
ences, and contact those people.
4/ MEET AND GREET.
Before you hire a cat sitter, your top
candidates should meet your cats. Watch
how the sitter and your cats interact. If
they don’t care for her, or if your sitter
doesn’t use species-appropriate tone and
body language, choose somebody else.
Trust your own instincts, too: Don’t hire
her if you have a bad feeling.
5/ GET IT IN WRITING.
Once you’ve chosen a sitter, get a written agreement about what services
the sitter will provide, who will be visiting your cat (the sitter or one of her
employees or contractors), how much
those services cost, and what will happen if you miss your flight or need to
lengthen your trip.
For more information on how to find
a pet sitter, including questions to ask
when interviewing candidates, visit Pet
Sitters International’s “Find the Right Pet
Sitter for You and Your Pets” page at pet
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T0 THE RESCUE!
spend most of her time in a small
cage. Unless your clinic is cat-only,
dogs may be in the same room with
her. The smells of the vet’s office may
➜ My view: If I had a cat with
serious health problems, I’d board her
at my vet in a heartbeat, no matter
Whatever choice you make for
your cats’ care, be sure the person
taking care of them knows how
to contact you and your veterinarian. That individual should
also have the phone number of
your building manager, landlord,
or a neighbor in the event of an
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