One of the most difficult conversations Liza has on the phone when new clients call in to Critter Caretakers is how many visits we provide for cats. Critter Caretakers has a policy that we visit our feline friends at least once every 24 hours.
We have lost a number of potential clients as we simply do not back down from this. Whilst there a re a number of reasons discussed below, it is interesting when we refuse a client’s booking as they want one visit every 2 or three days, only to then be called back to confirm the appointment a few hours later! Maybe our firmness and willingness to lose clients and stick to our beliefs shows that we are serious, compassionate owners with integrity. You may not agree with us, and there will be plenty of hobby pet sitters or larger services who scramble for clients at all costs, but we don’t.
I’m sure many pet owners chose cats over dogs as the everyday demands for cats is far less than for dogs. They are less of a commitment, I can see that, but they still have needs that responsible pet owners need to take seriously, and it is this level of care that we strive for, even if it is a higher level of care than the cat is used to. Whilst we are caring for them, we will treat them as our own, and we wouldn’t want any pet of ours left for over 24 hours. When cats are left alone for longer than a day, our absence causes them stress and anxiety. Cats especially may be more independent than most comparable pets, but who wants to be left alone for multiple days? They get lonely and anxious without their family around them, with this level of anxiety increasing the longer you are away. Cats worry like we do and can feel abandoned and increasingly nervous. Many prospects we speak to believe that by putting down a big bowl of kibble and a second water bowl that their precious cat will be OK for a few days or more, but to us, that isn’t enough.
Why Cats Really Shouldn’t Be Left Alone at Home
• One of the main concerns is that your cat may fall ill during the time you are away. This risk increases everyday they are not checked on. It’s hard to disagree that one of our pet sitters finding you cat in distress due to illness today reduces the suffering and increases the chances of a full recovery compared to not finding this out for 2 or 3 more days. By then it may be too late, or if it isn’t as a responsible service we do not like to think of any pet being in discomfort or pain especially not for days on end when they are already lonely without you. establishing your cat may be unwell today is better than dealing with the issues of not finding this out for 2-3 days. Feline disorders like urinary blockages can come on suddenly and can be fatal in three days.
• It is tough on the cat not to have their normal wet food when you go. A diet of dried food is not ideal for cats as evidence kibble has been linked to lower urinary tract disease. The moisture content in cat food plays a crucial dietary role in feline urinary tract health. Obviously you can leave fresh, wet food out as this will go off, and cause your cat further issues should they tuck in. A pet sitter can ensure your cats are feed as usual so there is no change to their routine.
• When an indoor cat especially is left alone for days, they will get lonely. And bored. Just like any of us would. Endless hours alone can lead to unwanted behavior like messing, biting and clawing.
• Who can blame a cat for no longer wanting to use their litter tray when the litter tray is full? They will poop in other places around your home, which isn’t great for you to come home to and is likely to cause your cat distress too as this is a change in their routine.
The number one emergency we run into is failed air conditioning units. The heat in Arizona is often around 115 degrees in the summer. Imagine how hot your house will get if your air conditioning fails and now one is available to deal with it for 2-3 days.
How to Care for Your Cat When You are Away from Home
1. A daily visit from a Critter Caretaker pet sitter! Ideally you would have two visits a day, especially if your cat is used to being fed twice a day. Many clients do this but of course there are cost implications and often this is above most client’s budget. Some clients go for the middle and have a second visit every other day Your pet sitter will provide fresh food and water and stay long enough to play with your cat giving her all the attention and exercise they need.
2. Don’t tidy all of their toys away – leave them out. And buy them more! This will provide them with some environmental stimulation when you are not around. Another great idea is to hide treats around the house that they can find while you are away! You probably already have a scratching post but it may be worth getting one in if you don’t and often leave them for long periods as these can provide hours of entertainment and mental stimulation.
3. As a Critter Caretaker client you will have a Time to Pet account set up for you. in this profile you can prepare notes about your pets. Make sure you provide specific notes about your cat’s food, special diet, medications, allergies, temperament, and any special needs that your cat has. Leave your all your contact information – cell phone numbers, email addresses, places where you’re staying, hotel phone numbers, your veterinarian’s address and phone number, and the nearest pet emergency hospital address and phone number—in case anything should happen. We also like to have an emergency contact, ideally a neighbor, available should an emergency occur ie lost or damaged key, A/C failure, medical emergency so that we have someone else on hand locally to assist and potentially take your pets in should the need arise.
4. Consider servicing your air conditioning unit before you leave to minimize the risk of breakdown whilst you are away.
We take our responsibility very seriously when we are caring for your pets. Ultimately it is your responsibility to keep your cat safe, healthy and happy, so why would you take a chance on something happening to your cat, compromising its health or well being?