cat life, Cat Nip

Cat Sitting Questions and Answers

CatQ&ABlog

Whether you are new to cat sitting or just interested in learning more, I’m glad you are here. When it comes to cat sitting, no two businesses are alike. And with technology and apps adding a new layer of convenience to the equation, it also adds to the level of confusion on the best fit for your needs.

Recently I sifted through some of the most popular questions I get asked. Here they are with my answers. Hope this alleviates a little anxiety and sheds light on your best choice.

Are you a cat sitter or a pet sitter? What is the difference?

Great question! I am a cat sitter. I specialize in the comfort and care of cats. This way my time is solely focused on really understanding them, and I customize my service to their individual needs. While this sounds simple and self evident, one of the interesting things about cats is that — like kids — they all have little idiosyncrasies that require special attention. For example, Mike, a flame point Siamese is a real people lover and craves a lot of attention, while my own cat Weezy is very shy and prefers to be left alone. This is important because while you (their owners) know of these personality traits and how best to cater to them, the same holds true for whomever you trust with their care. Only I have come to find that most sitters still don’t make this a priority like I do, so your cat is left without some of the one on one time it really needs! It is my intent to be consistent with the care you give and that means how much (or little) attention to give, or whatever other little ways I can make them happy.

The majority of folks in this business are pet sitters. They primarily take care of dogs, but also will take care of cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and other pets. Because they care for a variety of animals, the services tend to focus on the basics: feeding, watering,  walking, removing waste. Because I spend all of my time with cats, the basics are only a small part of what I do. I also don’t carry the scent of dogs other animals when I visit my cat clients which I can tell they really appreciate!

Do you bring the cats to your house? Where do you care for them?

No. First of all, I have three of my own at home but more importantly cats are territorial and prefer the comfort of their home, so that’s where I care for them. Not only is this more convenient for you (no dropping off / picking up) but it is safer. When you think about just how nice it is that your cat will be able to sleep in his own bed while you are away, it really doesn’t make sense to move them and have them confused about where they are not to mention having to deal with you not being there.

Let’s say I am thinking about hiring you to care for my cat. How can I be sure my cat will be getting the care I want it to?

Wait till you get home and see how happy he is!  ; )  Honestly, I love this question because I seriously felt this way when I was looking for help with my own cats. I totally get that a lot of businesses don’t practice what they preach, so I invite you to include Alexa, Siri or whatever recording device will verify that everything is being tended to.

The whole point of my work is to mimic the environment and care your cat is used to and familiar with, down to the tiniest detail. Before I even get started, I always meet with each new client so you can get to know me. I want you to be comfortable, and it is also a great way for me to meet your cat and make sure he / she is comfortable, too!  During this time, we will review what is most important in caring for your cat, along with the details of how they are fed, who their veterinarian is and general things about your home. I take very thorough notes and can provide references from happy cat clients. I am also always asking for feedback so I know you are 1000% satisfied! I love doing what I do but it only works if you and your cat are happy.

Some of my friends use pet sitter apps and swear by how easy and convenient they are. Are you going to have an app?

The pet sitter apps are convenient — I, too have friends that use them. Most of them have dogs and the app lets them know where the dog is being walked and when it does its ‘business’. The apps work much like Uber: once a pet owner needs the service, they notify the app, which in turn notifies random, available pet sitters in the area. The pet owner leaves a house key in a key box on their front door. The pet sitter picks up the pet / walks it and drops back off, communicating exclusively through the app. This is where, for me at least, the convenience is not worth it because most often the pet owner and pet sitter never meet. Although the pet sitters are vetted, I think we have all heard of stories where the sitter didn’t properly care for the pet / snooped through the house / invited a friend over & so forth. Either way, I need to know who is caring for my pet, that they are bonded & insured and are capable and trustworthy.

I meet every one of my clients often more than once. After the initial meeting, I have never run into a situation where it has been inconvenient for someone to get a hold of me even on short notice. Clients email / call / text and it works just as effortlessly, so I don’t see a reason to have an app at this time.

Aside from just care for cats, what else makes you different from other pet sitters?

I value each relationship I have with both client & cat, so I work to make the experience as effortless and rewarding as possible. With that in mind, I don’t tack on fees for our initial meeting and things like dropping off and picking up keys. I feel charges for things like that are awkward, and an inconvenience. I also offer a variety of ways I can pamper your cat (more on that in a minute) and often spend extra time if needed.

In addition to care for cats, I work really hard to provide my clients with an engaging and interactive community experience so they can learn and share everything cat. I feature a ‘kitto blog’ on my website, and you can find me on Facebook and Instagram.

Finally, I am very keen on noticing changes in cat behavior. Cats can be very tricky when it comes to hiding their own troubles, but for someone who spends as much time around cats as I do, they can’t easily hide things from me!

So how do you pamper cats?

I start by getting as much information as I can from their moms & dads. Anything and everything the cat loves is important in providing the best possible experience. Often, younger cats like lots of playtime whether with paper balls, toys or games and older cats like to be brushed or cuddled in a lap and petted. So, brushing, reading stories, special treats, rubbing bellies and cuddling are all ways to spoil a cat.

I really would love your help. What is the best way to get started?

Fantastic! Fill out the form on my ‘Let’s Talk’ page on my website, or email me with your name, phone number and some detailed information about your needs at catsitter@mycatcompanion.com.

Thank you!

 

 

cat life

Meet The Crew

MeetTheCrew

So here they are. The little dumplings that have me wrapped around their tiny paws. Don’t you just love ’em? Thelma and Weezy are sisters from the same litter and Buttons is one litter behind. It’s funny because they all get along and fight like sisters so it feels like the perfect reality show family! lol

Thelma is the quintessential cat. She will blink at you as if she is bored when you try and get her attention, but will run up and rub around your legs if she thinks you don’t notice her. Oh yeah, and she loves to sneak into the bathroom and furiously unroll the toilet paper, so we have been ‘trained’ to keep those doors closed.

Weezy is the princess. Demure and stately, she struts like a model on a runway as she makes her way around. And yet, if provoked by Buttons she will stand her ground. She loves little paper balls. Playing with them – and hiding them under the stove. We know this because she will literally lay on the floor sideways in front of it, one paw reaaaaching underneath until we notice her. And then we get down on the floor and retrieve her toy. No joke. I secretly think she gets a kick out of watching us get on the floor and get it out.  ; )

Buttons is sweet and sassy. Cute and devious. She knows how cute she looks when she rolls upside down, so now it has become a prompt when she wants something. And if we don’t take notice right away, she will go after the curtains to get our attention. She has a few little soft toy balls (that were once sparkly pom poms) that she loves to hide in various places. She uses her sweetest meow (translation: “I want my tooooooy”) to provoke us to hunt them down. I think she also loves to watch us move everything in the house trying to figure it out.

They are only four years old so they still have plenty of kitten in them. Every day is a new adventure and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

cat life

Cats Are People, Too!

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“I’m not crazy, my reality is just different than yours” – Cheshire Cat

Is it just me, or do you sometimes get the feeling that you have little furry semi-humans in your household? I noticed it when they were small, but the more we all spend time together and the older they get, the more I think of them as little cat people.

Take, for example, communication. As any pet owner will attest, pets are pretty savvy when it comes to conversation. I’m sure most folks think it applies more to dogs, but I beg to differ. Every day as I go through various routines, at least one of the girls is around to talk to. In the morning, it is usually Weezy who joins me as I am getting ready. And let me tell you, I think she looks forward to our ‘talks’ as much as I do. “How is my pretty girl today?” I always ask. She LOVES to hear that and responds favorably by jumping up on the bathroom counter and rubbing against me. Buttons especially responds to her name – even when we are talking about her and not to her. If we start a conversation and she is within earshot, we can see her little ears twitching around as she hones in on what we are saying and the minute her name pops up she’s all over it!

And personality. Each of the girls is looooaded with it. Weezy is quiet and shy – the lady of the group. Unless she is teased by Buttons, then her ninja side is unleashed. Buttons has been on the receiving end of a quick paw maneuver enough times to know she may as well give up but never does! Speaking of Buttons, don’t let her sweet face and cute demeanor catch you off guard. She knows how a simple roll upside down and reaching her little paws in your direction is just the right tactic to get what she wants. But don’t act fast enough and she knows where the curtains are and just how much we don’t want her little claws in them!

Thelma is the strong silent type, but still very playful and incredibly smart. She loves to get her ‘cheeks’ brushed, so she will sit in the back hallway outside the laundry room where we keep the brushes and let us know when it is time. We have a few brushes that we use to groom them, and one has tiny wire bristles. Thelma LOVES to rub her face against them so now when I see her sitting in the hallway I will say “Hey Thelma, are your cheeks itchy? Would you like me to brush them?” She always responds with enthusiastic meows. It is soo cute!

And intelligence. There is no question cats are smart cookies. Just let Google tell you. Google ‘Cat I.Q.’ and you may be surprised at just how many references there are. In fact, one article I came across said that behavioral specialists agree that a cats intelligence level is right up there with a 2-3 year old child! (Or is it behavior level? lol!)

Maybe this is why I am so passionate about what I do. I just love my little cat people. And I think when you finally catch on that that is what they are, they love you a little more, too!

cat life

Home is Where the Cat is

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Last Christmas a friend gave me a cute little sign that I keep on my desk. It says “Home is Where the Cat is”. Just another way of saying it is the cat that makes a home a home. But did you ever consider just how important home is to a cat?

Shortly after Thelma and Louise joined us, we were so caught up in the excitement of being new kitty parents that it didn’t even occur to us that we would need to think about their care during an upcoming weekend away. Fortunately the couple who rescued them came to our rescue as well, and graciously agreed to look after them that one time.

It was several months until our next trip, and by then we also had Buttons. What to do with three cats? Sure, several hotels now promote themselves as pet friendly so you don’t need to leave Mittens at home, but we were driving several hours and that would be really tricky with three cats. After a little research, we decided to give a local boarding place a try. We had heard good things about it, and with all of the options for play time and one on one care were sure it would be a good fit. So imagine our surprise when we stopped in to pick them up and it was evident that they did not like it at all!

I don’t think the boarding company did anything wrong, but after talking with a few other cat owners, I started to appreciate just how important familiar surroundings are to a cat. In hindsight it makes perfect sense. Cats are pretty territorial by nature, and are most comfortable in the environment they know. Especially indoor cats like ours. And when you factor in just a simple change like the absence of their owner, it is best to keep them where they feel most safe.

That said, cat sitters were a new concept to me. I was unfamiliar with entrusting my home and three babies to a complete stranger with the hope that he or she would be just as thorough in attending to everything as I. There are so many details in how we handle even the simplest of things. Take feeding, for example. We give them wet food twice daily. Divide the portion of one can three ways. But I also like to chop up any big chunks because I can’t understand how a little kitty is supposed to manage those huge bites! And litter boxes. We keep two in the basement and clean them twice daily, with a detailed scrubbing weekly. Would someone be able to match the way we do things detail for detail so the cats would get the same care?

It was a learning process, but we finally did find a good match. It’s interesting, because it was one of the things that led me to start doing it myself. There was something about knowing that if I had a specific need, others may have it, too. I really wanted to create a place where folks could feel completely safe knowing their cat was well cared for and loved. In fact, although he may not say it, I’m sure I drove my husband crazy with all of my ideas on how much better a service could be “if only they would do this” or “if only they would do that.” He used to always say “Relax, Maria. You are never going to find someone who will do things as good as you.” You know what, I think he’s right!  ; )

 

cat life

Cat Magic

“Do do….that voodoo….that you do so well…”

When Cole Porter sang “You Do Something To Me” I’m preeetttty sure he wasn’t referring to his cat! Althoooooough……

I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but there’s no question my kittos have me wrapped. And they don’t even try. Or do they? The thing is, it’s not hard to love a furry creature – any creature – let alone one that makes the smallest of cute baby gestures while purring. Or rolls upside down. Or looks at you sweetly right before climbing your curtains!!!! ; )

We currently have three, but according to Ernest Hemingway, “One cat leads to another” so maybe it is just a matter of time. The first to join the family were Thelma and Louise (Telmers and Weezy). Rescues that melted our hearts when a co-worker first shared their pictures as kittens. We didn’t originally set out to name them after movie characters, but upon bring them home it didn’t take long before Telmers squeezed her little tiny body through the small bars on the super expensive (and supposedly foolproof) cage we just purchased – with Weezy right behind her. So the names just fit. Buttons was a litter behind them. Once again, her picture had us at ‘pink nose’. Her name came from the little spot on her belly (belly ‘Button’) and the fact that she always knows how to push all the right Buttons in our hearts. Awwww……

That was a quick four years ago and already they have trained us well. So yes, it is true what they say about cats ruling the roost. Ha!

While I have learned to steer clear of cute cat pics from friends to avoid becoming the next Hemingway Home, I think – for the time being anyway – I am going to nurture my cat fixes by coddling and cooing your kittos. That’s good with you, right?