Cat Sitting Purr-Fection: DOs and DON’Ts of Cat Sitting
12 May 2023.
If you’re obsessed with cats (like we are), then becoming a cat sitter is a great way to get your feline fix! Nearly 30% of UK households have a kitty, so there’s certainly no shortage of cat sitting opportunities. However, pet care can vary from feline to feline. As a cat sitter, it’s important to understand the best way to approach different furry clients. Not to worry, Cat in a Flat has you covered. Read on to learn the main DOs and DON’Ts of cat sitting.
Main DOs and DON’Ts of cat sitting
Cats don’t like change, and your furry client may need time to adjust to a new human in their space. It’s important to understand the major cat sitting dos and don’ts as well as the best ways to approach a cat sitting client for the first time. You don’t want to leave anything but a pawsitive impression! Here are a few other cat sitting DOs and DON’Ts to follow:
- DO ignore the cat. Don’t be disappointed if a cat sitting client doesn’t want to make friends right away, or runs and hides when you walk in. The best approach is to simply ignore your furry friend. Go about your usual cat sitting duties and let Mr Whiskers approach you in their own time.
- DON’T follow the cat around. It’s never a good idea to follow a kitty around or corner them so you can touch them. This will only make the feline more fearful of you. It also sets a bad precedent for your cat sitting/cat client relationship. Don’t try to rush a kitty’s affection, they will come to you when they’re ready.
- DO talk to your cat client. Talk to the kitty in a calm voice throughout your cat sitting visit. Another way to ‘talk’ is by blinking slowly at your furry friend. However, avoid making prolonged direct eye contact and instead slowly blink your eyes shut, then look away.
- DON’T shout at your client. This is a major don’t of cat sitting (or cat ownership in general). Even if your kitty client is doing something wrong, you should never raise your voice or shout at them. This could cause your furry friend to lose trust in you completely, or act out even more.
- DO make time for daily play. With their paw parent gone, your kitty client is alone for most of the day and aren’t socialising as much as they usually would. When cat sitting, make sure you do make time to play with your fur friend every visit. Not only will this help them release energy, but it’s great for their physical and mental health, too. It will also strengthen the bond between you and your furry client.
- DON’T use your hands as toys. Playtime helps satisfy Mr Whiskers’ natural hunting instincts, but you should be careful about using your hands as toys. Felines are hunters by nature, and you’ll only teach them that human limbs are ‘fair game’. A kitty client can injure you by biting or scratching your hand. And their paw parents may not be happy when they discover their kitty has developed a bad habit in their absence.
- DO make yourself small. Once you find your kitty client is ready to approach you, place yourself at their level by crouching down or sitting on the floor. This way you’ll look less scary to them. If the cat doesn’t want to get too close, just sit quietly in the same area with them.
- DON’T make loud noises. Felines can be easily startled, especially around someone new, so avoid making any loud noises or sudden movements. If your furry friend has gone into a different room, announce yourself before entering. Simply tell the kitty in a calm voice that you’re coming in and what you’re doing. Kitties may not fully understand human language, but they can pick up a lot from your tone of voice.
What cat sitting questions should I ask?
While there is some truth to the old adage ‘curiosity killed the cat’, this certainly doesn’t apply to cat sitters! Do ask plenty of questions when starting a cat sitting gig. The more you know about your furry client, the better. Especially in case of an emergency, where asking questions beforehand could save a cat’s life.
Before you head to a meet and greet with a new kitty client, write down any questions you may have so you don’t forget. Here are a few key questions to ask a potential cat client’s paw parents:
- How does your cat react when you’re not home? Different kitties have different personalities. Some may feel stressed by their owner’s absence, while others can be more laid back and relaxed. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what to expect (such as protest pissing) and steps to help address it.
- What are your cat’s favourite hiding places? Cats are masters of the disappearing act. It’s important that you visually confirm your kitty client is okay during each visit. Hence, you should know their favourite hiding spots before your furry friend’s paw parents go out of town.
- Do your cats get along? If you’re cat sitting for a multi-feline household, do ask about the dynamic between the different kitties in the home. Find out what to do (or don’t do) if a catfight breaks out.
- Are there any allergies or illnesses I need to be aware of? Hopefully your furry client’s paw parents will walk you through the cat’s individual needs. If they don’t, make sure to check that there aren’t any allergies or potential health issues you should know about. Ask them to demonstrate how to administer medication to the cat so you understand clearly what’s required. You don’t want to show up for your first cat sitting visit and find that your kitty client needs medication, and you don’t know how to administer it!
What do during daily cat sitting visits
You probably already have a good idea of what cat sitters do. However, here is a rundown of the basic tasks you’ll need to do for every cat client:
- Refresh food and water. Always follow the paw parent’s guidelines for feeding their cat. Treats are a great way to win over your kitty client. However, always check with their paw parent first if you plan on bringing your own treats with you for cat sitting visits.
- Clean the litter box. Litter box maintenance is very important, and your furry client will love you for keeping their toilets clean! Besides cleaning the litter box, sweep up any extra litter on the floor so your fur friends don’t track it around the house. Make sure you know where to find extra litter in case you need to refresh the litter box.
- Make sure your furry client gets active. Always schedule in playtime with your cat client. Be aware of which toys can be dangerous for cats and should be stored away when you’re not there. Again, if you plan on bringing toys with you, check with your fur client’s paw parents to make sure it’s okay!
- Brush your cat client. Not all cats will need (or like) being brushed, but some kitties really enjoy it and it’s a great way to bond with your client too. Keep grooming sessions short, and reward your kitty client with a treat or playtime at the end. If you discover a mat in Mr Whiskers fur, don’t take matters into your own hands. Instead, contact their paw parent immediately so they can make an appointment with their feline’s professional groomer.
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