BECOME THE BEST CAT SITTER IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Cats may have a reputation for being easier to look after than dogs, but that doesn’t mean cat sitting is simple. Looking after a moggie (theBritish work for a pet cat) properly amounts to more than simply refreshing food and water every day. In fact, there’s an to cat sitting. Get it wrong and your feline may have some complaints about the service. Master these six skills, however, and they’ll treat you like a conscious form of catnip.
Cat Sitting Skill #1: Sleuthing
Before the cat’s owner goes away, you’ll need to do a bit of private investigation work. Most cat owners will give sitters a briefing. Nine out of ten times, however, this briefing will just focus on basic pet care – covering practical things like where the food is kept, how much the cat eats, and which vet to contact in the event of an emergency.
If you want to join the cream of the cat sitting crop – ask the owner about the cat’s quirky habits. For example, some cats love sitting in boxes. If you know this is true for a particular kitty client in your care, you could spoil that cat by bringing a new box home one day. Other cats love drinking water from the tap. If you know this, you can pamper your cat client by allowing it to sip from the faucet once in a while.
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Cat Sitting Skill #2: Playfulness
The amount to which a cat enjoys playtime will depend on its personality, age and its breed – Abyssinians, Turkish Angoras and Burmese cats are known for their playful nature. On the whole, however, most cats enjoy at least a little bit of playtime and socialization– it helps to enrich their lives, particularly if they live indoors.
As a pet sitter you’ll need to have the energy to play with your cat. Playing with toys like mice and feathers on rods can also act as an important form of exercise for cats. Plus, it can help you bond with the your kitty customer.
Cat Sitting Skill #3: Timekeeping Routines
Cats are creatures of routine. In fact, research suggests that changes to a cat’s routine can cause stress and lead to illness. The University of Ohio, for example, discovered that healthy cats were just as likely as chronically ill cats to refuse food, vomit frequently and leave waste outside their litter box in response to changes in their routine.
Cat Sitting Skill #4: Cat Whispering
Contrary to popular belief, cats can suffer from separation anxiety when they are left alone. In one study, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences found that cats purred and stretched for longer when owners returned after four hours compared to separations of just 30 minutes.Serious separation anxiety can cause cats to feel stressed and can lead to behaviors like vomiting, crying, urinating in unusual areas, excessive grooming and loss of appetite or binge eating.
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Understanding this is key to being an upper-echelon cat sitter. Some cat sitters will enter a house that the owner has just departed from without realizing that the cat might already be feeling stressed. They’ll expect to be able to play and stroke the cat as soon as they arrive. The better approach is to enter the cat’s home gently. If the cat looks anxious to see you, ignore it for a while. Spend a little time watching the television or making yourself feel comfortable, especially if you are house sitting. Let the cat approach you in its own time and it will soon feel relaxed again.