After you’ve been in the cat sitting business a while, you learn about all of the various things that can go wrong—not just with the cats themselves but also with the clients’ homes. My own experiences, combined with those of my cat sitter networks, make it clear that plenty of things can and do go wrong—things that are outside of the sitter’s control. A flooded basement, for example; a leaky gas pipe; or a window broken in a storm.
A good, professional cat sitter will be prepared and able to deal with all sorts of issues that can arise in the home of a client who is away. For example, we have a form we ask all of our clients who own their homes to complete. It is a repair authorization form that gives the clients the ability to select the lengths to which we should go to repair something. We also ask for their preferred plumber, electrician, and heating/cooling service, if any. Some may think it’s overkill, but the unexpected does occur when we least expect it to, such as when we’re on vacation. Having instructions beforehand in case we can’t reach our client can eliminate any guesswork for the sitter and grease the wheels for the repair to happen quickly and efficiently.
Just recently, we had two incidents within the same week. In one, we were called (out of a sound sleep) at 10:30 PM by our clients, who had just been notified that the fire alarm went off in their condo building. They wanted us to check on their home and cat, which of course we raced off to do. (All was well but the other half of their building was soaked by sprinklers.) We were happy to be able to give our clients peace of mind so they could relax and enjoy the rest of their vacation.
In the other incident, we walked into a sit and smelled gas immediately upon entering. We left, called the client and the gas company, and waited for the gas company to arrive. They discovered a leaky pipe in the basement. The gas to the house was shut off for the night and we coordinated the repair first thing in the morning. The cats eventually recovered from all the ruckus and the rest of the sit was blissfully uneventful. The client paid the repair bill from their hammocks on the beach and came home to an intact, safe home and happy kitties.
Incidents such as these underscore the importance of hiring adult, professional pet sitters who will feel as responsible for your home as they would their own; and whose primary interest, after kitty’s welfare of course, is the peace of mind and happiness of their clients. Professional sitters will be prepared for emergencies, take positive action to protect your pets and home, make sure you’re kept apprised, and will be bonded and insured.
Needless to say, pet parents who hire the neighbor kid or ask a friend to do the job are taking a significant risk. Why risk what’s most important to you? Hire only professional pet sitters and breathe easy that your pets AND your home are in good care.
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