How to Find a Pet Sitter

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Given a choice, most cats would prefer to stay at home, even when you’re on vacation. Cats are creatures of habit, and they don’t always like to go on the road. Being placed in a kennel can also be very stressful for a cat. A pet sitter will come to your home and look after your cats. Most will also take in your mail and water your plants. But before you entrust someone with the keys to your home and the care of your pets, there are some things to keep in mind.

  • Ask your veterinarian or pet groomer for references, or your friends and neighbors. A personal reference is very important. If you choose a pet sitter from one of the national organizations below, ask them for references and call the references.
  • Call Pet Sitters International at (800) 268-SITS, ; or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters at (800) 296-PETS, .
  • Have the potential sitter come to your home for an interview. Introduce them to your cat, to gauge both parties’ reactions.
  • Determine how the potential sitter would handle problems such as a medical emergency or the escape of your cat.
  • Expect the potential sitter to ask you if your cat’s vaccinations are up-to-date, how your cat behaves with people she doesn’t know, and what your emergency contacts are in case something goes wrong with your cat or your home.
  • Ask the sitter what they would do and what kind of backup they have if they have some kind of emergency before you have returned home.
  • Pet sitters should be bonded or insured for their protection and yours.
  • Once you’ve selected a pet sitter, provide them with the names, phone numbers and addresses of your pet’s regular veterinarian, the closest emergency veterinary hospital, a nearby friend and the place where you can be reached.
  • Go over what and when to feed your cat, any medications to be given, your cat’s favorite toys and games, your cat’s hiding places, grooming preferences and so on.
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