A guide for finding and hiring the perfect cat sitter
So it's finally time to head out on that awesome vacation you've been planning, or maybe, you need to head to Dallas for the long weekend to take care of some quick business. Either way, one of the most important decisions you'll need to make in your trip planning process will be who will take care of Mr. Whiskers. Finding reliable, capable pet care is essential for getting your trip off to the right start. The last thing you want while traveling is to worry about the well being of your beloved cat.
For starters, we always recommend hiring a professional cat sitter. There are lots of options when it comes to finding care for your pets. So finding the right choice for you and your cat is vital. Many new companies have recently emerged that advertise themselves as an "Uber of pet care" type of business. And while they have pretty apps and lots of money for advertising, one of the significant components they lack is trained, experienced, and qualified professional cat care providers. That's not to say that every cat sitter you find on a pet care tech app is inexperienced. Still, since there is such a low entry barrier for joining these apps, you never know precisely what or who you will be getting when booking a cat sitting visit or overnight stay. And when it comes to caring for your kitty and providing someone access to your home, you should have peace of mind that you're working with a reliable professional!
What to look for when hiring a professional cat sitter:
Are they bonded and insured?
When it comes to having a cat sitter come to your home and care for your beloved pets, they must be fully insured and bonded. They should be able to provide written proof before any cat sitting or cat care services begin. Insurance and bonding protect you, your cat, and your home.
Do they do background checks on their team?
If you are hiring a pet care or cat sitting company with multiple team members, they should be performing background checks on all their pet sitters and cat sitters. You are trusting them with your pets and your home.
Can they provide client references?
Client references are one of the best ways to determine if a cat sitter has experience. Many professional cat sitting businesses will display pictures and testimonials from clients on their website. They should also be willing to provide you with references from past clients if you request them.
Do they have experience caring for cats?
Along with references, a professional cat sitter will happily provide you with detailed information about their experience caring for animals. Many professionals will be comfortable with many different personality types and behaviors. Experience also means that your professional cat sitter will know what to do in case of an emergency.
Do they have a service agreement or contract?
Cat care pros will have service agreements that include what is expected from each visit. They will also have detailed information on rates, fees, key management, and cancellation policies. Having a contract agreed upon upfront will prevent many instances of confusion and misunderstandings.
Do they have certifications like pet first aid training?
Many professional cat care providers have completed extra education and gone through training programs related to pet first aid and special behavioral care. These certifications may include specialized knowledge of caring for elderly felines or administering certain types of medication.
Do they belong to a professional organization like Pet Sitters International (PSI) or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAAPS)?
Being part of a professional organization shows a pet care provider's commitment to their occupation and craft. Being part of a professional organization also provides benefits to a business like educational resources and a network of industry-specific contacts. The two major professional organizations for pet sitters and cat sitters are Pet Sitters International (PSI) or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAAPS).
Do they have a well-organized website with straightforward means of communication and transparent pricing?
Sometimes you can't help but judge a book by its cover. When you are looking for a professional cat sitter, seeing a well-organized website with clear and direct information can help give you extra reassurance. Also, if they have an image gallery with happy kitties that they've cared for, that usually helps too.
Do they use pet sitting software?
If a professional cat sitter uses pet sitting software like Time To Pet, you'll have the ability to easily schedule services, make payments, and receive report cards through an App on your mobile device. It also makes communicating with your cat sitter incredibly easy.
Will they schedule a meet and greet?
After an initial phone call, it's common to schedule an in-person meet and greet with a professional cat sitter. A meet and greet gives you a chance to decide if you are a good fit for each other, and it also provides the cat sitter with an opportunity to become familiar with your cat and home.
You found the perfect cat care pro! Now, how much should you pay a cat sitter?
Most professional cat care providers will have transparent pricing listed on their website. The main factors that determine how much a cat sitter charges are:
- Where you are located — large cities will usually mean higher prices.
- What type of service you have requested — is it a short visit or an overnight stay? Will your cat sitter be administering medications or water plants?
- How many pets you have.
According to the cat sitting rate calculator from Time To Pet, the national averages are as follows:
- Cat Sitting - 15 Minutes: $17.20
- Cat Sitting - 30 Minutes: $23.26
- Cat Sitting - 45 Minutes: $26.75
- Cat Sitting - 60 Minutes: $34.30
Overnight cat-sitting rates will vary much more than drop-in visits. Your geographic location usually plays one of the largest factors in how much you will pay for overnight cat sitting. Larger cities with higher costs of living will require higher rates. Overnights can range anywhere from $25 to sometimes more than $100. The price a cat sitter charges when you are booking overnight care will really depend on many of the factors listed above.
Another benefit of hiring a professional cat sitter is that they will usually have all of their rates visible on their website. Transparent pricing makes it easy to know exactly how much you will pay for services.
Hire your perfect cat sitter today!
You can use Local Pet Care to find and compare cat sitters in your area. The guide above should help you make the best decision possible for finding someone to care for your cat!