Last Updated on April 15, 2023 by ellen
As a cat lover, you know that cats are at their best when they’re well-fed and happy. Check out these cat sitting tips to make that easier.
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The most important part of caring for a cat is making sure it’s fed properly. However, this can be hard to do if you don’t have the right information on how to care for your friend’s feline companion.
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Cat Sitting Tips
This guide will give you all the information needed to provide quality care and ensure your friends’ felines stay healthy while in your charge of cat sitting!
Whether you’re cat-sitting for a friend or are a professional cat sitter, a good cat sitter will try to give the best cat care possible.
First, there are some general rules for caring for any cat. It may seem obvious that you need to respect the animal’s boundaries when you cat sit, but many people aren’t aware that this is necessary!
Cats need plenty of time alone every day; they want to relax and sleep in peace, which means it’s best to let them be on their own when they’re not eating or using the litter box.
Despite popular belief, you cannot just leave a cat alone for an extended period and just provide food. If your friend needs to leave town, cat sitters or a cat hotel are the best options.
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s move on to more specific tips for cat sitting.
How do I make my cat comfortable when cat sitting?
The first thing to do is familiarize yourself with your cat’s personality. If your friend has never left their cat with you before, take the time to get to know them. This will make it easier for both of you when they’re gone.
Once you know your cat, try to mimic their everyday routine as closely as possible while they’re in your care. This will help them feel comfortable and avoid stress. You may want to ask about their favorite hiding places.
If your cat is used to sleeping on a certain bed or blanket, try to have it available for them while they’re staying with you. You can also create a space in a quiet room for them to relax in – just make sure the door stays closed so they don’t escape!
If you’re going to pet sit in their home, just be sure to leave things where the owner left them.
Supplies to keep on hand when you pet sit:
Cat owners and pet sitters should keep these supplies on hand. If your cat client doesn’t have them when you show up, you may want to get some yourself.
- Food and water bowls
- A full set of food and water
- Emergency contact info
- Detailed instructions and pet care information
- Litter boxes and litter
- Bed or Scratcher
- Paper towels
- Cleaning products
How long should a cat sitter stay?
This is a very important question. In the pet sitting industry, you can’t just show up and leave. You need to stay until all of the pets are taken care of!
For cat sitting clients who aren’t home, most experts recommend a minimum of two visits a day for a one-cat household. But there’s no maximum limit – the more cat sitting visits you offer, the better!
When you’re first starting out with your pet sitting business, it’s important to be very clear about your time commitment when accepting a job. Cat owners need to be able to trust that their cats will be well taken care of, and pet sitters need to make sure they’re not overcommitting themselves.
What makes a good cat sitter?
A good cat sitter is someone who’s reliable and flexible; they understand that schedules can change, and they’re willing to work with their pet sitting clients as much as possible.
It’s also important for a pet sitter to be responsive – you should send messages regularly to inform owners on how their feline friends are doing. If you won’t be able to complete this task, you may want to turn down the job.
Pet sitter rules
If you’re new to pet sitting, just remember these few rules:
- Don’t bring other pets into your client’s house
- Follow their home rules, which includes feeding schedules and litter box use
- Make sure the cat has food and water bowls at all pet sitting visits
- Make sure there’s a litter box available at all times
- Clean up after yourself and use cleaning products to keep things fresh!
If you follow these cat sitting tips, you should be able to provide good care for your pet sitting clients’ cats – and get paid for it!
Get cats active
Typically, cats require 30 minutes a day of movement to be healthy. Almost everyone loves homemade toys like knits and animal toys. Please ensure you get approval before you bring a new toy into their home. Cat exercise is helpful in strengthening their minds while reducing the stress of being alone.
A visit lasting 30 minutes is the perfect length for pet sitting. While you’re there, make sure that you feed the cat and give it fresh water. You should also scoop the litter box, and change the bedding if necessary.
Beware of changing meal times
Dramatic changes in mealtime are never a good idea. Try to feed the cat at the same time that the owner typically does while they’re there.
If you are watching two cats, be sure you monitor their eating to be sure they are both getting food. You may want to leave a food bowl in one room while another bowl is in a different room.
Automatic Food Dish
If the cat is used to having access to food that you’re not available for, an automatic food dish can be programmed to make food available at this time.
Always make sure that there is enough food available for the cat no matter what their feeding schedule is. Your furry friend will enjoy your daily visits as a time to play with their favorite toy.
Cats behave differently
Remember that cats behave differently when their owners aren’t there. They may meet you at the front door when they hear your car pull up. Or, they may pick one of their favorite hiding spots and not come out until you’re gone.
Tips to give cats pills
If you need to give a cat a pill, the easiest way is to put the pill in a little bit of food. If neither of these methods works, you may have to hold the cat and open its mouth before putting the pill in. Then, close the cat’s mouth and let go.
I find that using a pill pocket is really the simplest way to get a cat to take a pill. As a pet sitter, you want to use the method that is the least stressful for the pet.
You should consult your client about any vaccines, meds, or special instructions they give to you. Some cats may not like their paws touched by strangers, so be sure to ask first!
How to clean the litter box
The best way to clean a litter box is to dump the old litter and then use a wet wipe to clean the sides and bottom of the box. You can then add new litter.
If you’re using a self-cleaning litter box, be sure to read the owner’s manual carefully so that you know how to operate it correctly. Some of these boxes require the cat do some work to activate them, others will start automatically once they’ve been used.
Litter scooping probably won’t be your favorite task but it really takes only a few minutes.
Litter box rules for your client
Part of being a good pet sitter is making sure that you follow all of the litter box rules given by the owner. This includes when to scoop the litter box, what brand and kind of litter to use, and where the box should be located in their home.
Always ask your client before you change anything about their cat’s litter box routine. This will ensure that you won’t cause any stress for your pet while you’re watching them.
How do I prepare for a cat sitter?
If you’re a cat owner, you may be wondering how to prepare for a cat sitter. Here are some cat sitting tips:
- Make sure there is adequate food and water available for the cat.
- Put the litter box in an easy-to-reach location.
- Leave out some of the cat’s favorite toys.
- Leave a list of things you’d like your pet sitter to do for your cat. These may include brushing them, playing with them, or giving them fresh food and water.
- If you have more than one cat, be sure to provide enough food and water bowls for each one. You may also want to designate one room as the “cat room” where they can all hang out together.
- Be sure to leave emergency contact information
When preparing for a pet sitter, it is important to leave clear instructions on how to take care of your cat. These instructions should include food and water, litter box rules (and location!), and any other special instructions on how your cat’s routine goes typically on a daily basis.
Just follow these excellent tips and your cat will enjoy their week at your friend’s house or your home while you’re away.
More pet sitting tips
- What supplies should I leave for the pet sitter?
- How to dog sit for a friend
- Pet sitting forms
- Do you tip dog sitters?
- How to choose a pet sitter
- Celebrate National Cat Day
- Why do cats sleep in a ball?
- Homemade cat treats with tuna
- Alternatives to cat litter
- Do indoor rabbits need bedding
- Cat litter storage containers
- Do snails hibernate
Ellen runs a small pet sitting business in southern Vermont. She has experience with a variety of small animals, dogs and cats. She has also cared for ducks, chickens and rabbits. Combined, she has over 20 years of experience in pet care and pet sitting.