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ariawoman

Pet sitters - in home - how did you decide?

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So I'm left with the first time need of having an in house pet sitter. I have a diabetic cat, and caging her for a week doesn't appeal to me. I'd just feel guilty all week and who can have a good vacation thinking their baby is in jail? She's not a social girl (except with me and my fiance) so the idea of a stranger is never fun.

 

I've decided the better option for her sanity, is someone to come here twice a day. feed and medicate her (insulin).

 

How did you all find your pet sitters? Better yet, how do you know you have one that's reputable and not someone you're willingly giving your house keys to and come home to being robbed or something worse? Ugh. I'm so worried about it. I've had someone lined up, and I'm meeting her in person tomorrow but I guess I'm wondering - what do i look for? Do I ask her for something and if so, what? Her website (and the site i found her on, petsit.com, states she's bonded and insured, and knows pet first aid, etc, but, anyone can say anything. Did you ask for any paperwork? If so, what? How did you "know" the person was ok, to be leaving your baby with?

 

Hoping to get some responses so I can feel a little better about this. Otherwise I might need to board her, which i really don't want to do given her medical history. :( My vet isn't in the area as I moved, so I can't even use their services for in home.

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I had a friend who did it but then he got a "real job." I asked the gals at the desk at my vet's office and several of the techs do "in home" pet sitting. Making day visits/walks and they'll also spend the night there. That's what I'm doing for my March cruise. We haven't discussed $$ but whatever it costs I'm OK w/ it.

 

So I'd say a good resource is to check w/ the receptionists and vet techs at your vet office.

But it appears that since your vet moved, you haven't gotten a replacement?? I'd call the vet you INTEND to switch to and if at all possible get your cat in for a check up and to establish yourself.

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I understand your problem; there's no easy solution. I agree with the previous poster that you should make contact with a local vet (you'll need one eventually anyway). My local vet keeps a list of people/agencies who will pet sit. Plus, as mentioned, many of the vet employees will do this also.

 

If you use a "professional" (agency) ask for references (and call them!).

 

How new are you to your neighborhood? Is there a reliable college student or stay-at-home or retired neighbor who has had cats and will help out? Many of us need a little extra money as the holidays approach. Or how about someone from your church or office?

 

For the last few years, we have had to hire a sleep-over pet sitter every time we cruised. We had two old Beagles who could not be kenneled. We paid $50 per night. Plus the pet sittters would usually have a job during the day, so we had neighbors and family members stop in during the day (the high school neighbor was paid a little; family members were given a small gift). We've recently used recent college graduates (from my church) who only have part time jobs plus student loans. They've all grown up with pets, and their parents are reasonably near by (in case of problems). This really adds to the cost of a cruise LOL.

 

If you do use a pet sitter, your local vets may require a permission letter before doing any emergency treatment. This is especially important if they can not reach you by phone. My letter just says the dates we'll be away, the pet's name and medical conditions, plus that I authorize the following pet sitters (list names of all who will stop by) to obtain medical care for "name of pet" and that I will pay for or reimburse the cost of any medical care. Since we have a local vet, I include their name, address and phone number. You may want to list your previous vet- just for the medical history.

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When we first moved, found a "cat only" vet and took her recommendations. And he is a member of a "professional association of pet sitters" ( who knew? I don't remember the name of it) but members must abide by best practices as defined by this association.

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How did you all find your pet sitters? Better yet, how do you know you have one that's reputable and not someone you're willingly giving your house keys to and come home to being robbed or something worse?

 

call your vet. Ours the staff moonlights as well as screens local teens to do simpler stuff like walk the dogs

 

esp since your needs meds. otherwise ask the potential sitter to bring references and provide additional names and numbers for you to contact.

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Do you have any friends or neighbors with high school or college age kids? We have gone that route most of the time. We use people that either we (or our son knows) or whose parents we know. We have dogs and make sure that the dogs and the kids are all comfortable. We pay enough that it is real good deal for the kids and everyone is happy. Unfortunately, our pet sitters keep growing up and we need to find new ones. We have even had to board our dogs on occasion, which isn't something we like to do. When we have had the kids sit with the pets, everything has gone very smoothly.

I like the idea of asking at the vet's office, too.

 

Ohiodoglover

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I have a great pet sitter, my dog Sadie goes to her home.

 

My vet also boards and I would suggest that you find a vet (since you are new to the area and probably need one in your new location) that boards, that way you will be sure that your baby gets her medicine.

 

When or if you have time, I would ask vets in the area if they could recommend a pet sitter. If one is recommended, make sure you get references from them, make sure they are bonded since they will be coming into your home and make sure they are fully educated on her medical condition and can properly give shots.

 

Good luck and have a wonderful cruise!

Edited by NLH Arizona

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We have had in-home pet sitters several times. We always found them through our vet. And I always interviewed them - in home - and spoke to references.

 

We now take our pets to our vet - a cat-only vet - and they stay in a beautiful boarding facility. It's expensive (we could probably take them as a third in our cabin) but I feel safest with this. But if we had to I would again go with a pet sitter. I think the association for pet sitters is National Association of Pet Sitters (http://www.petsitters.org).

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We have used a friend of daughter to pet sit our two dogs when we are away.

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Hi!

 

My husband and I have much experience with this... We had a wonderful kitty, Romeo, who was diabetic for the last 8 years of his life and required 2 shots daily. Our vet couldn't recommend a petsitter and we couldn't find one we liked on our own. We also didn't like the idea of putting a friend or neighbor in the position of being responsible for giving the shots twice a day at SPECIFIC times of day. We decided that it was in Romeo's best interest to board him with our vet where the staff was wonderful - everyone loved him there and gave him tons of love and cuddles daily. It was also better, frankly, for our peace of mind knowing that his medication was being administered PROPERLY and without trauma to Romeo!

 

Secondly was the issue of home security: by boarding Romeo, that became moot!

 

You really must do what you feel is best! Should you choose to rely upon a friend or neighbor, do a trial run: make sure he or she gets along with your kitty! Train him or her to give the shots! Is he or she calm? Will he or she understand that if the shots need to be given at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. that no variance is acceptable? All of these questions should be asked and answered :) !!

 

If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask! :)

 

Jill

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We have a friend that does it. Our cat is pushing 21 and needs meds several times a day, and our dog needs to be taken outside several times a day. We pay him, as they can use the money. On our last cruise there was an overlap as he had to be gone for his son's wedding for a weekend. We got a friend of ours from church to do it then. We were in a position of looking for a pet sitter and found one that we could have used, that was recommended by friends of ours.

 

I would suggest checking with friends first. Someone you would trust, or whose recommendation you would trust. If that ends up a dry well, and you have to turn to a company, check them out thoroughly. You are trusting them with your pets and your house. Check with people that have used them. Interview them.

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With a diabetic, I'm not checking with friends since it's highly specialized. The pet sitter i found, I found on petsit.com which supposedly is reputable. My vet (who is now 30 minutes away) does not have any rec for a pet sitter here, and they don't come to my area to do patients of their own. Already asked that.

 

This is unfortunately for 12/6, so I dont have time to bring her to a new vet (which i dont want to do anyway as I want to keep her with her current as she's been there her entire life and they know her history). I wouldn't want to burden a neighbor with learning how to give insulin. The cat is skittish and doesn't take to people - so that's other unfortunate factor. My mom used to come stay with her, but she'll be with me this time as it's my wedding. I'd been OK with the idea of the pet sitter in home but my fiance got in my ear last night and made me really worried.

 

I am meeting her in 30 minutes. Here's hoping the instincts can tell how she is.

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When I interviewed possible pet sitters, I had a list of questions and watched their immediate interaction with the cats. I watched to see if they bent down to greet the cats, moved slowly at first, let the cats smell them, used a gentle hand, and then stood up to meet me. Ask tons of questions, but give them time to talk.

 

Your heart will know.

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We have a Pet Nanny that came highly reccomended through out Vet. She is wonderful, comes in walks the dog, stays and plays with him for a while, feed, water and even does doggie massages. He's spoiled rotten!

 

Also much better than my neighbors sister staying at the house and drinking all of the good vodka. :eek:

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Hello Aria,

 

I would ask your vet about boarding options if security is a concern. When we don't use my brother for sitting our dogs we have this wonderful boarding place that we use.

 

They are very professional. It is in a separate building on this ladies property and the staff are well trained and it is treated like a business and not a way to make extra money. The pets are looked after and we are sure they are safe.

 

Take a walk through the facility and see what services they offer and how the pets intermingle. Some boarding places do charge an extra fee for administering medication.

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Even if you don't want to go to a new vet, you could ask friends which vet they use and call- even though you're not a patient I'm sure most would help.

 

We found ours through a local trainer that donates time with the SPCA. A couple members of the staff do pet/house sitting. That could be another avenue to try.

 

I hope you find someone wonderful and yo can relax and not worry on your vacation.

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My 25 year old son has been cat sitting for the next door neighbor since he was in junior high school, with me as backup. Neighbor travels frequently so we've had to give medication, including insulin. The kitties do very well at home, with visits from a familiar neighbor. They love my son, but still give the neighbor the cold shoulder when she returns. When my son was in school, he would do his homework at her house, to keep the cat's company and to get away from us : ) She allows him to use her TV, CD player etc... to encourage him to hang around.

 

Before you leave, make an appointment with your new vet to have your precious pet examined and blood work done, etc...to make sure the cat is healthy and to establish a relationship with a vet. Let the vet know when you will be away on vacation and that you will take responsibility if there are any vet bills, while you're gone. We always drop a signed permission slip at the vet's office before we leave. Every vet I know, has a list of pet sitters, groomers, boarders etc... so get a few names from them....bonus points if one of the Vet's techs also does pet sitting, on the side.

 

If you decide to go with the sitter you found on line, get references from her vet.

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When I interviewed possible pet sitters, I had a list of questions and watched their immediate interaction with the cats. I watched to see if they bent down to greet the cats, moved slowly at first, let the cats smell them, used a gentle hand, and then stood up to meet me. Ask tons of questions, but give them time to talk.

 

Your heart will know.

 

Yeah I did that. Her immediate interaction was exactly as you mentioned. Very slow, took her time, extended an arm, let her sniff her but that freaked her out since she prob smells like other animals lol.

 

All in all the visit went very well, i got to know her and where she works aside from the pet sitting (she has a PT thing that used to be FT until pet sitting became her life), I asked her about signs the cat was in shock (which she did get correct), and just kinda went with the flow. I am going to contact some references before I hand over the key, but I felt really comfortable and at ease with her.

 

here's hoping my cat will be able to deal...since she's still in hiding 4 hours later lol

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I"m glad the first visit went well - sort of. I know you said you kitty does not take well to strangers which is very understandable. Recently I had to introduce my cats to a new pet sitter because I moved, and I have one cat that is very skittish to new people. I had the sitter come over one afternoon a day or so before I left, and we just sat in the living room and chatted. This gave the cats a chance to see/smell her and it also gave a chance for her smell to be in the house. After 30 minutes or so, my youngest actually jumped up on the sofa next to her, and veerrryyyyy slowly, the sitter was able to pet Peanut.

If you have time, you might consider another visit before you leave. Have you discussed how the sitter will catch your cat for her shots?

 

Other things I did to help my new sitter: Walked her through the house, showed her secret hiding places, wrote down anything "weird" the cat normally does, things to look for, etc. Can she have treats? Toys? Granted I have 7 cats, so mine was 3 pages long with photos of each! I indicated which ones liked to be picked up, which ones were better off approaching me - anything I could think of. It might seem silly, even for one kitty, but it's not. Also, an emergency vet contact number. Do you need to contact your vet and let them know someone else is taking care of your cat, and that if an emergency happens she has authority to bring her in? Sorry if I'm being too much, but I have done this before and I know what an emotional event it is for both of you.

 

If you have any other questions, please ask. Enjoy your cruise.

 

P.S. You should have seen me interviewing pet transport companies - talk about stress!

Edited by Luvs2trvl

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We also found our wonderful cat-sitter through our vet. Our original cat sitter was actually a vet technician who worked for our vet, and did cat-sitting for "special needs" cats on the side (our lttle guy at the time had kidney failure). For the last 11 years we have not had special needs pets, so our vet recommended a client of his who is a cat sitter, and who also breeds cats and does cat rescues. He had known her a long time, and she is well known in our neighbourhood. We were very lucky to have found her!

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I had a friend who did it but then he got a "real job." I asked the gals at the desk at my vet's office and several of the techs do "in home" pet sitting. Making day visits/walks and they'll also spend the night there. That's what I'm doing for my March cruise. We haven't discussed $$ but whatever it costs I'm OK w/ it.

 

So I'd say a good resource is to check w/ the receptionists and vet techs at your vet office.

But it appears that since your vet moved, you haven't gotten a replacement?? I'd call the vet you INTEND to switch to and if at all possible get your cat in for a check up and to establish yourself.

 

Absolutely the best idea especially when medication is involved. Your pet being in the comforts of home makes a huge difference. In the beginning when we boarded our dogs, we would notice a big weight loss since the anxiety caused a loss of appetite. Then we decided to have someone come in several times a day. Yes, it's expensive, but it's better all around.

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I have had the same cat sitter (in home) for nearly 20 years. I found her when i moved to Seattle by calling my vet. The cat sitter is bonded, insured, and a member of the petsitter association. A couple of years ago, i had an 18 yr old cat that needed daily iv fluids for kidney failure. My cat sitter kew all about it and continued it while i was on vacation (she actually "diagnosed" the kidney failure before the vet, as she is experienced with all kinds of maladies). Call your vet or a local vet that specializes in cats. My sitter charges $20 per day and feeds, plays with my three, cleans litter, gets mail, and makes sure all is well. I am sure a petsitter would give you a deal if she needs to go twice a day. Mine also sends me emails every other day (sometimes daily) just to let me know all us well.

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Great choice to get a petsitter. I was a part-time petsitter for 3 years for an established company. I can tell you that every dog or cat I took care of did fine. They don't need to be with people all the time, just a little bit of the time, and are much more comfortable at home.

 

I was going to suggest an organization called NAPPS (Nat'l Assoc of Professional Petsitters - but Petsitters International is another one) for hunting down a petsitter, but it sounds like you found someone good. I can tell you that the people I worked with were professional, trained, and truly loved pets and treated them well. I'm not a big cat person, so wasn't assigned to take care of many cats, but we had two people who were very good at it, and they DID deal with skittish cats, administer shots, etc. (I was good with the shy or rambunctious dogs!)

 

Many petsitters will offer to email you periodically (or call or text you), so don't be shy about asking if this person can do that - if, of course, you want that. If not, most will write a note every time they visit, just to let you know what went on.

 

The company I worked for had very few emergencies when someone was away, but surprisingly, the house emergencies (frozen/broken water pipe in basement, AC quit working, etc.) were as common as the pet emergencies. SO - in addition to pet questions, a good petsitter will ask basic questions like where your water shutoff valve is, and what to do in the event of a house-related emergency. (Our company would call a contractor to fix it if requested.)

 

For the initial interview, we asked if there was a limit as to how much should be spent by the vet if there was a pet emergency. I felt a little uncomfortable asking that, but it DID make sense, especially if the client was going to be hard to reach while gone.

 

As to security issues, yes, the person (not just the company, but the person(s) who will visit your cat) should be bonded and insured (although I think one protects the sitter more than you!) and I would also check references. There is an occasional bad apple out there - in my area (Washington DC suburbs) a petsitter was recently arrested for stealing pain meds out of a kitchen cabinet. The owner set up an Ipad or something to record, and ...surprise! But I digress. We always used a key fob with the pet's name on it, NOT the owner's name, just in case it got dropped, lost, etc. You may also need to give a second key just in case something happens (lost key, left key in house, etc.) and let the petsitter know if a neighbor has an extra key. All of this stuff I mention probably won't be needed, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

 

I would NOT feel strange about asking to see proof that the sitter is bonded/insured, and evidence of first aid training. The company, not me, held those documents, so I never saw them, but I would assume there is proof that could be handed over for both of those things.

 

Have a great cruise, and don't worry about the cat. She'll be fine!

Edited by roothy123

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Thank you to everyone that replied. All the responses are helpful and I'm taking note of some things I didn't think of (like the water shut off valve, heck I dont know where it is as I moved in a few months ago LOL).

 

I'm sure that she'll do fine. This girl loved animals, you could just tell by the way she talked about her business (she runs this particular sitting business, she has a few employees to boot) and how happy she was with her life since she started it. Hopefully, I've found a good one like many of you have. If she's not, she REALLY has me snowed.

 

Additionally, I went with my fiance to a cat boarding place. I HATED it. It would be horrible for my baby girl with her diabetes, her stress level would be off the charts. His cat might thrive there though. I couldn't do it. I'd cry daily. I'll already cry knowing i'm leaving her lol. It's impossible to love anything more than I love this cat. She's been my life for 12.5 years (of her 14) and thinking of a life without her is a terribly awful thing.

 

If only they lived as long as we did. I'd gladly take on the stress of having to hire an in house person twice a day for the rest of my life if it meant keeping her around forever. I love my baby girl.

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One other thing I thought of last night - I always told my neighbor that a new car/person will be coming and going and that she had permission.

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