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What to Look for in an In-Home Cat Sitter

Learn what to ask a potential cat sitter.

If you need to leave home for an extended time, you'll need to plan for the care of your cat. Many people have a great kennel they use, but if you decide that's not right for your kitty, a pet sitter who comes to your home might be.

Here are some tips for looking for and choosing a home-based pet sitter. If you can, start your search well ahead of when you are leaving so you don't feel rushed.

Get References and Check Them

One of the best things you can do when deciding on a home-based pet sitter is to check references. You can either ask the potential sitter for a list of people he or she has pet sat for in the past and call them or ask people you know and trust who they have used.

Be sure to ask the references specifically what they liked or didn't like about the sitter. Additionally, ask how their cat seemed to do while they were under the sitter's care.

Check for Licensure, Bonding, and Insurance

All pet sitting businesses must be registered with the state they do work within. Some states require licensure as well.

When a pet sitting business is bonded, it means they are aware of and will follow all laws and regulations associated with that business.

If your pet sitter damages your property or causes an injury to someone while they are in your home, liability insurance carried by them or their company will cover it.

Be Sure the Sitter Has Training and a Background Check

You'll be letting this person into your home, and he or she will be caring for your beloved cat. Ask for qualifications, including what training the sitter has undergone and to see results of a recent background check.

Interview the Sitter and Watch Pet Interactions

Have a face-to-face interview with the potential pet sitter and introduce him or her to your cat. Observe how comfortable the two seem to be together. This step can also help your cat get used to the sitter before your trip.

Review Your Pet's Schedule and Your Expectations

Clearly state your pet's feeding and play schedule and what you expect from your sitter as far as time spent. Verify that the potential sitter understands and can commit to that schedule.

Find Out How You'll Communicate

Ask the potential pet sitter the method he or she will use to communicate with you while you're away and how long you can expect it to take to return your calls or emails. Make sure that the method the sitter uses will work for you.

Ask About Emergency Procedures

Your pet sitter should have a back-up in case an emergency prevents him or her from caring for your pet. Find out what that back-up is and make sure you're comfortable with it.

Additionally, go over any medical history your pet has with the potential sitter and make sure he or she is comfortable watching for and responding to any signs of illness. Ask whether the sitter is able to take your cat to your regular or a local emergency veterinarian if it is required.

If you aren't comfortable with the answers to any of the questions we've listed above, keep looking until you find the perfect cat sitter.

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