Every now and then, we receive inquiries for cat care where clients request visits that are every other day, every third day, or only once or twice a week. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time that Fluffy is left alone overnight, and nothing happened in the past. It shouldn’t be a problem for a pet sitter to accommodate that type of schedule, right?
At Paskapoo Pet Services, we were guilty of having performed “every other day” visits for cats in our early days… But not anymore.
After thousands of visits, valuable experiences, and continuous education about pet care, we have come to the realization that non-daily visits for kitties are a very bad idea. Pet Sitters International has also taken a strong stance against “every other day” visits for cats and has invited their members to follow this guideline and educate their clients to the risks of this practice.
Nowadays, if a new client comes to Paskapoo Pet Services and requests non-daily visits for their cat, we politely decline the assignment. We would rather lose the income than put the cat under our care in a precarious, if not outright unsafe, situation.
By providing daily (or even multiple visits every day), we can ensure that we are in the position to provide the best care possible to our clients’ pets, and ensure their house is safe in their absence.
Still not convinced? We’ll give you a glimpse below of what could go wrong when your (pro?) pet sitter is not showing up every day…
Some cats are known for binge-eating, meaning they will eat all the food at their disposal and will be left to fast until the next pet sitting visit. This can create, or promote, eating disorders and excessive weight gain in cats. Most cats will vomit if they eat too much, too fast. A cat may accidentally spill his or her bowl of food and refuse to eat the kibbles off the floor. Same thing goes if the food ends up in the water bowl nearby.
A common occurrence is the failure of the automatic feeder. These devices should only be used under supervision as batteries can die at anytime, or the mechanism can malfunction, leaving your cats without food for days. Lastly, when cats get lonely, some will tend to stop eating until there’s a human presence to reassure them.
Not eating can have devastating consequences for cats. A cat that is not eating for 2 or 3 days is at elevated risk of developing “fatty liver disease” or hepatic lipidosis. This condition requires immediate medical attention, and if not aggressively treated, will result in the death of the animal.
It is not rare for cats to spill or spoil their water bowl. In warm temperatures, water bowls can go dry in only a few hours or fester with bacteria. Some cats will even stop drinking if their water is stale or if their bowl is slightly dirty.
Knowing that a cat can’t survive without water for more than 4 days, non-daily pet sittings visits such as once or twice a week put a cat at risk of dehydration and death.
Cats are prone to several medical conditions that, if not treated early, may be fatal. Acute renal failure, urinary infections, urinary obstructions and constipation are some of these conditions that can become life-threatening within only a few days, regardless of the age of the cat.
Therefore, a daily monitoring of litter box habits is crucial for the early detection of these medical conditions.
Although some cats may learn to appreciate the quiet time, it is not the case for all of them. Cats that are left without human interactions for too long may develop unwanted or undesirable behavior that can go from scratching the furniture, to causing mischief, or pooping and peeing in inappropriate places like human beds. Even shy, fearful and skittish cats will benefit from having a human check on them everyday.
The number one reason for a cat to stop using the litter box is poor sanitation. A professional pet sitter will thoroughly clean the litter boxes at every visit, not only to monitor bowel movements, but to ensure an inviting environment for the cats to do their business. With non-daily visits, daily cleaning becomes impossible and cats may stray away from the box, which could become an on-going problem in the future.
On writing this article, we had cats ending up stuck or trapped on two separate occasions in the past 6 months.
The first one happened when house cleaners came in shortly after our visit. As they left in a hurry to get to their next stop, they completely forgot about the homeowner’s cats and closed all doors behind them. When we arrived for our visit the next day, we found that the cats had been trapped in the basement with no water or food for well over 24 hours.
The second incident nearly gave us a heart attack. When we arrived early morning for our first visit of the day, the two cats did not greet us at the door like usual. After a frantic search, we found the two cats trapped in a deep closet. The two had apparently sneaked in and closed the door behind them.
In both situations, the cats were unharmed and quickly forgot their misadventures. However, had we been scheduled to visit them every other day, or once or twice a week, the outcome could have been quite different.
Although having a pet sitter come to check on your pets and your home may not completely prevent a break-in or a home invasion from determined criminals, having someone to check on your property at least once a day will make sure there’s a quick and appropriate response in case of break-in incidents.
Imagine for a minute that your house has been robbed, the back door is open, or a window is broken. As your pet sitter is not scheduled to come for another day or two, your pets are very likely to escape, while your home is vulnerable to additional unwanted guests and inclement weather. This is quite a scary scenario, and a pet sitter’s worst nightmare.
Even if you have a security system (and have provided your pet sitter with a code), you still may not be prepared for other major events, like:
Most homeowners have experienced a furnace failure, or a power outage, at least once. It is no secret that a house with no furnace during the winter months will cool down very quickly. In the colder climes, it will only take a few hours for even the furriest cat to be at risk of hypothermia, and only a day or two for frozen pipes to burst. If your pet sitter is only scheduled to come over two days later, it might be to late to prevent a deadly situation.
This is self-explanatory. Professional pet sitters have walked into all these situations, sometimes more than once. When caught early, most of these incidents can be addressed and fixed without too much damage or cost. However, delaying the response by two or three days and these disasters may have major, expensive and long-term consequences.
Most of these scenarios have the potential to leave your pet sitter to deal with challenging situations, like a deceased or sick animal, or a house disaster.
In the event of a home disaster, home insurance providers may question the frequency of visits and determine that daily visits would have been required or helpful to prevent, or minimize the impacts of a flood or a break-in. Coverage may even be denied – and this has happened!
It is the professional pet sitter’s responsibility to ensure all reasonable measures are taken to keep your pets and your home safe when you are away, and one of them is to start with scheduling daily visits.
There shouldn’t be any compromise.
Next time you are planning your vacation, make sure to budget for a professional pet sitter to come check on your cats and your home at least once a day! The peace of mind will be priceless, and your cats will be happy, properly fed, and safe.
Written by Paskapoo Pet Services
All Rights Reserved, 2018.