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Cat Sitters: What Can You Learn From Your Most Important Critics [Updated 2024]

Cat Sitters: What Can You Learn From Your Most Important Critics [Updated 2024]

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This post was update on April 9th, 2024 by Lisa

Cat sitters, I have a message I need to convey, not only to you but also to the pet owners who depend on your assistance. 🤔 Perhaps I’m not alone in wondering if others share the same sentiments.

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cat-sitters

This post is all about being a great pet sitter and tips to hiring great cat sitters!

Hopefully this will spark a conversation that will bring more value to pet sitting services and the people who need the canine and feline service community.

Before we dive in, it’s essential to acknowledge that the pet industry is experiencing rapid growth and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon!

🐾 Over the years, the pet industry has witnessed an explosion 🎆 in products and services, ranging from cat food and toys 🐱🧸 to grooming and pet sitting 🚿🐾. With pet professionals, including pet sitters, emerging left and right, there’s an abundance of options for cat and dog lovers alike. 🐶❤️ The surge in pet ownership shows no signs of slowing down, indicating a promising future for the dog and cat industry! 📈🐾

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06/20/2024 07:05 am GMT

More and more people are using pet sitters to help out while they are away from home. Some dog owners need a walker in the middle of the day while they spend longer hours at the office while others who travel for business could have a cat sitter come in while they are traveling to tend to Fluffy. That is where I fit into the story, a traveling cat owner. It might seem trite to some, but as a traveling cat owner a good pet sitter is so important, most important to me when I am out of town.

RELEVANT: The Ultimate Guide To Adopting A Senior Cat

Hiring Professional Cat Sitters

Hiring a professional cat sitter who is genuinely professional will require some effort. It’s a cat owner’s responsibility to ask the right questions to determine if this person is capable and willing to be a great pet sitter. I’ve assembled this checklist for your next cat sitter interview or for you to create your own. It’s advisable to take notes and keep a tablet or journal with all the information in one location that you can take on your trip. While you may not need all the information, consider the potential scenario if something were to happen and you didn’t have it readily available. Gathering all the necessary information for your records will provide peace of mind during your trip. Additionally, it helps establish the standard for your expectations regarding the care of your beloved family member.

I hope it helps you find your forever cat nanny!

QUESTIONS TO ASKINFORMATION TO GET
How long have you been cat sitting?All contact information: full name, mobile phone, email, address
What do you do if my cat has an emergency/accident?Insurance information (if insured)
Do you have back-up if you have an emergency?Emergency contact information
Can I meet your back-up?Back-up sitter information
Are you bonded and insured?References (at least 3)
Will you stay the full time, even if you finish feeding etc?Website/social media presence (connect on IG or Facebook)
Do you have pets, cats?
CAT SITTER CHECKLIST

It took me a year to find my best cat sitter who I adore, and so does my cat! We have been enjoying her services for several years  but now she is enrolled in school and her classes have cut down her availability tremendously. I am devastated.  And I am back to searching for the perfect pet sitter.

Interestingly enough, in commiserating with other pet owners including dog people, I have found we all value something that is very important. One key factor that is tough to earn and so very easy to lose.

Ready to know what it is?

Here it is:

Trust.

Trust is more important to us then your pet service fees, your experience and even your fancy websites for us to schedule our pet appointments. Trust is not so easy to obtain and super easy to lose. Trust takes time and you shouldn’t try to cheat in getting it (with say fake testimonials) but there are things a pet sitter can do to expedite this process and gain trust immediately.  Here is what my cat sitter did that made me feel and continue feeling relaxed and at ease when I traveled, knowing she had all the cat responsibilities under control. These exact techniques can be applied to dog owners too!

The Five Things Cat Sitters Can Do To Gain Trust From New Customers Immediately

Meet and Greet

This is so important. As my cat sitter, I am going to want to meet you in person. I want you to come to my home, show you around and also get a sense of your vibe (and you mine). This is probably the most obvious trust gaining technique for a new pet sitter and it is also pretty common.

Every pet sitter I have hired insisted on a meet and greet prior to me leaving town. They came to my home and took a tour of all the important areas like the litter box room, cat food cupboards and location of all emergency contacts. Bravo pet sitters! I would say most of you are knocking it out of the park with this one. But let’s dive deeper into that meet and greet, let’s talk about how you show up.

Be an Interested Pet Sitter

Have a sincere interest in my pet and me. Needing to know where the supplies are kept is not an interest. Ask questions like “what toys does your kitty cat like best?” Ask if he has certain treats you can give him. Smile a lot, make me think this is the most exciting thing you are doing all day!

Show a sincere interest in my favorite feline!

Please, make sure to inquire about my cat during the meet and greet. 🐱 If my kitty is hiding, please ask about his favorite hiding spots so you can check in on him during your visits. 🕵️‍♂️

You can even bring your list of questions on a clipboard to ensure you don’t forget to ask and take notes. 📋 This level of attention to detail truly impresses me and reassures me of the care you will provide while I’m away from home! 🏡

  • Where is your pet’s favorite hiding places?
  • Does your cat (dog) like to be picked up?
  • Is your cat (dog) a lap pet?
  • Where does your cat want to be petted?
  • Does he have a favorite toy?
  • Can I feed him snacks?
  • Is he afraid of loud noises? (like thunder)

These are in addition to the standard questions like, where are the supplies, can I take your pet to the vet in the event of an emergency, where are the contact numbers for emergency situations etc.

Be a Cat Sitter Who has a Pet

Absolutely true! 🐾 We tend to trust you more quickly if you have your own pets, especially cats (at least for me as a cat owner). 😺 However, the cat sitter I admire wasn’t a cat owner when she started caring for Finnegan. 🐶 She and her husband had a dog but no cat. She used to tell me that my cat was her favorite and that he made her want to adopt one. 🏠 Guess what? They ended up adopting a kitty cat, and he’s a tuxedo too! 🎩 It warms my heart to think that maybe my little tuxedo guy played a role in her decision to adopt a cat too! ❤️

So being a pet owner is most definitely preferred, but if you can totally nail the other items this one can be overlooked. My adorable cat will of course charm you into getting your own in no time.

Offer Referrals and Testimonials

Testimonials on your website are fantastic, but nothing beats hearing about your excellence through a friend! 🌟 As a business development professional, I’d advise never hesitating to encourage your customers to spread the word about you. 🗣️ Consider leaving a note after your visits or adding a tagline on your business card that explicitly prompts them to share your praises with their friends! 📝👬

Order your monthly box of cat goodies today at www.kitnipbox.com!

In addition to word of mouth and websites, I think social media is so under used by the pet services community. The pet community naturally gravitates to each other on Instagram, Facebook and even Twitter. Use these outlets to sprinkle your testimonials throughout and even post photos of your current furry clients! (with permission of course)

I saved the trait in a cat sitter that gets me quickly feeling comfortable and loyal to our relationship and telling the world I have the best cat sitter for last.

You want to know what it is?

The Number One Quality Of A Cat Sitter To Gain And Keep My Trust.

Send me photos with a note attached in real-time. 📸📝

For me as  a cat owner who travels, this is by far the most important thing any pet sitter can do to gain and keep my trust really fast.

Text me pictures. With a Note. In Real time.

Many pet sitters leave handwritten notes for owners, which is a nice touch upon returning home. 📝 However, I prefer real-time updates to know how things are going. 🕒👀

Ideally, I’d love three text messages from you: one as soon as you arrive 🕒, another with a photo of my kitty cat 📸, and one when you leave. 🚪 Why three messages? 🤔 Because it lets me know the time you arrived, assures me my cat is okay and enjoying your company, and confirms that you stayed for the entire visit. 💪 This level of communication is incredibly reassuring. 😌 The sitter I adore did this every single visit, and it truly eased my worries when I was away. ✈️ Don’t worry, I didn’t bombard her with questions or messages. 🙅‍♀️ The most I’d send back was a quick message to show my appreciation! 💌

Does this seem too much?

Too high maintenance?

Don’t worry, there is good news!

Conquer the above immediately upon our working together and you can expect a cat owner customer who loves to tip you, leave you gifts for your birthday and holidays  and sings your praise to all my friends and family. I’ll even post testimonials on MY social media platforms!

Yes, it might seem like a lot to add all of these things into the standard expectations of a cat sitter such as suit up, show up and follow up but as Zig Ziglar said “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”

Lisa Illman is the inventor of an outdoor cat enclosure line and founder here at Kritter Kommunity. Lisa and her product the Kritter Kondo have been featured in Cat Fancy, the Chicago Tribune, Chestnut Hill West, Good Morning America and most recently Steve Harvey’s Funderdome. You can follow Kritter Kommunity on Facebook and Twitter @KritterKondo.

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