Want Us to Skip Cat Sitting Visits, Withhold Medication, or ‘Ignore’ Your Cats?
A pet sitter’s scheduling of services for your cats can be very flexible, depending on their age or if they have any special medical or other health needs.
Most clients ask us to come once a day, while others might book an overnight visit or two along with two visits a day, during a long vacation.
Occasionally, pet sitters will get a call from a new client who says one or more of the following:
- “I just want you to feed and take care of the dogs/other pets. Just ignore the cat, I’ll set out food and he’ll take care of himself. You don’t even have to check the litter, it’ll be fine.”
- “I think it’ll be fine if you come every other day. You just need to top off their food and water, and scoop their litter if you feel like it. They’ll take care of themselves.”
- “You won’t see Fluffy anyway! He’ll hide in the closet/under the bed/in the attic, you won’t be able to check on him anyhow. Just [insert basic tasks], he’ll be fine!”
- “I’m nervous about someone else giving Grumpy his insulin shot, so you can skip it while we’re gone. I checked with my vet, and he said it would be fine!”
- “Kitty has a cat door and spends most of his time outside, so you don’t need to come every day.”
Our answer? No.
We’re not going to ‘ignore’ your cat. Or skip visits or medication. Ever.
This is why:
Cats are generally independent creatures, this is true. But behaving in an aloof or care-free manner in the home, in your presence, does not mean that cats, or any other pet for that matter, can literally ‘take care of themselves’, or that they require less monitoring and attention than any other animal in your care.
As a vet tech, pet owner, and pet sitter, I have seen and heard of situations that would make you shiver with dread. An accident, injury, or health crisis can happen in less than 24 hours, and sometimes, in minutes.
In addition, indoor cats that are allowed uncontrolled and unsupervised access to the outdoors face risks from death by coyotes, hawks, dogs at large, and other predators, feline diseases, cat fights and injuries, to being hit by a car.
Even something as simple as an accidentally closed door can result in a bad scene, as well (no food, no water, no litter box).
The following are just a few examples of why it’s dangerous for a cat sitter to skip daily visits or ‘ignore’ your cats:
- FUS – Feline lower urinary tract disease, also called feline urologic syndrome (FUS), is the most common disorder affecting the lower urinary tract in cats. It can develop over time or within hours and tends to be worse in males, often resulting in bladder obstruction.If your cat’s urinary tract becomes blocked and remains untreated, the backup of urine toxins and pressure can lead to kidney failure and death in as little as 24 hours.
- Fatty Liver Disease – Feline hepatic lipidosis, also known as feline fatty liver syndrome, is one of the most common forms of liver disease of cats. This disease occurs when cats —especially fat cats— suddenly go without food and can start to occur in as short as 48 hours or less.Stressful situations (such as owners being away) can trigger a change or cessation of appetite in cats. Cats who hide and/or stop eating due to stress, or other factors such as a new or existing health issue, can be at extremely high risk for fatty liver disease. Is skipping a visit and potentially a few meals, worth it? No.
- In-home hazards – Cats seem to excel at finding small, flexible things to play with and chew on. These can include: cords and pulls for drapes and blinds, plastic trash liners or thin veggie bags from the produce section, electrical cords, bread bag twists, milk jug ‘rings’, fast-food bags and wrappers, the list goes on.If a cat becomes badly tangled in the pull-strings used to open and close blinds, and rescue isn’t coming for another 24 hours…that’s just bad news. And a cat can easily become injured, ingest, or choke on any number of small items.
- Senior cats and/or cats needing medication – An elderly cat doesn’t have the reflexes or health they once had and can get into situations they might not be able to get out of or become ill much faster. Also, cats with compromised health (diabetes, chronic kidney failure, etc) can suddenly ‘crash’ or experience a health crisis with very little warning.Asking your pet sitter to skip your cat’s insulin, for example, is dangerous. Please don’t gamble with your pet’s health–we wouldn’t.
- Cats, and other pets, CANNOT ‘take care of themselves’ – Let’s imagine a few scenarios:
- You put the cat’s food dish up on the washing machine, assuming Fido can’t get to it. Well, Fido does. Now he’s overfed with unfamiliar food (diarrhea! wooo!) and your cat is going hungry (which can quickly lead to a crisis, if the cat has certain medical conditions).
- It’s averaging 90-100 degrees in your city and your air conditioning goes out. By the time the pet sitter arrives a day later, it’s over 95 degrees in your home.
- You have three cats and one litter box–that sucker needs scooping at least once to twice a day! But it’s not being scooped, so Kitty #1 gets upset and starts peeing outside of the box on your sofa, carpet or shoes, to state his displeasure.
- Fluffy has been hiding in the garage for three days. We can’t see if he’s alive and healthy, even if it’s just seeing his glowing eyes, and we can’t perform any kind of hands on assessment to ensure he’s not injured or ill. If he IS hurt–he’s going to take care of himself, right?
Your Pets Deserve Daily Care & Attention
No matter your reason for wanting your pet sitter to skip visits (you’re trying to save a few bucks, you think your cat is SuperCat and can open his own cans of food with his super-awesome laser vision, or your cat is perfectly capable of flipping the breaker switch in a power outage), just don’t do it.
Do your beloved cat the favor of providing him with daily care while you’re gone, and don’t skimp on his meds, food supply, or waste clean-up. Also, take the time to learn about the most common cat illnesses and how to remedy them.
Here at BatCo, we require at least one daily visit, if we have anything that is a breathing, living creature in our care. Yes, even tarantulas and goldfish! Trusted pet sitters won’t put your pets or home in danger for any reason, so please don’t ask us to.
We, and your critters, thank you!