Many people are looking for ways to make money where they can work from home or create their own hours. Cat sitting has come into vogue as a great way for many to earn a living.
Is cat sitting an easy job? Cat sitting can be a fun, relaxing way to make money but it wouldn’t necessarily be classified as an easy job. It does involve some responsibility, some feline knowledge, and a bit of business know-how.
Read the article below to learn more about becoming a cat sitter.
Some Basics Facts About Cat Sitting
Cat sitting is more than just feeding and watering the pet. It also involves managing the stress the feline feels with their owner being away. It also involves understanding cat illnesses, how to treat them and when to take the cat to the vet.
This type of work isn’t just an “in and out” job. It takes more than 15 minutes to check on a pet cat. Some cats will need more time for adjusting, playing, eating, and companionship. You should allow at least an hour or two for each client.
Becoming a good cat sitter also involves being able to bill clients, manage your schedule to meet all your client’s needs, and the ability to work with people as well as their pets. Some clients can be demanding about their cat’s care, being notified daily of their well-being, and how their home is left.
Most of all, a great cat sitter loves all the pets that are in their care. You must have a passion for cats, be able to understand their habits and personalities, and genuinely love being around them. It isn’t the job to take because you think you can make some quick cash just to refill food and water bowls.
Skills Needed for Cat Sitting
Cat sitters need some special skills to do the job well. The first event is you will meet with the pet owner to discuss needs and expectations. Be sure to take notes and keep all information related to that home and cat in a file. Some instructions can be complicated and you may not remember everything you are responsible for.
Be sure to meet the cat or cats during this first visit. You will need to know what they look like, and their size, and let them get a whiff of your scent. That way they will be more adaptable when you return.
The ability to get additional details on the cat and the home is one special skill cat sitters need. Files with detailed notes will become important as you gain more customers and have repeat customers.
A pet owner will give you the basics of food portions, where it’s located, and any medicines the cat must take. However, many pet owners will forget to tell you about the cat’s habits or personality. You will need to ask to get that information. Questions can include:
- Does the cat eat right away when you put the food down or does she nibble throughout the day?
- When are playtime and naptime? What is the basic daily routine?
- What are her favorite toys?
- Does your cat sleep with you?
- How easy it is to give her medicine? Does she fight you?
- Is the cat normally vocal or is she quiet?
- Does your cat have any quirky habits like jumping on top of tall cabinets or hiding in closets?
- Where are her favorite hiding places?
The last question is highly important as some cats will hide for a considerable amount of time whenever someone new enters the home. That is when you will need to become a cat whisperer.
Winning Over Trust
A cat sitter may not win over a feline’s trust right away. Most cats are skittish around new people and will not seek you out when you first enter the home, even though you met them during the initial meeting with the pet owner.
It may take some detective skills to find the cat when you first enter the home. Don’t worry if you don’t find them right away. Settle in for a while, turn on the television, put their food out and wait.
Don’t try to force the cat out of its hiding spot if you do find him. Just make sure he’s okay, talk to him gently and leave him alone. Go in to check on him every 15 minutes or so, and maybe offer a treat. Let him approach you. He will warm up to you over a few check-ins.
Keeping a Routine
A good cat sitter can manage time well, doesn’t take on too many clients at once, and can always be on time for the pet’s routine.
Routines are highly important to cats. That is especially true when their owners are away. Stressed cats can become physically ill, including vomiting and using the bathroom outside the litter box.
Remember, the cat doesn’t know when its owner is coming back. It is dependent on you for food and water. Failure to show up to feed and water it on time leads the animal to go into survival mode. It can become destructive, clawing to try to get out, climbing, and opening cabinets to get to the food.
Organization is a key to cat sitting. Test and look at everything while the pet owner is there. This includes the code or key to the home, any security systems that will need to be turned off or on, and where the cleaning products are in case you need them.
Find out where to take out the trash and, if they live in an apartment, the number to maintenance.
Realize Cat Sitting Isn’t Just Cat Sitting
Many people who think about cat sitting just assume it’s feeding and watering the cat. That is the most important part, but sitting for a pet involves much more.
You will need to be able to scoop out and eventually clean the litter box as well as any little messes like hairballs the cat may leave in the home. Make sure any cat hair is wiped up or vacuumed.
Most families will expect you to take out the trash before they return home and some will also ask you to bring their mail. Others may also want you to water plants.
One important note is the home should look exactly like they left it when they return. It’s highly important and that will determine whether they rehire you the next time.
Legal Requirements for Cat Sitting
There aren’t any statewide regulations for pet sitters but your reputation will grow if you have some certifications like animal CPR or basic pet health. You can join a pet sitting association, as there are a couple both in the U.S. and globally. They can direct you to certifications.
Some local governments may require a business license if you grow your business beyond that of a part-time hobby. It’s a good idea to have basic liability insurance, although not required.
Cat sitting is a great way to earn some side money and, for some, it can become a full-time business. However, that doesn’t mean everything about it will be easy. You can have some difficult cats and cat owners in your life. Those who know how to handle the more complicated parts of the job enjoy it immensely.