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Be The Best Cat Parent You Can Be
Melanie Deisz

Melanie Deisz

Last updated: Jan 12, 2019
Be The Best Cat Parent You Can Be

The first step in finding the right sitter for you and your cat is to understand what kind of parent you are. Do you view your cat as a pet, a member of the family, or a child you would do anything for? For the record, no matter which parenting type you are, there is no judgement!

Being honest with yourself will allow you to choose the purrfect sitter match for your furry family and your budget.

  • If you are someone who views their cat as a pet that you love but don’t quite think they’re a family member, then finding someone with a few 5-star reviews at a lesser price point may be the way you’d like to go. This means the sitter you’re looking for loves cats (it’s a prerequisite to be with Meowtel!) that may not have experience with administering medication or shelter/rescue volunteer experience. This does not mean they are any less of a sitter. At Meowtel, we make sure to vet all of our sitters so we only bring on wonderfully reliable people who love cats.

  • If you are someone who treats your cat like a family member, you may want to find someone who does have a lot of experience with cats (shelter/rescue volunteer or someone who fosters) that has more 5-star reviews. This ensures that your sitter will likely have more experience with many different types of kitties and cat personalities and is able to deal with a variety of situations that may arise.

  • If you are someone who treats your cat as you would a child, you should look for sitters who have vet tech level training, shelter/rescue experience, someone who fosters, or a sitter who has dozens of 5-star reviews. A sitter with an extensive backgrounds with senior or sick pets, administering medication and subcutaneous fluids, or has many outstanding reviews will be someone who will keep your mind completely at ease while you are away. Not only will they likely have grown up with cats, they will likely be someone whose life revolves around making cats lives better. I am that cat parent that would do anything for my furbaby so I would hire a highly experienced sitter that knows how to administer medication and has senior cat experience as my cat needs both.

Once you figure out which type of cat parent you are, the next step is to find a sitter and send an inquiry. Once that is handled, be sure to set up a meet and greet to make sure the sitter is the right fit for you and your cat. Give yourself enough lead time between inquiry to when you leave town so that if the first sitter you meet with doesn’t seem to be the right fit, you have time to find another one.

After you’ve decided on a sitter and booked your reservation, the next step is to fill out your Vet Release form. One of the most important things any cat owner can do prior to the meet and greet is to make sure that the profile of the cat is completely up to date and that the Vet Release forms are filled out. Having an up to date profile for your cat is key. This helps the sitters know any quirks that your cat(s) may have and lets them know if there is anything that would seem out of the ordinary.

It may seem like a Vet Release form is overkill, but as a sitter who has had to use it, I promise you, it isn’t. It’s something that may save your cat’s life. The Cat Profile & Vet Release forms inform your sitter of any past or chronic illnesses your cat(s) may have, your preferred vet, and any emergency information they may need to know. Another thing to be sure to do before you leave: put a credit card on file with your vet’s office. If an emergency may arise and your sitter cannot get in touch with you, the form allows the sitter to take your cat to the vet for evaluation.

The sitter will not have access to your credit card information but it is key to make sure the vet has it.

Be sure that you are very honest with your sitter. If your cat is scared of strangers, let your sitter know. It’s better to know that so the sitter won’t try to engage intensely but rather try a calm, relaxed approach. If your cat is mean to strangers, tell the sitter that too. I would rather know if a scared cat is going to scratch and hiss at me during our visit than have to tell the owners when I send my update and feel like I let them down or that something was off between our dynamic. Definitely let your sitter know if you will be reachable or not during your time away. This is super important should an emergency arise. I have a client that leads crazy mountain hikes and never has reception. This is key for me to know in case of an emergency.

In general, it’s better to be overly detailed than leave out details. For example, if your cat(s) have a certain way they eat, place they eat, or how they take medication, be sure to be very detailed about it. Some parents like to just explain things in meet and greets. Others like to explain things in person and leave printed instructions. I’m sure you’re wondering how detailed, right? Let me show you through my own example with my baby, Max:

ALL THINGS MAX!

AM GAME PLAN:

FOOD:

Mix (1) 5.5oz can of Instinct Limited Ingredient, Grain Free, Turkey wet food in with (1) teaspoon of BFF (flavors vary) with 1/8 scoop of digestive enzymes. Don’t put this down until all of the medication is measured out and ready to go. This will be your bargaining chip to lure him close enough to give him his meds.

WATER:

Be sure to fill his water bowl to the top with water from the Brita in the fridge.

MEDS:

  • ¼ (pill) Cerenia – this will be precut
  • .4ML (liquid) Methimazole (in the fridge on the top shelf in the door). It MUST be refrigerated. Be sure to shake the bottle well prior to filling the syringe. He will, without a doubt, run when he hears or sees the bottle.
  • .5ML (liquid) CBD oil

It’s important that it is done in this order.

  • First, be sure to put the food down so he can saunter over to it once he smells it. Otherwise he will likely be hiding under the bed.
  • Second, be sure to stand or sit behind Max (so you can lift his head up/back and have leverage) and pop the pill to the far back of his mouth. If the pill is not put all the way back, he will hide it in his mouth and spit it out after. You won’t find it for days.
  • Then, give him the Methimazole. Even though it’s fish flavored and he loves fish, he absolutely hates this. However, giving this second ensures (usually!) that he has swallowed the pill.
  • Last and final, give him the CBD oil. He was a secret stoner in his past life and has no issues taking this one.

You can give him (5) pieces of freeze dried salmon chunks on the floor near his bowl. Be sure that they are broken into small pieces. He is a piggy and has choked on treats when he hoovers them down.

PM GAME PLAN:

FOOD:

Mix (1) 5.5oz can of Instinct Limited Ingredient, Grain Free, Turkey wet food in with (1) teaspoon of BFF (flavors vary) with 1/8 scoop of digestive enzymes. Don’t put this down until all of the medication is measured out and ready to go. This will be your bargaining chip to lure him close enough to give him his meds.

WATER:

Be sure to fill his water bowl to the top with water from the Brita in the fridge.

MEDS:

  • .4ML (liquid) Methimazole which is in the fridge on the top shelf in the door. It MUST be refrigerated. Be sure to shake the bottle. He will run away when he hears it.
  • .5ML (liquid) CBD oil

NO CERENIA AT NIGHT

You can give him (5) pieces of freeze dried salmon chunks. Be sure that they are broken into small pieces. He is a piggy and has choked on treats when he hoovers them down.

ALLERGIES:

  • He is allergic to chicken and beef.
  • Do not give him any people food. It will give him liquid poops.

QUIRKS:

  • He only drinks Brita water.

  • He doesn’t play. There are toys strewn around the apartment and you can try to play with him, but chances are, he’ll just lay down.

  • He is missing one of his front K9s. It doesn’t slow him down though.

  • He has hip dysplasia so he needs to use the stairs to the bed. He will, however, jump off of the bed no matter how hard you try to stop him.

  • He pees a lot.

  • If he throws up, tell me immediately. Please be specific as to what it was (i.e. bile, hairball, food, cat grass)

  • If he throws up more than one day, he will need subcutaneous fluids. The needles are in the bag hanging on the back of the bathroom door and the bag of fluids are hanging up there as well. The needle that is currently on the bag is old and needs to be disposed of. ALWAYS use a clean needle. He gets 100ML in between his shoulder blades. He hates this and you will need to tackle him to keep him still. Be sure to pinch the skin when you take the needle out and hold it like that for 30 seconds. It will help the liquid start to settle and not seep out of him. It will likely settle in one of his arms.

  • He snores, loudly.

  • He farts and it’s awful.

  • He has the worst smelling poops. And he will never cover it.

  • He sits on the corner of the litter box. This has been something he’s done since I found him. He’s just fancy.

  • He talks. A LOT. Feel free to carry on a conversation with him. He’ll keep going as long as you let him. Or until he gets tired.

  • Always keep his collar on him.

  • Never keep the windows open without weights or candles in front of them. He loves fresh air and getting in the windows but they are old screens and pop out very easily. Having booby traps deters him from trying to explore.

  • He’s very photogenic and I’m very needy when it comes to updates. Please send me a bunch of adorable photos.

  • He loves to lick people. I’m convinced he’s part dog.

  • He throws his food all over when he eats. I don’t know who raised him.

  • He’s allowed anywhere he wants to go, except the window sills. And outside.

Of course, you don’t need to leave an overly detailed outline like I did but the more information your sitter has, the better! Plus, how you dictate your expectations often times will reflect the types of updates you will receive from your sitter. If you follow this outline, you’ll have a great chance of finding a Meowtel sitter that your kitty could only dream of!

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Melanie Deisz

Melanie Deisz

Creative & Operations; Cat mom to Maxwell Wellington