Here at Meowtel, we strive to achieve our mission of helping every cat and cat parent live their best life. Keeping our community safe is a core component of achieving this mission so I’m pleased to provide our guidance on how to appropriately conduct Meowtel reservations in the wake of COVID-19.
Here are our 3 key recommendations to ensure everyone on Meowtel can have a safe experience:
1. Assess your situation & adopt a COVID-19 safety plan
The most important step you can take is to understand your own health and level of comfort with venturing outside your home. If you or a member of your household fall into one of the vulnerable groups for COVID-19, we encourage you to turn off your sitter calendar and re-join us when you feel the time is right.
If you feel comfortable visiting others’ homes and you haven’t been exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you can open up your sitter calendar and accept reservations. Always take the following precautions listed below and explain any changes to your safety plan in your ‘About Me’ section as well as when you begin chatting with clients. Our recommended safety plan will be made public to all Meowtel users:
Conduct Meet & Greets via FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype.
For the key exchange, schedule a time with the client for you to pick it up:
-Have the client leave the key in a secret spot 5 minutes before you arrive to allow for distancing.
-If there is no secret spot, both parties should wear a face mask, exchange the key, and then sanitize your hands and the key right after you meet.
Arrive to each kitty visit with recently washed or sanitized hands and a face mask.
Conduct your kitty visit as usual but limit exposure to the furniture and touching objects around the home. Take off your shoes and leave them at the front door. Wash your hands upon arrival and wash your hands upon departure. Avoid sitting on the floor or on the furniture during playtime. Your face mask should stay on for the entire visit and avoid touching your face and the kitty’s face.
Do your best to wipe down your phone in between visits.
For the key drop-off, do the same as step 2.
If you start to feel ill while conducting a reservation and you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, please let the client know and contact us immediately to ensure we have a backup care solution in place.
Wearing a face mask while in public and limiting your interaction with other humans have a significant impact on protecting yourself from COVID-19. If you are diligent about following steps 1-6, you should have a purrfect reservation!
2. Set clear expectations with new & existing clients
As a Meowtel sitter, you’re an independent contractor which allows you to have flexibility around when you work and how you conduct your reservations. While Meowtel provides general guidelines to help standardize the services we offer, we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, especially during a pandemic! Here are some examples of how to set expectations:
Use your ‘About Me’ section to explain that your visits will now be 15-minute kitty wellness checks, rather than a 30-minute visit. Food, water, litter, medications, and limited playtime will be provided but you will not offer cuddling or highly interactive visits. If you choose to change the length of your visits in order to meet your comfort level, we recommend adjusting your rates to reflect any changes to the length of your visits.
When chatting with a client about an upcoming reservation, share your COVID-19 safety plan and ask them if they have any questions or concerns. This will show you are very proactive in keeping everyone safe - including the kitties! Documenting your expectations via chat will also help hold you and the client accountable to follow each safety measure.
If you offer overnights, use your ‘About Me’ section to explain the cleanliness standards you expect of your clients before you can come over to stay. For example, you can list clean linens, sanitized counters, and soap in every bathroom as prerequisites for your overnight reservation. Reiterate these expectations via chat before accepting the request so the client doesn’t encounter any surprises the day before they leave.
3. Utilize our new sitter features to enjoy extra peace of mind
There are two new features which will help you manage your existing clients and incoming requests. Both of these features allow you to toggle yourself ON or OFF for reservation requests from specific groups:
Cat sitting is considered an essential business and we’re proud to have a community of superstar sitters whose proactiveness and diligence allow us to operate during this time. If you have any questions about devising a COVID-19 safety plan or how to communicate your plan to clients, please call or email The Bellhop. For more information on COVID-19 and how to protect yourself, please click here to visit the CDC's official website. We are ready to adapt and hope you are too because as Freud once said, “Time spent with cats is never wasted.”