Tips To Become A Top Notch Sitter – Part 1
Category: For Sitters
You clearly love cats if you’ve signed up to be a cat sitter with Meowtel. That’s great! Now here is a list of ideas that will help you become a stand out sitter! Enjoy this riveting two part series!
In part 1, I’ll discuss what you should do during the Meet and Greet. In part 2, I will discuss the Do’s and Dont’s during a reservation.
HOW TO HANDLE A MEET AND GREET:
1. BE ON TIME
I cannot stress this enough. Please be on time for your Meet & Greet! If you are running late, let the parent know ASAP. It’s always good to ask about the parking situation, gate entry and unit number when setting up the Meet and Greet to help with your punctuality.
2. BE CURIOUS
Ask questions. Ask a lot of questions. Common questions to ask during your meet and greet are:
FIRST AND FOREMOST: “Would you like me to take my shoes off?”
I know this seems super silly but it shows immediate respect. As someone who was raised in a “no shoe house” and abides by this rule to this day, it’s something that is very important to some people. Don’t make the potential client ask you first.
“How often does your cat poop? How is the consistency?”
This may seem like a weird question to ask but it shows that you’re knowledgeable and aren’t grossed out by normal functions. Additionally, excrements are the windows to an animal’s health. It can tell you a lot about their overall health.
“How often does your cat throw up? Is it normally food, hairballs or bile?”
This matters. A lot. If the cat rarely throws up but does so in your presence, you need to alert the parents immediately. It could be something as normal as a hairball or having an off tummy one day but it also could be something very serious such as the beginning stages of pancreatitis, IBD or other gastrointestinal issues.
“Do the cats have any favorite toys?”
Asking this shows the parents that you’re interested in their kitties. Knowing what they like to play with will help you engage with them during the visit.
“Are there any spots / places the cats aren’t allowed?”
Some people don’t like their cats on their beds, some don’t like them near certain expensive items. Most parents usually say “nope, it’s their house.” Regardless of their response, be sure to ask this and make note.
If there are plants, ”Do the cats ever get into the plants?”
This is also super important. Many plants are poisonous to cats and not all parents know this. Additionally, if they don’t normally get into plants but do during your visits, it may be a sign of tummy trouble or nutritional/mineral deficiency.
“What is their feeding routine and schedule? Is the schedule at all flexible?”
Asking this shows the parents that you respect their cat parenting skills. More often than not, unless they are on a restricted or specific diet with medication, they say it’s flexible. Being flexible doesn’t mean you should feed them 3 hours off from the requested time. It means that you learn to Tetris your schedule to accommodate the best you can. For example, if you have 2 clients that normally get fed at 7p and both parents said the feeding is flexible, start your first client early (if you’re doing 30 minutes), have your visit be 6:15 - 6:45p and feed toward the end of the visit. Then from there, manage your travel time (theoretically travel time anywhere from 5 - 30 minutes) and have the next client’s visit be from 7:15 - 7:45p. This way, you’re still very close to the requested feeding time and it doesn’t throw your kitty client’s schedule off.
“How is your cat with strangers?”
Knowing this can help you distinguish any strange behavior. If they’re very people oriented but one day won’t come out of hiding, it’s a surefire sign that something is wrong.
“Does your cat have a favorite hiding spot?”
Knowing this will help find the cat if you come in one day and cannot. Be sure to ask this so if the cat is MIA one day, you don’t panic the parents with a “I can’t find the cat!” text.
“How does your cat act when they don’t feel well?”
Knowing this can help you identify strange behavior. If they hide in a certain corner and you find them there one visit, it’s an indicator that something is wrong.
“Do they have any chronic illnesses or ailments?”
This is SUPER important. A lot of times parents will mention it immediately in either the bio or the reservation request.
“Do they have any quirks?”
This goes along with knowing “how is your cat with strangers” and “how does your cat act when they don’t feel well”.
“Do the cats ever try to sneak out the door?”
You absolutely must know who your Houdini kitties are! If they are an escape artist, you need to be at the absolute top of your agility game. With that said, if the cat is allowed outside, be sure to ask if there is a leash, harness, catio, etc. Since cats often get more scared when their parents aren’t around, I would ask the parents if it’s ok to keep the cat inside during your visits. This decreases the chances of losing a cat – and NO ONE wants that!
If it’s cold, “Is there a blanket / bed / temperature he/she likes it at?”
Keep those kitties warm!
If it’s hot, “Does he/she like ice cubes? What temperature would you be comfortable with me keeping the AC / fan at?”
Don’t let those kitties get overheated!
If the kitty is on medication, “Do you have a trick to administering it? Do they get a treat after? How do they normally react after receiving the medication? Will they spit it out?”
If there is a trick, ask them to teach you what it is.
For their litter box, “How often do you scoop? Are there bags? Would you prefer me to take it out to the trash every visit or is there another method you prefer?”
Everyone has a different method which is why this is an important question to ask!
“Does the kitty ever have any accidents outside of the litter box?”
Sometimes this is something that happens when cats are older, sometimes this happens when cats are mad at their parents when they leave. Often times, this never happens so if it does on your watch, it’s a tell-tale sign that something is wrong.
“If your cat gets sick or misses the litter box, is there a certain cleaner you prefer me to use? If yes, where is it?”
This may seem silly but it isn’t. Say they have hardwood floors and you grab a cleaner that has bleach in it, you will ruin their floors.
“Are the Cat Profile and Vet Release forms filled out?”
These are VITAL in helping your cat client stay healthy!
“Would you like me to grab the mail while you are gone?”
Seems little but it goes a long way!
“Are there any plants you need watered?”
Seems little but goes a long way! Plus, chances are they won’t have a greenhouse that needs watering so it will only take a few minutes.
“Does he/she get tap water or do they get filtered water?”
I personally give my cat filtered Brita water but that’s because I thought maybe there was stuff in the tap water that could be causing him to throw up. It wasn’t, it was pancreatitis. But still, he’s fancy and old and deserves the best now (when he’s behaving).
And finally, “Do you have any questions for me before I leave?”
If you’ve asked all of these questions, they most likely won’t have any questions for you but it’s great to be sure!
3. BE HONEST
If someone asks you if you are able to administer medication and you are not comfortable doing so, be honest. It may cost you this reservation but it will ultimately gain you respect from the cat parent and will keep the cat safe. The owner may even show you how to do so if you are honest and willing.
If you follow these tips, you will be a top notch sitter in no time! Be sure to tune in for part 2 for the Do’s and Dont’s for your reservation!