10 Cat sitting don’ts!
We have a LOT of experience cat sitting in Miami and after lots of exposure to our feline friends, we’ve come up with some important don’ts for every cat lover to follow. Cats are often misunderstood not just in the sense that people think they are all cold and unaffectionate… Many people also think that they can be left alone for long periods of time because they are self-sufficient, that they’re fine to live outside, that they don’t need to visit the vet as much as dogs do. We’re here to help cats out with our cat sitting experiences. Please save and share with your friends!
Cat sitting don’ts:
1. Don’t ignore body language.
This could be its own blog post as a cat is extremely communicative with its mood/thoughts through body language. Like our dog friends, a cat’s body language is expressive and indicative of how they are feeling. Tails, ears, eyes, sounds, and body positioning will all tell you whether a cat is feeling open to play, wants to cuddle, or if it’s angry, frustrated, or fearful.
2. Don’t skip scooping the litterbox
Especially with male cats who tend to get urinary tract infections. Feces and urine are incredibly informative and a good indicator of your cat’s health. We make sure to scoop litter boxes daily and report anything unusual to kitty parents. One needs to have a knowledge of what baseline looks like for each cat, which is why we have a thorough profile questionnaire on our scheduling software. Noticing frequency, consistency, or if a cat is eliminating outside of the litter box are all important signs of a cat’s health and state.
3. We would never as a cat owner not get daily pet sitting when going on a trip.
One of the common misconceptions people have about cats is that they don’t need daily care and check-ins because they are so independent. Contrary to this belief, cats need their pet sitter or caretaker to see them daily to make sure they have enough water, food, and social interaction. Kitties can go from good to bad in very little time, especially when it comes to dehydration. Not to mention special needs kitties or those who require medication administration. While some cats may be shy, there are plenty who truly are social- it may take some a while to warm up to their cat sitter but they thrive from interaction and play.
4. Never spray a cat or spank it as punishment.
Cats don’t do well with physical punishment and it teaches them to fear and not trust you. Positive reinforcement is the best way to go for your feline friends. Look for the reason behind the behavior you perceive to be “bad” and try to fix the source. For example, if your cat is peeing outside the litter box, it could mean it doesn’t like the litter or its litter box. It could mean it’s too old to turn around in it, or it’s in pain. Punishing it won’t change the behavior and will stress it out more.
5. Never use a laser pointer without a toy/treat at the end.
Kitties love to chase that alluring red dot, but it can get frustrating when there is nothing to catch. It is only light, after all. You can make the laser land on a treat that you’ve hidden or maybe a toy to help them feel like they’ve caught something.
6. Don’t keep a cat outdoors.
Not only are outdoor cats wreaking havoc on our native wildlife, they are also exposed to more dangers, be it parasitic, predatory, environmental, or dangers of being hit by cars or eating something poisoned. If you’re worried about your cats being bored, make sure you create an enriching environment and make time to play with your feline friends daily. Check out our blog post on how to keep your indoor cat healthy and entertained for some ideas.
7. Never skip vet visits.
Again, people believe cats are very low-maintenance pets when they need as much attention and care as their canine counterparts. A healthy adult cat should visit the vet once a year for maintenance of health and prevention. It’s better to catch issues and nip them in the bud when possible. Kittens have a more frequent schedule as they need vaccinations, and mature cats (10+) should visit their vet twice a year. Cats can be stoic about their pain and illness, it’s up to us to catch it before it gets worse.
8. Never dive right into rubbing a cat’s tummy.
Cat people know this, dog people learn this the hard way. Cats typically want to be pet around their faces- under the chin and on the cheeks is a crowd-pleaser. Some kitties are open to tummy rubs, but if you’re new to a cat, stick to the face and on the cat’s terms.
9. Never teach cats to play with your hands/use hands as a lure:
The dangers of this are obvious. You don’t want to train your cat to attack your hands!
10. Never declaw a cat: it’s inhumane.
This is so important and it’s beyond us that people are still performing this operation.
“Too often, people think that declawing is a simple surgery that removes a cat’s nails—the equivalent of having your fingernails trimmed. Sadly, this is far from the truth. Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle. It is an unnecessary surgery that provides no medical benefit to the cat. Educated pet parents can easily train their cats to use their claws in a manner that allows everyone in the household to live together happily.” Humane Society.
Bonus: Never give cats cooked bones to chew on. Cooked bones splinter and become shards that can hurt your cat’s throat as well as cause choking. Cat sitting don’ts: would never as a cat owner not get daily pet sitting when going on a trip.
A founding member of the Equipaws family, Frankie can mostly be found working behind the scenes, helping co-create online branding, managing several social media accounts, designing brand collateral, writing copy, and managing events. She also fills in for pet sitters and dog walkers when needed in Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, and South Miami. Her own small pack consists of Boots the Shih Tzu mix and Nutmeg the Chiweenie.