Our furry friends aren't a fan of change, they don’t appreciate it when their family is gone and often don’t like "intruders" (relatives) in their own space.
Careful planning may reduce your holiday stress and theirs. Whether it’s going to your relatives and friends, a boarding facility or you’re taking your pets with you, planning is the most important thing to ensure your pets are safe and sound.
Every year, we get last-minute frantic phone calls in November or December.
“Can you book in Fluffy for the cattery? We forgot and all the other ones are full.”
“I can’t believe our regular dog sitter is going home for the holidays, help!”
“Your terms say our cats have to be vaccinated before boarding- we didn’t know!”
Kennels and catteries are very busy this time of year, and pet sitters have lives (and families) too! They may not be available or may be booked already. You need to finalize your plans well before November to ensure your pets are looked after.
Too many people still think that a container of dry food and a neighbourhood kid changing water every couple of days is proper cat sitting. It’s not.
It is true that cats are easier to care for than dogs in many respects. Cats don’t need walking and are generally much more self-sufficient than their frolicking canine buddies. But house cats still require daily visits from a competent person.
The pet sitter should not just scoop poop and refill water and food bowls. They need to see your cats every day and check on their well-being. Be sure the person you put in charge (whether it’s a teenager looking for a few extra bucks, or a helpful friend) is responsible, and will properly care for your cat.
If you think your cats would be safer in a cattery, or if they have medical needs, finding a great cattery can be just what you need. But READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS. We get so many customers wanting to book in then and there at the counter, with their cat unvaccinated OR it’s been vaccinated but not had the appropriate stand down time after vaccinations before it can enter a cattery.
Every cattery is different, so it’s important you find out all the info before rushing off to book a getaway- this could mean the difference between you flying to Fiji or missing out and spending New Years with Fluffy!
Dog Walkers vs. Dog Sitters
Now that your plans are set for Fluffy- what are you going to do about Rex?
If you are lucky enough to have secured a knowledgeable pet sitter who will also take care of you cat as well as your dog… or gold fish or bunny, then great! But do your research thoroughly.
A dog sitter carries more responsibility than a dog walker. Think “babysitter” when choosing a pet sitter. You wouldn’t entrust your child with someone only capable of pushing a stroller.
Likewise, caring for your dog means more than walking him around the block. A babysitter is responsible for the entire well-being of the child, and the same holds true for pet sitters and their charges.
During peak times such as the Christmas season and summer vacations, many kennels are booked up and cannot accept your pet. Also, because some pets require special handling or accommodations (very young puppies, animals on special medication or feeding schedules, or giant breeds, for example) they may have limited staff or resources for this. Planning is crucial!
As with cats, ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date and check the conditions on any “stand down” period before you dog can enter a kennel.
If you have a pet with a serious medical condition and are leaving on holiday, give your vet a head’s up that you are leaving Gandolf the Elder with a pet sitter or boarding facility. And obviously let the sitter or boarding place know any special requirements - there’s no need to down play your pets health- the right cattery or kennel will take them on if they’re experienced and confident- it’s about finding the right fit.
Believe us, the stress, the finger pointing and the guilt are felt on all sides if something ever goes wrong in a pet sitting situation. Let’s do everything we can this season to leave our pets in capable and loving hands!
Tags: Pet, Senior, Pet Health, Vaccination, Puppy, Elderly, Care, Kitten, Animal Health, Canine, Cattery, Pet care, Cat, Pet and Vet, Kennel, Feline