Tag: pet sitter

A Professional Pet Sitter’s Perspective on How Many Litter Boxes You Should Have

As a pet sitter in Mesa AZ I find that generally people do not have the proper number of litter boxes in their home.  The number of litter boxes is determined by how many cats you have.  You should have 2 litter boxes for each cat.  YES!  TWO per cat.  Why?

When you have multiple cats in a household they may argue over who has the right to potty in the litter box.  If you only have one litter box for 2 cats, one cat may mark the box as theirs, leaving the other cat no where to eliminate other than your floor.  This means, if you have 6 cats you NEED 12 litter boxes.  I know cats are adorable, but you need to keep in mind how many litter boxes you need and if there is room in your home for all those boxes.  If there isn’t room in your home for another litter box, there may not be room in your home for another kitty.

Too many cats, not enough litter boxes. Cats will eliminate outside the litter box if it’s too dirty.

Cats like to have options.  So even if you only have 1 cat, you will want your cat to be able to go to the bathroom where they feel the most comfortable.

I’ll share a story with you:

A client, who is to remain nameless, has 4 cats in their household.  They have 3 litter boxes.  They have come up a little short on providing their cats with an adequate number of toilets for their cats.  Based off the estimation above, how many litter boxes should they have?  If you said 8, you are right!  So they were short by 5 litter boxes!

What was happening was, one cat would “claim” a fresh litter box as his own.  By claiming, he would urinate in the box and lay in it, making sure the other cats KNEW that box was his.  This left 2 litter boxes for 3 cats.  I’m sure you can imagine how quickly those litter boxes got dirty.  After pet sitting for a day I realized that the cats were urinating in other parts of the house because their boxes got dirty very quickly.  I lifted a litter box up to empty it and found a puddle of urine UNDER the litter box. There wasn’t a hole in the box, the cat had pee’d just outside the box.  I also found urine under a chair and coffee table.  I felt horrible that I was not able to keep up with the litter box mess.  But I was set up for failure, as the parents are also setting themselves up for failure.

Cat claiming litter box from house mates.

If they had the proper amount of litter boxes, even if a cat was claiming a box as their own, there would be plenty more for the other cats to choose from.  This would definitely stop them from urinating throughout the house.

How many cats do you have?  Do you have an adequate number of litter boxes?

Mesa pet sitter reflects on life with dogs in assisted living

As a Mesa pet sitter and dog walker, I get calls quite often from assisted living facilities because they have a resident that is no longer able to take their dog out for much needed potty breaks.  I LOVE that assisted living communities allow our elderly generation to bring their pets to live with them and here’s why:

Imagine you’ve lived your entire life with a pet.  It comes to a point when you are not able to care for yourself in your own home.  Family is not able to take you in (for whatever reason), everything you have known for the past few decades is being taken away from you; your ability to drive, cooking becomes a chore, medications are too much to keep track of, maybe dementia or Alzheimer’s is setting in.

When the kids are ready to sell your belongings and take the bare minimum to your new home they ask, “What do we do with the dog (or cat, bird, fish, etc.).”  Your response is, “Well, where ever I go, Fido goes.  Fido has loved me unconditionally for his entire life and I am not about to turn my back on him.  He is the last thing I have that makes my house a home.  Please don’t take Fido away.”

The kids have empathy so they search for an assisted living facility that accepts pets. You might be surprised, but many of them do.  The next challenge is when mom/dad are not able to take Fido out for regular potty breaks and maybe they are bringing table scraps back to their apartment and Fido is looking a bit on the large side.  The kids do what they can, but their lives get busy and they need help, helping mom/dad keep Fido in their apartment. 

Many assisted living facilities have their own staff that is able to take Fido out for as many potty breaks as he needs.  There will most likely be an additional rate for potty breaks and the staff may not be as knowledgeable about pet safety and care as a professional pet sitter or dog walker.  The staff may also feel like it’s a burden to take time out of their busy schedule of administering medication, waiting tables and responding to emergencies to kindly take Fido out for that much needed potty break.

Keep in mind, that mom/dad’s pet still needs to be well cared for.  Here are some questions to ask the assisted living staff to ensure your parents pet will be cared for appropriately:

Where will Fido be taken during the hot summer months to go potty?

How will you protect his paws from getting burnt on the asphalt or concrete?

Will you help mom/dad understand the health affects of feeding Fido table scraps?

Are your staff members animal lovers?  Or are they doing this because they HAVE to?

Who is responsible for medical bills if your staff member isn’t careful and their paws get burned or they get heat stroke from being outside too long?

No matter who is taking care of Fido for mom/dad, you will want to make sure they care about the animal and have proper insurance in place to take care of the vet bills mom/dad won’t be able to pay for if something were to happen to Fido.  We’ve all heard the horror stories of the elderly being mistreated and neglected at assisted living facilities.  Many times, the people that hurt other’s started out hurting animals.

What happens if Fido or fluffy out live mom/dad?  It is important to have a pet trust in place or will planning to ensure Fido/Fluffy have somewhere to go and their needs will be taken care of.

Life without pets is hard for me to imagine.  What about you?

pet sitter, robotic

Robotic Pet Sitter

pet sitter, robotic

Does the idea of being able to check in on your pet at any time interest you?  Want to be able to play and interact with them when you aren’t home?  Maybe share your pet’s antics on social media?  You may want to check out the robotic pet sitter.

Pebby is a company based out of Sunnyvale, CA.  They just announced a new “WI-FI remote controlled ball/smart collar which allows pet owners to track, monitor and entertain their furry loved ones anytime, anywhere.”

I think this is a pretty cool idea with great options for monitoring and interacting with your pet when you aren’t home.  This isn’t just for dogs!  It has laser light capabilities for cats too 🙂

You can set the ball to detect barking sounds and send you an alert.  So..for those neighbors that say your dog barks all the time, you can monitor when it’s happening and maybe see what is triggering it.  When you get the barking alert, you could turn the ball on as a distraction to get him to stop barking.

Clearly, you would want your pet to play with the ball when you are home so they understand it’s a fun game and not something that is going to harm him, so when you aren’t home, he isn’t afraid of it when it’s active.

There is also a camera within the ball so you can literally keep an eye on your pet.  It even has night vision mode so you can monitor your pet at night and you can share your precious baby being super cute on social media.  Who doesn’t want to see video footage of your super awesome pet?

Pebby has a kickstarter campgain to finish production.  To find out more information and see it in action check out their kickstarter campain…https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/973862487/pebby-the-worlds-most-advanced-robotic-pet-sitter.

Questions to Ask Your Potential Pet Sitter

So you’re looking for a pet sitter and have no idea what kind of questions to ask. You figure if you meet the person and they seem nice, that should be good enough, right? Well, there are some important things you will need to know prior to making that hiring decision and handing over your keys. Here are a few tips and MUST ask questions:

1. Are you insured and bonded? The answer to this question should be YES. If your potential pet sitter responds by saying insurance and bonding isn’t important, stop the interview right there, thank them for their time and move on to the next one.

FYI – Insurance for a pet sitting company isn’t all that expensive. It should cover anyone from the company coming into your home. This includes the proprietors independent contracts / employees. If the sitter caring for your pets and home is under the age of 18, make sure the proprietors insurance covers them. MOST insurance companies DON’T cover those under the age of 18. Their insurance should cover special property of others which will cover accidental breakage, theft and mysterious disappearance.

2. Are you Pet CPR & First Aid Certified? The benefits to having a pet sitter that is pet CPR &First Aid Certified is tremendous. If a pet is acting strange, your pet sitter should be able to distinguish between emergency health related issues and those that can be waited out. If you are a multi pet household, First Aid comes in handy if multiple dogs are playing and one accidentally bites down too hard to get a toy from another dog and tears some skin. Your pet sitter should know how to clean a basic wound. If you allow your dogs to chew on rawhides your pet sitter should know CPR in case the rawhide gets lodged in the pets throat.

3. What is your back up plan? It is imperative that your pet sitter have a back up plan. Is this a single person operation or do they have independent contractors / employees that work for them? What happens if the sole proprietor gets sick, or in a car accident and CAN’T make it to your home to care for your pets? Working with a pet sitting company that employs other pet sitters is like getting a BOGO (buy one, get one). This also is a tell tail on what will happen during the holidays when pet sitters are their busiest. Single sitter operations may not have room on their calendar for you, which will leave you to search for another pet sitter anyway.

We’d be happy to help you find your fur-ever pet sitter. Give us a call for more pet sitter interviewing tips and questions.