We’ve talked about the adventures we’ve had out and about with the animals we look after, but if you’re just starting out, you might not be sure exactly where to start when you arrive at the client’s home. Today we’ll look at visits for cats. In upcoming posts we’ll devote our time to small animals and birds, dogs, and just house visits.
Arriving at the Cat Visit
Let’s get started with the basics:
- Visits to cats vary depending on the client and the needs of the cat. We try for one visit a day, but you’ll be asked for a visit every second day quite frequently. We used to take only daily calls, but we will now do every-other-day visits also. For long vacations…(and sometimes short ones)…we’ve been asked to go in every third day. We refuse these ones. No animal should be left alone for three days.
- Once in awhile we’ll be asked to go twice a day…sometimes because of medications and sometimes because they just love their cat and don’t want to change his feeding schedule.
- Not all cats are sociable. Do your best to at least put your eyes on the cat at every visit you’re there.
- Cats love cleanliness. You might find the client leaves you a few clean bowls out so you won’t refill a dirty one. We generally use the same bowl over and over but we clean it well at every visit. Then again, some wet food dries as hard as cement so the bowl sometimes needs a soaking while we do the rest of our call and that’s when a second bowl comes in handy. Plus I tend to think the family will look at their untouched bowls and wonder what we did.
- Leave your workplace clean when you leave. You can keep your washed fork or spoon and food bowl on a paper towel on the counter…but never leave dirty dishes in the sink to do the next day. Either a friend, the house cleaner, or the client himself will suddenly return out of the blue and you’ll be mortified. (You’ll be amazed how many times clients come home early! The nerve of them!)
- Water dishes need to be rinsed thoroughly and wiped out. They build up with a slimy layer within a day and the dish no longer looks sparkling clean either.
- Put out the food according to the client’s instructions. Now is not the time to try out a special food or treat you’ve seen on television. You don’t want a sick cat on your hands!
Once the cat is munching on lunch (or knows it’s there and is waiting for you to leave so he can eat), it’s time to move onto litter duty.
- Scoop according to the family’s directions and change the litter if asked. Most often you’ll only need to make a full change once a week.
But…if it’s disgusting, you have to think of your own health first. I can’t describe what litter conditions we’ve arrived to find. Often at the meet and greet these clients will barely touch on what to do and they promise they’ll have a fresh pan for you when you arrive. They don’t.
- The simplest thing to do is change it yourself…if it’s possible and not unhealthy. Or put a liberal amount of fresh litter on top of the old and don’t dig too low. Or as a last resort…cover it with a garbage bag and use your own liners over it… or put them in another pan/box you find there and start fresh. Yes…you’ll have to buy liners but in these cases…it’s worth it. And wear protective gloves!
- And never take a booking from them again. Poor cats.
- Most litters are just fine and you’ll be in-and-out in no time. Most important, though, is to check what you find in there! I know…analyzing litter contents is probably not your top-of-the-list activity…but especially if the cat makes himself scarce, you need to make sure he’s well. Checking to make sure the stools are okay – no blood (black streaky patches) and plenty of pee clumps is important. Cats are subject to urinary blockages that need immediate medical attention. If you don’t see signs of pee…anywhere in the house…something is wrong.
Most of our clients leave their litter pans in pristine condition and they’re particular about making sure you scoop it daily. I used to get a little defensive when they’d ask me to scoop daily …but now I’m just happy to be working with people who want their cat looked after well.
Cat visits usually run about twenty minutes. If you have time to play or sit with the cat on your lap, they often like that. Some old cats will skip the food while you’re there in favor of spending time with you. If we can, we schedule these calls well before or after our dog visits so we can sit back and enjoy a longer visit that we’ll both enjoy.
After all…we got into this business for the love of the animals, so why not give them a little extra love when their family is away?
Until next time…have fun out there!
Other articles in this series…