What do you do on a cat visit?

what do pet sitters do on a cat visit?

Even though you intended to just be a dog walker, you may have clients with cats as well, or get enquiries for pet sitting and even purposely branch out into other pet services, such as cat sitting.

But as a dog person, what exactly do you do on a cat visit?

The cat’s owners

Cats, in my experience, rarely miss their owners as much as the owners miss their cats. So cat sitting is all about keeping the owner happy and relaxed whilst they’re away, and ensuring their cat is healthy and happy for their return.

Some cat owners will be quite specific about their cat’s care. Don’t be surprised if you get asked to prepare their meals a certain way, at a certain temperature and in particular bowls. For example, a cat’s water bowl may be in another room to its food bowl (they don’t like to eat where they drink)

In or out

One of the major questions to ask is if the cat is allowed out when their owner is away.

Some cats are permanently indoor cats, some are kept in for safety* when the owner is away and some are allowed to do as they would if the owner was at home.

*I once spent an hour trying to get an escaped cat back in through a bathroom window, only to have the ‘escaped cat’ walk up behind me and meow. Turns out the neighbour had an identical seal point siamese.

Cat Litter Trays

If they have a litter tray indoors you’ll be expected to scoop out any poop and wet bits. Check where the scoop is and which bin the owner would like you to put the soiled litter into. It’s easy to assume they want it in the main waste bin but then find that this bin is in the garden and you’ve not been left the backdoor or back garden gate keys.

Ask the owners how often they’d like a full litter change. This involves throwing all the litter away, washing the tray and refilling it with fresh. Some people ask for it every few days, some weekly, and some just say if it needs it. If you have cats yourself, your own routine may be different to theirs so be sure to ask.

Food and Dietary Requirements

Unlike dogs, who will eventually eat something, some cats are perfectly capable of starving themselves if they feel upset.

I had a client who would leave a tin of tuna for the first day for her cats because she knew they’d be out of sorts about her not being there and they were more likely to eat if they had a treat.

Cats can be quite specific about what they eat so make notes, especially in multi-cat households. Tabby might only eat the fish flavours in the mixed box of Whiskas pouches but Ginger only ever eats the chicken one.

If your client is concerned about their cats becoming stressed at their absence it may be worth suggesting a Feliway plug in to help.

With its clinically proven formula, Feliway mimics natural feline pheromones that help reduce stress and create a calming environment for their cats. The plug-in is easy to use and simply needs to be plugged into an electrical socket, and it will start working immediately to create a peaceful atmosphere.

Whether their cat is anxious due to the change in routine or is exhibiting unwanted behaviours such as scratching or urine marking, Feliway can help.

Playtime and cuddles

Despite your numerous 5-star reviews from previous clients, you will probably encounter a cat who dislikes you with a passion.

In these situations, it’s best to not try and engage with the cat. It’s tempting to try and win them over, after all, you’ve had many satisfied customers before, and it’s difficult not to feel guilty about not winning their affection but if they’re stressed then the best thing you can do is make sure they’re healthy and eating, and just leave them alone.

Other cats may enjoy being played with, chasing laser toys and being groomed. And these lend themselves to the best photos.

Social Media

When you post pictures on your social media feeds from dog walks, they’re only out of the house for an hour or so. This is different to pet visits where the owner is away from home for days if not weeks.

Although unlikely, it’s possible that someone could recognise the cat or the photo background of the house, so why risk it? Save the pics to use on social media for when the owner is back home, and just update the owner privately via WhatsApp (or similar) whilst they are away.

Client Updates

Always double check how often clients would like updates. Some owners will ask for more contact than others, often daily, whereas some are happy to get one or two updates and enjoy their time away in peace.

How long should I stay on a cat visit?

Hard to believe but some cats just won’t want you there, whereas others won’t want you to leave.

In my experience these two types tend to balance each other out and the short pop ins make up for the long visits.

Because of this, I would never stipulate a specific time, but maybe mention a maximum of 20 minutes to half an hour.


Because you’re essentially looking after someone’s home, you may be asked, or you can offer, some extras such as opening and closing curtains, watering plants and putting the bins out. Don’t forget to highlight these extras as they all add value to your services.


How often should you visit a cat during a pet sitting assignment?

This is an excellent question, and the answer can depend on the cat’s age, health, and personality. However, most cats will need at least one visit per day, while others may require two or more visits.

During each visit, you should check the cat’s food and water bowls and refill them as necessary. You should also clean the litter box and spend some time playing with the cat, grooming it, or simply giving it some attention. If the cat has any special needs or requires medication, you should follow the owner’s instructions carefully.

What should you do if a cat becomes ill or injured during a pet sitting assignment?

If a cat becomes ill or injured during your pet sitting assignment, the first thing you should do is contact the owner or their emergency contact immediately. They may have specific instructions or a preferred vet that they want you to take the cat to.

If the owner is unreachable, take the cat to the nearest veterinary clinic or animal hospital as soon as possible. You should also document any symptoms or injuries and report them to the owner as soon as you can.

What should you do if a cat escapes during a pet sitting assignment?

If a cat escapes during your pet sitting assignment, the first thing you should do is look for the cat in the immediate area. Check around the house and yard, and ask neighbours if they have seen the cat. You should also contact the owner immediately and let them know that the cat is missing.

If the cat is microchipped, you should contact the microchip company and report the lost cat. You can also post flyers in the neighbourhood and on social media to help find the cat.

How can you make sure a cat is comfortable during a pet sitting assignment?

To make sure a cat is comfortable during your pet sitting assignment, you should provide a safe and secure environment. Make sure the cat has access to its food, water, litter box, and any toys or bedding it may need.

You should also spend some time playing with the cat, grooming it, or simply giving it some attention. Some cats may be shy or anxious, so be patient and allow the cat to approach you on its own terms.

What should you do if a cat becomes aggressive during a pet sitting assignment?

If a cat becomes aggressive during your pet sitting assignment, the first thing you should do is protect yourself. Move away from the cat and avoid any sudden movements or loud noises that may provoke it further.

How can you tell if a cat is stressed or anxious during a pet sitting assignment?

Cats can become stressed or anxious when their routine is disrupted or when they are in an unfamiliar environment. Signs of stress or anxiety may include hiding, excessive grooming, loss of appetite, or increased vocalization.

To help a stressed or anxious cat, you should provide a quiet and comfortable space, play soothing music, and offer treats or toys to help distract the cat. If the cat’s stress or anxiety persists, you may need to consult with the owner or a veterinarian for additional advice.

How can you prepare for a pet sitting assignment with a new cat?

Before starting a pet sitting assignment with a new cat, you should schedule a meet-and-greet with the owner and the cat. This will allow you to get to know the cat’s personality and preferences, as well as any special needs or instructions from the owner. You should also familiarize yourself with the cat’s feeding and litter box routines and make sure you have any necessary supplies on hand.

What should you do if a cat scratches furniture or other household items during a pet sitting assignment?

If a cat scratches furniture or other household items during your pet sitting assignment, the first thing you should do is redirect the cat’s attention to a scratching post or another appropriate surface. You can also provide the cat with toys or treats to distract it from scratching.

What should you do if a cat refuses to eat or drink during a pet sitting assignment?

If a cat refuses to eat or drink during your pet sitting assignment, the first thing you should do is check the food and water bowls to make sure they are clean and fresh. You can also try offering the cat different types of food or treats to see if it will eat.

If the cat continues to refuse food or water, you should contact the owner and discuss possible solutions, such as adding wet food to the diet or offering a flavored water additive. If the cat goes more than 24 hours without eating or drinking, you should contact a veterinarian for advice.


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