I love traveling but hate leaving my pets, especially Ruby. My pets are complicated and a teeny-tiny bit weird. Maybe everyone feels this way? But in our case, it’s true.
We are three humans, three cats, two mice, and a dog. That’s four different species, down from five when our bunny, Lulu was still with us. Oh, and our house is also kind of “special needs”(aka old and broken).
Finding (and keeping) a good pet sitter is hard for us. Many pet sitters focus on dogs or cats or maybe small animals, but usually not all three. We are overachievers when it comes to pets and it takes a brave soul with a smile and can-do attitude to care for our brood.
Helpful hint: There’s a fine line between full disclosure and scaring the heck out of a potential pet sitter. I believe in treading lightly, focusing on the bright side – with Ruby this means deflecting from the cray-cray to the cuteness, and as a last resort, her painful past (though she’s been with us for five years now so this one sometimes doesn’t work as well). Always apologize ahead of time just in case your dog gets stressed, eats a bunch of mouse food, gets sick, and then tracks it through the whole house – because it could happen. Also, a “my pets behaved badly” bonus is a nice way of saying “thanks, I know this was way more than you bargained for, but we appreciate you and hope you won’t hold all that vomit against us.”
Pet Sitting Notes: Full Disclosure with Sunshine and Cupcakes
A montage of recent notes to our pet sitter
1.The cats have a love-hate relationship without the love part. On good days, they ignore each other and on bad days, its like the kitty fight club or Real House Cats of New Jersey (special request: please don’t let Rosie watch reality TV. It’s not good for her mental health).
The bright side: Rosie doesn’t bite or scratch humans. She saves her house cat rage for Teddy.
2. Ruby doesn’t understand portion control. Also, she really likes cat food (and mice food). I suggest feeding the cats on top of the refrigerator. We tried the table, but Ruby is surprisingly good at climbing. Of course, the fridge-top patio should only be used when the kitty fight club is not in session. Contrary to popular belief, cats don’t always land on their feet and sometimes take their food bowls down with them.
The bright side: Our refrigerator is not very tall so you won’t need a stool (aka no fall risk).
3. Our house is old and kind of broken. You will need to jiggle the lock and then throw yourself against the door to get it open.
The bright side: It’s winter and your puffy coat (gosh, I hope you have a puffy coat) will break the impact and prevent serious injury.
4. The mice are rebels and would like nothing more than to shred the place. Trixie, the more white mouse, also seems particularly bent on escape. She knows about the cats and doesn’t seem to care. We think she might be depressed or maybe nuts.
The bright side: Besides the shredding and escaping thing, the girls are pretty low maintenance. No pep talks or cuddling required. Mice will be mice.
5. Did I mention Ruby’s separation anxiety? Sometimes when I am gone she refuses to leave the house. She takes “I’ll be home soon, you stay here,” literally. Unfortunately, this may lead to accidents or worst case scenario, intestinal distress.
The bright side: I pay REALLY well.
6. Rosie likes to hide in the kitchen cabinets. I suspect she’s looking for the chips. She’s also deaf and sometimes gets kind of screechy if you startle her.
The bright side: I hid the chips in the fridge with some guacamole. Help yourself.
7. Teddy thinks small boxes make him look thin or maybe invisible. They don’t but just play along.
The bright side: Is there anything cuter than a big cat in a small box. You are welcome.
8. When we are gone and can’t supervise, Rosie and Teddy must lead separate lives. While one is upstairs, the other is downstairs and vice versa. Feel free to switch them around – though be careful lifting Teddy. Quite frankly, he weighs a ton and we don’t want any back injuries. Always lift from your knees because safety first. Please include Ruby in the musical cats game; otherwise, she will feel left out and get even more depressed.
The bright side: After chasing Rosie and carrying Teddy (and possibly Ruby), you will probably be able to skip your workout for the day.
9. Our house is way more complicated and scrappy than our pets. Broken things happen.
The bright side: If anything breaks, just turn it off and walk away. We will take care of it later or more likely, next year.
10. The couch is the place all lost things go. Things you might find between the couch cushions: one of the cats, keys, the chips, the remote control, and ALL the pens.
The bright side: You might also find money. Keep it – you have totally earned it!
P.S: I’m SORRY for everything. Thank you.
Finding the perfect pet sitter takes some work and luck. Ideally, you want someone who is responsible, experienced, and meets the unique (sometimes weird) needs of your family. For us, we need a superwoman of sorts who is comfortable walking dogs, wrangling cats, and isn’t afraid of rioting mice. We are lucky to have found a great pet sitter who knows all this stuff and shockingly, hasn’t quit yet – hurray!
What do you look for in a pet sitter and do your pets require any kind of funny explanation?