I am animal person, this is always useful when house sitting for someone else, and it can give the added bonus of letting the house owner leave their pet at home rather than making often costly arrangements elsewhere. Having said that I am an animal person, it doesn’t always mean that the cat or dog is a “people animal”. Let me explain…
When I looked after a friend’s apartment while they were off enjoying the sun I was also asked to take care of their family cat. This cat was an indoor cat so it meant cleaning up after it as well as feeding it and keeping it entertained. None of this is a problem and you’ll find that most cats will give far more than it takes to care for them. However, with this cat sitting there was a clashing of heads to be had.
I already knew the cat in question, so I guess you could say that being fore warned is being fore armed, however, all this meant is that I knew that the cat had a particular dislike to me. I’d never go as far to say that I am a regular Dr Doolittle, however, animals usually like me – at least domestic ones do.
Within moments of entering the apartment, out came the claws and I was swiped at. Luckily this seemed more of a gesture than an actual attack, but it set the tone of the week, or so I thought. Holidays can be a tough time for domestic pets as they’re introduced to strangers or new environments, which is part of the reason why I said I’d look after the cat in question. Whilst we never saw eye-to-eye this was certainly a case of “better the devil you know”.
However, come feed time the cat started coming round to the fact I was still there and after she realised that I was the provider of cat meats, the tension began to melt away. Following dinner there was a brief session of play where I struggled to keep my shoes from being clawed at, but she seemed to have fun nevertheless.
By the second evening of patient and slow movements around the cat, she came around to the whole arrangements and stopped treating myself or my belongings like a scratching post – we were making good ground. By the third night, well – things were much better. I found myself in front of the telly with the cat curled up on my lap, purring contently.
Sometimes friendship is never meant to be, and really it is the owner’s job to think carefully about whether their pet will take to a stranger looking after them. Also, as a sitter you need to be confident and have experience with looking after animals – otherwise it is unfair on everyone.
A good sitter for looking after pets will do as I did, try to build a rapport with the animal first. Its mommy and daddy have gone away, try and keep this in mind. It is often necessary to show that you are safe, a source of food and sometimes treats – because it never hurts to spoil a pet sometimes, right? Making peace with this cat was satisfying and well needed, the companionship was of course well worth it, the owners returned to one content kitty and I escaped being cut to ribbons – a good result all round I think.
About the Author
Chris is an animal lover, long time keeper of cats, dogs, fish, guinea pigs and other fluffy things. He has house sat a few times and is beginning to see the virtues in doing it. For a living he is a travel writer and produces work for many blogs like trusted timeshare resales company, Travel & Leisure group, experts in holiday timeshare rental.