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The Cat Sitter’s Toolkit: Important Things to Know for Every Situation

Nov 17 2023.

A cat sitter toolkit is great for both sitters and paw parents alike. Unexpected situations can happen at any time, and it’s always better to be prepared beforehand so you can ensure your furry friend stays safe and happy. Not sure what goes in a cat sitter toolkit? Below, Cat in a Flat explains the most important things you need to know for every situation, whether you’re a proud cat parent or caring for a kitty client. 

cat sitter checklist and toolkit

What should be on my cat sitter checklist?

The first things that should go in your cat sitter toolkit is a checklist of important information about your fur friend. Cat sitters: when you meet a new client for the first time, be sure to ask plenty of questions and take notes if you need to! Here are some key items paw parents and pet sitters should have on their cat care checklist: 

  • Veterinary information. This should include Mr Whiskers’ vet’s info as well as a 24-hour veterinary clinic in case any issues arise outside of normal office hours.
  • Provide your cat sitter with the phone numbers for one or two local friends or family members. This way your sitter has someone they can contact in case there’s an emergency (e.g. they can’t get in touch with you, your sitter gets locked out, etc.).
  • List of your feline’s medication and the proper doses. If your cat is on medication, make sure to write down clear instructions for which meds they need to take and the dosage amounts. If possible, have your pet sitter give your cat their medication during the free meet and greet. This way you can demonstrate how to do it and make sure they understand the proper approach. 
  • Basic cat care instructions. This should include when to feed your feline, instructions for cleaning the litter box, and any other care instructions your sitter needs to know. 
  • Your kitty’s favorite hiding spots. Make sure your cat sitter knows all your furry friend’s favorite hiding spots so they can properly check on them during visits. 

How to approach a cat sitting client

It’s no secret that our feline friends love doing things on their own terms. This includes building relationships with the humans in their lives. Hence, every cat sitter’s toolkit should include the best ways to approach a cat sitting client: 

  • Let the kitty come to you. NEVER force a feline to interact with you. This will only make them scared or wary. Instead, let your furry client approach you on their own. 
  • Talk in a soothing voice. This will reassure Mr Whiskers and put them at ease. 
  • Allow the cat to sniff your hand. 
  • If the kitty seems comfortable around you, try gently stroking their head and along their back. Remember: the belly is a no-go zone for felines! 

Reading a cat’s body language

How do I read a cat’s body language? Whether it’s talking with their tails or with their meows, felines have many clever ways of communicating with us. For example, an upright tail with a curled tip indicates a relaxed cat, while a stiff upright tail could mean your furry friend is stressed or upset. As a cat sitter, you should be able to read your kitty client’s body language and react accordingly. Here are some ways you can tell when Mr Whiskers is happy, anxious, or upset. 

Signs of a relaxed, happy cat

  • Upright tail with a curled tip
  • Half-closed gaze (as opposed to wide-eyed and alert) 
  • Slow blinking (this is how cat’s say, ‘I love you’!)
  • Rolling on their back/showing their tummy (this is a vulnerable position for a kitty, so if your furry friend lies on their back it means that they trust you!)
  • Rubbing against you

Signs of a stressed, anxious cat

  • Crouching close to the ground or trying to hide (always make sure the cat has safe places they can hide when scared)
  • Ears flattened back against their head
  • Wide eyes/dilated pupils

Note: Always give a stressed, anxious cat space. If you try to force an interaction, this will only make things worse. Let the kitty come to you on their own terms.

Signs a cat feels threatened

  • Arched back
  • Raised fur and stiff whiskers
  • Upright, tense tail
  • Aggressive behavior such as hissing or swiping
keep cats warm in winter, cat sitter toolkit

What to do if a cat gets sick

What should you do if a cat gets sick while in your care? First off, try to take preventative measures to avoid potential accidents or illnesses before they happen. This includes keeping dangerous items out of paw’s reach and making sure Mr Whiskers’ home is at a safe, comfortable temperature in winter and summer. It’s also important to know how to recognize the signs of a sick cat. Make sure basic feline first aid is a part of your cat sitter’s toolkit!

Preventative safety measures for cat sitters and paw parents:

  • Don’t leave dangerous toys (such as string toys) lying around.
  • Know which plants are poisonous so you can move them out of paw’s reach if necessary.
  • Know which foods are toxic to cats.
  • Be able to recognize the signs of a sick feline and know what to do if your furry friend falls ill. 
  • Make sure the cat is keeping warm enough in the winter (so they don’t catch the feline flu) and cool enough in the summer (so they avoid heatstroke).

What should I do in a cat sitting emergency?

Emergencies can happen at any time, so it’s always a great idea to be prepared just in case. Here are a few emergency tips to add to your cat sitter’s toolkit: 

  • Know how to get the cat into their carrier. You should be aware of where your feline friend’s cat carrier is and how to get them inside in case of an evacuation or emergency vet visit. 
  • Call ahead to the vet. If Mr Whiskers is sick or injured, stay calm and call ahead so the vet knows you’re coming and can be prepared. 
  • Have a back-up sitter on standby. This goes for both paw parents and cat sitters! Cat sitters can experience personal emergencies too, so it’s a good idea to have a trustworthy back-up sitter to step in if necessary. 
  • Paw parents: if you have an emergency and suddenly need to leave home for a few days, it is possible to book last-minute cat care through Cat in a Flat. While a pet boarding facility or cattery is certainly an option in a pinch, it’s always best if Mr Whiskers can receive cat day care in the comfort of their home. 
cat sitter

Want to learn more about caring for the kitties in your life? Check out our blog posts on how to be a stellar cat sitter and safety tips for first time cat owners

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