Tipping Your Pet Sitter During the Holidays

If you are like almost every other pet owner, each year around Christmas, Hanukkah and the holidays, you may ask yourself if you should give a tip or bonus to your hard working pet sitter.

The holidays allows us all to experience the joy of giving gifts to those people who mean the most in our lives. Many of us may put a tip or card in the mailbox to give to our mailman, but what about the person who regularly care for our pets?

Pet sitters are just as important as the mailman or any other person that you may give a tip to during the holiday season. The pet sitter will take care for our pets when we can not. Because the pet sitter is creating a healthier/happier life for our pet during their daily or weekly rounds, it’s a good idea to give this special person a tip during the holidays as a way to say “thank you” for helping out during the year.

Many people may not know what a good price is when giving their pet sitter a tip or bonus for the holidays. But what exactly is a fair amount to give to someone who shows our beloved pets so much love and warmth whenever they come over to care for out pets?

As a general rule, a weeks worth of salary for pet care will prove to be a fantastic tip this holiday season. Some people might even give one or two visits worth of pay to their pet sitter as a tip. You can give the holiday tip to your pet sitter in a holiday card in either cash, check or add it to your Fetch! Pet Care account. Alternatively, you may want to give them a small gift or a gift card to a fancy restaurant. Keep in mind that during these harsh economic times, any tip or bonus you give to your pet sitter would be appreciated.



Protect 10 Shelter Cats with Vaccinations

Every year in the United States, 6 to 8 million cats and dogs will enter shelters. Ensuring that animals are healthy, well-fed, and disease-resistant will greatly increase their chances of being among the number who will find happy homes with adoptive families. And vaccination is an integral part of fending off the contagious diseases, such as Feline herpesvirus, that are so prevalent in crowded kennels and shelters.

Purchase of this Gift That Gives More™ will vaccinate 10 cats in shelters against Feline herpesvirus (FHV), Feline calicivirus (FCV) and Feline panleukopenia (FPV), (usually grouped into one vaccination: FVRCP), thus greatly improving their chances of being adopted and living a long and healthy life.

Please note: Your purchase is tax-deductible in the U.S.A., and you will receive a receipt from GreaterGood.org for your taxes. 100% of your gift goes to The Petfinder.com Foundation as a grant through GreaterGood.org, to provide vaccinations at one of their 10,000+ member shelters, sanctuaries, or rescue organizations. Now, you can choose to help fund the Gifts That Give More™ program by selecting to give an additional $1 donation to GreaterGood.org at checkout. GreaterGood Network stores do not receive any profit from the sale of this Gift That Gives More™; we bring it to you in the spirit of the greater good. GreaterGood.org has ultimate authority and discretion with regard to the distribution of its funds. All expenditures made are consistent with the exempt purposes of GreaterGood.org.

Upon purchase, you will receive an automated e-mail with a link to a full-color certificate of acknowledgment that you may print and frame for display or gift-giving. Adobe Acrobat Reader, or equivalent .pdf viewing program, is required to open the file. The certificate makes a great “instant” gift for an honored colleague, family member or friend.

Please note: Your purchase is 100% tax-deductible in the U.S.A., and you will receive a receipt from GreaterGood.org for your taxes. GreaterGood.org is an independent charitable organization devoted to addressing the health and well-being of people, animals, and the planet. GreaterGood.org has ultimate authority and discretion with regard to the distribution of its funds. All expenditures made are consistent with the exempt purposes of GreaterGood.org.


Why cats need daily visits.

I get the requests all the time: “I’m going away and my cat is really shy, so I just want someone to come in and scoop her litter and feed her twice while I’m gone.  I’ll be gone 10 days.” Sigh…..I know many times these folks are just trying to save money, and they tell me that they leave for 3 day weekends “all the time” and their cat is “just fine.”  I know they think the cat doesn’t really care if someone is there…maybe she doesn’t. However, all it takes is once for your cat to not be “just fine” and if more than 24 hrs goes by and your cat is sick or injured or trapped, that could literally mean life or death.  As a professional petsitter, it is my responsibility to make sure your cat is not in danger.  If you are hiring a professional, you need to respect our professional and understand the liabilities we face.

Think about your daily routine with your cat.  If you notice that your cat is not behaving normally, how long do you wait before you go to the vet?  OK, you might wait more than a day, but that is usually because you are monitoring her behavior around the clock, or at least several hours at a time when you are home with her.  If you are away and no one is checking on your cat, the odd behavior could develop just after your cat eats and the petsitter has left.  And then 2 full days go by.  The sitter comes in, and the cat is acting odd. The cat has not eaten any food, and there is blood in the litter box.  The sitter rushes her to the vet.  Your cat has a severe kidney infection, which may have caused permanent damage because it went unchecked for too long. One day may have made a huge difference. That is just one example- it hasn’t happened to me, but it has happened to another petsitter I know, and the stress it caused for her and her client was unbearable. The petsitter feels responsible, even though she is performing her job as requested by the client. But now she questions herself- should she have pushed back and required daily visits for the cat?  Would she have lost business because her client would have gone looking for someone else who would have done less frequent visits? Possibly, but sometimes this is the risk we take in order to earn the respect we deserve.

So many things can happen to kitties when they are left alone.  They could become trapped in a room away from their food, water and littler box because wind blew an interior door shut. Dehydration can happen very quickly for a cat and is very serious.

They could be playing with a curtain or piece of clothing and get themselves tangled  or even strangled in it.  They could get their claws caught in a cloth and injure themselves trying to extract their paw, could begin bleeding, and could lose too much blood over 48 or more hrs.

Cats get bored- they could start nibbling on a plant which could turn out to be toxic.  A sitter may notice this but if the cat has been nibbling for several days, it could be too late to reverse the damage.

What if your cat escapes? Cats are tricky and persistent creature.  If they are stressed from being left alone too long, they may start to look for ways out and find them in places you’d least expect.  One cracked window might do the trick- cats can squeeze through some pretty small places. One day makes a big difference in your chances of finding your cat, especially if you live in an area with many predators, such as coyotes which we deal with here in the hills in LA.

I point all of this out because people often accuse us of just wanting more money when we request that our clients book daily visits for their cats, which is not the case.  I want to know that your cat will be safe and secure in my care, and that I am able to perform my job as a caretaker to the best of my abilities.  If the number of visits I am allowed to make is going to limited, I probably will not take the job.  It is not worth the stress and hassle of worrying about your cat’s well being for me to take on an assignment with too few visits. Professional petsitters simply have your pet’s best interests in mind, please respect our requests.  We are usually willing to work with you on price if your concern is that you can’t afford daily visits- maybe we can offer shorter visits on alternate days, or a 10% discount for daily visit.  It never hurts to ask and work out a plan that works for everyone!

Sue Cashin is the owner of Fetch! Pet Care of McHenry County. Fetch Pet Care provides pet sitting and dog walking services in McHenry County and surrounding areas.