In the course of 30+ years of pet sitting in Richmond VA, Pet Pleasers, Inc. has encountered many strange, difficult and entertaining antics of the feline persuasion.
Cats are very clever, can get into just about any space they want and will ignore you completely when you call for them to come out. Every pet sitter must keep one step ahead of the animals in their care and where cats are concerned, make that 3 or 4 steps ahead!
Here are a few of the strangest antics our pet sitters have encountered over the years.
Could not find the cat!
This happens more often than you might expect. In this case, the cat was an indoor cat and when I made my visit, he was nowhere to be found. I crawled all over the client’s house hunting for this cat and I had the feeling he was right behind me laughing himself silly.
Nope, he wasn’t. I hunted and hunted and finally found him behind the built-in bathtub! I have no idea how he got there — the tub was completely covered all the way around and had built-in drawers around the bottom. I suppose he could have crawled into a drawer that was left open, gotten himself behind the drawer and then pulled it shut behind him! At least I knew where to find him on future visits — at least until he changed his hiding place!
Kitty stuck under the bed … really stuck!
Once again, no cat to be found during my first scheduled pet care visit. I could hear a little meow, which was encouraging. I hunted high and low … and “low” finally paid off. The little guy had crawled under a bed and gotten his fur tangled in the box springs of the bed. OMG — the spring was wound in his fur and there was no way I could get him out alone.
I called my husband who came to the rescue, equipped with wire cutters so we could remove him without pulling the coil out of his fur. We had a carrier ready for him and off we went with a very unhappy cat to the vet! He was fine with no internal damage, but I think his pride was wounded because he’d been caught in that embarrassing situation.
If Walls Could
Yet another “couldn’t find the cat,” but with a new twist. After a massive hunt (I had to call in for reinforcements to help me look), we finally discovered that the cat had snuck into the attic when the owner removed suitcases for their trip. No one noticed.
But it gets worse. The cat had somehow fallen between the exterior and interior walls, landing her into the garage area. After consulting with the vacationing owners, we got permission to cut a hole in the garage wall to free the poor thing. Happy cat, happy ending!
Bird = score 1 … Cat = score 0
This story is more bird – score 1, cat – score 0! Our pet sitting clients had a Cockatoo that free-roamed the house. They also had three cats who did the same. Unfortunately for the cats, the bird’s favorite sport was to lie in wait for a cat to pass by and then attack its tail. The result — the owners had three “Manx” instead of tailed cats. Bad Bird!
What Was She Thinking?
Sometimes people just don’t think things through, especially when they’re busy with the details of getting ready to leave town. This story is a prime example of how things can go terribly wrong when an owner forgets that very important detail before they leave.
Our pet sitting client went on her trip and left a tank of baby Iguanas sitting on the coffee table. She also had several cats. The problem: the owner forgot to put a cover on the tank to protect the Iguanas.
Well, Captain Obvious here … I don’t have to explain what happened next. Let’s just say the Iguanas were fair game for the cats and then they were no more. It was devastating for the pet sitter since she discovered the slaughter and after cleaning up the mess, she had to inform the owner. Key Takeaway: Remember cats are animals and see smaller animals as prey.
Tips for owners to take before heading out
When you leave town and hire a pet sitter to take care of things in your absence, be sure to “animal proof” your home! Get on the floor to see what they see. Put away anything valuable that could be knocked on the floor or broken if the dogs or cats decide to play chase. Close off all rooms that animals do not need to go into. This prevents trouble and makes it easier for pet sitter to find them. Don’t leave table lamps on — they can be knocked down and start a fire if the bulb is left on.
With careful planning and staying a few steps ahead of your pets, you can prevent your pet from becoming one of our unbelievable stories!
Carole Tomas is the owner and president of Pet Pleasers, Inc. She is a graduate of Ohio University and a Charter Member of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. When she began Pet Pleasers in 1985, business was conducted Old School via a landline, snail mail and an answering machine the size of a breadbox. No internet, email, text messaging, digital photos, social media or mobile phones! What has remained constant over three decades: Carole’s love of animals and an unwavering passion for professional pet sitting.