How would you handle increased level of care for a cat?

Hello. I am interested to hear from both pet owners and house sitters. I have a lovely big diabetic cat that is stable on his twice a day insulin shots. He is very easy going about his shots as long as there are treats involved. I am very upfront about his level of care and meet with every pet sitter/house sitter to go over in person Dave’s insulin routine. About 10 days before our last trip, Dave had to have emergency extensive dental surgery. He came through with flying colors. I was fully prepared to cancel our trip if he had any setbacks in the week before we left. I arranged to have a vet tech do a house visit for the three days after we left and to be on call for the house sitters should they think anything is amiss with Dave. My question is would house sitters find that a.) having a vet tech visit daily (informing them ahead of time when they will be there) for the first few days of the house sit until his final doses of medication were administered. I didn’t want the house sitters to stress about more extensive care of Dave than they initially signed up for. And b.) what is the process for handling any future cases of a pet needing greater care due to a sudden change in the pet’s health than when the house sitter accepted the sit. I always take out travel insurance so if I do have to cancel at the last minute I am not out of money. But I don’t want to do that to someone else if they are traveling to house sit for me. Hopefully I have adequately explained the situation. Fortunately I had wonderful house sitters and it all worked out fabulously. But it did make me curious about if there is a protocol for such situations. I can’t be the only one with medically challenged cats (or dogs)! Thank you for your thoughts on this.

If I was the house sitter in question, and I already expected to be giving injections of insulin, it might not be a big deal to give another injection of different medicine.

The key here would be to ask the house sitter if they would like to continue with this new medication protocol, or would they like the assistance of your vet tech… Or if neither of these is amenable to them, they should withdraw and allow you to cancel the sit.

Going forward, it could be tricky, but you seem to be EXTREMELY accommodating offering to bring in a professional. They have been given options that don’t incur expenses and likely don’t add much to their responsibilities.

It would seem unreasonable if they can’t roll with that, but if they say can’t, it seems that they should not be doing the sit.

Hope it works out for you!!


Hello @janetwish & welcome. We’re very experienced cat sitters and have owned lots of our own felines too. We’d be fine with the vet tech coming for the first three days as long as you had talked to us first, the tech came at the same time every day (preferably the start or the end) so there was a clear routine and it was minimally disruptive. In terms of the added care, very difficult to say. Think it will totally depend on your chosen sitters and their experience and plans for their stay with Dave (great name BTW). Probably best to add it to your pre sit chats as a possible scenario and see what their thoughts are. Some of your issues are hard to answer as we don’t know if you’re in a super popular area or how long the sit is etc and they’ll all have a sway on your “ask” depending on how easy you find it to attract sitters generally. Hope that helps. Am sure more forum members will add ideas & feedback. Hope Dave recovers well, he sounds like an excellent cat :cat:

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  1. Life happens.
  2. Such circumstances are so variable that it would be unreasonable for THS to produce guidance for all situations. They’ve already created guidance about not having third parties in the house and services like cleaners, dog walkers and such being disclosed and needing to be agreed upon.
  3. What you describe goes beyond that. Communication and transparency are important in THS sits.
  4. People — including sitters — are highly variable. Some might be perfectly fine with what you described. Some might not be. Best to disclose early and discuss.
  5. What you intend is what you consider to be a convience. But depending on the sitter(s) might not be. For instance, what if they’d planned to be out during the times you’ve scheduled a vet tech? Or what if they telecommute and don’t want interruptions during the times you’ve scheduled for the vet tech? Telecommuters often have mtgs and such, for example. Or what if they find having an unexpected visit of any sort intrusive?

Thanks for the suggestion to bring it up as a possible scenario in the pre sit chat/acceptance meeting. I will definitely add that to my “book”. Dave says thanks for suggestion, too!


You’re welcome :+1:t3: I’m liking the look of Dave already. Where are you based @janetwish?

Portland, Oregon. We love the Pacific Northwest. I moved from Atlanta, Georgia about 18 years ago and my husband is Scottish… we both agree the weather suits us perfectly!

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Welcome @janetwish
I don’t think you are asking too much of an experienced sitter. Just be upfront with any sitters.
I have cared for a fitting cat, administered pills and taken a cat to the vets for important chemo treatment. The right sitter will handle these things.
Good luck.

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What a beautiful boy Dave is!


I’m a sitter, personally if I accept a sit where there is health challenges, I also understand that things ‘could’ get worse. You don’t really know what you’d do in that scenario until it happens, as every situation and level of care is different.

I have no problem administering medication, but knowing that your cat was bad enough to need a vet assistant to visit while you chose to go on holiday would initially sound incredibly off putting, so I would need to read that it was more for the benefit of the sitter, to help put their mind at ease with regard to care, as you didn’t know what depth of experience a sitter would have. I would also need to read about how much you loved your cat.

The fact I would need to stay in for them visit I wouldn’t personally have a problem with, but some cat sitters (the same as owners) want cats as they do not require the same level of care as dogs, as there’s no dog walking & loo breaks required, so you may have less to chose from, but there would still be plenty.

I am very experienced with cats, including almost all medications, so if a HO said there was additional meds after I had accepted the sit, I’d be fine. If your sitters are all comfortable with medicating cats, including potentially giving pills (more difficult than insulin in my experience), you should be safe in case that is needed.

If your sitters aren’t comfortable with the additional duties, maybe you can arrange a paid pet sitter to medicqte while the THS sitters are there. I had to do that on one trip where the sitter was having trouble giving my cat subcutaneous fluids. She thought she could do it, but couldn’t. I ended up paying a pet sitter to come in every 3 days to do the fluids, while the sitter was there.