Sitter Lost our pet!

We just got home yesterday from a 3 night trip, it was our first time using THS. Arrived home at 3pm, sitters waited to give us keys in person and I guess see if we wanted to inspect that the house was left ‘spotless’. We have 2 indoor cats (and 2 small humans) so we were a bit distracted when we arrived home and trying to unpack the car, say goodbye to sitters, etc. They casually mentioned that they hadn’t seen one of the cats for the last few hours, totally normal. Sitters left, we searched the house for the cat, she’s not there. Contacted sitters–when was the last time you know you saw her? They said for sure 8pm the previous night at dinner (that was 19 hours earlier), and different than what they said when they were leaving. After 30min to an hour of still searching for her, we’re starting to really freak out. My husband is walking around the neighborhood showing her photo, neighbor says he saw her the day before at 5pm, again, different than what sitters said. So I’m printing flyers, calling the police (pets are all microchipped where we live) and still trying to discern with the sitters any useful information to find her. They weren’t that helpful, “I hope you find her…I hope she’s well”. We were able to get in touch with an animal communicator that knows the cats to at least help us locate her body…and she reassured us she was not far from home. So we thoroughly look everywhere again, my husband finally found her (4 hours later) in a small crack outside in the rock/boulder retaining wall that is the structural foundation of the house. OMG we’re so grateful she’s alive! And…in the midst of all this, we didn’t get around to calling the THS urgent/emergency number (not sure what they could have done to help) but other than an honest review–is there anything we should/could do about this situation? It’s not our intention to be unkind in any way, they seemed like nice people, but they did lose our beloved…thoughts/advice?

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Is it an indoor/outdoor cat?
Added: Just noticed … Indoor … thus the rest of my message is rather irrelevant

Hi @Sarah999
I’m sorry this was your first experience of using sitters on THS. Must have been very stressful not finding one of your cats for many hours.
Does this cat often hide from strangers? I ask as it can be easy to think a cat is there but in hiding. It may be difficult to know whether the sitters knew your cat had got out.
Of course it’s your right to leave an honest review saying you’re not sure how one of cats escaped but they did during the sit.
Finally I’m happy you found your cat, who hopefully is none the worse for the ordeal.

They didn’t realize that the cat had gotten out and gave inconsistent info as to how long it had been since they saw the cat. Taking care of the pets was the priority, correct? If I were a HO, I would want to be aware of such lapses. Sure they were nice but not very responsible. Be honest in the review. I am so relieved your cat is safe now.

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I don’t know. Maybe they were trying very hard to clean up, and then the cat got out.

There was this other example on this forum where a sitter had taken out window panes to clean them. And then the cat got through the iron mesh.

Some cats also escape when it is the HOs taking care of them.

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I’d suggest that you mention the inconsistencies, which sound suspicious. In your place, I’d give them two or three stars. Pets can escape, but to not own up that you lost them and help look for them seems irresponsible and callous for any sitter.

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Well, we will have to disagree then.

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Clearly, the sitters had been looking for the missing cat. They told the HO that they had not seen it.

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They are Ragdolls, and very social. They also need to earn your trust to warm up to you, and if they are hiding/napping it is always possible to find them, which we communicated. And–they don’t skip meals, they will always let you know when they are hungry, which we communicated. So not having seen the cat for 19 hours is quite unlike them, they are pretty vocal when it comes to food. The part that is really hard for us is the lack of honesty and communication.

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Yes. Taking care of, and providing social engagement was the number one priority for the sit. Thank you–we are relieved as well.

It’s actually not clear that they were looking for her, they said they saw one cat walking around but weren’t sure which one it was…they look similar but not identical. They first said they hadn’t seen her in last couple of hours (when we arrived home), then they said it was 8pm the previous day, 19 hours earlier.

It’s true that cats, or any animal can escape whomever is home. And–if we haven’t seen them for a few hours we can easily go find them. There are specific windows that have screens on them but others do not, neither the doors. 19 hours is too long to not have eyes on them, and to not communicate with us.

Was it made clear to the sitters that the cats weren’t allowed outside? Presumably they aren’t allowed outside as you say they’re ‘indoor’ cats. It can sometimes be tricky not to, inadvertently, let a cat out. Has it ever happened to you?
Not sure what the police could have done about a lost cat, that wouldn’t be a priority. They do have a procedure when dogs are lost though.
Also there would have been no point calling the THS emergency line so just as well you didn’t because, as you say, not sure what they could have done apart from advise you what you did and try to reassure you.
I think what you did were the usual things an owner would do if their cat was missing. Glad you’ve got the cat back.

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Hello @Sarah999 so glad you found your kitty.

Our cat got out our patio door 3x. We now use that door with caution EVERY time since we now know that he will make an attempt.

We communicate it well to thsitters and friends and family too and use a slider door instead when possible, as we can better see him.

I just did a cat sit where I was VERY careful coming and going through the door because it was just the responsible thing to do.
Windows were not an issue but again, if I were opening windows I would take care.

So. How to review.
Use the individual stars accordingly.

And explain any less than 5 star in the review.
A lost cat is not an overall 5 stars either in my opinion.

Things can happen during sits just like they can while the home host is home, so for me I make reasonable room for things that may break/damage etc but for my CAT zero tolerance for any problems - that’s getting star’d and written about accordingly in a review.

Really pleased you managed to find the cat, I can imagine how worried you must have been?

I’ve never heard of an animal communicator? How do they communicate with pets?

This is an indoor cat that a neighbor saw the day before outdoors, varying from what the sitters said at multiple times. And they said they last saw her at X, not saying they mounted a search for her despite not seeing her for at least 19 hours by their own admission once the hosts asked — differing from what they originally volunteered. Sounds irresponsible and sketchy. If you go by the neighbor’s timing, the cat was outdoors for at least 22 hours.

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I think I might also search the house for any possible escape route that the cat has found whilst you were away.
The cat may have been outside at 5pm but also inside for feeding at 8pm.
The point is ‘the cat was outside’ on their watch, that’s all you need to state in the review and it’d be enough for other HOs to see that without the additional distracting noise of who saw what/when….however I’d be very carefully checking the house to see how the cat got out….
We had a pony that escaped whilst we were away once; it was a complete mystery the gate was padlocked, no breaks in the fencing, fencing too high to jump the house sitters were completely mortified…… a week after getting back I saw her lay on her side and slide like a crab under the lowest string of fencing!!

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Yup, I’ve done sits where I squeezed myself (and sometimes a dog) through the door each time, to avoid cat escapes. At my last sit, I was asked to feed birds, squirrels and other critters by scattering seeds and nuts outside two doors, under a balcony or porch overhang, so eagles couldn’t pick them off. Each morning I did that, I’d close the room door or the pantry door, to avoid the cats getting in and escaping behind me or when I was coming in.

If it had been me who hadn’t seen a pet in 19 or 22 hours, I’d be alarmed. I would have let the hosts know, so they could give me advice and other help on mounting a search. Like when you search, you usually start asking neighbors whether they’ve seen the pet.

The host in this case said the cats don’t like to miss meals and are vocal when not fed. If so, not seeing a cat for 19 hours (by the sitters’ own admission once asked again, despite their original claim to have not seen the cat for at least a few hours) would be very worrying.

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Many years ago I used to share a horse. One morning, he wasn’t in his stable and had managed not only to unbolt his stable door, but somehow ‘limbo’ under the chain that was across the doorway. Like Goldilocks, he’d helped himself to a sample of everyone else’s breakfast on the yard, leaving a trail of carnage and upturned buckets behind him. Where there’s a will, there’s usually a way!

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I recently completed a sit with three lovely and lively Birman cats, indoor/outdoor. One of the males had a GPS tracker on him at all times as he is known to be the hunter , and roam the area near the house. One morning I hadn’t yet seen him and texted the HO who just looked on the app and knew exactly where he was. Maybe as a suggestion in the future to avoid sny mishaps or escapes a GPS would be practical. Typically though he was always in at night and slept with me. The other two didn’t wander quite as much.

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