I have what some might call a bad habit of leaving long, complicated messages for cat sitters who take care of our two cats when my husband and I leave town. Someone could probably provide for the guys’ health and happiness without knowing, say, that Matty finds it soothing to hear a cappella versions of 1980s TV show themes (particularly The A Team) when he’s eating wet food, but who am I to keep that information to myself? It seems like good citizenship, in turn, to warn sitters that Steve loves the feel of paper money between his teeth and will rummage through all purses, backpacks, and wallets he finds.
Do my instructions and cautions go too far? I turned to family and friends to find out what they tell their pet sitters before they leave their cats in others’ care — and here are the notes they shared.
Turns out I’m not the only one who leaves odd facts for the cat sitter.
If the grey cat, Moxie, hops up on the counter by the sink, please turn the faucet to a trickle so he can drink some water.
–Sara, Fullerton, California
Dominick will steal your cold cuts. Watch out.
–Jodie, Providence, Rhode Island
Please keep the toilet lid closed or else Eddie will play in there.
I instructed the sitter to spend at least 10 to 15 minutes of time with Kitkat alone before letting Lucky out of the bedroom (because when Lucky comes out, then Kitkat hides and you won’t be able to give her any attention). Then they also needed to make sure Lucky got 10 to 15 minutes of attention, but primarily out of Kitkat’s line of sight.
–Esme, Washington, D.C.
He barfs a lot. Sorry!
–Cece, Boise, Idaho
Keep the shower doors closed or Berlin will crap in the tub. If Ruby jumps on the toilet, it is specifically because she wants to be brushed. And if you’d like to give them a treat, please go get turkey sliced fresh for them from the deli (NOT from Super King — Ruby doesn’t like their meat) because the cats won’t eat prepackaged poultry.
–Joanna, Los Angeles
Please also check that there’s fresh water in the cup next to the bed. Squeaks drinks there.
–Rebecca, New York City
Mookie scratches desperately at the door to be let out because his favorite pastime is to go to the garden to scratch desperately at the door to come in. Rest assured that he will not actually come in, but you have to go to the door to show that you care.
–Cindy, Morges, Switzerland
Don’t worry, Mabel hasn’t dripped urine on my face while I was sleeping for a few years, but it’s best to do the litter every day. And don’t even think about removing one of the litter boxes.
The easiest way to brush Zeke is to give him one brush to bite while you use the other to groom him.
Pet sitters of the world, I … wish you the best of luck.
Have you left a weird note for your cat sitter? Tell us in the comments.
Read more by Lauren Oster.
About the author: Lauren Oster is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She and her husband share an apartment on the Lower East Side with Steve and Matty, two Siamese-ish cats. She doesn’t leave home without a book or two, a handful of plastic animals, Icelandic licorice mints, and her camera. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.