I cat-sat a sick cat last week. Cousin Shep wasn’t feeling well before my sister left town, but this is a trip she couldn’t postpone. Besides, who would have guessed that eat less as days went by instead of more? So on Saturday morning when he refused food entirely, we were off to the vet.
I knew which vet to take him to because it’s the same as my vet. But once Dr. K started asking questions, I gave him the deer in headlights look to a lot of them. “Is his energy level normal?” What’s normal in a cat I don’t know on an everyday basis?
It it got me thinking how often those of us who have cats are asked to cat sit for friends and might not have that information available. Professional cat sitters have a checklist of information they gather from customers, but as amateurs, we don’t have a handy list of questions to ask that we might need to know on short notice if a cat we are caring for falls ill.
- Who is your cat’s regular veterinarian? (Name, address, phone number)
- Does your cat have any health conditions I should know about? Allergies?
- When your cat isn’t feeling well or is scared, where does he normally hide? (This one might save you a lot of time even with a healthy cat!)
- Where do you keep your cat carrier?
Hopefully you won’t ever need to take anyone else’s cat to the vet while you’re cat sitting. But won’t you be glad you had this information if you do need it?
It’s also a good idea to talk to them about how to handle things in case you feel like their cat needs veterinary attention, but you can’t reach them for permission to take the cat to the vet. People are sometimes out of touch for an extended time while they are away, and you don’t want to have to wonder whether they would be all right with your taking their cat out of the house for medical care.
As for Cousin Shep, after treatment for a low-grade fever and nausea, he ate his first full meal in five days. A visit to the vet was just what he needed, even though he gave the epic stink-eye the whole time.