Mar. 2-8 is National Pet Sitters Week. I wondered why we got a full week, when other professionals get one day. But when I started thinking about, while hugging my cat and clipping her nails, I came up with a few good reasons why we should get extra-special accolades. Yes, pet sitting is fun and I do spend an awful lot of time sitting on the floor petting cuddly cats and teasing them with toys, but the job certainly has its downsides.
Chew on This
Most of my furred clients seem happy to see me, but some exceptions exist. I have a tiny tooth-sized scar on my left hand that reminds me of a dog friend of mine that doesn’t like to be touched. He got mad one day when I fumbled a bit too long with his tangled harness. Plenty of cat friends have bitten and scratched me, too, just because they didn’t want to take their medications, I pet them for a second too long or they got carried away during playtime. In all the other jobs I’ve had I never worried about someone biting me—and no one ever did.
Litter Time All the Time
If you eliminate health-care workers and mothers of small children, pet sitters must set some sort of record in terms of poop and bodily fluid cleanup. Every single pet visit I go on will require it, and that doesn’t just mean a little litterbox scooping. Some cats have terrible aim. At least once a month my cat jumps in her litterbox, sticks her tail in the air and pees all over the bathroom floor. Luckily Fergie doesn’t have regular problems with stomach upset or hairballs, but plenty others of her feline kind do.
Stress of the Vet
Waste cleanup is a constant, biting/scratching happens, and both are unpleasant realities for pet sitters that most people in most other jobs never have to think about. I’ll add visiting the vet to that list too. When the humans you work with get sick, most of the time that just means you’ll have to manage without them until they get better, but you never have to assess your coworker’s health, stick them in a carrier, drive them to the doctor as they howl and notify their loved ones about their condition. A cat’s health is in your hands, and when you see several cats, you have several handfuls of lives to care for.
All these things mean that pet sitters should get a whole week of recognition. But this is no way to end things. Pet sitting indeed has its perils, but the fun parts exceed the bad parts by far.