When Holidays Are Not Holidays

When I registered as a cat sitter this year, I didn’t realise it would be the demise of my holidays as I knew it. It takes a lot of work and the greatest of efforts to gain the trust of both my human and feline clients, and I appreciate them both tremendously. The humans are able to travel worry-free, knowing that their pets are in good hands, and will no freak out when they return from holidays. The felines are content with the fact that they continue to receive the daily service of food-water-clean toilet, with the additional perk playtime and cuddles.

Champagne 2018 ©MTHerzog

Since I couldn’t afford holidays this year and I was host to my returning uni students, travelling during these days was out of the question, not to mention that it is peak season for cat sitting. I will always remember Christmas 2018 as the year I spent with ten cats – three of my own, and seven clients! That is not even counting the ones I will have over New Year…

Being a cat sitter who specialises on senior cats is not a family-friendly job, let alone holiday-friendly, but it is very rewarding. First of all it goes without saying that you have to be able to communicate with these stubborn, skeptical, critical, demanding, snobbish four-legged clients who view the human cat sitter as just another slave. With most of them, the gap since the last visit spans several months, so it takes at least two days for them to remember me and warm up to any attempts to play or carry on a conversation. But by Day 3, we have established our routine, and the cats look forward to their daily visits. I am exhausted beyond description, but there is something calming about being with these cats. They are great teachers of patience and sensitivity.

In accordance with the the cat sitters network code, there are strict guidelines to observe, established for the protection of both the owner and the sitter. The high level of trust bestowed on a cat sitter is not to be taken lightly, and I consider it a privilege to be involved in this whole activity. It is certainly an interesting and fun way to do community service, but it is tiring. There are often many stairs to be climbed, and shovelling kitty litter is not fun at all. It was a relief to share some of the jobs with my daughter for the few days she was here, especially for the clients that requested twice a day visits. I don’t mind it during autumn or summer, but in winter when the weather is dreadful and the days short, it is a mental challenge to drag myself out of the warm and cosy apartment!

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