Your Pet's Well-Being

Pet Sitter Lorna's Cat, Bugsy Your Pet's Health
Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats
Entertaining Your Indoor Cat

Your Pet's Health

Signs and symptoms that your pet may be ill:

  • Drinking and urinating excessively
  • Hiding out in an unusual place
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss of even 1 pound (which in cats equals 20 pounds of weight loss in a human)
  • Unusual howling
  • An unusual lump in the neck area or some other part of the body
  • Low energy

In my many years of pet sitting, I have noticed these signs and symptoms in some of the pets I have cared for.  Sometimes it is as simple as a bad tooth, as in the case of a loss of appetite and resultant weight loss.  They can also be the early signs of a diabetic, thyroid or kidney condition that's very treatable if caught early.

I highly recommend a vet check and blood panel annually on your pet, and every six months after the age of 10 for senior cats and dogs (which varies with breeds) because the aging process accelerates in senior pets.  There are genetic exceptions to this rule, with some pets showing signs of aging later than others. 

Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats

Once a cat is allowed to go outside, he bonds to it, and bonds to a lesser degree to his guardian than would otherwise be the case.  But most cats that are never let outside bond to the inside of the home, and much more to the guardian.  It is often the case that a cat bonded to the outdoors prefers to be out most of the day, and spends much less time around his guardian.  There are always exceptions to this.

In pet sitting for both types of cats, I have observed the pros and cons, and have concluded that there are many more pros than cons to keeping cats indoors.  It is a fact that cats kept indoors outlive cats who go outdoors by 5+ years.  Advantages of keeping cats indoors:

  • Will avoid serious injury or death from street traffic
  • Will never get lost or stolen
  • Will never get into territorial fights, with the resultant injuries that accompany them
  • Will not diminish the bird and reptile population
  • Will not get transmittable diseases from other cats
  • Will not be captured and dragged away by larger wild animals such as coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions
  • Will not wander into other yards where they are exposed to large dogs
  • Will not become flea- and tick-infested
  • Will not be as likely to get skin cancer on ears and nose

Keeping your pet indoors also makes it much easier to monitor their urinary and stool health.

Entertaining Your Indoor Cat

  • Add a kitty fun room to your home by screening off a deck or by adding a sun room onto an existing deck.  You can add a fountain and perches for them to enjoy the views.
  • Several of my favority toys I like to take to pet sitting jobs are:  Undercover Mouse, Jitterbug (available at Radio Shack), and Motor Mouse.
  • Get a bubble machine, turn it on a few hours each day, and watch your cats try to catch them.
  • Hide old toys and re-introduce them for short periods of time, as cats get bored if they see the same ones around.  Refresh the ones that contain catnip with new catnip regularly. 
  • If they like TV, there are a few tapes available made just for cats.
  • Tie a rope to your pant belt loop in back, and as you walk around to do tasks you can entertain your cats at the same time.
  • Hide healthy treats (such as as shrimp or chicken flakes) in different areas of the house for a "treat treasure hunt".