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Company Issues Voluntary Recall of Some 9Lives Cat Food

The J.M. Smucker Company Issues Voluntary Recall of Specific Lots of 9Lives® Protein Plus® Wet, Canned Cat Food Due to Low Levels of Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

9Lives Recall

9Lives Protein Plus Cat Food Recall

The J.M. Smucker Company today announced a voluntary recall of specific lots of 9Lives® Protein Plus® wet, canned cat food due to possible low levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1). No illnesses related to this issue have been reported to date and the product is being recalled out of an abundance of caution.

The impacted products are as follows:

Product Name UPC Code Product Size Best if Used By Date
9Lives® Protein Plus® With Tuna & Chicken 7910021549 4 pack of cans,

5.5 oz each

Mar. 27, 2020- Nov.14, 2020
9Lives® Protein Plus® With Tuna & Liver 7910021748 4 pack of cans,

5.5 oz each

Apr. 17, 2020 – Sept.14, 2020

The Best if Used By information can be found on the bottom of each can.

These products were distributed by The J.M. Smucker Company to a variety of retailers nationwide.

No other 9Lives® products or products of The J.M. Smucker Company are impacted by this recall.

Cats fed diets low in thiamine for several weeks may be at risk for developing a thiamine deficiency. Thiamine is essential for cats. Symptoms of deficiency displayed by an affected cat can be gastrointestinal or neurological in nature. Early signs of thiamine deficiency may include decreased appetite, salivation, vomiting, failure to grow, and weight loss. In advanced cases, neurological signs can develop, which include ventroflexion (bending towards the floor) of the neck, mental dullness, blindness, wobbly walking, circling, falling, seizures, and sudden death. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your cat is displaying any of these symptoms. If treated promptly, thiamine deficiency is typically reversible.

Pet parents who have impacted product should stop feeding it to their cats and dispose of the product. If pet parents have questions or would like to receive a refund or coupon for replacement product, they should call 1-888-569-6828, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM ET.

The potential for low thiamine levels was identified internally by finished product testing.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services doesn’t understand why pet food companies can’t get it right and why we prepare our own food for our pets.

Tips for Traveling this Holiday with your Dog

Just like how you are expected to be a bit careful while traveling with your kids, it’s the same for your dog. Almost all types of dogs welcome long trips but before

Holiday traveling with your dog

Coddled Critters Pet Services’ Tips for traveling with your dog this holiday

you decide to travel with them, it’s important to understand their personality inside out.

Here are some tips from Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services that you need to consider when going for a holiday trip with your dog.

1.  Vaccination

It’s important to update your dog’s vaccines before you go on a vacation with them. It comes as one of the biggest dog safety tips out there. It especially depends on where you are traveling, whether your pet will come in contact with other animals or not, what kind of environment will be there, etc.

2.  Get a standard pet carrier

Ensure your pet carrier is approved by the airline or railway, whichever route you are opting for. You can just check out the website of the particular airways or railways to figure out their requirements. If not done so, it can create a lot of hassle at the last moment. 

3.  Keeping a feeding schedule

Always make sure that you are feeding your dog at the same time of the day as you would usually do at home. It is one of the best dog safety tips to keep in mind. When they are on their routine then they feel secure.

4.  Look for dog-friendly accommodations

When it comes to dog-friendly hotels do some prior research on the internet. You’ll probably end up having many options. Just because a Marriott in one city allows dogs, it doesn’t mean that all of them out there will do the same.

5.  Microchip

Your dog might get lost while you stroll down unknown streets. Therefore, it’s always smart to have your dog microchipped to avoid missing any chance of a reunion.  A microchip has a unique number which has the pet owner’s information that is being maintained in a national database and can prove to be helpful in bing reunited with your dog.

These tips are worth remembering while you travel with your dog. When you are up for your next vacation with your dog, keep it in mind to remember all of these tips from Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services. You will end up coming back with a lot of unforgettable memories;

When Do You Need to Hire a Professional Pet Sitter

WHEN ON VACATION, WORRY IS ONE THING YOU’RE TRYING TO AVOID.

When you’re miles away from home, the last thing you want is to be worried about is whether your pet is okay back home. If you’re lucky enough to have reliable family members who can take

Pomeranian

Pookie the Pomeranian

your pet while you’re gone, great. If not, or they aren’t available, you may be considering options like rover.com or a friend or neighbor.

Here are some drawbacks of using just anyone when it comes to pet sitting.

Pet Sitting Horror Stories

It happens all the time. People come home after a few days away to find their dog’s water bowl dry, the carpet soiled, and your pet stressed out.  And this isn’t even a worst case scenario.

A local family recently arrived home after a week-long vacation only to find two of their beloved pets dead. They had hired a college student to visit their pets every day. She only showed up on the first day, leaving four pets without food and water for a whole week. The story didn’t say how the family found this particular person, but it’s clear she wasn’t a reputable, professional pet sitter.

The moral of the story is never cut corners when it comes to investing in quality, professional pet care.

Drawbacks of Using Websites

Websites like Rover or Wag have become popular. There are lots of service options. Probably the most attractive thing about these sites is you can basically shop online for a pet sitter.

However tempting it may be to try and save a few bucks, you may not actually save anything in the end. You may end up spending many times more. It’s like getting super cheap dental work, you may end up having to see a professional anyway to fix a botched job. And you don’t want your dog to be the botched job!

The so-called pet sitters on these websites aren’t vetted in any way. Anyone can sign up and call themselves a “pet sitter.” You wouldn’t hire your doctor  that way, would you?

The moral of the story, these websites don’t have your back when it comes to dealing with their sitters. Make sure you do your homework if you decide to go this route.

Are Friends and Neighbors Reliable?

The main drawback of using friends or neighbors is the legal issues that could arise. For example, what if your friend slips and falls in your backyard? Or what if your dog bit them? You’re responsible for everything that happens when someone is on your property.

Of course, you may think, “my friends would never sue me.” Maybe not, but it is wise not to test their loyalty. And your friend may not be the one to come after you—it could be their spouse or parents, you just don’t know.

Bottom Line

You and your pet deserve the best when it comes to pet care while you’re away. You may get lucky and find a pet sitter you like and trust in your circle of friends, but be careful. It’s always best to hire a reputable pet sitter who is insured and bonded, and one that communicates regularly with you, every time you go out of town.

Give us a call at Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services to care for your pets the next you’re going to be away. 727-424-5341.

The Importance of Walking Your Dog

Walking your dog is so much more than just a way of exercising.  It stops her from getting bored; it’s a behavior training opportunity; and it teaches your dog how to behave in canine company. On

Dog Walking

Walking your dog

top of all this, it gets both of you out and about while helping to grow the bond you have with your dog.

A sedentary pooch can quickly become an overweight one, and that brings all sorts of potential health problems with it. Even if your dog is active inside the home, they still need another outlet for pent-up energy. Young dogs need around an hour of daily exercise, but some dogs bred for sports or herding activities may need much more. You’ll benefit from having a well-exercised dog, as tired dogs tend to behave better, and you’ll help your pet avoid unnecessary weight gain!

If your dog has a yard to play in, walking isn’t the only form of exercise available. However, don’t expect your dog to create their own exercise routine just because you’ve put them outside. Dogs don’t self-entertain, so if you want to tire your pet out, play catch or fetch! If you’re at work all day, Coddled Critters Pet Services is happy to take your dog out during those hours. Your pet will enjoy the company, and you’ll come home to a happier dog waiting to greet you.

When walking your dog, consider it a training opportunity! Dogs aren’t born knowing how to walk on a leash, so you’ll have to teach your dog how to follow your lead. On these walks, you can begin teaching commands like, “sit,” “stay,” and “heel,” especially if you take treats along to use during the process.

While out walking, your dog is likely going to meet other dogs. This is a great opportunity to help your dog learn acceptable ways of socially interacting with new animals! It will also help build doggy confidence so your pet will be less afraid to make friends. If your dog does show fear, taking them to a training class is a great way of removing that anxiety in a more controlled environment. Well-socialized dogs still like a bit of rough-and-tumble play with other dogs when out for a walk, but they’ll know when to stop and will come away without any battle scars.

Like a child, your dog wants to know the world. If they are confined to the house for too long, pets get bored, and boredom can lead to destructive behavior. Wild animals learn about their environment through mothers and members of the clan, and a domesticated animal only has that opportunity for a few weeks while with their mothers and siblings. Your dog is dependent on you to take them out to explore the sights, smells, and sounds of the world, and it’s recommended to vary the places you take your pet as much as possible. You’ve probably noticed how busy (and excited!) your dog gets when he’s walking, so let them enjoy every opportunity to discover!

Coddled Critters Pet Services has a few openings for mid-day dog walks.  Give us a call today – 727-424-5341.

National Mutt Day – December 2nd

National Mutt Day, also known as National Mixed Breed Day, began in 2005 and is recognized twice a year on July 31st and December 2nd.  National Mutt Day is a

a/k/a National Mixed Breed Day

National Mutt Day – December 2nd

day that celebrates the many various mixed breed dogs. Colleen Paige, a celebrity pet, family lifestyle expert and animal welfare advocate created National Mutt Day along with other recognized pet holidays including National Dog Day, National Cat Day, National Puppy Day and others.

According to HelpAMutt.com, 75% of dogs that are brought to a shelter are mutts, so that makes it that much easier to find a new family member! There are many reasons to adopt a mutt, but one of the main ones is longevity, because mutts tend to have a longer life than purebreds due to their genetic makeup. While some purebred breeds may be known to be susceptible to a certain kind of ailment, mixed breeds are often healthier because genes from one breed can counteract the disease-causing genes in another.

Mutts can be found at humane societies nationwide, and come in many different shapes, sizes, coat colors and patterns. A potential pet parent can even look for specific characteristics for their pet to have, such as short or droopy ears, long or short legs and a long fluffy tail or no tail at all. Likewise, mutts are also known to be easy-going and to score higher than purebred dogs in stability, friendliness, lack of shyness, aggression and protectiveness. If a mutt is active and healthy, pet parents can even check into classes for their mutt to be involved in agility, obedience and freestyle. If a pet parent is interested in the genetics of their pet, they can ask their vet to give their pet a DNA test. 

Mixed breeds that have become mainstream in the U.S., include the Labradoodle, Cockapoo, Morkie and Puggle. In honor of National Mutt Day, consider making a financial or supply donation to a local animal shelter, whom can continue to help mixed breed pets find loving homes. With more understanding of the lovability of mutts, people can adopt a new friend and spread the word of how great mutts can be.

Two Dog Food Recalls December 1st

Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services is sad to report two dog food recalls today, December 1, 2018

The first:

ELM Pet Foods Recall of Dry Dog Food Due to Elevated Levels of Vitamin D

Another Dog Food Recall

3 Varieties of ELM Dog Food Recalled December 1, 2018

ELM Pet Foods, Inc is issuing a voluntary recall of Elm Chicken and Chickpea Recipe dog food because the products could contain elevated levels of Vitamin D.

The recalled products consist of multiple UPC codes manufactured between February 25, 2018 and October 31, 2018. 

Best Buy Dates Listed Below:

3lb ELM CHICKEN AND CHICKPEA RECIPE – UPC (0-70155-22507-8)

  • TD2 26 FEB 2019
  • TE1 30 APR 2019
  • TD1 5 SEP 2019
  • TD2 5 SEP 2019

28lb ELM CHICKEN AND CHICKPEA RECIPE – UPC (0-70155-22513-9)

  • TB3 6 APR 2019
  • TA1 2 JULY 2019
  • TI1 2 JULY 2019

40lb ELM K9 NATURALS CHICKEN RECIPE – UPC (0-70155-22522-9)

  • TB3 14 Sep 2019 
  • TA2 22 Sep 2019 
  • TB2 11 Oct 2019

Consumers, who have purchased the specific product above, during these dates, should stop feeding it to their dogs. Consumers who have purchased any of the products affected by this recall should dispose of it or return it to the retailer for a full refund. All Bags in the recall are yellow with the Elm Pet Foods Tag on the front of the bag and have a silhouette of a chicken at the bottom of the front side of the bag. Consumers can check the lot codes on the back of the bag at the bottom center on the 3lb bags and in the center of the back of the bag on the 28lb bags. The 40lb bag lot numbers can be found on the bottom right of the back of the bag.

Lot codes in this voluntary recall were distributed in PA, NJ, DE, MD.

Dogs ingesting elevated levels of Vitamin D may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling and weight loss. Vitamin D when consumed at very high levels can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction. Consumers with dogs who have consumed the product listed above are exhibiting these symptoms, should contact their veterinarian.

If consumers have questions or would like a refund they should call ELM Pet Foods at 1-800-705-2111 8am-5pm(EST) Mon-Fri. or email customerservice@elmpetfoods.com.

No other ELM Pet Foods products are impacted.

This is a voluntary recall and is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Second:

ANF Pet Inc. Issues Voluntary Precautionary Recall of Dry Dog Food Due to Potentially Elevated Levels of Vitamin D.

ANF Dog Food Recall December 1, 2018

ANF Lamb and Rico Dog Food Recalled December 1, 2018

ANF, Inc. is issuing a voluntary recall of select products of ANF Pet Lamb and Rice Dog Food (reference below) due to potentially elevated levels of Vitamin D.

3 Kg ANF Lamb and Rice Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 9097231622 

BB NOV 23 2019

7.5 Kg ANF Lamb and Rice Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 9097203300

BB NOV 20 2019

The above products were distributed in retail stores within Puerto Rico.

Consumers should stop feeding the products listed above. Dogs ingesting elevated levels of Vitamin D may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss. Vitamin D, when consumed at very high levels can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction. Consumers with dogs who have consumed any of the products listed above and are exhibiting any of these symptoms, should contact their veterinarian.

Consumers who have purchased any of the products affected by this recall should dispose of it or return it to the retailer for a full refund.

There are no other ANF Products affected by this recall.

Consumers may contact ANF, Inc. customer service at 936-560-5930 from 8AM to 5PM Central Time, Monday through Friday, or by email at mwhite@anf.com for additional information.

Cats and Christmas Trees – Ways to Maximize Safety & Minimize Chaos

Kitty and Christmas Tree

Tips on How to Keep Your Christmas Tree Vertical in Spite of your Kitty

Christmas — all the brightly colored packages underneath the Christmas tree.  Right, the tree. If you share your home with a cat you know “the tree” is not just “the tree.” It’s a giant scratching post with branches for climbing, a water bowl and an endless supply of dangling toys.  Some cats see a Christmas tree as the ultimate cat toy. The trouble with Christmas trees is that they present some threats to your feline. Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services would like to offer some suggestions for keeping your Christmas safe and fun for both you and your cat.

1.  Act as if your tree is no big deal.  Cats are naturally curious, so bringing a tree into your home won’t go unnoticed. Before adding all the dangly objects, let it stand for a day or two before adding decorations?  Once the newness wears off, your cat may not be so interested in holiday swatting.

2. Make your Christmas tree unappealing to your kitty.  It’s safe to assume your kitty won’t want to relive an unpleasant experience. If she has a penchant for biting pine needles or chewing branches, you may want to try a bitter spray found at most pet stores as a deterrent. Pine needles, if ingested, can cause dangerous intestinal blockages. Live trees more easily shed their needles, but the ones from artificial trees can prove just as bad.  Another way to keep your cat away from the tree is to place aluminum foil or double-sided tape on top of the tree skirt. Both are textures that many cats avoid, so they could act as effective deterrents.

3. Don’t give your kitty access to Christmas tree water,  Some cats are attracted to the water reservoir of live trees. The water could contain additives and fertilizer which could be toxic to your kitty.  Aluminum foil to the rescue again by wrapping a sheet of foil around open areas of the container. 

4. Stop your cat from knocking the Christmas tree over.  Cats with wild spirits have been known to take down entire Christmas trees. If your cat manages to topple your tree —consider tethering it to the wall, ceiling, or both. It’s a drastic move, but it will keep your tree standing.

5. Avoid mishaps with cats and tree lights.  To prevent electrocution, always unplug your tree lights when you go to bed or while you’re away from home. Sharp teeth and live electrical cords do not mix. If your kitty is known to be a cord-chewer, you may want to forget the lights altogether.

6. Just say no to tinsel.  Some of you grew up hanging tinsel from the branches of your Christmas tree.  Tinsel is a serious hazard when it comes to kitties and Christmas trees since it could cause fatal intestinal obstructions. 

7. Cat proof your ornaments.  Hang your sentimental ornaments at the top of the tree and place the sturdier ones toward the bottom. If your cat manages to knock a breakable bauble onto the floor, she may wind up eating or stepping on the broken pieces.

8. Provide kitty with a distraction from the Christmas tree.  If your cat is truly crazy for the Christmas tree, simple distractions could be an easy solution. Have special toys for the holidays or even introduce a couple of new boxes or paper bags.  Cats love both of these.  The point is surrender to the fact that you have brought in something your cat is excited about, and adjust accordingly. 

9. Make your Christmas tree difficult for your kitty to reach. You may find yourself building a barricade around the tree with baby gates. This may or may not keep your cat away from the tree. If kitty is completely determined to get her paws on the tree, bypassing all foil sheets and barricades, perhaps a door needs to stand between the cat and the tree. 

As a last resort, maybe it’s time to skip a tree and just hang a wreath on the front door instead.  That’s what we at Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services is going to do.  

Setting Up The Litter Box – Follow the “KISS” Principle

Being an owner of cats and a professional pet sitter, I have lots of experience with litter boxes.  When setting up the litter box, the more complicated you make it, the less likely your cat will want to go there.  Ok, I admit that scooping the litter box isn’t the fun part of being a cat owner. I’ve seen lots of people go so far as to try to pretend there isn’t even a litter box in the house at all by locating it in such a remote area a cat would need a tracking device to find it! If you live with a cat he needs a litter box and that box should be:

  • The right size and type
  • Kept clean
  • Conveniently located

The most common questions I receive are from people who have cats with litter box problems. Many of those problems are because owners aren’t following the keep it simple rule. I’ve gone to countless homes where litter boxes were shoved in dark closets and where it was obvious they hadn’t been scooped in days. The poor kitties had to step over piles of soiled litter attempting to eliminate. How would you want to use a toilet that hadn’t been flushed for who knows how long?

» My recommendations for litter box size and type…

Kitty litter box

BEST LITTER BOX – A RUBBERMAID TYPE OF STOARAGE BOX FROM THE DOLLAR STORE, WITHOUT THE LID OF COURSE

Just say “NO” to covered boxes!  The covered box reduces air circulation and takes longer for the litter to dry. The cover reduces head room for the cat. If you live in a multiple cat home don’t use boxes with covers or you may create an anxious situation whenever a cat has to eliminate. A covered box reduces escape potential. Covered boxes leaves a cat vulnerable to an ambush. When in

the box your kitty needs more than one way to escape.

If you have a larger cat and have a small litter box then it probably won’t be long before he or she decides to seek a more comfortable location, (maybe your bed!). The box size should be large

enough for your cat to eliminate in there several times without having to stand on previously soiled mounds of litter. In general, the box should be one-and-a-half times the length of your cat.

Just say “NO” to electronic and self-cleaning litter boxes.  Your cats and your pet sitter will thank you! The most important reason I say no is you don’t have the ability to monitor what does or doesn’t happen in the box which is a valuable diagnostic tool when it comes to your cat’s health.

In my humble opinion, a good old tall Rubbermaid type of storage box from the Dollar Store makes the best litter box and if have dogs too, the height prohibits your dog from dumpster diving!!

» My recommendations for litter box cleanliness…

Scoop the box at least twice a day. It only takes a few seconds. If your cat is eliminating just outside the box, it may be because that’s as close as he can get to the box because of how dirty it is. He may be trying to go where he’s supposed to but his nose is warning him of the smell coming from the nasty box.

The entire box should be thoroughly scrubbed and replaced with fresh litter on a regular basis. If you use scoopable litter, clean the box at least once or twice monthly. If you don’t use scoopable litter then the box needs to be cleaned more often.

And here’s the part owners don’t want to hear – there should be more litter boxes than cats.  A good rule of thumb is to have one more box than you have cats. A common reason for litter box aversion is that too many cats are forced to use too few litter boxes.

» My recommendations for a convenient location for the litter box…

Nobody wants a box in the middle of the kitchen, but make sure the location is convenient for your cat. If you live in a two-story home there should be a box on each floor. In a multiple cat home the boxes should be scattered so one cat doesn’t have to pass another cat’s area in order to eliminate. To prevent risk of ambush, don’t locate boxes in closets or closed-off areas. Give your cat

maximum visual advantage so when he’s in the litter box he has adequate warning time in case an opponent approaches.

Don’t place the box near the feeding station.  I don’t eat in the bathroom and neither should your kitties. 

Too little litter box

THIS KITTY LITTER BOX ISN’T NEARLY BIG ENOUGH

That’s about it from Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services, serving St. Petersburg, Gulfport, Pinellas Park and surrounding communities.  If you have questions, please comment and I’ll do my best to help you.

The Importance of Walking Your Dog

Walking your dog is so much more than just a way of exercising her or him. It stops them from getting bored, it’s a behavior training opportunity, and it teaches your dog how to behave in canine company. On top of all this, it gets both of you out and about while helping to grow the bond you have with your dog.

Dog Walking

Walking your dog

A sedentary pooch can quickly become an overweight one, and that brings all sorts of potential health problems with it. Even if your dog is active inside the home, they still need another outlet for pent-up energy. Young dogs need around an hour of daily exercise, but some dogs bred for sports or herding activities may need much more. You’ll benefit from having a well-exercised dog, as tired dogs tend to behave better, and you’ll help your pet avoid unnecessary weight gain!

If your dog has a yard to play in, walking isn’t the only form of exercise available. However, don’t expect your dog to create their own exercise routine just because you’ve put them outside. Dogs don’t self-entertain, so if you want to tire your pet out, play catch or fetch! If you’re at work all day, you can hire Coddled Critters to take your dog out during those hours. Your pet will enjoy the company, and you’ll come home to a happier dog waiting to greet you.

When walking your dog, consider it a training opportunity! Dogs aren’t born knowing how to walk on a leash, so you’ll have to teach your dog how to follow your lead. On these walks, you can begin teaching commands like, “sit,” “stay,” and “heel,” especially if you take treats along to use during the process.

While out walking, your pooch is most likely going to meet other dogs. This is a great opportunity to help your dog learn acceptable ways of socially interacting with new animals! It will also help build doggy confidence so your pet will be less afraid to make friends. If your dog does show fear, taking them to a training class is a great way of removing that anxiety in a more controlled environment. Well-socialized pups still like a bit of rough-and-tumble play with other dogs when out for a walk, but they’ll know when to stop and will come away without any battle scars.

Like a child, your dog wants to know the world. If they are confined to the house for too long, they get bored, and boredom can lead to destructive behavior. Wild animals learn about their environment through mothers and members of the clan, and a domesticated animal only has that opportunity for a few weeks while with their mothers and siblings. Your dog is dependent on you to take them out to explore the sights, smells, and sounds of the world, and it’s recommended to vary the places you take your pet as much as possible. You’ve probably noticed how busy and excited your dog gets when he’s walking, so let them enjoy every opportunity to discover!

Ready to get out of the house with your four-legged friend? With this insight, you’ll never look at a walk with your dog the same way again!

Why We Require Daily Pet Sitting Visits For Cats

Occasionally, we receive calls for cat care where potential clients request visits that are every other day, every third day, or only once or twice a week. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time that Fluffy is left alone overnight, and nothing happened in the past. It shouldn’t be a problem for a pet sitter to accommodate that type of schedule, right?

At Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services, we learned early on to never accept assignments for every other day or longer kitty care.  After hundreds of visits, valuable experiences, and continuing pet care education, we know that every other day, or longer visits for kitties are a bad idea.  By providing daily, or even multiple visits every day, we are in the position to provide the best care possible to our clients’ cats, and ensure their house is safe in their absence.

Favorite Kitty

One of my favorite kitty clients

Still not convinced? Here’s a glimpse of what could go wrong when your pet sitter is not showing up every day:

  • Your cat may go without food, or stop eating.

Some cats are known for binge-eating, meaning they will eat all the food at their disposal and will be left to fast until the next pet sitting visit. This can create eating disorders and excessive weight gain in cats. Most cats will vomit if they eat too much too fast. A cat may accidentally spill her bowl of food and refuse to eat the kibbles off the floor. Same thing goes if the food ends up in the water bowl nearby.

A common occurrence is the failure of an automatic feeder. These devices should only be used under supervision as batteries can die at anytime, or the mechanism can malfunction, leaving your cats without food for days. Lastly, when cats get lonely, some will tend to stop eating until there’s a human presence to reassure them.

Not eating can have devastating consequences for cats. A cat that is not eating for several days is at elevated risk of developing fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis). The condition requires immediate medical attention, and if not aggressively treated, will result in the death of the animal.

  • Your cat may go without water or stop drinking water.

It is not rare for cats to spill or spoil their water bowl. In our warm temperatures, water bowls can go dry in only a few hours or fester with bacteria. Some cats will even stop drinking if their water is stale or if their bowl is slightly dirty.

Knowing that a cat can’t survive without water for more than four days, every other day or longer pet sittings visits puts your cat at risk of dehydration and death.

  • Your cat could suffer a serious, life-threatening condition that could be fatal if not caught in the initial stages.

Cats are prone to several medical conditions that, if not treated early, may be fatal. Acute renal failure, urinary tract infections, urinary obstructions and constipation are some of these conditions that can become life-threatening within only a few days, regardless of the age of the cat.

Therefore, a daily monitoring of litter box habits is crucial for the early detection of these medical conditions.

  • Your cat may become lonely, depressed or anxious, and develop behavior problems.

Although some cats may learn to appreciate the quiet time, it is not the case for all of them. Cats that are left without human interactions for too long may develop unwanted or undesirable behavior that can go from scratching the furniture, to causing mischief, or pooping and peeing in inappropriate places, like your bed. Even shy, fearful and skittish cats will benefit from having a human check on them everyday.

  • Your cat could stop using the litter box.

The number one reason for a cat to stop using the litter box is poor sanitation. Coddled Critters will thoroughly clean the litter boxes at every visit, not only to monitor bowel movements, but to provide a clean environment for the cats to do their business. With every other day or longer visits, daily cleaning becomes impossible and cats may stray away from the box, which could become an on-going problem in the future.

  • Your cat could get stuck or trapped for 48 hours, or longer.

In the past, we have had cats ending up stuck or trapped on several separate occasions.

One happened when house keeper came in shortly after our visit. As she left in a hurry to get to her next stop, she completely forgot about the client’s cats and closed all doors behind them. When we arrived for our visit the next day, we found that the cats had been trapped in the closet with no water or food for over 24 hours.

Another incident nearly gave us a heart attack. When we arrived early morning for our first visit of the day, the two cats did not greet us at the door like usual. After a frantic search, we found the two cats trapped in the laundry room. The two had apparently sneaked in and closed the door behind them.

In these two situations, the cats were unharmed and quickly forgot their misadventures. However, had we been scheduled to visit them every other day, or once or twice a week, the outcome may have been quite different.

  • Your house could be the target of a break-in and be vulnerable for 48 hours, or more.

Although having a pet sitter come to check on your pets and your home may not completely prevent a break-in, having someone to check on your property at least once a day will make sure there’s a quick and appropriate response in case of a break-in incident.

Imagine for a second that your house has been robbed, the back door is open, or a window is broken. As your pet sitter is not scheduled to come for another day or two, your pets are very likely to escape, while your home is vulnerable to additional unwanted guests and inclement weather. This is a very scary scenario, and a pet sitter’s worst nightmare.

In the event of a home disaster, home insurance providers may question the frequency of visits and determine that daily visits would have been required or helpful to prevent, or minimize the impacts of a break-in or worse. Coverage may even be denied – and this has happened!

Most of these scenarios have the potential to leave your pet sitter to deal with challenging situations, like a deceased or sick animal, or a house disaster.

It is the professional pet sitter’s responsibility to ensure all reasonable measures are taken to keep your kitties and your home safe when you are away, and one of them is to start with scheduling daily visits.

Prissy the Ociat

My personal kitty Prissy

Next time you are planning your vacation, make sure to budget for a professional pet sitter to come check on your cats and your home at least once a day! The peace of mind will be priceless, and your cats will be happy, properly fed, and safe.