It still surprises me how incredibly lax about home security some of my clients are. They want to leave their house key under the door mat or under a cushion on a chair on their front porch or in a ‘hide’ rock. It is not at all uncommon in the summer months to arrive at a client’s home and find ground floor windows open. I have even heard of those bizarre people who never lock their doors.
One of a pet sitter’s biggest fears is arriving to your home to find it has been broken into and burglarized. Even worse arriving to your home to find the burglar still inside. While neither of these scenarios has happened to me, I have known of those to whom it has. I do have a policy to deal with break ins should they occur. I will first immediately exit the house and call the police and wait for them to arrive. Once they have cleared the home I will make sure your cats are all accounted for and unharmed. I will then call you or your emergency contacts to make sure your home is secure until you arrive home.
It is my policy to insist that your home is secure (doors and windows shut and locked) when I am taking care of your cats. This policy isn’t solely to protect your home, your cats, and your belongings it is also to protect me. I won’t take on jobs where the client insists upon leaving a key hidden someplace outside the home or where the client insists upon leaving ground floor windows open.
Security is the reason I do not accept jobs where the client wishes to allow a third party access to the home. This does include friends, relatives, and neighbours. If the client tells me someone else has permission to be in the home and I have never met this person, it’s up to me to determine if they are legitimately suppose to be there. I am a cat sitter, not the police. By allowing other people in your home you are putting me in danger.
I want to provide you with complete peace of mind while you are away, not just regarding the welfare of your cat, but also the safety of your home. By securely locking your home, keeping ground floor windows closed, and not allowing third party access to your home you do your part in helping me achieve that mission and aid in keeping me safe.
Elizabeth Llewellyn is a feline welfare and behaviour specialist with over 20 years experience working with cats in a variety of settings including rescue, breeding, boarding, grooming and veterinary. She lives in Chittenden County Vermont with her three cats.