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Not all "cat parents" are created equal when it comes to arranging care for their little "fur kids" while they're away. Most request once or twice-daily visits from their pet sitter to ensure their kitties are happy, healthy and content. But there are a few people who believe their cats are so independent that they can be left alone for long periods of time (e.g. an entire weekend), and they will be fine as long as they have plenty of food and water. So, they ask their sitter to visit EOD (every other day), or even every third day.

Leaving your cat alone for longer than a day can place your precious puss in harm's way. Most professional pet sitters strongly advocate daily visits for cats. Some will reluctantly agree to EOD visits, but will warn their clients of the potential dangers. Other sitters will flat-out refuse to accept an assignment if they can't visit daily. When we insist on daily visits, it's not a ploy to get more money from our clients. And we're not trying to be difficult. We just care deeply about your cat's health and well-being.

Daily visits allow your sitter to regularly monitor your cat's food and water intake, as well as litterbox activities. If your cat suddenly stops eating or drinking, if urine output increases or decreases significantly, if feces become abnormal (e.g. diarrhea, presence of blood), or if there is copious vomiting, these can be signs of a serious illness. Your sitter can take immediate action, seeking emergency veterinary care, as warranted.

A host of feline health conditions can develop suddenly, like urinary blockages, which are fatal if left untreated. Strokes and seizures can also happen. Senior cats are particularly vulnerable to sickness, but serious ailments can occur at any age.

Young, active kitties, with their boundless energy and insatiable curiosity, can get themselves into an endless amount of mischief. We worry about them ingesting foreign bodies (like string, yarn, rubber bands, etc.) and poisoning from chewing on house plants. They can fall into toilets, climb up window screens or curtains and not know how to get back down, become entangled in plastic grocery bags, chew electrical cords...the list goes on.

They can also crawl into various nooks and crannies and forget how to get back out. One sitter I know had quite a surprise when she found that two of the three kittens she was caring for had become trapped behind an entertainment unit. The poor little ones were mewing with fright when she arrived. Luckily, the sitter was visiting them twice a day, so they didn't have to spend hours without food or water.

Catís could accidentally upset their water bowl while playing. If only visiting EOD or (shudder) every three days, those poor kitties would have no access to water, putting them at risk for dehydration, or worse.

Imagine your furnace quits in the middle of the night! Of course, it would be the coldest, most blustery day in the dead of winter. If only doing EOD visits, I might have a hypothermic cat on my hands, not to mention a major flood from plumbing that could have frozen and burst. A call to the furnace repairman would fix the problem immediately, before any real harm could be done.

Let's play devil's advocate. What if someone breaks into your house and your cat escapes through a kicked-in door or shattered window? If kitty wanders off, your sitter may have a better chance of finding him or her the next day vs. two or three days after the incident.

The next time you're considering EOD vs. daily visits, ask yourself this: Would you really want your beloved pet to be alone for two days if he or she has developed a serious health problem or could be in a dangerous situation? Whether your cat is young, old or in between, daily visits can literally mean the difference between life and death.

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