Whether it’s an unexpected personal dilemma to the hospital or the need to go out of town for a business trip, family reunion, wedding or vacation, finding a boarding facility for a family pet can be a stressful experience for all concerned.
Debbie Nickerson, a Dorchester resident, found herself short on options when it came to accommodate her felines in a safe and humane fashion.
“There were so many times I couldn’t find any friend or relative to look after my cats, even just to check on them,” said Nickerson. “People think cats are low maintenance but so many things can go wrong in the home when they are left alone, and the animals health and safety should never be compromised.”
Nickerson left her cats in the care of a boarding facility when she went out of town, but on return, both animals were confused and anxious. One cat even contracted a bladder infection.
“My cats were very upset because I left them in this cold, sterile and unfamiliar environment – and it cost a lot of money too,” said Nickerson. “I love animals, and I didn’t want others to have the same stressful experience, so I decided a year ago to start my own cat and small animal sitting business.”
Crazy Cat Lady Cat Care (and small critters) provides an alternative care for furry clients.
“It’s not nice to take your animal out of its comfortable home just because you are going away, so I go to the owner’s home for as much time is required to adequately look after the pet (excluding large dogs),” said Nickerson.
“Every animal has its own personality. Sometimes when I am brushing a cat or rabbit, they look up at me…and if looks could kill,” she laughed.
“But the strangest animal I’ve looked after in the year of operating the business is a reptile, lizard. It was easy to look after because the lizard just needed to be fed worms.”
The role is flexible, so Nickerson can fit in her pet sitting around other commitments.
“One weekend, someone decided they wanted to go away and didn’t want to leave their rabbits alone, so I went to feed them, change their litter, and make sure they had plenty of water. I don’t mind doing this work, as well as travelling outside of Dorchester to areas such as Sackville,” she said.
“Over the year, I have mainly looked after cats and rabbits. I even had one person go away for one month, leaving me a few cats to look after. It would have been quite an expense for the owners if they had to put these cats in a boarding facility,” she added.
Nickerson acknowledged pet sitting is “a great option” for pets that don’t like other animals, and seniors that prefer a quiet and familiar environment.
“It eases the owner’s mind when they are away, knowing someone loves their fur-baby as much as they do,” she concluded.
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