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 Post subject: Awkward catsitting and cat pee situation - want PPK advice!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:07 pm 
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So, I've got a situation with my catsitters that I'm not quite sure how to handle. Y'all are good with the advice so figured I'd ask here first!

I've been using my current catsitting service for about five years. I travel a fair bit for work and usually book them at least one weekend a month . The service is run by two women who hire a bunch of different people to actually come to the houses, so I don't generally have the same actual person coming by whenever I book a sitter.

Anyway, last weekend I was away. A new guy came on Saturday to feed the cats and change their litterbox. On his way out, he shut the bathroom door. The cats' only litterbox is in the bathroom and since they couldn't get to their litterbox, they peed all over the couch instead. I got home last Sunday night and realized (and smelled) what happened pretty quickly. I've spent the last week trying various things to clean and get the odor out of the couch, and nothing has worked. :( The couch still smells like pee (I guess if anyone has advice for getting cat pee smell out of a couch, let me know that too).

I didn't write to the catsitting service initially because I've been using them for so long without any problems and I'm sure it was just an honest mistake that the guy shut the door to the litterbox. But now that it's been a week and it seems like my couch is now permanently cat pee-scented, I'm wondering if I should. I don't know what's reasonable to say or to ask - I don't have enough spare cash to buy a replacement couch so can't ask them to contribute to that. I guess I could ask what their cleaning ideas are, but I feel like that's pretty hopeless too.

I don't necessarily want to lose them as catsitters - it's been five years of good service and they've come through for me lots of times when I've had last minute trip extensions and things like that.

What would the PPK do?

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 Post subject: Re: Awkward catsitting and cat pee situation - want PPK advi
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:35 pm 
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I would tell them that the sitter shut the door that shut off access to the loo for the kitties. Then explain they used your couch as a bathroom. If they are a good company they will then offer professional cleaning services or way to replace the couch. If they don't say something in reply ask if you can have discounted service or ask for a professional cleaning or whatever you desire. If you are level headed in talking to them the worst they can say is that they cannot accommodate your request. However! I think in negotiating with the service don't make excuses for the sitter (though I understand it was just a mistake and we are all human) would be a good tactic.


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 Post subject: Re: Awkward catsitting and cat pee situation - want PPK advi
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:36 pm 
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You should absolutely tell them. Say exactly what you said here, honest mistake etc.. And you'd like to know if they'll pay f or a professional cleaning service or some other type of compensation. When your job is to check in on cats, you shouldn't fork up something like that and if you do, you should be told so you can make sure to be more careful next time.

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 Post subject: Re: Awkward catsitting and cat pee situation - want PPK advi
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:42 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Awkward catsitting and cat pee situation - want PPK advi
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:45 pm 
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and i don't see why you'd lose them as cat sitters. they aren't going to drop you as a client because you told them something bad happened. you're obviously a great customer and they're going to want to do everything in their power to keep your business.

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 Post subject: Re: Awkward catsitting and cat pee situation - want PPK advi
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:56 pm 
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Good advice all around. But if they don't make amends, you might look for a smaller service so you could have the same catsitter every time, which might make your cats more comfortable too. My catsitter has gotten to know my kitties very well and so can tell when something's not right with one of them. And if she couldn't come for some reason, she would refer me to another sitter in our area (they network a lot.)

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 Post subject: Re: Awkward catsitting and cat pee situation - want PPK advi
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:58 pm 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
and i don't see why you'd lose them as cat sitters. they aren't going to drop you as a client because you told them something bad happened. you're obviously a great customer and they're going to want to do everything in their power to keep your business.



Yeah, I should have been more clear on that. I don't think they'd drop me. My mom's advice though was that I should drop them if they don't make arrangements to help me get this fixed somehow. But I don't want to do that, even if they say no to whatever request I make.

I like the idea of asking them to help me pay for a professional cleaning - seems much more reality-based than asking to help pay for a new couch. I guess my exciting Saturday task will be researching professional couch cleaning services and sending the email..

thanks Fupa and IJDI!

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 Post subject: Re: Awkward catsitting and cat pee situation - want PPK advi
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:59 pm 
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Absolutely call them and tell them of the situation. It's their duty to ensure your pets are cared for and your home left in good order since that's the service you're paying for when you use them. I wouldn't expect them to buy me a new couch or anything, but I would definitely expect them to spring for a professional cleaning service or comparable compensation for your trouble. Really, that's a major oversight by the catsitter, if you ask me, to shut the access door to the kitties litter when he's there for the sole purpose of looking after their needs! Also, I'd emphasize that you understand mistakes are made because you certainly don't want the guy to lose his job or anything.

I have a petsitting service I love too and I've used them several times and one time the sitter lost my spare key fob in a snowbank. They cost around $35-50 to replace and I asked the catsitter company to pay for a replacement and they did without any grief, sent me a cheque within a day or two. Any reputable company wants repeat business and should be willing to pay for their employee mistakes. Oftentimes it's how a company deals with mistakes that determines whether or not I'll be a repeat customer.

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 Post subject: Re: Awkward catsitting and cat pee situation - want PPK advi
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:35 pm 
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Jill wrote:
Good advice all around. But if they don't make amends, you might look for a smaller service so you could have the same catsitter every time, which might make your cats more comfortable too. My catsitter has gotten to know my kitties very well and so can tell when something's not right with one of them. And if she couldn't come for some reason, she would refer me to another sitter in our area (they network a lot.)


That's a good point. I'm not quite sure why I'm so reluctant to potentially switch - probably some combination of them doing a good job for so many years and not knowing what else is out there (and how reliable it would be). I'm such a worrier, especially when it comes to my cats.

And I'm totally threadjacking my own thread here but it's been sorta interesting to watch how my current sitters' business has changed over the years. When I first started using them it wasn't a service - it was just two women taking care of people's pets. As they've gotten more business, they've grown to the point where now those two women do the scheduling and hiring of other people but none of the actual visits. My cats are both shy and I have a feeling they wouldn't bond with any sitter, so it never bothered me that it was different people coming since they'd just hide under the couch anyway. But having the same person coming probably makes silly mistakes like closing off the litterbox room less likely.

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 Post subject: Re: Awkward catsitting and cat pee situation - want PPK advi
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:44 am 
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seitanicverses wrote:
Really, that's a major oversight by the catsitter, if you ask me, to shut the access door to the kitties litter when he's there for the sole purpose of looking after their needs! Also, I'd emphasize that you understand mistakes are made because you certainly don't want the guy to lose his job or anything.

I agree with everything you said, SV, but this first part especially. I don`t know if scooping poop is part of the duties but I would definitely hope that making sure there is access to food, water, and toilet is what the person is doing.

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 Post subject: Re: Awkward catsitting and cat pee situation - want PPK advi
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:53 am 
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One thing is that you also don't know if this specific person has had issues in the past?

I used a dog walking service, which also offered to take care of my cats too. A few years ago, when my parents came to visit, we used the dog walking service to walk my dogs on days we were gone for long hours. We told them to specifically watch for a cat who would try to go through the door and that they didn't have to do anything for the cats. Anyway, we came home and 1 of the cats was missing. So I tried calling the specific dog walker and got no answer back on the phone, she never called me back. I wanted to know if she had seen the cat or anything. Then I called the owner of the business and she apologized and said that she was very sorry and that it wasn't the dog walkers first offense. We got assigned to a new dog walker immediately. (and we found the cat, she was in a bush down the street)

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 Post subject: Re: Awkward catsitting and cat pee situation - want PPK advi
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:58 am 
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Speaking as a pet sitter I would be mortified if I had done that amd would offer to pay for cleaning and offer a free pet sitting hug to make up for it.

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 Post subject: Re: Awkward catsitting and cat pee situation - want PPK advi
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:42 pm 
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doncherryfan wrote:
And I'm totally threadjacking my own thread here but it's been sorta interesting to watch how my current sitters' business has changed over the years. When I first started using them it wasn't a service - it was just two women taking care of people's pets. As they've gotten more business, they've grown to the point where now those two women do the scheduling and hiring of other people but none of the actual visits.

Same with the place I deal with which opened around 15 years ago and I used them around their second year of business and it was a very small local deal then with one guy answering the phone with his small fleet of roving petsitters doing the visits, and now he's got a comprehensive website, a 24-hour number, an automated telephone directory, and an accounting department!

seitanicverses wrote:
I asked the catsitter company to pay for a replacement and they did without any grief, sent me a cheque within a day or two.

^Actually, I think I remembered this wrong. What happened was that they told me their employee lost my keys in the snowbank and offered to pay without me even asking. They only asked me to mail them a copy of the receipt for the replacement fob from the property manager and they sent me a cheque. But yeah, they fessed up, paid up, and it was no trouble at all, so they did right by me and I'm still a customer.

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