Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wagatail review

While we were away in San Francisco we left our precious fur ball in the hands of Carmen from Wagatail.

We didn't feel comfortable leaving the cat in a boarding house because ultimately it came down to her personality, we knew she would hate being left alone, but even more she would hate being put in a small cage with a bunch of other noisy smelly animals around. She is a young and playful cat and she loves being around people and laying outside in a shadowy spot with fresh air.

We researched our options for pet sitting services in Sydney, and sadly, there weren't many. In fact there were only 2: Carmen from Wagatail and Richard from Petcare. Richard has been in the business for (according to his site) 23 years and he and his family run a dog and cat boarding facility out of his own house (at least this is what I understood from our communications). Carmen has only been doing this for a couple of years, but she was recommended by a colleague of M. Both people offered to provide references and basically the same services for pet minding at home. Richard charged $27/hour while Carmen charged $25/hour.

Ultimately we went with Wagatail because 1. She was recommended by someone we actually know, 2. She offered to come twice a day for 30 minutes each time, as opposed to 1 hour once a day, 3. She may be young and less experienced than Richard, but sometimes you have to give those people a chance.

Ultimately the experience was very good, and I'll break it down into the good and the bad:

- I had asked Carmen to send us photos of the cat every few days, which she punctually did every other day, and would briefly inform us on the progress of their friendship.
- She came in twice a day, which is great because that is how often our cat is used to being fed. Otherwise she would eat an entire huge bowl of food in less than an hour.
- She fed the cat, cleaned the litter tray and played with her at every visit (at least she was supposed to!, heh)
- She picked up our mail.
- She watered the plants.
- She returned the house keys personally on the day we came back.
- She kept a diary detailing the things that went on during that day. Example 1: "Murka is very vocal, and also a friendly cat, she has quickly opened up to me." Example 2: "Today we played outside with her favorite toy and then she let me brush her and pat her for a while, she purrs all the time!" Example 3: "Murka leaves very big poops for such a small cat."

- We found a dirty toilet seat. There were some unpleasant stains on it and I don't want to think about what went on in there.

- On her diary she noted that she had vacuumed the living room and kitchen on her last day, however I didn't see any evidence that she actually did. Of course we never asked her to do that, so just the mere intention of her meaning to do it was nice, I suppose.
- Nothing was missing from the house, I guess this is a normal concern to have when you decide to trust someone you never met before.
- When she came to drop off the keys Murka was excited to see her, which is a good sign that she wasn't mistreated by this person.

Overall the cat looked happy and healthy, and we would probably use her services again if we leave for any long period of time.

And a cute sleeping cat photo to end this post.

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