• September 3, 2019
Rosie’s owners prefer to put her in a cattery when they go away. Photo: Supplied
A family cat was discovered with no food or water and an overflowing litter tray, prompting a St Helier’s resident to warn other pet owners to take care.
As a consequence, the pet-sitter has been banned indefinitely from the social media platform that promoted his services.
The family thought they were on the holiday of a lifetime until they looked at the CCTV to see the cat flat open and the house sitter absent, missing for over 21 hours.
The family spokesperson said she contacted a neighbour, who couldn’t get a response from the house, so went inside the property and found “George” was unkempt and unfed.
“We were devastated. We were on the holiday of a lifetime, and thought we had arranged everything to make things work for us and our pet,” said the St Helier’s resident who didn’t want to be named.
“We had made it so clear that our cat suffers separation anxiety, and that he couldn’t be left for whole days, and we had been assured that he would have company,” she said.
The family had used Kiwi House Sitters, a social media platform that connects owners with animal caregivers, and booked the carer several months ahead of their six-week holiday to Beijing.
She said she also paid him a $500 bond to cover any veterinary services, which he had asked for.
“He assured us that he was an SPCA officer with an affinity for cats,” she said.
“He said all of the right things, such as he liked a spotless house, he was an animal lover and would be at home much of the time undertaking bible studies.”
Kiwi House Sitters spokesperson Kylie Fuad said they investigated the case and deactivated the sitter’s account immediately after receiving the complaint.
“Once it was confirmed, we imposed a lifetime ban and permanently removed him from our site,” Ms Fuad said.
“We truly feel for this homeowner and the experience they had with this sitter. It reflects badly on all the thousands of hard working sitters out there doing an amazing job,” she said.
“I can’t bear to think about what would have happened if we were unaware George had been left indefinitely,” said the complainant.
She is now warning all homeowners looking for a pet-sitter in the future to be extra cautious.
“Do your research… If you use a sitting site, keep checking feedback to see if reviews remain good; after this happened, I found ours had 2 negative reviews,” she said.
“I would also suggest that anyone on a long trip has CCTV installed. This was invaluable to us,” she said.