Security is an Integral Part of Cat Sitting
I told them about a cat sit I just went on to find the garage door wide open. It had been open for at least 24 hours, since my clients had left the day before. The door to the yard was locked but the door to the house was not. I was wishing for my law enforcement days! I had to conduct a building search. I dialed 911 and searched the house with my finger on the send button. I had to check all the closets and look in the showers. It was very scary. Part way through the cats showed up and seemed to be very relaxed, so I relaxed. If there had been a stranger there doing harm, they would have been in hiding or escaped. Everything was fine, we were all lucky.
Security is such an integral part of cat sitting that I don’t really talk about it that much. When I bring in the mail and newspaper, put out the trash and bring it in, alter lights and window treatments, lock the door, check the windows, put the TV on sleep mode. I am making your home less conspicuous to criminals.
When you drive through a neighborhood you aren’t looking for a house to break into, but in the back of your mind you see that dark house and wonder is anyone home? If you are a criminal they may see an opportunity. I just want them to worry that someone IS home, then they will proceed to the dark house down the street.
Since I am talking security, here are a few tips:
- Timers have a few lamps on timers. I have them come on just before dusk. I wildly guess when folks go to bed so I have the living area timer go off around 11:00 pm. I put one in a bedroom. To go off after midnight. So times I’ll have the lamp come on in the morning too. I like timers on a TV too. Many of us watch TV and seeing it on looks like someone is home. A radio on a timer is a good idea too.
- Always collect the circulars/papers at your front door. It looks like no one is it there are a bunch of fliers at the front door.
- Be sure your sliding glass door is secure, older ones can be lifted off of their tracks, newer ones have inadequate locking mechanisms. You can get a bar or extra lock.
- Close and lock your windows. Use dowels cut to fit in your window tracks.
- Disconnect your automatic garage door opener and lock your garage door.
- Lock the door between the garage and house.
- Have secure locks on your home. Dead bolts are great. Change the locks if you’ve bought a new home.
- Do not tell your facebook friends or other social media you are leaving.
- Hide your spare key in an inconspicuous place. I have a house sitting client that puts my key under a pot at the front door for me. That is NOT a good spot for long term key hiding. Criminals will look in all the easy places. Find a spot that is not easy and not next to the door.
- Be sure to check that your door is locked when you leave. The technique I learned checking buildings when I worked law enforcement at Boston National Historical Park was turn the door knob and push and pull the door, easy peasy.
- Hire a cat sitter!
I also will turn off the water and breaker if your water heater breaks. Now my clients know why I ask you where the water shut off is and your breaker box.
These are the things I can think of off the top of my head. When you leave home, I will do my due diligence that your cats and home are safe.