Pet Sitter Education Month

Pet Sitter Education Month Tips & Best Practices from Cornell Feline Health Center

I saw this list from the Cornell Feline Health Center on my Facebook feed, and I DO ALL THESE THINGS!!!!!

1. New clients have a thorough registration meeting with me to go over all of their information. It generally lasts an hour. We go over the pet’s routine, where supplies and pet areas are, emergency contacts, and, if needed, the client demonstrates their preferred techniques for administering medication, food preparation, etc.

2. We go over the emergency medical plan, including veterinarian information. I also collect contact info for emergency contacts for the pets and the home. I encourage clients to leave cat carriers out, or to have them accessible to me (NOT in the basement storage locker).

3. I am bonded and insured with pet sitters insurance. This is business liability insurance.

4. Many common houseplants are toxic to cats. Tulips, lilies, poinsettias, etc. Sometimes, even the pollen of certain plants are toxic, even if the cat doesn’t chew on them. Sometimes a plant is so toxic that a cat will need to be rushed to the emergency veterinarian for immediate treatment if they eat it.

A good resource to consult is:

5. I maintain training in pet first aid & CPR. Generally, these certificates are valid for two years, but I prefer to refresh my training every year. I am also a Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS) through two major professional pet sitters associations, Pet Sitters International and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, and I am a Fear Free Certified Professional (FFCP). I love contuing education and I enjoy attending educational webinars and conferences whenever possible.

6. I have a car and primarily drive to all my visits. This also means that I am able to quickly transport pets for urgent medical care.

7. As part of the registration process, I ask if cats are microchipped. Microchipping cats, even indoor-only cats, is a great way of helping them to return home if they ever get lost. Cat collars are mostly designed to easily break away, to prevent injury and entanglement, which makes microchipping a more reliable means of retrieving and identifying an owned cat that gets lost.

A common issue I see amongst cat owners is that they neglect to update their contact info with the microchip company after they relocate. Their phone numbers, address, and email address might change, which needs to be updated in their file. It’s usually free and easy to do so, and is extremely important.

I also ask if the cat is licensed. Montreal requires that cats be licensed, and the permit is renewed each year.

Info on cat permits:

Cats and Hamsters pet sitting

Happy 5 years of pet sitting!

Cats and Hamsters pet sitting

Artist: Cody Stowe @weflaps

2021 marks my fifth year anniversary of professional pet sitting.

When I started my business in 2016, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. I knew I liked animals and that I wasn’t afraid to scoop a litter box.

Now I am a Certified Professional Pet Sitter and a Fear Free Certified Professional. I was named a Top 5 Finalist for 2021 Pet Sitter of the Year. I was on the news! I was asked to present at the 2021 Pet Sitters World Conference in front of my colleagues and peers.

Thank you to all of my amazing clients, who have been so supportive and, well, amazing! I love your pets so much!

With the US-Canada border opening up and the children’s vaccinations available soon, I hope that travel will get back to normal as we move into the New Year.

Cody Stowe @weflapscomics created this lovely image. I think he did an amazing job. Olaf in particular looks quite majestic! You can follow the adventures of Coral the cat @weflaps on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS)

PSI Member Logo-PPPS Tagline2
I am so pleased to announce that I have just passed Pet Sitters International’s CPPS-Certified Professional Pet Sitter® Exam recognizing me as a Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS).


The 125-question, 3-hour exam includes such topics as: dog/cat/bird pet care; health, sanitation and safety; and business operations. I am delighted to have this acknowledgement of my dedication to ongoing education and high standards of pet care professionalism.


The CPPS designation is only available to PSI members who have:
(1) successfully passed the PSI Certification Program final exam with a score of 76 percent or above,
(2) agreed to adhere to PSI’s Recommended Quality Standards, as noted in the PSI member and renewal applications,
(3) agreed to adhere to the Member Code of Conduct and Ethics, as noted in the PSI member and renewal applications, and
(4) committed to obtaining a minimum of thirty (30) continuing education hours (CEUs) every three years to apply for the certification renewal.
Further information can be found here:


At the time of this post, I am one of a few members of Pet Sitters International in Montreal, and the only active Certified Professional Pet Sitter in Montreal.

Little Bear Animalerie on Sainte-Catherine St. W.

Little Bear Animalerie has nice, high end cat and dog supplies. It’s a well-presented, clean store. I can’t speak for the dog supplies, but the cat food, litter, and grooming supply variety is good. There are freezers for raw food in the back, and tables of toys and food bowls in the front. I like the layout of the store, which seems well-thought-out. Every space is used, but it doesn’t seem cluttered and the products all look in good condition. Size is typical of an independent pet supply store in Montreal. It’s easy to navigate. And there’s usually several friendly employees willing to help.

I stopped by recently to drop off business cards and can lids, and while my business cards were accepted, the can lids were not. The store does not approve of plastic can covers for environmental purposes, and while I was offering a bag of them for free, they still declined. I can understand that. When I was ordering can lids for a trade show this past year, the minimum quantity for ordering silicone can lids with my business information on them was something like 20,000… and I decided that that was a bit beyond my budget. So I settled for plastic can lids. Which are dishwasher safe, and more environmentally conscious than using disposable plastic wrap, plastic bags, or foil. But yes, still plastic.

Aside from not being too close to me geographically, the main downside of this store is finding parking on the busy Sainte-Catherine Street West street; I sometimes drive around and around and then give up without finding a space. But those using public transport or their own two feet or cycling won’t have that problem.

Cover of Pet Sitters World


I am deeply honoured and thrilled to have been featured on the Jan/Feb 2018 cover of Pet Sitters World, the magazine for my professional association, Pet Sitters International (PSI).

Special thank you to Alex Tran, my excellent photographer, who kept telling me to look off into nowhere. Needless to say, I kept laughing and could not keep a straight face. I’m usually on the other side of the camera, taking pictures of my cat clients! But it was a fun photo shoot, and the animals all did very well and were rewarded with species-appropriate treats afterwards. Thank you also to my clients, who graciously granted permission to photograph their animals.

Animalerie Paul on Mont-Royal East

A few years ago, brunch with my family at St-Viateur Bagel in the Plateau would not be complete without a couple mini cupcakes from Petit Gateaux (which is sadly, sadly closed), and a stop in to see the animals for sale at Animalerie Paul. While we rarely eat out these days, I still like visiting this store because it’s a nice, small pet shop with live animals.

The left wall is a bank of aquariums with lots of fish. The right wall are small birds. The larger small animals, like rabbits, guinea pigs, and I think sometimes ferrets, are usually in the middle of the store, and the smaller small animals like rats, mice, gerbils, and hamsters, are in the back. There are also kittens and puppies. The guinea pigs and rabbits are housed together in a small bin, which is cute, but some people might not agree with that housing arrangement.

There are supplies for small animals, birds, fish, reptiles, cats, and dogs. Somehow they manage to pack everything into their tiny space. There’s even a tiny room in the back for grooming services. The fish tanks look clear and well-maintained and staff are friendly.

Centre d’Animaux Safari – Centre Rockland. It’s like a mini aquarium.

While I encourage adopting from a shelter or rescue if possible, sometimes it’s not possible to find what you’re looking for from those routes. There’s nothing wrong with buying your next pet from a good pet shop, as long as the animals for sale are healthy and housed in clean areas, and it is not an impulse purchase. I would steer clear of pet shops that have sick, overweight, underweight, dirty, overcrowded, or pregnant animals. People sometimes claim to have “rescued” their new pet from a bad pet shop situation… but I think it would be more honest to say that they bought their pet from a bad pet shop, who is going to use that sales profit to buy/breed/sell more unfortunate little animals for others to “rescue” from them. Despite my best efforts, most of the animals I have bought from pet shops have not lived long, and were not friendly. My healthiest, friendliest hamsters have come from shelters and hobby breeders.

My track record buying hamsters from pet stores isn’t good, though my current hamster, Maximus Decimus Meridius (the adventurer mentioned in my last post), came from the Centre d’Animaux Safari – Centre Rockland, and is a healthy (and durable!), friendly hamster. I had previously searched the SPCA and online communities like Craigslist and Kijiji, but had no luck finding a hamster. I checked out the hamsters at one pet shop on St-Laurent, and found not only one litter…but the daddy mating with the mommy right over the babies, creating the next litter right there. I did not want one of these hamsters, since there was clearly a sexing problem (that is, they were not able to separate the males from the females, and prevent unintentional breeding). It’s possible these were meant as feeder hamsters – I didn’t want to find out.

I kept looking. No visit to the Rockland Centre is complete for me without a stop at the pet shop to coo over the animals and fish. Walking through their aisles of fish tanks feels like being in a mini aquarium; it’s common to see babies and toddlers held up to see the fish tanks during their mall visit routines. They no longer have cats, but there’s always a bunch of hamsters, mice, rats, guinea pigs, degus, hedgehogs, gerbils, birds, and fish to gawk at. There are also aquatic turtles and a couple lizards, as well as live insects to feed said animals. I was really looking forward to getting a cup of mealworms to feed a hedgehog boarder I had recently, but alas, I wasn’t given permission to feed her outside food. Maybe next time…

Anyway… when I looked over the hamster selection, the staff member was very friendly and helpful, and even kissed the hamsters when she put them back into their bins. Unfortunately, the store isn’t able to separate the males from the females due to lack of space, but they can try to sex the hamsters for you to ensure that you get either a male or female. This is one of the reasons why I prefer getting male hamsters over female hamsters. Their small furry animals always look healthy, active, and well cared for (must be due to all the kissing).

I like the pet products they carry for hamsters and cats. They have a nice selection of high quality food, bedding, set ups, and toys for hamsters and cats. Things are attractively displayed, well-ventilated, and kept tidy. Scratching posts, carriers, grooming products, etc.. Small animals seem to be bought quickly, and there are rarely empty bins. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly. They have sales and a loyalty card. Mall parking is free, there’s a bus stop right out front, and you can multitask your visit buy doing other shopping at the same time.

Croque en Bol – Parc : neighbourhood pet store

As an apartment-dweller with a small child, I have discovered the wonderful world of delivered goods. And as pet owner, I am SO GLAD that Croc en Bol delivers, and for a small delivery fee (I also tip the delivery man). No more lugging huge heavy bags of kitty litter, cat food cans, and cat dry food up several flights of stairs while my little one is trying to be carried at the same time. I can even just call them up with my order on the phone, and they will deliver with a credit card number of cash upon delivery. No need to venture outside, or make a detour when you have other things to do. The downside is that you have to call in early if you want delivery, as their delivery slots fills up quickly and then you’re out of luck.

Another huge draw (in my opinion) to this little pet shop (which does not sell animals, so I guess it’s more of a pet supply store than a pet shop?) are the resident cats. I think there’s one or two friendly dogs and bird, there, too, but I’m a cat lady, so I only have eyes for the fluffy, scruffy black and white cats. There’s more than one, but I think they’re all black and white. I could be wrong. The cats who often ignore me when I hold out a hand for a sniff. Sometimes they let me scratch their cheeks, which makes me feel super special every time. I love it when pet shops have free-ranging animal greeters. They are clearly well-cared for, as well, and don’t seem interested in dashing out the door to freedom when you walk in.

The small store has a selection of high-quality cat food, kitty litter, and other cat products. There’s a selection of rodent bedding, food, and toys, as well. Friendly staff, clean store, and sometimes-friendly cats. And they deliver! What more could you want?

There are other Croc en Bol stores throughout the city. I’ll discuss each individually. This one is on the edge of the Plateau, close to Outremont and Mile End.


4889, av du parc
Montréal, QC H2V 4E7

Lundi à mercredi 9:30 à 19:00
Jeudi et vendredi 9:30 à 21:00
Samedi & dimanche 9:30 à 17:00

Cafe Chat Heureux – cat cafe in the Plateau

As a small business owner, I recently had a BRILLIANT idea to support other local pet-oriented small business owners by blogging about them. As I’m just six months into starting my pet sitting business, I’m regularly trekking all over the city to pass out business cards and put up flyers. I’m discovering so many great pet shops, groomers, cat cafes, and more on my urban vaunts. This is such a wonderful, pet-friendly city. I’m happy to share my finds with my clients and readers.


First up: Cafe Chat Heureux!

I visited this Plateau gem just this week. I’ve been dying to visit a cat cafe ever since reading about them. A friend of mine raved about it, but was hesitant to suggest it to me since I have cats of my own, and why would I want to go to a cafe just to hang out with more cats? Au contraire, mon amie! I am all about the cats.

This is a cozy cafe that unabashedly celebrates a love of cats. Two large flat-screens rotate pictures of the cafe’s menu and their adorable feline hosts. Cat walkways line the ceiling and walls. Cat art is for sale, the cafe sells socks with their logo on it, and there’s even a fake fireplace with some comfy chairs you can nestle into while you enjoy the company of cats. You remove your boots when you enter (perhaps that’s why they sell socks? But the socks aren’t required – they’re just available for sale), so it feels very homey inside. A guest book by the door is often filled with adorable cat drawings.

And then there were cats! The eight resident cats were all adopted from the greater Montreal area and have pictures and profiles of their personalities on their website. The pictures might need an update, though, because I scratched Luzerne’s cheek just before he settled down for a nap, and he was much bigger and fluffier than his profile picture. Actually, all the cats save one petite tuxedo were asleep when I arrived around noon for lunch. Some of the other patrons tried searching the area for a friendly cat to play with, but alas, they were all tuckered out and indisposed. I noted the lack of cat activity to my server as I paid my bill, and she suggested coming right at opening next time, when they are their most playful. After about an hour, they go into play overload and sleep.

The cafe has clear rules on cat-human interaction, and even has a hole in a door they can dart into if they don’t feel up to being petted and adored. Taken from their website, the rules are:


  • Wake up a cat
  • Feed a cat
  • Take a cat on your lap
  • Use a flashlight taking pictures
  • Let kids without surveillance

You can:

  • Play with cats (toys will be provided)
  • Take pictures with our cats and share them!
  • Give a lot of love to our cats

General Rule:

Cats are expressive, if they do not want to be pet or play anymore, let them be, otherwise just like humans, they will let you know they are unhappy!

In addition to the whimsical ambiance, you can enjoy nicely presented hot sandwiches, salads, smoothies, juices, and a lip-smackingly good dark hot chocolate with a massive amount of whipped cream on top of it. The whipped cream was extra… but it was so worth it. I got the Cat Lady sandwich (of course), which was hot, gooey, and wonderfully satisfying and enjoyable on a cold winter’s afternoon.

There’s a sweet joy to this place, which will bring me back again. It was neither crowded nor empty when I stopped by during the week. I sat by the bookshelves, which was packed with random books in both English and French. Service was friendly and attentive, prices were reasonable. Gluten-free and vegan option available. The cats seemed friendly and well-cared for; it looked like a nice home for them. Next time, I might even bring my toddler, as it’s child-friendly, as long as they are supervised and aren’t pestering the cats.

Cafe Chat l’Heureux
172 Duluth Est, Montreal H2W 1H3

Monday : Closed
Tuesday to Thursday : 11 am – 8 pm
Friday, Saturday : 10 am – 10 pm
Sunday : 10 am – 8 pm