Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Best cat-sitter service in the Hague: Kattenzorg

Are you looking for a cat-sitter in the Hague/Den Haag?
Look no further than Kattenzorg, a volunteer-run cat-lovers organization!

{#2 and our cat, Fuzz}

As an expat, many of us toil with the dilemma of getting a pet. There are those who believe they must wait until they are firmly implanted in North American suburbia complete with white picket fence before taking on the responsibility of a furry friend. An understandable choice. But then there are others who don't know if and when they will ever stay on one continent long enough to call it "home" and thus must seize the day and live now how you would want to live in 10 years.

As you might have gathered, I fall into the latter category. I grew up with a cat (my parent's compromise to a dog) and feel like pets were an integral part of my childhood. A good soft introduction to the fun things in life like responsibility, communal living, illness etc...Thus I have been nagging and nagging to get a kitten to complete our happy little family.

My husband questioned and re-questioned this decision with understandable concerns: "Who will take care of it when we travel?", "Don't you have enough shit to clean up already at home" etc...But the answer was "No, I don't have enough shit to clean up, I want more more! And preferably of a small feline variety". So there you have it, be careful what you wish for.

For Christmas, we finally received a sweet little Chartreux kitten whom we named "Fuzz" (all pedigree Cats born in 2010 had to have a name beginning with the letter "F", I say this as if it is a totally normal thing). Fuzz comes from a fine line of pure-breed Chartreux cats - so pure, in fact, that his great-parents were all somehow related, but let's not get stuck on that detail. Anyway, the kids loved him - or pulling his tail, at least - and I was vindicated. I knew having a cat was a great idea!

But then came our annual winter vacation, a long-weekend in France etc...and all of a sudden the striking realization of: what the hell to do with Fuzz?! I needed a cat-sitter and quick. I couldn't unload him on any of my friends because they all have kids and there is that unspoken agreement not to add to the already considerable burden of child-care. I tried befriending my previously ignored neighbors but despite all of my best subtle efforts couldn't quite manage to get out that: "Hi nice to meet you, oh by the way, can you clean up my cat's crap for a week while I'm in Italy. He will catch mice in exchange."

All of a sudden, the cat was starting to feel like a royal pain in the ass.

In the end I found two solutions:

1/A quirky but genuinely nice couple of Canadians (are there any not-nice Canadians?) were offering their cat-sitting services for free on the ASH classifieds. No, they don't own a Chinese restaurant. And no, they don't take cats in and then stow them away forever (my Husband's theory). They simply love cats but feel they travel too much to justify keeping a cat of their own. Thank you Canada for making these kinds of people! The only very minor draw-back is that they go on quite a few Curling trips (yes, curling) so are not always disposed to take the Fuzz-ball for kitty holidays. well, one can hardly complain considering the circumstances, can we?

2/The second option is perhaps a bit more viable one for everyone and it's called the Kattenzorg. It's purely run by Cat-lovers and volunteers. There are services located in Den Haag, Dordrecht and Nijmegen. If you become a member for some paltry annual fee of 10€, you can have access to their "cat holiday" services. This means that they will help you find a kitty-friendly person in your neighborhood to come and cat-sit while you are away. It's 2.50€ per cat per day which I consider a pretty damn reasonable price to pay for having one less thing to worry about before departing on a trip.

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