Is it safe to leave the cat at your Airbnb rental?

Dear Paws:  Last weekend we took a trip to the Northeast to leaf-peep. We rented a private house through Airbnb, and it was a really nice place. It even came with a cat! While caring for the owners’ cat wasn’t a problem -– they left food and water, and the cat did his business outside -– it left me wondering. Would I be so comfortable leaving my pets with strangers for several days at a time? What do you think? – Sara in Boston

Dear Sara: I personally am a little bit torn about this topic. While cats can generally do well on their own for a couple of days, I too wonder if I could leave a cat with strangers who are renting a property I own.

I expect that if both sides are clear about the arrangement –- the rental comes with a cat, and there’s an expectation to make sure food and water are available -– that it’s not a problem. But, what if the cat gets ill or injured? Are instructions available to the visitor such as the number of an emergency vet? And how much do I really know about visitors, even those that have good reviews on a home-sharing website like Airbnb?

I’d love to hear from cat owners who rent out their homes or apartments for weekends or longer. Are your pets part of the deal? Do you worry about it? What if a visitor doesn’t want to have a cat around? Email and let me know.

Originally published Oct. 6, 2016 via King Features Weekly Service.