Pet sitting is a job on the rise, so we decided to dig deeper into how love for animals can translate into seeing the world. Though our focus is cat sitting, similar rules apply to dog sitters.
In the past decades, pets officially became family members. We treat them as our children: buy them food, take care of them when they are tiny and old and sick. We play with them, buy them clothes, and pretty much treat them as equals.
If you have a cat or a dog, or any other similar animal, you know what unconditional love means, and you are aware that nothing is too pricey or too good for your fur baby.
Pet Sitting Is Often A Better Option For Your Fur Baby
When it comes time for a vacation or business travel, you might find yourself in a disturbing situation. Sure, calling your friends to take care of your kitty or pup might work this time, but what about the next?
For most pets, traveling can be pretty stressful, and to be honest, it is not the best way to spend your time abroad by watching your beloved kitten sitting in a foreign room, wondering how to escape and where.
Just like you would hire a babysitter for a child, any good pet owner knows that there is nothing wrong with hiring a pet sitter. But, it cannot be just any random person.
So, how do you become a cat sitter, for example? And what can you get from this experience?
We spoke to Madolline, a young woman with the highest ratings in cat sitting jobs, about the burning questions for those who want to become pet sitters and those in need of one.
Cat Sitting: Madolline Answers Most Common Pet Sitting Questions
Madolline is an Australian writer, blogger, and five-star rated cat sitter. No, this is not an ad for her, but it was easier to understand the duties of a cat sitter from first-hand experiences.
Madolline applied for a housesitting job, and by pure chance, stumbled upon an ad for a couple looking for someone to take care of their home and cat in San Francisco.
Let's see how that went:
Madolline about her first night cat sitting in the US
"I don't really remember much from the first night. I remember the morning well, though, as the couple were about to leave for their family Christmas. Harvey, the cat, had only been with them for about six months, so he was still getting used to the idea of humans. He was a feral/street cat found in a nearby town, so he didn't interact with people. He didn't run away and hide, but he seemed kind of confused by me."
"I wasn't scared by the responsibility of looking after Harvey and the couple's apartment, but I was interested to see how it would go. As it turned out, it went really well, and I was very eager to go on another house and cat sitting adventure."
If someone wanted to start housesitting plus pet sitting as a way to see the world, what would you tell them?
"I think I got pretty lucky because I got the first house and pet sit I applied for. But for people starting out now, house and pet sitting seems a lot more competitive since COVID. More people are responding to ads now compared to when I started in 2017. "
"My advice to would-be house and pet sitters would be to start responding to local ads first. Apply for house and pet sits in your city or state before applying for ones in another country. The more positive reviews you get will make it easier for you to get a house and pet sitting on the other side of the world."
The best cat sitting moment
"The most memorable cat award goes to Jasper from Charleston (above). He was SO food-obsessed. He would stand up on his hind legs at dinner time and try to swipe the can of wet food off the counter. I even caught him in the trash (which was kept in a cupboard under the sink) licking the lid of the wet food can. When I realized what he was doing, his face was like, "Uh oh! I've been caught!."
Bad experiences while cat sitting
"There was one time when the cat I was caring for didn't come home for hours. He was an inside-outside cat, and the lady said he needed to be in by nighttime. I remember freaking out and thinking the cat had run away because he didn't like me. Thankfully he came home at 10/11 pm… This is the only bad experience I've had with cats while house and pet sitting."
The biggest misconception about pet sitting
"A lot of people think I get paid to do it! I don't. There are paid pet sitting opportunities out there, but I think that's more about having someone come over once or twice a day to feed your pet, and then they go back to their own house."
"I often get asked if I am ever tempted to through people's things. I definitely don't. I feel guilty even going through their kitchen drawers to find things like trash liners, a knife, or a coffee mug."
Housesitting And Taking Care Of Kittens, While Traveling The World
You don't need the experience to keep up with a healthy, vital kitty. However, you need to understand the cat's needs, sort of speak their language, and make their separation from the owners as easy as possible.
Your duties are to feed, play with the kitty, clean up after it goes potty, and send updates to owners. Of course, you should know a thing or two if something goes wrong, but overall, you are free most of the day.
Now, keep in mind that you are responsible for someone's precious pet, and though you get to live rent-free wherever to explore and meet new people, the pet comes first.
As for our heroine, Madolline, her next destination was Boston, where she had the pleasure to be a cat sitter for Babyness and Cocoa Puff. And yes, the owner still keeps in touch with Madolline, and two senior Persians are looking quite healthy.
After some time in her native country, Madolline went back to the States. She took care of two seniors, and it turned out to be a laid-back, chill adventure with two naughty seniors. Yes, we are talking about cats, aged 15 and 19 at the time.
As we soon learned from this housesitter turned cat sitter, each cat is different, and the owners leave various requirements for their precious pets.
After caring for over 40 cats in the United States and Australia, Madolline has new destinations and new kittens in mind: Canada and Scotland in 2022.
What To Expect From Your Cat Sitting Experience?
A cat sitter is a housesitter who lives rent-free and takes care of the pets. Usually, there are no monetary transactions since it is all about traveling and having everything you need in the home you are housesitting.
Cats do not like to travel. They pretty much love their routine and their space. However, they are often suspicious when their humans are not around, and they need time to adjust to a new person.
While you don't have to take cats out for walkies, you need to spend time making them feel that everything is okay.
It is clear that you have to love cats and know how to "read" their behavior to be a cat sitter. Or merely a housesitter with a cat in it.
Some owners will let you be the judge, while others will come with strict rules. Either way, you should listen to what they have to say and enjoy your two loves: kittens and exploring the world.
You will be given a list of instructions, from using a washing machine to feeding the precious fluff. Unless the homeowners say otherwise, you should treat their home as your own.
However, it does not include wild parties with strangers or bringing down your whole family to visit. When you are housesitting, it is just you and the pets.
You won't fall in love with every cat, but you will fall for some, so much so that you will want to check out with homeowners once in a while.
That special bond will last a lifetime, and so will all the worldly sightseeings you, otherwise, wouldn't be able to see.
Our Brisbane traveler Madolline shared photos, and if you are a cat lover with a passion for traveling, you might want to visit her blog, One Cat At A Time, to know more about this unusual profession.
Similar experiences go for housesitters specializing in dogs, though it is essential to know that just because you know how to take care of a cat doesn't mean you know anything about dogs.
The process is similar, but dogs are clingier, with less sense of boundaries.
Madolline saw all major American cities and gave us these fantastic photos and videos. This profession might seem odd now, but it is on the rise.
As we said, our pets are getting the same treatments as children. Yes, this is a job of the future, and though it doesn't provide financial security, if you work remotely, this might be the ideal solution and opportunity of a lifetime!