Hi Lifehacker, We are planning a trip away for a month later this year and are thinking about trying to get a house sitter to look after our house and cat while we are away. We've asked friends without any luck so far. What advice do you have around finding house sitters? Thanks, Sitting Targets
Cat picture from Shutterstock
One site that’s definitely worth looking into is TrustedHousesitters.com. This is a listings site that attempts to match up house sitters with holidaying home owners with an emphasis on looking after pets: exactly what you’re looking for. As an added bonus, a sitter can usually be arranged free of charge, although you do have to pay to use the website (which we’ll get to in a moment).
The profiles on the website are highly detailed, offering references and detailed information on previous assignments. Naturally, you need to exhibit a degree of caution when letting a stranger stay in your house, but the same could be said of any housesitting service. On the plus side, police background check information is provided on registered user profiles.
TrustedHousesitters also allows you to hire a local pet minder who will stop by your house daily to dispense meals and engage in playtime. An obvious drawback to this method is that you won’t have anyone looking after your cat 24/7 -- if it gets into strife, the minder won't find out about it until their next scheduled visit. (Plus, an empty house is more likely to get robbed.) In other words; go with the sitter option.
As mentioned, most sitters registered on the website provide their services free of charge -- the idea is that they look after your pet in return for free board, which is fair enough. That said, using the website isn’t free. The site charges a $29.99 fee to register homeowners for a month, or you can pay $89.95 to join for a whole year. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, there’s a 28-day money back guarantee on all plans.
Another option worth considering is to register your house on Airbnb. This is a crowdsourced accommodation site that allows people to temporary rent out their place for a predetermined time period. Guests book and pay the host a nightly fee which is set up in advance. You can read some excellent Airbnb hosting tips here.
The downside of this method is that it will be harder to find a house sitter who is willing to look after your pet (after all, you wouldn't look after the hotel manager's cat while on holidays, would you?) However, the money you make from this venture should be more than enough to send your cat to a professional boarding kennel.
If any readers have house sitting/pet minding tips of their own to share, please let ST know in the comments section below.
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