Ask LH: Where Can I Find A Good House Sitter To Look After My Cat?

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

Dear ST

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.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    Aussiehousesitters.com.au
    Used it as a house sitter and about to use it to look for a house sitter.
    Highly recommend it.

      We used it and it was good, however I don't think our housesitter liked our cats. So we'll have to find someone else for our next trip.

    If you're not too fussed with having someone stay full-time at your house (my cats are on their own while I'm at work anyway, they don't need someone there 24/7 - and to be honest, they probably wouldn't appreciate a new person hanging around THEIR house either :P ), you can also get in touch with local cat rescue groups. They often know people who they can recommend as a pet sitter.
    I did this recently. The owner of a cat rescue group wanted to go away, and [on facebook] asked for recommendations for pet sitters for herself. I went through all the replies and found someone that was recommended and close to me, and went with them.
    I also checked out the facebook wall of the business, and sent a few messages. All looked good, so I went ahead with it, and was very pleased.
    Granted, I was away for less than a week, but I'd happily use the same service again. They collected mail, fed my fish, and put bins out too.

    I used Aussie Housesitter and had a good experience too. My senior citizen cat was spoiled while I was away and the house kept in reasonable order. Their website has lots of tips on how to select a sitter. Note that if you live in a desirable location for a tourist - trendy suburb, by the beach and so on you will be inundated with offers. Allow yourself plenty of time to select and interview your sitter (BTW it goes both ways - they may not want to sit for you either). If you are concerned about your property you may prefer to use a house sitting service that has mandatory police checks on the house sitters - these services typically charge the owners as well as the sitters.

    I've used TrustedHousesitters.com/au before - was a brilliant experience. My cat is getting on and i really didn't want to put her into a cattery plus she is diabetic so needs medication daily. I found a brilliant couple from England who were visiting their son here in Sydney and offered to look after Misty my cat. They were retired and clearly loved Misty and managed my home and garden while i was away - the whole experience was smooth, so i wouldn't hesitate to use them again. It's a clear to use site as well and i like the fact i could search for people with police checks - although the couple i choose didn't have one, i just really clicked with them on Skype and she had worked in the industry i now work in so i felt an affinity immediately with them! Great concept and saved me a fortune.

    Me, me me :)) I'm crazy cat lady (except I'm 27y old male :-D )
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200646712873430&l=598529a921
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201122653051637&l=32e92463a5
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4311651912688&l=c2056624b7
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201064763804442&l=b9af86c7f4

    Thanks for the tip about Aussiehousesitters.com.au

    Hi, my partner and I are full-time international house sitters. Originally from Australia, we now travel full-time around the world looking after people's homes and pets while they are away. We absolutely love it. We also publish a mobile magazine 'House sitting World' and run a Facebook Group 'House Sitting World' where we have over 750 house sitters and home owners connect, share stories, tips and referral house sits. We have many people in our group that are avid fans of house sitting and always strive to do a great job on their house sitting assignments. Our aim with the group is to answer questions and provide the best information for people looking to house sit or use house sitters, so they are armed with the best information from other experienced house sitters in the group.

    We are members of Trusted House Sitters ourselves, and so far have found all of our sits through there and word of mouth, which is a big thing in this industry as you can probably imagine. THS is the largest house sitting site due to their large amount of media exposure and advertising they have done in recent years. There are 2 other main international sites, Mind My House and House Carers, which many in our group use to find both sits and home owners to place assignments. AussieHouseSitters is a regional site mainly focused on Australia.

    One of the reasons we created our Facebook group was so home owners could actually get to know they types of people who sit, and realise that people who are serious about house sitting are out there and very capable and responsible people, who just chose to either travel with house sitting, or like us have a lifestyle that uses house sitting.

    If you would like to join our group and learn more about house sitting and the people that are doing it, and possibly even find a house sitter, you are more than welcome to join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/housesittingworld.

    Best of luck
    Nat

    I would highly recommend StayMe and MindMyHome http://www.stayme.com.au
    I've used them both last year and the house sitters were very professional and I saved heaps!

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