6 min read

Pet Parenting 101: How to Find the "Purrfect" Cat Sitter

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Overview

Finding the best possible care for your cat when you’re away is a challenge for every pet parent. While you could book your fluffball in for a stay at a cattery or pet boarding facility, for many pets, the best solution is in-home pet sitting. Hiring a sitter lets your cat stay in familiar surroundings and enjoy all the comforts of home while you’re gone, which can help make your absence much less stressful.

But finding the best cat sitter is far from easy. The sitter you choose not only needs to love animals, but they must also be someone you can rely on to care for your cat and look after your home. They should also be a great communicator (with people and with animals). Having plenty of pet sitting experience is a big plus, too. 

To help you find the “purrfect” cat sitter, let’s take a look at the key characteristics that make a wonderful pet sitter.


The essentials

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a pet sitter, so it’s hard to know where to start when shopping around for the perfect person. To help you narrow down the options, these are the essential features a cat sitter must have to care for your pet.

Trustworthiness

Not only will you welcome the pet sitter into your home, but you’ll also be entrusting them with caring for your fur-baby. Which means the person you choose must be completely reliable and trustworthy. You need to find someone you can trust to show up on time, never cancel on you at the last minute, provide all the love and care your cat needs, and treat your home and belongings with respect.

Good communication skills

Being away from your cat is stressful for every pet parent, so you need a sitter who can constantly keep you up to date about your pet’s health, behavior, activities, and general wellbeing until you return. Good interpersonal communication skills are also important to ensure that your sitter understands exactly what is required to care for your cat.

A great relationship with your pet

The health and happiness of your cat are obviously your top concerns. Not only do you want to find a sitter that is knowledgeable about cat care and loves cats, but you also want to find someone who loves your cat. Use your first booking with a sitter as a trial run so you can figure out what sort of rapport they have with your pet and whether they understand and manage your cat’s needs.

person holding the paw of a tabby cat against a white bed sheet

The nice-to-haves

There are lots of cat sitters out there who offer the 3 essentials above. To find the right person to care for your cat, you’ll need to dig a little deeper. The characteristics below may not be crucial in a pet sitter, but they’re nice to have to ensure quality care for your kitty and peace of mind for you. 

Cat care certifications

Some pet sitters have earned pet care qualifications to boost their knowledge and skills. For example, you may find a sitter who has completed a pet first aid course or completed a grooming certification.

Animal shelter experience

Some sitters have prior experience working as volunteers in animal shelters. This not only tells you that they’re passionate about caring for animals, but that they also have experience in the pet care field. 

Prior experience with cats like yours

If your cat needs medication or other types of special care, you may want to look for a pet sitter with previous experience looking after cats with similar issues. It’s a good idea to check any reviews to see what previous clients have to say about their sitting skills.

A flexible schedule

When the unexpected happens, it’s good to have a sitter who can come to the rescue at short notice. Chat with your cat sitter before you book to learn more about their availability and working hours.

A glowing endorsement from someone you know

Ask friends, family, and even your vet if they've hired any local, in-home pet sitters before. A personal recommendation from someone you trust can be a big help when finding the best person to care for your pet. 

An affordable price

The price tag will often be a factor when choosing a cat sitter. If you can find a few candidates who tick all the boxes, compare rates to find the person who offers the best value for money.


Questions to ask a prospective cat sitter

Think you’ve found the right person to mind your cat while you’re away? Before deciding whether they’re the “purrfect” match for your pet, have a 1-on-1 chat to find out more about what they have to offer.

Questions you should ask include: 

  • How much experience do you have working with animals, and in what role(s)?
  • How long have you been a cat sitter?
  • Can you provide any references?
  • Do you have any pet care qualifications or training? 
  • Are you insured and bonded?
  • Do you have any other responsibilities or obligations that you may need to take care of while looking after my pet?
  • What would you do if my cat had some sort of medical emergency?
  • What pet sitting services are covered by your fee? Do you charge any extra fees on top of your nightly rate for additional services, like medication administration?
  • How will you stay in touch with me while I’m away?
  • Is there anything you’d like to ask me?

When you find the sitter who ticks all the boxes, it’s time to tee up a sleepover for your fur-baby.

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Communicating with your cat sitter

Good communication is a vital skill for a cat sitter, but it’s something that needs to go both ways.  If you’re going to maintain a strong relationship with your sitter, it’s important that you show them plenty of respect too.

Picture this: you’re away from your cat for the first time ever and you’re missing them desperately. You want to know everything: are they missing you, what have they been up to today, and what are they doing right now? You’re about to start bombarding your pet sitter with texts and phone calls — but before you get in touch, remember these simple etiquette tips:

Be nice

Don’t treat a pet sitter like some sort of servant you expect to respond to your demands 24/7. Instead, be polite and respectful at all times to show them how much you appreciate their help.

Respect their boundaries

Check the time before you call or message. It’s not fair to hassle your pet sitter at all hours of the night, so limit your communications to reasonable times of the day or evening.

Don’t ask too much of them

There are some tasks it’s quite reasonable to ask a pet sitter to perform, like checking the mail or giving your cat a daily dose of medication. But make sure you know where to draw the line — ask a pet sitter to do something well outside their realm of responsibility, and they won’t be keen to take on any future sitting requests from you.

Don’t pester them

We know you miss your pet, but there’s a difference between checking up on your fur-baby and turning into a bit of a stalker. After going through such a rigorous vetting process, you need to trust that your pet is in safe hands and is receiving the best possible care. Sure, ask for regular updates, but don’t send a constant stream of messages which will only annoy and frustrate the sitter.

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Preparing your home for a sitter

If you’ve never welcomed a pet sitter into your home before, the first time can be a little daunting. The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to prepare your home for a sitter and ensure that your cat receives top-notch care while you’re away. Make sure you:

Provide detailed instructions

Give the sitter all the info they need to look after your cat, including advice on feeding, medications, behavior, daily schedule, emergency contacts, and your pet’s likes and dislikes. You’ll also need to leave instructions to help make the sitter more comfortable in your home — how to adjust the thermostat, when to take out the trash, which plants need watering, and things like that.

Lay down the house rules

Make sure the sitter is aware of where in the home your pet is and isn’t allowed to go, what they are and aren’t allowed to do, and any other special care needs. Leaving written rules is the best way to avoid any confusion.

Make the essentials easy to find

Put all of your pet’s food, treats, medications, water dishes, toys, litter trays, and any other essentials in an easy-to-find place.

Put your valuables away

If it’s expensive, breakable, or just has sentimental value, put it away somewhere safe. Make sure any items that are potentially dangerous to your pet are also stored well out of reach.

Roll out the welcome mat

The more comfortable the sitter is, the better they’ll be able to provide high-quality care to your pet. Stock up on all the household essentials they may need, and provide all the pillows and blankets they need to settle in for a relaxing stay.

You’ll find lots of other useful info in our guide to preparing your dog and home for a pet sitter.




Ready to schedule a sleepover for your kitty? Book a cat sitter with Wag! today and treat your pet to 5-star loving care while you’re away.



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