pet sitter taking care of a cat
Facebook Pinterest Twitter

How to Find and Choose a Trusted Pet Sitter

Est. read time: 6 min.

You've decided to hire a pet sitter! Maybe you're ready to get out of town and read our piece on why a house sitter will make you and your cat happy.  So, how do you choose the best pet sitter?

While it's a relief to leave your fur baby in the comfort of your home, you may be worried about finding someone who will take care of your pets the way you do. Will they feed them on time? Cuddle them? Play with them? Love them?

Thankfully, there are thousands of experienced pet sitters whose priority it is to make your pet happy and comfortable. Use these steps to sort through your options and find the best pet sitter for your furry friend.

1.  Decide where to look for a pet sitter

looking for a pet sitter online

Pet sitters are available across the web and right in your neighborhood. Where you decide to look will depend on your style, budget, and comfort level with strangers.

  • Family and friends. If someone you know is free and, most importantly, reliable, they can be a good option for pet sitting, especially if you feel uneasy about trusting your pet to someone new. 
  • Trusted House Sitters. The largest global web platform with free pet sitters for various pets. You can review a sitter's profile, read reviews, and see various types of verification and background checks. You can get a pretty good idea of a sitter's personality and assurance of their qualifications.
  • Another local pet sitter option has cat and dog care for a daily fee (make sure to check out the house sitting section). A cool benefit of online platforms is that those sitters have access to pet care professionals if questions or concerns arise during their stay.
  • Mind My House. A network of house and pet sitters with a low annual fee. Depending on the arrangement, most house sitters work for free and may even pay their share of utility bills.

Whether you pick a professional or a pet-loving friend, ensure they will properly care for your pet and send you regular updates on their well-being. 

2. Create a requirements list

pet sitter requirements list

Make a checklist BEFORE you start looking for a sitter! This will save you so much time and make your decision easier.

Each pet has their own unique needs, personality quirks, and health considerations. Similarly, every pet sitter comes with their own set of skills, qualifications, and personality traits. By listing out exactly what you and your pet need, you will have a better idea of who will be most qualified for the job. 

Assess your pet's needs

Consider your pet's personality. How long can they be left alone during the day? Do they tend to get into trouble when bored? Will they be comfortable with a man, woman, or couple? Consider the following factors: 

  • Feeding schedule: Does your pet have specific dietary needs or feeding times?
  • Exercise needs: How often does your pet need to be walked or let outside? In the case of cats, how active are they? Do they need more playtime, or are they on the lazier side? 
  • Medical requirements: Does your pet have any medical conditions that require special attention or medication administration?
  • Behavioral considerations: Does your pet have any behavioral issues or anxieties that a sitter should know?
  • Socialization: Is your pet comfortable around other animals or people, or do they prefer solitude?

Define sitter qualifications

Once you have a clear understanding of your pet's needs, outline the qualifications you expect from a pet sitter:

  • Experience: Some pets may be low maintenance, but an experienced pet sitter will always be preferable. Look for sitters with experience caring for pets similar to yours, whether the species, breed, or size.
  • Training and certification: Consider sitters who have completed pet care training courses or are certified in pet first aid and CPR.
  • References and reviews: Request references from previous clients to gauge the sitter's reliability, professionalism, and rapport with pets.
  • Insurance: If you choose a professional pet sitter, ensure they are properly insured to protect against any accidents or liabilities that may occur during their care.

Consider personality match

The sitter's qualifications and personality should match your pet's temperament and needs. A rescue pet may need someone quiet. A diabetic cat requires someone experienced in giving shots. Younger pets demand a sitter with creativity and energy. Make a checklist of both necessary and desired sitter attributes.

Beyond qualifications, your ideal pet sitter should be:

  • Patient
  • Compassionate
  • Flexible
  • Communicative

Now that your checklist is ready, it's time to start looking for the perfect sitter.

3.  Post an ad or contact pet sitters

posting an ad for a pet sitter

In the search phase, you gather names of potential sitters. If you have a personal referral, call them to see if they are available during the window you'll be away and set up an interview.

For web platforms, you will register and create a profile. Setting up a profile will be a breeze because the information you need is on your checklist.

On some websites, you post your travel dates and wait for potential sitters to apply. On other sites, you search for sitters and contact them. Some sites offer a combination of these two strategies.

4.  Review candidates and choose the winner

looking for a pet sitter with a cat

Narrowing down the candidates

By now, you probably have a list of potential sitters. It's time to narrow down the contenders to your top three. At this stage, be sure to trust your instincts! As a pet parent, you have an excellent idea of who your fur baby will get along with best. Eliminate the applicants who give you doubts or concerns.

Look at each remaining candidate against your checklist. Rule out those who do not match, then do your best to choose your top three choices.

Choosing a winner

If possible, set up a video interview with your candidates. If video isn't possible, ask for a phone call. The goal is to be sure communication with this person is easy. It also gives the candidate time to ask questions and make sure they are comfortable coming to your home.

Before making a decision, consider the following: 

  • Availability
  • Price
  • Reviews 
  • Professionalism

At last, you can choose the best sitter for your pet! Notify the winner and give yourself a pat on the back. You've done everything possible to ensure your pet is happy and safe while you are away. Now you can get your furry friend ready for their staycation!

6. Get ready for the pet sitter 

preparing supplies before a pet sitter takes care of your cat

Organize what needs to be done into three areas: getting your pet ready, getting your house ready, and creating thorough pet sitter instructions for your pet's house sitter. 

Standard care includes feeding, grooming, medications, teeth brushing, playtime, dog-walking, and cat litter cleaning. If you have an automatic litter box, be sure to make note of it, as it makes the sitter's job much easier.