Advice on a pet sit

Hi there, I’m currently on a pet sit in Europe which I’ve accepted semi last minute. I was originally suppose to be going to Spain but the owner cancelled. This pet sitting job has 8 cats, and no previous reviews have been left as no one has ever pet sit this house before, I am the first.

I’ve house sit plenty of times in Australia, this is my first in Europe and I’m use to all the ins and outs with house sitting etc. however, my question is, how much is too much when it comes to requests from the owner?

This owner lives on a very large property with a huge garden, trees, bushes etc, and all the 8 cats are free to roam. One cat has ran off immediately and is too scared to come back into the house to see me.

However, the owner wants me to constantly take photos of all the cats every day to send to her. If I tell her I haven’t seen one cat for maybe half a day, she goes into a panic and asks me to search every where all over her property, which has taken me over an hour and I still can’t find the cat (this is today).

Previously to this, she was here as I arrived and didn’t leave for 2 days. While she was here, a cat of her did not come home one night and she was shouting at me to help find her. The cat finally came home and had a cut on its face. She was telling me to “do my job” and get her to come into the house constantly shouting at me that I am not doing enough or scaring her cats away.

I am very easy going and willing to help out around the house, but I am also constantly on edge that I am not doing everything up to her standards. I’ve had to hire a bike to get around the area, and I have a feeling she doesn’t like me leaving as I have to have constant eyes on the cats.

I’m just not sure if I am over thinking this, or is this a lot to ask of me to have constant eyes on 8 outdoor cats on a 1/2 an acre property or the owner shouts at me or gets very anxious which makes me very anxious.

I have a lot more requests made from the owner, but that is another story as well.



Are you sure? Have you checked the app? (There one can see missing reviews.)

It sounds a bit like some story that I have read here before. A Greek island? But there may be several such sits.

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Sorry to hear you are having a hard time. It sounds like the HO is being very unreasonable and that some general anxiety is being projected out onto the cats. I can’t say for sure what I would do in that circumstance.

One of our first sits involved 4 cats that roamed the property all day (and even sometimes went off the property even though the HO said they didn’t.) and we needed to find them all near sundown and bring them in. One of them went missing on the second day and never returned–luckily the HO did not hold us responsible as she shouldn’t since it was out of our control.

This was a 6 month sit and I found this element very stressful for a number of reasons, namely there being a lot of snakes in the area. After this experience, I decided to no longer do sits with cats that were permitted to roam all day long and then were expected to be brought in at night.

Again, can’t say for sure how I would handle that situation but I did want to say that this could be a good learning experience.

Like me, you could decide sits with cats like this are one of your ‘deal breakers’ moving forward; or maybe there was some kind of red flag about her you might have brushed off because you were in a bind with the cancellation and just wanted to fill the dates. Reflecting on that is often very helpful for people because if they did feel something was off, it will give them more confidence to trust those instincts in the future.

Good luck!


Yes this seems too much and i completley feel for you.
Now ive been abit of a mad cat lady and concerned about my own cats when i was away, but a reassurance was enough. I often didnt need pictures just honesty from the person looking after them.
I tend to feel that most likely the HO feels overly responsible for her pets and is reflecting this back to you. 8 is alot to keep track of 24/7. Cats too like humans need there own space.
I also had a cat that wandered and if the person looking after hadnt seen them for a few days i would be concerned but not to the point that the person could necessarily do anything apart from keep putting food down.
Sadly being anxious around cats really doesnt work well, as they sense it. I sort of hope that maybe in a day or two being away from responsibility will have a positive effect on the HO.
I cant really think of how to improve the sit but i dont think youre overthinking, just picking up the HOs anxieties.


No, no one has ever house sit for this lady before, she told me I am the first.


Yes you’re right. I will take this as a learning opportunity and not apply for sits with roaming cats. As much as I love cats, this has become very stressful to ensure they are all home by a certain time.


I too understand wanting to keep track of your pets, but I didn’t realise not laying eyes on them every hour would cause her so much stress, and in turn cause me so much stress to “find” them.


If she has never had a sitter then you should push back. You know the ropes & “normal” expectations and she doesn’t. We had a similar situation in Sri Lanka last year. We pushed back, she didn’t listen, we wrote to her saying please find different house sitters as this is not the deal and we are not staff or caretakers & she then behaved. If you don’t set your boundaries out it will be a long old sit & stressful. Maybe say “I think you’re confused on how this platform works. I take care of the cats & don’t pay accommodation in return. One message a day is normal from sitter to host. Gardening is not part of the remit unless agreed in advance. If this isn’t what you need from an unpaid sitter then please feel free to make other arrangements as this is not the sit for me.” Or similar. And see what happens. #youreworthit


You need to be more assertive with the home host. Tell her you’ll send pics when they turn up. Its not your job to go searching for cats that are doing what they are meant to do!


The HO is unreasonable. I have two indoor/outdoor cats and tell my sitters that if they don’t show up, not to worry as that is the risk one takes when they allow cats to roam.

I have a lot of experience with cats and a listing that says the cats need to be brought in at night, or, can be outside with supervision - is a hard pass for me. Cats are cats and will do as they want. For indoor/outdoor cats I always have a conversation with the HO to discuss the possibility of the cat not returning. If I get the sense they have unreasonable expectations on my responsibility in such a situation, I won’t take the sit.

Were these expectations/requests laid out in the listing, or, in conversation BEFORE the sit started?


With 8 outdoor cats that are allowed to roam freely outdoors comes with risks. There are potential dangers such as being injured or picking up some type of disease. A cat not coming home does not give the HO the right to talk to you as if you are her hired staff. The HO yelling at you is unacceptable, is stressful, and does not help matters.

Stick up for yourself and tell her that you don’t appreciate her talking to you that way.

As one of the cats did not return home on the HO’s watch, it is unrealistic for her to expect for you to keep an eye on 8 roaming cats.

Are the cats microchipped? wear tags / collars?

Maybe something like a reflective collar would help at nighttime.

Were all of these requests outlined in the Welcome Guide? During Video chat?

If not, you would be under no obligation to do duties not discussed / agreed upon and well within your rights to simply say, “No”.


All it says in “responsibilities” section on the application is to water her plants and keep cats in at night.

I also had to ask her for the welcome guide and she asked me the house is a normal house I don’t need to fill it out. She finally did fill it out for me, but she didn’t include much more just one emergency contact.

She kept saying she will fill me in when I arrive. However, she was very frantic and upset about the sick cat when I arrived she barely got to telling me any “rules/responsibilties”, usually just shouting them at me in the moment like “use the water filter, don’t waste water”, “don’t leave the doors open, we live on a mountain the wind will break the house”. She very briefly shown me her very complex recycling routine, but is very strict about this and watched me carefully as I had to take each section apart and put it in the correct spot. I could go on …. But all this was when I got there, no interview.

This was definitely my fault I will say not initiating more information sooner, I have a pet sit after this in France which I have already had an interview with the owner and all the guidelines are very straight forward. 3 more days to go…


Thank you for your response. In all honestly, this is an lady, who’s English isn’t amazing and who has lived alone for a long time. I definitely wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt that she was anxious, but I totally agree that talking to someone that way isn’t acceptable.

Edited to meet posting Guidelines


I hope for you this is a short sit.


How sweet and respectful of you to consider her age and descent (none of which should really matter when it comes to how we treat other people). I am afraid if you let her treat you the way she does and you won´t set the boundaries it may result in a poor review. Once the boundary is set try to explain the exchange arrangement the two of you agreed to. Good luck


Do please remember to leave a factual review of your experience. There is a blind review system in place with several categories to ‘score’.


I feel the worst thing to do when you cant find a cat is to try and find it, its likely hiding and doesnt want to be found until its comfy, so “chasing” it will make it worse. Just sit back, relax, put your feet up and ignore them all for a bit, let them come to you. Open a can of tuna and see what happens! :wink:


Would you be able to point me in the direction of other examples of peoples reviews left? I want to be honest and truthful but I also want to give praise to our my guest house is clean and tidy etc

Haha exactly, and you wouldn’t believe it, I walked down to my guest house and there he was. Completely fine. I just feel this happens too regularly I shouldn’t waste nearly half my day worrying about finding a “missing” cat.


Look at the file for the sit you have coming up in France. If you click on the Reviews section you can see the reviews that previous sitters have given them.