Are these strange questions to ask housesitter before confirming?

I haven’t used TH for a long time yet, and have just recently posted my first few dates. I got a couple of applications from sitters and saw one profile that I thought would be a good match, despite the fact that when they applied, they didn’t write any message to me but instead just a “.”
I got back to them with some questions that I read from this thread. However, they got back to me telling me the questions I was asking were distasteful. As such, I want to hear some opinions about what is considered an inappropriate question to ask? I would of course like to avoid any conflict or miscommunications with potential sitters.
For context, I asked whether they were insured, vaccinated, if they would have enough time for my cats (I didn’t specify what enough time meant - so this is my bad), and whether they had worked with rescue cats before.


It’s up to you what you ask. To be fair if you wanted to know those four pieces of information first and foremost I’d think you were looking for a professional, paid sitter. We’re not insured, we’re past asking about vaccinations in most places for example. It’s also about how you asked I guess. Distasteful is an odd word for them to choose :thinking:


If they didn’t write any text in their application, they have no right to complain about any questions you ask…
If I was the owner, I think I would have just declined them


As a sitter, I find those Qs rational for the most part.

Some considerations:

The insurance Q might put off some sitters, because it might come across as a homeowner expecting a professional pet sitting experience even though they’re not paying for a sitter. For me, I look for such signs and would avoid your sit. But I might be an outlier that way — I’m generally good at avoiding unnecessary trouble and people with questionable expectations.

The vaccination Q might offend some folks, because health and vaccinations are touchy subjects for some. Personally, I find it reasonable to ask if you have someone staying in your home and also might be overlapping with them for a night or so before and/or after the sit. I mention vaccinations in my profile for that reason. Personally, I know some folks who are immunocompromised and would still be taking precautions.


I am a home owner and ask the questions that seem necessary to me. These can differ from one home owner to another and that’s perfectly okay.
If someone doesn’t like my questions or doesn’t want to answer them, fine, but then we’re not a match.

I like my sitters to be on the same wavelength as me. Not only, because they probably will not be offended by certain questions or opinions, but also, because I need to like somebody, who will sleep in my bed for a longer period of time and who will use my toilet.


Yes, exactly. Personalities need to match.
If you criticise someone for the questions they ask, you’re very unlikely to get that pet sit anyway.


We’d prefer that you clarify certain things in your listing, e.g. “only vaccinated” or “only with insurance” (and specify what kind of insurance). Questions concerning my health would feel invasive to me, maybe that’s what people thought of as “distasteful”.


@1dbangtan as being vaccinated is a requirement for your sitters ; have you included it your listing ?

Then sitters who have read your listing and applied will know that you require this and shouldn’t be offended by the question and those who think it’s too intrusive won’t apply.


People are funny about questions, is what I’ve learnt :smiley:

It feels that you’ve asked about insurance/vaccination because you ‘should’, rather than because you want to know. Insurance - I’m not sure what you mean by that (in the UK) - travel insurance, health insurance, public liability insurance - or why you’re asking. Vaccination - presumably you mean Covid-19; possibly a relevant question if you/your household are immuno-compromised. As PP said though, in that case, it’s best to state this in your listing upfront.

Time with your cats and experience of rescue cats - perfectly reasonable and relevant.


Thank you for the input! I did not consider this, will definitely include these details in my listing moving forward :pray:


I indeed did not include this in my listing as it wasnt something I thought of before. Moving forward I am adding these details to my listing :pray:

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Thank you for your comments! I did not consider these details, definitely insightful.

Thank you for your input! I didn’t see it that way before, this is helpful :pray:

Really? In this country (Sweden) everybody has that. It is not a legal obligation but something that housing corporations etc require.

One HO asked me to send a copy of my insurance policy where liability is included. I thought that it was a bit extreme to demand proof but I complied.

In my opinion, it is perfectly reasonable to ask if the sitter has insurance.

Vaccinations… is that about countries with rabies or that kind of diseases?


My first question back would be what ‘insurance’ - car, travel, health, what?


The relevant part is liability insurance. I had mentioned that.

If someone applies for a sit without including any message, I would not invite them to the sit anyway. Sounds like potentially someone using an automated bot again to be amongst the first 5 people to apply. Behaviour that in my view should be discouraged → no message = no invite to sit.

Nonetheless, Covid vaccinations is something that here in Europe we’re long past, hence if someone would find that important, I would want it stated in their listing as otherwise it would be ‘none of their business’ since we don’t have a pandemic anymore. Re insurance - where I live in Europe, and I assume that’s true for most W/N European countries, it’s pretty much mandatory to be insured for personal legal liability.


In the UK according to an article in The Independent newspaper a few years ago which actually referenced THS it states that “Unpaid house-sitters such as friends and family should be covered under your existing insurance policy, but you should confirm this before you start looking.” I assume this includes those found via THS. This of course may be different in other countries.

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The . message may be a mistake or they may have done it as a result the 5 application limit hoping to follow it up with a longer message. Although I would I think a better option would be a message saying basically just that rather than a dot. Could be they think you would go look at their profile and that’s how it works?
As for the questions I find a couple of them odd and the “enough time for my cats” is a bit blunt so maybe just ask how much time they would be at home and able to interact with the cats. I work remotely when I’m sitting so I spend as much time with the pets as they’ll endure and go out.
If you have requirements such as limits on being left alone put this in the listing so that asking is more of a check on that than out of the blue questioning.
The ones I found odd are the insurance - what exactly are you expecting them to be insured for - and vaccination - what vaccinations are you expecting them to have. I’m going to take a stab here and assume you mean covid as that seems to be the only vaccinations that exist anymore in peoples minds. This may have been seen as inappropriate as they don’t see it as any of your business but unless you phrased it really. really weirdly I wouldn’t find it distasteful.
Maybe it was just a language barrier or a phrasing problem.
I do suggest, if you haven’t already, that you put these in your listing as a requirement (must be x, must have y, etc) so anyone who doesn’t want to offer up this information or meet the requirements doesn’t apply (I’m also sure some will still apply without reading)

Oh and welcome to the forum


@pietkuip Curious how Sweden’s liability insurance works.

In the U.S. there’s no general liability insurance carried by most people. We buy specific insurance, like for autos, home, business purposes (like if you’re a professional sitter). Even “umbrella” insurance purchased by some homeowners doesn’t typically cover stuff like sitting at someone else’s home. And from what I’ve heard, Americans are the largest part of membership (though that’s hearsay that I can’t verify).