Cancelling a sit after death of pet

Our elderly cat passed away this week which means we no longer require a sitter. We have had a couple booked for a 2 month sit since May. The sit is due to start in about 7 weeks but if we cancelled we would save a fortune on heating and electricity costs given this is a winter sit. Would we be wrong to cancel? I was also considering giving them the option of staying in the house if they agree to cover the heating costs. The sitters are on a year long trip so they would need to find another sit if we cancelled.

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That is sad.

Well, if it is a fortune for you, it is also a fortune for the sitters.

I suppose that you would want to maintain a minimum temperature anyway. You may also be interested in someone turning lights on and off, opening and closing curtains or blinds, so that the house looks occupied. Then 100 % of the heating costs does not seem quite fair.

But you should tell them about the cat. And discuss.

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Sorry to hear the sad news. I think it’s definitely extraordinary circumstance with the death of a pet so you’re well within your right to cancel. Offering the sitters the option to still come and pay the utilities is a nice plan b too. As @pietkuip says, talk to them and see what they think. It’s plenty of time for them to find another sit and this is how life rolls sometimes. Hope it all works out well.


Welcome to the forum @Wedge.66, so sorry it’s under these sad circumstances.

We are sitters and were once cancelled on when their cat died. It was just a 2 week sit, but the cancellation was also 2 months in advance. We looked for, and found, another housesit.

You will be within your rights to cancel. It is up to you if you want sitters in your home for security reasons. As @Cuttlefish says, it would be nice to offer your home on your terms, if you wanted sitters there, but it would be within your right to cancel if you didn’t want sitters there. They might not want to pay for utilities, so even if you offer, they might not take you up on it.

They have time to look for something else. We are traveling sitters too, and sometimes life throws curveballs like this, and we have to scramble to find alternatives. But we do, and all is well. We believe “we end up exactly where we are supposed to be”! Good luck.


Sorry should have made it clear that I was only suggesting the sitters cover the difference in cost not 100%. As you say we would have to keep the heating on low and there would still be some electricity costs. I just want to offer a fair alternative to cancellation.


Sorry to hear about your cat but you would be perfectly within your rights to cancel the sit and I would suggest you contact the sitters immediately explaining. 7 weeks should give them plenty of time to secure another sit. I had a sit cancelled with 2 weeks notice of the sit starting because the owners’ dog died suddenly. I was able to secure another sit, albeit the other side of England but that was fine.


@Wedge.66 - so sorry for your loss. It is very good of you to consider the sitter’s situation. I agree, just ask them and your offer of part payment seems more than fair. Explain your situation and give them the option and I hope all goes well.

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I can’t imagine a sitter complaining when a sit gets cancelled due to such sad circumstances. And it’s still 7 weeks away so chances are high they could find another sit. It is very kind of you to still be willing to offer your house, but don’t feel obligated to do that. I would say it’s fair to request partial pay on utilities if the sitters do decide to come as they won’t have to look after the cat anymore.


Same thing happened to me - a 6 week long sit was cancelled because sadly, the elderly cat died. It had not been well for quite a while.

I managed to find replacement sits for the 6 week period, and I decided then that in future I will not accept sits for cats aged 15+ as it is more likely they might be sickly or could die before the scheduled sit starts (or even during the sit).

On the other question, I would not continue with a sit where the cat had died and I was asked to contribute to the utility bills for 2 reasons:
1/ I am not interested in housesitting (ie without cats to look after) and
2/ I do not accept sits where I have to pay utility bills

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We all feel your loss and sadness @Wedge.66 in saying goodbye to your loved, elderly cat. As other sitters have said, 7 weeks should allow those sitters to get another sit or possibly a couple of sits to fill that gap. You are being considerate towards them in offering your home still with part contribution to the utilities.

There are sits I see advertised well in advance where the pet is elderly. The listing may be very appealing but I never apply as, come six months time, that dear pet may have died and my plans are quickly changed. I do think owners need to contemplate this when advertising so far in advance (I’m not saying this is what you did).

We have a 3 week sit coming up in 2 weeks for a very elderly dog who is on borrowed time. The HO pointed this out at the beginning to prepare us for a potentially sad outcome. The HO also told us that that we’d be very welcome to just have a ‘holiday’ in his lovely cottage if the dog does pass away. However, I think we’d look for another sit.
Post script, the dog is on new medication and is doing well!


I’m sorry about your pet passing, that is very sad. We go from petsit to petsit as well and 2 of our confirmed sits cancelled and I cannot even begin to tell you how much stress that put onto our family because it is very difficult to try and find replacement sits for the exact dates without overlaps on the front or back of the dates. I know it’s not optimal for you, but the right thing to do is to keep the sit date and if you didn’t agree on them covering the utilities during the interview process, coming back now and asking for utilities to be paid by the sitter is the wrong thing to do


I totally disagree with you. The owners in such a scenario are well within their rights to cancel and, as others have said, the sitters would no doubt understand and have 7 weeks to find another sit. Sitting as a family, as you do, you will have much more difficulty finding sits in such circumstances but that’s a choice you’ve made.


It’s definitely extraordinary circumstances @IHeartAnimals so the HO is completely entitled to cancel the sit. They’ve had enough stress. 7 weeks is enough to find another sit and they’re being kind enough to say their sitters can still come (as they’re on a year long travel plan) but please contribute to utilities. This seems very fair all round. We’ve had the same stress as you, on three international sits, one that announced cancellation as we landed on the runway in country (one of the most expensive destinations in the world too) & we rallied, sorted, replanned and rolled with it. #lifeofahousesitter


@Cuttlefish Entitled?

Allowed. Permitted. Within their rights. Deserving of. It’s an extraordinary circumstance.


@Smiley thanks for your input regarding my choice to apply as a family.


Thank you for the supportive comments and the condolences. I took the advice and contacted the sitters yesterday. Happily they were very understanding and are going to consider the option of staying and covering extra utility costs. I have told them that there is no hurry as it doesn’t really effect our planning. I also offered the option of them staying for a shorter period or periods if they were able to find other sits but not enough to fill the whole two months. I’m going to be as flexible as possible and hopefully it will be a good outcome for everyone.


@Wedge.66 that is very considerate of you to consider your sitters .

@Wedge.66 I think every committed sitter would appreciate your level of flexibility. You sound like the kind of caring considerate host we’d be very happy to sit for…:blush:
Meanwhile I’m so sorry for the loss of your beloved cat…:cat::pray::sleepy: