Cat gone missing during sit - what to do?!

Hi all, very new to THS here!
Have a sitter currently in my home whilst my partner and I are in different overseas locations working. All was going pretty well so far, until yesterday morning. My cats are indoor and this was explicitly clear in the welcome pack, listing, and when we spoke. I said to not open windows more than a crack, as it’s winter, and one of my cats will take a chance when he can. Our house is new, and we have been living there for about 3 months. My cat (the escape artist) has been out a few times here and there but come back within a few hours or so.
I got a message yesterday to say that she had opened a window and he had slipped out, turns out this was a first floor window and he fell out of it. He ran off and was seemingly fine, but has not been seen since about 1AM - over 12 hours ago now. He’s never been outside overnight (until last night…)
Does anyone have any tips about the following:

  • how to advise on how to get my cat back when I’m working overseas in a different time zone.
  • how to go about raising a complaint via THS(?) because the “trusted” bit is a crucial component and frankly, losing my cat is kind of not the ideal thing and I’d like my money (and cat) back in all honesty.
  • the review process in this situation. I don’t want to crush her dreams of house sitting or hurt her feelings too much, as I appreciate it was an error.

Any advice welcome, I’m beside myself and feel sick with worry.


I would say that putting this in the review is interesting based on the above.

Perhaps wait until you see how it works out and then make mention if need be.

I would not open a window with no screens as a sitter in the Winter with an escape artist cat unless I HAD TO then I would make an effort to block the cat’s access.

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These tips should help her find the cat: You can probably find someone to lend a trap, eapecially if you post on neighborhood spcial media.

If she can leave a door cracked open, the cat might return. I had one indoor/putdoor cat on a sit that took forever to return. I sat watching TV with the front door cracked open and his food just inside, and he eventually returned

I know this must be very worrying for you. The cat is probably very close, maybe hiding under bushes.

I really hope your cat returns - I can only imagine how stressful this is for you.

How much longer is your trip? And is the sitter new to THS, or very experienced? That would make a difference to me in terms of review (assuming the best case outcome, which is that your cat returns unharmed before your return).

The cat will probably be starving by now, I would leave some food where they can get it, preferably just inside, and keep a very close watch out. Maybe mention in your review that the sitter left a window open after specifically being told not to.

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Oh no! That’s my worst nightmare as a sitter. If I heard a cat was an escape artist I’d be reluctant to open a window but maybe a smoke alarm was going off or something? Or he pushed through a very small gap.

I hope you find him. Perhaps consider ordering a camera trap on amazon so you can see if he’s close by. How old is he? I’ve heard that some young cats before around 3 have an insatiable desire to wander.

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Where I am based most cats are indoor cats and local FB groups are always full of lost cat posts because even non escape artists have a way of getting out. Recommendations I’ve seen are to leave bedding and litter boxes in front of the door for the smell. When I’ve dealt with cats out past their curfew I also find the good old shaking of food containers outside (or opening food containers if your cat is food orientated) helps if you do it often. You could also do a post on your local community FB page or a lost pet finder website that covers your area and see if anyone has spotted your cat. Lastly, depending on if the sitter hasn’t really bonded with the cat and if you have any friends or locals the cat is really attached to it might be helpful to ask them to have a look for the cat around the neighbourhood in case that brings it out of its hiding spot.

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The most vital thing here surely is to locate your cat? Complaints, refunds and feedback issues are secondary considerations right now, i would have thought.

Have you instructed your sitter to get outside and search the neighbourhood, @jgr ? She should be looking under hedges and shrubs, calling the cat, shaking treats boxes, knocking on doors and asking neighbours to check outhouses etc. Facebook groups should be alerted too (just google what’s available in your area). Animal shelters can also be called (your sitter should already be on this and providing you with updates, is that happening?).

One other thought; is your cat neutered?

Your cat will hopefully return home when he gets hungry or tires of the great outdoors.

Wishing you the best if luck. Please keep us updated.


Do you have a friend or relative nearby who can take charge and help?
If not, and I’m going to be honest here, I would come. I might come home anyway because the cat could be nearby and frightened and more likely to respond to you and come home to you.
Is the sitter actually taking this on and doing anything?
What actions is the sitter taking?
Are you in the United States? One very helpful site is on Faceback. Go here to start: There may be other local lost pet sites in your neighborhood.
A photo of your cat with the date he went missing, reward, and phone number should be posted throughout your neighborhood.
You should be calling local shelters constantly especially if you are in an area with kill shelters.
The sitter should be knocking on neighbor’s doors with the photos, and possibly asking to check neighbor’s garages. Again, the problem here is the sitter is a stranger and the cat even if terrified might not be impressed.

Also: Some people say leaving out old cat litter is good. I might also try leaving out something with your scent so the cat might think you’ve returned. Maybe and it might be a long shot, be on speaker phone shouting for the cat while the sitter plays it. Even if cats don’t know their names (most of them do) cats definately know the sound of their person’s voice.

As far as a refund from THS, you might get that. But that’s a fight for later.

I am so sorry to hear about this as both a petparent and a petsitter, but in all honesty there is not any great way to manage this remotely, and it doesn’t sound like the sitter is up to the job.


Hello @jgr I’m sure you are busy/ distracted but an update at some point would be greatly appreciated!

As a sitter, with your very clear expectations/instructions, I am perplexed as how this was an “error” vs a clear action against your instructions.

We are kitty-only sitters and I am very OCD about cats getting out because I know how they are and it would be literally my worst nightmare if a cat got out and would not come back.

If I was given the information and warning you gave, there is no way in heck I would chance opening a window unless there was literally an emergency of some kind. You should give an honest review, so that other cat owners are forewarned that she may be lax on the guidelines given to her.

I am SO SORRY this happened and pray that your kitty finds her way home. I have heard that if you put out their litter box, they will smell their way back.


Hello @jgr I am so sorry to hear that your cat escaped and is now missing. I can only imagine how stressful this is for you.
I have shared this thread with Membership Services so they can offer some support and help to you and your sitter.
Thank you to everyone who is supporting the OP and offering such helpful advice. We hope to hear some positive news soon.


Hi all, my cat has returned after. Few days of tantrum - apologies in delay in replying as I’m away from home for business not leisure so have not been on my phone as much!

I chatted with my housesitter when he returned and she was just as stressed if not more than I! He came back when she played my voice. So there’s a high chance he was just missing his family and went out to look for us, maybe? I’ll be using THS again, as I think that people are human (accidents do happen! Just as likely to happen in a cattery!) and I easily forgive any oversight as the consequence was not negative.


That’s wonderful news @jgr that your cat has returned home. The advice given of recording your voice paid off. I’m glad you’ve mentioned your sitter was as stressed as you or more so and, no doubt, had done everything they could to find your puss. Good you’ve been forgiving and acknowledge accidents do happen. You and your sitter can breathe a sigh of relief now. Thanks for letting us all know.


Hi @jgr

I am so glad to hear that your cat has returned!

Thanks so much for letting us know.