Frequency of updates from sitter to homeowner

Hello, I have been pet and house sitting for many years. I have never encountered any real issues with updates and contact with homeowners. There has always been mutual respect of privacy and boundaries whilst at the same time I’m providing assurance around the care afforded to pet(s) and home and they provide feedback/information if required.
During a sit I realised the homeowner was going to message daily and expect a report, despite receiving some assurance about the pet on the first evening and following morning. This included late night and early morning messages and if I didn’t respond it was followed up with another message. This wasn’t agreed beforehand and I would not have agreed to this. I provide full care and assurance around the pet and home, however I am not ‘on call’ and I very much value my privacy. I have tried to politely set boundaries and manage expectations as I am sensing some anxiety from this owner. That anxiety is beyond my remit to manage (save providing some updates and assurance) and it is creating stress for me. I have explained that if I don’t respond immediately it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong. The owner is insistent that this has been done spontaneously by other sitters and they’ve remained friends. I provide updates, but not daily - although there have been many updates and pictures on this sit so far. It’s not me, it’s not how I use my phone, either on a sit or generally. It’s created some stress for me as it feels controlling and demanding, and it’s the first time I’m not enjoying a sit. Any advice? Please be considerate.

Tricky one as you’re there now. Everyone is different but for us once a day is max and on longer sits every few days is pretty common. I guess your options are 1. Stick to your guns and say once a day but risk that in your review 2. Go with the flow and just send updates as they ask (maybe bank some photos so it is less stressful trying to find a pet each time) 3. Call them and talk rather than text and explain how you feel and that it’s stressing you. How many more days do you have on the sit? I’m sure other members will have a few more ideas. #deepbreaths - at least it’s just photos and not a biting dog or a filthy house or 20 workmen suddenly arriving to convert the bathroom. That’s the other way to look at it.


I can only say what I usually do. I may also ask the HO when I cannot guess them.

Generally, I send a message with a photo about once a day, without being prompted. Some HOs then continue the exchange (I am fine with that), but mostly HOs just respond with “Beautiful” or something like that, and that is it for the day.

The present HOs are the most hands-off so far. Now I try not to message them more often than twice a week, saving the cute picture for that.

I sense that my next sit will be quite different.

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I have a combined membership. I’ve also done some paid sitting. I’ve also used paid sitters and still do for one night sits. Daily updates with photos seem like the “industry standard”. With twice daily drop in service, I asked for twice daily photos to make sure the sitters showed up and I always got it. With THS I’m a little more confident that someone is staying in my home and therefore the cats are being fed and probably the litter box is kept clean, but I still like getting and explicitly ask for one photo once a day with a brief report: Everyone is fine! or some comment, question in case there is an upcoming issue eg: Pudge is still hiding from us? Any ideas?

I’ve even stressed that it doesn’t have to be a “good” photo. Just quick proof to assure me the sitter hasn’t met with a terrible accident and my cats aren’t starving. If I don’t get something, I’ll text the sitter. If a sitter reacted like this was a burden or a big deal, I wouldn’t use that sitter again.

As a sitter, I always ask what people want in the way of communication, and usually it’s along the lines of some kind of daily update. It assures people that nothing is going wrong and there’s nothing wrong with that.


Hi @Jollie Welcome to the forum!

Are you saying you didn’t plan on providing daily updates, and later learned that the owner are expecting daily updates?

I am sorry to say, because I get the feeling you’re not a phone person, but I think the only way to get through the rest of the sit and keep the owner satisfied, is to provide a daily early morning update - every morning - so that the HO can relax. Make it a breakfast photo so that the HO can see the pet is eating well and survived the night :slight_smile:
If the sit is not too long, I would just send a good night photo too.

Some pet owners just need more reassurance. Only you can give it to them while they’re away.

From this, you learn to address this issue when you apply for future sits, setting your limits.

This is what we do as well. We also confirm how the HO would like updates (Text, Email, WhatsApp, etc.). Based on a pet sitting experience, we suggest WhatsApp and set up a group chat prior to the sit start.

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Thank you everyone who has responded. Whilst it is something I have always addressed during discussions, it is also something which has not been an overwhelming issue previously. I have dealt with new, uncertain, worried and stressed owners and communication with them has been positive. The owner is doing a brilliant job with a challenging rescue animal who is very reactive and I am trying to manage that and the reassurance. There have been multiple messages, responses and photos since I arrived and I’m simply trying to manage it so it provides reassurance without overwhelming me. As I said, I’ve been doing this for years, but I’m happy to take advice and you’ve been kind enough to give it. Thank you again for your helpful responses. :smiley::


I did this, but there’s obviously been a different expectation. Thank you for your response, appreciated.

Thank you for your response, appreciated.

Thank you for your response, appreciated.

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Thank you. I have been doing this a long time and never experienced any previous issues with communication frequency or content. Whilst I’m not someone who is constantly on my phone, it is certainly not a burden to provide reassurance and updates. I always indicate to people during discussions as to how I do this. I simply found it a little stressful that a message sent late one night when I was asleep was followed up with a very early morning prompt because I hadn’t responded to it (and there had been an update on the day of the original message). I won’t lie, I don’t like the feeling of demands about my responses when I’m sitting for free and when I don’t operate like that normally. However, it’s a lesson learned. I’ve contacted my next two sits and they have assured me they are clear about the communication frequency we discussed.
Thank you for your response. Appreciated.


I usually say that I will message twice a day at the beginning, morning and night and that if things go well they will hear from me less and if things go not well they will hear from me more.

It usually becomes photos of the animals doing cutesy things once a day.

If the home owner makes conversation I will respond more so.


Thank you for your response, appreciated.

I initiate contact at least once a day, and of course respond to any contact from the HO. I also send an extra photo or video if the pet does something particularly amusing, or just to show them that I’m actually interacting with the pet/enjoying its company. Also to assure them that the pet is comfortable and happy in my care.

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Sounds like the HOs are on a different time zone. What if you were to get ahead of the curve and send them a message/photo they would get first thing in the morning.


As a sitter, I am ridiculously communicative, probably in part because I am constantly taking pictures of the pets anyways.

Usually, I send an end of day (for me) “wrap up” text, usually with anything new or household related. I would always reach out ASAP if there was anything amiss or an emergency. Then if I get a cute pic, or the HO checks in of their own accord, I usually just send a saved pic from my phone with a cute caption or similar. People tend to like this, but if they go several days without responding, I just message every 3-4 days to check in.

When we host, my partner is a huge worrier, especially during the first few days of a new sitter arriving. He likes to check in daily, minimum, and have photo evidence that everyone is okay. Once that initial bump of anxiety has ceased, he’s usually also fine with a short check-in every couple of days. Usually we don’t have to prompt for this.

I myself am much more laid back and figure that after the first 24-48 hours “no news is good news.”

And honestly, the person was probably just on a time difference, or that was the first chance they’d had internet all day. Constant pinging would be annoying, no doubt, but honestly when I’m jet-lagged sometimes I forget how time zones work!


I don’t mind doing a bunch of updates, but I telecommute from wherever I sit, so I spend a bunch of time with the critters and I always take photos of them anyway. So far, I haven’t met a pet I haven’t fallen in love with. That can’t be true of every pet I’ll sit, can it?

I also lean in if the human(s) are anxious and nice. I haven’t encountered a non-nice human on a sit yet, but if someone treated me like an employee, I wouldn’t be as obliging. (Though I try to weed out those folks at application and screening stage.)

On my current sit, I’ve done more updates than ever and the humans are appreciative. I’m also having fun getting this cat to warm up. We’ve apparently gotten closer than he normally gets with sitters. From my end, I already love the little guy.


I like receiving updates/pictures throughout the day, so I always tell my sitters not to feel like they’re bothering me if they want to send me pictures or videos randomly. All but one of my sisters have done this and I really appreciate it.

For myself (I also suffer from mild anxiety), I like to receive an update or two a day. I want to know that he did his business in the morning and ate the night before. He can be fussy the first day/night of us being away. I also like pictures of him walking and spending time with the sitters because the photos assure me he’s comfortable and happy with them.

I’m very open to more communication too, I don’t mind getting texts if they have questions about anything. Definitely don’t expect constant communication, just want to know that my little guy is eating/sleeping and his poop is normal everyday. :slight_smile:

My first sitter sent me a video update while we were traveling back home, and it was so nice to see once we were boarded.


I message once a day unless they say to message less. Have had the anxious people and the hands-off people. I have done paid sitting for almost 10 years now. Everyone is different. I tell people when I’m usually asleep, and that allows me the quiet time. Typically one or two messages a day is enough. I am also a homeowner here and have hired paid sitters. I do not like the sitters who say nothing; I have it written in my instructions: “Update me every 2-3 days.” If someone can’t text “all is well” every 3 days, then I’m not likely to invite them back.


Yup. On my current sit, I’ve let the humans know about eating, drinking, pooping, peeing, willingness to engage, and more. This cat apparently almost died of an illness last year and his human is more emotionally attached than typical. I don’t mind many updates during a day, especially on the first days, when they’ll probably be most anxious. I want them to feel that their pet is being well loved and well taken care of. To me, the updates are low effort.

Funny: This cat likes classical music, so he and I were listening to some earlier from his human’s homeland and he passed out. He did wake up and guest star during one of my work meetings, though. It happens that this cat and I share some musical tastes, LOL.