Hi we have just joined and I’m working on our first listing, and having read a couple of other posts on here I was hoping to pick up some tips to make our listing sitter friendly!
We’re going for a long weekend away in March that was planned some months ago, and need to make arrangements for our 2 Norwegian Forest kittens. Lara will be 7 months old by then (she has been with us since November). We are collecting her new companion in a couple of weeks and he’ll be 4 months old by the time we go. We live in a decent sized house, they have plenty of toys, room to play etc but will not be allowed outside unaccompanied by then. I’ve 3 questions (for now - sorry!)
- Lara goes out for a little walk with us in our garden most days using a harness and lead, which she is now quite well accustomed to. Is this something a sitter would be willing to do?
- The listing asks how long they can be left alone. Clearly we don’t expect anyone to want to be confined to the house, but the kittens are young and need more interaction than older cats. If I tick the 4 hours box how does that sound? Would that be likely to put many sitters off?
- Sleeping arrangements. We both work from home, so have 2 bedrooms set up as home offices, and exercise equipment (cross trainer & bike which a sitter would be welcome to use) in another. There would be a sofa bed with nice linens for the sitter. I’m suggesting this rather than using our room as the kitten is used to having free access to our room at night and I can guess she’d scratch to get in if someone was sleeping in there and shut the door. Any thoughts?
Really appreciate your help. Thank you.
Honestly, it sounds lovely and the kittens sound cute. Doesn’t sound too onerous at all so warm
Welcome to the forum @jmercer - from here the best advice is to include all these things in your listing and you’ll find the right sitter. Great pics, photos of the sleeping and living spaces as well as the bathrooms, clear responsibilities and good comms and you’ll be off and running. Best of luck
Welcome to the forum.
As a sitter my opinion:
Nr. 1. No problem
Nr. 2. The four hours are rather short. But maybe at that time 5 or 6 hours would also be okay for one day, if necessary. And a young, playful kitten would attract me also…
And if it is just a weekend, there are maybe a lot of things in the neighbourhood which you can do within four hours?
So just place that. Petsitters know then what they (minimum) apply for.
I don’t think it would be the dealbreaker.
Nr. 3. If you don’t mind people in your bed, then let the petsitters choose where they sleep. Tell them what they can expect if they sleep in your room (is the kitten just lying on your bed, or ist she also walking and talking around then).
I’m a cat person. I have cats. I sit for cats. I have one cat that goes for walks within my apartment complex on a harness. I would NEVER ask or trust a sitter to walk him. He can survive just fine without walks. Walking a cat with a harness is an act of trust. Cats can get out of the harness easily. A person who knows the cat will know when this is starting to happen. (Think of a child with flexible or non-exist shoulder blades wriggling out of a shirt.) A person who knows the cat will have the cat in hand before the cat realizes he is out of the harness. A person who knows the cat will be able to call the cat – and the cat will listen – if he actually gets out of the harness and starts to run.
Despite, literally YEARS of leash walking my cat, I wouldn’t be completely comfortable harness walking someone else’s cat or kitten.
It also feels like an unnecessary risk to take while you are on vacation! My recommendation would be plenty of alternative toys and games for kitties to enjoy indoors while you are away.
Ive walked cats on harnesses before in a fenced back yard and it wasn’t a problem. Getting their harnesses off and on took a little getting used to.
Four hours could be fine for some people but if you are in a touristy area people might want to have more time to explore. As a full time nomads who travel in a van most of our sits are actually to break a break from touring around so we dont spend too much time away from the house.
For me a sofa bed would be fine as long as it is comfortable and in a room with a door. When im living in a house, i want to feel like i actually live there with room for all my stuff and a place i can keep tidy. Sleeping on a sofa bed in a living room doesn’t do that for me.
Im sure there are plenty of people who would love to soend time with kittens! People house sit for all kinds of reasons. The pets are a huge draw.
Can you get or build a catio? That way, you could avoid the risks of having a stranger walk your cat and maybe an escape. On one sit, my host had had a catio built to fit snugly into a window in her apartment. Cat got to survey his kingdom and loved to hang out there.
Thanks for the suggestion. We wouldn’t have one of those but thanks for the thought.
@jmercer perhaps you could let potential sitters know the type of harness that you use - I went through a few designs before finding that my cat couldn’t escape from a waistcoat-style one - and it was straightforward to put on.
Hi thanks for your feedback, that’s really helpful. We’ll make sure we to do a video chat so we can see what the sitter is looking for. I hadn’t thought of people looking for a break from touring around, but that is a good point.
The sofa bed would be in a separate room (not the living room). I’m probably less keen on the use of our own bedroom as it’s not practical to empty it of all our stuff so to me that would really feel like you’re in someone else’s space.
Lara is very sociable so I’m sure any sitter will be made welcome!
1 - We would have no problem taking your cat out on a harness, we’ve been asked, and have done it previously.
2 - Four hours is doable but any less and you will see your applications reduce significantly. Five hours somehow seems much more acceptable.
3 - A sofa bed is fine for a weekend maximum but even the best sofa bed is a step down from a real bed so for anything longer than a weekend I think you should offer your sitters the use of your bed, or at least give them the option. Many sitters will have no problem sharing it with your cats.
Thanks for the thoughts, I’ll bear that in mind.
Thanks very much. They are indeed very cute - photos won’t be a problem
I can’t figure out how to delete my post below. I misread and read “foster” instead of “forest”! So sorry! Please disregard
Hi Colin Thanks for the feedback that’s really helpful.
If people use your bed, do they expect you to move your stuff though?
Interesting that you think many sitters won’t mind cats in the bedroom. I read a post from a sitter about dogs and it worried me a bit.
I’m used to waking up to little chirrups and kitten kisses - but I understand not everyone is!!
That’s a really good idea. I have photos of her in it too. It is like a waistcoat type thing that does up with velcro and a clip buckle on her back. It’s not an absolute deal breaker if we find the right person but they don’t want to walk her. I guess I can always explain or demonstrate and see what they think.
Hi thanks very much. You’re probably right about the 4 vs 6 hours. We didn’t leave her that long at 4 months, but she was the only cat. Once he arrives there will be two of them and they’ll entertain / reassure each other.
Good point about the sleeping. I guess everyone is different - I’d prefer not to sleep in the homeowners room, but that may be just me!
There is really no need to move anything you don’t want to. I would say we use the home host’s bed in approximately 70% of our sits. Many home hosts live in one-bedroom properties and don’t have the option.
If you really don’t feel comfortable giving up your bed, you could maybe consider getting a proper bed for your guest room.
Personally, I wouldn’t be happy sleeping on a sofa bed when there was an ‘off limits’ proper bed in the next room.
@jmercer Is it possible for you to put a thick mattress topper or pad on your sofa bed to make sure it is comfortable for your sitters? It is only a long weekend, but you should treat your sitters like they are friends or family members and make sure that the bed is comfortable for an adult. Secondly, I really would not ask even the most experienced sitter to walk your cat on a harness for such a short period of time. To me, it is not worth the risk for a long weekend. The cat will be fine missing a few days of walks. Best of luck finding great sitters.
Sounds like you’ve found the only style that Pixie couldn’t escape from.
Sitters are infidivuals there are thousands on the site. It does seem like a lot of dog sitters are not happy with the boundaries or lack of boundaries many dog parents have. It may be cultural. I think in the US it is very common for dogs to sleep on the bed with humans. Some sitters seem appalled by this. They may also be legitamately concerned as a dog can react by biting if a strange human sleeping nearby suddenly kicks out even by accident.
Cats are another matter entirely. I live in a one bedroom apartment. I’m clear that a sitter may close the bedroom door if they don’t want the cat sleeping in the bed with them – but if that’s the case, they may be on the wrong sit. I also sit. When I sit cats if a cat doesn’t get into the bed with me, I feel like a failure.
Don’t take any sitter. Look for a sitter with cat and kitten experience. It’ll be fine. (But again, you might want to skp walkies for the duration as that to me is taking a risk.)