Pet sitting in cold climates and cold houses

I have had the opposite in a hot country where the ho said she wasn’t using air con too expensive. Couldn’t open windows or doors because the cat could escape. Fans just circulate warm air. Will always ask now before I house sit if I can use air con.I am a Scottish lady so will ask about heating in the uk as well.

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@cat.tails Ooh I feel you! I hate being in a cold house. I’m so used to winters in the tropics (we’re currently on a sit in Singapore) that I’m very sensitive to cold. The hubby is a bit more hardy! We did a summer of UK sits from May till end of October and I used my hot water bottle at night the whole time except for the few hot weeks in the middle!:rofl: On one of the last sits -during a cold snap in late October -we arrived to a house in the woods (getting very little sun) that felt arctic! The whole family were dressed in warm coats ready to go. The heating was not on and when we asked about it they said they weren’t planning to put it on till November- after they returned! (as thats what all the neighbours recommended!!) We said we would be very uncomfortable all week, as housesitting home-bods without any heat! They reluctantly agreed to put it on for us and set it to a low 18° and not in the bedrooms (we realised later) To be honest we understand energy costs are very high but we felt uncomfortable that we had to beg for heat whilst caring for their dog for a week (for free!) whilst they flew off to a warm beach holiday! We had to resort to putting the oven on- a few times-with the door open (desperate measures!!) just to make it bearable!
Btw if you are chilly doing cat sits in winter imagine how much more uncomfortable it is to do dog sits in the middle of winter- walking them in freezing rain or snow! We did that in Feb…never again!!:rofl:


Good news - I contacted my host and told them that the house never seems to warm up and they have allowed me to put the heating on for longer than they set the timer for. It is set at 18 degrees and I can see from a thermostat in the living room that after it is on for a couple of hours in the morning it does reach 17+ degrees.

ooh, that sounds difficult being stuck in a hot house with no option to open windows. Fans work well in hot climates but they need ventilation so that the hot air can escape.

I grew up in Melbourne, Australia where the winters can get quite cold but I spent much of my life in the tropics in Indonesia and Singapore. Like you, I am used to warm/hot weather all year round.

Sorry to hear about your cold experience at the house in the woods. I find that 18 degrees is bearable if the heating is on for long enough to actually reach 18 degrees but in some houses if the heating is only on for 2 or 4 hours per day, the temperature will never reach 18 degrees.

I guess that the British are used to cold houses because they experience it as babies and children so they are hardened from a young age? I grew up in warm houses so I am not used to chilly conditions inside a home.

I only do cat sits. I do like to go for daily walks in winter but not when it is raining or snowing. I don’t mind sleet or hail but often, if it is wet and cold I stay home. I have often thought that those who own or look after dogs get more exercise than me because they are forced to go for a walk every day rain or shine.


@cat.tails I hope you’ve got the heating situation under control for your next sit of 3.5 months!

Yes, I had a discussion with the host and it seems that it will be okay

I was brought up in Brighton,UK- similar 4 season-a-day weather as Melbourne!:rofl: I don’t like UK weather- too dull, cold & wet! (although this last summer was great!) So have not lived there for 25 years! But our home, growing up, was always warm & cosy! Definitely not the stereotypical cold British house!- but I do think the current energy price hike is freaking a lot of people out. :roll_eyes:
And you are right- dog sits get you out & about rain or shine & can keep you fit- depending on breed!


I understand that the energy price hikes might freak out some people. I also read that the average cost of heating a home is £7 per day which is less than the cost of putting 1-5 cats in a cattery or pet hotel. Also less than the cost of having someone drop by to feed the cats once or twice a day. My last 4 sits were for 1 cat, 5 cats, 2 cats, 4 cats.

Anyway, price hikes aside, it seems to me that British people keep their houses cold not warm in winter. It’s just a different way of life in the UK

Haha! Yes I think they prefer to wear multiple layers and sit in front of a log fire- that’s cosy- in principle! But I’m aclimatised to the tropics & other bikini weather places- so prefer a warm house in winter where I can run around in T shirt! Defo not a typical Brit🤣

I love log fires but not so many houses where I did cat sits have log fires. I can remember one log fire and several wood-burning stoves over the past year. If all the houses had open fireplaces and log fires, I would be very happy!

I lived in Tuscany, Italy for 5 years and we kept the house warm with log fires during winter.

Like you, I am used to homes that are warm enough in winter for us to wear just one layer of clothing. It feels really weird for me to have to wear coat, hat and gloves inside the house to keep warm :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Cold British Houses:

Some homes are incredibly difficult to warm up and keep warm. It’s only recently (relatively so) that the average family home in the UK has been built with good insulation, double glazing, efficient central heating etc etc., there are countries which get far lower temp and buildings are constructed to withstand the elements … I call Canada home and in the prairies temps can get to -30+ homes are warm built from wood, insulated with efficient (and low cost) heating systems.

I’ve been colder in the UK at zero degrees than in Canada at minus 20 … reason the damp weather conditions but back to homes, it really depends on the age, construction, insulation and efficiency of the systems installed … my home in France was FREEZING in winter and cost a fortune to heat, 20 years ago.

I house sat in Spain for 8 months across the winter and the villa was freezing, although I wasn’t, I chose to pay for the heating giving me “thermostat freedom” a small price to pay for being toasty warm.

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Yes, it is so true what you say.

My experience so far is that I have never done a cat sit in a warm house during winter. Of the past 4 houses in England, two were older buildings and two were modern or renovated. All were equally cold, but I think it’s mainly due to the fact that the heating comes on for only 2-4 hours per day and the thermostat was set to 18 degrees or lower. Last winter I also did a cat sit in England where the house was so cold I had to wear coat, hat and gloves indoors to keep warm. That was a modern house and it had felt nice and warm when I went to meet the hosts (ie befire they went away on holdiay), but when I stayed there the temperature in the house was often below 15 degrees.

Wow that is cold - I would be miserable :cold_face:
We have done a few winter dog sits in the UK and even though the houses were comfortable it was hard work walking the dogs trying to avoid the mud, washing them down and then drying them before allowing them back indoors. Definitely something to take into consideration when looking at the lovely romantic country cottages in the snow.


That sounds a bit as if those HOs might have lowered the heating specifically for the period of your sit. 15 degrees isn’t comfortable for anyone and it can also contribute to mold growth. Less than 18 degrees isn’t really negotiable for us, it’s not good for our health or the well being of the pet (unless it’s a husky) and can lead to mold problems.

I agree with you completely. I have a sitter coming in just over a week. I shall point out when the central heating goes on and goes off. I shall also point out some alternative heating such as electric radiators and even a paraffin heater. But, I shall emphasise as strongly as I can that under no circumstance will I want her (it is a her!) to be cold or even uncomfortable during her stay. If this means an enhanced bill for heating then so be it. I want her to be comfortable it is only right that someone should be so. It is a price worth paying.


Yes, you might be right. I had not thought of that but I was surprised when they returned home and put the heating on full blast in the middle of the day (ie when the heating was always off during my cat sit) and left it on for many hours as they obviously thought their houses were cold. One of them left the heating on for so long that I was down to a t-shirt and sweating!

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We did a 3 week sit in the south of France one October where they had underfloor heating which they said was automatic. The evening we overlapped it was lovely to walk barefoot. After they left the heating never came on again! and sometimes we felt a bit chilly. We were newbies then and did not want to bother them by telling them when they were 12000km away. When they got back and we mentioned it they said we should have told them as that should not have happened and they could have adjusted it on their phone app! Lesson learned- communication is key!


I love underfloor heating. I did one cat sit in England where the kitchen had underfloor heating. The three cats and I loved it. They often slept and stretched out on the warm floor and I did my laptop stuff at the kitchen table in stockinged feet - it felt so nice and warm :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

And oh yes, communication is key!


The AGA … A warm home’s secret “weapon” and the best friend of pets and people :wink: :dog: :cat:


Couldn’t agree more, we’ve got a 4 oven Aga in the kitchen and wouldn’t be without it for the world!:grin::+1:t3: (And we live in Shropshire 5 minutes away from where they were made up to a couple of years ago)


Grew up with these and a total fan! Commonly known as Aga/pet sitting bliss :two_hearts: as advertised by two of ours - Stanley & Ted. Dry your clothes, your wellies, cook your dinner and put your back to it at anytime of the day for instant warm up…(& always have a hot water bottle in my bag too)