Petition to include "Outdoor Cat" flag on listing

I know this has been mentioned before in this forum, but haven’t seen it implemented.
I think a “Outdoor Cat” flag could be useful for the listings, as it would help some sitters proactively identify the nuances of a sit and whether it’s a good fit for them or not.

For example, in our case, we have previously agreed to do house sits with cats that were allowed to go outside, and even had their own cat door to go in and out as they pleased. In all of them, the cats brought dead critters in (even when we were promised the cats didn’t do such thing, or that it happened very rarely…). And while we understand the “cat logic” behind it, we personally didn’t want to deal with that, so we stopped applying for those sits. It would be helpful to know, so we don’t waste the HO’s time asking on our application, and having to withdraw it after we are told, if not disclosed on the profile.

Other sitters might have other reasons, like allergies. Outdoor cats might not trigger those allergies, whereas indoor cats would.

Additionally, other useful flags could be “Elder Pet”, “Medicated Pet”, “Special Needs Pet”… The majority of the time, the HOs do a very good job at mentioning these things, but once in a blue moon (probably because they are so used to their own setup that they don’t think twice about it), they will forget about it and it will surprise us.

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Cats are hunters and they will usually kill and bring the prey home as “gifts”, Mine habitually eat most of it but leave some on the back terrace. I do not allow them into the house until I have checked their gobs.

Sounds like a sensible idea to let sitters know what they are dealing with by flagging special needs As a HO, I list that my 4 cats come and go at will and have their own cat flap. Rattle a tin of tuna though and they form an ordely queue waiting to be fed.

I cat-sat for indoor cats, outdoor cats, in/outdoor cats. It doesn’t matter to me, and I have yet to receive any presents from the cats I sat who could go outside. There’s one key difference I have noticed though: the indoor cats are often much more bored & sometimes also considerably less balanced than those who have the opportunity to go outside… I think I would be the same if I were a cat.


An indoor cat gifted me with a dead mouse. Its human had warned me that might happen — old building in an old city. No biggie. I cleaned it up and disinfected the floor.

I have now twice had two outdoor cats (a week, a month). No hunting trophies so far.

I have also sat an indoor cat that was often on the balcony, from where any of these other four would have jumped on the neighbouring rooftops. But this one never did that.

I’ve sat indoor / outdoor cats without a cat flap. In one case, I found five or six dead birds — mostly fledglings — in the yard or front door walkway on various days. I don’t know whether the cat killed them, but seems likely. Picked them up and disposed of them, regardless, of course. The HOs blamed neighboring cats.

Indoor or outdoor, if a cat can kill something, it probably will. I’ve had indoor only cats bring me mice. But then I grew up on the farm and I appreciate them cleaning out the house for me.

Love this idea!! We prefer them to be able to go out, like you noted, so it works for us all the same :slight_smile:


I think it would be useful!!!

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I have 2 indoor/outdoor cats. Midsummer one was bringing in some thing every once in a while. But that hasn’t happened in a couple of months. However, I can’t control whether they bring them in or not! ( can anyone)? I think if a homeowner is to disclose everything a cat might do it could get quite tedious. Perhaps it’s best for you to just not accept any. Sits with indoor outdoor cats?

Why not say what your preferences are? That way the H.O. is clear on what you want and can have you sit or not!

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I would love it if some of the animal rescue-type sits could indicate this more clearly. I would happily care for 4+ cats that were outdoors only. It’s when they have the colony of 12 and they all live inside that I balk.


I think it’s a good idea – the more information about a sit the better. It’s sad that cats kill songbirds in such numbers… their pest-control talents are OK in some places…
My concern with outdoor cats would be them getting hurt, lost, run over etc. on my watch. Cats are much safer indoors and can have long happy lives.
I’m the opposite with allergies – outdoor cats are worse.

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I can’t fommunicate with the owner without applying, so I’d rather know if the pet is indoor/outdoor so I can make that call without having to apply, potentially not being a good fit and having taken somebody’s spot out of the 5 applications available.

Not asking the owner to disclose if their pets will ever bring a dead animal in, just asking them to disclose the pets are indoor/outdoor, and I will make the judgement call to decide if I am a good fit for the sit or not.

It’s a good idea, the label. I prefer sitting for cats allowed outdoors, because I always feel so sad for indoor cats. However I’ve done both. I’m not here to judge cat owners - in some areas I understand it might be too dangerous to let a cat out.

I agree that the HO should make it clear if the pet is indoor/ outdoor. Another case of poor communication. However you could still apply and then pose your questions. There will always be further applicants so I shouldn’t concern yourself that you are taking someones spot!

Definitely agree that indoor/outdoor is of interest to be aware of, along with a number of other characteristics about the pets, home, schedule etc. I would suggest however that in the event this is not mentioned in the owner’s text, that the applicant raise it in written and/or video communication in the application process rather than as a checkbox item, which should be limited to the most critical “go/no go” factors. I can appreciate that THS needs to continually strike a balance between keeping the listing process simple and helping sitters filter in/out listings.

As an example, I use a few matchmaking sites between sailboat owners/skippers and those seeking crewing opportunities (me being amongst the latter.) The site FindaCrew has gone way overboard (no pun intended) in providing checkboxes for every and all possible aspects, to the point of being way over-engineered, confusing and distracting. It would be unfortunate in my humble opinion if THS went along that route.

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