Sitter without app for videocalls

Hello everybody

Last year I had a video conference via Zoom with a sitter who seemed excellent to me.
We had a very good conversation and I had the impression that this was exactly the right thing for her and for me too.

We then talked about communication during the sit and I said to her, it would be fine if she sent me photos or a video two or three times a week via Whatsapp.

The conversation then suddenly changed and she said she would definitely not download any apps or media like Whatsapp, etc. and that she also avoids Google.

I was confused, I can’t imagine being abroad and not being able to communicate via photos or videocall on phone with the sitter.

What do you think about that?

I think I’d ask her how she would like to communicate during the sit, bearing in mind that the THS messaging is not reliable. If the option she comes up with is not satisfactory for you I’d move on to another sitter because a reliable means of keeping in touch is essential for both parties.


Interesting, but not unheard of. Some people are very wary of their data being stored or using apps like you mentioned.
Do you know what sort of communication they are comfortable with, or consider downloading other apps they may prefer (Viber, Signal, Telegraph, etc) or just do a phone call or phone text message at a minimum.
And the THS app allows photos within the chat, so this may be better than nothing.


As a part of the new interface that is in the beta test but does that work already?

Anyway, one can send photos by MMS (multimedia message) or by email.

Ah, good point @pietkuip. I have not tried the image feature in chat as my hosts and I always use WhatsApp. I guess it’s worth a test run before deciding how to communicate with a pet owner.

If it were me, I’d skip such a sitter.

Why: It’s fine if they have reservations about some tech, but they should’ve offered some constructive way to update you during the sit. Instead, they created a problem and didn’t offer a solution, which good sitters do. That’s not a good sign, because other problems can easily emerge during sits. And with updates, any sitter with common sense knows they’ll be necessary, so they should have had an alternative in mind already. That’s not even something they have to solve on the fly vs. any actual emergency that might come up.

Also, you said the conversation changed and, from your description, it sounds off. If the conversation had been normal, you probably wouldn’t be here asking about the situation. Trust your gut.

I’d also never rely solely on THS for communications. Its tech is unreliable.


I would be confused as well @Coclico as they seemed comfortable with a Zoom video call but shun WhatsApp and Google.
As others have said the THS messaging system isn’t reliable.

Is she quite old? Asking because a lot of older people simply don’t know how to send videos, and are not comfortable with downloading apps. Would she be happy with an emails attachment, or texts.

1 Like

This is not that unusual. Many people avoid WhatsApp (Facebook) and Google and other personal data harvesting companies as much as they can.
Considering she is engaging in an activity where most owners would want pictures sent to them I would expect her to offer some alternative solutions as opposed to just saying no. She’ll have some form of email so that should suffice. There are other messaging apps that do not collect personal data so she may use one of those.

1 Like

@Coclico this is would be a big red flag for me. Very odd and unusual. Watsapp is encrypted and is used worldwide. I used Watsapp to book my doctors appointment last week, arrange buses, transport, even the immigration police have a Watsapp number here so you can ask them questions. Every single sit we have done we have all used Watsapp.

If you’re travelling internationally then you’re not going to be able to receive SMS for free - I don’t think I’ve texted anyone the old fashioned way in over 15 years!

Email is way too slow if anything serious crops up. What if the pets get sick and need urgent medical care, are they going to sit outside the vets and compose an email?

This all makes no sense and if it doesn’t make sense if usually means that person has something to hide.

It’s not about age either, plenty of older people are sufficient to use Watsapp and manage I phones. You might end up with an odd tin foil hatter.


It’s not that unusual, it’s probably a security thing. She can simply text (MMS) or email you what you want instead if that’s her preference, as I would have thought she would be much happier that way and it is probably what she is used to doing.

I know plenty of people who refuse to use whatsapp and other apps. They store your details and sometimes those details end up in the hands of others when things go wrong, so I can totally understand if that’s her preference.

So personally it would NOT be a red flag at all for me. It’s just her personal choice, and I wouldn’t read anything ‘negative’ into it at all, as long as she tells you how she plans to send you updates/photo’s.


@pietkuip whilst our preferred way to communicate during a sit is WhatsApp I have successfully sent Homeowners photos via our conversation in the THS inbox ( this was before the new beta test inbox) … on this occasion it was to document storm damage at the property. So I can confirm it does work …

1 Like

I would never do a sit, or have a sitter, unless there was an confirmed way to communicate quickly during the sit. E-mail or THS messages may be fine for general updates, but I want something faster in case of emergencies. My phone may not work for regular texting depending on where I am, so WhatsApp or another wifi-based platform is essential.

If she refuses to use an app, even a super-secure one like Signal - I would be wary of her. My parents are in their late 80s and use WhatsApp frequently, so age isn’t an excuse!


People who aren’t problem-solvers come in all ages.

And she’s entitled to feel however she does about tech, no matter her age.

What no one is entitled to is to sit (or host) if they can’t figure out how to do a key component of the exchange.


In an emergency, there is nothing better than a voice call by phone.

Yes, but as i mentioned, my phone service doesnt work when I am overseas

1 Like

This. If you don’t pay for the product, you’re the product. But of course that’s true of so much of the internet that it’s hard to avoid. And even paying for it doesn’t guarantee you aren’t one of the products.

1 Like

We once had a sitter who refused to use WhatsApp and it proved to be a stressful nightmare when it came to hearing from her/getting hold of her. At one point, I nearly sent a friend round to check that she wasn’t dead.
Never, ever again.


Is this what you mean? Not sure whether it’s new or not, but as far as I can remember I’m not on the beta. Unless I signed up and forgot!

1 Like

Yes, I see that icon, it was also in the beta test of the web interface. But it was not active.

I doubt that members can see the photos in the current web interface.