"Stranger" in the house

Hi everyone!
I joined the community to get your opinion about my last screening video chat with the cat parent.
I would like to know if I am overthinking it…
During this conversation a lady said “I am not comfortable with strangers in a house”. By stranger she means me, a pet sitter, not anyone else(extra person, visitor). By the way I am not planning to invite anyone. It’s just me. She repeated it twice and call the whole situation weird. I assured her, I have 20 years experience as a cat owner. I did 10 sits on this website already (all of them got 5 stars).
What should I do, is it a typical situation? Am I overthinking or deep inside do I know sitting for this person is a bad idea because of a lack of trust?

Hello, before accepting the sit, I’d ask for another call/video call with her and say you have one or two further questions about to the sit you’d like to ask. Then come right out with it.

Say from your initial call you picked up that she feels uncomfortable having a stranger in the home which isn’t strange to feel that way, and is there anything you can do to make her feel more at ease? If you have ex owners that would be happy to speak to her, you could offer that option.

Good luck, I think you’re right to question if it’s still not sitting right with you, so ask away, the better is sitters and owners communicate, the more likely we all live happily ever after (kind of thing!).



Did you clarify this with her? Is there a possibility she means a visitor or a second person you might bring along? She might just be uncomfortable with someone who has not been vetted.

A very sensitive comment from @Daisy999 . Is the owner new to Trusted Housesitters? Maybe she doesn’t understand how it works.

Lots of people find even couchsurfing etc totally weird and maybe interesting but they would never think of having guests themselves. And that is when they are there!

Leaving a stranger alone in your home with everything in it, that is for many people a very alien thought. Those people would never do it if kennel prices were not so high.

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That does feel off. Is she new to THS? What has she done for pet care before this? How did that work out? How badly do you want this sit?

With that context I would clarify with another call. Is this usual nerves or someone who won’t feel happy no matter what? Is there anything you can do to make her feel more comfortable? Is she going to want multiple check ins everyday? Will neighbors be asked to spy on you? Does she have cameras? To some degree you need to follow your gut but this sit could go sideways if there are unreasonable concerns.

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I have to say if someone said that to me, my assumption would be that she meant in addition to myself, who has had a background check. They might also feel like you are not quite a stranger because they interacted with you.

I’ve been doing this for the best part of ten years now across several different sites so am fairly experienced at this point and no HO has ever expressed their concerns to me in quite this way before.

Whilst I absolutely empathise with the HO as let’s be honest, it is a really big deal to let someone they barely know to stay in their precious home, my feeling would be that this person is probably going to need quite a lot of additional ‘hand holding’ so to speak to reassure them.

Nowadays, I personally prefer to sit for those who are far more familiar with the whole process. I’ve had occasional HOs in the past where it’s felt like literally a full time job soothing their worries from afar. Whilst I totally get the understandable anxiety from their view point, I personally found it a bit much to deal with all the micro-managing.

This is just my tuppence worth from being at this for a while now. Wishing you all the very best in whatever decision you make with this situation.

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I’d run away from such a host, because it’s a signal for anxiety and high maintenance. THS sits are voluntary exchanges. I wouldn’t volunteer for likely trouble, no matter how good the sit looks otherwise. There are countless sits available and new ones coming up daily. There also are more sitters than sits. My suggestion: Be discerning.


The potential host said one thing that was real and authentic about how she felt. The potential sitter was concerned and not sure whether she was overly concerned. Clearly, there needs to be another conversation if the sit is offered, so that both parties can feel good about moving forward – or not moving forward. It’s not clear to me that making an honest statement about one’s feelings equals “high maintenance” or that the sitter needs to run.

The host has apparently never had a sitter before. We all gotta start somewhere.


We can disagree. I sat for first-timers and they were great — not anxious. People have different temperaments and matches work best when you can gauge what works best for you. If you want to take on such a host, more power to you. For me, no thanks.


Being anxious is normal and understandable. But if I was called a stranger and people seemed apprehensive about me, I’d probably back off. I am good at reassuring people, but if they don’t trust me, I don’t want to try.

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@Cat_Lover , I think you answered your own question. You have lots of experience . You have already completed 10 THS sits . After having a video call about this potential sit / pet owner trust levels doesn’t sit right with you . Trust your instincts.

That may be a language thing. Here in Sweden every guest is “främmande” which literally means stranger. So people will say things like they cannot come that day “because we have strangers” and then that usually means that close relatives are visiting :slight_smile:


This is TrustedHousesitters-Not SuspiciousHousesitters. I think that pet parent is on the wrong platform. With those types of thoughts, she’s stepping into this process negatively.


Hi, thank you all for your response. Your answers helped me find a solution what to do next.
I decided I need to back off. I will cancel my application and explain to the pet parent how I feel. I will trust my instincts.
To answer some of your questions:
mars Yes I confirmed, that I am planning to visit her alone. I explained, I won’t have any visitors. She called me “a stranger” twice.
Shella_in_the_Forum She isn’t new on a platform, she joined half a year ago and had one cat sitter from THS (she gave her 5 stars)
I spoke with her about pet sitting in general and she had a mixed experience, so I assumed she used other platforms/ paid sitters before.


Isn’t your presumptive host by any chance Swedish? :wink: Seriously…

We have strangers at home” is a word-for-word translation of a very common Swedish expression, “Vi har främmande hemma.” However, the actual meaning of this expression is ‘we have visitors/guests (people who don’t live permanently in our household) at home /coming to visit.’

For example, one might say, “We have strangers at home for Christmas” (strangers are coming for Christmas) referring to friends coming to visit

Even if they’re Swedish, would they mention repeatedly to their potential guests that they’re uncomfortable with strangers in their home? Wouldn’t that be inhospitable?

No, she’s German living in Scotland.

I came here to say the same thing that @Chatsetchiens said, only they said it better. Sometimes, when I explain to my pet-owning friends what I do through THS as both a homeowner and a sitter, they say something similar, “oh, I could never have a stranger in my house”, then I say that I don’t think THS is for them. If they prefer to board their dog, or have a neighborhood teenager come in a few times, then that’s their choice, but it’s not mine. Perhaps this homeowner, through time, will get over the hump and feel comfortable with having a “stranger” in their home, but for me, I sure wouldn’t be willing to sit for them until they’re definitely over that hump. I think it would be too stressful for me.


I’m fully with you on this. The stress of having to deal with a particularly anxious pet parent just isn’t for me. Whilst I completely understand where they’re coming from, I just find I’m on edge all the time and can’t fully relax. It really spoils the whole pet-sitting experience for me.

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