What to do when your sitter won't respond in a timely manner?

We are away for a month and our sitter doesn’t seem to want to respond when we text for updates on how she and our 3 cats are doing. We met once before the sit and she stayed with us the night before we left. I thought we had a good rapport and that we got along well.

I texted her when we arrived at our destination and she didn’t respond. So, I texted her the next day to make sure everything was OK and she finally replied after a couple of hours with two pictures and said, “I don’t check text messages often. I wasn’t expecting to hear from you. Hope you’re having a good time.” I told her that we’re used to keeping in regular contact with our sitters while we’re away. She replied, “Oh, you didn’t mention that. People usually check in once a week.”

I’ve never had a sitter that only expected to be in contact with the pet parent once a week.

So, I’ve waited a couple of days to check back in with her and she still hasn’t responded back to the text I sent 12+ hours ago. This is upsetting to me and is putting a damper on my vacation and peace of mind.

How do a remedy this situation?


Was there ever any written reference as to your expectations that you can point her back to? Regardless, text her that once a week isn’t acceptable and give a clear outline of your expectations going forward (for example daily, every 2 days, whatever …). She’ll cope. And please include this info in the review.


Unfortunately you probably should have had the chat before the sit but not to worry @Juno1956. Maybe just send a message saying please can you what’s app us every other day to let us know all is well as we find that reassuring but don’t want to badger you. Or something that feels balanced and not too onerous if she’s used to once a week. In our experience have never had an HO who wants less than every other day, a daily pic and/or an update is pretty standard after 3 years of doing this full time. Try not to stress, it’s just miscommunication. #allinthecomms


How often you require updates should have been discussed and agreed to before the sit started. Unless you have specific concerns I would just let it go this time. Our sits range from wanting updates every day or so to don’t bother messaging us unless the house burns down.


Unless the sitter specifically agreed to a reporting schedule (which isn’t clear from the OP) Why would you include it in the review?


My expectations were based on her pet sit reviews where other people were pleased with her timely responses, updates, etc.


No, it wasn’t specifically discussed. I guess it was something I expected based on her reviews.

“She was very quick to respond to any texts I sent while she took care of Toby and Petrie.”

“She was communicative and really put my mind at ease.”

“She was so communicative, even weeks before the sit, and very kind.”

These quotes are from 1-5 day sits.


We’re sitters, and we wouldn’t presume anything. Some pet owners prefer not to be contacted, others it’s daily, or every few days, there are no rights nor wrongs if it wasn’t discussed, there are no presumptions. So for future sits just make sure the sitter is aware of your expectations.

It sounds like perhaps you didn’t have that conversation with her. So you say you had a good rapport with her, so personally I’d let her now know that you’d like daily updates (ie not the way you’ve already said it by saying what you’ve had in the past, but in a direct way so there’s no way it can be interpreted differently) but perhaps say it is because you are missing your cats, rather than her feeling like she has done anything wrong because from what you have said, she was unaware of your expectations, so she hasn’t done anything wrong.

But also, your profile has multiple glowing reviews from just 1 sitter, so that sitter is always going to do what you liked the first time. So with there just being the one then perhaps you have paid for other sitters in the past, who would have automatically messaged with updates in the hope that you would pay for them again.


Lesson learned.


Thanks for you input. No, we have never paid for a pet sitter. I will try some of your suggestions.

Why would I include it in the review? Because as @Cuttlefish says, its all in the comms. So it will be something along the line of ‘I appreciated that (sitter) was able to provide more frequent updates as per my request a few days after the sit started’. IMO, this reminds future HOs to discuss before the sit.
Seems like the sitter is quite capable of providing more frequent updates according to OP updated info.


Ask the sitter to whats app an update, as you wish.

If the person is working from home then perhaps ask for an update after working hours.

Update your listing’s responsibilities to say “we ask for a daily text update from the sitter.”

And…in the end, if need be…mention the outcome in the review.

It is an easy adjustment. And an easy ask, even after the fact, that the sitter should meet.


Thanks for the suggestions!

Honestly, it’s not unusual to want a daily brief update. It’s not a big deal. And it’s fine to say, "I’m sorry, but I made the assumption based on previous experience that there’d be daily updates. We’d really worry if we didn’t hear for a week. Sometimes things happen fast, so we’d really like a text every other day. “(I know you want a text every day, but that’s okay.)”

You don’t have to justify it. It’s normal. Every one of my THS sitter guests sent us daily updates. Our sits are under two weeks, so I could see for a one month sit maybe every other day would work. It’s also hardly onerous. And it’s not “too late” to change this. It literally takes 2 minutes to send a cat photo and a message: “Fluffy followed me around yesterday. He missses you.”

If she agrees and it’s resolved. I might mention it only in a way that protects yourself in case you are afraid she wasn’t okay with the change, and she’ll mention it. Eg: “Communication was great, but initially we weren’t on the same page with the frequency of check-ins, so I’d reccomend discussing that prior to the sit.”

I also sit – generally under two week sits. I always think of once a day texts as a default. Petparents have always been happy.


As a sitter, I automatically do daily updates unless my host says they want fewer. What your sitter said about weekly updates seems odd for them to have assumed.


I state my wish for daily updates in my Welcome Guide. I say that it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, or even a picture every time. Just an update like “It’s raining today”, “Fluffy had a nice walk”. A daily update assures me that everyone is alive and well :slight_smile: , sitters and pets alike! I always deliver my Welcome Guide to a confirmed sitter as soon as confirmation occurs and tell them that if they see anything concerning in the Guide that they aren’t comfortable with, they are welcome to cancel the sit, or we can discuss anything they don’t like and we can come to a compromise. I feel it’s important to get everything out in the open before the sit and come to an agreement; assumptions, on either side, can lead to issues.


Seems like an attempt to gaslight the HO into thinking her expectations were the odd ones


It is not odd. I have had several HOs who did not require updates.

Of course people should communicate about expectations. As a sitter, it is always one of the things that I ask about. But neither should the HO just make assumptions.


I have had only one HO state she didn’t need updates because she was going camping and internet access would be unreliable. Then she texted me two days into the sit asking why she hadn’t heard from me. :laughing:


I find it surprising the pet sitter did not ask how often you want pics. You are correct in being annoyed. I always have several questions for the owner before any sit. This is a very important question in my opinion. Don’t let others shame you.