Why is it so hard to get New York City pet-sits?

I’ve been a trusted house sitter for about 8 months and still have yet to land the seemingly elusive New York City pet-sits. What am I doing wrong? I would be doing these sits alone, have 8, 5-star reviews. Help!

I’m a combined member in NYC. I don’t know if the issue is not getting an application in on time or getting declined. I know for me there is usually an endless stream of sitters applying although last time, many of the sitters were new and had few reviews, and some experienced sitters wound up choosing longer sits!

Where is the stop point for you? Do you not get into the five? Then the answer might be some different strategies – tracking sits in review in case something opens up or making sure not to rule out sits near enough to easily commute: Hoboken, Jersey City, Queens, the Bronx, Fort Lee, etc.

Do you not get offered a video chat? The problem might be something in your profile or your application letter. There are probably lots of threads here about improving those.

Do you consistently not get the sit after a video chat? You could let the HO know that you are trying to improve and is there anything you could have done differently.

I would suggest after a decline, especially if there has been some contact with the HO, letting them know you’d still be interested if things don’t work out, and you’re favoriting their listing and would love to know about future sits.

HOs might not share with you why they went another way, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Don’t let your ego or pride get in the way if you are offered a sit after being declined by the same person. It’s never personal.

(You could link to your profile and maybe get some feedback on it from other sitters and homeowners.)


Hi @Petstuff
I’m afraid New York sits like a number of other major world cities get their 5 applications very quickly, sometimes within 20 minutes of listing.
Also may I suggest you keep building your reviews as I found 10 plus 5 star reviews gives you a better chance of at least getting a video chat with the HO.

I’ve been trying to get an NYC sit and have never even been able to apply. I’m hoping someday I’ll get lucky and be online when one gets posted so I can at least apply.

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NYC, like most major cities have very high rents. There are some people who use pet sitting as their accommodation along with couch surfing etc. These people usually work in the city and are constantly looking for their next sit so there is a very slim chance of anyone else getting in.
It’s all about luck and being on the site at the correct time. We have been lucky to get two sits in NYC, one overlooking Central Park. Keep trying.

Make sure your profile and reviews are steller and try to write an application letter that touches on the main concerns of the owner and emphasizes what you and the owner have in common.

I’ve had five sits in NYC and two in North Jersey that allowed me to take NJ Transit into the city. I don’t live near NY but I’m in the same time zone.

Uh. What is crack surfing?

@Lulubelle I think maybe she meant “couch” – couch surfing.

I hope she did!

Like others, I’ve been lucky to get quite a few NYC sits. My daughter lives there and I love to pet sit there and have an opportunity to visit with her. I live in the same time zone and either take the 4 hour bus or train ride so I think my travel mode alleviates any fears the homeowner may have about a sitter who needs to fly and make all the necessary connections. As others have said, I wouldn’t discount New Jersey. I stayed there once and was amazed at the phenomenal bus service they have in NJ. I was able to get into Manhattan quicker from NJ on the bus than I could from Brooklyn on the subway. And it’s a very nice bus! Also as others have said, there are many, many sitters who live in NYC and only sit in NYC and of course, they would be very appealing to NYC homeowners as there is no travel involved. So, @Petstuff , if you’re traveling a far distance as well as live in a different time zone, then yes, it may be more difficult for you, but you should keep trying. You will find the right one eventually. Favorite as many listings as you can so you’ll get notifications even sooner.

In NYC: Out of 10 different sitters and sitter couples since I’ve joined: 4 were “local”. None of those 4 were purely nomadic, but each had a different reason for sitting locally. The rest: 3 were in cities or towns where they could get here easily driving, or by bus or train. Two were flying in from Europe, but one had a local sit before mine and came in on a business visa, so I wasn’t worried about missed connections or border issues. The other was a couple with one American citizen also coming in a few days before the sit and staying locally with relatives. One who’s coming next week is flying in from the West Coast.

Generally, my preference is local or already sitting in town so they can come to pick up the keys beforehand and meet the cats with no rush to get here the day we leave or need to leave the keys with neighbors, but I’ll go with the “right” person even if I have to leave keys with neighbors. The sitter who is flying in has friends in NYC and is thinking of moving here, so it’s a good opportunity for her. This was really about how the dice rolled on this sit and a couple of sitters who were already in NYC took other sits. I had declined a few people and a few people declined me to take other sits, so when she came along and was able to commit, it was a no brainer. I don’t have much room for guests, but she’s flying in a couple of days before and staying with friends nearby, so she can pick up the keys and no worries if the flight is delayed!

One thing I have noticed is new sitters from Europe seem really surprised when I ask about or discuss border challenges with petsitting.

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@Marion I joined THS mainly to do international sits. But my circumstances have changed and I’m starting to think about more local and regional sits. I would love to do a sit in NYC. It’s not a city that I enjoy going to for 3 days. It can be exhausting. I’d rather take it in smaller bites while relaxing in a neighborhood with someone’s pets. Sadly, I am cat allergic though, but I have appreciated your comments on the thread.


Have you weeded through all the NY sits and liked the ones you are interested in. That way they show up for you when the person is looking for a sitter. NY was my first pet sit after I signed up for THS without any reviews, so its possible. Those and Paris go fast, so you have to really be quick about applying

@Marion thanks for your insight. As sitters, we haven’t tried to book in NYC yet but will some day. We will be there to visit friends the in a couple weeks. When we travel we always arrive to the area early to insure there are no travel issues. It also gives us the chance to do our “touristy” things.

I think with a catsit or even a conveniently located dogsit there is still plenty of time to do touristy things! But you should absolutely include in your application that you’ll be arriving a couple of days before and staying with a friend. That’s all you need to compete with more local sitters. Catparents will be happy with a meet and greet and key pickup, and dogparents will be thrilled if you can hang out and go for a walk. When I have good sitters applying, the final choice often comes down to logistics.

Updating to add: Just checked and there are open sits now in the Bronx and Yonkers – both super easy to get into Manhattan, and a couple in New Jersey – super easy 30 minute bus ride, so very possible!

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Ime NYC applicants are pros. I’m currently seeking a sitter outside NY & am dismayed at the poor quality of the applications. NY ers send pithy letters which gush about your pets (but not too much), and have pictures with them cuddling animals. They focus on how much they will enjoy being with your animals, NOT how convenient the sit is for them. They have multiple excellent reviews and they are just excellent at cleaning and communicating and not imposing. Pros all the way.

So far, I’ve not applied for any NYC sits on THS, because unless the sit is a week or longer and in a convenient location and in a comfortable home, I’d rather just rent a hotel room. I live in the D.C. area and can catch Amtrak, which takes only a few hours and runs frequently. Easy. You can even buy tickets on the fly.

On Nomador, I’ve been discussing with a host the possibility of sitting a cat in NYC for a week or more. I didn’t do anything differently vs. how I apply for all sits on THS, across the U.S. or abroad. I just customized my standard application msg, as usual. And my Nomador profile is cut and paste from THS. I also link to my THS reviews, because I joined Nomador only recently and haven’t done any sits there. The NYC host mentioned liking my LinkedIn profile, as well as my THS reviews.

I’ve applied for only a few sits on Nomador so far and that was the only NYC one I’ve pursued. Unlike the other Nomador hosts I’ve spoken with, this set of hosts have actually nailed down their travel plans. They offered specifics about when they’ll fly out and back, and volunteered that I could stay after the sit and invite a guest, if I want.

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THS should be renamed. Maybe “TrustedHousesitters in the boondocks unless you are a full time nomad.” Then you get to visit New York, London and Paris. Very discouraged.

Hard? Not if you ask me :slight_smile:

A couple of years ago, I visited a friend in upstate New York. Before heading there, I spent a few days in the city, shelling out a significant amount for a hotel. On my way back, just before my trip to Ecuador, I decided to spend some more time in the city. My friend upstate had a cat that I bonded with, and a thought clicked in my head—why don´t I sign up with THS and cat-sit in the city for a week or so? Offering some kitty love in exchange for accommodation seemed like an easy arrangement.

And that’s exactly what I did. I signed up, found a fantastic one-cat sit in NYC, just 50 meters from Central Park, applied, and got it within minutes. At the time I didn’t think much of it but rather took for granted that this was how things worked. Naivety at its best :wink:

Two years on, I know better now. I was lucky, however, new sits are advertised and people do get them.

So, don´t get discouraged. You´ll get your sit.


I’ve just agreed today to do my first NY sit, which also will be my first sit via Nomador. It didn’t take any more effort to get than my sits anywhere else. I telecommute, but am not a full-time nomad.

I applied and the hosts replied promptly and scheduled a video chat on WhatsApp, during which it seemed like a foregone conclusion that they’d like for me to sit. They showed me the two cats and apartment during the call, which reflected the photos they’d posted.

We’re going to do a one-day overlap and they offered to let me stay over after the week+ sit, but I declined, since I have a West Coast sit soon after.