Thinking of starting a cat sitting service and would love your opinions please!

(36 Posts)
SoftKittyWarmKitty Mon 06-Jun-16 15:15:39

I'm currently employed in a part time temp role which is due to come to an end in six weeks, so I've been looking into what to do next. I've always loved cats and have my own who hates going in the car to the cattery, so I'm thinking of launching a cat sitting service which would be an alternative to a cattery when people go on holiday or when they're working away etc. My intention is I'd visit the cats in their own homes once or twice a day to feed them, clean the litter tray, brush them and give them a fuss. I'd also open/close curtains, move the post and water indoor plants if the owner also wanted those things doing. Every few days I'd email/text the owner with an update for reassurance.

Do/would you use a cat sitter and if so, whereabouts in the UK do you live and how much would you expect to pay? I'm going to look into insurance and plan to get a DBS check done but what else would you look for in a cat sitter (apart from someone who adores cats!)?

I've cross-posted on Start Ups but also wanted to post here for all the cat-owning expertise. Thank you!

InsufficientlyCaffeinated Mon 06-Jun-16 15:25:02

I use a cat sitter when holidaying. I have 2 visits a day for 20 minutes at £7.50 each. They feed my cat, empty the litter tray & play with him for that time. They also put my bin out on bin day & bring it back in the next day.
Couldn't put my boy in a cattery, he's a nervy thing at best of times, I think a cattery would be the end of him!

SoftKittyWarmKitty Mon 06-Jun-16 16:23:51

Thank you InsufficientlyCaffeinated. Do you give your cat sitter a spare key, which they bring back when you return from holiday?

Mine also hates the cattery and hates travelling in the car even more! I've found a cat sitter in the same city as me that charges £10 per visit, so £20 per day. I know there are overheads to consider such as petrol, insurance etc and there will be a limited number of cats that can be fitted in each day, but I'm wondering if £10 per visit is a bit steep.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Mon 06-Jun-16 16:32:55

£20 a day to look after a cat in its own home?

Bargain!

Go for it OP, good luck. I have always used a cattery in the past, but I'll use sitters in the future (when I have my next cat).

TheWhompingWilly Mon 06-Jun-16 16:36:17

I've used sitters in the past and it's definitely a good business idea. I paid £10 per day for one visit but this was several years go so bound to be more expensive now.

Would you be interested in extending the service to cover small pets, eg rabbits, gerbils, chickens, etc? I have friends who have a veritable menagerie and they hardly ever go away as it's impossible to find someone to look after their assorted pets.

I'd recommend advertising at local vets - that's where we found ours.

cozietoesie Mon 06-Jun-16 16:42:04

I'd use one if I had a cat who would tolerate my absence. grin

Go for it, SoftKitty. (Just do your sums carefully first eg your own point about the number of visits you could fit in each day. Have you managed to speak to any people who have done it/are doing it ?)

cozietoesie Mon 06-Jun-16 16:43:38

PS - you would be likely to have most demand at holiday season. Would that fit with your own life?

PinkSparklyPussyCat Mon 06-Jun-16 16:54:31

I use a cat sitter and pay £10 a visit or £18 for two. She was amazing last year when Harry went missing, going back more often until he came back. She has a key which she keeps (she'll do short notice visits if necessary and it was handy when we were delayed once).

InsufficientlyCaffeinated Mon 06-Jun-16 17:31:33

Yes I give them a key. For repeat customers they prefer to hold on to the key but I drop it off each time. It's not that I don't trust them but we have an ultra-secure lock and you can only get a key cut if you take along a key card which is with the landlord so we don't have a spare to offer her. And for once or twice a year it's easy enough to drop the key off (she lives about 2 miles from me so not far to go)

InsufficientlyCaffeinated Mon 06-Jun-16 17:32:44

She posts it through after the last visit

ChicRock Mon 06-Jun-16 17:44:23

My next door neighbours daughter comes in once a day after college when we're on holiday and sorts our cat out, puts the bins out, waters the plants, etc, she facebooks us photos and updates - and gets us some milk and bread in for when we get home, for £3 a day. She does a roaring trade on our estate in the summer hols and seeing some of these prices I'm thinking she's an absolute bargain!

I think it's a great idea. You obviously need to work on your figures, how much you'd ideally like to earn per week/month then work backwards from there to see if you've got a viable business.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 06-Jun-16 18:09:28

We use a cat sitter. Our cats are very nervous and it would be a nightmare trying to catch them to go to a cattery. The lady we use charges £7.50 per visit, plays with them/fusses them/empties litter tray etc and is happy to water plants and put bins out. She has a spare key for our house. I'm in Bedfordshire.

Your income might be variable but it's worth a go! Just make sure you are well advertised locally with directory listings and a wee website. If you're willing to do rabbits/guinea pigs etc too that's more scope as well.

Ifiwasabadger Mon 06-Jun-16 18:13:33

There's a couple of franchises that exist that do this....I used to use one called pets alone (.I think). It was something like 7 quid a day for one visit and 12 for two. We are going back a few years now though.

BorisIsBack Mon 06-Jun-16 18:14:44

We use a cat sitter, it's £12.50 for two feeds a day and she will also water plants and move curtains. We leave the key when we go away and she posts it back when we get back, we got her details from the local independent pet shop and vet. It's a great service much better than a chattery.

MiffleTheIntrovert Mon 06-Jun-16 18:17:03

My goodness, I would pay people to be allowed to cuddle and feed their cats. I'm obviously not a very good business person. wink

<considers asking op if she wants an intern>

JennyOnAPlate Mon 06-Jun-16 18:17:20

We use a cat sitter. £7.50 per visit for feeding/litter tray/closing curtains etc. Bank holidays and weekends are slightly more. They keep our key because it's easier than having to drop it off/pick it up all the time.

Toddlerteaplease Mon 06-Jun-16 21:03:42

I have a gem of a cat sitter. She charges £11.50 a visit and she does the litter trays feeds and fusses them. She comes quite a distance and I'm suprised she covers my area.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Mon 06-Jun-16 21:42:23

This is amazing, thanks everyone, I really appreciate your responses. Those of you who use a cat sitter, do you insist that they have insurance, DBS check, pet first aid etc, or is it more important to you that they obviously love cats? I'd offer a free 'meet and greet' with clients and their cats before they go away, so they can meet me and I can note where they keep the cat food, litter and so on.

Lifestyle-wise, I'm a single parent with a 10yo son so he could come with me in the holidays if I don't have childcare (and the owner agrees of course - I'd get their permission first). Otherwise he could wait in the car outside while I tend to the pets, as he's very sensible.

With regard to the house keys I think I'd prefer to drop them off once I'm sure the owner has returned, just in case they're delayed. Can you imagine posting the keys through their letter box then getting a message to say the flight has been delayed?! I'd be distraught that I wouldn't be able to get back in to look after the cat!

I wondered about adding other small pets to my remit but I don't have much experience with gerbils, rabbits and the like, as I haven't had any other small pets since childhood, when I had a hamster. However I could do that if it was a simple case of ensuring they're fed and watered, although I'll most likely advertise purely as a cat sitter. It's a great idea to advertise via the vets and mine is literally round the corner, so hopefully I could get them on board. Just need to do some maths now and work out the finer details. And Miffle, you can totally be my intern. smile

PinPon Mon 06-Jun-16 21:52:58

What a nice idea for a job. I hope it works out well for you. For me, personal recommendations would go a long way. Perhaps you could get some references from people who trust you, or see whether you could get the vet to recommend you?

fastdaytears Mon 06-Jun-16 21:56:30

Yep I use one! My cat would hate a cattery. The guy I use also feeds my Guinea pigs and I pay £7 a visit I think. I give him a key.

He texts me on the first day to say all ok which I really appreciate as I get a bit anxious.

Having your 10yo with you wouldn't bother me at all.

cozietoesie Mon 06-Jun-16 22:04:21

Wouldn't bother me at all either. smile

JennyOnAPlate Mon 06-Jun-16 22:10:58

10yo wouldn't bother me at all. I wouldn't take on a cat sitter without a dbs and references, although I expect many would if the price was right!

everdene Mon 06-Jun-16 22:35:15

Op look up catinaflat.com, I get my cat sitter through there and also cat sit as well for a bit of spare cash.

knittedslippersx2 Mon 06-Jun-16 22:48:44

I would use you and for what you're offering would be prepared to pay £20 a day. Wouldn't bother me if you brought your son either.

MrsSchadenfreude Mon 06-Jun-16 22:55:53

We use catinaflat and have found them excellent. I would say you are more likely to get business through an organisation like this than being independent.

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