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I'm a full-time cat-sitter AMA
42

bellissimiaow · 26/08/2022 18:55

I started cat-sitting in 2016 as a little 'side hustle' alongside my full-time job to make a little extra money to support my kids. Fast forward to now I've packed in my (nice safe, well-paid Accounting!) job, have a team of 10 cat-sitters and over 200 clients with more being added all the time.

Business is absolutely booming and I live, breathe and sleep cats all day every day Grin

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heldinadream · 26/08/2022 19:03

Is that just cat sitting, or does it include house sitting OP?

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Q1w2e3 · 26/08/2022 19:04

Do you actually stay and play and hang out with the cats or do you just feed and leave? I always worry my cat is lonely when I’m away. And do you judge clients who may be a little crazy cat lady?!

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bellissimiaow · 26/08/2022 19:05

heldinadream · 26/08/2022 19:03

Is that just cat sitting, or does it include house sitting OP?

Just cat sitting, we do drop-in visits (am or pm or both) while owners are on holiday. If they have other small animals as well such as rabbits, hamsters, fish etc we'll feed those too, just not dogs. We're cat-only!

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TeenDivided · 26/08/2022 19:06

What qualifications do you ask of your cat sitters? (DD is studying animal care)

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Georgeskitchen · 26/08/2022 19:06

This is my dream job. Do you stay at the cat's house while their servants are away?

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purpleme12 · 26/08/2022 19:06

Q1w2e3 · 26/08/2022 19:04

Do you actually stay and play and hang out with the cats or do you just feed and leave? I always worry my cat is lonely when I’m away. And do you judge clients who may be a little crazy cat lady?!

Mine just goes and feeds mine 😓
I know now since the ring doorbell 😓

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Nicklebox · 26/08/2022 19:08

This sounds like something i would love to do. What do you charge. what sort of area do you cover.

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bellissimiaow · 26/08/2022 19:09

Q1w2e3 · 26/08/2022 19:04

Do you actually stay and play and hang out with the cats or do you just feed and leave? I always worry my cat is lonely when I’m away. And do you judge clients who may be a little crazy cat lady?!

Yes the 'staying and playing' is all part of our service and I think that's why we've become so popular. Our visits are tailored to individual cats so say if they're normally v sociable and get lonely we'll spend some time stroking or brushing them, or playing with their toys with them.
If they're nervous or anxious cats we try not to disturb them too much or do anything that could stress them out, but make sure they have everything they need - clean bowls fresh food and water, clean litter trays etc.
We also use an app to send owners a visit report with photos after each visit so they know their kitties are ok and to let them know of any problems straight away.

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bellissimiaow · 26/08/2022 19:10

Absolutely no judgement as we're all a little bit crazy cat people Grin

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bellissimiaow · 26/08/2022 19:14

TeenDivided · 26/08/2022 19:06

What qualifications do you ask of your cat sitters? (DD is studying animal care)

We don't ask for formal qualifications as such, however I always ask for people with experience of working with a variety of different types of cats - eg within a rescue shelter or at a cattery. We come across so many types of temperaments and characters that I need to be sure that they know how to handle the odd biter or scratcher.
We also provide basic first aid training and have emergency procedures in place in the event of any types of medical issues.

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bellissimiaow · 26/08/2022 19:15

Nicklebox · 26/08/2022 19:08

This sounds like something i would love to do. What do you charge. what sort of area do you cover.

When I started I used to charge £7.50 per visit. It's now £15 per visit and we're still absolutely full to bursting and have been turning people away all summer because we just haven't had enough resources. At the moment we're just in the North West

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Lavendersummer · 26/08/2022 19:17

Do you make a commission from your team of cat sitters?
Congratulations on your success!

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purpleme12 · 26/08/2022 19:20

bellissimiaow · 26/08/2022 19:15

When I started I used to charge £7.50 per visit. It's now £15 per visit and we're still absolutely full to bursting and have been turning people away all summer because we just haven't had enough resources. At the moment we're just in the North West

£15 for how long?

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iloveeverykindofcat · 26/08/2022 19:25

Scientifically speaking, why are cats so cute? You said anything.

I'm a full-time cat-sitter AMA
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Whinge · 26/08/2022 19:29

Do you still do home visits yourself? Or is is a case of managing your cat sitting army, while you deal with other business needs, such as emails, enquiries, accounts, staff issues etc?

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HappyHolidai · 26/08/2022 19:35

What is your turnover and profit?

What about costs? Staff? Insurance? Marketing? Anything else?

<tempted cat-loving accountant>

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Defiantlynot41 · 26/08/2022 19:38

Do you give medicine (pills etc) if the cat needs it?

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bellissimiaow · 26/08/2022 19:50

Whinge · 26/08/2022 19:29

Do you still do home visits yourself? Or is is a case of managing your cat sitting army, while you deal with other business needs, such as emails, enquiries, accounts, staff issues etc?

Yes I still do lots of home visits myself - too many really as I'm now really struggling to manage the admin and manage the scheduling of the other cat-sitters. This month I've been doing up to 12 visits a day - 6 in the morning and 6 in the late pm/early evening.

It's absolutely exhausting, I get up at 6am, finish my morning visits around 10.30am. The afternoon visits start again at 4pm till around 7.30pm. In between I do admin, respond to enquiries, book & attend Meet & Greet visits for new clients, make sure keys are collected and with the right person, arrange rotas, pay staff etc. 7 days a week.

It is extremely seasonal though so while those volumes of visits are that high in the summer they can drop right down off-peak so sometimes I do you know, get some days off! My main aim now is to get some time back because I'm definitely working way too much. It's not something I'd be able to do if my kids were younger as I'm never at home.

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bellissimiaow · 26/08/2022 19:54

HappyHolidai · 26/08/2022 19:35

What is your turnover and profit?

What about costs? Staff? Insurance? Marketing? Anything else?

<tempted cat-loving accountant>

Main costs are staff (try to keep staff costs to less than 60% of sales but some historical clients are on very low fees which wipes out almost all profit) I've just had a fee increase which should help.
Mileage is the next biggest cost which is a killer with the rise in fuel recently. The rest is insurance, advertising, some admin costs and the cost of the app that we all use which is worth its weight in gold as it allows owners to book and pay only and gives all the cat-sitters their schedules.

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bellissimiaow · 26/08/2022 19:55

Defiantlynot41 · 26/08/2022 19:38

Do you give medicine (pills etc) if the cat needs it?

Yes

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Sillyshell · 26/08/2022 20:00

This is my dream! I started cat sitting through cat in a flat about a year ago but now also have private clients. I only do very local visits now as I've gone back to work but would love to earn enough to just do this full time. Well done Smile

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kittenkipping · 26/08/2022 20:30

Is there a type of cat that is your favourite to look after?

Is there a type that are your least favourite?

(For instance I have found gingers bloody mental! All characters and full of attitude! Whereas black cats are softies. My rag dolls are idiots! I wonder if these sort of observations extend on a wider basis)

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Firty · 26/08/2022 22:50

As you have so many people working for you, how do you ensure they’re honest? I’ve always been scared to hire a total stranger as a cat sitter because it is literally handing your door key to a stranger and hoping they don’t steal anything. I may sound paranoid but a supermarket delivery guy nicked my wallet recently while making a delivery so I’m feeling quite cautious about who gets to come in my house…

How would you reassure me as a potential client that it’s safe to hire your company?

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dropthevipers · 26/08/2022 23:28

Which has been your most bonkers/mental cat?

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Nanny67 · 26/08/2022 23:42

You mention an app - did you have to develop this yourself and how much did it cost?

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