Why should I use your service?

Nearly all of my clients have told me: “These are my children. They are my babies.” They aren’t like family, they are family. When you have to go somewhere without them, you want to make sure that they are going to be cared for, loved, and looked after to your own high standards. You don’t want to be distracted while you are preparing for a business meeting, have a family emergency, or while you are trying to enjoy a vacation. You want to feel secure knowing that your pet family is safe, happy, and healthy, so you can focus on whatever else you need to do, so you can come home to a safe, happy, healthy pet.

We dote on our pets, and sometimes it may be embarrassing to give detailed instructions to a friend/neighbour/family member who may be more casual about cat and hamster care. It may feel like you are asking them for a favour. They may not have experience with animals, or they may be unavailable. There is no such awkwardness with a professional pet sitter. I will never feed your pets anything you haven’t first authorized. I won’t try to overfeed or underfeed your pets. I do not eat or drink in a client’s home. I wear a fresh pair of clean socks at each cat visit to protect the cleanliness of your home. My purpose as a professional pet sitter is to follow your instructions and to be there for your pets. See my COVID-19 page for relevant information.

As a cat owner, I believe that cats do best when they can remain home. Their surroundings are familiar, they know where everything is, and their routine is not interrupted. When they stay at home, they will be more relaxed and healthy than if they are stressed out at a kennel, confined in a cage, surrounded by strange pets. The only thing missing will be you.

Kennels often charge per cat, so for multiple cats, pet sitting in your own home may save you money. In addition to looking after your cats and small furry animals, I can also water plants and collect mail, so your life is less disrupted when you return home. I can move drapes, turn lights on/off, and move waste bins to help keep your home secure while you are traveling. I provide daily reports with pictures, so while you are away, you can be assured that your furry ones are doing well.

I am discrete and take great care in protecting my client’s privacy and the security of their homes: I do not have signage on my car and I do not wear a uniform identifying me as a pet sitter. Photos of clients on my website are posted only after a client has returned home, photos are selected to include as little of the home as possible, and the location marker is turned off when I take photos so the home cannot be identified by gps coordinates.

I am experienced with small animals. I also drive a car, and can provide round-trip pet transportation to my home for boarding. I only accept a few animal boarders at a time, so I can devote my attention to my furry guests and keep them physically distant from eachother. I monitor them and play with them. I’m also happy to board guinea pigs, hedgehogs, chinchillas, hamsters, and other small caged animals.

High standards

Not all pet sitters are alike or adhere to the same standards. Many of my clients have been pleasantly surprised at my professionalism and the high level of service I provide when they meet me at the registration visit. My previous work experience has included working in luxury retail administrative offices and academic/scientific/medical administrative offices; I understand providing exceptional client care and in protecting my clients’ privacy. I am a member of a number of professional pet sitters associations, have achieved the elite designation of Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS), am a NAPPS Certified Professional Pet Sitter, and have a certificate in pet first aid and CPR. I am a Fear Free Certified Professional. I regularly attend pet sitting conferences and conferences and webinars related to pet care. I was named one of the Top Five Finalists for 2021 Pet Sitter of the Year. I am bonded and insured. I maintain several active social media profiles, including Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube. I am a mature, responsible, reliable, attentive to detail, trustworthy professional pet sitter with a strong work ethic and high standards of excellence. I am always learning. This is a business based upon reputation and trust and word-of-mouth referrals. See my About Me page for more information.

My service goals:

  • Clients feel secure that their pets are receiving excellent care.
  • Clients come home to a happy, healthy pet.
  • New clients become regular clients.
  • I am the #1 choice for pet sitting in Montreal.
  • My service is so amazing that my clients tell all their friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues how awesome I am and how happy they were with my service. They write glowing online reviews singing my praises and post about how amazing I am on their social media. Whenever they hear that someone in my area is looking for a pet sitter, they immediately chime in with my name. Because… well, I am awesome!

My cat is independent and only needs a visit twice a week.

I only offer daily visits or twice daily visits. Any number of things could happen while you are away, and I need to be able to respond to them as quickly as possible.

The first pet visit must start the day that you leave or the day after you leave, and the last pet visit will be not earlier than the day before you return. For example, if you depart on Saturday, I must come on Saturday or Sunday. If you return on Wednesday, my last visit will be not earlier than Tuesday or Wednesday.

Please be honest about your departure and return dates and be respectful of my scheduling policies. You are hiring me to look after your cat’s safety and well-being during your absence. Please, let me do my job.

…but, it’s just a cat! They’ll be fine!

To be candid, particularly during the snowy months, if there is a snow storm, blackout, I am hurt/injured/sick (FYI, I’d have to be really sick), I might be prevented from getting to your home and your cat. Montreal winters are harsh and buildings are old. Summers are hot and humid and many buildings lack air conditioning. I will make every effort to get to your cat on the appointed day and time, but it may be impossible to do so due to unforeseen circumstances beyond my control. What if your flight is delayed? Your car breaks down? What if your cat is sick or got locked in a closet or trapped behind furniture? Or they knock over their water bowl? Cats hide illness and injury. They can be mischievous and get into all sorts of trouble. This means your cat could go 2-3 days or longer without food, water, litter box access, or medical care.

There are also unforeseen issues that would benefit from early detection, like water leaks and windows and doors left open in the winter.

When I first began pet sitting, I accepted a couple of every other day bookings. One day, I walked in to discover a large chunk of ceiling had collapsed in the area the cat was being kept. Drywall got into the food and water dishes, and covered the surrounding area. It wasn’t clear at first if that cat had been hit, too. I wasn’t sure when this had happened, and how long the cat had been without drinkable water or edible food or if the cat was injured. Fortunately, the cat was ok, the clients were reachable, and the landlord was able to repair the ceiling before the clients returned home. But it was the deciding factor for me, as I spent every day worrying about this cat – only daily cat visits!

More than one client has left in such a rush that the room with the litter box was left firmly closed.

Why are your rates so much higher than the pet sitting I see advertised on Craigslist/Kijiji?

There is a huge range of pet care options. They are not all the same.

Cats and Hamsters is a registered enterprise (in other words, I’m “legit” and do all the things a self-employed business owner does, like pay taxes). My rates are based upon my time, travel, my worth, and business expenses. Anyone can call themselves a pet sitter. One big difference that differentiates a professional pet sitter is that I am bonded and insured with pet sitting insurance. I have professional memberships and certifications that need to be maintained by continuing education. I have achieved the designation of Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS). I attend professional conferences. I drive a car. I have a website and various active social media profiles so potential clients can get a good sense of who I am and how my services work. I have many excellent online reviews from happy repeat clients. I have business cards. I send daily reports with lots of pictures and am easily accessible via text or email. There are many business-related expenses that go into my rates (I am even vaccinated against rabies!). I have been pet sitting professionally since 2016.

I provide exceptional service. I’m totally worth it. You will definitely get your money’s worth.

My cat only needs express visits.

Express visits (up to 20 minutes) are only offered as second visits for twice daily visits, and only allows time for one chore. Such as only feeding, or only play time. Even a 30-minute visit is sometimes too short for certain routines and set ups. Pet owners tend to space out their chores for their pets and plants throughout the course of the day, and they won’t have the same hand hygiene protocols as a visiting pet sitter or write out a daily report with pictures; with a pet sitter, these tasks are all done within a time block. A typical visit will include: wash hands or put on gloves before entering the home, bring in mail, then wash hands immediately after entering the home, hand wash and hand dry food and water dishes, water houseplants, scoop litter and wash hands afterwards, do a quick walkthrough to check for vomit or other pet messes and then clean up those pet messes, play with cat, try to get a few non-blurry pictures of the pet, write and send report with pictures to client, wash hands before leaving and wipe down touched hard surfaces, etc.

Could you come twice per day?

Yes, my fee is per visit.

Could you stay longer than my reserved time if my cat comes out just before you’re about to leave and wants attention? I’ll pay you for the extra time.

If I have available time, then sure! I love playing and cuddling with my cat clients. However, my time is reserved in advance and especially during peak times my schedule may not allow for me to extend my stay past the time we had originally agreed upon. For cats who need additional time – for example, if I need to wait while they eat, extended brushing, extended exercise, extended socialization, etc. – I recommend booking deluxe 45-minute visit or premium 60-minute cat visits. After an hour, my time is charged per 15 minutes.

What if you can’t find my cat and I’ve hired you to brush them/exercise them/trim their nails?

I will search for your cat for the duration of your reserved visit. Sometimes cats hide or they get accidentally shut into closets. If I cannot locate them, if they are not inside, or if I find them after an extended search and don’t have time to complete the agreed upon tasks, the visit will still end at the pre-reserved time and I will consider the visit as services rendered (in other words, yes, I need to be paid for the visit even if I did not have contact with your cat). I will not extend my visit to complete tasks unless I have availability to do so and the client has agreed to pay for the additional time. I consider that I arrived prepared to do my job, and that it is the client’s responsibility to provide the pet so I can do my job in the pre-agreed upon time frame. Also, some fearful,anxious, or stressed pets need more time to be cooperative when handled by a stranger. As a Fear Free Certified Professional, sometimes “it takes as long as it takes.”

I need pet visits at exact times.

Unless otherwise agreed, pet visits are considered “anytime pet visits,” to be completed within service hours. I cannot guarantee the exact time of my visit, due to traffic, parking, weather, the unpredictability of animals, etc. I understand wanting to keep your cats on their regular schedule, as pets thrive on routine. Pet visits may be scheduled within a 2-hour time window for an additional fee, particularly for pets requiring medication at certain times. This means that I will arrive between an hour before and an hour after your requested visit time. I will make every effort to reach your pet close to your requested times, especially if the pet needs medication or is physically frail.

Pets requiring visits every 12 hours for medication will be scheduled for 6am/6pm visits for an additional scheduling fee. Very limited availability, and only available for clients located in Outremont and Mile End.

I do visits and meet clients for registration/consultations between 9:00am-2:30pm, every day. I am exceptionally available at other times – for example, if a cat needs medication at a certain time – but normally my available hours are from 9:00am-2:30pm. Please feel free to contact me to discuss your pet’s needs.

I have 2 or 3 cats. Do I have to pay per cat?

No, the price per visit is the same regardless of the number of cats. If your cats are all housed and/or fed separately, it may require more time to complete the necessary tasks.  We will discuss this at the registration visit.

Can you watch my friend’s/neighbour’s/family member’s cat at the same time to save money on pet sitting? We can put them in separate rooms.

I would not advise doing this to your cats, and I won’t knowingly accept such an arrangement. The visiting cat will be stressed in the new environment, and the host cat will feel like their territory is being invaded by this strange cat. There could be litter box accidents and property damage due to the stress, even if they never have direct contact with each other. This contradicts my cat service philosophy of minimizing stress for the pets.

Can I get a discount? My cat is sooooo easy/I’m going to be gone a long time/I live really close to you/I’m really close to your service area but not inside your service area/This other person charges less than you/I’m a really nice person but I can’t afford your rates/etc..

No discounts, sorry. I do not discount for friends/neighbours/relatives/colleagues nor for longterm care. I never want to have clients ask me why I charge this other person x, when I charge them y for the same service. The fees, which are posted on my website, are the same for all of my clients, no exceptions. I prefer building professional relationships with repeat clients who are happy with my service. In my case, you get what you pay for: awesomeness.

Can I pay you half upfront, and half at the end?/I don’t feel comfortable paying you until the end./Can I postdate the check?/My pet sit starts Wednesday but I don’t get paid until Friday – can I pay you on Friday?/I want regular service and I want to pay you monthly.

For new clients, a non-refundable deposit is due at the time of registration, along with the registration fee and, if necessary, key pick up fee. The non-refundable deposit is credited towards the overall pet sitting balance. The remaining balance is due in full on the first pet visit, or when the small caged animal is received by me for boarding. I must be able to deposit checks immediately, or receive electronic transfers/PayPay/credit card payments not later than at the time of my first cat visit. The exception is for the Winter Holiday Period, in which a non-refundable deposit is required at the time of reservation for all reservations November 15 – January 15.

I am happy to follow detailed individual notes regarding pet care, however, I cannot make exceptions with regards to payment. This is ultimately a business, and my policy is to be paid in full at the beginning of service.

I do not want any images or videos of my pets posted online.

I want it to be clear that I completely respect this standpoint, and that I do my best to respect client privacy. However, all clients agree to the same terms and conditions, including media release, during the registration process. Please feel free to contact me to discuss Cats and Hamsters’s policies on social media and steps that are taken to protect client privacy. Images and videos are only posted after a client has returned from their trip, and are never posted “in real time.”

Social media is very important for small business marketing and is a great way of sharing educational tips that can help improve pet and human life. I encourage potential clients to take a look at my social media to see the kind of content I produce to help them decide if my business will fit their needs.

I don’t live in your service area. Can you still visit my cats?

Please see my Service Area page for service area and long distance service area.

I am happy to accept long distance requests when my schedule allows, though I cannot accept specific visit time requests or twice daily visits, and locations will be not farther than 6 km from the Outremont metro. I drive to all visits, and I’d prefer to spend less time in the car and more time with pets!

My cat also likes to go outside. Could they go outside for a few minutes during your visit?

Unfortunately, I am unable to accommodate this request. What if the cat doesn’t come back right away? My time is reserved in advance – I might not be able to wait around until they decide they want to come back inside. What if they don’t come back at all?  What if they get in a fight and get hurt or get hit by a car? What if they try searching for you in the big wide world?

If it is an outdoor-only cat, I can take care of them outdoors as preferred. Note that I assume no responsibility for the safety of cats allowed access outside. Also, I assume no responsibility for the security of the client’s home should the client wish to keep a window open or door flap to allow the cat access outside. Otherwise, cats will be kept indoors for the duration of your time away. The only exception would be if the cat were leash-trained or if you have an enclosed, cat-proof space outside.

My neighbour/friend/relative will be stopping in to check on the cats, too./My friend is just coming over to pick up something while I’m away./My relative/grown child will be staying there while I am gone.

Kindly note that I do not job-share – not with other pet sitters, and not with neighbours/friends/relatives. I also do not accept pet visit or house check/plant watering requests where there will be others present, visiting, living there, staying over, or dropping by. I need to be the only person in the home during a client’s absence. Housekeepers are an exception.

Clients sometimes want to have a friend stop in to check on their cats to make sure everything is ok, or want the neighbour/friend/relative to visit once a day and for me to visit once a day to save pet care costs instead of hiring me for twice daily visits. Or the cat is indoor/outdoor and the friend will let out the cat. Or the friend is just stopping by to pick up something. Or the grown children won’t take responsibility for the pets.

This puts me into a tough position as your pet sitter. You may trust this person, but I don’t know this person at all. What if there is confusion on who is feeding the cats and giving medication? What if a door or window is left unlocked? I know I double-check that the door is locked when I leave a client’s home and that the cats are fine. What if something gets damaged, or the cat escapes outside? What if they wear their winter boots inside and there are boot tracks on the floor – who is expected to clean it? What if I said x happened, and they said y happened; who would you believe? It is a liability issue, as well as a safety issue (I have never met this friend/neighbour/relative) and it has too much potential for miscommunication. Also, to be honest, it is very uncomfortable to work around other people and to encounter messes that were not there before – dirty dishes left out or crowding the sink I need to use to wash pet bowls, clothes lying around, person still sleeping in the afternoon, etc. If another person is present in your home during your absence, I will assume no responsibility for damage to property/animals, the security of the home, or for lost/stolen items.

Sometimes relatives and friends want to chat, or have conflicting ideas on how to do things, which is uncomfortable. I’m paid based on time, so this interferes with my ability to perform my work, but I don’t want to offend this person because they are your friend. It can be difficult to maintain physical distancing and covid hygeine, especially in apartments. It is also disconcerting if items are moved in between visits, or if the visitor feeds the cats “because they looked hungry,” and then I wonder why the cats aren’t eating the next day or are behaving differently.

I’m under 18-years old and I want you to watch my pet.

While I am happy to include minors in communication and consultation meetings, my services agreement will be with the parent/legal guardian. I am unable to enter into a service agreement with a minor. All communication and interactions with minors should include an adult. This will avoid repetition and misunderstandings.

What if my pet gets sick while I am away?

The client must advise me of any known asmedical conditions so I can monitor the pet for changes. If I notice anything suspicious in the health of your cat (not eating, lethargic, hiding when usually friendly, excessive diarrhea and vomiting, trouble peeing) or hamster (growths, diarrhea, not waking up) or rabbit or Guinea pig (GI stasis), etc. I will contact you immediately to discuss what you would like me to do.

IMPORTANT: I’ve found that pet owners often give me “wait and see” instructions regarding seeking medical care for their pets while they are in my care, or they tell me I cannot take them to the veterinarian without first getting permission from them. It can be hard to understand the urgency of a pet’s health situation when you are not there to witness it yourself. You may assume I am overreacting, and the pet “will be fine” for a couple more days until you get home to see for yourself. I understand that veterinarian fees can be expensive. Some cats become extremely stressed when taken to the veterinarian.

Kindly note that clients choose my services for my experience, expertise, judgement, and trustworthiness. I do not have any connections to or “kick backs” from any veterinarians. It’s actually very time-consuming and disruptive to take a client’s pet to the veterinarian – it is not something that I would suggest unless I truly thought that the pet needed urgent medical care.

Pet first aid and CPR training will help to identify some common health issues and help to safely transport a pet to the veterinarian for medical care, but I am not a medical professional, and I cannot diagnose health issues or prescribe medicine or magically solve medical issues. It could be nothing… but then again it could be something. Many pets instinctively conceal sickness and injury, so that it is quite serious by the time it becomes noticeable. Would you really want to chance waiting and seeing, if it could mean quickly alleviating suffering and diagnosing and solving a painful, possibly fatal health issue?

As a highly trained Certified Professional Pet Sitter, and as a person who loves animals, it is extremely hard for me to continue “business as usual” with pet sitting visits or pet boarding, when I feel the pet should be seen by a veterinarian right away, but the client refuses. Or if I must wait for permission first before taking a pet to receive urgent medical care. This means I have to choose to either abandon the suffering animal so I can continue with my rounds, not knowing when the client will be able to return my messages, or means that I end up waiting with the suffering animal for hours, waiting for the client to call me back. Neither scenario is a scenario that anyone wants.

Urgent medical issues will not pause themselves until the client returns to see for themselves. I am entrusted with the pet’s safety and well-being, and it is excruciating to watch a pet suffer without any action, knowing that a potentially painful or fatal problem could be quickly solved with a visit to the veterinarian. When a child is sick, you take them to the doctor. I do the same for my pets. Please, please, please allow me to do the same for yours.

If the animal needs to be taken to the vet, the pet owner is responsible for all medical fees at the time of service.  It is a good idea to make arrangements with your veterinarian beforehand so that you can leave a credit card on file with them, grant me permission to make medical decisions for the pet in your absence, or have an agreement about treatment and payment. If a specific veterinarian has not been indicated during registration, or if your preferred veterinarian does not have availability for an emergency appointment, I will take animals to the closest available veterinarian, or to one of the following clinics, both of which I have used personally:

  • (For cats) DMV Veterinary Center (Montreal) in Lachine – 24 hours emergency services
  • (For hamsters and other small caged animals) Montreal bird and exotic animal hospital in NDG
  • (For all pets) CV Laval – 24-hours emergency services

What if I run out of hamster food/cat food/kitty litter/paper towels?

The client is responsible for providing all pet supplies, and pet visit clients must also provide all cleaning supplies. It is awkward for me to be unable to clean vomit or litter box accidents or wipe running eyes when there are no paper towels or trash bags. To ensure quality pet care, I will not attempt to “stretch” dwindling supplies. I recommend clients stock a generous supply of all basic items – food, medication and medical supplies, litter and litter liners or litter locker bags, hamster bedding, hay, paper towels, trash bags and poop bags, and toilet paper. The toilet paper is for me – please…don’t make me have to bring my own toilet paper!

However, I understand that travel and life events do not always allow for shopping prior to departure. I can restock missing pet or cleaning supplies with a concierge fee + the cost of the item(s). This is the cost of a pet visit. Kindly note that this is a convenience service to help ensure the high quality of my pet sitting service, and that I cannot guarantee the store, brands, or prices of the items purchased. I will make every effort to obtain your pet’s preferred brand/type of kitty litter and pet food to prevent stress to the pet.

Should you use reusable cloths in lieu of paper towels, kindly provide a generous stack of them, and access to a washing machine or laundry bag in which used cloths can be placed. I will not be able to launder the soiled cloths. I strongly prefer using paper towels if your cat is prone to vomit and litter box accidents.

Wait, you’re going to use my washroom?

Yes. I sometimes drive from cat visit to cat visit to cat visit, each lasting 20-60 minutes or longer. I prefer not to, but I am only human and yes, at times, either my young child or I may need to use your washroom. Hence the need for toilet paper. I also wash my hands A LOT and will need access to running water and soap.

How far in advance do I need to make a reservation?

As early as possible to ensure availability! Particularly important if you are requesting twice daily visits, special scheduling, or during busy times like December-January, March Break, Easter, summer break.

Kindly note that, for new clients who have never before used my services, a reservation is not considered confirmed until after the registration visit and non-refundable deposit. Services between November 15 – January 15 require a non-refundable deposit at the time of reservation.

If you expect to travel under short notice, it might be a good idea to schedule a registration visit right away and to keep keys on file, which will provide greater freedom when you have to travel unexpectedly. Due to the registration process and scheduling, I am rarely able to accommodate last-minute requests.

When should I book the registration visit?

I strongly encourage new clients to schedule their registration visit well in advance of their departure date. There could be issues with the keys/access codes or perhaps it’s just not a good fit. I might not be available to meet during peak times, and service requests from new clients are not considered confirmed until after the registration process has been completed, including the non-refundable deposit and key pick up. To avoid last-minute scrambling, please schedule your registration visit in advance, between five months to several weeks before your departure.

I want to meet you first before leaving my cats/hamsters with you.

Good idea! I require a registration visit, also known as a meet-and-greet, prior to confirming service. This can be accomplished virtually (preferred), via Google Meet, or I can visit your home so we can meet and you can introduce me to your pets. You can explain where I can find the pet supplies, cleaning supplies, and your cat’s favourite hiding spots. We’ll go over your instructions – feeding, litter disposal, etc. – and the terms and conditions. At that time, I can also collect keys, door codes, and emergency contact information. I will try using your key and access code to ensure that I understand how use them and that they work.

Kindly note that for new clients, there is a registration fee and non-refundable deposit that must be paid at the registration visit when keys are given, which will be applied to the final invoice. The requested pet visits will not be considered reserved until the entire registration process has been completed and all outstanding important information has been received, registration fee, deposit, and keys have all been received. The remaining pet sitting balance must be paid in full on or prior to my first cat visit. I accept cash, check, interac electronic transfer, PayPal, and credit cards. (For those using certain banking options, kindly use the interac e-transfer option.)

I’m also happy to answer questions via email, text, or phone.

I want to meet you now and then again closer to when I leave, as the cats’ diet and routine will change or we are moving to a new place or I don’t want to give you the key at the registration meeting.

Great idea! I meet with all new clients for a registration visit with key pick-up. Or we can do a virtual meet and greet and do the key pick up later. Key return is free (except if sent via registered mail), though some clients chose to leave their keys on file with me for future pet sitting, as it can be inconvenient to schedule key exchanges for each reservation. If I need to come by twice before my visit (including picking up keys, new cat food instructions, missed consultation visit, etc.), I charge per extra consultation visit.

Why do I have to pay for the registration? Why can’t it just be free?

Signing on a new client takes a lot of time and resources. The level of attention and care that I put into each client does not come without cost. Clients are welcome to, even encouraged to, interview multiple pet sitters to find the right one. However, my time is valuable, this is a business, and I cannot give away a registration or consultation for free. Not even in exchange for a super expensive cup of coffee (I’m a tea drinker, by the way).

If I leave the registration visit without keys on file, and there no pet visit reservations within 6 months of the initial registration, there will be another pre-service meeting (a paid extra consultation visit) needed to collect keys and go over the cat’s routine again. After 6 months, it will be hard for me to remember the cat’s routine and where supplies are if I’ve never before provided pet sitting, despite my notes.

I’ve read your online reviews, but I want to check your references myself.

I do not provide a list of references that prospective clients can contact. Firstly, I want to protect my current clients’ privacy. Secondly, only a portion of my clients, many of whom are regular clients, take the time to leave online reviews; it would be even harder for me to solicit and maintain a list of people willing to exchange phone calls or emails with prospective clients. Thirdly… how would you know if those references aren’t just friends who aren’t clients?

I provide online reviews on my website and other social media, pictures of happy (and not-so-happy) clients, I maintain profiles on a variety of social media websites with pictures and videos of myself, I’m bonded and insured, I’m a member of several professional pet sitters associations with profiles on all of their directories, I have business cards, I meet all new clients for a registration visit where we can meet and you can see me interacting with your cat(s) and your home (aka, a job interview), I am easily accessible via phone, text, email, and various messenger apps, and I provide detailed email/text/messenger reports with pictures during each cat visit so the client knows exactly what is going on and what I’ve been doing with their pets. Yes, I even take pictures of vomit and litter box accidents before I clean up so the client will know where they were when they come home.

While I admire those who ask for live references, this is ultimately a business based upon mutual trust, and I’ve found that prospective clients who request live references in addition to all of the above generally aren’t comfortable having anyone other than family or friends in their homes, and nothing I can do would ever be enough to reassure them of my trustworthiness. I was once one of these people, so I understand where the sentiment comes from. It is hard allowing a stranger access to your home and your beloved pets while you are not there. You just have to trust your own judgement, and do what feels best for you and your pets.

I want to give you a garage door code/keypad code instead of a key.

I strongly discourage this, as automatic garage doors are notorious for malfunctioning. A lever might go out of alignment, they might get frozen to the floor in the winter, the keypad battery might die, you might change the code without telling me. And then I’ll be stuck outside with no way of getting to your pets without calling a locksmith – at your expense, both for the locksmith and for my time. I strongly prefer a physical key.

I want to drop off/pick up my key at your home.

I only meet small animal boarding clients at my home. My brief moments of family time are precious to me. It is very difficult for me to wait at home for clients. It’s actually easier for me to go to the client, rather than have them come to me.

I encourage clients to keep keys on file with me, which is especially convenient for those who travel often, do last-minute travel, or those who may have emergency travel needs. It also becomes useful if clients accidentally lose their keys or lock themselves out of their home. If you plan on booking pet sitting with me in the future, I recommend clients keep their keys on file with me.

I want to leave my keys with a friend/building office/front desk for you to pick up.

No. I have had too many problems with this in the past. Just no.

I only have one set of keys – my keys!

I strongly suggest giving me a spare set of keys rather than your only set of keys. It is stressful for all involved to coordinate key pick up and return under these circumstances. I wouldn’t want either of us to be locked out! I understand that some apartment buildings make getting copies made difficult.

I want you to leave the key under the mat/in the mail box/in the apartment on your last visit.

No, keys must be returned in person or via registered mail. What if someone is watching me, and takes the key after I’ve left it outside? What if your return is delayed and I need to get back in to take care of the animals, but I had left the key inside as instructed? It is better if I hold onto the key until you have returned and either keep it on file for the future, or return it to you in person.

What is your cancellation policy?

My time is reserved in advance. As a solo pet sitter, when my calendar fills, I must turn away clients. Last-minute cancellations are a loss for me, because the clients I turned away have already found alternative pet care.

Cancellations for services to be performed between November 15 and January 15 will not receive a refund or a credit.

From January 16 to November 14:

Cancellations made in writing at least seven (7) days prior to the start of a reservation will receive a full refund;

Cancellations made in writing three (3) to six (6) days prior to the start of a reservation will receive a 50% refund;

Cancellations made in writing less than two (2) days prior to the start of a reservation will receive no refund or credit.

No refund or credit will be given to the Client when the services are already being performed and the Client either shortens or cancels the performance of the services. The dollar value of the unused portion of the services will be refunded to the Client in the presence of extenuating circumstances, such as and limited to:   the death of the pet(s) or the Client, life-threatening illness or injury to the pet(s) or the Client.

Clients understand that the cancellation policy remains in effect. They understand that there are inherent risks to traveling during a pandemic, including canceled flights or illness.

The pictures used on this site are of my cats, “Olaf” Olaf Purrsun Meowkinsen Skogkatt and Ethel, and various hamsters – “Bob” le Petit Robert, Whitey, Mina, Buffy, Maximus Decimus Meridius, Bunny, “Fred” Frederick, and Mister “Little Fred” Rogers.

Cat and hamster picture on business cards used with gracious permission by the photographer, Ásta Katrín – thank you!