Kindly find my rates and fees by clicking on the following link:
*as of May 1, 2019, sales tax will be added.
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, except for bottled water I bring myself. 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 cat or hamster.
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 cats and sometimes dogs. The only thing missing will be you.
Kennels often charge per cat, so for multiple cats, this 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 an 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. I monitor them and play with them throughout the day and provide complimentary fresh hamster treats (if given permission), such as organic raisins, fresh vegetables, unsalted peanuts, and freshly stove-popped unsalted popcorn. I’m also happy to board guinea pigs, rabbits, hedgehogs, and other small caged animals.
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 consultation. 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 the professional pet sitter’s association Pet Sitters International (PSI), have achieved the elite designation of Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS), and have a certificate in pet first aid and CPR. I attend an annual professional pet sitters conference in the USA. I am also a member of the National Cat Groomer’s Institute (NCGI) and the International Association of Animal Behavioral Consultants (IAABC). I am bonded and insured. 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.
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 my service area.
- 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. 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 cat visit must start the day that you leave or the day after you leave, and the last cat 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.
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?
My rates are simple. Unlike some professional pet sitters, there aren’t a lot of extra little fees. There is no additional fee for more than one cat. I do my chores, then I play with your cat with the time I have left. Or have a long, one-sided conversation with them – their choice.
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 between a “professional pet sitter” and a “hobby pet sitter” is that I am bonded and insured with pet sitting insurance. I am a member of a professional pet sitting organization and have achieved the designation of Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS). I drive a car. I have a website and various social media profiles so potential clients can get a good sense of who I am and how my services work. 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!). And I provide exceptional service.
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 premium 45-60 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 cat so I can do my job in the pre-agreed upon time frame.
I want cat visits at exactly 8am and 5pm.
I cannot guarantee the exact time of my visit, due to traffic, parking, weather, the unpredictability of animals, etc.. Particularly during inclement weather or road blockages, when driving/parking conditions are poor and transit times become 2-3 times longer than usual, I may reorganize my visit route and start my route earlier so that I can safely get to every visit for that day. I understand wanting to keep your cats on their regular schedule, as cats thrive on routine, and I will make every effort to reach your cat close to your requested times, especially if the cat needs medication or is physically frail.
I visit cats and meet clients for consultations between 6:30am-3:30pm, every day. I am exceptionally available at other times – for example, if a cat needs medication in the evening – but normally my available hours are from 6:30am-3:30pm. Please feel free to contact me to discuss your cat’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 consultation 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..
It is my policy not to give discounts. I do not discount for friends/neighbours/relatives/colleagues. 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 at the top of this page, 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 consultation. This deposit is credited towards the overall pet sitting balance. The remaining balance is due in full on the first cat 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 not later than my first cat visit.
I am happy to follow detailed individual notes regarding pet care, however, I cannot do so with regards to money. This is ultimately a business, and my policy is to be paid at the beginning of service.
I don’t live in your service area. Can you still visit my cats?
My service area includes: Outremont, Mile End, Plateau, Westmount**, NDG**, and Cotes-des-Neiges**.
**I am working on updating my service area listing to be more precise, but I might not be able to provide service for all areas.
I am happy to accept out-of-service-area requests when my schedule allows, though I cannot accept specific visit time requests and locations will be not farther than 6-7 km from the Outremont metro. Not accepting new clients outside of service area for the winter holidays. I drive to all visits, and I’d prefer to spend less time in the car and more time with cats! Some examples of out-of-service areas to which I will travel are: Hampstead, Downtown, Old Montreal, Griffintown, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, TMR, Parc-Extension, Rosemont, Sainte-Marie, Pointe-St-Charles, Ahuntsic, Villeray.
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.
Kindly note that I do not job-share – not with other pet sitters, and not with neighbours/friends/relatives. I work alone. 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.
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 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. 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.
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 service agreement will be with the parent/legal guardian. I am unable to enter into a service agreement with a minor.
What if my cat or hamster gets sick while I am away?
The client must advise me of any known medical conditions so I can monitor the cat or hamster for changes. If I notice anything suspicious in the health of your cat (not eating, lethargic, hiding when usually friendly, excessive diarrhea and vomiting) or hamster (growths, diarrhea, not waking up), 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. If I recommend urgent medical care, it is because I have noticed something which I believe warrants urgent medical care. I have a certificate in pet first aid and CPR, but I am not a veterinarian, or a stand-in for a veterinarian, 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. 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 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 I want.
I am entrusted with the pet’s safety and well-being, and it is excruciating to watch a health issue continue without any action and know that a potentially painful or fatal problem could be quickly solved with a visit to the veterinarian. As a human mother, when my child is sick, I take her to 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 our consultation, 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
What if I run out of hamster food/cat food/kitty litter/paper towels?
The client is responsible for providing all pet supplies, and cat 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. 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, 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 cat 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. Generally, I use Bounty paper towels, Charmin toilet paper, and Glad Force Flex tall trash bags. I will make every effort to obtain your cat’s preferred brand/type of kitty litter and pet food to prevent stress to the cat or hamster.
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. Unless you have reserved about 1.5 hours of my time, 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 after tidying cat litter and just before leaving each cat visit.
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, visits at specific times of the day, or during holiday times like December-January, Spring Break, Easter, June 24-July 5, and the Construction Holiday. It’s never too early! The winter holidays are the busiest time of the year for me; I start getting inquiries for the winter holidays in August.
Kindly note that, for new clients who have never before used my service, a reservation is not considered confirmed until after the consultation visit and non-refundable deposit.
If you expect to travel under short notice, it might be a good idea to schedule a free consultation visit with keys right away, which will provide greater freedom when you have to travel unexpectedly.
When should I book the consultation visit?
I strongly urge new clients to schedule their free consultation 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 (i.e. it is best to meet in October or November for December-January reservations), and I do not consider new requests for pet sitting as reserved until after the consultation visit and non-refundable key deposit. To avoid last-minute scrambling, please schedule your consultation visit 1-2 weeks prior to departure or even further in advance if it is close to peak times.
I want to meet you first before leaving my cats/hamsters with you.
Good idea! I’m happy to include a free consultation, also known as a meet and greet or pre-service visit, as part of my service. I will 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.. At that time, I can also collect keys or access 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 non-refundable deposit that must be paid at the consultation meeting when keys are given, which will be applied to the final invoice. The requested cat visits will not be considered reserved until this deposit has been received. The entire pet sitting balance must be paid in full on or prior to my first cat visit. I accept cash, check, or electronic transfer and I provide receipts.
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 consultation meeting.
No problem! I offer one free consultation visit with key pick-up. The initial key return is also free, though some clients chose to leave their keys on file with me for future pet sitting. 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.
If I leave the free consultation visit without keys on file, and there no cat visit reservations within 6 months of the initial consultation, 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 of myself, I’m bonded and insured, I’m a member of a professional pet sitter’s association, I have business cards, I offer a free consultation 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 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 cat without calling a locksmith. 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. This is a relentless 7-day a week job that’s busier on holidays – 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 – there was no security guard at the front desk for 20 minutes, the building office was open only two days per week for a small window of time, client wants to buzz me in remotely for every visit while I wait outside in -15°C weather, etc.
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, my policy is to return keys in person. 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.
- No refund will be given for any reason for the non-refundable deposit or for any pre-service fees (for example, fees for the second consultation visit).
- No refund will be given for cancelled pet sitting reservations or for shortened pet sitting jobs after they have already started. Exceptions: death (pet/human family), life-threatening illness/injury (pet/human family), or “act of God” events like earthquake, hurricane, flooding, etc.. In the event of shortened reservations due to the above reasons, only the unused portion will be refunded.
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, and “Fred” Frederick.
Cat and hamster picture on business cards used with gracious permission by the photographer, Ásta Katrín – thank you!