for the first time, we are considering leaving our two cats whilst we go away for a month. I have heard that there are registers of people who will live in ones house and take care of pets for no charge (they get a free holiday). Does anyone have experience of this and can anyone recommend a reputable register of such people?
Sounds like a recipe for disaster
Some of these services cost the earth to sign up to so it’s not really free. I looked into it as I have a lot of animals and some medical conditions that need to be taken into consideration. Plus I’m not keen on perfect strangers living in my house.
The dogs go to a garderie which isn’t cheap but gives total peace of mind.
For the cats, and the rabbit, my neighbours step in. There are 4 houses where there are cats and we take it in turns to be on ‘cat duty’ when anyone goes away. A nice gift brought back from wherever and an apéro dinatoire and everyone’s happy.
My cats were all semi wild so going to a cattery really isn’t an option but if you have one in your local area, maybe consider that too.
If it’s for free I would be cautious. No contract, no responsibilities… You often see notices up from local teenagers looking for simple work like baby sitting - presumably via CESU. If local and responsible that could be an option to pop in once a day and text a photo to reassure you.
The pet/house sitting services I’ve seen are at a cost. Probably equivalent to a cattery.
I agree. There are people who (supposedly) do it for the pleasure of getting a free holiday in a gite, but we’ve preferred to pay.
The only free sitters we’ve had were when a friend with his own dog and his mate came to stay. And Vita finished up at the vets! She and the friend’s dog stole a steak he was planning on cooking (don’t ask) and as she’s allergic to beef she finished up with a bad lick patch. None of this was conveyed to us while we were away. These days I’d rather trust someone professional.
We have acquaintances who do it and so we know them and know other people who have used them and so we were very comfortable to let them come the first time we used them. In fact it was such a success that when we came back and Tod and the sitter were relaxing on the terrace having a cup of tea Vita preferred to lie by the sitter! Tod was quite upset!
We’ve never put our two into kennels. Vita has never been away from us and this house and Bertie came out of a rescue. We feel that maintaining routines - known walks, known house, familiar smells - is very important while we’re away to keep anxiety to a minimum.
Mind you, Vita is now 12 and we won’t be going anywhere and leaving her at this stage of her life.
We’ve used Trusted House sitters and have found brilliant people. Sitters are rated so there’s no issue about trusting people with your home and pets. Yes there’s a fee but if you have multiple animals or don’t want to send them to a kennels / cattery or have horses etc it’s a much cheaper and better option.
My 3 ginger tossers are going to the lovely Mme. Escande, for the first time in November.
She had Wonder Dog at her kennels on several occasions…& neither WD or myself had reason to complain.
The cats are 8 euros each per day…ordinarily, they’ll be there 34 days.
They need vaccinating at 60 euros a pop ie 6 jabs with a small discount for 2 of them.
So all in all, 1000+ euros for a month’s lodgings.
But I’d rather that than trust them to someone else…even someone I feel I can trust.
Besides, they’re going to give me a discount as it’s not their busy period.
If I recall correctly Trusted Sitters charges a one off 99€ fee and you can even find people who will do work in the house or garden for an extra fee that you organise with them beforehand.
To be honest it was the only one that I would have considered using, but Sandy came to the rescue that time
These are the kennels mine go to nowadays:
Tilly loves it so much, she sulks for 3 days when she comes home
Yes that’s about right. We found an amazing couple who went on to become friends. We returned to dinner left for us, mown lawns, trimmed hedges and the dogs were not even remotely pleased to see us they had had such a nice time. They were also better behaved than when we left…
Apart from the 99€ do you pay the sitters? And do you have to have a pet there? We are always nervous leaving the house in winter mainly because of electricity cuts leading to problems with heating and freezer. But we usually take our dog with us! Neighbours do pop in but would be interesting to explore an alternative.
No - they tend to be retired people who like to travel and they get free accommodation in return for watering your plants etc etc. I am sure you could find non pet house sitters.
We use this lot for when we go back to the UK as we have 9 cats and the chickens to be looked after.
We’ve used them before as well. We had a wonderful Australian couple stay to look after our 3 dogs.
They even cleaned the house and cut the grass before we came home (certainly didn’t expect them to).
1 of my dogs wouldn’t do well in kennels (Velcro dog!), so it was a perfect solution.
We’ve used Trusted Housesitters and always found the sitters very good, in particular a lone lady who was excellent.
Hello Baldyegghead08. Welcome to Survive France. please could you provide your name in full and not just “cc” as per the conditions of this forum. Thanks. @cat @james
We were members of Trusted House Sitters which was an organisation that connected people requiring pet sitters to people who loved animals and traveling. We looked after all types of animals in all sorts of places in the UK and France. All the sitters have to be security checked and are reviewed by the owners. We found that it worked well as there was no money involved so the priority was the happiness and health of the animals. We made many long-term friends while pet sitting and now live in Manche not far from the first people we sat for and have adopted ( or have been adopted by) 6 of their cats. Hope this helps and good luck, it’s not easy leaving your pets with strangers but it can work
We have used Trusted Housesitters for the past five years and had 15 sitters from different parts of the world. We also do housesitting, sometimes together, sometimes on my own and have some 30 sits completed and received 5* reviews for every one.
We do this for free for three reasons. It gives us a lovely holiday we could not otherwise afford and we love animals so we get a holiday with the bonus of pets to love.
Payment would change the relationship for me. I have a friend who does pet sitting as a business but you would be amazed how many homeowners think they have employed a servant! We would not dream of violating anyone’s home in any way, be it humble or a chateau.
It is a win win situation. Your home is lovingly looked after, your pets get to maintain their routine in their own surroundings with lots of extra attention and you save money.
We choose our housesitters carefully and treat them as we expect to be treated. Leave a clean house, be welcoming, look after the animals, home and garden as you would your own.
We have made many friends and are asked to return time and time again.
I have once stepped in to cover another housesitter who has pulled out for a spurious reason but mostly, like us, we take our commitments very seriously as we expect our housesitters to do.
There are thousands of wonderful people out there who love animals as you can see from the thread about old dogs.
I am writing this sitting on a subbed, looking over a beautiful view. Alongside snoozing in the sun are two adorable dogs, the horses are happily grazing in the field behind me, the chooks are pecking around in the shade and cats are on my bed.
It’s a wonderful life!
Just to say - welcome to Survive France. Jenny!
It sounds wonderful Jenny and I’m so glad it works for you. But it is horses for courses isn’t it? I don’t want strangers traipsing around my homes. Having been an only child until I was eleven might explain it
There are several platforms available in France, I personally use https://fr.catinaflat.com/ it’s specialised in cat sitting and the website is easy to use. Always had pleasant experiences with the cat sitters I found there.