Housesitting Checklists: Before, During, and After Catsitting

So you’ve decided to become a catsitter? In this post, I’ve gathered all the housesitting checklists for questions to the pet parents and things to do before, during, and after the catsit. In this way, you’re making sure it will be a streamlined process from start to finish. These housesitting checklists are tickable and it will save your choices in the browser when you come back to this post. But first, let’s make sure you score that first catsit via Trusted Housesitters.

Questions to Ask on an Application Call

When you’ve scored your first video call for a potential housesitting gig, make sure to ask the right questions. This way they can see you’re the right candidate. There’s more information on the process from housesitting application to confirmed sit in the main article. Always re-read the entire profile before the video call. It’s important you can already use the cat’s name(s) with confidence as well as know their age and gender. Use the checklist below to ask more questions that haven’t been answered on their profile and customize these questions at will.

Pro tip!
Sometimes people who have multiple cats have ones that look very similar in their pictures and on video. It’s often difficult to tell the cats apart while the pet parent can tell them apart blindly. Don’t worry about being able to recognize the cats on the video call directly; this will come when you meet the cats in person. If you make a mistake identifying the cats on the call, assure the pet parent that you’ll find out the differences between their seven Ragdolls when you meet them for the first time.

Keep in mind that the video call is two-sided: both parties need to know you’re a good fit for each other. If you encounter any red flags from a pet parent even though they want you to take care of their cat, you’re not obliged to say yes. Assuming that there are no red flags from their side, make sure to ask the following questions.

Finally, the usefulness of these questions will depend on a lot of context such as how long the catsit is. Select whichever are useful to your situation (I believe in you!) and save the ones you didn’t ask yet for the house tour. Focus your questions on vital information about the cat and fun questions that show your interest in their beloved cat. Now let’s finally get to the first housesitting checklist:

After the call, make sure to send them the cat petting preference chart with the cat’s name already filled in. It’s a great way to stand out from the other catsitters and you’ll get more info about the cat’s no-no zones for pets so you won’t get scratched.

CatPettingPreferenceChart cat petting preference chart Zucchini housesitting

Start a Group Chat

Catsitting housesitting checklists happy cats

If they choose you to be their sitter, immediately initiate a group chat on WhatsApp/Signal/WeChat/Telegram. TrustedHousesitters messaging is a bit clunky as a platform to use for photo updates and quick questions. Use this platform to stay in touch before the housesit starts. Communicate any big decisions (e.g. booking a train/plane ticket) beforehand to make sure the housesit is still on. This way, the host will also see that you’re taking the housesit seriously and they can trust that you’ll be there on time.

Your Host’s Welcome Guide

One of the best ways to prepare for your upcoming housesit is by reading your host’s welcome guide. The welcome guide is a document that outlines the cat’s routines and things about the house. Most pet parents provide one either via the function on Trusted Housesitters or they have their own document they can send over. Via THS, the document should become available immediately upon housesit confirmation. If a pet parent doesn’t have one, you can request one via the platform or in a private message.

request welcome guide THS

This is also where you can find information about the cat’s veterinary contact details. Sometimes, the pet parents also provide a local emergency contact who has a backup key and can help with major problems. Depending on the pet parents, this document can be very detailed or very short.

Generally, the welcome guide is a very useful tool; it can be a lot of information to process all at once during the house tour. During one of our sits, we had a welcome guide lying around on the table that we reviewed again when we weren’t sure of something. If you don’t receive a welcome guide, make sure to take notes during the house tour so you can review them again later in peace.

Getting to Your Housesit Checklist

Catsitting housesitting checklists make sure to not forget your charger

Now that you have your housesit agreed upon, it’s time to plan your travels! It’s important to communicate with the hosts once you have gained more clarity on how you’ll arrive at their place.

  • Check entry requirements for the country (Google ‘visa policy of X wiki’)
  • Compare ways to travel to the country by boat/rail/road/plane
  • Book tickets to get into the country
  • Check the validity of your health insurance
  • If necessary, book accommodation in the country before the housesit begins
  • Pack all the stuff you’ll need (your passport)
  • Execute the plan

Questions During the House Tour

Yay, you’re traveling to your catsit! A few hours before your arrival, you’ve reread the host’s welcome guide again. Now you have to mentally prepare to absorb a whole lot of information at once. After you’ve exchanged pleasantries upon meeting the pet parent and their pets and have taken off your shoes, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty details of your housesit. As always, use your wisdom to see which of these questions apply:

Cat-related questions checklist:

House-related questions checklist:

Inviting guests
Generally, it’s not okay to invite other persons to your housesit while you’re doing it as it can be distressing for your number one priority: the cats. If you have friends in town, meet up with them at some third place like a café or a park.

However, if your housesit goes on for very long, it is okay to ask the pet parent if inviting guests would be alright. Meeting (human) friends is good for you and your well-being matters! As long as you discuss the pet parent’s boundaries and then respect them, it’s okay. Some people are okay with you hosting a travel friend for a night or two if their cats are chill. Jonas and I have done it on one housesit and sent over the social media profile of our guest so the hosts could see what kind of person they are. They okayed it and it was a good experience for everyone, including the curious cats!

The Checkout Checklist

Catsitting housesitting tips questions interview pet parent host trusted housesitters

You’re approaching the end of your housesit. The cat is happy and well-fed and you’ve kept the house reasonably clean. Now it’s time to prepare the house for the return of the pet parents. During the sit write down things you don’t want to forget when leaving and add them to your checkout checklist. Also, if you’ve broken anything, mention it immediately in your group chat so it doesn’t become part of your checkout checklist.

It’s usually expected that you return the house as clean as it was when you arrived. If you keep areas very clean, you can start this process a few days in advance to spread the work.

Now that you’ve completed your housesit, cherish the memories you’ve made and wait for that review to come in! Also don’t forget to review your host, since your review will help future housesitters a lot.

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