Frequently Asked Questions
How much time do you spend with my cat?
Some cat sitting services quote their fee "for 15 minutes" or "for 20 minutes". How absurd!
We will always stay an appropriate time for the individual cat or cats in our care. For example, if we are visiting and caring for cats that have cat flap access to the outside, who eat and then disappear (clearly wanting to get back outside to continue their adventures!), there would be little point in having an extended stay. If however, we are visiting and caring for cats that really enjoy human company, (and especially kittens and elderly or timid cats), we would socialise with, cuddle, groom (if required) and reassure them for as long as our schedule reasonably allows and our visit would last typically for up to an hour or perhaps even longer. Be assured that socialising with your cat would be a very important element of our visits along with the practical aspect of maintaining food, water and clean litter. Where clients invite us to, we will make a cup of tea or coffee, put on the TV or have a read, with “you-know-who” sat on our lap purring away!
One or two other cat sitting services in the area appear to be cheaper?
In cat care, like many other areas in life, “you get what you pay for”.
Be very careful when comparing services that you are actually comparing “like with like”.
“Cheapest” is not always “best” - especially in relation to something as precious and as cherished as your cats.
We have heard some really dreadful stories from customers who have previously suffered a really shocking and shameful service prior to moving to Home Loving Cats.
Some cat sitters offer a basic “pop in” or “cat feeding” service whereby they rush into the house, put down the food, change the litter and leave, often without even washing the dishes for days at a time. In terms of time spent, it can be no more than 5 to 10 minutes maximum. Unfortunately, you will not know this is the case and consequently your cats will not receive any kind of “socialisation” or “companionship” or “laptime” or “play” time. This is absolutely scandalous.
That is very definitely NOT the type of service provided by Home Loving Cats! As stated previously above, we offer a fully comprehensive service that not only covers all the practical aspects of food, water and litter, it also includes lots of quality time spent with your cat.
If you cherish your cat, you will be well advised to use a cat sitting service that is recommended by other cat owners.
Don’t just take our word for it - click on customer reviews to see how highly valued and respected our service is.
What is the booking process?
The way we work is a 2-step process:
Firstly, you need to make a booking – either over the telephone or preferably by email (stating the dates you want us to cover). At that point, a 25% deposit is payable (subject to a minimum deposit of £20). This may be made by an internet banking payment or by posting a cheque if you do not have an internet banking facility.
Secondly, once the deposit has been paid, we will email you a booking confirmation and a few weeks before you go away, a visit will be arranged to meet you and your cat(s) and to run over your cat care arrangements.
A deposit is only required for a "first" booking. Once you are a customer, all future bookings do not require a deposit.
How much are your fees?
A fixed fee per cat sitting visit is charged according to your location.
Normally, the fee per visit (for up to three cats) is the same regardless of the number of cats. So whether you have one, two or three cats, the fee is the same. If you have more than three cats, the fee may be slightly higher. However, in some circumstances, there may be a variation of this charging structure depending on the situation.
If you enter your postcode into the box on the home page, you will be able to contact your local cat sitter who will then send you an email that confirms the fee level for your location.
I would like visits every other day. Is this OK?
Unfortunately, this is not possible under any circumstances. We take our duty of care extremely seriously and the health and welfare of cats in our care is always our primary concern. To that end, it is our policy to make at least one visit per day over the whole period that the cat owner is away. This goes some way to address the social needs of a cat and also allows us to check on a daily basis that the cat is healthy and well. (Depending on timings, it may not be necessary to make a visit on the day of departure and the day of return). If you do happen to come across a pet sitter who is offering to visit other than on a daily basis, you would be advised to stay well clear - as their willingness to "cut corners" indicates that obtaining a booking from you is more important than their duty of care to your cat.
I cannot confirm my holiday dates yet and I am worried that you will be fully booked when I am ready to make a booking. What can I do?
Don't worry! (Subject to our service being available in your area at the time of your enquiry for the approximate dates you require), all you need to do is pay a deposit of £20 and we will guarantee to fit you into our schedule when you do get back to us with definite dates. Although the deposit is non-refundable, it will be held on your account and may be used by you at any time against future bookings. The "purrfect" solution to ensure that your cats can stay at home when you travel away!
I have never used this type of service before and I am slightly wary of allowing strangers into my home. How can you reassure me about security?
We totally understand that there may be some apprehension when trying a new service. We do not provide references as such (as we do not give our the personal details of our customers). However, please take a look at the brillant reviews of our carers. If you can't find them, mention this to the carer covering your area and he/she will provide you with a link to the reviews. In addition, if you require it, all Home Loving Cats carers can show you their (police checked) basic disclosures and (public liability) insurance certificates when a visit is made to your house to run over the attangements for your booking. For (extra nervous) enquirers, driving licences (confirming postal address of your carer) can also be examined at the time of the house visit (if required).
Do you arrive in a vehicle that displays advertising?
If we were to do so, it would compromise household security, by advertising the fact that you are away from home. Not a good idea!
Our service is absolutely discreet and vehicles do not carry any advertising whatsoever. This is where the Home Loving Cats service offers a major advantage over other pet sitting services that arrive at the homes of their customers in vehicles that carry advertising.
In addition, whilst making our cat visits (i.e. entering and leaving the homes of our customers), we do NOT wear T-shirts, hats, or other apparel bearing Home Loving Cats advertising (which could highlight the fact that you are away from home). If you ever see any of our cat sitters wearing such clothing, this will only be at special events or when they are generally “out and about” town, and NOT when they are entering or leaving the homes of our customers.
What if my cat should become ill or injured whilst I am away?
We are very experienced in recognising all kinds of problems. Should we feel there is an issue, we will contact you if the situation and timescale allows this, and if necessary we will take your cat to the vets (this will normally be your own vets). This is an extremely rare occurrence, but please be reassured that we will never hesitate to consult a vet where necessary. We are happy to to pay any vet bill on your behalf and you can reimburse us on your return.
Presumably you will clean up if give my cats create a mess?
Where cats have urinated, pooped or vomited in inappropriate places inside your home, we will of course always clean away any mess as best we can. When such soiling has occurred on a hard resistant surface, it is straightforward and there are no issues. However, should soiling take place on soft furnishings such as chairs, beds or carpets, we will still clean away any mess, but we reserve the right in some instances (and at our sole discretion), to do so using only kitchen roll, plain water, fabric cloths and perhaps a "neutral" wet wipe that is detergent free. This is because commercial cleaners and stain removing sprays, (regardless of whether they are present in the customer’s home), are generally not “colourfast” – and may change the colour of fabrics and carpets - which our cat sitters cannot risk. That is why some stains deposited by your cats on soft furnishings may be present when you arrive home - and it is then up to you as the cat owner to decide how and with what product the stains can be removed (at your own risk) in terms of colourfastness.
What are the key arrangements?
With regard to keys, the keys are collected at the initial meeting when we meet. At the end of your very first booking we can either put the keys back through your letterbox or we can retain them for future bookings if you wish. (Many customers request that a spare set of keys are retained by Home Loving Cats so that they don’t have to go to the inconvenience of getting keys to us each time they go away. So feel free to make use of this (free) facility if you wish, or continue getting the keys to Home Loving Cats each time you make a booking, whichever you prefer). Please note that if you do not ask us to retain a spare set of keys at the finish of your first booking, the onus is on you to get the keys to Home Loving Cats for all subsequent bookings as we do not have the time to collect keys from our many different customers.
Will you be able to let my cat out whilst I am away?
With regard to letting cats in or out, we can work with the following two situations:
EITHER your cat stays in whilst you are away, in which case we will service the litter trays OR your cat has outside access via a cat-flap.
Because of the uncertainty in relation to how long a cat might wish to stay out and when it might choose to return, in the majority of situations we are very reluctant to let cats in and out - although we do not rule this out entirely - and particular situations can be discussed on a case-by-case basis. So if you do not have a cat-flap, your cat would (normally) need to stay in whilst you are away.
However, even if your cat was confined to the house whilst you are away, we are sure that it would far prefer staying at home with massive amounts of familiar home space in preference to being forcibly taken off to a cattery and being confined to a small pen. And after all, for most people, we’re only talking about 2 or 3 weeks holiday out of 52 weeks each year – and most cats can easily manage for a few weeks each year.
For some time now I've been thinking of getting a cat flap. Can you recommend any?
Absolutely! Please take a look at our article on cat flaps.