How To Become A Cat Sitter (PRACTICAL 11-step guide to make full-time income)

how to start a cat sitting business

Interesting fact about me, guys. I recently quit my job as an investment manager to work on this blog and other things that I enjoy, like caring for animals . I worked in the competitive and high-stress industry of Finance for 10 years. Then, I said NO MORE to being a corporate slave.

It’s scary, because I have no source of income right now.

But the realization came to me that I wanted to quit when it dawned on me that there are so many people in this world making a full-time income doing what they love which doesn’t involve the rat race.

For example, you can be a full-time pet sitter and make as much as you are now and be your own boss.

Obviously, I’m not advocating that everyone quits their job to become a pet sitter.

But coming from a business background and having the love of animals, I want to show you how you can start a cat sitting business and turn it into a lucrative, profitable business.

For example, if you have about 15 visits a day, you can make close to $60,000/year. But if you have repeat clients and you get more inquiries, then you can build a business and hire part-time pet sitters.

So, a full-time of you doing all the cat sitting could be almost $60,000 but that will keep adding up as you hire more pet sitters in your business.

Or you can live rent free forever by cat/house sitting everyday of the year!

Like anything in life, if you want to succeed, it takes commitment and hard work. If you’re ready to be your own boss working with animals, here’s a PRACTICAL step-by-step guide to become a cat sitter.

How to Become a Cat Sitter (and make full-time income!)

The first prerequisite to becoming a cat sitter is that you need to love animals. That should be a given, but there are some people who exploit desperate pet owners looking for a pet sitter. And these fake pet sitters are horrible, borderline abusive, to animals.

If you meet the prerequisite, keep reading.

The steps in this guide basically take you from having zero experience with cat sitting to eventually launching your own business to make full-time income. If you do have experience, then you can jump into any of the steps, but I encourage you to read the whole guide.

Without further ado, here are the PRACTICAL 11 STEPS to CAT SITTING BUSINESS:

1. Know How to Take Care of Cats

2. Start on Cat Sitter Apps

3. How Much to Charge on Rover

4. Make Your Profile Stand Out on Rover

5. Get Reviews & Testimonials

6. Make a Website for your Cat Sitting Business

7. Rates & Services for Your Business

8. Market Your Business

9. Go Above and Beyond with Your Service

10. Hire Part-Time Cat Sitters

11. Business License & Insurance

Click any of the above in to jump to the section. Now, let’s get started!

1. Know How to Take Care of Cats

Just because you love cats, it doesn’t mean you know how to care for cats, especially other people’s cats you don’t live with. Your cats are your roommates so they’ll put up with you and adapt to your ways, but a stranger’s cats’ first instinct is to put up his/her guard against you.

You should follow your client’s instructions on feeding and cleaning up litter as well as what their cat prefers in terms of playing and affection. In addition, if you can become a self-taught cat behaviorist, you not only will be confident in what you’re doing, you’ll gain the trust of your clients.

How to become a cat behaviorist

The most important thing about becoming a cat behaviorist or “cat whisperer” is basically understanding your cat. Why do cats do what they do? How do cats think? What does the world look like from a cat’s perspective? What are cats’ natural instincts?

Then, take that knowledge to practical use by volunteering at your local animal shelter.

Start with these free or low-cost resources. Since you’re starting a business, you want to spend as little as possible in start-up cost. There are animal behavior schools that charge hundreds of dollars. Not worth it.

I highly recommend these 3 resources:

Honestly, these 3 resources are all you need. You’ll understand a lot about cats’ behavior.

If it’s hard for you to self-teach (which is very common) and you need a class structure, then online courses can certainly help.

The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) offer 5-week online courses on feline behavior. They are $300 for non-members, so consider taking it only if you think you absolutely need it.

Should I get a pet sitters certificate?

You absolutely do not need a certificate to show that you are a proper pet sitter. But obviously, having one will help credibility in getting your first clients.

The annual membership for a pet sitter certificate from Pet Sitters International is $140/year.

I wouldn’t go out and spend $140 just yet.

If you think that you’ll benefit from putting yourself through a structured studying habit to take the certificate exam, then by all means, go for it.

If you are having a hard time getting your first clients because the local market in your area is saturated with cat sitters, then getting a certificate could certainly help.

But why not try starting your business without spending $140 for now and then see what happens? You can always go and spend $140 later, but you can’t get back the $140 if you spend it now.

Now, put your knowledge to practice

While reading these books and watching free video resources and listening to the cat doctor radio, find a local animal shelter to volunteer. You can foster cats or help at foster adoption events or start out by cleaning cat kennels at the shelter.

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2. Start on Cat Sitter Apps

Once you’re comfortable with handling anyone’s cats, make a profile on a cat sitter app.

The more popular cat sitter apps are Rover and Pawshake. But Pawshake is not available in the US.

Unfortunately, Rover doesn’t have “cats” as an option for adding your pets. Everything is about dogs. When I made a profile for my cats, I had to pick “dog” and then under dog breed, I wrote that it was a cat.

It’s really insulting for cat owners considering there are a lot of cat sitting on Rover.

But that’s why when we get to the end of this guide, I’ll show you how you can veer away from Rover and start your own cat sitting business.

Nevertheless, make a profile and let’s book clients.

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3. How Much to Charge on

The going rates and services are different in each city. Once you make a profile, search cat sitters in your town and see what they’re charging.

The typical services and rates charged are:

  • 30 minute drop-in: $15 – $35 per visit
  • Cat boarding in the cat sitter’s home: $25 – $40 per night
  • Cat sitting / house sitting: $35 – $60 per night

Some charge higher, some charge lower but that’s the average range.

When you’re first starting out on Rover, you should Charge less than the lower range of what other cat sitters are charging.

For instance, I booked one of my cat/house sitters because she charged $18/night as opposed to the average rate of $40/night by most cat/house sitters. You won’t be charging that low for long. Just until you book some clients and get at least 3 glowing reviews.

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4. Make Your Profile Stand Out on

These 4 things are what you need in order to make your profile stand out on Rover:

  1. Lots of pictures of you and cats
  2. Great reviews
  3. Good prices
  4. 100% response rate

Prices become less of a factor once you gain repeat clients, but in the beginning, it is just as important as pictures and reviews.

Your profile picture should be of your face smiling (without sunglasses) and with a cat. Something that basically shows that you’re friendly and approachable and you have an inexplicable cat aura.

And when anyone inquires, you should always respond to maintain the 100% response rate. And respond quickly!

Once you attract clients with your pictures, prices, and response rate, then you need to collect great reviews.

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5. Get Reviews & Testimonials

There are 2 things you should do to get great reviews and testimonials.

The first thing is to provide a great service. Go above and beyond (see below how to go above and beyond with your service). Be friendly. Be on time. Be clean. Be awesome with your client’s cat.

The second thing, which a lot of people don’t do but is very powerful, is to ASK for a review from your client! So many people don’t do this, but if you ask them, most will write a good review.

Obviously, you can get a feel for whether your client was happy with your service or not. If you feel that they were happy with your service, ask them politely to write a review for you.

Here’s a template message you can ask send them after your service ends. Tailor the message by changing the [square bracket].

“Hi [Brian and Brenda],

It was such a pleasure taking care of [Charlie and Nala] the last few days. They were such friendly and adorable cats! I hope you enjoyed the updates and the pictures I sent you. If you were happy with my service, could I ask you for a favor? Can you kindly write me a review? I love cat sitting and it will help me a lot in my endeavors to spread my love to as many cats as possible. Thanks so much and I hope that you think of me if you need cat sitting services again!


Once you have about 10 reviews on, you can now set up your own business to take it PRO.

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6. Make a Website For Your Cat Sitting Business

When you’re ready to take it pro, the first thing you should do is to make a website for your cat sitting business. You can simply advertise your services, but it won’t become a legitimate business with repeat clients. You also can’t leverage your clients to gain more.

If you’re serious about taking your cat sitting business legit and profitable, you need to make a website.

If you’re completely new to building a website, there are a lot of tutorials online. Most of them will refer you to a hosting service first. I might suggest or if you’re more of a drag-and-drop kind of guy/gal.

If you’re more adventurous and have a bit of experience with how websites work, then I don’t have to show you how to Google “how to start a website”!

Your website content

But what I can recommend is to look at these cat sitter sites as inspiration. Your website doesn’t have to be complicated. It just needs the right amount of info, testimonials, and pictures.

I want to point out that your website should be personable and relatable. It should connect with your audience, because you’re not selling a platform like Rover or Airbnb for cats. You’re showcasing YOU. So, make it personal and describe the process in detail so that your client trusts you.

After weeding through cat sitter sites in various cities, I’ve picked some of my favorite as examples of great cat sitter sites that I recommend you draw inspiration from for their simplicity, layout, and content:

    • Very simple
    • I like that the Services page because it lists all the services, including house sitting chores they can do.
    • Also simple. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a fancy, complicated website. Simpler and clearer the better.
    • Services page is simple.
    • In-take page allows the client to take action right away. A lot of prospective clients may be looking for a pet sitter while they’re at work. So, they might not be able to call right away. The fact that there is an in-take page allows them to take action, and that way, you have their contact information.
    • Their Reviews consist of pages and pages of testimonials from their clients with pictures of their cats! I like this a lot.
    • Not a huge fan of the layout of this site, because it’s not clear and simple enough, but I really like that they have videos of their visits with cats.
    • Cute and simple and everything is on one page.

The content across all the very popular cat sitting sites and what you should include on your website are:

    • About Me / Team – Pictures of you, your background, who you are, and your team if you hire people, your experience, your team’s experience.
    • Rates & Services – See what others around you are charging.
    • Reviews & Testimonials – Link to your Rover profile to show all your reviews and testimonials
    • Photo Gallery – Photos of clients’ cats and videos are great too.
    • How to Book – Clear instructions of the booking process and a contact email or number or a contact form on the website.

Your website domain name

Also, I want to suggest one important thingi. Make sure that your website domain name has “cat sitter” or “cat sitting” and the name of your city. For example, or or

Because cat sitting is a very local business, you want to gain the trust of your fellow community members. If they live in Long Island, they’ll more likely click on rather than a generic site like

Reviews & testimonials on your website

When you have your website set up, you need to stack up the reviews as soon as possible.

Since you won’t have customers right away, I would have a “Reviews” page and link it to your Rover profile which by the time you set up your own website you should have some reviews.

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7. Rates & Services for Your Business

Services offered for cat sitting business should include the following. I’ve indicated an example going rates in the market, but they do differ in each city, so look at what competitors are charging. You can easily do a comparison when you go on Rover or Google “cat sitters [your city]]”.

Service Rate* Services Included
15-minute visit $15 Clean litter box.

Change water.

Fresh food.

For upto 2 cats & 2 litter boxes.

First-time introduction meeting & key pick-up included.

Pictures and updates via text included.

30-minute visit $30 Clean litter box.

Change water.

Fresh food.

For upto 3 cats & 3 litter boxes.

Play with cats, give affection, attention, and lots of love.

Bring in mail.

Water indoor plants.

First-time introduction meeting & key pick-up included.

Pictures and updates via text included.

Cat boarding in your home $30/night for 1 cat

$40/night for 2 cats

$60/night for 3 cats

Give food, water, play-time & affection

Client must bring the cat food, food bowl, water bowl, litter and litter box.

Pictures and updates via text included.

House/cat sitting in the client’s home $35/night for 1 cat

$45/night for 2 cats

$65/night for 3 cats

Some cat sitters charge more for house sitting b/c of the inconvenience of packing their stuff and living in someone else’s home. While some cat sitters prefer living in the client’s home so will charge less.

Services includes should be same as the visits:

Fresh food.

For upto 3 cats & 3 litter boxes.

Play with cats, give affection, attention, and lots of love.

Bring in mail.

Water indoor plants.

First-time introduction meeting & key pick-up included.

Pictures and updates via text included.

Deep cleaning of food bowl, litter box, or water fountain +$5 You can charge an additional $5 for if they need you to take-out and change their litter box completely and do a deep clean of the cat’s food bowl or water fountain or the litter box. This is only in addition to the visits.
Additional cat +$5/cat If they have more cats than indicated in each service included above, then you can charge +$5 per cat
Giving medication +$5/cat If you have to physically handle the cat to give him/her medication, then you should charge an additional $5/cat/medication. Tack this onto the visits/services.

*Don’t  forget to mention the service area you are willing to travel that’s included in the fee schedule. If they request you to travel outside of your service area, then indicate that you will charge more based on where they are.

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8. Market Your Cat Sitting Business

Once you have your website going and you’ve gained reviews and testimonials on your website, you should find ways to market your business for as little cost as possible. Here are completely FREE ways you can market your business:

Facebook page

Creating a Facebook page is one of the best ways to market your page via word-of-mouth, especially for a local business. If you can start a Facebook page and add your Facebook friends and family, then that would be the easiest path.

But if don’t have your own Facebook account, then don’t worry. It’s not required. You’ll just need to do a little more hustling to get followers in the beginning.

  1. Create a Facebook page. This guide shows you exactly how to create one.
  2. Enhance your Facebook page. Here are ways you can promote your Facebook page without spending a dime.
  3. More advanced and unique strategy. Once you’ve created a Facebook page and you’ve promoted it sufficiently, you can now employ some strategies to attract customers even more with these Facebook marketing ideas.

Google reviews

How many times have you Googled a service you needed near you and chose a business with the best Google reviews? I do it all the time. In conjunction with Yelp reviews.

You won’t have Google reviews from the get-go, but it is so so important to try to get as many great Google reviews as possible as you start your business.

  1. The first thing you need to do is to get your business listed on Google. You can do that for free on Google right here.
  2. Next, create a link on your website for your customers to go and fill out a Google review for your website. You’ll need this, because you’ll be asking your customers to write a review, so you need to direct them somewhere. You can create a link right here.
  3. Here is a template you can use to ask your customers to write a Google review. You can email them the template after the service is completed or you can text them the template with the link that you created in step 2.
  4. Next, employ strategies to entice your customers to write a Google review. For example, you can text or email them or write on your Facebook page that if they fill out the Google review, then they’ll get $10 off next time. Or perhaps you can hold a contest where if they fill out a Google review, they’ll be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card. You can get some ideas for how to get more positive Google reviews here.
  5. If you get a bad review, try your best to fix the situation. Here are some tips to fix a bad review.

Yelp reviews

Getting Yelp reviews is just as good as Google reviews, although Google is more popular. To increase the Yelp reviews that customers leave about your business, this is a good guide that shows different tips to do that, including leaving a Yelp “badge” on your website or email signature.

Flyers at local shops

If you’re friendly with some local shops in your area, then that would be a great way to promote your business. You can print out small flyers and ask the shop owner if you can leave a bunch by their cash register.

Local shops that may be a great idea to do this include hair salons, local pet supply stores, or art supply stores (there are a lot of creative folks who have cats!)

You can use to create a flyer for you to print with their easy-to-use drag and drop functions.

Craigslist ad

The days of print newspaper are gone and sadly, even Craigslist is becoming the days of yore. But people still do resort to Craigslist when they need something. You can give it a shot and put an ad on Craigslist with a description of your cat sitting service and a link to your website.

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9. Go Above and Beyond with Your Service

When you don’t have any customers in the beginning, it is crucial to go above and beyond with your service.

But I want to stress another important thing. When you’ve gained a following of repeat customers and a barrage of new clients, it’s even more crucial at this time to continue to go above and beyond with your service.

It’s more important to maintain your high quality service, because when you first start and you haven’t gotten many reviews, you can just start fresh again. But when you’ve built a reputation for your business, it is very hard to bounce back from consistent negative reviews.

Think about all the hard work you put into building up the positive reviews and a clientele and having it all go away because your stress keeps accumulating and you take it out on your clients.

Going above and beyond with your service for a cat sitting business is not complicated. But it is a lot of work and you really do have to love your business and your cat customers. Employing simple tactics will go along way. These include:

  • Posting lots of lots of photos of you with other cats.
  • Showing your expertise as a cat whisperer by either in person or videos online.
  • Sending the cat owners consistent pictures and updates while you’re cat sitting their cats even without them asking. 
  • Providing a helpful guide for your customers about their cats, e.g. recommended cat toys to engage them more at home or even suggesting an automatic cat feeder that they can buy when they’re out of town for a couple of days instead of paying for a cat sitter everytime.
  • Not charging hidden fees and being upfront about what you’ll charge and what will be included.
  • Always being punctual.
  • Confirming before each meeting time.
  • Being polite and friendly.
  • Following up with your service after it’s completed. For example, email or text them the day after that you had the pleasure of cat sitting their cat and that you would love for them to leave you a review on Google or Yelp or a testimonial on your website. Then emailing or texting before the holidays about promotions or news updates about helpful cat tips.
  • Being friendly and polite every time.
  • Being responsive right away!! This is very important. If you get a call or an inquiry online or texts, make sure to get back to them within an hour. If you can get back to them right away, that’ll really trump your competition.

All of these tips are basically to show your responsive and responsible ways. You’re building trust with your customers. This is customer relationship 101 but so many of us aren’t consistent.

Remember to have integrity with your business and you’ll quickly see your business succeed.

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10. Hire Part-Time Cat Sitters

If you’re fully booked and overwhelmed, it’s time to hire part-time cat sitters. Now, you’re no longer a one man show!

Where to find people to hire

People looking for part-time gigs still rely on Craigslist quite a lot. So, I would recommend you post an ad on Craigslist.

You can also post on your Facebook page or on your Facebook wall and friends of friends will send the job posting to people they know who are looking for part-time gigs.

If you want experienced and reliable people to hire, then there are a few tricks you can use.

First, look for cat sitters on Rover who only have 1 or 2 reviews. They’ll be more keen to look for gigs, because they don’t have many reviews yet.

You can contact them as though you’re looking for a cat sitter and try them out through Rover. If they’re good, then you can hire them directly through your business.

Be upfront with them about your business and that you need help with an influx of cats to sit.

Another cheeky tactic is to find them on a professional gig site such as Same thing as Rover, let them know that you’re looking to hire them for your business. Note that Thumbtack is not as well-known in some cities.

A template message you can send a cat sitter is:

“Hi [Britney]!

I’m a fellow cat sitter on Rover and have my own clients as well not through Rover. I have more cats than I can handle and am looking for a cat sitter to work with me on a cat-by-cat basis. Would you be interested?



Negotiate a fee for your employee

If they’re interested, negotiate a fee where you’d be making about 20%-30% of the cut. For example, if you’re sending your employee on a 30-minute visit for $30, then your employee keeps $21 and you keep $9.

Train your employee

Make sure you train your employee about how to perform the service based on your business values and high quality professionalism.

If you can, create a training manual for your employee. This can be as simple as jotting down everything you would do when you’re at your client’s house to cat sit.

You can make this training manual more formal as you go along.

Handling customers

You should be the only one who communicates directly with your client. If your employee has a direct line of contact with your customers, there can be many problems.

First, your employee can run away with your client.

Second, you can’t control the quality of your business, such as responsiveness and following up about the service.

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11. Business License, Insurance, Receipts, Taxes

Pet sitting doesn’t require a business license, but there are benefits to having a business license.

The government provides a helpful guide on starting a business and takes you through how to register a business license and how to file taxes.

For my American friends, visit the US government’s guide to starting a business. You can skip the business plan and market research part and go straight to Step 7. Registering a business in the US.

For my Canadian friends, the Canadian government also has a useful guide on starting a business. Again, you can skip the business name and business plan and go straight to Step 3. Registering a business in Canada.

Insurance is also not required, but because your client’s cat’s life is in your care during your visit, it may be prudent to get one.

If you’re strictly on Rover, you don’t need a separate insurance, because Rover has an insurance for all their Rover users. But if you’re striking out on your own, then you can look into several pet sitting insurance (aka bond).

Some reputable pet sitting bond companies are Surety1 and Petcare Insurance.

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Final Thoughts

If you’ve read this entire guide and made it this far, then your heart string has clearly been tugged by the grand idea of starting your own cat sitting business!

The above 11 steps may seem daunting, but if you are serious about it, then think of it as just one step at a time. You don’t have to go from 0 to 6 figures as a cat sitter in one year.

The beauty of cat sitting is that it’s something you can work around your already set schedule. So why not tackle one step at a time while cat sitting on the weekends and evenings.

Thanks for reading and I hope this guide is helpful. Good luck!

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” -Napoleon Hill