Why we Love to Look After Cats
Looking after other people’s cats can be a great way to spend time with them without the commitment of owning one. One way to do this is by becoming a home and pet sitter, an increasingly popular role with retired people in their 50s and 60s.
Homesitters stay in people’s homes when they go away to take care of any pets and keep the home secure. It’s a great way for them to see more of the UK and enjoy new experiences, plus they are paid a small fee, which can supplement their income.
Ellen Hart; a sixty-five-year-old former orthopaedic nurse from Ascot in Berkshire became a homesitter when she retired.
Ellen had first become aware of the role in the 1980s when an advert in The Lady magazine had caught her eye. She thought it sounded like a wonderful idea and contacted the company advertising as soon as she retired.
Part of her application involved a two-hour interview at the company’s headquarters where Ellen was able to ask lots of questions about the role which reassured her she was making the right decision.
Her first assignment involved looking after a cat, a labradoodle puppy, a dog, five bantam hens, a cockerel and a rabbit – it was a great success and she hasn’t looked back since.
Raised on a farm, Ellen has had plenty of experience looking after animals. She had pet cats and dogs as a child and also enjoyed horse riding. However, she describes herself as ‘a cat person’.
Ellen explains what she enjoys about the role. She says, “I wanted to do something useful and interesting when I retired. Since becoming a home and cat sitter I have stayed in gorgeous properties ranging from beautiful townhouses to characterful thatched cottages and met some lovely people.
“All the assignments are varied – sometimes there are animals to look after and in other cases, the owners want someone to look after their home while they’re away for security reasons and to let in the cleaners and gardeners.
“I am lucky that I love driving which has meant that I have taken on assignments in many different locations including Kent, Hampshire, and London. Looking after cats is my favourite thing. I love making sure they are happy and we have great fun together, I enjoy knitting and let the cats play with the balls of wool which they love.
“A real highlight is going back to repeat clients as it’s like a home from home, you know where everything is and the animals are so happy to see you again. Some clients even leave little treats for me such as chocolates, special teas or nice cheeses – one lady even made me a ‘pamper bag’ which was really thoughtful.”
Ellen also likes the security of knowing that Homesitters Ltd – the company she works through – are always available in case of any issues. The company contacts all its homesitters on assignment to check how they are doing, it also provides comprehensive insurance cover and emergency cover should any homesitter have to leave an assignment suddenly.
With 60 homesits under her belt, Ellen’s best tips for new homesitters is, “Do your homework first. Look at the Homesitters website to find out what the role involves and go along to the interview armed with questions so you are fully prepared.”
To ensure her assignments go to plan, Ellen prints out a checklist of essential items to take with her such as her phone charger and researches new areas and asks clients for recommendations of things to do. She also takes her favourite tea and coffee on assignments and her own pillows, as well as a full sewing kit and her knitting to keep herself occupied in the evenings.
If this sounds like a great way to spend some time with cats, Homesitters are always on the lookout for reliable people who would like to work for them.
Homesitters Ltd can be contacted on 01296 630 730 or through the website: http://www.homesitters.co.uk/