Before communicating with cat owners who are looking for cat sitters, it is very important to understand the different types of cat sitting ads and the psychology behind them. In this article I explain three types of cat sitting ads.
Last minute, urgent cat sitting ads or cancellations
Cat owners often find themselves in deep stress, disorganised and all over the place. These cat owners are not necessarily the last-minute type, but due to unforseen circumstances find themselves in some kind of an urgent need for cat sitters or for cancellation.
There are few reasons why this happens as explain below:
- Last minute holiday plans, usually those are either work-related business trips or social events
- A cat sitter has suddenly canceled the sit due to some last minute reason
- A sudden cancellation due to illness or other family member situation in the cat owner’s household
Last minute house ads due to holiday reschedules or any cancellation coming from cat sitters causes lots of stress, especially in the communication with cat sitters. You as a cat sitter need to handle this with extreme caution and care. Those types of ads are posted at a very short notice and you need to be comforting and assuring in case you decided to communicate with cat owners. Those cat sitting jobs are very easy to land as the competition is usually very low among other cat sitters.
My advice is if you want a quick and easy cat sit, search for those ads by applying the filters. Reduce the notice period (play with the dates on House Sitters website) and adjust them to be starting shortly (this week). Usually cat owners have little time to filter through applications and usually accept the cat sitter with a good experience and review. Also, chances that you will be contacted by desperate cat owners are somewhat high. So, be prepared to have a very good response rate (within 6 hours on average).
If you are experienced with cat sitting, you don’t need to ask many questions, and my recommended action to take is to pick up the phone and call the cat owners (most last minute ads will have a phone number posted on House Sitters website).
Calling cat owners who are in desperate need for a cat sitter is very stress-relieving, especially if you have excellent communication skills. The conversation and agreement usually goes very swiftly and smoothly.
Medium urgency cat sitting ads
Those cat sitting ads are posted within 3 weeks to 6 months in advance. The communication with cat owners is usually stress-free, and cat owners have ample time to filter through applications, look at reviews and ask for a couple references. Cat sits which are due within 4 weeks or less, are the serious ones as the communication really starts to flow faster and the response rates increase. The competition for these ads is very high. Expect to be competing with not only local cat sitters, but also cat sitters coming from abroad – especially during the summer.
The chances to be selected for the job are a bit weak, and depend on many factors:
- your availability
- your location
- your experience with cat sitting
- your references
- your ratings and reviews
- your communication skills
If you want the job, you’ll have to impress cat owners in the way you communicate with them. Also, your profile should be attractive and rich with reviews.
To increase your chances, ask questions that show cat owners that you care for their cats, and you have the experience to handle special cases (if they mention any in their ads). You basically need to study the house ad very attentively and focus on asking questions that are not answered in the ads.
Some questions that help you start a good conversation:
- I’ve noticed in your cat sitting ad that you mentioned that your cats need to be fed twice a day, do they eat dry and/or wet food?
- Do your cats leave the house during the night, and what time do they usually get back home?
- How far is the vet from home in case of any emergency?
- Do your cats require special care or do they have a favourite toy you want me to use while cat sitting?
The above questions will not only show experience, but also help assure cat owners that you are detail-oriented and want their cats to be happy during your sit.
I usually look for misleading information and turn their attention to it. For example, one of the cat owners mentioned in their ad that they are leaving by the end of July, but the dates on the ad say end of August. I pinpointed that to the cat owners and they were impressed that I have attention to details. It’s a great conversation starter.
Flexible and relaxed cat sitting ads
Those cat sitting ads show you that cat owners are either super-organised or want to get this responsibility off their shoulders as soon as possible and well in advance of their travel.
Super-organised cat owners usually travel to the same destinations and on the same month(s) every year. Planning for such holidays is a no-brainer. They spend the least time arranging for their travel. The bulk of their stress is finding a reliable cat sitter and agreeing with them on the sit as early as possible.
These cat sitting jobs are amazingly filled up very quickly. You would think you have all the time to contact the cat owners, on the contrary, cat owners are trying to seal a deal way in advance to free their minds from worry. This is why when you search for cat sitting jobs, do not filter much and leave your search criteria open.
The communication with cat owners is very mellow, calm, and your profile is well-researched. My advice is to take it to the next level very quickly to seal the deal early. Ask for a quick call and impress cat owners as early as possible. Usually what cat owners do, if they like your profile and they get along with you on the phone, they confirm right away and remove the ad from the website. This is why you need to make it quick and establish contact as early as possible.