Cat Sitter Chronicles Traveling The World With Cats

For Australian-native Madolline, she’s a big fan of cats. But she also happens to be a big fan of traveling, too. So, she figured why not combine two of her greatest loves to create purrfectly memorable experiences. And being a cat sitter that travels the world has other fun perks, too. Madolline says that, “travelling as a cat sitter is a great way to find out about stuff in the neighbourhood you probably wouldn’t have heard about if you were staying in a hotel. You also get great restaurant recommendations.”

In addition to the cats that she cares for in their owner’s absence, she also documents many of the cats in the cities in which she’s staying. (I love writing about cats, but a job like hers sounds right up my alley, too!) Keep reading to learn all about this cool lady who is taking the world one cat at a time.

traveling the world with cats

How did you embark on your cat-sitting journey? 

I actually heard about ‘house sitting’ one day at work. It’s only when I went home to Google it that I learned it included looking after people’s cats! The first website to come up was TrustedHousesitters, and this is the main website I use to house and cat sit my way around.

Can you name for me some of the countries that you’ve visited?

I’ve only visited the US (I’ve done six or seven house and cat sitting trips there from Dec 2017 to March 2020) and other parts of Australia, including well-known tourist destinations like Sydney and Darwin.

My favourite/most memorable house sitting locations include in NYC, where I was house and cat sitting in a Brooklyn neighbourhood, at the beginning of March 2020 when COVID really started to unleash on the US. I also really enjoyed house and cat sitting in San Francisco and Boston. And Cincinnati really surprised me—I would love to go back there.

Tell me about a handful of your most memorable cat-sitting experiences.

  • There was food-crazy Jasper in Charleston. He had been on a diet before I met him and I believe he was down to about 8kg. He (and his sister (because of him)) was on a timed feeder and I would catch him sitting in front of it most mornings and evenings before it went off. When it was time for wet food, he’d get up on his hind legs and put his paws on the counter. I also caught him licking the empty plate once I put it in the sink. He was even going through the trash (under the sink) once to lick the wet food tin dry…
  • Then there were two cats in Seattle. The lady let them go outside/free roam. Bodhi, the boy, didn’t come home one night early on in the sit and it made me really nervous. Especially as there was light rain outside. I started to wonder if it would reflect badly on me—the sitter—if he NEVER came home. Thankfully he came home. And, thankfully, they were the only free-roaming cats I’ve cared for.
  • A house and cat sit I got in Boulder over the Christmas 2018 break was an amazing property/location. The family lived on top of a mountain and it snowed about half the time I was there. Not on Christmas Day, sadly, but I was essentially snowed in on New Year’s Eve. That’s not something I’ve ever experienced before living in Australia and all…

  • Harvey, the first cat I looked after (in San Francisco), was pretty shy, but he warmed up to me as the days went on. His owners had their apartment cleaned each month and I remember Harvey ran to the bedroom to sit on the bed as soon as they entered. When the cleaners had to clean the bedroom, one of them asked me to move Harvey off the bed because they needed to change the sheets, but he just wouldn’t budge. When the cleaners were done, one lady told me that ‘The cat usually hides when we enter the apartment. We never see him.’ and said something like I must have given him a confidence boost. Harvey’s owners later said that he usually hides and poops himself when the cleaners come so I thought it was cute he didn’t do either of these things while I was there!
  • I’ve cared for a one-eyed (Zoey) in Birmingham, AL, and a three-legged kitty called Bonnie in NYC.
  • Some of the cats I’ve cared for have Insta and I still follow them and their owners, @che_harvey and @persianpals

Why should someone hire you to cat sit? 

Well, firstly it’s free to hire me! The websites I use operate on an exchange model where no money is given to the sitter. The sitter (me) provides live-in pet care in exchange for a place to stay. So unlike pet sitting app Rover, I am based in the person’s home for however long the person’s gone for. This could be as little as overnight or sometimes up to six months (note: The longest sit I’ve done has been about 1-month long). I also think that after completing some 30+ house and cat sits—all over the US and Australia—I have proved I am trustworthy and reliable, and a true cat lover. I think it’s also a bit of a novelty to most Americans to have someone from Australia caring for their cat.

What’s something special you’d like people to know about the cat and house sitting services that you offer? 

I still remember the names of all the cats I’ve cared for! There are probably 40 or so cats I’ve cared for ranging from 8-week-old kittens to more senior cats aged 17 and 18. I also still speak to about half the people I’ve sat for which goes to show it’s not just a service—friendships can be formed and maintained long after you’ve cared for the person’s home and cat(s).

I’d like to give a special “thank you” to Madolline for taking the time to answer my questions and for allowing me to share her story and pics with all of the Cattitude Daily readers. For more on Madolline, check out her blog, One Cat at a Time. Curious on what to expect when you hire a cat sitter? Check out her detailed Q&A on the topic here.

All Images Courtesy of Madolline Gourley / One Cat at a Time

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