How much should I pay my adult neighbor to cat sit?

nancitaSeptember 10, 2010


We just returned from a one-week vacation. We have two cats. We had the neighbor check food and water (we have the self-feeding containers), flush the litter daily (World' Best Cat Litter, flushable, right next to the toilet), and that's about it. She had access to our pool, although the weather wasn't always good, and asked to use the washer/dryer once while we were away.

Any idea on how much to pay her for her service??

Thank you.

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I'd give her $50.00 or a gift card to her favorite restaurant.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 2:14PM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

I pay my neighbor boy $5 a day to feed my outside cat. Their family also brings in my mail, but doesn't come in my house.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 3:00PM
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Our pet sitter (who is a veterinary assistant at the animal hospital we use) charges $15/day. When we go away in the summer, she waters our garden/outdoor plants as well, at no extra charge. She used to come to our house twice a day; in the morning and then again in the evening, but this last trip, she came once/day.

We usually give her some extra $, the am't depends (esp when we've had a bigger garden, with lots to water).

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 3:13PM
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I've done this for the folks who live in the farm next to us and I never expected or wanted anything. So, I guess it depends on how close you are and whether You've done things for her in the past and she's reciprocating. I would have refused money had she offered, but if she'd have given us a gift certificate to a restaurant we would have used it, and appreciated it.

It also depends on how much it put her out. My DD has looked in on cats where insulin injections and other medical procedures were involved and she had to travel a good distance to get there. In cases like that, I'd have gladly offered what I'd have paid a vet to board, and then some for the privilege of the cat not having the trauma of leaving their home.

It also depends on the area. We live in a rural county and folks just do those things for other people who live close-by. And our wages aren't exactly stellar here, but neither is the cost of living. LOL. So, services like these aren't high $. I've found out if there is difficulty establishing what is a fair payment, working it out before the fact is usually best. If the other party just flat out says they don't want paid! then a gift certificate works.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 4:55PM
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I pay our cat sitter $18 per day. I think I would give her $10 per day.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 5:18PM
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I don't know much about my neighbor. She recently moved in next door. She rents the upstairs. She is a nurse and has a dog. When I first met her, she offered on her own to cat sit if I ever needed her.
Cash is always welcome, but awkward. I know in the past people have given us a GC to the local restaurant or wine.(They knew we enjoyed wine).
We returned Wednesday night, so I feel I should give her something over the weekend.
So, is it okay to give a gift certificate to someone I don't know? Or, cash?
Thank you.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 6:11PM
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Fori is not pleased

She's not expecting money (or she would have given you her price beforehand) so a gift certificate and an offer to dog sit if needed would be lovely.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 7:07PM
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She's being neighborly! Yes on the gift certificate. And invite her over to the pool more often :)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 8:19PM
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Ditto on gift certificate. That is what I do for my friends - 50-100 dollars, depending on the duration.

Neighbor did not have to travel far and is likely not doing it for money - in cases as such sign of appreciation in the form of a gift certificate works best.

If I travel to interesting places, in addition to gift certificate, I also like to bring the sitter something from my travel destination. My good friend loves my mom's homemade jam from homegrown strawberries, so I always bring a jar all the way from Russia, as a thank you for taking care of my cats while I away :)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 8:41AM
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I would offer her money and if she refuses it, then I'd buy her a nice gift or gift card or invite her out to lunch. That way, you won't have to worry whether you misinterpreted her intentions and if she's resentful and feels you took advantage of her. It's her choice to accept it or not.

Since you don't know her well, it's difficult to know whether she was trying to be neighborly or needs to pick up some extra cash. And personally, I'd rather not feel indebted to someone I recently met either.

My petsitter, who does it as a business, charges $15 per visit, so I would think $10 or $15 per day would be acceptable.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 9:30AM
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My suggestion is a Visa gift card (inside a 'thank you' greeting card from the kitties). It's the exact same thing as giving cash but takes away the awkwardness because it's a gift. If you don't mind watching her dogs, do make an offer to sit for them if she ever goes away, too. Maybe you can make an arrangement in the future to trade services if neither of you travel too extensively. It's great having someone so close that is reliable to count on. Not to mention, neither of you will have to add pet sitting charges to your vacations each year.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 10:03AM
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If she is new to the 'hood, you might also consider taking her out for a nice dinner someplace, say a favorite local restaurant. Another idea would be a small gift. If she has a dog, a package of gourmet dog treats or a spiffy collar might be appropriate.

I wouldn't accept cash for watching a neighbor's cats now and then. Cats are really no trouble and I am always happy to help out a neighbor.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 10:51AM
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Thank you all for your time and input. I amleaning toward the gift certificate. We have incredibly great restaurants within walking distance. My husband wants to give cash, so we are currently trying to deal with that.
I know my neighbor boards her dog when she goes away because the dog requires walking. She usually has a friend's neighbor, but he was not available for her last few trips. I can see paying a young person cash, but as an adult AND neighbor, the gift certificate seems like the way to go. Especially since she moved here a few months ago, a gift cert. to a good restaurant that you might not either afford or think to go because it's a bit pricy (but really good), seems good. As a matter of fact, her downstairs neighborr is a well-known chef at a beautiful, highly rated restaurant. So, we'd be benefitting both neighbors. Except they are closed for the month of September. An IOU gift certificate wouldn't work.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 11:02AM
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I look after my neighbours cat when he goes away and usually it's only a few days but last time it was for 5 weeks when he went overseas. He was quite prepared to put the cat in boarding but since I live right next door and I knew his cat would be happier at home I offered to do it. It's just a neighbourly thing to do, but if you're unsure, ask her how much she wants for looking after him, most likely she doesn't expect anything and a $50 gift certificate to say a big thank you is appropriate. And yes, offer to dog sit for her if she's going away.

My neighbour mentioned he would look after my dogs if I go away too, I'll probably never take him up on it because my dogs are a bit of a handful LOL, but it was just nice of him to offer.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 1:16AM
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nancita, you forgot that she did laundry at your house while watching the cats and might or might not have used your pool.

How about invite her over for a cook out? Especially if she is single. A burger and conversation would probably mean more to her than a gift card where she has to eat alone. It does to me.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 5:51PM
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I want to thank everyone of you who replied to this post. Great input!
So, in a moment of weakness and guilt, I caved in yesterday and gave the cat sitter $75 cash. I couldn't take it any longer. We had been home for almost one week and I just wanted to give her something.
Although she is single, she does have a boyfriend who comes over to her apartment often. I was trying to hold out for that gift certificate to her downstairs neighbor's restaurant but that wouldn't be for another three plus weeks because they are closed until October 1.
It will be interesting if I ask her again what she says about the cash. She did say she used the washer/dryer for a load of towels (heavy!) but no pool. I am just glad we had someone to look after the girls. Who knows, she has a six-month lease. She may be gone by year's end.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 7:30AM
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I check in on my neighbor's two cats every time they go on vacation, plus bring in their mail and newspapers. If it's only a weekend or four days, I don't expect anything nor do they offer. But when they go for a week or two, they have in the past given me money or a gift card. Sometimes they repay me by helping with a yard work task, for example hauling away debris with their tractor,ect.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 8:54PM
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