“In Home cat care?”

by Prince Of Petworth June 12, 2017 at 1:15 pm 70 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Rob Cannon

“Dear PoPville,

Does anyone recommend someone who would check on 2 cats every 2-3 days and clean the litter box, and refill water as needed? They are fed through an automatic feeder. We will be out of town for 2 weeks and looking for some help. We are in the H Street/NoMa area.”

  • Sloganberry

    I use Fetch! Pet Care, which I have found to be really great and helpful, and they service NE (many DC pet services I’ve looked at in the past don’t service NE or they only service a small area, like H Street).

    • mondo

      Seconded. We’ve been using Fetch for almost ten years.

    • Mjmjpi

      Ditto. We love Fetch.

      • Anonymouse

        Adding to the Fetch love.

  • Anon

    I use Capital Petsitters for my 2 cats when I’m out of town and have been pretty pleased with their service. They’re based in Virginia but service most if not all of the DC metro area I think.

    • Emanon


  • LMatt_in_NE

    Barkly (used to exclusively be a dog walking service) now does in home cat care too.

  • iwdc

    Have you looked on Rover(.com)? It’s set up for dogs, but we get drop-in requests for cats all the time (which we can’t do so we have to say no). I assume people likely indicate cat friendliness in their profiles, but I don’t have a cat so I’ve never looked. I guess that’s not a glowing review, but I do love Rover for my dog!

    • Dominique

      +1 Rover is awesome

    • Anon

      I would honestly never use Rover, seeing how my neighbor who is on Rover treats/beats his dog, leaves his yard full of feces, and leaves the dogs he’s sitting outside for 14-16 hours a day. Yes, I have contacted Rover about it (including photos and video) and they don’t care.

      • textdoc


      • lisavfr

        Yikes. I’m a very active host on Rover and hate to hear this. I take pride in my work and am proud of my excellent reviews and strong repeat bookings. I’m disappointed that your concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

      • textdoc
      • anon

        Late to the party on this one, but I had a similar experience with Rover where I had a grossly neglectful sitter and despite ample evidence from me, Rover did nothing. I tell everyone to avoid them like the plague.

  • traydc

    We use Metro Mutts (www.metromuttsdc.com) for cat sitting services. It’s $22 per visit and you can schedule periodic visits for the morning or evening. We have found them to be reliable and their online system makes it easy to book cat sitting services.

  • also anon

    We’ve used Family Tails Pet Sitters and am very happy with them. I don’t know if they cover all of DC though since we’re farther north.

  • Anon

    We use Fido Fitness and Play for this exact thing – Ed is the man! He always sends us pictures and videos of our cat when he’s there.

    • MM

      Second this! Ed Walden was very professional and provided impeccable service. We are first-time pet owners and were quite nervous, so the daily pictures and videos were great! Website below:

    • Doglover

      Ed was my dog walker for a few years when I live in DC. Love him and his team!

  • cat person

    I’ve been using Sit-A-Pet for two years and love them! They schedule a home visit first to meet your pet(s). You also show them where everything is and how you would like things done while you’re gone. You also get text alerts and pictures/videos from their visit. They will even water plants and pick up mail. Highly recommend them!

    • Petworth neighbor

      I also use Sit-a-Pet and have been very happy with them over the last 4 years.

      • Nonny

        We also use sit-a-pet and have been very happy. We’ve used them for periods just a couple of days to upwards of 2+ weeks and have never had any issues.

    • Catastic

      Happy with Sit-a-Pet as well, but they won’t visit less than once a day and so wouldn’t work for OP.

  • Dominique

    I’m on Rover, and a huge fan of cats (I rescued one in January). OP- are you metro accessible?

    Shoot me an email if you’d lole to chat – I can send a link to get $20 off your first Rover booking.

    (Dominiquecovelli at gmail dot com)

    • InLovewithACatManinNE

      Yes we are about an 8 minute walk from NOMA metro. Emailing you now.

  • textdoc

    Slightly off topic, but the cat in the photo looks like he means business!

    • navyard

      I know! He’s either pissed because someone just woke him up from his nap for no good reason, or he’s ready to kick my ass. either way, I’ll wait for him to rub up against my leg before I try to stroke him.

      • Elvis’s Mom

        And that, dear children, is the story of how navyard retained use of all 10 fingers…

        • lisavfr


  • ryan

    District Pet Care (http://districtpetcare.com/) has taken care of Pippa a number of times and they’re really great. I am pretty sure they serve NoMa as well.

    • jsvtex

      Seconded; Jackie is great

      • Becca

        My cat loves Jackie! He is diabetic and requires shots and she is great with giving him those as well!

    • jcm

      I use Jackie too. She’s great.

    • Erin

      Seconded (though I’m fourth now) for Jackie and District Pet Care! We trust VERY few people with our dog and cats especially since I work in the animal field, and Jackie is one of those few amazing people!

  • dcgirl

    I use TrustedHouseSitters.com. The pet-sitting is free, and set up a bit like airBnB. Sitters use the service in order to travel, see different parts of their city, etc. and stay somewhere for free, and you get someone who takes care of your pet round the clock (and other household things like taking out the trash, watering plants, etc.). The people get a background check, and you can read their reviews/references. If you set it up correctly, you can meet them prior to the sit, as well. You just have to pay for a year subscription, which in my mind is worth knowing you can have someone sit at pretty short notice, and your pets will be happier with someone there for longer than a 15 min visit to feed them once a day. Personally, I know my cats would be miserable for two weeks with that little human interaction.

    • chrisofot

      Second TrustedHouseSitters.com. I used them for the first time this year when I went to Italy for 3 weeks and needed more than just a drop in service. Eileen was great with my 2 cats and will be using this service again.

  • mcshaw

    Walter Rivas from WoofPack DC is the best! He’s been taking care of our cats when we go on vacation for about 3 years now, and our cats love him. He hangs out with them for a while, leaves toys out for them, brings them special treats, and does a great job with their food/litter. Also has a great, affordable rate. Highly recommend!

    • VC_MP

      Second Walter! So sad to not live where he works, but he was the absolute best dog walker (and I’m sure, cat-sitter).

  • Truxtoner

    Your cats must be a lot more laid back than mine. If I go more than 24 hours without cleaning the litter box, she will just stop using it.

    • InLovewithACatManinNE

      I wish my fiance would clean it daily, but we got a fairly large one, probably 2 feet x 1.5 feet, with a big hood cover, and we only use the Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal. Every other day works well then.

  • Pleasanter

    I’ve had luck reaching out to my neighbors via a listserv/NextDoor to set up a cat care exchange. We watch each other’s cats for *gasp* free. It’s been going strong for about a year with 5 or so households on board. If it ever becomes unequal in terms of who’s doing the caring, we’ll look at rebalancing in some way that makes sense.

    • textdoc

      That’s fantastic!

      • Pleasanter

        It certainly does make going out of town cheaper and less stressful! And we get to meet our neighbors, which I’ve found is a tough thing to do in DC!

        • Dominique

          Pleasanter, do you know if there’s a similar listserv for other neighborhoods? I live in Petworth and would love to do this for my own cat for short-term travel (a wedding where we’re only gone overnight, etc.)

          • InLovewithACatManinNE

            Nextdoor is a community for anyone.

          • InLovewithACatManinNE

            Sorry posted too fast. Nextdoor is a neighborhood based community that will put you in the right group based on your address. It’s very easy to join.

          • textdoc

            Petworth also has a Yahoogroup:

          • Pleasanter

            Like the posts above, I’d recommend joining your local NextDoor – that’s how I started the one where I live. I don’t know of any others that are set up already. Good luck!

    • wdc

      Same. I’m amazed that pet sitting companies are so (apparently) successful, when we’ve always just had a neighbor kid do it.
      I’m curious: Why don’t the service-users ask a neighbor or neighbor’s kid for vacation pet/ house care? For cats, mostly, since I guess dogs need to be walked while kids are at school.

      • also anon

        I have an elderly cat that requires medicine. He’s going to live forever but if for some reason he doesn’t and he becomes gravely ill while I’m away I want to know he is being taken care of by a professional who will take him to the vet. I also want to know that my house is being visited by a professional company with insurance in case something goes wrong while the cat sitter is there. The cat sitter also scoops the litter every day, brings in the mail and waters my plants. If we’re gone for a few weeks she will even change the litter- none of which I would expect a neighbor to do if I’m not paying them.
        Our cat sitter also spends at least an hour at our house and brings new toys for the cats to play with. In short, professionals just go above and beyond what would expect a neighbor would do for free.

        • lisavfr

          I do tons of dogsitting and can chime in here. Bottom line is that people want an adult. I notice when the dog is doing something that seems “off”. Are their paws looking kind of pink, maybe they need some Bendadryl? Are their ears itchy, should I get the drops out and work on the ears?

          I send photos/videos and updates at least once a day. I keep a mental note of when the dog last ate in case of a medical emergency the vet will need to know the last time food was consumed. I am prepared to take off from my day job and take Fido to the vet if necessary. (Yes, this has happened).
          Too many times customers have come to me after the neighborhood kid, or worse their own kid provided substandard care resulting in discomfort or worse (a lab left outside too long on a very hot day resulting in kidney failure).
          Lastly, I allow dogs to stay in the bed with me. I find the owners want to know their dog has a human around to cuddle with at night. I stay in house with some of my more difficult and older customers. I find they seem happier in their own home. Other customers have said their dogs get happy and excited when they enter my neighborhood knowing they will be on a vacation at my house.
          I have customers whose neighbors will help out. But, leaving your 120 LB dog with a neighbor for 10 days is somewhat rude. They would rather pay me and keep good harmony with neighbors.

          • InLovewithACatManinNE

            OP here. We are fairly new to the neighborhood, just about 9 months living here, but there are 2 reasons why I’m inquiring.

            1. My friends who have helped in the past are not as close by. I don’t want to be a burden, and most don’t have cars so I would rather the respect of paying someone for their time, especially since it’s more than 2-3 visits.

            2. I have yet to meet a single kid in our neighborhood over the age of 7!

          • Pleasanter

            Yeah, I think it makes more sense to use a paid service for dogs and for extended vacations. For cats, our neighborhood cat share is great! It builds community and the sharing economy.

          • InLovewithACatManinNE

            Agreed, Pleasanter. I joined Nextdoor recently, and would happily pay a neighborhood kid, but I don’t know anyone old enough. And as mentioned by jerseygirl, I would want someone who would clean the box well. Maybe we’ll meet someone in the future. It is definitely right for someone super closeby.

        • mondo

          We have a diabetic cat that requires insulin shots 2x a day and our company has a trained vet tech on staff that administers the shots at no additional cost.

        • InLovewithACatManinNE

          OP here. I agree 100% with also anon. And come to think of it… we have some plants too.

      • jerseygirl

        I’ve had friends’/neighbors’ kids take care of my cat while I was gone because they needed the extra cash, and they NEVER do a good job scooping the litterbox. My cat (like most) buries his goodies, and most of the kids I’ve hired just scoop whatever they see on top, and don’t dig around the box so when I get home, the box is pretty gross. I’m happier paying someone who will do a thorough job.
        I used Tails of the City Pet Care, who seemed fine. I didn’t think they did an amazing job, but my cat was always alive, healthy, and relatively happy when I got home, and the litterbox was always very clean.

    • gee

      I had set up the same kind of arrangement in an apartment building and ended up with a rotating list of 25+ people. no one had to leave the building to sit

  • Dog and Cat Owner!

    HIGHLY recommend District Dogs (they do cat-sitting too!)!! They are the nicest, kindest people and will work out a custom schedule to fit your needs! (and my diva of a puppy has plenty….) Check out districtdogs.com!

  • Colhi

    I use Happy Tails Pet care and love them. They are at happytailsdc (dot) com

  • JH

    I live near you and have been using Saving Grace Pet Care for about 2 years now, they have been reliable and great for my 2 kitties. http://www.savinggracepets.com/

    • JH

      i’ve also used sit-a-pet when i lived over on the SE side of the hill and they were great too, but they do want to visit your pet once a day so they would not work out for OP.

      honestly i used to have a pet sitting swap with a few neighbors for free, but i felt like i was doing the sititng much more frequently then getting any sitting in return. and one of the persons was not as trustworthy as i initially thought. so i would rather just pay for a licensed, bonded professional who will not lose my key or lock it in the house accidentally while i am out of town, not care properly for my cats or notice if they are ill, etc.

  • InLovewithACatManinNE

    Thanks so much everyone for these hugely helpful suggestions!

  • If you live in a desirable neighborhood, it can be pretty easy to find someone who just wants to come stay at your home to visit DC – (though 2 weeks can be a little harder.) Post on neighborhood listserves, even Craigslist, if you know how to weed out the crazies. I went away for a month last year and my first hit on CL turned out to be a perfect month-long house/pet sitter who even paid rent.

  • DG

    We also use Saving Grace to look ok after our cat while we are away. They are excellent and conveniently located on Capitol Hill (9th St. NE).

  • SarahNW

    I’ve used Patrick’s Pet Care and they were very conscientious – they even e-mail each day that they come to let you know that everything’s ok.

  • TeamFabDC

    I highly recommend Puppy Love Pet Sitters. I’ve been relying on their cat care services for 5 years and have had nothing but good experiences. My cat isn’t fond of most people and I’ve had trouble in other cities in finding a cat sitter she can bond to. She and Will (Puppy Love staffer) are super buddies now! Will even took care of my cat when she needed to be given medication after a tooth extraction.

  • zulucious

    We use Pet Peeps and they are wonderful – for cat care and medicating 2x per day.

  • Felony I

    Megan at Fairy Tails. She has cared for my two furballs 25+ days this year. Even my skittish, sensitive lil monster likes her. Professional, caring, above and beyond service. On a recent trip, one of the kittehs turned on the gas stove. What a relief to have her there. I like that it’s her business, not a side gig (nothing wrong with side gigs, but I felt better in the beginning knowing I was engaging a business – not a random – to enter my home). Fairytalesdc.com


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