I Tried Rover Pet Sitting For The First Time Ever & Here's Why It Was Worth Every Damn Dollar
This is what going above and beyond looks like.
Going on vacation is a dream, but organizing pet sitting can be a nightmare
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
I recently went on vacation to visit my family in the Caribbean and left my cat, Wila, behind for the first time with an in-house pet sitter I found on Rover – and I got way more than I ever expected.
Like most Gen Z pet owners, I treat my pet like she's my slightly furry human child, and I've tried not to travel anywhere without her.
She's come along with me on road trips to Montreal and flown back and forth from Toronto to Calgary with me a handful of times.
Wila on a road trip to Montreal.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
She's a great travel cat and gets sullen and moody when I leave her for prolonged periods of time, so I try my best to travel with her when I can, but I couldn't swing bringing her to another country for this trip.
I've had friends or family watch her for the odd weekend or week in the past, but I've never felt comfortable leaving her in a kennel or with a stranger.
None of my usual suspects were free to look after her the week I was away, and my friend suggested I try out a petsitting app called Rover that she recently used for her cat.
Rover is basically Tinder for pet sitters, but instead of finding love (or a sloppy hookup), you find a pet sitter to look after your dog or cat, whether you need someone to stay overnight or just check in on your pet.
How to find a pet sitter on the app
I made a profile for Wila on the app, adding photos of her and her specific care information and started hunting for a pet sitter.
Wila's Rover profile.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
I wanted someone to stay in my apartment for the week I was gone so that Wila would be comfortable in her own surroundings, so I chose the house-sitting option and added the dates for my vacation.
The Rover app home screen.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
From there, I browsed available pet sitters' profiles until I came across a sitter with five stars and over 25 positive reviews.
I reached out and asked if they would be open for a phone call, and after a ten-minute chat, I invited them over to my place for coffee so they could get to know Wila and me.
While doing an in-person chat may seem a little bit extra, just like online dating, not everyone is who they say there, so meeting my sitter in person helped calm my nerves and was a great way for Wila to get familiar with them before the trip.
They came over for about 20 minutes the week before I went away and after a successful visit, I booked their services through the app for $67 a night for seven nights.
I prepared my guest room for them with fresh sheets, clean towels and a few snacks, and they came in at around 6 a.m. before my flight on the day of my trip to get the keys and settle in.
What my week away looked like
My sitter was incredible.
Each day she sent me multiple photos and videos of Wila, including pictures of her breakfast, dinner, playtime, and her dental treats.
Wila eating her food.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
Each step of her routine was documented, and she gave me daily updates on Wila's mood and behaviour so often that I never felt the need to check in first since updates were consistently rolling in.
Wila eating a dental treat with cat toothpaste.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
She even sent photos of each time she cleaned out Wila's Litter Robot,
Someone emptying out the dirty litter of a Litter Robot.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
Wila is more playful than affectionate with strangers, but in just a few days, my sitter was sending me photos of Wila rolling over and showing her belly and cuddling up in their arms.
Wila laying on her back and playing.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
This put me at ease to enjoy my vacation, and when I returned slightly burnt and well-rested, I found my sitter had gone above and beyond for my arrival.
They made Ukranian stew for me to enjoy after my long flight and even left fresh flowers, a handwritten card and candy on my bed.
A bowl of Ukranian soup. Right: A card and candies.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
They left my house in pristine condition, with all my towels washed and folded, the bedding in the washing machine, and the garbage and dishwasher empty.
Would I recommend Rover?
The service cost $557.78 with Rover's service fee and an extended hours charge of $33.50.
I tipped 20% on top of my bill for the exceptional service, which brought my total cost to $658.28.
While that might seem like a lot for pet sitting, having the peace of mind that my cat and home were looked after with great care was worth it.
According to homeguide, cat kennels range from $25 to $45 a night on average, so while a kennel may be the cheaper alternative, they're more than likely taking care of multiple cats, so your feline may not be getting the same attention.
So if you're looking to enjoy a trip away from home without your furry best friend, I'd recommend trying Rover – just make sure you do your due diligence and find the best fit for your fur baby.