As any cat lover will tell you, our beloved felines have an astonishing range of personalities – from the most independent and aloof, to the most loving and affectionate. Frequently, a single cat can be all of those things and more depending on the time of day!
Whatever your cat’s unique traits, there are a few things they have in common. As a rule, they don’t react well to strange environments – and unfortunately that includes unfamiliar catteries. With no familiar humans or hiding spots around, they may even try to escape, potentially injuring themselves in the process.
And while an increasing number of holiday resorts, BNBs and hotels allow guests to bring their dogs along, it’s a little more complicated with cats. Even if you were able to take your cats with you, they're likely to get stressed out by being in an unfamiliar territory. Of course there are exceptions to the rule (there always are where cats are involved!) but this is the experience of many of our cat sitting clients.
As animal lovers, we know that there’s a special bond between cats and their owners. It’s difficult to leave them behind when you go away, but knowing that they're safe – and in the environment they're accustomed to – makes it a lot easier, both for you and your feline family members!
Whether your cat likes some hands-on attention and play, or would just like a human to fill the food bowl and ‘chill out’ with, our cat sitters in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and across Gauteng are here to help. As many of our Student Co pet sitters volunteer at animal shelters and animal welfare organizations in their spare time, they’ve got experience with all sorts of different feline personalities. In addition, they have completed a test to recognize veterinary emergencies in the unlikely event your cat does need urgent medical attention.
Unlike many other pet sitting companies, StudentCo offers you and your cats the chance to meet with your potential pet / house sitter ahead of time, before you decide to go ahead with the booking. In the case of friendly cats, this gives the sitter a chance to introduce themselves and start to form a bond with their new charge. Even if your cat is a little more nervous about meeting new people, the meet and greet still offers them the opportunity to ‘scope out’ this new human and learn their smell.
It also gives you a chance to walk through your cat’s feeding schedule, point out their favorite hidey holes or napping spots, let the sitter know which windows need to be kept open or shut, etc. In the case of long-haired cats who will require grooming or brushing, this is also a great chance to show your cat sitter the ropes. You can also show the pet sitter your feline’s favorite toys and how they like to play with you, so they can keep them mentally stimulated and entertained while you're away.
Most importantly though, making use of a pet sitter means your kitty will be taken great care of, right in their own home territory where they feel most relaxed. Knowing this means you can get on with your holiday or work trip, secure in the knowledge your precious pets are safe and happy.
We’re sure you’ve got lots of questions before you entrust your kitty to our care, so we’ve endeavored to answer as many common questions as we can below. If you have any specific queries not covered below, or simply want to chat, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
We have three different service levels available – once daily and twice daily visits, or a live-in / stay-over service. This last option means your pet sitter will stay at your home overnight, coming and going throughout the day as they need to. Remember that the majority of our sitters are full- or part-time students, but they will spend as much of their off-campus time with your cats as possible.
If your cats are the highly independent kind, then a once-daily visit to check up on them, provide food and fresh water, and clean out the litter tray may well be all you need. If you have more than one cat, or your feline needs a little cuddling and play time, twice daily visits lasting an hour each will probably be best.
If you're going to be away for a longer period of time (or your cat is one of the high maintenance varieties!) we encourage you to book the stay-over option. Apart from ensuring your pets don’t get lonely during your extended absence, this also allows us to keep an eye on your property, and make it less obvious that you're away from home.
Our current rates are as per our services page.
There is no charge for the obligation-free meet and greet.
Wherever possible, we will assign a cat sitter who lives, studies or works within a 10km radius of your home so there’s no need to charge you for travel costs. In the event this isn’t possible, we will need to add a petrol charge of R3.50 per km for the distance over 10km your cat sitter has to travel to reach your property. The maximum amount we’ll charge for travel costs for any booking is however capped at R399.
Of course! We provide you with a document we call the Pet Parent Instruction Sheet precisely for this function, and encourage you to give as much detail as possible. We keep this on record for any future bookings you make with us too.
Besides which foods, how much to give, and at what times your cats are used to being fed, you can also give us the scoop on anything which might be useful for the cat sitter to know, such as whether your cat should be locked inside in the evening, or if a window needs to be left open so they can get in and out as they choose.
Your cat / house sitter will bring the instruction sheet along for the meet and greet to clarify any points and ask any questions they might have. Please take extra care to give clear instructions regarding any medications / tick and flea / hairball treatments you’d like your pet sitter to administer while they're taking care of your cat.
The hardest part of being away from your pets is the ‘not knowing’ – that’s why our sitters go out of their way to keep you in the loop. You’ll receive detailed daily updates as well as photos of your pets via Whatsapp from your sitter, so you can see for yourself that your fur family is doing just fine! If you like, your sitter can also send you a location pin each time they arrive at and leave your premises for complete peace of mind.
In a medical emergency, your pet sitter will make contact with your preferred vet immediately. If they can’t reach the vet listed on your instruction sheet or the emergency happens outside of their standard hours, a suitable 24 hour vet will be contacted.
If your sitter has any general concerns about your pets or property, they will first make contact with you to receive your instructions, or with the emergency contact you’ve listed if they can’t reach you directly.
We currently operate across Gauteng. Our cat sitting services cover:
We’re always adding new areas and bringing on great new sitters, so the chance there’s someone near you is pretty good!
Our sitters are happy to assist with reasonable chores such as watering the garden, taking the rubbish out on collection day, basic pool maintenance, and generally keeping your property in good condition.
All our cat and dog sitters know they're expected to respect your property and house rules at all times. Live-in sitters are expected to keep the bathrooms, living spaces and kitchen clean at all times. Being great with animals and having a responsible kind of nature almost always go hand in hand – so this requirement generally comes naturally to our pet sitters!
Please also make sure to let your cat sitter know if you have a garden service or domestic worker who will need to be let in.
If you need to add a few days to your trip, feel free to make contact with your sitter directly to arrange for this. We tend not to book students back-to-back, so this is generally not an issue. If your cat sitter isn’t able to stay on longer, they’ll contact us to arrange for a replacement if needed.
If you find yourself coming home early, simply let us know and we’ll credit your account for the services you haven’t made use of. These can be rolled over to your next booking, or refunded should you so choose.
Before we bring a pet sitter onboard, they're required to pass a thorough test on our rules and standard procedures. They must also demonstrate that they can identify a veterinary emergency. All our sitters are 18 or older and have applied for Police Clearance Certificates from the SAPS. We also run a reference check on all applicants.
In addition, many of our dog and cat sitters volunteer at animal charities and shelters in their free time. This gives them valuable experience and insight working with all sorts of feline and canine personalities!
You are not expected to provide food for live-in sitters, but if you have food or beverages available that they can help themselves to during their stay please do let them know. We ask that you please provide clean bedding for stay-over sitters. For sitters coming round for once or twice-daily visits only, it would be greatly appreciated if you could have tea and coffee makings on offer.
We also highly recommend that you leave some emergency cash with your sitter (R1000 is ideal) to help with any unexpected costs relating to your cat or property. This makes it a lot easier for them to purchase additional cat food, kitty litter, etc. should the need arise. Our sitters will keep all receipts for such purchases for your reference.
Absolutely! If you have other pets, our cat sitters will be happy to take care of them. If you have a number of pets, please consider the twice daily or overnight stay options so your sitter has the chance to give each of your animals some one-on-one time.
Our StudentCo pet sitters all have a genuine love and passion for animals. Many of them volunteer at pet shelters in their free time. As a company, we help them support these organizations by allocating a portion of our budget each month to donate to these worthy causes. We also frequently step in to assist with donations of pet food, blankets, equipment and supplies. By booking your cat sitter through us, you're helping us carry on this valuable work!
Whether you have a young cat who needs lots of play time, or an older moggie who just wants someone to hang out with, our cat sitters are ready to assist. Contact us today, so you can enjoy your time away with the peace of mind that your cats are being taken great care of!