Isn’t he adorable?
I don’t have a cat but love cats. So I was excited when I had the opportunity to take care of this sweetie for a few weeks as a pet-sitter. I also got to try out living in a different part of Beijing, near Ritan Park.
A couple month earlier, over the October Chinese holiday, two playful kittens woke me up every morning in a great loft-apartment in the heart of Sanlitun, while their owners were visiting family back home.
How to find a pet sitter in Beijing
So how did I find those pet sits? Or the better question is, if you have a cat or dog or goldfish or rabbit, or any other pet, how do you find a great pet sitter in Beijing?
So far, your options have been limited:
- You could try by word of mouth or posting on expat message boards. This approach is very unpredictable and could leave you scrambling and resorting to the next options.
- Of course you could ask your ayi (cleaning lady) or the neighbor’s kid. But know that having pets is a rather recent phenomenon in China and usually limited to more affluent people. So while your ayi may gladly agree (after all, it’s extra income and a clean place to take a shower), he or she may not be the experienced pet-lover you are looking for or treat your home the way you would want. Same goes for the neighbor’s kid.
- Or you could put your pet in a kennel, or “doggie jail”, as a friend of mine calls it. Kennels are professional but can get costly. And pets, especially cats, are happier in their own home.
A better way to find a pet or house sitter
Now, your options for finding a pet sitter in Beijing are set to improve. And not just pet-sitting but house-sitting in general. I met Lamia Walker, the founder of HouseSitMatch.com and a long time expat herself, who plans to expand her house- and pet-sitting services to Beijing.
If you have looked at professional house- and pet-sit websites before, you probably noticed that they don’t have many listings in Asia, especially in China. Lamia wants to change that with her company.
What makes her service different from the other house-sit sites is that her team is available to work directly with each client to find a good match, rather than just have a database automatically match up potential houses/pets and sitters.
The way it works is that you pay for a 1-year membership (starting at £35 – yup, HouseSitMatch is located in the UK) and create a profile. During the membership year, you can organize as many house/pet sits as you like. HouseSitMatch takes care of the online security and private messaging between members. They also offer legal agreement templates, guidelines and tips.
To get started, Lamia is offering a 20% discount for the Beijing Expat Guide readers. Use coupon code PERFECT20 when signing up at HouseSitMatch.com to get this special discount. (Full disclosure: This is an affiliate link, so I will earn a small commission if you sign up through this link, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the Beijing Expat Guide this way!)
So if you are starting to plan your travel for the summer break and don’t know yet what to do with Fido, Mimi or Bunny, check out HouseSitMatch. Even if you don’t have a pet but don’t want to have your house sit empty and unattended for a couple weeks, or a couple days, a vetted house-sitter may be a great option.
Or you could become a pet-sitter and enjoy the temporary company of a four-legged cutie like it did.