Little did Katie know when moving to Beijing that she’d miss neighbours from home who petsit for her. Katie teaches in the Chinese capital and as an expat she loves learning about her host culture. To help establish her new home she adopted a cat, then faced the challenge of who might petsit or look after her friendly feline when she holidays. In this blog she asks the question – who might petsit like a friend for her? A few months ago she found a blog about housesitting and petsitting as a way to travel the world. And after a successful first match by HouseSitMatch sitters Katie is now looking for housesitters who have a taste of adventure and want to discover China. Housesitting enables you to petsit anywhere in the world, exchanging your pet and home care experience with a home owner looking for affordable pet care. Beijing anyone?
HouseSitMatch: an expat’s equivalent to asking friends to petsit for you
The first thing I did when I moved to Beijing for work, was to adopt a cat. Well ok, it was the second thing I did, after finding an apartment!
I had a cat back in my native land of England (who lives with my parents) and for me a cat makes a home. So, adopting a cat was an important part of settling into my new expat life.
Petsit brief for Winston the Beijing cat
Winston is an adorable, long-haired, 2 year-old (3 in April!), moggie with cute ginger and white markings. His previous owner (another expat) took excellent care of him and he is the son of a rescued street cat. However, having had several homes at such a young age has left him quite needy. Other cats I know are pretty un-fussed by humans, they just want to be fed and get on with their own lives. But Winston loves human affection and attention. He wants to be picked up, brushed and played with all the time. He would let you brush him all day if you wanted to!
I’m a teacher and I get a lot of holidays and naturally, I want to travel during these holidays.
With a cat who enjoys and craves human attention so much, I couldn’t bear the idea of leaving him in a cattery (although there are some excellent ones in Beijing!)
Back home in England, I’d ask a neighbour or a friend to petsit while I’m away. But when you’re thousand of miles away from home, you don’t have the same support network. So I began to Google alternatives….
The solution to my petsit challenge
…And that’s how I found HouseSitMatch! I was worried that nobody would be interested in my advert as Beijing isn’t always top of people’s list of places to visit. (Probably because Western media scares them about the pollution, but we actually have more blue sky days than not.
And Beijing is a fascinating city with loads to see and do. My apartment just happens to be in a central location that has the perfect blend of Western comforts and Chinese culture, as well as excellent transport links!)
But how wrong I was! It turns out that loads of people were interested and I was inundated with applications for my house/cat sits.
I’m currently looking for house/cat sitters for Christmas and Chinese New Year. Soon I’ll be posting an advert for Spring Break. I’m excited about that advert, as spring is probably the best time of year to visit Beijing, as the weather is amazing (warm, breezy and blue skies). But actually, Christmas and Chinese New Year are also great times to visit because of all the extraordinary festivities – it’s like nothing else in the world. Know what…? Beijing is great anytime!
For as long as I need a house/cat sitter, I will continue to use HouseSitMatch. It’s cheap (I was shocked at the prices of some websites!) and the small pay-wall gives me confidence that the house sitters are serious. The website is very user-friendly and feels very safe. And best of all, Lamia, the CEO is available to contact directly, which really gives the personal non-corporate touch which is really appreciate when you’re finding someone to look after your ‘baby’.