Can pet sitting earn you a little extra money?

Pet sitting is an easy and fun side hustle

I’ve been looking after cats on the side for more than a year now, with the odd kitty even appearing in my morning meetings with the Be Clever With Your Cash team. While this little side hustle couldn’t replace my full-time job, it certainly adds some money to my holiday fund and lets me cuddle cats on the regular. Here’s how it works and how much you can earn from pet sitting. 

What is pet sitting?

When pet owners go away on holiday or for major events, like weddings and funerals, they need someone to look after their furbabies. With dogs, this could either be at your own house (known as boarding) or at their house, while cats usually tend to stay at their own homes.

As my home is mad enough with just one dog, I opt to take care of other people’s cats in their homes. I pop in one or two times a day and sometimes bring along my laptop and work from the cat’s home. 

How does pet sitting work?

I cat sit using the Cat in a Flat app, which I’ll go into more detail on a little later. When someone approaches me to take care of their cat, I offer to visit them at home in the coming days to meet properly. This way they can ask any questions, show me their cat’s usual routine and go through any medication or worries they have. 

This tends to be enough for the owners to confirm a booking, but sometimes they may need another visit or a couple of references. After this, they book and pay through the app and you arrange how you’ll get their key – sometimes this is done at the visit, if it’s close enough to the booking. 

Then, when the booking starts, I pop in as many times a day as they’ve asked for and deal with the cat’s food, water and litter. Sometimes I pop bins out, open windows, turn on air conditioning or bring the post in, too. You can choose if you want to charge more for these. 

At the end of the booking you return the key – either by dropping it through the postbox or dropping it off once the owners are home.

If the cat owners are happy, they’ll likely book you again, so you can build up a repertoire of pets that you look after regularly. 

How to get pet sitting jobs

As I mentioned earlier, I’m signed up for Cat In A Flat, which is a website and app that lets cat owners search for local cat sitters. If you’re pet sitting on the side, you don’t have to spend loads of time reaching out to owners or marketing yourself, as pet owners tend to approach you. 

With some apps you have to apply for each job. This could take up a lot of extra time, especially if you’re already working full-time, so choose the platform you want to use carefully. 

You should make sure you fill out all the relevant sections in whichever app you choose — including what experience you have, such as having your own pets or giving medication to pets. This gives the pet owner more information about you and means they’re more likely to book you. 

Apps for pet sitting

Here are some of the platforms to get pet sitting jobs:

Cat in a Flat

This is the one I use and is primarily for cats, hence the name. It can also be used for birds, rabbits, rodents, reptiles and fish, although these tend to be add-ons – I’ve never been booked for a job where there isn’t a cat.  

Cat in a Flat takes a 19% fee from every booking for things like customer support and insurance for the period, in case anything were to happen. It’s quite high, but does add some reassurance. It helps you choose your fees based on what you’ll receive, too. 


Rover is for all types of pets but tends to market towards dog owners. You could be booked for boarding, house sitting, dog walking, doggy daycare or drop-in visits. When signing up, you can choose your preferences.

Rover takes a 15% cut of your earnings. This covers the Rover Guarantee, which is £25,000 of cover for vet care as well as 24/7 support. 

Can you make money with Borrow My Doggy or TrustedHousesitters?

Borrow My Doggy is a popular platform for dog sitting or finding a sitter for your dog, but you can’t earn money with it, as stated in its T&Cs — in fact, it costs you money to contact one another. It’s great for looking for a furry friend that you can look after regularly, but isn’t for earning any money.

With TrustedHousesitters, you apply to look after other people’s houses and pets while they’re away. You have to put the effort into applying, and TrustedHousesitters charges an initial fee between £99 and £199, depending on whether you want access to a vet or alerts for new jobs available. This is a great way of getting accommodation when travelling for free, but again, it won’t earn you any money, except perhaps the odd tips. 

How much can you charge for pet sitting?

Pet sitters usually charge between £10 to £15 per hour, though a lot of the apps will calculate your earnings based on the number of visits each day. 

If you need to stay overnight, you can charge upwards of £25 per night. 

Be sure not to undersell yourself — people won’t just go with the cheapest option near them, especially once you have some good reviews. Make sure to factor in travel time and the fee your chosen platform charges, too. 

Do I pay tax on money earned from pet sitting?

You might need to pay tax on earnings if you’re doing pet sitting as a side hustle, though you get a £1,000 “trading allowance”, which means you can earn up to this much without having to declare it to HMRC. 

If it’s your only job, you’re allowed to earn up to £12,570 in a year before you need to start paying tax. Though, you’ll have to declare your earnings to HMRC once you earn £1,000 or more. 

Make sure to keep an eye on how much you earn — as the end of the 2023 to 2024 tax year neared, I quickly calculated how much money I’d earned from cat sitting in the 2023 to 2024 tax year and realised that I’d got very close to needing to declare my earnings, ending the year on exactly £999.

Do I need pet-sitting insurance or a licence?

You shouldn’t need any kind of insurance if you pet sit through a platform like the ones above. These typically have insurance included with the fees, so you’ll get a slightly lower payout, but you’ll be able to get vet assistance if you need it, which can be reassuring. 

If you choose to go it alone without one of the platforms, you’d probably want to look into some insurance, such as public liability insurance and care, custody and control insurance. 

You may need a licence when looking after pets in your own home if you expect to be making more than £1,000 from the side hustle. To do this, you’d need to contact your local council, who will want to come out and inspect your home. This cost is determined by your local council but could be £100-£200. This doesn’t apply if you’re looking after pets in their homes or walking dogs.

3 thoughts on “Can pet sitting earn you a little extra money?

  1. will you need a licence if you look after a pet say through the cinnamon trust

  2. I don’t think you can earn money as a sitter through Trustedhousesitters! You just get to stay in other people’s houses for free.

  3. This article misses out a key requirement for those who are doing dog (or other animal) boarding in their own home. To provide boarding you are required by law to register for a licence with your local council, which could be a couple of hundred pounds or more. The council should inspect your premises as part of this, although they may choose to outsource this obligation to a vet, which will be at your own cost and in addition to their licence fee. So, you may have to spend hundreds of pounds in order to set up this side hustle.


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