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Do You Tip Cat Sitters? [Is It Expected Of You To Do So?]

You know that cats are fairly independent animals, but life is calling you away from home, and you need someone to help care for your cat. After deciding to hire a cat sitter to help keep your cat happy and litter boxes clean, you might start considering if you should tip them for their efforts.

So, do you tip cat sitters? Hiring a cat sitter does not require the owner to tip. A tip for a cat sitter is considered an optional yet acceptable way to show your gratitude for the care that was given to your cat while you were away. Some people may choose to tip their cat sitters every time they use them, while others may reserve tips for special occasions or times when a cat sitter has gone above and beyond their usual service requirements. 

Tipping your cat sitter is ultimately a personal choice.

And it depends a lot on your circumstances or the context.

To the point where tipping is something you may naturally feel is right and appropriate.

Or alternatively, you may not think it is suitable at all.

But chances are you still have a lot of questions that need answering. Particularly about the process. 

So let’s get right into them!

Should I Tip The Cat Sitter?

The decision to tip your cat sitter is based on your personal preferences. Many people tip cat sitters and other pet sitters because they realize that this job comes with the great responsibility of caring for an animal that is often considered a member of the family. Tipping to show gratitude for taking this responsibility seriously is a common but not socially required part of hiring a cat sitter.

If your cat sitter is simply stopping by to do a quick litter box change and give food and water to your independent feline, you may not feel a strong need to tip. 

Paying the amount the cat sitter requests for their work and a kind note of thanks are acceptable compensation for the task.

If your cat sitter is spending time grooming your cat, staying at your home to keep your cat company, or doing other special tasks for your cat while you are gone, then a tip might be the perfect way to show appreciation for your cat sitter.

Do Cat Sitters Expect To Be Tipped?

Generally, cat sitters do not expect tips from the owners they work for. Many cat sitters are private or small business pet sitters who can choose what rates to charge for their services and can budget accordingly. Usually, a tip from a cat owner is seen as a positive reward for work well done.

Sometimes the expectation around getting a tip can depend on where you live or who specifically is watching your cat. 

A personal connection or family friend may be less likely to be hopeful or expecting a tip than someone who works as part of a larger pet sitting service.

It never hurts to talk with others who have hired the cat sitter you are considering using to see what their approach to tipping has been.

Not expecting a tip is not the same as not appreciating a tip. 

Tips can be an unexpected boost during financially tight times and can also improve morale during difficult periods or when your cat sitter is working over holidays. 

This is to say that your cat sitter isn’t likely to be working in search of tips, but they would often be happy to accept one that is offered.

How Much Should You Tip Your Cat Sitter?

There are several common strategies when it comes to deciding on an amount to tip cat sitters. Some owners will pay a flat amount based on factors such as the number of cats being watched or the amount of time gone. Other owners choose to pay a percentage-based tip. 

Let’s look at both options.

Flat Amount

In many cases choosing an amount to tip, your cat sitter is as simple as paying a dollar amount for every cat watched. 

This amount could be increased when you are away for an extended period of time. 

For example, if you have two indoor cats, you might choose to tip $5 per cat watched when you return from your trip, making your total tip amount $10.

Other people like to pay a dollar amount based on the amount of time gone and tip anywhere from $1 – $2 for each night away. 

If a cat sitter took care of your cat for five days, this would call for a $10 tip when you return.


Traditional tipping practices across various service industries call for tipping based on a percent of the cost of the service. 

In this case, you would need to look at the fees your cat sitter has asked to be paid, calculate the amount you will be paying, and then find approximately 15-20% of that cost. 

This would be the amount that you leave as a tip. 

With this example, if your basic cat sitting costs are $50, you would pay an extra 20% – or $10 – as a tip when you arrive safely home.

When To Tip Your Cat Sitter

A tip is best given to your cat sitter when you return from your time away and have a chance to see that your cat is happy and healthy. 

With cats being fairly independent animals, most people only hire a cat sitter if they are going to be away overnight or longer. 

For this reason, cat sitters will often wait until a cat’s owner is back from their travels to request payment for their services. This is the perfect time to tip your cat sitter.

If you pay your cat sitter with cash, a check, or by credit card, you can simply add your chosen tip amount on to your payment in the same form. 

Some people may prefer to pay by credit card or check and tip with cash. 

Either way, you can give your tip to your cat sitter along with a sincere word or note of thanks after all work is complete.

By waiting until you have seen that your cat is happy and healthy, you are certain to only be tipping someone who has done an excellent job of taking care of your precious pet. 

Do You Tip Your Cat Sitter Every Time?

Many people only need a cat sitter on special occasions or when traveling for a period of several days. When a cat sitter is only used occasionally, it is normal to tip them every time. If you are someone who is using a cat sitter frequently, then tipping around special occasions or on a set schedule (assuming you are happy with your care) as an added bonus for their continued responsibility is a sensible plan for tipping.

I own a variety of animals, including barn cats and a house cat, that need care only a couple of times of the year while I am away. 

Because I require someone to stay at my home and watch my animals, I tip every time we have a pet sitter. 

Similarly, a friend who has someone stop by their home each day while they work long hours in the city tips their pet sitter once a month based on their fees. 

This is nice because the care is ongoing, and her pet sitter can come to rely on these predictable tips as long as her service has remained at its usual amazing level of care.

It’s important to remember that tipping your cat sitter is a personal choice, and most cat sitters do not accept sitting jobs with the expectation of being tipped. 

You should tip when you receive high-quality service, and you can tip without ruining your budget. 

Tips are appreciated at any time, but so are honest words, and written notes of thanks for all your cat sitter does for your feline.

When You May Want To Tip Your Cat Sitter More

If your cat has special needs that are beyond typical cat care, your sitter agrees to watch your cat on short notice, or they are caring for your cat over the holidays, you may want to tip your cat sitter more than normal. Even if you don’t regularly tip your cat sitter, it might be a good idea in these situations.

Above And Beyond Care

Most cat sitters expect to feed and water your cat, clean out their litter box, and give your cat affection when you are gone. 

Some sitters may or may not be comfortable administering medication or taking your cat to appointments, such as the groomer. 

If a cat sitter does offer services such as transporting your cat places or offers grooming beyond basic brushing, tipping your cat sitter a bit more than normal is a plus.

Caring Is Particularly Challenging 

If your cat becomes unexpectedly ill or in need of medical care that isn’t related to the care they have received from your sitter, you may want to give your cat sitter a tip for noticing the situation and getting your cat help. 

Cats can sometimes be destructive; if your cat makes an unexpected mess and your sitter does an excellent job cleaning up the aftermath, a tip is a great thank you.

Short Notice Care

We all have times when we need to go away unexpectedly. Many cat sitters have their schedules planned out in advance. 

If a cat sitter agrees to watch your cat on short notice, an extra tip as a show of appreciation for their flexibility is nice.

During Certain Times Of The Year

Cat sitters understand that the holidays are popular travel times for families. 

Still, working on days that everyone else has off to be with friends and loved ones can be hard at times. 

Showing your cat sitter some extra appreciation with a tip at the holidays makes sense.

How To Pay Your Cat Sitter A Tip

A tip for your cat sitter is most commonly given in the same form as the payment you use to pay for their services. This means if you pay with cash or check, you would add a bit more to your payment. On a credit card payment, you can use the tip line to add in a dollar amount specifically for tipping your cat sitter. With increased options for electronic payment, you can also send a bonus payment along with a word of thanks to your cat sitter after you are reunited with your cat.

Some people may not be comfortable giving cash as a tip, while others may be uncomfortable receiving it. 

Tips can also be given in the form of gift cards or other tokens of appreciation when you know your cat sitter well enough to know things they enjoy. 

If you are unsure of the best way to tip your cat sitter, it is always okay to ask them directly how they would like to be tipped. 

Saying something such as:

“You have been so great at taking care of my cat while I was gone. How can I give you a tip to show my appreciation?” 

This allows your cat sitter to express their preferred form of tip without feeling like they are implying they expect you to give one.


Whether or not to tip your cat sitter will depend on your personal choice and the quality of cat care you receive. 

By communicating openly with your cat sitter, paying fees on time, and expressing your gratitude with words or tips, you will develop a great working relationship with a partner in your cat’s care.

Wondering who else you may need to tip, I’ve got you covered in the following guides: