Purr-fect Homesitting adventures - lady looks after 103 cats

Jessica Curtis
Authored by Jessica Curtis
Posted: Friday, February 23, 2024 - 20:00

At 78 years old, Anthea Hewitt from Stratford-Upon-Avon has been on a remarkable journey since she retired, having completed an impressive 111 homesits, and caring for a myriad of animals, including 103 cats.

Anthea joined Homesitters Ltd with her late husband Geoff in 2013 as they both loved animals. Together, they explored the Midlands, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, London and the Cotswolds, enabling them to enjoy an interesting and varied lifestyle.

After Geoff's death in 2016, she found the role gave her life some purpose. Undeterred by the challenges of solo homesits, Anthea continued her homesitting career, and in 2021, she found a new partner in Peter, who shares her love of animals. Having been accepted by Homesitters he is now able to accompany her on sits.

Anthea says, “Homesitting offers the perfect blend of animal companionship, and the chance to escape the monotony of daily life after retirement.”

An avid cat person, Anthea cherishes the bonds she builds with her feline friends and says, “Being on assignment is like going on a mini holiday, where after I have done my duties with the pets and in the home, I can just relax indoors or enjoy the garden. At home I would constantly be thinking of jobs that need to be done such as ironing or cleaning out cupboards!

“On assignments we also enjoy visiting local attractions, pub lunches, and taking walks, making it a fulfilling experience beyond the primary responsibility of caring for animals.”

While for Anthea the main rewards are exploring new places and spending time with pets, the financial rewards are also a bonus, including making savings in energy bills.

She says, “While homesitting for me is not primarily about financial gain, it does provide a modest income to supplement my pension, or as I like to say a bit of jam on my bread and butter!

“As well as the remuneration, we also get a small daily food allowance and travel expenses. Being away on regular assignments also means that I make savings on my energy and water bills, particularly during the winter.”

A typical homesitting day involves prioritising the needs of the pets. Breakfast is key as most cats she cares for stay in the house overnight and are meowing for their food. The rest of the day could involve letting cleaners or gardeners in, light household duties to keep the home tidy and popping out for some shopping. If she is looking after dogs then they will go for one or two walks a day, depending on the dog’s routine.

Anthea and Peter might also pop out and explore the local area, as they are both members of the National Trust. Anthea says, “We may visit a local stately home and have a coffee. Our day though is very much structured around the pets, and as we can only leave them unattended for up to three hours, we do not go too far.”

In the evenings Anthea used to keep busy on her laptop doing genealogy but now prefers to read or do crossword puzzles or Sudoku to keep her mind active. She also makes sure she checks in with the clients and lets them know what their pets have been up to that day.

 She says, “Clients appreciate having someone in the property for security reasons, and the reassurance their pet is being cared for in their own home without disruption to their usual routine. I like to send updates and pictures of their pets as it provides them with peace of mind that everything is fine back home.”

Anthea highly recommends the homesitting lifestyle and is trying to recruit friends into the role. She concludes, “I would recommend it without hesitation. I have enjoyed every homesit I have been on and met lovely pets and their owners. Even after losing my husband, it gave me a real sense of purpose to carry on and do something useful. I love the challenge and I am up for almost anything.

“It is fantastic to work for such a professional company. The interview and vetting process is meticulous, and from an assignment perspective nothing is left to chance. The brief taken from clients about their home and pets is extremely thorough and we always meet up with new clients beforehand to ensure we all get on and that we are fully prepared for the assignment.

“Homesitters Ltd has your back and provides 24 hour support when on assignments. As a solo homesitter for some considerable time, and even when accompanied by my late husband or nowadays with my new partner, this has been vital in encouraging me to continue in a role from which I get so much enjoyment.”

Share this