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Slow Season Self Care
Sonya Petcavich

Sonya Petcavich

Last updated: January 23, 2020
Slow Season Self Care
Sonya’s kitty, Rollo Goose (or “Goose” for short), here to tell us how it really is

It’s been a couple of weeks since you were doing 6am-7pm, back-to-back visits during the holidays and probably scooping about 17 litter boxes per day. It was probably madness, especially when you’re trying to get in at least one holiday meal with friends or family. As you spend January taking a breather from all your kitties and enjoying some well-deserved time off, this is a great period to take a meow-ment to reflect and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What went well in 2019 with my kitty clients and reservations?
  2. What totally sucked?
  3. What can I do differently?

I ask these 3 simple questions to the Meowtel HQ team every week, and I find that we’re able to have extremely constructive (and oftentimes, giggle-worthy) conversations the more candid we are with ourselves. I also ask myself these questions when I reflect back on my year as a sitter, and the exciting part is that there’s always something I can improve upon.

As you reflect back on your own 2019 sitting adventures and prepare for an even more exciting 2020, here are 5 pointers to help identify how you can continue getting the most out of Meowtel while also working on a better cat-life balance:

1. What is my sitter superpower?

Every sitter on Meowtel has something amazing they do that makes them “best in class” in a very special way. Thinking about my own superpower, and what has kept my clients coming back, is my reliability. Hey, I’m a Taurus, and that is just a fundamental part of who we are: stable and reliable (shoutout to my fellow astrology fans)!

What keeps your clients coming back? Here’s a list of potential superpowers that might help you identify yours:

  • Thorough and thoughtful communication
  • Beautiful photos and videos
  • Ample availability year-round
  • Compassion and caring
  • Consistency
  • Willing to go above and beyond
  • Personable & fantastic at building rapport

2. Real Talk: What do I not like about cat sitting (aka…what sucks)?

If you were to tell me “Sonya, there is nothing I don’t love about sitting kitties!”, I probably wouldn’t believe you. Even though this is one of the best jobs in the world, it can very much still feel like a job, especially during the holiday season when you’re busy. You have to be organized and an excellent planner to survive peak season, but what else can make the job difficult to do?

As an introvert, I get quite anxious when asking the client how they want their keys returned. I never want to come off as lazy by wanting to hide it under a mat. Yet at the same time, I don’t want to frustrate myself by moving things around on my regular schedule to accommodate a crazy time request they might have for the key dropoff. There’s definitely a fine line between being overly polite and being taken advantage of, and that’s something I’m personally working on as a sitter.

Ask yourself: What is one thing about sitting that makes me anxious, nervous, stressed, or frustrated? Be real with yourself and lucky for you, you don’t have to publicly admit your vulnerabilities like I just did!


A reminder of cat-life balance from my Crumbs and Whiskers visit with LA sitter, Tiffany


3. What can I do differently in 2020 to improve my own experience?

After pondering on questions #1 and #2, you should have a good idea of where this is heading.

(Question #1 + Question #2) x (Joy + Happiness) = Question #3

Ok, that’s a nebulous equation, but I really want you to think hard about what brings you the most joy and happiness via Meowtel. Is it having a schedule packed full of kitties? Is it accepting 1 reservation each month? Is it seeing those 5-star reviews come in week after week? Is it earning a new sitter badge?

The pact I made with myself in 2020 is that I will only take on one household at a time. Meowtel HQ has become extremely busy, and I typically work 7 days/week, 60+ hours/week. I had to face the hard truth: it just isn’t feasible for me to squeeze more kitties into my schedule. I would be doing my current and future clients a disservice. As a result of thinking about this equation, I’m working to achieve a much better balance between kitties, HQ, and my personal life, which = infinite amounts of happiness!

4. What is my worth?

Drum roll please, and cue the L’Oreal Because I’m Worth It meme.


Goose reminding us to “know thy worth”


Goose reminding us to “know thy worth”

After mulling through thousands of spreadsheet rows of reservation data and being in the cat game long enough to know the key trends in our major cities, I’ll put it bluntly: Meowtel sitters are discounting themselves.

There is no other service out there that specializes in cats like we do. Cats are all we think about, and they aren’t treated like an afterthought, which is what happens at the dog-centric services and boarding facilities. As my team and I diligently work to build the features which you and customers request, a few things are clear about what our customers love:

  • The convenience of Meowtel and the “all-in” pricing
  • Our top-notch, highly professional sitters
  • The cat-centricity of everything we do

Given that us sitters commute to the client’s home and the complimentary Meet & Greet is an essential part of the Meowtel process, ask yourself: Is $25 as the gross payment for an hour of my time, including my commute, enough?

Here is how I like to assess my rates:

  • 30-minute Base Rate = $20

  • Commute: My radius is set to 7 miles so I could be driving anywhere between 5 minutes to 45 minute in LA, one way. Let’s assume it will be a 30-minute round-trip commute and gas is $4/gallon. I’ll add $10 for driving time + $1 for gas = $11 for the commute.

  • Reliability: Aha, this is my superpower! I price this as a $2 per visit premium.

  • Medication Experience: $1 per visit premium

After doing this quick Because I’m Worth It exercise, my 30-minute drop-in rate comes to $34. What’s yours?

5. How do you like to indulge?

For me, being able to drive 20 minutes to the beach and go for a short walk in the sun is a total indulgence. I was shocked to learn after my recent doctor visit just how Vitamin D deficient I was due to always being inside with cats or with my computer, working on cat things. I decided I needed to make a change and schedule some “sun indulgence” time into my calendar at least once per week.

Whether your definition of indulging is a good book, a visit to the cat cafe, a meowgarita with friends, or getting outside more, please take some time during January and February to do just that. I know how hard all of our sitters work, and you deserve some time to yourself, sans scooping litter, wiping up hairballs, or being hissed at by the feisty babies.

Because after all…spring break requests will start happening in just 3 more weeks!

And with that, I will leave you with a small reminder of just how awesome you are, how lucky we are to have you in our sitter community, and how my team and I are here to support you along the way as we keep working towards our mission in 2020. We are all in this to help every cat and cat parent live their best life!

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Sonya Petcavich

Sonya Petcavich

Founder & CEO; Cat mom to Rollo