Who is a Professional Reference?

Who is a Professional Reference?

So, you want to be a cat sitter? That’s great! We’d love to welcome you to the Meowtel community! But before you can start playing and cuddling with adorable little kitties (and get paid for it!), there are a few things you should know about the Meowtel listing submission process.

We’ll ask you a few questions about yourself, your cat experience, where you want to work and when. You’ll have to pass a background check and we’ll contact your references. And while your best friend will no doubt give you a glowing review, we’re looking for someone who is a bit more objective, and can give you a paws-itive recommendation!

Reference 101

Always pick someone from a professional context. It’s ok if you’ve never cat sat for them, or if they’ve never even seen you around a cat. Friends and family may know you and how much you love cats, but we are looking for information on your professionalism and reliability in a work context. Choose a reference who can speak to your time management skills and your trustworthiness. Bonus if you have done cat sitting for them, but just because you fed your roommate’s cat once while they were out of town, doesn’t mean you should use them as a reference.

Always let your references know they are a reference! We don’t want them, or you, to be caught off guard. Tell them about Meowtel and give them a description of what you would be doing as a cat sitter. If it’s a former co-worker or supervisor, maybe someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, give them an update on your life. Let them know you have cats at home and how special you think they are!

Make sure we have the correct contact information. At the same time you’re giving the reference a head’s up, confirm they still use the same email address and phone number. If not, definitely get that updated information!

What if your reference is your co-worker AND friend? That’s no problem at all! It tells us a lot about your character. Just have your friend speak to the times they interacted with you on a professional level.

If you’re ever in doubt, it’s wise to pick someone else. For example, avoid listing your parents or any other family member, your spouse or significant other. Always choose someone who knows you on a more purrr-fessional level.


  • Former or Current Boss: A current or previous boss knows your work experience and can provide insight into your best qualities! These references are especially important - if not your direct supervisor, try to include at least one coworker as a professional reference.
  • Coworker: Someone you work directly with who understands the scope of your job and is familiar with your strengths in a professional setting.
  • Professor / Teacher: If you choose to list a teacher or professor as a professional reference, make sure you pick someone who is familiar with your work ethic and experience.
  • Volunteer Association Peer / Leader: If you have volunteer experience, especially with cat shelters or other related organizations, the people you volunteer with can speak to your cat experience. Please make sure to give us their direct contact information, not just a generic phone number to the shelter or association.
  • Cat Sitting Client: A client who paid you to watch their cat(s) is a purr-fect choice for a reference. Friends or neighbors you have cat sat for as a favor and did not compensate you are not professional references.
  • Other Clients: Have you provided childcare, pet sitting or house sitting services for someone? They can be a great reference for you as well.
  • Coach / Mentor: Coaches from extracurricular or school organizations can often be very good references. The key here is to pick someone you have a strong relationship with and who can speak to your qualifications and work ethic.
  • Landlord / Landlady: Your landlord knows when you (and maybe your kitties) pay rent, so they can vouch for your dependability.
  • Group members: Have you recently completed a group project? Members of your group can serve as references. Alternatively, leaders of a spiritual development group (e.g. a rabbi, imam, priest, etc) can also be references.
  • Extracurricular instructors: If you play recreational sports or take a fitness class, that instructor could serve as a reference.


Just because you are not working, doesn’t mean you don’t have professional connections. Here are some examples:

  • Recent graduate: Choose a former teacher, counselor, mentor, or coach.
  • Self-employed: Select one of your clients or vendors.
  • Retiree: You can ask a former co-worker or boss, a current fitness instructor, your therapist, or even a volunteer peer.
  • Stay-at-home parent: Someone you know through your child’s school, like a counselor, principal or teacher. An extracurricular instructor for yourself or your child, like a yoga instructor, coach, or tutor. Anyone you volunteer with or the leader of an association you belong to.


It’s important to provide a resume or LinkedIn profile when submitting your Meowtel listing as well. If you don’t have one, or need to update, here are some helpful links:

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Categories: For Sitters