So as the owner of Pet Tails and Portraits, the pet arm of Nic Bisseker Photography I am always keen to share a lovely “Pet Tale” with you 🙂 and no better person to help me with this than Sherida Haley. Sherida is the lovely face behind Cat Sitting Oxted ( Home – Sweet – Home) based in Surrey. Her sheer love for the animals she looks after really shines through, not to mention the giggles they bring her!
Please introduce yourself Sherida and the motivation behind your business?
Hello, my name is Sherida Haley. I have run my petsitting business Home-Sweet-Home Cat Sitting –http://www.catsittingoxted.co.uk now for nearly 20 years and first set it up when I mistakenly used a cattery for the first time when my two tortoishells were kittens. Being a full-time sales manager at the time I wanted to set up a routine for them for when I went away and didn’t want to intrude on neighbours or family and friends knowing how busy their own lives were. Little did I know though that unfortunately the local cattery that I chose was awful and my kittens came back in a dreadful state, miserable and underweight and I vowed then and there never to put them through the ordeal of one again.
It was then that the idea for setting up my own cat sitting business arose. I can honestly say I’ve never once looked back and it’s a delight to hear that new customers feel the same once they’ve tried my services.
Tell us a little about who you share your home with?
I have eleven rescue animals of my own – the above mentioned two tortoiseshell sisters (now 14), seven rabbits (all who came from various terrible situations) and two guinea pigs.
How many cats would you visit in an average day?
Not one day is ever the same and the number of cats I visit in a day can vary from a couple to as many as ten.
What do you feel you can offer as a one person business to us cat owners that other cat sitters might not?
My business is different to other cat sitters in the area in that I spend more time with the cats in my care, giving them the individual attention that they need, adding in play time, cuddles and even grooming when needed. On top of looking after their animals I also take on the responsibility of minding their home and put out bins, water plants, draw and open curtains. pick up post, take in deliveries and even get in groceries for their return for my customers who are away for long periods.
Being a one person operation my customers can go away secure in the knowledge that they know the person who will be coming in and minding their animals. I send them regular updates and even an occasional photo or two of their beloved pets so that they can relax on their holidays knowing that their animals are happy in their own home.
Do you have a favourite cat? What’s the funniest visit you’d ever had?
I have lots of different breeds that I mind, all with their own individual quirks and cheeky ways and it’s a sheer joy getting up in the mornings knowing that their little faces will be waiting for me with a welcome and a purr.
As any pet owner knows though animals can be most entertaining and one of the most memorable cat visits for me was when I arrived at my customer’s house on my very first visit to find one of the cats hurtling towards the cat flap with a massive rat in his mouth extremely pleased with himself. Thankfully I managed to head him off at the cat flap and stopped him coming in so he turned around and raced back down the garden with it. I never did see the rat again so I’m hoping (paws crossed) that it got away. What a welcome!
Do you look after other animals?
I also mind other animals and have been asked to mind ducks, chickens, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs and an assortment of birds and even pigs, donkeys and goats.
“I love every minute of my day and am so pleased that I gave up the stress of working in sales to care for people’s animals. I have never once looked back and I never want to do anything else. For me it is the “purrfect” job.”