Crazy Cat Lady in Training: Pet Sitting on the Road

For an animal lover like me, it can be hard to go years and years without a pet. I always had animals growing up: cats, a dog, a hamster… our home was incomplete without at least one furry friend running around.

Beijing cat

Meet Richard

It’s been 6 years since I’ve had a pet to snuggle with. It’s a constant struggle. How do I settle down and get a furry companion when I take off and travel every chance I get? Sure, I’m somewhat settled for the next two years, but what happens after that? Sure I can take a pet with me, but what if I decide to travel long-term?

Even in the short-term, what happens when I leave town for a few months during my holidays? Should I fork out cash for a profile on one of those house sitting abroad websites?

pet sitting

Beijing Cat

After a few hours of research, I stumbled on BeijingCat.Org, a site that rescues street cats and gives them loving homes. The best part is: they have a foster program!

All vet fees are covered, and if you go out of town, they’ll find someone to take care of your cat for you. As much as I want to be selfish and adopt a cat forever, I know that this is the more responsible option.

But will I really be able to give my cat up after a few months?

pet sitting

Pet Sitting Richard

One of my Beijing coworkers is out of town for the National Day holiday this week. After hearing me rant about how I want a cat of my own, she asked if I would watch over her 1-year-old fluff ball Richard. She brought him over to my apartment last Sunday, and with a tearful farewell, left us to get acquainted.

Richard spent the first few hours sniffing around my room. While it took him a few hours to feel comfortable letting me pet and play with him, he didn’t seem too scared of me, which was a plus.

cat sitting

Richard the Night Demon

However, once I turned the lights off around midnight, Richard turned into a nightmare demon. Firstly, he decided midnight would be a great time to finally cozy up to me… and by “cozy up” I mean: bite my toes, jump from the couch onto my body, and literally bitch slap my face.

After terrorizing me for a solid 2 hours, Richard decided 3am would be a good time to scream-meow at the top of his little lungs.


cat selfie

I wanted to drop-kick him back out onto the streets where his owner found him a few months back. Just kidding… kind of.

Around 4:30 I couldn’t take it anymore, so I grabbed all his things and locked him in the bathroom. That only made things worse.

pet sitting abroad

He looks so innocent.

Richard didn’t settle down until about 6:30am, when the sun was already high in the sky. Good thing I had to be at work in a few hours. Oh… and I had literally just gotten over being sick a few days prior. Let’s just say coffee was my friend that day.

The second evening, Richard started his antics around 3, but quieted down two hours later. I think my neighbors hate me. Whatever, they wake me up with construction at 7am.

cat sitting abroad

Richard and Richelle Forever.

Now that Richard is accustomed to his new home, we’ve become BFFs.

Aside from the fact that he likes to knock things off my desk in the middle of the night, I’m finally able to get the beauty rest I so desperately need.

beijing cat

Richard and I spend our evenings playing with the straps of my shoes, umbrellas, and my hair. He likes to sit on my lap, accidentally trip me while I’m walking, and try to eat my dinner right out of my hands.

Today Richard and I had a morning photo shoot with the amazing light my apartment gets. He loves the camera and had no problems serving as my model for a solid 30 minutes this morning. While he may be a devil at nighttime, he’s pretty darn cute during the day.

Basically I’m never giving him back.

adopt cat china

My Photography Gear

All the photos above were shot with my Nikon D3100 and 55-200mm lens.

I absolutely love my Nikon, because it’s one of the smallest DSLRs on the market. It’s the perfect size to sling over my shoulder for a day of traveling, and works great for beautiful landscapes and up-close portraits of… cats.

cat sitting abroad

If anyone is in the market for a great, cheap DSLR that’s good for travel, I 100% recommend this little guy. I never go anywhere without him!

Shop Nikon D3100 body

Shop Nikon D3100 body with 55-200mm lens

Shop Nikon D3100 body with both 55-200mm and 15-55mm lens (my complete kit!)

How to get your animal fix when you can't have a pet of your own

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Do any of you feel the struggle between having pets and traveling the world? For those of you with animals at home, what do you do? 

Heads up, this post contains affiliate links! If you purchase a product through me, I make a small commission at no cost to you.  



About Richelle

Expat, traveler, and spicy food lover, I've spent the last few years living in China and traveling around Asia. In my spare time I enjoy salsa dancing, exploring night markets and stuffing my face with street food.

11 comments on “Crazy Cat Lady in Training: Pet Sitting on the Road

  1. i have a dog for almost a year, i thought about getting him for like 2 months, my husband kept saying how difficult it would be having a pet ( we travel quite often). But i insisted, we got him and now i just can’t remember a time when he wasn’t with us. We traveled all around our country, and the neighboring one by car. The longest ride was 9 hours…he is very used with it, we had him in the car with us since he was like 9 -10 weeks; he sleeps most of the road. When we travel by plane, we leave him at a pet hotel ( his longest stay was of 2 weeks). It.s a bit expensive but ..

    • Yeah once I’m a bit more permanently settled I’ll get a cat. I’m just worried because I know I’ll want to travel for 6 months-a year at some point. For shorter trips cats are easy because all you have to do is get a neighbor to clean the litter box, pet him and give him food and water. Dogs actually need to be given to someone. I’m glad it’s working out through!

  2. I totally feel your pain! I want a dog SO badly, but I know that it would just be cruel (not to mention impractical) to adopt one and then be on the road so frequently. But I miss having a furry friend at home!

    • I know! You almost have to have a roommate or close neighbor friend who loves animals and doesn’t travel much. I know I’d love to take care of a neighbor’s dog when they’re out of town. Just get your dog a godmother! hahaha

  3. We travelled for a year in central america so it just wasn’t feasible for us to bring 2 cats and a dog. We found some girls that were at school for exotic animal training and they took our cats for a year we paid them like $25 a month! It was hardest to find a place for our dog but we did after some tears on my end thinking it was never going to work out!

    We even did an airbnb that had 2 cats that came with the place! That was fun my kids loved it!!

    • Wow that’s awesome! I definitely wouldn’t mind caring for some cats while doing airbnb. $25 a month is a great deal actually, did you give them money for food and litter as well, or was that included?

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