Pet-sitting services in high demand during Spring Festival holiday

(People's Daily Online) 09:29, January 31, 2023

A cat drinks water from a smart drinking fountain at its home in Beijing. (OUYANG SHIJIA/CHINA DAILY)

Demand for pet-sitting services soared during the Spring Festival holiday in China, as many pet owners went on vacations or returned to their hometowns during the seven-day holiday.

Mr. Zhang, who works as a part-time pet-sitter, said he was busiest during the first four days of the holiday, and became less busy with five orders on Jan. 26, as the holiday came to an end and many owners prepared to return home. Starting before Chinese New Year’s eve, he has earned some 2,000 yuan (about $296) so far.

Zhang's services for cats include feeding, preparing drinking water for them, and disposing of their waste. He charged 35 yuan per cat, and around 60 yuan for those that lived far away. "For clients who owned more than one cat, I charge another five yuan for each cat," he explained. To date, he has taken care of nearly 50 cats.

Looking after dogs can be more demanding as they need to be walked. Another pet-sitter surnamed Li charged 30 yuan for each pet, but asked for an extra ten yuan for a playful one. One of the dogs she took care of was a spirited Shiba Inu dog. "It always dashed around every time I walked it," she recalled.

Apart from giving dogs food, one dog owner asked her to cook a dinner for the dog on Chinese New Year's Eve. "I made a dinner with Chinese cabbage, duck heart, duck liver and chicken breast."

There was also demand for taking care of turtles, fish and birds. A caretaker surnamed Chen explained that she had to change the tank water for fish and turtles, and found that attending to the two aquatic species is not particularly time-consuming.

Mr. Lin, an executive of Cocofei, a pet service platform, said that around 3,000 orders for pet-sitting were placed on the platform during the Spring Festival holiday in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, but there was a serious shortage of pet-sitters. He said that his company charged from 30 to 100 yuan for each pet, cheaper than in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Some pet owners paid generously but had more requirements, such as providing companionship for pets.

Lin said that pet owners opt for pet-sitting services for many reasons. One major reason is that cats, for example, enjoy consistency. If they are taken to a new house, they could become stressed out the entire time, making it a better option to leave them at home and have someone stop in to check on them.

(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Du Mingming)


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