Through the newly launched CatVacay, travelers who love their kitties -- but can't bring them along -- can be matched with cat sitters.
The website lists about 10,000 pet sitters across the U.S. and Canada who are available to check on your cat while you're gone or cat sit them in their own home. It's a spinoff of DogVacay, which started in 2012 and provides the same service for dogs.
U.S. pet owners have 70 million to 80 million dogs and 74 million to 96 million cats, according to the American Pet Products Assn. That's a lot of pets who need love when their owners hit the road.
Here's how it works: You browse through sitters whose listings include a photo and a daily price to pet sit.
Note: The pet watchers are listed as DogVacay dog sitters but have been filtered for those who also tend cats. (This confused me at first, but then I ignored the dog-centric chatter during my search.)
Then schedule a cat sitter, message back and forth, have the sitter meet your pet and pay through the website.
How do the daily kitty visits work?
"We spend an average of 30 minutes with cats ... with play time, cleaning the litter box and making sure they're happy," says Nicole Ellis, a former animal trainer who's head of mobile products for parent company DogVacay. Sitters swing by twice a day, she says.
They'll send you photo and video updates of your pet if you like too.
Ellis says the company performs background screenings on pet sitters, and all are bonded and insured. Prices for cat sitters can start at $15 to $20 a day, depending on how much care you choose.