Woman travels the world for free by cat sitting


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Madolline Gourley has discovered a purrfect strategy for traveling abroad by doing what she loves.

The 32-year-travel writer based in Brisbane, Australia, loves to wander and snuggle cats. So she found a brilliant way to fulfill her dream of traveling around the world by cat-sitting. The cat-loving globetrotter ​​has saved $28,000 on travel expenses by house and cat sitting in nearly 50 homes across the U.S. and Australia.


In 2017, while working on a contract writing job for state government websites in Queensland, Gourley learned some of her coworkers were living rent-free by house-sitting with an app called TrustedHousesitters. She created a profile on the app, expanded her search to Australia and the U.S., and listed her experience as a lifelong cat owner.

Now she also uses websites such as MindMyHouse and HouseCarers, where she finds listings of available house-sitting gigs in the places she wants to go and submits applications. 

Once selected, Gourley stays in the home and cat-sits for free which includes cleaning litter boxes, feeding, and snuggling. 

“If you take out the fact that I’m from Australia, it’s not that much different than a friend or a neighbor watching your pet,” Gourley told NBC. “Their place is the only form of payment I get.”

She says cat and house care take about 30 minutes daily, giving her plenty of time to be a tourist too.  

“Reserving 15 minutes of my morning and evening for pet care or house maintenance wasn’t much to ask when I had the rest of the day to explore each of the cities I visited,” she said.

She recently completed her most adventurous trip, a 75-day voyage across America. “I’ve looked after 15 cats and nine different homes in seven cities across the country. I started out in Seattle before making my way to Austin, New York City—where I got sits in Chelsea, South Park Slope and Prospect Heights—Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago and Portland,” Gourley wrote on her blog

However, travel expenses extend beyond lodging. Gourley estimated that she spent around $7,200 during the trip or an average of $96 per day.

Gourley has no plans of slowing down. Her goal is to eventually cat-sit in Canada, New Zealand, and Asia.


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