Jade Small
Jade Small
January 5, 2024 ·  3 min read

Woman saves $28,000 in travel expenses by watching other people’s cats in places she visits

Travel is at the top of many people’s lists as there are so many places to see in this world. this might not seem entirely possible for many people as there are also many costs involved. The expense of traveling is an intimidating one, but one woman has found a method that has saved her a lot of money. Not to mention allowing her travel dreams to come true!

Cat Sitter, Jet Setter

There is a market for traveling that is undeniably popular. However, not as many people are able to appreciate the joys of exploring as they would like because there are a lot of costs involved. With the rising costs of fuel, plane tickets have increased, as well as food and accommodation. Madolline Gourley is an Australian local who travels the world saving as much money as she can. Her method for allowing her travel dreams to come true is to look after other people’s cats.

Madolline Gourley with one the cats she looks after while traveling
Image Credit: Madolline Gourley

The 32-year-old cat-sitter is from Brisbane, Australia. She has a unique way of traveling where she offers her greatest snuggling, feeding, and kitty litter cleaning skills. In exchange, she receives free accommodation, and this saves her a whole lot of money. In fact, since she started her traveling mission she has saved herself $28,000 while staying at 50 different homes throughout Australia, and the US.

She has a day job as a writer, and she takes on freelance copywriting. She has always wanted to explore the world a bit more but thought it was out of her reach. Her dreams came true after she had a chat with a friend who told her how she got free accommodation while traveling. Some of them even lived for free in Brisbane, and house sat for strangers. The only catch was that she had to care for cats. Luckily, cats are her favorite animal.

A ragdoll cat
Image source: Facebook

Read: Traveler Shares Simple Trick to Get Whole Row of Seats to Yourself on a Plane

How does she do it?

Some people might think this plan is not easy. But, according to Madolline it only takes about 30 minutes of work each day to organize. This is based on creating profiles on each of the house sitting sites, like House Sitters America, Mind My House, Aussie House Sitters, and House Carers. Her most reliable source of cat-sitting sites, is Trusted House Sitters.

Making sure she makes the bed correctly
Image source: Facebook

This is not too much of an effort if you take into account that she loves cats, and has had her own cats as pets growing up. “I’ve had cats since I was little and my mum is a big cat fan too,” she said. “She’s also had cats all her life. When I found out about the whole house/pet sitting for accommodation thing, I only wanted to do it looking after cats because I’ve only ever cared for cats.”

The $28,000 is a “conservative” estimate, according to her. She compared it to the local prices on sites like Airbnb and the general rental prices.

Read: Poodle Cats: Yes, They’re a Thing

She documents her travels and cats

Madeline has documented each of her cat-sitting stints. she has her own website called: One Cat at a Time, as well as a Facebook and Instagram page. she mentions all of the cats that she has cat-sit, but naturally, she has ad one or two favorites. One of them was a cat named Abel, from Australia.

“There was one cat, a Birman in Launceston (state of Tasmania in Australia), called Abel,” Gourley Recalled. “Abel hid in his owner’s bedroom wardrobe for the first few days. He’d only come out for food and toileting which was usually done in the middle of the night. The few times I caught him in the litter room, he’d run and hide. A couple days in, he became less scared and then he wouldn’t leave me alone! He’d follow me everywhere and was so smoochy. He’d also jump straight on my bed as soon as I hopped in it.”

Abel the cat
Abel. Image credit: Madolline Gourley

Keep Reading: Adorable bobcats family move into woman’s front yard for over a month


  1. This 32-Year-Old Australian Woman Has Saved $28,000 on Travel by Cat-Sitting Around the World — Here’s How.NBC San Diego. Megan Sauer. June 7, 2022
  2. Globetrotting with Cats: How One Woman Travels By Taking on Cat Sitting Jobs.” The Animal Rescue Site. Michelle Milliken.