There are no figures for this, but I wonder how many people decide they can't travel because they don't want to (or can't afford to) leave their animals behind. Kennels are expensive and, let's face it, the equivalent of Doggy Jail. Many people figure they might as well stay close to home.
Two years ago, a company called DogVacay emerged to attend to that issue for dog owners. Some 20,000 pet-sitters have signed up and gone through the training process to accept and care for strangers' animals (mostly for $25 to $50 a night) during their trips. The fee comes with insurance, a daily photo or video of your pet (so you know they're not miserable), and round-the-clock customer phone support through the central office. They'll do it in either your home or theirs.
Although animal lovers of every age have signed up to dog sit, DogVacay especially opened up an income stream for retired folks who may not work full-time but do have the ability to care for a furry companion. The more positive reviews they receive, the more likely that a steady side income is possible.
It's yet another wrinkle in the new sharing economy, and it has been working. By now, more than 1 million nights have now been booked for the service—but true to the name, the service was only for dogs.
But now, in light of its success, DogVacay has added felines to its repertoire. There's no website called CatVacay—when you search DogVacay for a sitter, you filter for those volunteers who also tend to cats.
Cats, being moody and standoffish, are cheaper than dogs, of course—$15 or $20 a day.
DogVacay is at www.DogVacay.com.