We prove that four different notions of Morita equivalence for inverse semigroups motivated by C*-algebra theory, topos theory, semigroup theory and the theory of ordered groupoids are equivalent. We also show that the category of unitary actions of an inverse semigroup is monadic over the category of étale actions. Consequently, the category of unitary actions of an inverse semigroup is equivalent to the category of presheaves on its Cauchy completion. More generally, we prove that the same is true for the category of closed actions, which is used to define the Morita theory in semigroup theory, of any semigroup with right local units. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.