Anxious about Leaving Cats at Home for 2 ~ 3 Weeks

Introvertigo

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Things are still unfolding, but it looks like I will need to go out of town for at least 2, and possibly 3 weeks. I am freaking out a little because I have two cats, and I've never been away from them even overnight before, much less for this long a time.

Ideally I could leave them somewhere where they would be able to have daily interactions and playtime with other cats and people; however, this kind of arrangement is out of my price range.

My neighbor has kindly volunteered to take care of them for me, even though his free time is quite limited. It could be a challenge just finding time for basic care things like food/water and litterbox, much less hanging out for playtime or anything like that.

Adding to my concern is the fact that my cats are true 'fraidy cats' when it comes to any other people in the house ~ one of them, Skeech, literally growls just like a dog when he hears anyone outside the door (which is actually quite funny, since I didn't think cats could even make that kind of vocalization😾😂). And then they both make a mad dash to go hide under the bed, not coming out again until it's 'all clear' and any visitors have left🥴.

I've tried to acclimate them before when this neighbor has been inside, but it's proved to be a non-starter since they just won't stick around. So I would really like to hear from anyone that's been away from your cat(s) for a few weeks or more and had a similar arrangement with a friend or neighbor to take care of them ~ If this person didn't really interact with the cat(s) at all when they were there, how did they react when you returned? I have this fear that they will treat me like a stranger after not seeing me for that long... My heart would break a little or maybe a lot if Skeech growled at me when I got back. I really don't even want to think about it😢.

One last thing I'll throw out there. I've noticed lately that sometimes when I've had to be away from the house for a longer period of time during the day, that when I return the cats seem to engage in more aggressive 'horseplay' / roughhousing. Sometimes this has resulted in strident yelps of pain on the part of one or the other of them, and I'm wondering at this point if they could seriously injure each other.

I'm just really frustrated about what to do because I know it would be better for them not to be on their own for so long, but there doesn't seem to be any way around this situation.
 

Antonio65

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So I would really like to hear from anyone that's been away from your cat(s) for a few weeks or more and had a similar arrangement with a friend or neighbor to take care of them ~ If this person didn't really interact with the cat(s) at all when they were there, how did they react when you returned? I have this fear that they will treat me like a stranger after not seeing me for that long... My heart would break a little or maybe a lot if Skeech growled at me when I got back. I really don't even want to think about it😢.
My previous two cats were regularly left at home, alone, for three weeks every year when we were on holiday.
We had a neighbor, relatives, friends to take care of them during our absence, in that order, because we were looking for someone who had the necessary "training" to deal with cats, so we tried different people. Both my cats were extremely fearful, and whenever we had a guest in the house, they would just evaporate, and would come out of their hiding only when it was absolutely safe to do so, just like yours.
This would lead to the fact that the cat carers we hired weren't able to interact with our cats. That was a little bad and sad, but the essential thing for us, at the end of the day, was that they were regularly fed, that they had fresh water, the litter boxes scooped, and that they were fine.
I had also installed a camera in the house, so that I could check on them remotely when nobody else was home and make sure they were fine.

In their last years, we decided to hire two professionals cat sitters, two wonderful girls that would come home twice a day for three weeks. These two girls were able to build a bond with my cats, and they were even able to pill one of them while we were away.
These were the most perfect, the best cat sitters, one could ever ask for.

Upon your return to home, they might sulk for one day, but they won't forget you. As soon as you resume the daily routine with them, they will forget those lonely days.

I do cat sit for other people, and all the cats I take care of when their owners are away, are non-social cats, all but one. My aim is to make sure that they are all fine even if they don't want to deal with me. I scoop the boxes, fill the dishes, put fresh water in the bowls, make sure there is nothing out of place. Then I take a photo of each cat and send them to the owners with a short note about what I did that day.

I suggest you to find at least two people to do this at your home. If the only one you have found is unable to cat sit your cats for any reason, this would be a problem, especially if the reason why this person can't help you is serious, and their impossibility lasts for a few days.
That's the reason why I hired TWO cat sitters.

One last thing I'll throw out there. I've noticed lately that sometimes when I've had to be away from the house for a longer period of time during the day, that when I return the cats seem to engage in more aggressive 'horseplay' / roughhousing. Sometimes this has resulted in strident yelps of pain on the part of one or the other of them, and I'm wondering at this point if they could seriously injure each other.
This is what my two young cats do when I'm about to prepare their wet meals.
They start "horseplaying", chasing each other, wrestling. Sometimes one of them comes up with a yelp, but I don't think they are really fighting, I think it's more like a rough play to mimic a territorial quarrel. If they were really fighting over something, like food or else, I wouldn't see them curled on the same bed a few minutes later ☺ and I believe that yours do just the same.
 

Zerthax

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I have had to take a few longer trips before, and I would actually take my cat to a friend's place for them to watch over him. However, this cat was extremely sociable and enjoyed having visitors. The new (temporary) home didn't bother him in the slightest. When I returned, it was like I never left.

But personality is important, and I think your cats would be much more comfortable on their home turf. So what I did is likely not a good plan for you. The best possible solution would be if you could get someone you trust to be a house sitter while you're gone, but that is a big ask.
 

iPappy

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I house sat for my Mom a few years ago when she was out of town for 10 days. Her male cat hid every time I went over until the second to last day when curiosity got the better of him. As long as you trust the person who will be taking care of them, they will come around in their own time IMO. :)
 

FeebysOwner

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Look for another neighbor, coworker, family member, friend, etc. It is always a good idea to have a second caretaker in case something happens to the primary one. You can let the neighbor know that you are looking for a second person as you've been told it is always good to have two. Perhaps, between the two of them, there will be better coverage in terms of people coming to check on them. Find out when your volunteer neighbor thinks they are most likely to check on your cats, and then arrange for the second person to come at a different time. The Next Door Neighbor web site might yield some cat-loving volunteers.

You can also place worn, unwashed clothing of yours in locations where your cats are most likely to hang out - sort of 'security blankets' for them while you are gone. Although, I sincerely doubt your cats could possibly forget you in 2-3 weeks' time, your clothing should help with your concern.
 

Furballsmom

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they would be able to have daily interactions and playtime with other cats and people;
Hi

According to your description of your cats personalities they would not like this at all.

Regarding the question of people to help with the cats in your place, here's the thing;
if the worst happened, whether with a cat or the house or both, I would much prefer it occur with a competent professional sitter, rather than a friend who might forever feel guilty and you could suffer a lost friendship, or a neighbor who might be more vested in taking care of their own (for example a fire), etcetera.
 

iPappy

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Hi

According to your description of your cats personalities they would not like this at all.

Regarding the question of people to help with the cats in your place, here's the thing;
if the worst happened, whether with a cat or the house or both, I would much prefer it occur with a competent professional sitter, rather than a friend who might forever feel guilty and you could suffer a lost friendship, or a neighbor who might be more vested in taking care of their own (for example a fire), etcetera.
We board cats, and "socialized play" between boarding cats never, ever happens. Way too much liability and potentials for fights. As a matter of fact, 90% of boarding cats get a large blanket that covers the entire front portion of their room hung up so they don't feel threatened by cats they don't know walking around so close to their space.
Our work cats have a few boarders they know very well and have spent time with, but that comes with years of frequent boarding and cats with very laid back personalities.
 
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