Do You Always Get A Cat Sitter?

Jtsousa

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We went away for a long weekend and had our basement tenant come in each day to feed and medicate our cat and spend a bit of time with him. The third day she texted us and said that he really missed us and that he wasn’t interested in his food anymore, only being around her. When we got home that afternoon we could see that he had been over grooming, no doubt because of stress, and that he had shed like crazy (much more than usual!) all over his spot on the couch, and that he hadn’t been eating his food. Since we’ve been home he’s been stuck like glue to us and won’t stop vocalizing. Obviously, we can see that being alone for so long really stressed him out. We’re going away for 5 days in May, and I think this time we’ll get a friend to stay here with him.
This is a new experience for me, because my childhood cat was so different. She was a very independent indoor/outdoor cat, who enjoyed the odd snuggle sesh but could be left on her own for days at a time with no problem.
I was wondering how other cat owners do it—do you have a needy cat? Do you always get someone to stay in your home when you’re away, or does it depend on the length of time you’re gone? Is there anything else we can do to keep him happy while we’re gone?
 

Draco

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If I am gone for more than 2 nights, I get someone to come in to feed and clean the box out for me. At least I know they're fed and clean boxes to come home to.

If you can have someone stay with him for longer, that'd be great. Maybe leave the TV or radio on for him so it's not so quiet in the house.
 

Etarre

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My cat, Gwen, was always a shy, timid cat, and we had trouble finding her a cat sitter that she liked because she was very, very slow to warm up to new people. So she was a really social cat and depended on having us around for attention, but it took months for her to make friends with anyone, so when we were away, she'd often just hide when the cat sitter came over.

We did have people stay with her when she got older, but we were able to have a cat sitter come in if we got them to do two basic things: first, they needed to put in enough time to get to know her so that she'd come out and let them pet her and play with her and generally spend time with her. Second, we realized that they needed to come at around the same time every day to feed her and establish a routine. Otherwise, she seemed worried that they would forget her, and she would save her food, then gobble it all up and throw up all over the apartment.

I think with time and age, she also got used to us leaving for long weekends occasionally. She was always more upset when we took longer trips, of course, but eventually she started to trust that we'd come back.

How does your cat like your basement tenant? If that's your preferred sitter, can you have them spend more time together before the next time you need to leave, or have her feed the cat for a few days before you leave just to help build trust? You might also think about ways that a cat sitter could help your cat feel like the typical household routine was being kept even though you're gone (timing of meals, keeping normal playtimes, etc.)
 

Timmer

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I used to go out of town frequently for long weekends (Friday to Monday) and i had a sitter come in once a day and feed, play with my 2 cats, and scoop the boxes. They were always OK but they also had each other.
If I was only gone overnight or two days, I left out dry food and two big bowls of water. Came home and they were fine, happy to see me.

I would take some time and introduce the cat to the friend or sitter for when you go away in May. Have them over a couple of times right before you go. Perhaps engage them with something fun like play or giving out treats. Can the friend give medication? If you find someone who can stay at your houses, that will probably make you feel better so you can enjoy your time away more. I would love to go away for 5 days but I'm too worried...just not there emotionally yet. And I would probably want someone to stay at the house and I don't have a sitter anymore because my old one moved.
 

phelana

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We went away for a long weekend and had our basement tenant come in each day to feed and medicate our cat and spend a bit of time with him. The third day she texted us and said that he really missed us and that he wasn’t interested in his food anymore, only being around her. When we got home that afternoon we could see that he had been over grooming, no doubt because of stress, and that he had shed like crazy (much more than usual!) all over his spot on the couch, and that he hadn’t been eating his food. Since we’ve been home he’s been stuck like glue to us and won’t stop vocalizing. Obviously, we can see that being alone for so long really stressed him out. We’re going away for 5 days in May, and I think this time we’ll get a friend to stay here with him.
This is a new experience for me, because my childhood cat was so different. She was a very independent indoor/outdoor cat, who enjoyed the odd snuggle sesh but could be left on her own for days at a time with no problem.
I was wondering how other cat owners do it—do you have a needy cat? Do you always get someone to stay in your home when you’re away, or does it depend on the length of time you’re gone? Is there anything else we can do to keep him happy while we’re gone?
what do you do about food? If I put out a big bowl, my overweight would eat it all...at ONCE
 

nala88

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My kitten seems to be similar to your first cat... I was away quite a bit in December, and also just came back from a 12 day trip. My kitten is young - she is five months old - but she has always been ok when we've come back. We've had the neighbours look after her and they've always done so really well as I haven't noticed any changes in her charachteristics. I agree with inviting the cat sitter over, having them meet and spend some time together. That way the cat will get used to his or her presence and hopefully feel better when you are ok!
 

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Regarding piggy cats, there are food dishes/bowls that have sections with separate covers for each section, and timers that open each cover at designated times so that all the food can't be eaten in one go.

I remember a few years back, we were leaving for a couple days and I happened to mention this to a cashier as I was purchasing food. She was aghast that we'd leave a cat alone in a house for two days/one night, (with extra litter boxes and extra water and food). To this day I'm not sure what was so awful about that to her, except that maybe she was thinking about an emergency such as a fire.

We have the house alarmed and a permanent sign at the front door for Emergency Response so that they know there's a long-haired black cat in the house/building.
 

Draco

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what do you do about food? If I put out a big bowl, my overweight would eat it all...at ONCE
there's timed feeders that can help. Feeders has different compartments that pop open at a set time. I'd link to one but being on my phone I cant
 

Brian007

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To help Draco Draco out, here are two types of battery operated automatic feeders. The one on the left rotates gradually so that each section is revealed, and the one on the right pops open. You can also find feeders run on the mains electricity and by clockwork.

xl_29392-212-01-300px.jpg th-27.jpeg

I have used both types of feeders in the past as I could leave Brian for a night or two on his own. I also used them when I first got him to feed him at the crack of dawn when I was in bed. The one I have like the one on the left is clockwork and so there was never any worry that the batteries might not work. The one on the right was a bit of a failure as Brian would ram his poor wee face into the gap down the middle and prize it open. He bruised his lovely white nose. So, I got one like it but with a single compartment only. He'd still try with all his might to break into them. The pop-up feeders can be set to open whenever you like up to 48 hours in advance. Whereas the rotating feeder opens every 6/12 hours. I also used a professional cat-sitter who would come for half an hour every day, and he went to stay in a cattery a few times too. And, he would come with me in the car when I stayed at my mum's or went to my aunt's holiday cottage.

I haven't had to leave my two present cats yet but I wouldn't leave them alone for more than half a day without someone coming in. To be honest, I don't think I would leave them alone at all and would have to find someone who would stay with them, or at least come in twice a day. They're not as self-contained as Brian was and they miss me terribly when I get a bath with the door closed.
 
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Jtsousa

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They're not as self-contained as Brian was and they miss me terribly when I get a bath with the door closed.
Funny you say that--this morning when I took a shower, as soon as I closed the shower curtain Fella started crying, something he's never done before. Maybe he's getting clingier in his old age.
 
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Jtsousa

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what do you do about food? If I put out a big bowl, my overweight would eat it all...at ONCE
Our tenant came up each day to feed him. He doesn't gobble up his food thankfully. He usually finishes his wet food, but he never empties his kibble bowl.
 
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Jtsousa

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How does your cat like your basement tenant? If that's your preferred sitter, can you have them spend more time together before the next time you need to leave, or have her feed the cat for a few days before you leave just to help build trust? You might also think about ways that a cat sitter could help your cat feel like the typical household routine was being kept even though you're gone (timing of meals, keeping normal playtimes, etc.)
Fella is a pretty timid cat and he's always shy at first with new people, but he likes everyone, and after a short warming up period he'll ask for pets from pretty much anyone. He likes our tenant just fine, but she wouldn't be able to stay in our place with him, because she's allergic and she has her own pet (a bunny) to take care of in her unit. It's just very convenient to have her come up to feed & medicate him when we're away on short trips because she's so close. I don't think it will be difficult to find someone else to stay in May, but it's a very good suggestion to have them over a few times before so he can get used to them.
 
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