First extended vacation (two weeks) with very shy, attached cat :( not sure what the best care option is for him

meto

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Hello everyone,

I got my cat Caine in 2017 as an adult from a shelter and he is very attached to me. He always likes to be in the same room as me, if not cuddled right next to me. When I ignore him or I'm away for long he meows at me a lot for attention, and then seems very happy when I give it to him. He's very shy around new people and I'm the only person who he's gotten used to since we live alone. He always runs and hides when a stranger comes in, and won't come out until they're gone.

I've taken many short trips in the time I've had him, ranging from one to four days. When it's longer than one night I pay someone to come check on him, give him his daily wet food, etc. I try not to be gone for more than two days because he seems upset when I return, especially when it's longer. I think he's gotten used to these short trips I take to visit family and such, but I think he would react very badly to a longer trip like the two-week one I have scheduled in a few months.

I have lots of time to plan, so I need to think of something. I'm really worried for him and I want him to be happy. I can hire a sitter who will just come and check on him once per day, which would mean he would hide less and feel safer. I can hire a sitter who will stay here, but two weeks isn't long enough for him to get used to a new person, even one of my friends who's already seen him many times, so I fear he'd just hide all the time and it would be much more stress than before. I think he would get used to the person by the end of it, but he probably wouldn't get very close to them still, so it wouldn't be much comfort. Then lastly I can hire one of my friends to come visit him once per day, but they'd only be free for like an hour per day at most, and I don't think he'd get used to them in that time even though he's already seen them before.

The thought of him being all alone for so long when I know he loves my company and attention just breaks my heart. I'm not going to shorten the trip because it's extremely important and I need to take it, and it will likely be the only time I leave him alone this long. I worry that when I get back he won't love me anymore or he'll have been traumatized by being alone so long or something. Am I worrying too much? Are there any other options I haven't thought of? I can try to get my friends closer to him in the meantime, but it might be annoying to them because of how long it would take (it took him living here two whole weeks before he approached me). Even then they'd only be able to visit for an hour or so per day.

Any suggestions are appreciated, thank you so much!
 

Furballsmom

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Hi!
Hire someone, don't utilize friends for this. Try for a twice a day check, but it could easily be that they don't see him. Set up a camera or two so you can view him and what the sitter does as well, and Skype so he can hear you.

Also set up intermittent TV or music for him, with quiet periods. He'll be just fine :)
 

maggie101

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I have 3 adult cats. One of them always hides when people come over. I went on a 10 day vacation and had a pet sitter come 3x a day for food,litter, and water. She came out to eat then back under the bed. The pet sitter sent pics and text me from her phone every day.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. As far as hiring someone, you could use care.com - they have cat lovers who have profiles and references on-line and you can talk to them, meet with them, etc. to decide who you would feel most comfortable with. Fees vary by individual and your desired arrangements. Most of them are willing to come to your home to meet your cat in advance - perhaps even do some short cat-sitting sessions to help Caine get used to them. They are also willing to cater to the schedule you want, and some will also stay overnight if you want them to. Many of them will also water your plants, or bring in mail, if you need any additional things of that nature done.

The other option is neighbors - ones that you already know or that you can get to know through web sites like Next Door. Neighbors are convenient as they are close to your home and are more likely to do multiple visits and stay longer periods of time, probably for less money than those on care.com. Neighbors can also come meet and see Caine multiple time before you actually leave for your trip, enabling to befriend your cat.

You could also check with your vet to see if they have any references for cat sitters as well.
 
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