How can I provide care for 24 cats while I'm away for vacation?

moreknow

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I take care of 24 cats living in and around my house, and about 12 of them are friendly to me but are afraid of others in general. 3 stay in my house 90% of the time, and 8 spend the night in my garage. The rest stay outside in my backyard and in my neighbor's house behind our house. I don't live in a colony where all the houses are crunched together; houses are pretty separate and i have a pretty big yard next to my house. I have fed them everyday for the last 3 years, and i plan on getting them adopted soon, but im pretty emotionally attached to them now so i would like to see them everyday.
But I have to go visit family in Mexico for about 2 weeks in July, and Im worried about my cats. How can I make sure they're all in safe hands? My current options i have in my are:
- have the 3 indoor cats spend time in a trusted friends house in an expanded cage with food, water and litter boxes
- have some of the 8 garage cat boarded but idk how much it would cost and where, any recommendations in Houston area?
- have someone i know feed the outdoor cats 2x a day, but idk if they're up to do that.. maybe hire a catsitter?

i would really appreciate some advide here, i don't want any more of my cats dying or disappearing :(

many many many thanks,
uriel m
 

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When was the last time the 3 indoor 90% cats were totally outdoors?
 

Bri5

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For the outdoor cats, I would consider hiring a few people to either take turns or run back to back. So someone to do only mornings and someone else to do nights, or 3 or so people to each do 3-5 day shifts to cover the length of trip. People are less likely to be burnt out or skip a trip in my experience having people care for my outdoor animals. Also, gravity feeders whenever possible.
 
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moreknow

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For the outdoor cats, I would consider hiring a few people to either take turns or run back to back. So someone to do only mornings and someone else to do nights, or 3 or so people to each do 3-5 day shifts to cover the length of trip. People are less likely to be burnt out or skip a trip in my experience having people care for my outdoor animals. Also, gravity feeders whenever possible.
would this be a catsitter? i don't have close friends that would be able to feed them and bring them inside like i would. they're all skittish to other people
 

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Do you have contact with any rescue groups? Experienced "colony managers" would be your best bet. Timed feeders can help but heat & humidity can affect food spoilage. A local person who works with ferals probably has great suggestions. Aside from that, a yard care person might be able to help. If you can, try to have feeding stations that have 4 legs and put the foot of each leg in a container of soapy water to keep out ants. Flies are another problem for which I don't have many suggestions. Water is a bit easier if you can use an RV hose designated for drinking water (also known as potable water); simply leave the faucet on at a very slow drip rate & have it drip into the water dish that's located in a spot where the yard needs the water. If you can afford it, some trail or security cams can help you keep an eye on things. I would set-up now so you can find out soon how well the possible scenarios work out.
 

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I agree with the idea to get in touch with cat volunteers/cat rescue groups. Maybe teenagers also free in the summers might help if any in your neighborhood.
I understand you are attatched to them but getting those that can be adopted out is best. The colony can grow if you feed outdoors and/or people dump cats thinking you will care for them.
Good luck ☘🍀
 
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moreknow

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Do you have contact with any rescue groups? Experienced "colony managers" would be your best bet. Timed feeders can help but heat & humidity can affect food spoilage. A local person who works with ferals probably has great suggestions. Aside from that, a yard care person might be able to help. If you can, try to have feeding stations that have 4 legs and put the foot of each leg in a container of soapy water to keep out ants. Flies are another problem for which I don't have many suggestions. Water is a bit easier if you can use an RV hose designated for drinking water (also known as potable water); simply leave the faucet on at a very slow drip rate & have it drip into the water dish that's located in a spot where the yard needs the water. If you can afford it, some trail or security cams can help you keep an eye on things. I would set-up now so you can find out soon how well the possible scenarios work out.
I will look into that. Would facebook be the best place to find these colony managers?
and yea i will leave bowls out around the area and maybe do try out the soapy water idea

I am trying to rid of myself from flies right now, currently addressing that issue by buying some repellents and traps
I will also put water bowls around certain spots, with the permission from my neighbors
I bought some Google nest outdoor cameras last month, they work pretty well. I want to get 2 more before i leave, get a better view of where they go.

Only issue im worried about is the 8 cats that spend nights in my garage. I don't want them roaming around at night since they've been so used to being indoors at night...
 

catsknowme

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If the garage doesn't overheat, you could leave them locked up. You could get a retired baby pool for a litter box. They are safer in a garage than risking dangers from predators and other threats that lurk in the night.
You can type in "cat rescue in _____ (your town)" both in Google search and Facebook. Also, ask at your vet's office. Plus, the county shelter and whoever provides free/low cost spay&neuter will know.
 

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Before we got a cat door installed, we would close the garage door and stop it about 6" from closing. They could sneak in and out that way. Other animals can, as well, but we rarely had a problem.
 

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If the garage doesn't overheat, you could leave them locked up. You could get a retired baby pool for a litter box. They are safer in a garage than risking dangers from predators and other threats that lurk in the night.
You can type in "cat rescue in _____ (your town)" both in Google search and Facebook. Also, ask at your vet's office. Plus, the county shelter and whoever provides free/low cost spay&neuter will know.
I would do this for the cats that stay in the garage. I would not suggest leaving them outside while you're gone. As the previous poster said, there are toooo many dangers at night. Then I would hire a cat sitter or two to feed the indoor cats and the cats in the garage. And I wouldn't let either group outside while you're gone.

Often vet assistants will cat sit for a relatively small cost and are knowledgeable about cats - they usually are looking to make extra $$.
 

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Also I would be very very careful about leaving food outside for the outdoor cats. It may very possible attract wild animals or other outdoor dangers. Personally I wouldn't do it.
I think your best bet is to work with a cat sitter or a rescue group / colony manager to feed and water the outdoor cats morning and evening. Around here there are many people feeding colonies of feral cats and if you drive around near dusk you can often see them. The Humane Society may know someone who can help with this.
 

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With so many cats you will need a cat sitter, who will have to stay with you well before you leave, in order to get to know at least something about your groups of cats, who belongs where, and what to do when one doesn't come home. 24 is a large number to keep track of! Perhaps a pair of students would manage better than a single person.

My granddaughter and one of her friends (both student teachers) are at present in Spain - dog sitting. The couple owning the house and dog, are at present in Germany (medical reasons) and will be absent for about 2 months. Maybe you can advertise at a college, ask for written applications and find suitable candidates that way. Good luck in your search.
 
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