Kitty Sitter Advice

mnm

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We have had Molly for almost a year. She is 9. She has adjusted perfectly with us... independent yet requests lap time and brushings.

Do any of you have cats that are attached and sweet to you but aren’t predictable around strangers and if so what is the protocol of instructions you give the sitter? I will have her come over obviously a few days before we leave ... she’s a pet groomer and I know her family and she will stop in 2x a day. Last week I introduced Molly to a friend and as my friend was petting her ...Molly hissed (friend has 9 cats lol so could have been the scent plus she was stroking Molly kinda heavy). A neighbor came over and Molly didn’t hiss but walked away from neighbor petting her. At Christmas she growled at my mom but finally relaxed after mom was here about a week. I’m hoping since the sitter comes and goes Molly won’t feel as threatened but I hate the fact she won’t have human touch for 10 days yet I don’t want to worry about her doing something like biting!
 

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Has she ever bitten? She sounds like she just likes people to know how she feels. :)
If the sitter is experienced she'll know to give her her space. Is the sitter live-in?
 

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My first kitty, Gwen, was extremely shy with strangers, and we had to work pretty hard to get her to warm up to sitters. She never growled, hissed, or bit/scratched, so we weren't worried about that, but she did get very lonely if she wasn't able to interact with the sitter.

Key things were getting someone that she could get to know little by little and getting them to watch her repeatedly. She also really appreciated having people who could come on a regular schedule (we didn't have them live in).

We found a neighbor who could watch her, and instructed the sitter to simply spend time in the apartment and talk to her in a calm, friendly way without approaching her or forcing her to interact. Eventually, Gwen would decide to come out and make friends. I think the really important thing was that it had to be her decision to interact.
 

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If she’s a groomer I would recommend she change clothes before she comes over. My sitter also sprays some feliway on her pants. One of mine isn’t crazy about strangers but luckily he decided after two days that someone was better than no one and allowed the sitter to pet him. I also close off extra bedrooms when I travel so mine have fewer places to hide. If you do that just make sure your cat isn’t on the wrong side of that door!
 
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mnm

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Has she ever bitten? She sounds like she just likes people to know how she feels. :)
If the sitter is experienced she'll know to give her her space. Is the sitter live-in?
No... never has bitten. We’ve had workers come over and she is fine with them... doesn’t hide or anything or hiss ... the sitter will not be live in. She will come 2x a day.
 
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mnm

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If she’s a groomer I would recommend she change clothes before she comes over. My sitter also sprays some feliway on her pants. One of mine isn’t crazy about strangers but luckily he decided after two days that someone was better than no one and allowed the sitter to pet him. I also close off extra bedrooms when I travel so mine have fewer places to hide. If you do that just make sure your cat isn’t on the wrong side of that door!
Great idea about changing clothes... although the family does have a cat and dog so I imagine Molly is gonna smell them . I am thinking she hissed possibly the way my friend petted her... rather strong on the head... we even discussed that as friend asked me if I stroke her like that... we don’t.. we do more of the scratch on top of the head.... not heavy strokes.... and honestly her brush is her fav. I show it to her and up she comes on my lap. Maybe that’s an idea for the sitter to use.
 
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mnm

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My first kitty, Gwen, was extremely shy with strangers, and we had to work pretty hard to get her to warm up to sitters. She never growled, hissed, or bit/scratched, so we weren't worried about that, but she did get very lonely if she wasn't able to interact with the sitter.

Key things were getting someone that she could get to know little by little and getting them to watch her repeatedly. She also really appreciated having people who could come on a regular schedule (we didn't have them live in).

We found a neighbor who could watch her, and instructed the sitter to simply spend time in the apartment and talk to her in a calm, friendly way without approaching her or forcing her to interact. Eventually, Gwen would decide to come out and make friends. I think the really important thing was that it had to be her decision to interact.
I’m sure if the girl is a groomer she would have experience with skiddish animals I guess. I already know the fam has a little boy... around 7 and I’m going to have to ask that they don’t bring him as Molly hissed at my two youngest grandkids if they went towards her over Christmas but my 12 year old granddaughter... waltzed right in the bedroom and would give Molly a pet and no hissing... just unpredictable.
 

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Our kitty Gohan tends to hide for at least an hours while we have guests over, so we thought he would never really interact with the sitter (who was only there for 30 min). After a few days, though, he got lonely and came out to say hi. The most important thing is to make sure the sitter is a nice and calming presence, which it sounds like she is. The most recent (new) sitter we got saw him the first day.
 
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mnm

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Molly was given up at age 9 even though they raised her from kitten stage due to “ she didn’t adjust to new pets” sigh.
Our two previous cats that we raised greeted the sitters at the door .
We went away one week and our adult neighbor came in to feed her and Molly rolled over for belly rubs and everything! I don’t know if she now has just set her territory claim or maybe she’ll be friendlier if we’re not here or what!
 

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My 12 year old Starbuck does not let anyone see her but us. My cat sitter has been friends with us since Starbuck was a baby. She has experience socializing feral cats and has tried everything she has had success with dealing with feral cats. The best response she has gotten is for Starbuck to let her see her for about 30 seconds. She does know Starbuck’s hiding spots to get a peak at her. She is a very patient and calm person but Starbuck will not let her touch her. I have no doubt that my cat sitter would find a way to get her into a carrier if there was a reason she had too. I went out of town for 10 days a few years ago and Starbuck would not allow my cat sitter to pet her. My cat sitter would give Starbuck attention if she ever allows her too. My other 3 cats love my cat sitter and ask her for cuddle time.
 
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mnm

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Well there ya have it... I guess if Molly wants to be left alone... she’ll let the sitter know!
 

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Going 10 days without petting will not kill her. The sitter trying to force interaction would probably stress her out more. I would try only giving her treats when people come over ... and eventually guests giving her treats (on her cat tree if it is in the living room?) Unforgently that is more of a 2-12 month project and you are leaving now. It can help her next time though.

Does she have a cat buddy? I left my boys for 2 weeks and my one-person-only cat broke down towards the end of 2 weeks and started seeking a _bit_ of affection from my mom.... who he knew and we live with now :rolleyes: It took a year but he now sometimes gets a scratch from her or hangs out on her lap. I still toss a treat by her once a week and encourage him to be brave around my roommates/ guests/ my hyper scary little niece & nephew.
 
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mnm

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No cat buddy. I just tell myself she has such a good life with us compared to her previous owners that 10 days is nothing compared to the love and attention she gets the other days
 

5starcathotel

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Exactly what catlover73 said....

Let the sitter know her hiding places, make sure food is being eaten and litter box used. But if Molly doesn't want to interact with an intermittent stranger in her territory, best not to force the issue.
 

catlover73

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I would still make sure that your cat sitter know Molly's hiding places so she can at least get a quick peak at her. If Molly is an only cat the cat sitter can also keep an eye out to make sure she is eating and using the litter box. My cat sitter has told me that she would never try to force Starbuck to interact with her unless there was an emergency situation that required it. She has learned from working with ferals that cats do things in their own time frame on their terms and trying to force things just stresses out the cat. If Molly decides she wants attention she will approach the cat sitter on her own when she is ready. This is how my cat sitter treats Starbuck because she does not want to stress her out when we are traveling.
 

Desertmouse

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Great idea about changing clothes... although the family does have a cat and dog so I imagine Molly is gonna smell them . I am thinking she hissed possibly the way my friend petted her... rather strong on the head... we even discussed that as friend asked me if I stroke her like that... we don’t.. we do more of the scratch on top of the head.... not heavy strokes.... and honestly her brush is her fav. I show it to her and up she comes on my lap. Maybe that’s an idea for the sitter to use.
Along the same lines of having her changed her cloths, I have read about people getting a blanket or something similar that the cat sleeps on and is covered in their scent. They would rubbing the items over their hands and whatnot to put the catks scent on the person so the cat is more comfortable with them. I haven’t tried it myself, but it makes a lot of sense to me. I would have her wash up first and then try to get the scent on her though so it doesn’t get mixed up with the other scents
 
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mnm

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I would still make sure that your cat sitter know Molly's hiding places so she can at least get a quick peak at her. If Molly is an only cat the cat sitter can also keep an eye out to make sure she is eating and using the litter box. My cat sitter has told me that she would never try to force Starbuck to interact with her unless there was an emergency situation that required it. She has learned from working with ferals that cats do things in their own time frame on their terms and trying to force things just stresses out the cat. If Molly decides she wants attention she will approach the cat sitter on her own when she is ready. This is how my cat sitter treats Starbuck because she does not want to stress her out when we are traveling.
Ok... actually I would feel better if the sitter simply comes in and checks on her and feeds her and doesn’t try to win her over since I really have no clue on how Molly will respond ... heading now to pick up my adult niece that will hang with us today so am curious to see Molly’s demeanor
 
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