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Old 05-25-2011, 05:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cat alone in house for 2 weeks

I'm going on a trip. I'm leaving Prince alone in the house for 14 days, with a cat sitter (sitters come for half an hour a day and charge a fortune for it). I feel awful, have nightmares at night and I'm very depressed.

The story is that work are sending me to a country I dreamed all my life of visiting, and I'm due my annual vacation, so I'm staying over. It's a dream come true, and traveling is the only good thing I have in life apart from Prince, but it's costing me a lot of pain.

I just can't bear the thought of Prince being alone for 2 full weeks. It makes me suffer very much. I almost put him in a cat hostel, but when I saw he'd be spending the 2 weeks alone in a tiny room with no window (just a wire net on a part of the ceiling to look up to the sky), I wasn't able to leave him there. If he's going to be alone, better it be at home. I don't understand why sitters and hostels only visit the cat for half an hour a day. The woman who owns the hostel, why can't she spend 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening with each cat, I don't understand. I spend a lot longer than that each day with my strays in the street, for free.

Thoughts, comments, ideas, commiseration, story sharing on similar issue, whatever will be welcome...
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you not have a friend who could watch over him or possibly house him for the two weeks? I feel like the poor guy is going to be really stressed out, especially since he doesn't know the current sitter at all.

My sister's cat (Mobie) has severe anxiety issues whenever my sister leaves the house for the weekend. Mobie mews constantly. The only reason she doesn't go completely crazy is because my mother is there to calm her. Of course, when my sister gets home, she gets to "hear" about it, in the form of being attacked and not allowed to move for a while.

I don't believe your cat would react as bad, but two weeks is a long time from someone he considers to be a companion. I think maybe having a friend (or maybe a co-worker?) to come over an hour or two would be better, especially if you start to bring him/her over now so that Prince can become accustomed to the new person. If that's not possible, of course, there's not much to be done.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've done both. When my ex husband's grandmother died we headed to Las Vegas to settle her estate and pack up her house. We were gone for almost two weeks and we put Anthony in a boarding kennel. It was our doggie day care place and our Malamute went with him. They were in separate areas of course but they said they would allow Luna up to their play area upstairs so she and Anthony could spend some time together each day. Anthony had always seemed indifferent to Luna but on their web cam he was always thrilled to see her when they put them together. He'd rub on her and lay close to her and snooze when she laid down. When we picked him up he climbed up on my shoulder and clung to me until we got him home. No worse for wear.

Then we went on a 2 week cruise and had a cat sitter in to take care of Anthony. She'd come in once a day and spend about 3 hours at our place. She had to take care of/exercise two horses so the time spent with him wasn't nearly that long. She was really great and would email me every day after she got home and I was such a nervous mom I would check my email every time we passed the ships library/internet area.

The first four or five days were rough on them both. Apparently he attacked her every visit until I guess he realized she was as good as it was going to get . After that she was nice enough to bring her dinner ingredients with her and do her cooking/eating at my house to give him a little extra time with company. When we got home he was no worse for wear (but considerably fatter from her sharing her meals).

One thing you can do is to contact your vet and give him a credit card number or make arrangements for you to pay for any emergency services after you get home. Then leave the address/name of the vet for the sitter just in case. If heaven forbid anything happens you know that it's all taken care of and Prince will get the care he may need.

Also, I pre prepared the food in ziplock baggies (I fed dry back then) so she just had to dump it in his bowl. I liked him to drink bottled water so I made sure there were plenty of bottles in the fridge for her. Pre measure whatever you can to make it easier (and less likely for her to make mistakes).

Anthony always liked fresh blankets every day on his favorite sleeping spot so I made sure there was a clean blanket for every day and a few extra so she just had to put a clean one down and put the 'old' one in the hamper (which I moved to right next to his sleeping spot).
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Sucks that you have to feel that way, when you should be excited to travel of course.
I feel your pain though.....

My bf and I have been together since 1997 and we've only been on vacation once. And it was only to Vegas for 3 days. Other than that, we maybe go away for a weekend 1-2 times per year. I am like you.....feel terrible leaving our cat. When we have gone away for those few short trips, my bf's parents come over twice a day to take care of and spend time with the cat.

So I don't have any advice for you, but do empathize.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Are any of your co-workers cat friendly and would let Prince stay with them during those two weeks? Offer to pay them what your pet sitter is going to charge. Or is there anyone else you trust?
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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How about calling your vet or other vets in the area to ask about referrals. Pet stores could be a good place to call too.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Prince will be okay.

What you shouldn't do is worry and fret and let that deter you from having the best time on vacation. Most people here have said they wished they worried less and enjoyed themselves more, because their little ones were just fine when they returned.

Checking with your vet is a great suggestion, employees in my vet's office cat- and dog-sit on the side.

Don't ruin your vacation with stress. I know, easier said than done, but like you said, it's a once in a lifetime trip, so if you can, get more visitors for Prince, but even if you can't, he really, really will be fine.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree enjoy your trip. Yes we all know thats better said then done and cats are super good at making us feel guilty. Buy a cheap digital camera and have em email you daily pics if that what it takes.

I also agree with asking at the Vets. most can recommend someone who has plenty of time to visit. Some even have people who can foster them for a week or so. Anyway it never hurts to ask.
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If Prince could talk and understood the situation, I'm sure he would want you to go. Some cats do really well while their owners are away others not so well. The main thing is that he is being cared for and you will be coming back. Don't feel too bad. You're taking a well deserved break for yourself, not dumping Prince in a shelter with an unknown fate. Its always hard leaving them but realistically, I don't feel its healthy to not do things you want to do because of them. I usually send my cats to mums but they have to be in one room there and don't get as much attention as they do at home but they are OK. If my mum wasn't able to have them, I think we'd have someone come to our place once a day just because I feel Sammy would deal better with that than a shelter with all the smells of other animals.
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you all, your words have made me feel a lot better.

I'm not worried about this cat sitter, because she's one of the hardcore fighters here (she was recommended to me by one of the big activists, these women are often under death threats and still continue caring for the strays) and I know she would come for free if she knew I had abandoned Prince for 2 weeks and didn't care. She (like me and the other fighters) are always on the move when we hear of a cat in need. She also has a lot of experience with cats, much more than me, and it took her 2 seconds to coo Prince to sit on her lap, when it takes ME about an hour till he agrees. So I know she'll do her work, won't slack. She also decided to feed my strays during the 2 weeks, even though I'm not paying her for it, just because she wants to be sure they're well taken care of and trusts herself better than anyone else we might find. If Prince got sick or something, I know she has the best connections to get him vet care fast and even for free or strongly subsidized, and she has a car. He's better off with her than with me in that sense. If she ever goes away, I'll probably be her cat sitter.

I also know if he was showing signs of distress she would take him home with her. The only reason she and I decided not to take him to her home is her 4 cats. He would have to be confined to 1 room for the 2 weeks, which is what we want to avoid.

But the fact that he will be alone almost all the time for 2 weeks is what makes me cringe. Unfortunately, I don't have anyone at all who would come visit him, and paying her extra to come for longer periods would cost me the price of the plane ticket that I'm trying to save.

It's the funny thing with cats. Because they are so territorial, they live life alone, even though they don't like it. I see my strays, all scattered in the neighborhood and lonely without other cats, but they suffer more if they have to share a territory. In cat hotels, cats are not confined to a small room, they have a wonderful time playing in the yard with each other.

My boss said that when I return from this trip I may have to fly to the US, California (which is the other end of the world from where I am) for a week, but I don't think it's going to happen.
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Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
His Highness Cuchi-Cuchi, next in line for the throne of Prince von Meouw.
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