The challenges of cat sitting - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-28-2008, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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The challenges of cat sitting

I am currently house/pet sitting for the people that I board my horse with. I am caring for five horses, six cats, and a 4 month old Golden Retriever puppy. I am having fun, but I am absolutely exhausted already.... and they left yesterday. Lol. They won't be home for 8 days. So far all is going well with the horses and the puppy is fun, but challenging as I expected.

My frustration is with the cats, which is funny, because I thought they would be the easy part. I guess I am only slightly frustrated with the cats themselves and more so with the owners. They are great people, but I wish they knew more about taking care of cats. They have four indoor cats and two barn cats. I don't hold them completely responsible for the barn cats, because they wandered across the street from the neighbors house and decided they liked it better here. The neighbors take no responsibility for them at all.

My frustrations include...
All the cats eat terrible quality food.... 9 Lives....
All the indoor cats have terrible dandruff and just look dirty.
They declawed all their indoor cats (I am not debating this, just saying that it both frustrates and makes me sad)
One of the kitties sprays all over.... I just realized that he sprayed the computer screen...
The kitty that sprays needs medicine and he has been hissing and trying to bite me...
Only one of the barn cats is fixed and has tested positive for FIV.
They use cheap flea preventative on the barn cats.
The barn cats both appear to have worms... (red bottoms, firm distended abdomens)

I guess I just needed to vent. It is so hard to watch someone else's pets when there are so many things I would like to do or change.

Katie

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-28-2008, 09:05 PM
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Re: The challenges of cat sitting

Is there anyone who does TNR and has a barn program in the LaCrosse area? You could mention them to your friends as a way of getting information to them. Cats whether feral or house cats are the most misunderstood companion animals around. You are so right -- it is frustrating! Maybe you happened into this situation to pass on information and make a difference to these kitties? Ya never know!!!!

I hope your getting paid good money for doing all this work and it is hard work to be responsible for other peoples homes and animals.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-28-2008, 10:47 PM
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Re: The challenges of cat sitting

That's a shame.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-28-2008, 10:59 PM
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Re: The challenges of cat sitting

Perhaps when they come back you can give them some suggestions based on your observations and experience? I won't do it in a mean way, more of an educational one? I don't suppose that you have time to do a food change over to a better dry so they can start to see them looking better?


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-28-2008, 11:28 PM
 
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Re: The challenges of cat sitting

I'm expert at tropical fish breeding,
and the aquatic plant keeping hobby,
and have seen plenty of abusive
fish tanks that are either over crowded,
fish too large for the tank, over feeding,
or poorly kept water conditions.
It sickens me to witness this, but
I've learned to keep my opinion to myself,
unless specifically asked to offer it.

My Brother has a friend with a miserable tank.
I mentioned my displeasure to my Brother, and
let him decide what do to with the information.
even he didn't say anything to his friend about it,
because he knew his friend could not handle it.

I saw a co-worker's tank, and he asked me how
he could improve things. First, I warned him that
my opinion may be contrary to what he knows,
and he'd just have to trust me. After a lot of
patient explanation, he saw the error of his ways,
and adopted some of my tank keeping practices,
but it was like pulling teeth the whole way thru.

On forums we are used to giving and taking
constructive criticism and advice, because that's
why we are posing here in the first place.
So try not to apply peoples wiliness to change
their modus operandi while online, to people
you have to deal with back in the real world.

all you can do is give the best care you know how,
then return the animals next week in better health.
people who abuse such a manajory of animals,
won't take kindly to your suggestions. in their
mind, the animals are better off in their care,
then roaming free or destroyed by a kennel.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-29-2008, 11:24 AM
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Re: The challenges of cat sitting

I used to care for my aunt and uncles animals when they went on vacation, I can understand the challanges. But this sounds like a very difficult situation, and since you board your horse there, it isn't like you can just speak up. If you feel comfortable with doing so, try to make some very gentle suggestions worked into the conversation when they get back.

It can be very difficult, I've been in situations where I've had a very hard time keeping my mouth quiet about animals living conditions. Sometimes you just have to know when it's best just to keep your mouth quiet, you can't fix every situation.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-29-2008, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The challenges of cat sitting

Thanks everyone for your support and suggestions.

I do have to say that in no way do I feel that any of animals are being neglected or I would definitely say something. I have boarded my horse numerous places and he has never received such quality care. The horses eat the best hay, top of the line feed, are turned out to pasture everyday, the barn is spotless, they clean up all the poop from the pastures, and they even brush my horse when I can't be there. I couldn't ask for anything better. I guess that is that part that frustrates me. One animal gets top of the line care and all the research has been done, while another animal is receiving only average care. I have said a few things (especially with the new puppy) and it is helping, but I wish I could do more. I guess I just need to take it one step at a time. I plan on keeping my horse here for a long time and I don't want to step on any toes. I couldn't ask for anything better.

When they got the new puppy they were feeding it Eukanuba... but by mentioning that I had done some research on dog food, just to find out what was good, I convinced them to switch to Wellness. I hope I can do the same with the cats, but it is hard because they have them for so long and they don't see any problems.

Katie

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-29-2008, 06:20 PM
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Re: The challenges of cat sitting

That does sound frustrating. I've often thought how hard it would be as a cat sitter to keep your mouth shut when you see people doing things that are unadvisable and outright dangerous. I have the best cat sitter in the world who has never said a word except that Murphy is spoiled (music to my ears), but I do really value her advice and would love to hear what she has to say.


Holly and Murphy
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-29-2008, 08:13 PM
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Re: The challenges of cat sitting

I actually refuse to pet sit anymore after the last time. I was watching a friends two cats, one dog and one fish. First, the fish got sick and I had to figure out what to do for it, turned out it needed a tank heater, which the owner didn't have as they turned the heat off in the house while they were gone with the animals still in it and it below freezing outside.

THEN, I come in one night and find one of the cats lying in the litter box. I feel him and sure enough, his bladder is HUGE. He was obstructed, so I rushed him back to my clinic and luckily my doctor was still there. We put him under and relieved the obstruction. Then as he was waking up from the anesthesia, he suffered cardiac arrest and we had to do CPR to bring him back around. After all of this, my "friend" was mad at me for incurring a vet bill for her animal. She felt like I should have just "let him go peacefully" What she doesn't seem to realize is that death of an obstructed bladder is anything but peaceful! She wanted me to just let him suffer? In most universes, the pet sitter that lets the pet die is a bad petsitter. Apparently the opposite was true in this case. Sadly enough, she didn't chage his diet like she was instructed and he died "mysteriously" a few months later. He probably blocked again. I still get so mad about it every time I think of that poor cat. Some people shouldn't own pets.

Sorry. End rant. So you see it could be worse. At least they have one of the cats on a medication that he needs so they do seek medical care for them.

Rachael with Thurston, Sully and Ninja.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-29-2008, 10:31 PM
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Re: The challenges of cat sitting

I actually do a small pet sitting business. I've never come across anything worse than someone feeding a crappy food...but right in my contract it says that should anything go wrong/your animal need supplies/need veterinary care that i will do those things and then provide the owner with the bill when they come home. I figure i might as well. So far that's meant that the owner generally makes sure they leave enough food before they leave. Works for me.

That being said, if i did have issues with how anyone treated their animals I would report them. I always do a visit to the home before i agree to care for the pets, just in case someone 'forgets' to tell me about their aggressive dog/lots of meds, ect. Another one of those safety things for myself.

Btw, had my friend done that to her cat I would be taking the cat. That makes me so mad...I've met people like that coming through the pet store I work at. I just walk away. We had someone try to buy a muzzle for a 4 month old puppy. Because it was barking...they live in an apartment building. The puppy was a german shepherd. poor dog.
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