Sharing Trepidation about Going Away - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Sharing Trepidation about Going Away

I'm going to Florida on January 31st and returning on February 4th. I have a friend of mine coming to feed my kitties, clean boxes, feed my husband's fish, etc. I am really nervous however since out of my 3 cats, 2 are not at all socialized to anyone besides my husband and I (and one of them not so much to my husband either lol). My friend who is going to be taking care of them has made a couple of visits to the house (and will make at least one more) and so far has not seen hide nor hair of either of the girls. Sunny made an appearance and was fairly relaxed but did not want to be patted - which is normal for him lol.

I guess my worry is that should anything happen to the girls my friend could not get them to the vet. My husband thinks maybe we should board them given the situation but I don't want to traumatize them that way. I think since it is only 3 full days we will be away that I will take my chances but that won't stop me from biting my nails. The strange part is that we have had Penny for 7 years and had Punky for 15 yrs., and we always left them with caretakers coming into the house when we went away, and I did not worry this way. I think since I lost Punky that I worry about everything more and always think something is going to happen to the cats. With Punky I just couldn't envision ever losing him and I guess on some delusional level I had myself convinced I would have him forever - now I know better.

So I guess I'm just asking for anyone to share their experience having cat sitters come in for non-socialized (to other people) cats.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 03:12 PM
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My cats are very similar. I took a vacation last year and had a cat sitter come by daily, and my uncle who lives nearby stopped in to check on them as well. The cats are super friendly with me and will at least come out when my boyfriend is over (they've known him since I got them as kittens, though they still haven't quite come around), but they hide under the bed with anyone else. I was away for a week, and halfway through, the sitter emailed me to say that the cats started coming out when they realized she was there to feed them. I don't think they were overly social, but they did allow her to pet them by the end of the week. I was shocked that they came around so quickly! I had even left a flashlight so the sitter could check on them under the bed

In my situation, if there was an emergency, the sitter could confine the cats in the bedroom and get them out from under the bed. The cats wouldn't be thrilled, but in an emergency situation, I am sure they could be caught. One of my two was semi-feral when I got her as a kitten, and she freaks out when there are people or noise much more so than her brother. I didn't want to board the cats because I thought that would be too stressful on them.

Maybe your friend could leave out a few treats for the cats to see if they'll come out for him? I'm sure everyone will be fine and chances of an emergency are slim. I spent a bunch of time on my vacation worrying about the cats and when I came home, it was like they barely noticed I was gone LOL.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 03:35 PM
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They may surprise you actually.

As a pet sitter I have had numerous clients tell me their cats are shy, and sure enough I never get to meet them on my meet&greet visit. And then their family leaves. Within 2 days even the most shy kitties have been very happy to see me. Even if they just meow and watch me from far away, I'm fine with that as long as I know they're fine.

Generally if I'm there a few days in a row even the shy ones will want to come say hi by day 3-4. I usually spend about 30-45 minutes in the house, and if the cat is shy I just sit and read on the couch, so they can avoid me or come give me a sniff, whatever they prefer.

IMO boarding cats, especially shy ones, isn't the best choice. I do know some great boarding facilities that are cat only places, and when my parents are gone that's where their kitty goes. He used to go there quite often as a kitten and young cat, so he's very comfortable there. Most cats? I wouldn't suggest it.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 03:40 PM
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The only regret you'll probably have is not enjoying your vacation like you should have. People come back from vacation, everything's fine, and they wish they hadn't been obsessing about their cat(s) the entire time.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 05:03 PM
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Ditto's on what Librarychick said!

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An everyday family name; A particular name;
And the name but the Cat Himself Knows, and will never confess." T.S. Eliot

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 05:14 PM
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I understand the worrying - it is hard to leave your babies! Librarychick has great advice, and like someone else posted - they might actually warm up to the new person feeding them. It might be a good chance for them to get a bit more socialized with new people.

I used to worry a lot when going away (I'm away for work quite a bit) but my cats don't mind - the foster fail girls were very scared of new people for a while but now are friendly to most everyone. It took them almost a year but I have friends over quite often, I'm away quite a bit and the BF moved in... so lots has happened and they are much more socialized now, especially when people other than myself feed them!
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 06:04 PM
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My dog sitter came when I was away and she stays at my house. Now she was sitting for my two cats and I was nervous as my male hardly tolerates me. The second day she told me she was sitting on her lap one night. I actually felt jealous!
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-24-2014, 12:28 AM
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Dittos on what Marie73 said. Have fun, don't fret. What can happen, I mean realistically speaking?? Our lives hum along and nothing dramatic happens but we obsess that the sky will fall when we are away. As long as friend does a head count each time she visits all will be fine.

I'm getting ready to cat sit for friends that are going on a 10 day cruise. Her cats don't really care for me although we are over there at least once a week. I just do a head count, talk to them, give them yummies, clean up then leave until dinner. We've done this routine for a few years now and the cats have always been ok.

One thing we do for each other is to write a letter of permission to cover any emergency at the vets. I would pick up the emergency vet bill and she would reimburse me if needed and vice-a-versa. Never had to use it though.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-24-2014, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by librarychick View Post
They may surprise you actually.
I'll be thrilled if they do, and your experiences make me feel much more hopeful that they might. At any rate, I am definitely not going to board them as I know in my heart that will be much more stressful on them and I can't do it to them.

Good point about leaving the letter of permission for my cat sitter to bring in my cats for treatment should it be necessary and should she be able to get hold of them in the first place lol. But then again my husband pointed out that if the cat was that sick it needed to get taken to the vet it would probably be easier to catch anyway. My thought was that if they are sick they might hide though so she wouldn't even know if they were sick. I know I just have to stop obsessing about it though.

And to be honest, my other issue with leaving them is because of Mystique. She is so bonded to me and although we have had some bumps along the way they have now all been pretty much ironed out. She trusts me and recently let us do her nails. She hates it when I go out the door in the morning for work even, and as she's going downstairs she turns around and stares at me every 2nd step in hopes I'm not really going lol. I'm afraid she will experience it as an abandonment of some sort and it will cause our relationship to regress. But maybe I'm being silly and cats just don't experience that sort of thing the way I'm thinking she might.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-24-2014, 12:41 PM
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All my cats handle our absence differently. On a normal day when my SO is home the cats sleep all day, usually waking up about 5-15 minutes before I usually come home. When I'm home all day with him he always says "Why aren't they napping?" Or something like that...but whenever I'm home all day the kitties don't nap unless I do, lol. They follow me around.

When we go away on vacation the boys don't seem phased at all. They play and cuddle with whoever we've gotten to watch them. Jitzu sulks, and has over groomed in the past when we've left. She'll also sometimes stop eating after 4-5 days of me being gone. Because Jitzu gets mopey Torri seems to like it, she's more active and more engaged with the people who come to watch than if we were home.

Jitzu always forgives me within a day or so. The boys don't seem to realize we were even gone. Torri is always glad to have us back, but not upset.

As a side-note; when we went away a few years ago I was worried Jitzu would get really sick, so I phone the vet and gave them the name of our pet sitter, and let them know what was going on. Then I left them my credit card number and said they could do any emergency treatments up to $1000 without contact from me, anything above that and they'd have to call me.

I wouldn't suggest it for everyone, but in our case Jitzu hadn't been having a good month, and I didn't want us being out of range to effect her care if she needed to go to the vet right away. *shrugs* it might help your piece of mind.
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