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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As you guys probably know, next Tuesday I'm going to China and then Banff (about two weeks total we'll be gone).

Originally, Io was going to stay at my house and we were going to get a pet sitter. However (as you may also know) there was an error in my last pay cheque and I was shorted about $1000 - which was going to pay the pet sitter.

SO, the new plan was that my little spitfire cat was going to to go stay with my sister, show has a geriatric cat that's huge and also a grump. For reference, here is the fatty-lumpus, Cheshire;

He is huge, and old, and sick, and grumpy, but also very mellow and loving to people. Here is Io:


She is young, and tiny, and sassy, and thinks she's much bigger than she actually is. She doesn't like being petted much and will scratch or bite you gently to let you know she's had enough.

It wasn't a great situation, but I didn't really have another option at this point.

HOWEVER,
My mom called me this morning. She mentioned that she'd be taking my cat in for a while and someone she worked with almost begged to take Io! This guy has two daughters (aged 4 and 6) who really really really want a kitty. Dad is okay with the idea, but Mama doesn't think the kids are ready. Io being over there would be a sort of 'trail run' of keeping pets and being responsible and all that jazz.

So, should I say yes?

Pros:

* A four-year-old in the house means it's probably already pretty safe for a cat.

* I don't have to worry about my cat giving Cheshire a heart attack, or my sister's cat ripping Io to shreds.

* Two little kids means Io will get lots of attention and play, which she desperately needs and craves.

* I feel a bit bad admitting it, but I think Io will be more likely to stay fed on her regular schedule if there's little girls that are excited about the new 'grown-up' responsibilities. My mom works 9-5, and my sister works nights in a bar, so they're always in and out.

* Io loves people and is very forgiving. she will want to play and not hold a grudge even if you scare her.

Cons:

* I don't really know these people, so I can't really get email updates, or be sure they're taking care of her.

* My mom is used to living with a sick senior cat who didn't like jumping on things even in his youth. I think she underestimates the amount of cat proofing needed.

* I can't be sure the family would go to the ends of the earth if Io got sick or ran out the door.

* Young children can be mean, and scary for a cat.

* My mom has a bunch of lillies right outside her back door, and doesn't understand the danger they pose because Cheshire's never bothered them.

* Io is young, and not mellow at all. She will sratch the kids if they mess with her too much. And if she is startled, or can't get away, she'll probably draw blood. I don't know how the parents will react to that.


At this point, I think both Io and Cheshire would be happier not having to share space. But I don't really have any experience with young kids and I don't know how it would go. My mom vouches for this guy, and I trust her judgement, but ultimately he's a stranger to me.

What do you think?

TLDR; Should I board my cat for two weeks with catless strangers with small children, or with family and a geriatric cat.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I forgot another Pro:

Ultimately, I'm happy to contribute to the likelihood of another family letting a cat into their lives.
 

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Children can be rather rough. Personally, I feel children can't handle pets well, esp when 1 of them is 4yo, but I guess there are always some exceptionally gentle kids too (minority), only the parents will know if their children are rough or gentle. Leaving Io and cheshire together, you will need to introduce them well too, am I right? otherwise, either one of them will be so stressed, but on the other hand, I understand using Feliway might help with that.
 

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My first cat was at five, though technically my father did all the work. I believe I knew to be gentle, at least. I can't say if four is too young or not to know how to interact with a cat. It also depends on your cat, will she be gentle enough for children of that age? If lo's the kitty ambassador though hopefully she's stranger friendly even when she's in a strange house.

Have the children been taught how to treat a cat? Or the parents for that matter? Does your mother know this work colleague well? If it was me, it would really depend on the answer I had to these questions. Only you can answer them.

I still might be more inclined to save the worry and have the cat at my mother's if she's offering. If the family is serious about a cat, they shouldn't need a two week trial with a cat they aren't considering adopting, IMO. Two weeks will not be enough time to prove anything in regard to if the six year old could care for the cat (I know I sure didn't, or if I did the appeal wore off fast)... I think it might be better for them to consider fostering if they're serious.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Snowy, my initial thinking was that they wouldn't be properly introduced at all. I thought Io would stay exclusively in one of the guest bedrooms by herself (the guest bedrooms have always been off-limits to Cheshire, since he pees himself sometimes). But, knowing my mom, she will let her out if she cries at the door. I've never used Feliway, but I think it takes too long to really have any effect while Io's there.

Carmel, thanks for the insight. I have no experience with kids and pets so I don't know how a 4-year-old will act, now how much supervision they have. My mom's not best friends with this guy, but she's worked with him for a few years and has met his little girls a few times. She says he's a very hand-on, very caring and gentle guy himself (as he'd have to be, as he works with Alzheimer's patients all day.)

Io is very good with strangers. Gregarious is the only way I know how to describe her. She stayed in her safe room for all of 10 minutes when we adopted her, and she greets strangers immediately when they come to our home. But she gets spooked easily - I've gotten some pretty terrible scratches, holding her when my partner turns the vacuum on, for example.

Thanks for the words of caution, guys. I'll have to think a bit more carefully about what's going to be easiest. To be honest, the two things I worry about with her staying at mom's are those **** lillies, and Cheshire' health. My sister would never forgive me if Cheshire died while Io was staying there.
 

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She is young, and tiny, and sassy, and thinks she's much bigger than she actually is. She doesn't like being petted much and will scratch or bite you gently to let you know she's had enough.
That alone tells me she might not be the best match for kids. When I was 4 all I wanted to do was pet animals ;)

This is kinda worst-case scenario, but if Io *does* scratch the kids because they don't know when to stop petting/if they're being a little rough with handling, then that might turn the family off from adopting a cat entirely. Also, who knows how they will react? I've heard of people who discipline cats like they would discipline a dog. As someone above said, it really depends on how cat-savvy the family is. However, most shelters I've visited who have cats that don't like being handled too much reccomend families with kids 8 years and up. Sometimes 12 years and up.

I know a few people who have encountered some cats that didn't like being pet too much and went on to assume all cats were mean animals that aren't capable of affection. :( It sucks. I think some people don't realize that cats all have different personalities.

If it were me I'd choose the option with your sister, the cats could always be separated, right? However, all that said, it's really up to you! It sounds like your gut instinct is to go with the family, so maybe contact them, mention all of the personality traits Io has, and see what they think.
 

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Oh no, lillies! I would be worried about that too.
This sounds like a tough decision, but I hope everything works out!!
 

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I have firsthand experience with a lily and let me tell you that turned into a three month nightmare and a CRF scare! I went out of town with my husband for three days while my two girls stayed home, ages 22 and 19. I just agonized about leaving the cats for this short amount of time. I'd say things like don't leave any doors open for longer than it takes to get in and out, don't leave food out, make sure they don't get into onions, etc.......enough that eyeballs were rolling. So I went because what am I going to do, never take a vacation again?
Long story short: they picked me up from the airport when we came back and I walked into the door and into my kitchen and was horrified! While I was gone my daughters boyfriend gave her flowers: an Easter lily! Not only was it on the counter my cats eat on but it had fallen over and was laying in their food bowl! Now I know about the dangers of this plant but they didn't. ( maybe I will never go on a vacation again...........)
So yes, I think you should be very wary of those plants outside your mothers house.
If it were me I would contact your original pet sitter and tell them your situation and see if you get on some kind of payment plan with them. I think that's very reasonable.
The thing with the little kids is one of them is bound to get scratched and then the mom might ban your kitty to a garage or room or cage. Anything can happen.
Hope this helps. Didn't mean to scare you, just telling you no matter how careful you are or how particular you are about thinking everything through, so much is out of your hands. If your pet sitter says no, which I doubt, then line up some family members and friends to switch off days to come over.
 

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Why are you worried about lilies? None of my indoor or outdoor cats even look at the things. They are like stones to them--just there. If a cat eats plants something is wrong. Dig up plants? yeah anytime. Go with having IO at your mom's. By the way, I have never heard of a cat who didn't scratch when the vacuum comes on. Don't you know vacuums are beasts that eat cats? :)
 

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The scratching issue could be easily solved by putting nail caps on her before you leave. But...I would not leave my cat with a family with small children because kids have a tendency to run out and leave doors open or stand in the doorway with it half open or just plain not walk through fast enough and it would be very easy for a cat to get out. In fact I don't even let my pet sitter come in through the front door where there is direct access to the big bad world...I make her use the side entrance to the garage so if a cat gets by her when she comes into the house, then it's confined to the garage. Unless the cat is petrified of the outdoors, this is a real issue for families with small children and I know many that started off intending to have indoor only cats and ended up with the cat escaping by the kids so often that it became indoor/outdoor by default.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Gaaaah this is hard. My mom is terrible at keeping cats inside and has a garden of lillies, and the house with kids has many unknowns.

If it were me I would contact your original pet sitter and tell them your situation and see if you get on some kind of payment plan with them. I think that's very reasonable.
I tried this first. The company that we use has very strict policies about paying up front. The last time we used them I wasn't overly impressed. Nothing terribly wrong, but I wasn't super pleased with the state of the box and they didn't rinse the food cans before putting them into recycling and it smelled kind of bad (and that was only four days). For $850 (not including tip!!) I'm actually a bit relieved... But I don't really have the time to try to find (and vet, haha) a new pet sitter that would agree to work for free until the 10th. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I mean, it's not likely that either situation is going to kill her. It's only two weeks.
 

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Why are you worried about lilies? None of my indoor or outdoor cats even look at the things. They are like stones to them--just there. If a cat eats plants something is wrong. Dig up plants? yeah anytime. Go with having IO at your mom's. By the way, I have never heard of a cat who didn't scratch when the vacuum comes on. Don't you know vacuums are beasts that eat cats? :)
Why "aren't" you worried about lilies? Even the pollen from lilies are dangerous. They are extremely toxic plants, so why have them around?
My cat suffered slight kidney damage from one but luckily with his young age and aggressive action, we turned it around. ( by the way, the aggressive action part cost me more than the amount Jaq was shorted in his paycheck ) plus the stress of thinking I was going to loose my baby. I'd be digging up those puppies as we speak.......just saying......
 

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Why are you worried about lilies? None of my indoor or outdoor cats even look at the things. They are like stones to them--just there. If a cat eats plants something is wrong. Dig up plants? yeah anytime. Go with having IO at your mom's. By the way, I have never heard of a cat who didn't scratch when the vacuum comes on. Don't you know vacuums are beasts that eat cats? :)
I agree... we have lillies in the back that have been coming up for 30 years (this year one mutated, it reverted to yellow, a simpler genetic state, which can happen after a long time... learn something new every day!) and not experienced cats or anything else chewing on them. The only thing the cats chew on are catnip plants and grass. I know some cats get into everything, but unless - and even if - she is a plant chewing type, the odds of her getting at the plants if you ask your family to make sure she can't get to them should be near nonexistent. If the cat gets out or has never been outside before I really don't think her first thought will be "look at those lillies"... plus, unless you have a different type, lillies are quite high off the ground.
 

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If you knew the people with kids, if they were neighbors or your coworkers or something, I'd say go for it. The kids don't concern me as much as the fact that you don't know them. Would you be able to meet with them before hand and go over things, specifically not letting Io outside and whatever else you think of that is extra important beyond feeding and litter scooping?
 

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If it was me I would get the dad and the kids to come round for a play date so you can see how they respond to the kitty... You can show them how they must treat kitty... I have a 2 year old and my friends daughter is 3.. She is a lot more content with my kitten than my son is so I'm sure that a 4yr old will be fine. They will be on their best behaviour with the cat to try and impress mummy... As for your mums I believe that is also fine im sure the eldest cat will just ignore her if she becomes a nuisance surely your mum will separate them? can you just ask her to move the lily? I'm assuming its in a pot x
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Errrrgh. I called my mom and told her I'm still not very sure. But I do really think this is a good opportunity for the little ones to learn about animals, and Io's young and crazy enough that it will give them a good idea of what having a cat's really about. Mom told me that the kids are actually about 6 and 10, not 4 and 6 (which makes me feel better). I told her to talk to the guy again, and stress that Io's not perfectly behaved, she can't go outside at all (since her claws have been clipped right down to protect mom's furniture) and that if there's any problems AT ALL they can bring her back to mom's house. Ialso told her to stress that I'm a bit of a crazy person about my pet, and make Io seem naughtier than she actually is.

There's still a chance his wife said no, so we'll see.

If it was me I would get the dad and the kids to come round for a play date so you can see how they respond to the kitty... You can show them how they must treat kitty... I have a 2 year old and my friends daughter is 3.. She is a lot more content with my kitten than my son is so I'm sure that a 4yr old will be fine.
Assuming the mom says yes, I'll be having the dad and kids 'round to my house to meet her on Sunday. Then on Monday night we'll go over there with Io and all her stuff and have about an hour to see that she's situated. The timing is really bad, though. I have 10,000 things to do before leaving and I'm already just about tearing my hair out (I picked a terribletime to quit smoking).

As for your mums I believe that is also fine im sure the eldest cat will just ignore her if she becomes a nuisance surely your mum will separate them? can you just ask her to move the lily? I'm assuming its in a pot x
Unfortunately no, her lillies are planted alllllll along 3 sides of her house. I think if there's an altercation mom will seperate them, but she's got such a soft heart (or quick temper) that any sort of squeak or scratch from Io's room means she'll let her out.

I'm also sure mom's going to feed her way too many times. "But she was hungry!" has been hear din our house many, many times.


Thanks for the well-wishes minikin. I got my work situation sorted out but the correction won't happen until the next pay period (Oct 10), which puts us in a bit of a scramble but isn't nearly as bad as it could have been. :)
 

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Mom.

I would never leave my cats with kids that have not grown in a family with cats.
Also because I'm a teacher.

Anything you decide, good luck with everything and have a safe flight! :)
 

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Only you can decide if Io will get along with the children. I suggest you tell them not to let the kids pester Io, who will probably be suffering a little separation anxiety.

I had a kitten when I was very, very young (guessing at 3) and I don't recall anything bad happening; but that was a kitten and not a young adult who may not be over tolerant. You already have a semi-hostile children's mother. You'd be taking a chance. Your cat can probably look after itself. It's the children. What if one's allergic? What if one gets a nasty, scaring scratch on the face?

Then again, I've always been a worrier.
 
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