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 Post subject: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:35 pm 
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We're adding this feature to the Teal Cat Project where we ask cat guardians how they deal with certain situations. I thought I'd put it to you guys first! So our first question is "how do you prepare when you're going away?" Do you leave a light on? Leave the TV on? Leave toys out? Any tips for making sure your kitty (kitties) is (are) happy?

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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:51 am 
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You mean when we go away for the day, like for work? We don't do anything. If it's wintertime and it gets dark early, we leave a light on. Never any music or TV - we like it super quiet and I like to think the cats do, too. We have an enclosed patio, so they all get the opportunity to go out and breathe fresh air and watch the goings on of our neighborhood.

Their toys are always out, but they really only like to play with us with interactive wand toys. And treats.

If you mean what we do when we go on a trip...mostly the same! We always hire a cat sitter who comes in twice a day to scoop and feed. If the cats warm up to the sitter, then they do some snuggling. But mostly my cats are afraid of strangers.

I'm of the mind that the house itself and the humans they know and trust are what make them happy. When the humans are away (meaning us), I don't think that they are particularly unhappy, but they are happier when we are back. I think if we went away and kenneled them, then there would be major unhappiness.

There are eight cats, so they always have each other.

I'm sure that everyone will have a different story.


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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:31 am 
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We are exactly the same as quagga. When we go away for travelling, the cat sitter (we have had the same one for a couple of years) comes in and plays with them and feeds them daily. She also texts us to let us know they are fine, which is nice.

When we are away at work, they entertain themselves. They are all 9 and 8 years old now, so the daytime consists of sleeping in different locations throughout the day.

The cats don't really care about lights and the tv. They find each other (and whatever they dream about) more entertaining. When they were younger, they would play with toys, but they will generally play with each other before they will play with an inanimate object.


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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:44 am 
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I'm actually leaving to fly away right now! And I was gone last weekend too. And the cats are PISSED OFF. I have a great pet sitter, they don't care.

Anyways, I leave one light on. Their toys are scattered. Fresh nip on the scratchy posts. I hide my luggage to put off them getting angry (they figure it out, though). I try to make up for it when I get back by letting them sleep on my head.

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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:11 am 
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Petsitter either full time at the house or just to come in to scoop (our cats love people, so if its not too spendy, we like to have someone stay so they can get snuggles). Pet sitter then feeds our cats and our feral friends that live in the yard.

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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:23 am 
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I have friends who, when they go away for more than a few days, will put out the list of days gone and send out an email to their friends so each friend can sign up for a shift. They leave a key in a hiding place, and each person goes in.

Does anyone else do this? I have been on the friend roster before, but I've never felt comfortable doing this kind thing for my own cats, even though my own friends are super reliable and trustworthy. I always pay for a cat sitter. I like the accountability/consistency of having just one person, though it would be cheaper to go the multiple friend route.

Sorry if this is derailing Isa's thread!


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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:54 am 
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We have a roommate so we don't hav eto do much other than ask him to make sure they are fed.

If we all go on a trip than I usually ask my sister or a friend to either stay here or at least come by 2x a day to feed them and scoop the poop.

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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:28 am 
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Semen Strong
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quagga wrote:
I have friends who, when they go away for more than a few days, will put out the list of days gone and send out an email to their friends so each friend can sign up for a shift. They leave a key in a hiding place, and each person goes in.

Does anyone else do this? I have been on the friend roster before, but I've never felt comfortable doing this kind thing for my own cats, even though my own friends are super reliable and trustworthy. I always pay for a cat sitter. I like the accountability/consistency of having just one person, though it would be cheaper to go the multiple friend route.

Sorry if this is derailing Isa's thread!


I think that is a great idea, if your friends are very reliable.

I had friends who hired a cat sitter that never showed up to cat sit. They came home after a long weekend and their cat was starving and the litterbox was full. when they called the catsitter she giggled and said "Oh there was this animal right conference I had to go to, so I guess you don't have to pay me."

And worst story I've ever heard - friends of my Dad and stepmom went to Kenya for 6 wks and left their Siamese with the housekeeper who was supposed to feed her. a week before they were scheduled to come home, the housekeeper called my Dad to say that the cat was locked in a room and she had no idea how to get her out. My Dad and stepmother hired a locksmith to come and open the door, and the cat was on the edge of death. Basically the housekeeper hadn't gone round to feed the cat until a week before they were coming home, and then had realized the cat was locked in a bedroom with no food or water. Her kidneys had shut down nearly completely, but my Dad and stepmother were able to get her to the emergency vet and after she was given fluids and IV food, she perked back up. She survived, luckily. Apparently she'd been eating anything she could find and licking moisture to stay alive. But her owners didn't fire the housekeeper - they said it wasn't her fault and that next time they'd just board the cat at the vets. If that had been my catsitter, I'd have breathed fire and brimstone at her.

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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:52 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
And worst story I've ever heard - friends of my Dad and stepmom went to Kenya for 6 wks and left their Siamese with the housekeeper who was supposed to feed her. a week before they were scheduled to come home, the housekeeper called my Dad to say that the cat was locked in a room and she had no idea how to get her out. My Dad and stepmother hired a locksmith to come and open the door, and the cat was on the edge of death. Basically the housekeeper hadn't gone round to feed the cat until a week before they were coming home, and then had realized the cat was locked in a bedroom with no food or water. Her kidneys had shut down nearly completely, but my Dad and stepmother were able to get her to the emergency vet and after she was given fluids and IV food, she perked back up. She survived, luckily. Apparently she'd been eating anything she could find and licking moisture to stay alive. But her owners didn't fire the housekeeper - they said it wasn't her fault and that next time they'd just board the cat at the vets. If that had been my catsitter, I'd have breathed fire and brimstone at her.


This story is heartbreaking! I'm so happy the kitty was okay in the end.

I'm usually gone all day and don't leave the lights or tv on for the kitties (there are 2) - their toys are all over the house to play with, but I think they either play with each other or just sleep.

When I go away out of town, I hire a pet sitter (have been using the same girl for about a year) who I think does a pretty good job - she comes in 2x a day to play with them, feed them, and scoop the litter box.


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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:29 pm 
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Angus used to go to his granny's in the country for his own lil holiday. Now that he's too old, and sensitive to change, granny pops in during the day or stays if I'm gone overnight (best granny ever!).


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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:52 pm 
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I leave a lamp on now, and sometimes the TV. If I'm going away for more than 24 hours, in the past I have had a bonded pet sitting service in daily to check her food and water, change her litter, and attempt to play with her. Now she is on daily medication, and I don't know what I'll have to do, because she terrifies everyone into thinking she is going to attack them. She may have to be boarded at the vet. :-(


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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:23 pm 
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The longest I've let mine alone is about 5 days. With multiple cats, I don't worry that they'll get too bored. I set up the free feeder, water feeder and make sure they have toys, fresh litter and do a head count before I go out the door. I actually do a count every day because I don't want anyone to get locked in a closet. My sister and her boyfriend will check on them once or twice for me and play with them. So far I haven't had any problems. If I had any concerns about illness, I would board them at the vet.


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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:24 pm 
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The longest I've let mine alone is about 5 days. With multiple cats, I don't worry that they'll get too bored. I set up the free feeder, water feeder and make sure they have toys, fresh litter and do a head count before I go out the door. I actually do a count every day because I don't want anyone to get locked in a closet. My sister and her boyfriend will check on them once or twice for me and play with them. So far I haven't had any problems. If I had any concerns about illness, I would board them at the vet.


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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:05 am 
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There aren't too many times during regular days when they're totally alone -- I work days, and my husband works at home during the daytime and is home at night. If we're both out, we leave lights on and make sure they have enough water, and there's always a bunch of toys around. They keep each other pretty amused.

When we're out of town, a good friend comes by at least once a day to feed them and hang out for a bit to give them company. We'll leave lights on, keep toys out, give them access to their bedroom, etc. It messes with their food schedule but we at least make sure they're getting the normal amount of food per day, even if the timing is off.

We boarded them twice, just for the day, when our place had to be sprayed for bugs. Willy refused to eat on one of the days, so I worry about doing that longer-term.

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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:17 am 
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I take my cats to my inlaws. My cats are traitors and sleep in the bed with my mother-in-law.

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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:23 am 
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We don't leave anything on for the cats when we go for the day, but we have a ritual of kisses and scratching them in their favorite spots so they know we're heading out for the day. When we just run a quick errand we don't do that and so they seem to understand if we'll be gone for a while or not.

For vacations I board them at the vet clinic since one of my cats has asthma and I can't risk him having an attack and not having anyone around to help him. Plus he needs an inhaler med which is crucial that it be administered correctly so I'd rather have the vet techs do it. I feel bad since one of my cats gets so stressed at the vet and will barely eat there, but I know it's the safest place for them and they monitor my cat that doesn't eat well there very closely. My vet clinic has an attendant there overnights and a vet on call 24 hours a day.


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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:51 am 
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Their "aunties" come and take care of them! My friends watch them, which is fortunate because Sir Didymus is afraid of most people, but they're at the house often enough that he's used to them and will come out for food at pets. They usually hang out at the house a bunch when they're cat sitting, because we also have cable and laundry and a big kitchen and all the other amenities that their small apartment lacks, so it's mutually beneficial. I always feel guilty because they watch them for free when we go away, but they feel guilty because they feel like they're taking advantage of our house, so we've decided now both guilts cancel each other out and we're all happy with the situation.

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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:20 pm 
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When we boarded them, it was at our vets' office. I did feel better about that, knowing they'd get quality care from pros. If I ever do have to board them, that's what we'll do.

My husband left for a week today, and I think the suitcase made Willy suspicious.

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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:51 pm 
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I trade cat sitting with a friend of mine who has cats. She only comes over every day or so when I'm gone since one of my kitties is terrified of humans that aren't us.


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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:23 am 
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During a regular workday, I keep all the window shades wide open so they have lots of sunlight and spaces to perch in the windows, and they have lots of food and water and access to their toybox, which is full of a million balls, catnip stuffies and things.
During the winter months, I leave the living room light on for them to add to the light.

When we travel, my mother-in-law is always their caretaker and they really like her. She comes daily and stays a while, gives them lots of cuddles and companionship, scoops their poop and gives them fresh water and food, and perhaps a treat.

tofulish, I might have beaten the caretaker senseless if that had been me.

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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:00 pm 
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I usually leave a small light on for them near the food, and have a friend come by to feed and check on them. Luckily, my cats love the friend who usually comes by so they are usually very loving and glad to get some companionship.

Also, I put away anything that they might get into that could hurt them or anything valuable that they could ruin while I'm away. It seems like my cats get really curious without human interaction and I've discovered traces of them being in places where they are NOT supposed to be (like on top of the stove! OMG!). So a general cat-proofing of the house is in order before vacations.


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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:58 am 
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i got a second cat mostly to solve some of the issues with being away. my first cat is really social and people oriented, and he'd be happiest staying at someone's house rather than at ours when we're gone, but sadly we don't have anyone in this area who would be able to do that. so he is next happiest having another cat around to entertain him. we tried boarding at the vets when he was younger, but he was so freaked out by the other cats and the new space that he spent the entire time hissing and shitting himself. it was horrific and really weird, as he's totally chill at other people's houses.

we've paid for a service in the past, but i think it's really expensive for the quality of care they get. we went away last weekend for 4 days and had the 16 year old girl who lives downstairs take care of them for us. i was a bit nervous but she did a good job. it's much cheaper for us, and since she lives with her family downstairs, i feel like we have more assurance that they'll be treated well... we know where they live! plus the girl loves animals like crazy and i told her she was free to bring her electronics upstairs and stay for a while if she wanted.

if we were gone for longer than a few days (like this winter when we'll be gone for about 10 days), i'd have my close friend come by and check on them as well, just to make sure that the sitter is doing her job and everything looks okay. she would sit them at her house but her husband's allergic.

during the day i don't do anything special. we're usually not gone longer than 8 hours, so i usually don't leave food out or a light on. they are mostly sleeping anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:51 am 
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we have a few lights on timers around the house and we put fun stuff out like boxes with holes cut in them, crinkley paper from packages, catnip, a new fun toy, and we also hide treats around the house in random places for them to find. we ask a friend to come over daily to feed, water, and scoop boxes - and ask them to stay a while and hang out if they'd like.


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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:53 pm 
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If I'm just going to school for the day (which can be up to 12-13 hours), I leave him enough food, water, make sure his toys are out, and give the litter a scoop. If I'm going out of town for 3+ days I find a friend to check on him and hang out every day/every other day...the big issue being that my landlord won't give me an extra set of keys and they all say do not copy, so it has to be someone who can be there when I leave and when I get back, which is surprisingly tricky. If I'm going to see my parents I take him with me (unless I'm taking the train). He doesn't like a lot of noise or light and if I'm being too loud/noisy he hides in the closet until it stops, so I don't leave anything on for him. I'd like to get him a companion, but until then I think he gets a little lonely when I'm gone for too long.

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 Post subject: Re: Kitty Q: What do you do when you go away?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:56 pm 
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ugh
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After that story from Tofulish, I'm not sure I'm ever ever ever going to go on more than a day trip again. Holy crepe.

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