Besides being a cat behaviourist I work as a cat sitter as well.
People ask me whether I just feed and clean litter trays all day. Well, yes and no. I mean I do feed cats and clean litter trays, but there’s much more to it.
In the series of posts I’ll share some anecdotes from my life as a cat sitter. I promise these stories are all true, though the cat’s names have sometimes been changed to protect their identity 😉
Today, I’d like to share some stories about other animals visiting (or living in) the house of a client. And I’m not talking about the dead, half dead, or remains of mice the cats have brought home…
Although I actually did once encounter a mouse inside the home that was very much alive. The cat was initially very curious about a certain corner in the room, but then sat down next to me. Imagine my surprise when a mouse appeared and started walking along the wall towards the door! I decided to leave the cat to open the door so the mouse could escape. On my way back to the sofa I had to walk past the mouse, by then it had made decent progress towards the door. The terrified mouse squealed and my heart sank. I was certain the cat would come running. Actually, she stayed on the sofa and the mouse made it out the door 🙂
Cats with outdoor access are sure to bring home a surprise every now and then, but not usually while I am there. However, once Isla came walking through the cat flap carrying a bird she’d just caught!
She was so proud and made noises to announce she was on her way with prey (you’ll know what I’m talking about if your cat has ever brought home prey). And she was quick too: she’d only left the house a few minutes prior!
Now, you should know that Isla is not an only cat… Even if her brother is not a voracious hunter, he was obviously very interested in this possibly very happy meal.
As Isla came in she let go of the bird. Well, what ensued were a few minutes of craziness. Cats running, jumping and chattering, the bird flying around trying to get away and I stood in the middle of it all. Things calmed down when the bird sat down on a high shelf. I somehow managed to distract the cats and get them out of the house. I let the bird calm down for a bit and made sure the cats had left before opening the door so it could fly away and find a safer home!
Sometimes clients adopt another cat and there is no time for me to meet the new addition before my visits start. That is all right. If I already know the house and the other cat(s) then the new cat often quickly adjusts to having me around. I was once scheduled to visit two cats I’d known for some time. The owner told me she’d recently adopted a third one, a male cat. He’d spend most of his time outdoors, but would come in for meals and to sit on the sofa. She said she’d leave a picture of him on the table so I knew what he looked like. Great!
As soon as I walked in I saw the new cat on the sofa. He lifted his head and then went back to snoozing. I was surprised that this cat was a boy, because it looked more like a girl, but then, I hadn’t seen the backside 😉
I started reading the note the client left behind and turned the page to look at the picture. Needless to say that this new cat looked nothing like the picture! Yes, it was an uninvited guest making themselves at home. As it turns out she (yes indeed) was a neighbour’s cat but she often frequented other people’s house looking for food…
To prevent unwanted cats coming into your home, get a microchip operated catflap 😉