From the Life of a Cat Sitter

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 😉

From the Life of a Cat Sitter

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: a few ‘golden oldies’

Older cats often have special needs. Many of them suffer from arhtritis but they can have a history of other illnesses too, most notably kidney disease. Some of them have dementia: they forget why they walked into a room, they forget they already ate their food, they forget where you are or what time it is and meow loudly in the middle of the night. It can help to buy a timed feeder so your cat gets more smaller meals a day rather than 2 main meals (don’t forget the night feed or they will still wake you). It also helps to give them multiple warm places to sleep. And don’t forget to play with them: cats remain playful throughout their life. You may want to change the type of games and forego jumping games, but they still like playing with laser pointers or chase or kick toys. Don’t play for too long, short and frequent is better for them.

And if you think older cats are never mischievous then think again…. Thom is a perfect example! He’s a gorgeous 13 year old boy with a history of liver problems. I’ve been visiting him for a few days now and he always comes inside as soon as he hears me. Either that or he is already home and asleep on the sofa.

Billy
When I come I notice something strange lying on the kitchen floor. ‘What on earth has the cat dragged in?’ is going through my mind. I walk closer and somehow it looks like raw chicken?? Did he go through any of the neighbours’ bins? Well… no…. Thom has found a way to open the freezer and made a hole in the bag with chicken thighs. He’s eaten the skin and left the rest. He’s sitting in the kitchen grooming himself and looking rather pleased with himself…

 

My next cat is 20180819_183835a lovely old boy named Mr. Biscuits. He was 11 years old when his owners adopted him. Rehoming an older cat is very rewarding. Older cats are often overlooked in shelters and have more medical needs than younger cats. Mr. Biscuits is no exception: he has hyperthyroidism and chronic kidney disease and needs medication twice a day.
He loves the company and sitting with me. But he’s not ready to just sit behind the window: his owners take him ‘walkies’ in the park!
If you’re thinking of getting an older cat or already have one and would like more information, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Life of a Cat Sitter

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: multi-cat households

Quite a few people have two cats. Often siblings but sometimes completely unrelated. Some of them get along very well; others try and spend as little time together as possible. If the cats in the latter group live in a large enough house or have outdoor access then there usually aren’t too many problems. Each cat will have its own territory and a shared space for mealtimes, for example.
Today a few couples who luckily get along quite well.

First up the best mother-daughter duo I know: Lyra & Sooty. Lyra tends to eat her daughter’s food if they are not kept separated during mealtimes… But then, if Sooty is not yet finished that means more TLC for Lyra (who absolutely loves attention).

Lyra&Sooty

After all necessities (food, water, litter trays) it is time for their favourite game! These guys have various things to play with: boxes, activity feeders, kicking toys, balls, a laser pen, a play circuit, but none of these is quite as good as….. a proper riding whip! They love jumping up to get it, chasing it across the floor or chasing it underneath the rustling papers. They love it so much that they both want to play with the whip at the same time… Refereeing skills are essential here 🙂

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Next couple are brother and sister Zeus & Belle. These two genuinely love each other.
Need more proof?

These two are so sweet! They take turns sitting in my lap. They generally want to play with the fishing rod toys or laser pointer. It’s best to have two toys and use both hands because they don’t share toys!
These two are normally in the same room during the day, but when I stay overnight Belle likes to sleep next to me whereas Zeus prefers his own bed. In the morning Belle will walk up to my face and paw at the duvet while Zeus will be meowing loudly downstairs: no need for an alarm clock 😉

Next time a few ‘golden oldies’

From the Life of a Cat Sitter

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: a tale of two kittens

Kittens need a lot of attention and most of them crave tlc. That’s why it’s always best to book visits twice a day when you need to leave your kitten behind. This ensures your kitty is not left alone for too long and gets to play a lot. If left alone too long some kitties decide to entertain themselves. We call this mischievous, but really the kitten is just doing what kittens do: exploring their environment and playing. It’s best to give them a proper outlet and make sure they play with things we want them to play with. They can sleep after the cat sitter leaves 😉

First of the two kittens is a 16-week-old British shorthair named Burrito.
It’s the first time this little guy is home alone and he greets me with a very loud meow.20190707_090526.jpg

It’s clearly time for dinner 🙂

 

 

 

 

After dinner it’s time to cuddle and play. This little guy is so fast when chasing the laser pointer. He’s a little flirt as well as you can see 😉

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Benny

Final visit of the day is to a lovely kitten named Benny 🙂 He is so adorable! I’m already in love with him, but look at that face: who wouldn’t be?!

He likes having cuddles but has a lot of energy too so I make him chase some toys as well. Worst part is leaving him at the end of my visits. He gives me the sweetest little meow. I think it means ‘Don’t leave me’ but then it could also just be ‘See you later!’

 

Next time: multi-cat households

From the Life of a Cat Sitter

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: Buddy and Gandalf

Buddy is a sweet old guy. I’ve been his cat sitter for several years now. He was recently diagnosed with kidney disease so timing of my visits is important as he needs medication every day.
Some cats can be a little tricky with pills, but not this guy! He’s practically begging for me to give him his pill 🙂 For those of you whose cats are tricky: try the pill pocket (although it only worked once with Dirk, the second time he refused to eat it).

After feeding, medication and litter tray cleaning it’s time to relax together and listen to the calming cat music playing in the background. I’m certainly feeling very zen when I leave.

Ian Curtis

My next guy is a teenage boy named Gandalf. He used to sleep on my arm and nuzzle my neck, but the hormones are kicking in and cuddling is not cool. Ever since he figured out how to open the sliding door he’s waiting for me in the hallway instead of the living room 🙂

I love Gandalf. He loves all sorts of toys. He likes giving any of his stuffed animals a good kicking and chasing the infamous “red dot” of the laser pen. In fact, I’ve never seen a cat jump so high up on the wall trying to reach it!

Gandalf

Next time: fun with kittens!