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 😉

On a nice, sunny day many cats enjoy spending time outdoors. When cats have outdoor access via a cat flap they may decide to stay out rather than have cuddles with the cat sitter. This is England, after all. It might well rain again the following day!

However, when cats do not have outdoor access they usually come and greet us. Sometimes they are snoozing somewhere nice and cosy, but at least we see them. Although….

Some cats seem to enjoy a game of hide-and-seek. I know they are inside because they did not leave when I opened the door, but where are they??? I’m not talking about hiding under the bed, sofa, or on dining chairs, all well-known hiding spots. Some of my clients’ cats have hiding places that I still don’t know about! One meows to attract my attention and is quiet when I walk through the room looking for him. However, as soon as I leave the room he meows again. He must be having fun watching me trying to find him 😉

Another cat likes to sit inside cupboards. A telltale sign is of course an open cupboard door. Except when he opens it slightly, squeezes through and then the door closes behind them. It’s a good thing hisowtold me that’s what he does or it would have taken me ages to find him!

Some cats are so nervous around strangers that they rarely show themselves. I always feel for those cats. Luckily this is very unusual, but it does happen sometimes. Most owners know when their cats are nervous around visitors so they will warn the cat sitter before visits. All I can do is wait patiently and hope they decide to come out and this has worked – eventually – on several occasions.

Another favourite hiding place: on top of the kitchen cupboards.

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 😉

I see a lot of litter trays and types of litter in my work as a cat behaviourist and as a cat sitter. Some cats are extremely fussy and don’t use a tray twice: it has to be clean or else they won’t use it. In multi-cat households you always need multiple trays, although I did once visit 5 cats that all used the same tray…

What type of litter you use depends on both you and the cat. No matter how much you like a certain type of litter (for example one they are not as likely to traipse around the house) if your cat does not like it they will not use it. Most cats prefer a sandlike litter as they can dig around properly. You can get various types of litter trays or put down a mat in front of the tray, but in all honesty I have yet to find the perfect solution to prevent cats spreading litter through the house.

You can also use a wood pellet type of litter. These are not as likely to stick to your cat’s feet, though not all cats like these. This is especially the case for older cats.

Two other popular types of litter are silica crystals and non-clumping granules. These are known to absorb urine and last longer so you don’t have to scoop litter trays as often (just scoop poo). While this is true, please remember that cat’s have a far more sensitive sense of smell than we do. You can’t wait until you smell the urine to clean it as your cat will be able to smell it long before you do. If your cat is a bit fussy then they may well decide to do their business elsewhere…. I know some unlucky owners who have found pee inside shoes and poo just beind the front door.

Some cats pee or poo on their owner’s bed when they are left home alone. Although it sounds disgusting, some cats feel happier when they mix their scent with yours. That it why they may pee (or poo) on your bed or laundry when you are away.
If your cat is like this, then let your cat sitter know. It may be best to restrict access to the bedroom while you are away. Also consider getting a herbal or pheromone diffuser to help your cat feel calmer while you are away.

If your cats have strange toileting habits then always let your cat sitter know. As far as strange habits go, peeing or pooping in the bath, shower or on a tiled floor are not too bad as these can easily be cleaned. Sofas or beds are a different story… If your cat refuses to use a litter tray then get in touch. Together we can figure out why your cat is doing its business elsewhere and how to tackle it.

Most cats prefer some privacy when they go to the toilet, though some, like my own, are quite happy to have an audience….

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