Aloof. Independent. Mean! All words I've heard clients use to describe their cat. Some people are almost embarrassed to call us for cat sitting. In a quiet voice they ask “I know he’s just a cat but can you come visit him?” And we say of course! We understand that cats need love just as much as dogs. Just because Fluffy does not run to the door to greet you like a dog doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. Cats are social creatures that need attention and companionship to be their happiest selves.
Now remember that time you went out of town. Maybe you went to a wedding, maybe a work trip. Either way you came home, tired from a long day of traveling, to find your cat had destroyed your home! You see pillows shredded and tossed around the house, inappropriate urination, vomit all over the floors … did Fluffy have a raging party? No, just the opposite. Fluffy was lonely. And that is where we, your friendly cat sitter come in handy.
First let’s clear up some common misconceptions about cats:
Cats are solitary creatures. The idea that cats are solitary creatures is a common one: some friends are shocked to learn clients hire us to spend the day with their cats. But in the wild cats live in colonies and oftentimes seek each other out for companionship. Cats will share hunted prey, groom each other and keep each other warm during inclement weather. With humans, cats express their emotions in a range of gestures from being plastered to your lap every time you sit down, to just being in the same room with you. You shouldn't fall into the trap of thinking a cat should express its love like a dog; that devalues what your cat is trying to tell you. Cats have their own body and love language to share. Their cues can be subtler but have no less weight than a dogs’ wagging tail.
Bad behavior means kitty is punishing you When a cat expresses their emotions in a way we don’t like: destruction, sickness, territory marking we tend to think they are resentful or trying to punish us. But in reality Fluffy thought you were never coming home! His reaction is to stress rather than to anger. Cats have no concept of vacations or travel, so when you leave the house for all they know that’s the last time they’ll see you. But why doesn’t Fluffy tear up the house when you go to work? One word: routine. Fluffy can’t read a clock but his internal time sense lets him know when you’ll be returning from work and that routine brings him comfort. Cats are creatures of habit and deviation from that habit causes stress and anxiety. And they may express that stress and anxiety through the destruction of your home.
Cats don’t experience anxiety or loneliness You are your cats' everything. You provide structure, balance, love and food. So, when you don’t come home and their internal clock is telling them you should be back … Stress, anxiety and fear can rear their ugly heads. Fluffy’s routine has been broken and now Fluffy doesn’t know how to handle himself. Before he napped, ate and then snuggled with you, but since you’re gone he has no structure! That lack of structure and balance in his life forces Fluffy to cope with his new reality quickly, and in ways you’d rather not deal with. Cats are creatures of habit and can be slow to form new habits. A change in their routine means they have to see the world in a new way, and that’s hard for them to do.
So, what to do? Boarding your cat is an option, though since many cats don’t do well with change they don’t enjoy a new environment. Their temperament combined with the new loud noises and strange smells can make boarding even more stressful than being left home alone. But a cat sitter … we’re different! By coming to your home and taking care of your cat in their home territory we alleviate many of the stresses of your travel. Fluffy gets the food, clean litter, fresh water, love and playtime he craves while you can travel knowing you’ll come home to a happy kitty. A professional pet sitter can also administer medications and know if any changes in behavior warrant a vet trip. Fluffy’s basic routine has been preserved, your home is safe and your vacation will be much more enjoyable with a cat sitter on hand.
So the next time you book a hotel remember to book a cat sitter for Fluffy as well. He, your home and your sanity will thank you!