The Myth about Leaving your Cat at home
How often have you heard someone suggest that Cats can be left on their own when you go away because,
- all they want is some food being left down.
- Someone to change the litter once a day.
- a little bit of time each day for some companionship.
Cats are probably our most misunderstood pets. We all think of dogs as being territorial, as being on guard to protect. Cats are actually equally, or even more territorial than most dogs.
How many of you know a cat that is possessive over a piece of furniture, or a particular sleeping spot ?
Growing up we had family friends with two friendly, but territorial guard cats. In their big bay window sat two recliner rockers. The parents of the house could sit in that prime position, but no one else could. Except of course for the cats. Whenever we tried they would sit on guard and stare at us, occasionally even swiping at our legs, but would most often just give us the “evils” until we moved.
Their cats were super loving with them and friendly enough with us visiting, as long as we obeyed the boundaries. Other cats we’ve known will hide when company comes. But just stop and pay attention when that company leaves. You’ll notice that then the patrol starts. You may know things have returned to normal, but our feline friends need to verify that nothing has changed in their domain.
The rest of this article is not meant to bash cat sitters. In fact the opposite, it’s meant to inform Cat Parents of some of the characteristics to watch for, which may indicate their cat is or isn’t a candidate for Cat Sitting in their own home. Before they became involved with the Cat Hotel, a number of our Veterinary Technicians used to regularly provide cat sitting services. Many times since, they’ve expressed the wish that more pet parents knew about the other options available, so they could choose the appropriate care for their pets. When cat sitting or visiting,they often found themselves struggling to care for cats they could never find. This wasn’t all their charges, but a certain percentage definitely were not thriving under the arrangements. For this reason we want to provide some of the signs that your cat may enjoy time off rather than staying on duty while you’re away.
When we travel most pets recognize the preparations. They will usually have one of two reactions.
1) disappear and hide, or
2) stay very close ,getting underfoot, or even trying to get into the suitcase.
If we think about those two reactions we can categorize them under the “flight or fight” responses. The preparations for your travel indicate change. Cats hate change. Loving pet parents can be forgiven for thinking that the kindest thing they can do is leave their pet at home and have someone come in and care for them. For some cats this could be true if someone actually moves into your home. In time your cat may think of them as your replacement and form a new relationship. But for most it’s actually much more stressful. Remember their innately territorial characteristics. Now they have someone regularly violating that territory, and right when they are especially mindful because the rest of their family (pride) is away and has left them on duty. Some suspicious souls will realize that a stranger is trying to leave food for them……a cautious mind wouldn’t eat that food.
Think about the security and piece of mind you are seeking by having someone taking the time to visit and provide love and companionship. Once again we are talking about your cat’s territory being violated. Most cats like to prove the occasional point when necessary. You leaving and the change that represents is definitely something they have an opinion on and it’s not likely to be a good one. Us cat lovers joke about their independent nature and how they choose when it’s time for us to love them. Having combined their current state of mind with their desire to be in charge of their timetable means the likelihood that the visitor to your home arriving just when your cat decided -“you can love me now”, is very small.
I don’t want to scare you into thinking you can never go away, quite the opposite. Their are options. Each choice is an individual one, particular to each feline and their family. Our next article will discuss those options and how to choose.
Watch for our unbiased (we want the best for each feline, one size does NOT fit all) comparison of the pros and cons of:
genuine Cat Hotels vs veterinary boarding vs cat sitters (live in or visiting).
The Royal Cats Hotel & Spa is a luxury hotel built separately and solely for cats on the grounds of The Royal Pets Hotel and Spa, just outside Toronto in Barrie, Ontario.