Cat sitting - any advice?(63 Posts)
Hi, my friend is due to have a minor operation later this week and I have have volunteered to look after her young (5 months ish I think - hasn't been outdoors yet) cat.
Having never had a cat myself can I ask for any tips? It will only be for three days. Is teh cat likely to be spooked by the new environment? What should we do to make him feel settled? I'm wondering if we need to do any 'kitten proofing' e.g. Tying up electrical cables for almost etc. sorry if this sounds daft.
I will of course ask my friend regards feeding / litter etc.
I will be out of the house for half a day on Friday so what would you advise in terms of the kitten's run of the house? Best to make a couple of rooms only available? What about night time?
Thanks in advance for any advice. I am my friend's only option and I wan to do a good job of this!
Sorry to be clear, the cat will be at my house, not my friend's.
Cats seem to like their own home (with their usual staff) so I would suggest looking after it at the cat's home (thinking you were going to take it to yours).
Is it possible to stay at friends house for the duration?
Personally I'd recommend keeping the cat at your friend's house, and either stay there or visit twice a day (for a decent time if you can, so kitty's getting company as well as basic needs met).
Depends on temperament of cat as to whether they'll be spooked by being somewhere new. I'd suggest keeping them in one room (as it's only for three days) and make sure the door is kept shut.
Thanks for the replies. Far from ideal, I know, but unavoidably the cat will have to be at my house. It's too far to travel between the two houses. I can be at home 2.5 out of the 3 days (and I can pop home, so longest he will be alone on that day is 3 hours).
I would suggest that you keep some of the old litter in the tray rather than putting in completely fresh for your house - will smell familiar to the kitten & make it feel a bit more at home. Make sure you take plenty of the existing toys with you, as a 5 month old kitten LOVES to play. And something like a blanket or cushion that it sleeps on, again something that smells right. You won't want to buy a whole Feliway plug in for 3 days, but a small bottle of the Feliway spray could also help it settle with a bit of judicious spraying.
I would also suggest anything breakable is packed away while he is there, as some cats are amazing mountaineers and kittens are incurably curious. They can also be great escapologists, so do be careful about doors & of course you can't have windows open!
He will be absolutely fine for just a few hours
As you are not already a 'cat lover' (someone that cats identify as likeable) you could be in for more fun than you bargained for but fortunately cats are pretty much self sufficient (can be interpreted several ways) but you will need to get far more tips from it's owner. If it is not reliably 'house trained' keep it in one (easily cleanable) room unless you are with it. A comfy box with blanket (or freshly ironed washing is better) for it to sleep in especially if it has a bit of a view in a warm spot and you should be on a winner. Cats can make Houdini look like an amateur so use a proper cat carrier for transportation (one that will wash out!).
Thanks Allergic and outabout, really appreciated. I'll ask for the litter to be part old stuff already in the tray.
Re cleaning if he isn't 100% on using the litter tray, is any antibac spray and a good wipe OK or should I only use the special cleaning stuff from the pet section?
Yes I'll definitely ask my friend for as may tips as poss and for all his toys and other favourite homely stuff.
That's a lovely thing to do for your friend.
I would say to you to be the most careful you've ever been, minding her cat. Cats are expert at hiding and notorious escape artists. You're probably best off confining him to one room at your house, as he will be a bit confused and insecure. But if he's an adventurous puss, he might come out of the room to play with you. Bring his toys, bed or a blanket that smells of home.
Yes cats are dreadful escape artists. I would consider keeping the cat restricted to a room or two.
Has he been neutered? Don't want him spraying.
Hi yes, he has been neutered.
So when I'm out, confine him to one room, but when I'm around would you say it's ok to give him pretty much free run, with doors closed to anywhere out of bounds / too many hiding places?
Will it matter where he sleeps?
Sorry for all the questions, and thanks again.
Quite looking forward to him coming and want him as content as poss. For my friend too.
Let him roam if you are in and have an hour to find/ catch him before you need to go out!
There is a slight risk you may not want to give him back, unless he really trashes your house.
Warm, fed and stuff to play with and most cats are happy.
Let him have free reign at your peril. Seriously, I cannot express how good cats are at disappearing and how unforgiving cat slaves are if their furry masters come to any harm - you have been warned.
Make sure all windows that he could possibly escape from are firmly shut and watch out for him being ready to escape through anyvopen doors.
It can be very stressful this cat business. I constantly ask myself why I do it?
Oh boy. I feel like booking the half day off work and watching him like a hawk for three days!
What's the deal at night? Give him access to a room and the hall for wandering? Leave my bedroom door open so he knows he's not alone?
Thanks again everyone, this is a lovely friendly area of MN I've never ventured into before.
A cat in his own territory with his staff organised is hardly any stress at all. You 'borrowing' him and feeling responsible is the stressful bit .
You will need to decide on boundaries. Is him running up your curtains with his needle sharp claws 'endearing' to you? Maybe sharpening claws on your nice leather sofa?
Play with him lots and life will get less stressful and you will have fun.
PS I miss my cat!).
outabout spot on, it's a responsibility alright!
Sorry you're missing yours... I can tell you're a true cat lover to care enough to take time to respond on this.
When I got my furballs it was recommended that I keep them in just one room for a few days while they got settled in, which I gather is the usual for rehomed rescues. So 3 days confined to one room really shouldn't be a problem for the kitten, and may save you a lot of grief! If you do decide to give him access to your bedroom, make sure that you close all the cupboards and draws firmly - mine are currently into sleeping in the bottom of the wardrobe, and one of my DSiS's cats loves creeping into any clothing drawer that isn't fully closed.
And brownie points to you for doing this for your friend, and making such an effort to ensure the kitten is going to be as happy with you as you can manage. I'm sure your attitude to this is going to make your friend's hospital visit less stressful than it may have been
Personally, I'd keep him in one room all the time, for both your sakes. If he's a nervy kind of cat he may just run somewhere and hide in a room you don't want him in, and you'd have to move his litter tray and food there. Being in one room gives him less to get use to, so he should settle down quicker.
Of course, if he's a really confident kitty that won't be an issue, but for your sake at least if he's in a locked room you don't have the worry of him getting through your outside doors when you open them.
Wonderful that you're doing this for your friend. She's lucky to have you.
Great advice here, thanks so much everyone for taking the time.
It'll probably be fine, you'll prepare for every eventuality & he'll just chill for a few days.
Oh my cat loves that tunnel. You do realise that you will probably be converted by the end of three days?
Yeah I never had a cat before. Now I have a furry thing that seems to rule the house
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