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Experience with live-in cat sitters?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone,

Just a quick question. Does anyone have experience with live-in cat sitters?
Over the holidays I am going home for a week and not bringing the cats. One of my best friends parents are in town, but she doesn't have room for them to stay, so I offered up my apartment in exchange for them looking after the cats. Her parents have cats and my friend is amazing with animals so I'm not worried with that aspect, I'm just concerned about the cats reactions. Especially with someone strange living in my bed! Usually they are fine with strangers so I'm crossing my fingers that they will be their normal well-behaved selves.........

Let me know if you have any experience to share
post #2 of 5
I have had "live in" sitters three times--three different women for two different cats.

My former cat was 18+ and very frail, so although I had always had "visiting" sitters for her, I decided to get a live in when I went to Rome for a week. The sitter was the recent college graduate daughter of good friends of mine, and she came over several times so that my girl could get to know her. When I came home, the sitter reported that my cat would never be in the same room with her. This was understandable because my girl never liked people and did well with visiting sitters because all she wanted was her food and a clean litter box.

Nevertheless, the following year, I went away for a week and had another live-in sitter, a woman I knew from work--a real animal person. She, too, reported that the cat didn't like her very much. So I decided that having a stranger around was more stressful for her than visiting sitters would be.

Thus, the following year, I didn't have a live in. However, the day I returned, she became ill with a bladder infection that the vet speculated was from the stress of my being away. She went quickly downhill from there and went to the Bridge a few months later. However, given her age, she might have been stressed even with a live in that final time.

My current boy is only 5 but is the most social cat I've ever met. He LOVES people--the more the merrier. So although I got a neighbor to "live in" while I was gone for a week, she works, and he's used to me being home (I'm retired). So I also got a neighbor teen to visit every afternoon to play with him, etc. Thus, he had a visitor AND a live in. But, of course, any other person will change the "routine," and that's stressful for cats, so my boy was very, very happy when I returned.

If your cats are social, they'll like a live in more than just a visiting sitter. You are VERY fortunate to find people for this because it's not easy to find someone to live in. My current sitter is getting married this spring and moving away, so I'm going to have to find someone else soon.
post #3 of 5
When we were at our last house, one of our friends would move in to watch our cat. There were never any problems and I think Molly hated to see us come home.
post #4 of 5
I'll respond from a slightly different angle. I worked as a live-in sitter for my aunt / uncle for a week last summer. And yes, they had dogs, so quite different than a cat.

What I'd like to add is that you make sure that leave very specific instructions and it really helps if you go over them in person with the sitter first. Meeting the animals beforehand is also a good idea just to make sure that they at least don't hate the sitter.

In my case, she had told me of specific health issues with the dogs and showed me where she kept medications (eye ointment, etc.). This ended up being very helpful as one of the dogs developed an irritated eye while I was there. But, because we had gone over it in person before and I knew where everything was, it was no big deal. I called her to make sure that what I was doing was correct, but otherwise, no problems. She also left the name and number of her vet in case of emergency.

In addition to the above, if you do anything out of the ordinary for food (i.e. supplements, measured amounts of wet food, etc.) I'd suggest seperating it out early (in ziploc bags) and/or being careful to show this to the sitter beforehand.

One last note, it was very helpful to me when they showed me around their house, where all the light switches were, etc. and told me what I could do (i.e. you can eat whatever you want, watch tv, use the computer, etc.) this was great as I would be very hesitant to do so otherwise.

post #5 of 5
Depends on the cat. I did it once with Smidge - mistake. She hid the ENTIRE time. She couldnt enjoy her own home. I truly thought she would come out of her shell as she does with everyone once she gets to know them a bit.

I've worked as a inhouse petsitter. For friendly cats they enjoy the company and it is less stressful for them if their routine is kept intact. It's clear they miss their mum, BUT it is a good compromise.
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