Cat Sitting

In the last month I’ve had the privilege of looking after a couple of friends’ cats. One cat I know pretty well, and he is familiar and comfortable with me. The other cat I just met for the first time, and she is very timid and skittish and not happy that I’m there instead of her family.

I’m no expert, but I do love cats. We have 3 cats of our own – each very different to the other. Aggie (13) is our diva, the tiny princess with the loudest voice and opinions to match. She hates her brothers! Sylvester (11) is the social charmer, the “southern gentleman”. Everyone loves Sylvester and he loves everyone. Bear (12) is scared of every noise and every sudden movement. He’s the most lovable of the 3 and a big snuggler and by far the loudest purrer!

Dealing with cats is exactly like dealing with children. You love them, entertain them, feed them and give them a loving and warm environment to live in. They will reward you with the occasional lap-sitting experience, fling litter all over the place, shed all over your furniture, throw up immediately after you’ve fed them (but making sure it’s in a camouflaged area so that you step in it first) and destroying your furniture with their claws. Despite all that, they give you just enough love, purrs and entertainment that make it all worthwhile.

We have provided our cats with giant cat trees, houses, windowsill shelves, a bajillion toys, catnip everything, regular vet visits to maintain their health and wellbeing, lots of love and attention, and an array of cozy blankets and throws in every room in the house. They are spoiled rotten! I can’t resist items with cat pictures on them. I believe I would turn into a cat if I wished really hard.

So back to the guest cats: The first one, who I will call “Dollar” is a feisty, all boy cat. He loves to play and hunt and chat. He loves to be brushed, loves his perches and watching birds and squirrels in the trees. I show up to feed him and he greets me with a small “mew” and then weaves himself in and around my legs while I get his bowls ready for food. He likes treats. A lot! He also likes catnip, but it doesn’t rule his day. I have a lot of fun with Dollar, and I know he likes my company because he will jump up on my lap and “make biscuits” on me while purring and we’ll have a little chat about life in general.

The second cat, who I will call “Flower” is very timid and skittish and she made me work hard for her approval. Flower comes from a cat-happy family who dote on her. She likes to hide in quiet, cool and dark spaces. I developed a ton of patience trying to coax her out from under a bed or out of a closet. She is food-motivated and treats and catnip won. She likes to do things in her own time and makes me hunt for her when I arrive at her house. I’m pretty sure she watches where I go and then hides exactly where I’ve already checked. She won’t come out to eat breakfast or dinner while I’m there, but the food is always gone when I go back. I started “marinating” a couple of toys in a catnip bag and used them to buy her affection. It worked! We slowly progressed to her playing with the catnip toy under a bed while I watch, to me laying out a path of treats out from under the bed and finishing with a treat on my knee. She works her way through the treat path and ends with the one on my knee. I get a quick head butt from her, and I’m allowed a quick stroke before a quick hiss and a scramble back under the bed.

Just like us humans, Flower is a morning cat. She doesn’t have a lot of time for me in the evening’s but is ready for me to give her some attention in the morning. I always let her know when I’m leaving and sometimes try to hide for a few minutes to see if she will come out and see if I’ve really left. By the end of the time I was looking after her, she would meet me at the front door when I arrived and flop over onto her back for me to stroke her. I didn’t get a purr out of her, but I got lots of friendly meows. She finally let me brush her and give her full body strokes. She was very happy to have me hang out with her and keep her company. I actually missed spending time with her once her mom and dad returned. I may have to go back for a play date!

My last day with Flower was spent with me oozing myself into a tiny closet where she’d hidden herself because there was a storm brewing, and she was scared of thunder. I feel like I didn’t quite finish off our time together.

If you’re a cat person, you will totally relate to this blog. If not, just insert “dog” where you see “cat” and maybe it will make more sense to you. Either way, we love our pets dearly and they truly are part of our family.