Are all pets meant for the THS type of service?

Hello everyone.
My sister and I just came back from a week sit of a beautiful 4 years old cat.

He has everything a cat could dream of : attention and love, toys, 4-5 beds through the house, food warmed before serving etc. One of his parents also works from home so most of the time he is with someone. But the couple also leaves him by himself sometimes for the day on week-ends. No problem up to now.

He was only petsat once before us but the HO never received updates from the sitter. No news, good news ?

Then we arrive. Very thoughtful couple: complete guide, good communication, space for us to hang our clothes etc. They have read for sure the recommendations of THS.

They leave… and this is what we got:

  1. Cat scratches his claws about everywhere. His parents covered with plastic sheets some parts of their furniture.

  2. He climbs on the table, counter, etc, and we are allowed to spray him with a bottle of water if he doesn’t come down after we tell him a firm “no”. We did use the water spay.

  3. He bites our calves and toes, hard enough. It seems that he also does it with his folks

And then :
4. One morning, he put upside down his BIG BOWL full of water, after many attempts…Water was everywhere in this area of the kitchen.

  1. He peed twice on my sister purse and bag. His litter box was clean and not too far from the bedroom. After that, we decided to keep our bedrooms doors closed.

  2. He meowed and scratched the doors and THEN jumped to reach the door’s handle, to a point we could see it going down. Never was able to succeed but we think it is a question of time.

The HO felt they discovered a part of their cat they didn’t know of. He is so territorial ! And we wondered if a service from a local cat carer who would come to feed and pat him once a day wouldn’t be better for him.

What do you think ?

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Wow @Brigitte, such a demanding little kitty…sounds like he made it his job to torment the visitors. It is a difficult situation, because you don’t know if the owners really didn’t know, or if they didn’t tell you the full truth. It is a bit scary, because it can happen to any of us and we would be pretty unhappy with that behaviour, especially if it’s a long sit. Please let your review reflect at least some of this bad behaviour so that future sitters have an idea before they happily accept an ‘easy cat-sit’…

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Very interesting and great topic for discussion and insight. In my experience I have found that cats as well as dogs do at times « act out » when they have an anxiety be that separation from owners aka pet parents or having new people. Could be both.
For me it’s difficult to say which or why but focus more on comforting the pet and setting boundaries. Also difficult and at at times impossible on short term basis.
I do let HO know and ask them for suggestions.

Would love to hear what others know.

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I already discussed with the owners about the review to come and they asked me to write the reality which I intended to do anyway.
I am convinced they did not know the extent of their cat mischief’s ability. They felt terrible, suggested to pay for a professionnal cleaning of the purse. So they are good HO.
But yes, the cat needs a One star review….and some help.

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The owners sound very reasonable. I would argue that no, this service is not suitable for all pets. Animals react differently to their owners going away. Some are incredibly sensitive to change and are very distressed, don’t know what’s going on or when their owners will be back, if ever. Others are very amenable to different people and settle immediately, unbothered by the change in circumstances. I suppose it is down to the owners to determine how their pets might respond, which is probably difficult if they aren’t aware how they behave when they’re not there!

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Found this that explains fairly well.

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Goodness. Your experience sounds very unsettling and really quite stressful.

I had my very first tricky experience with cats a year ago when I looked after two of them in the one house. One was incredibly placid with a very gentle temperament but the other could be a bit volatile shall we say.

One night, I got up to go to the loo in the middle of the night and was half asleep. The vicious one attacked me in the corridor from the side and dug its claws and teeth right into me. It was truly terrifying and for quite some time after that, I became very nervous of cats in general whereas I never had been before.

I only looked after my regulars’ cats after this incident happened as I knew nothing like this would ever happen with them and it hasn’t. I’m currently on a sit with a new cat I’ve never looked after before and it’s wonderful. What I did do though is offer to go round and meet the owners and cat beforehand - I know this isn’t always possible due to distance but this was fairly local. Having the chance to stroke the cat, hear him purr and he even let me give him belly rubs on that first meet-up just helped us to establish an early connection that I’ve been able to build on since I got here and it’s all been great and very harmonious.

It’s really helped me to regain my confidence around new cats. If you ever have the ability to meet the cat(s) beforehand, that’s the ideal situation in my view but as we know, it’s not always possible or practical.

Just wanted you to know I really feel your pain on this - and quite literally too!

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