I am delighted to start a new sitting in the next few months with three cats.
I have some experience, although not so much and there are two aspects I haven’t come across yet.
Two cats don’t go well together and I have to be careful to keep them separated, especially at night.
The other matter is that the same two cats spend a lot of time outside, one in particular.
So far I have held and got experience with indoor cats only. I am aware that cats who spend time outdoor often bring “souvenirs”, like a dead bird or rats.
While I love most animals, I have a pathological phobia for mice and rats and if that may be the case, I really don’t know what I’ll be able to do.
Could I please ask if you could give me some advice?
I appreciate your help.
I was told by one ho go to bed and let the cats deal with it or if brave enough capture and relocate mice etc, I’m not good with mice or birds either.
Currently I’m with two cats who are indoor/ outdoor which in itself hasn’t been an issue. Although the female sometimes hisses at her brother lol! However the HO’s brother lives next door and has two cats himself. His cat’s often attempt to come in to visit thorough the " kitty window " yet I’ve been told not to allow them in because the female hates them. The times they’ve attempted entry I’ve told them a “flat no” which usually works, however the other night I got up around 5 a.m. to use the bathroom and found one of them on the desk, so I had to shoe her out , silly cat was taking advantage. Unfortunately, one of them did bring in a gift a male house finch, which i tried to rescue from the wrath of cats claws, yet sadly it had an injury and didn’t make it. I took it outisde away from the house and placed it near a tree in the snow…very sad and I was upset. Hopefully that won’t happen to you. The one benefit of outdoor cats is no hassles with a litter box which is nice. I’ve had quite a bit of experience with cats and my own cat’s were indoor/ outdoor. I would make sure to have clear conversations with the HO about all these details.
If the cat’s do bring in other critters it’s best to relocate. Have gloves on hand. A box to put it in and take it back outisde. I had to do this with one if my own cats when she rewarded me in the middle of the night. Also, if they do bring in a bird it’s good to have a phone number of a local wildlife Rehabilitation center to call for help and questions. Particularly in the spring with baby birds. Unfortunately our kitites still have wild instinct and it’s not always pleasant when they bring in birds. If you can intervene and place in a box and call a rehabber that’s the best suggestion.
Hi @Mokina. Not all outdoor cats are hunters or good at hunting. Of the 10’s of outdoor cats I’ve looked after only 2 brought presents back. One was on a sit last year and the ‘presents’ were dead! If you’re worried about ‘presents’ I’d chat to the HO.
Bringing dead animals/birds shouldn’t be a problem unless they have a cat door. If they do, meaning that the cats can enter the house with their prey, you should speak to the HO about your phobia. It might not be a good sit for you to do. My cat has brough in mice, dead and alive. It is very rare either way. However, I have to deal with it, and that means setting traps for the live ones.
Hi @Mokina , if your fear of mice is as bad as you say I would advise against taking sits for outside cats. The good news is that they do not all bring home ‘gifts’, but some definitely do and you have to ask yourself if it is worth you putting yourself in that situation.
I do have to share just a bit of humor on this subject. Many, many years ago, before I realized I was allergic to most cats, I had a black indoor/outdoor cat who was really a cute little tiny thing. She had a tendency to bring “gifts” into my home…a bird, a mouse and even a small snake, all of which caused me duress, but the funniest of times was when the Christmas tree was decorated with red birds (fake ones of course), she decided to bring about five of them into the bedroom and deposit them on the foor. I think it is just their nature to be hunters… Needless to say, that was the last time I decorated with birds. LOL
@Mokina I have found that owners of cats who have a habit of bringing home “gifts” tend to mention it in their listing so that the sitter is aware. We’ve done a number of sits and only had one cat deposit a dead shrew on the stairs. I think 2 or 3 sits mentioned the possibility in their listing. Perhaps you could ask the owner if this is something their cats do? Then you’d know for sure. Maybe they don’t bring gifts, in which case you don’t need to worry. Or maybe their preferred offering is something other than mice? My husbands uncle’s cat used to regularly bring home a shoe!
One cat kept meowing and I froze as it came through living room.turned out it was just a leaf
We have sat for several cats that would bring home ‘gifts’
The most memorable was a repeat sit where we let the cat out when we arrived and within 5 minutes they were back with a big freshly killed rat as a welcome gift!
Hi @Mokina, although you say you’re delighted about this upcoming sit, you also are very apprehensive where you do not have very much experience with cats, especially those who love being outdoors.
The location of the sit could well be a factor as to whether the cats may bring “souvenirs” inside. If it is a sit in the countryside, then that is a higher risk of this happening than in a city. In saying this, my last cat sit was in a city and I had to deal with three birds brought inside.
You’re already concerned about this sit, not just because of the “gifts” you may have to deal with but also keeping the two cats separated which could be quite difficult and add stress for you.
Were you able to have a chat with the owner pre-confirmation and find out all this information then? As I see it, you’re not comfortable with what could happen and as it is still a few months away, I would be seriously thinking about whether the sit is really right for you, and if not, you have time to be honest with the owner.
The only thing worse than a cat bringing in a dead mouse is a cat bringing in a live mouse!
I wonder if you were honest with the owner about your fear of ‘souvenirs’ and if you asked if the cats bring in mice or rats as not all cats do. Is there a way of keeping them either in or out at night by locking the cat flap (if there is one)? These really are things that you should have discussed with the owner, and likewise the owner asking you, before accepting the sit as, to me, it doesn’t sound like a good match, sorry to have to say so.
You want to be completely comfortable at your sits, if you’re worrying all the time about keeping 2 cats separate and whether they’ll bring something in, then you won’t be.
My honest opinion…
Yes, most cats like to play with them so don’t actually intend to kill them. We’ve also had to deal with frogs and even a baby red squirrel which fortunately we managed to save.
I agree with previous responses to your question in that more questions should have been asked prior to confirming the sit.
That said even with the best will in the world things will sometimes crop up on a sit that cannot be planned for.
Even if the cat normally isn’t a hunter there is always a first time. The cat may come across an injured bird or rodent and bring it home.
Personally I can deal with live or dead ‘gifts’ but would struggle with a badly injured one.
On a couple of sits we have had bats enter the property - that was fun!
I have four cats. And no, they don’t ‘often’ bring home things they have caught. If I had to put some sort of scale to it I would say , between them, they bring home a mouse or bird about every four months or so. As for being scared of what they bring home, well the chances are it will be dead, or soon will be! They will have finished’ playing’ with whatever they have caught and killed it. So, why be frightened of a dead mouse, Put on a pair of gloves and either throw it out into the garden for something else to eat it or put it down the toilet My lot often eat what they catch anyway!!! It is a sad aspect of having cats, that’s for sure but they are doing what comes naturally! Just make sure they are well fed and at least then they won’t actively go looking for ‘fresh meat’!!!
I agree. I have an indoor at night/outside during the day cat. Our WELCOME mat has been the final resting place for birds of all kinds, including hummingbirds, baby rabbits, squirrels, moles, voles, mice and several snakes. She’s a great hunter and “provider” so we tell her good kitty, grab a paper towel and toss her kill into the woods. It’s all part of being an outdoor cat owner. Sorry…
@Mokina it would be good to hear your response to all the above
We have done a few outdoor cat sits in the UK and had several live or dead field mice and shrews as presents. We then housesat a very large and majestic Maine coon mix and woke up to a live baby bunny behind a chair. We managed to get a bucket and gloves and let it go in the field next to the house (the cat was inside) and it was so shocked I was worried, then it suddenly sprinted away across the field. Hopefully, it lived to tell its tale.