Here kitty kitty???

Jan 28th, 2005, 10:13 AM
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Here kitty kitty???

Our precious kitty passed away last month and we miss him so much. We miss his companionship, his presence and his unconditional love. We have been agonizing over a decision to get another one (or two). The only thing holding us back is that we are going to retire next year and plan an 8 week trip to Europe. After that, we plan to spend a couple of winter months every year in a warm climate. We miss having a companion animal in the house and we know we would be wonderful "parents" to a shelter animal. Before our trips were only a week or two and it was never any problem getting a house/cat sitter. But with going away for a couple of months a year, it will be more difficult. I know you can't make my decision but wonder what those of you in the same predicament as us might do? Thanks.
bashful is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 10:24 AM
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Get hermit crabs. They can live for weeks off the scuzz that grows in their aquarium or terrarium or whatever you call it.

They aren't very cuddly, but they are pretty quiet.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 10:34 AM
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My sympathies on the loss of your cat. I have two kitties myself.

Being gone for long trips all the time could be somewhat traumatic for your pet. I think once in a while would be ok, but if you were to leave the cat with a catsitter for 3+ months every year that might be too much.

If you could curtail your future trips down to 3-4 weeks at a time then I'd say go for it and adopt a new cat.
If not, another option would be that you could volunteer at an animal rescue center.

Best of luck with your decision.
TexasAggie is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 10:39 AM
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Couldn't you take the cat to your "warm climate" home for several months every year?

If you could do that, I wouldn't worry too much about the occasional vacation (even if it's long). We've left the cats alone for almost 4 weeks, with just friends to stop in and feed them, clean the cat box, etc. No problems with that.

leonberger is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 10:40 AM
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My condolences... I know how sad you must feel. It's very hard to lose a beloved family member.

We have now 3 cats (I rescue them), and we also travel for lengthy periods, usually each year. We have been away for 9 weeks in the past and are gone once a year or so for 4-5 weeks (on combination work/holiday trips).
We have been very lucky most times -family members have come to stay (it's almost a holiday for them) to look after our critters and homes. On the 9 week trip we had 2 shifts of people for 3 weeks each and then our neighbours took the last shift - the teenage daughter spent most of her time in our home except for sleeping.

Sometimes our wonderful neighbours do it on their own. We owe them bigtime. I am OK with this if it's for a week or less. If longer I also enlist another friend for additional visits.

With one work trip, we took the 2 cats we had at the time along with us (we were in an apartment and not changing locations) - this was no different for them than it is at home as we work long hours.
Previously we had taken a cat for many short trips to visit family at Christmas, in the car (12 hour drive and overnight at a motel) and on the plane. He was a very good traveller!
We also dropped him off at relatives' homes for them to catsit. That particular cat really was adaptable. Our present ones, NOT!!!

There is such a need for homes for abandoned pets that I don't think I would let travel stop me from taking one or more in. However, I have not had a visit from one family member in over 10 years, as he was caring for a pet with a health problem and he felt he could not leave the pet in another person's care (but I think this is just an excuse, and there is more going on... but that's a whole other story!).

If you accustom the kitty to some travel, you could probably tkae it with you to the warm climate each winter.
For the Europe trip, there are services, with bonded caregivers, who will come to your home while you're away. Also, many boarding facilities are very nice. There are some pets who have a hard time with being left and pine so much that it is tragic, but lots of them adjust OK.

Or you could wait until your trip to Europe is finished and then adopt.

Best of luck!
taggie is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 10:44 AM
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I don't believe in flying animals solely for 'companionship'; different if relocating to another locale and can't be helped.

I have both dogs and cats - I think it is easier for cats to be left in the care of a sitter, especially if you can get someone who will give kitty a brush and a lap now and then. Dogs are pack animals and need companionship and some exercise, and are more difficult to leave for long periods of time.

The first time we used our current sitter, he never saw our 2 cats (we have a pet door). They came in when he went to work or went out before he got up in the morning.
Travelnut is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 10:47 AM
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Bashful, in your situation I wouldn't get another cat. Cats get lonely without their owners. To leave them for as long as you plan to seems just awful to me! I say this as a cat lover who has seen how cats pine away when their owners are on vacation. Ours does--when we come back from trips she follows us around 24/7 like a little limpet. When my children "catsit" for friends' cats, you can tell the cats are lonely, really!

I know this is an agonizing thing for you. I've thought of it often. We're so used to having cats around that I can't imagine not having at least one. Yet I know that when my children are a bit older and out of the house, and our cat is no longer with us (she is almost 11 years old now, so we have a way to go) the lure of extended travel will be irrisistable. It's a difficult thing, I think, to balance that with the care of a pet. As you say, one week away is one thing that is manageable, but eight? That's a lifetime to a pet. I don't think it would be fair to the pet involved to leave it for so long.
Jan 28th, 2005, 10:51 AM
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bashful, my sympathies on the loss of your cat. We lost one almost a year ago and not a day goes by that I don't think of her and miss her.

My opinion is that if you can get someone to stay in your house with your cat while you are gone, then it's fine. But you have to consider the expense of paying someone for such a long period of time, or whether you can find someone who will housesit for free or for a minimal amount per month.

I don't think it's fair to leave an animal for such a long period with someone stopping in daily to feed and change the litter box or whatever. Most cats would be lonely under those circumstances.

Also, may I suggest that you get two cats instead of one? If they are littermates or both kittens when you get them, they should bond very well and have each other for company and stability when you are away.
Marilyn is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 10:59 AM
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Thanks for the condolences. It has been a very difficult time. We were actually contemplating getting two "older" cats -ones that are in a shelter together. They must be harder to adopt. And we would never leave our cats alone with just drop in care for more than a week. We'd also never let them be outdoor cats. We would have to take them to a friends house for the time or have someone come to our home to live in. Or as some have suggested, consider taking them with us to the South - that would depend on how they travel.
bashful is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 11:00 AM
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Travelnut, I don't believe in letting cats outside. But my sitters often don't see them because they hide under the beds.

Just to defend travelling a cat with us... it started out not being for companionship, but out of necessity, as we were living somewhere where we knew no one well enough to ask them to sit, and there was no boarding facility. Because that particular animal travelled so well, we did it several times after that.

I would not do that so regularly (2-3 times a year) now, because I do believe that for the most part cats are better at home when possible.

When we took the two along on the work assignment, it was on the recommendation of our vet. It was for 6 weeks and that time could not be covered by our usual sitters; one of the cats has some emotional trouble and we, along with the vet, decided the trip was the least evil option, because boarding would have been the only alternative.

taggie is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 11:05 AM
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I'd like to suggest that you become a foster parent to cats or kittens.

Our local news reported that our humane society needs foster parents who are willing to (for example) feed a baby kitten every three hours around the clock, or perhaps care for an animal that needs medication every 4 hours. Once the animal is strong enough or old enough, they are then adopted out to a family.

It could be rewarding to you in providing this help, plus since it's not a permanent placement, you can still have all the free time you choose.

Good luck to you and my condolences to you for your loss. My "Rusty the cat" is going to be 19 next month and believe me, I know how difficult it is to even think of leaving him for long periods of time.
wantagig is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 11:35 AM
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I know, I guess one should never say "never"...each situation can be different. I just can't bear the idea of putting my dog in baggage for 8 hours just so I could go on vacation (Europe). I think when we humans go on vacation, we miss our pets more than they miss us.

I do know what the sound of a suddenly-quiet house is like... tried not to get another dog but only made it 9 months.

I know it may not be "p.c." to let the cats outside...they do not stray beyond our yard, they're too lazy. But having a dog in the house also - it was just easier to put in a pet door, as I can't guarantee to be home from work to let the dog out on a schedule.

My hubby is allergic to cats and he's the one who brought them home as sad, waterlogged, motherless kittens... we will not get any more when they've gone.
Travelnut is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 11:45 AM
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Travelnut, aren't you lucky to be married to such a kindhearted man? (I'm allergic to animals but have had them all my life. My discomfort takes a back seat to giving a good home to the sad cases I've dealt with).
My sis and I are both blessed to have guys that have come to understand the importance of pets, and helping animals. I hate to think what my life'd be like if I'd married someone who was not sympathetic. Because I would still want pets, and to help animals in distress and I'd end up fighting my partner over the issue.

The most important thing about all this is that most of the posts are from folks who love their pets and want them to have good lives.

Have a good weekend everyone!
taggie is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 11:53 AM
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Our two cats are also orphans. My husband found them on Thanksgiving day a couple of years ago - freezing and malnourished and covered in fleas. The vet said they were only 4 months old.
I'm actually allergic to cats but I just couldn't send/give them away.

My allergist scolds me every single visit, but they are so worth it
TexasAggie is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 11:54 AM
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As the "mother" to 3 feline brothers and one canine creature, I understand your feelings.

I was going to suggest fostering, but I see it has already been mentioned. I think fostering would be a wonderful idea in your situation.
xxxx is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 12:00 PM
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I think the fostering idea is so compassionate. What a wonderful thing for cats and kittens who would otherwise have a tough time of it, and people who have lots of love to share (along with their love of travel.
Jan 28th, 2005, 12:57 PM
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see this thread on coping (or not) with pet guilt
elaine is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 02:40 PM
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I just wanted to add one thing about the fostering option. My parents have 12 cats (at last count). They have a large house, plenty of land, and my dad works out of the house so caring for them has not been an issue. Why do they have so many cats? Because they are former cat foster parents. After nursing small kittens back to health and taking in a wayward pregnant kitty so she could have her babies (among other instances), they just couldn't part with any of the cats. There was also an adopted greyhound in the mix (former race dog and quite badly abused), but he passed away.

They haven't taken a vacation that lasted over a week in years. Just something to keep in mind.
alg is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 04:45 PM
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I have nothing but admiration for people who foster dogs and cats -- not, as you might think, for caring for these creatures, but for giving them up when the time comes. Foster care for us would be an express ticket to owning more animals than we could cope with!
Marilyn is offline  
Jan 29th, 2005, 03:30 AM
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Hi bashful,

Like lots of others above, I know exactly what you're going through, and I know it's a pretty wrenching time.

My own cat has been with me about 14 years (in Feb!), and she's just been diagnosed with kidney failure. I usually limit myself to 10-day trips because she really hates it when I leave, so I've been dreaming of the day when I wouldn't be limited by time and I would be free to spend months abroad. And yet, I know that that freedom will come with a very high price, very bittersweet. In the last six years, I've lost my entire family, so anticipating this final loss almost leaves me helpless. So I know how conflicted and confused you must be feeling!

I don't know that I have any real pertinent advice -- maybe instead of fostering you could develop a pet-sitting business??? -- but I just wanted to add my support.

swandav2000 is online now  

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