Leaving My Cat With Grandma And Her Cat

This is another cat behavior type problem. The title is based on a Catster question posed by a visitor. At the time of writing there is only one very short answer which was to leave the cat at home.

The Scenario

The cat’s owner Miss A is going away for a holiday and she wants to leave her cat with her Grandma. Grandma has recently adopted a new cat. Grandma’s cat is said to have a personality that makes her suitable as an “only cat”. That means Grandma’s cat does not get on with other cats that well.

The Question

Despite the potential for problems Miss A is going to leave her cat with Grandma and she wants advice on how to help the cats get along and minimize potential conflict.

Unhappy cat because terrritory was invaded

The Advice

This is my personal advice. It is neither right nor wrong. I respect the views of others.

Test

I believe the solution partly revolves around the size of Grandma’s home and as a secondary matter the facilities in her house such as vertical perches etc.. The first thing to do is a test. If I was Miss A I would take my cat to Grandma’s for a visit well before the holiday. Put the two cats together in the same room and supervise closely. This will confirm if the two simply can’t get along probably because Grandma’s cat feels like her territory has been invaded.

It is likely that there will be some hostility. However, I believe it needs to be tested because cats have preferences and they may be able to get along in a manageable way for the duration of the holiday. This is a matter of assessment. If the cats do get on to a certain extent some supervision is required and there should be enough space so that they can maintain distances between themselves of at least 1 meter. And a place to hide would be useful. If a cat can hide they will feel secure.

Keep Apart

On the basis that the cats are hostile to each other, the next stage is to assess Grandma’s home. If the home is a decent size there is no reason why the two cats can’t be kept apart for the duration of the holiday. Grandma can take care of Miss A’s cat with ease in her home while keeping her cat comfortable as well. There will still be some disruption for both cats but this arrangement would be preferable to putting Miss A’s cat in a boarding cattery. This solution is dependent on Miss A’s cat is kept in decent conditions such as a reasonable sized room at Grandma’s house.

If Grandma’s home is too small to realistically keep the cat’s apart or at least introduce them to each other in a manageable way, I would lean towards placing Miss A’s cat into a good boarding cattery. Boarding catteries are OK but can be stressful for cats. Health problems can develop at catteries as stress can bring on existing, low grade health problems.

I don’t think you can do much to ensure that cats get along who have only just met and who will be together for 14 days or less. The time frame is too short for the two to learn to get along. That can take months and sometimes cats never get along.

Competent Grandma

However, if there is sufficient space and supervision I don’t see a problem with having the cats together for this limited amount of time. Another matter that comes to mind is, “how competent is Grandma?”. If she is a competent cat caretaker and physically and mentally able to manage that would certainly encourage me to favour Miss A’s plan.

However, if the converse is true things may get out hand. Miss A needs to feel reassured that all will be well. She doesn’t want to be worrying about her cat on holiday.

Incidentally I don’t really favor leaving Miss A’s cat at her own home while someone visits to feed her cat etc.. For a short time of about 2 days that might work but for 14 days it is not good enough. A boarding cattery would be better.

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Comments

Leaving My Cat With Grandma And Her Cat — 15 Comments

  1. It’s a recipe for disaster Miss A taking her cat to her grandmas when the resident cat there not only doesn’t like other cats but hasn’t been living there long according to the words ‘Grandma has recently adopted a new cat’ There is very little if any chance of the 2 cats peacefully sharing the same room at any time, it takes longer than a fortnight for 2 cats to adjust to sharing, especially when the resident cat is still establishing her territory. The only way this could work is by keeping the 2 cats seperate at all times so if grandma hasn’t the room to do that it’s not a good idea to look after Miss A’s cat, upsetting her own cat and the visiting cat too.
    To be fair all round, Miss A should ask someone without a cat to care for hers in their home or as you say Michael, to book her cat into a cattery.

  2. I used to cat sit for friends in my home. After I got Monty I refused to do that anymore. They weren’t happy about it, but I didn’t feel it was fair to Monty. The other cat kind of considered my home his second home and he might have seen Monty, just a kitten at the time, as an intruder. I didn’t want Monty to suddenly have this bigger cat coming into his new home and asserting that it really was that bigger cat’s home.
    I’ve used an in home cat sitter for Monty, but that is no longer an option because he growls at her and she has refused to stay over to look after him anymore. She had been my sister’s roommate until she got her own place, so it was perfect to have her sleep over in one of our apartments and spend time with both cats. Kobe upstairs was no problem. But Monty would perch on his cat tree above her while she cleaned his litter box and growl menacingly the whole time. She said that really shook her up, so no thanks.
    But if you have a cat who doesn’t scare people, a house/cat sitter could be a good option. There are people that do this professionally. You’d have to get references and make sure they are trustworthy. It’s going to cost something. I’d take that option over a cattery.

  3. The only workable solution for me is to have a house sitter. That is someone who will eat, sleep and be merry in my house. They could have a another job, as long as it doesn’t necessitate a long commute. And, they must be willing to get up early to feed the outside cats, wait for them to eat, bring in any left over food to keep unwanted wild life away (skunks, possum, badgers). They would then put food out again at daylight for free feeding. Outside feeding is both front and back of the house. The inside/outside cat needs litter cleaned twice a day and all the cats need fresh water daily. Two fountains, three bowls. It is an important job and cannot be taken lightly. The cost is usually just a bit more than a boarding kennel (cattery). But cheaper because it covers four cats! It costs more if Daisy the 85lb old lady dog is included in the package. She would need her walks and plenty of company. Some people make their retirement living doing this. I know of two very suitable house sitters, but they are in demand.

    Pretty much, I just don’t travel. I live in an area where staying put is a good option. Like vacation at home. The best food (my cooking), scenic bike rides through the wine country, the ocean just minutes away.

    Sometimes, it just has to be done. Then, a house sitter is the only way.

    I left Bigfoot at a kennel once. It was harder on me than him. Dropping him off was horrible. I sat in the car and wept like I had just abandoned him to evil people. Lol. That won’t happen again. Nope.

    Over night short trips takes two neighbors, and several friends feeding, visiting, poop scooping and generally being my eyes and ears.

  4. Hi Michael,

    I wouldn’t even consider dropping my cat off at someone else’s house.

    That goes double if they have a cat.

    That goes triple if they have a cat that has the reputation of needing to be the only cat in the house.

    I’d talk Miss A out of dropping the cat off.

    I think a much better solution is to have a friend come and stay in my house and take care of my cat.

    I’ve done that before and it works well.

    =^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=

    • Glad you have tried the alternative of having a friend stay at your home. I agree that “dropping your cat off at someone else’s house” is dangerous and not usual. But if Miss A had a close relationship with her Grandma and Grandma loved cats and was a great caretaker and if her home was ideal in size etc. then it would seem to be a possibility.

      I agree though that when it comes to your cat you have to have complete certainty and safety. The cat’s owner must know the temporary caretaker very well.

      I have just remembered that I actually took care of a couple of gorgeous cats for someone I knew for two weeks. I lived in a house at the time. I also had a cat at the time. But it worked out well. The problem is the temporary caretaker has a highly responsible job. You cannot afford to screw up. The job should not be taken on casually.

      http://pictures-of-cats.org/Looking-After-Someones-Cat.html

      • I too stayed in someone’s home once and looked after their 2 cats for a week, they paid me, but what a huge responsibility it was as they were indoor/outdoor and lived by a road. They were lovely cats but didn’t get on with each other, which made things fraught and I had little sleep worrying if the one who I was told to shut away from the one who slept in the bedroom at night was feeling rejected. One night I decided to see what happened letting them both stay with the door open but woke up to a huge crash and they had knocked a whole dresser of valuable ornaments on the landing, all over the floor and down the stairs lol. That took some explaining when the people returned lol
        Was I not glad to get back home to my sister and our own cats who I missed terribly….. never again!

        • I know you would have been extremely responsible, which puts the pressure on, making the whole experience like work. There is nothing more terrifying for me than losing a cat I am looking after that belongs to someone you know while they are away. I did it once too, but never again 😉 Too much responsibility.

        • You remind me of me, Ruth, not wanting the cat to be lonely stuck in his own room all night. So you let him out and all hell broke loose! I will feel sad for Monty sleeping alone in his own room. My husband tells me not to but I let him out. Then at two a.m. Monty’s sitting on my chest, poking me in the face with his paw to wake me up.

          • I don’t want to come between you and hubby but I think a cat should be allowed to come my the bed and poke my face at 2 in the morning if he wants to. He has his rights and life style just like us. Mind you I’ll probably be awake anyway having just gone to the bathroom for a pee 😉

            • Too much information Michael lol lol
              Our boyz have free range of the house at night, we once had a fire safety check and the Fire Fighter said even though they advise people to close all doors at night most cat people say ‘Oh we can’t do that, it would upset the cat’
              I love it when Jozef comes and pokes me awake in the wee small hours and comes under the duvet and lies close to me, Walter chooses to sleep with Barbara.
              All the cats we’ve had have slept on/in our beds, it’s an honour to me to be the chosen one.
              I can’t bear to think of any cat shut out feeling rejected and lonely.

  5. With cats you never can tell so a test is in order to determine whether it works or miss a needs to take her cat to a cattery. They may get along regardless of what people say. Maybe granny’s cat was with other cats before, in a shelter but now alone he will be happy to see another cat.

    • As you know I agree that idea. It just may be a perfect arrangement that works out really well. Both cats might get along and Grandma may be a first class cat caretaker in a nice home. I think some testing, if possible, is a good first step.

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