8,395 days without a day off from my cats

Albert Schepis has spent 8,395 days without a day off from his cats. Is there anybody who can beat this? Is there anybody who can say that they have never gone away, not even for a day, without their cat or cat companions, for a period longer than 23 years? Albert is a regular and much valued visitor to PoC. He is a very knowledgeable cat guardian.

Below is a picture (uploaded) of one of Albert’s cats:

One of Albert's cats
One of Albert’s cats
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Below is the comment by Albert Schepis which gave me the material for the title and which got me thinking. He was commenting on a post about choosing between a cat sitter or a boarding cattery (the cat sitter is better usually). I prefer neither and have not gone away…

“Yeah, my preference has been to never go away, and I haven’t for about 23 years since I’ve had cats. Not one day. I don’t really trust anyone enough to do it. Not a friend, not some girl, certainly not a kennel (jail) and I have no family, though my brother wouldn’t do it for anything. Approximately 8,395 days without a day off from my cats and I don’t regret a minute of it.

In my comment, I had said that I had not been away for about 12 years, not even for a day, so I’ve been with my cat, who is more than four years of age, throughout his entire life. Never has there been a day when I have not been with him. This makes it even harder to go away!

However, this pales into insignificance compared to Albert’s consistency.


Obviously it depends upon one’s lifestyle. Some people never go away anyway out of choice anyway and they are, therefore, potentially ideal human caretakers for their domestic cat. And there are people who live a very consistent and unchanging lifestyle which also gives them a head start in terms of the quality of their cat caretaking. Although it does not mean that they are automatically excellent cat caretakers. Although Albert very definitely is!

This discussion brings to mind the obvious conclusion that the lifestyles of some people are unsuited to domestic cat guardianship. It’s something which should be reflected on before a person adopts a cat companion. They should ask themselves whether their lifestyle is suited because if they travel a lot and are away a lot they are clearly unsuited. The decision to adopt a cat should be altruistic if there is any doubt about it. The decision should be made in favour of the cat’s welfare.

Personal choice

However, in my case I have not gone away because I did not want to leave my cat with either a cat sitter or put him into a boarding cattery. I am sort of trapped but in a nice way (although I’d like to go away sometimes). I think the same mentality is why Albert has not gone away for 23 years. No doubt he’ll make a comment to explain things to us. It’s a remarkable number.

13 thoughts on “8,395 days without a day off from my cats”

  1. 1984 to 2016 without a day off from the cats. December of 2016 I took a week long vacation. Worried about the cats everyday. Lol. The cats are the reason I do not go anywhere except briefly. I never thought about it though until I saw this article. It’s my life,that is how it goes. My sister took care of them while I was away. She travels often and I take care of her cats while she is away. Is it odd?

    • You’re like me Geri. I know exactly how you feel about this. You are not odd at all, just nice and you sacrifice your life somewhat for the welfare of your cats.

  2. Oh, and to follow up Michael’s invitation to explain why or how I do it: I just do, is the short answer. When I bought my home, I did so with the primary benefit of caring for my cats in mind. I didn’t have to deal with a roommate or landlord who had any objections. It also made buying the house extra special. Almost immediately I became disable and couldn’t work any more, which brought me closer to them and I could keep them safer and happier. It made me suitable, though financially not so much. I’m still in debt but after paying off my house I am able to have what’s called a HELOC (Home Equity Line Of Credit), meaning I can borrow on it and postpone repayment until I die or sell the property and at a much lower rate than via credit cards. So it’s not just devotion, it requires having the financial ability too. I’ve also benefited from the knowledge I glean from sites like this, to keep my cats as healthy as possible. I subscribe to petsummerreport dot com for detailed analysis of commercial cat food, read a lot online and bring all the skills and knowledge about everything in life to bear for this responsibility. That’s how I do it. As for why: my belief is that it’s simply the right thing to do, taking care of these guys. When regular people see us doing it right and getting such a kick out of it, it encourages them to do the same thing, I hope, which helps the species in general. Lots of animals have gone extinct on our planet and some people couldn’t care less about such things, but I think this one truly deserves to continue in a good way.

    Thanks again Michael for the recognition and for all you do, which is a major accomplishment for sure. You’re very active about animal cruelty too, which we all care about, and is a very difficult fight to endure. You can get compassion fatigue which can take a huge toll. Thankfully we have Poc to come to and regenerate our online enthusiasm.

  3. Thank you Michael and all who share in our experiences. I’ve regarded PoC as my online feline touchstone, the most consistent and reliable repository of useful cat insight and overall knowledge by far. I never imagined I’d be a focus of an article, and I’m truly overwhelmed and grateful. I appreciate your comments so much I’m tearing up. Thank you!

  4. Well I can literally state that I was with my Nikki Hana, who recently crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Sept. 7th, 2018, nearly every single day for almost 21 years. I adopted her a few days before or after Christmas in 1997. I was only gone for a period of 10 days, and another of 2 days in 2010, and then 2 days in 2011. Every single day I was gone was due to medical stays in the hospital. And I was worried horribly the whole time. Nikki was at home, with my husband…but he did not provide anywhere near the level of care that I did. 😢

    Previously I had a very bad experience leaving my kitty Sajja in 1990 at the veterinary hospital for a vacation with my husband. They spayed her during that time, and she was definitely traumatized. I lost her in a very unfortunate situation in 1991, when she was only 1 and 1/2 years old. 😥

    I still feel extremely guilty every day of my life about ever leaving them. I plan to adopt a new cat that needs love in the future, but I have just moved across the country here in the US. I am alone now. The thought of leaving for surgery or any reason worries me insanely.😰😭

    • Very admirable. It does take some forethought and contingency plans if you have to be away from them for more than a feeding period.

    • And 21 years with one cat! Sorry I glossed over that. That beats me in that category. They’re all impossible to say goodbye to but the longer you’re together the more difficult it is. So far my eldest cat I’d been with was for 17 years. My eldest now has been with me only 7, so we’ll have to live another 11 years to beat that. I’m always getting better at taking care of them but I don’t know if I’ll make it to 75, and dying before they do is another worry, so I’ll continue to just make life’s journey worthwhile and hope none of them have to miss me… because I wouldn’t want them to feel anywhere near the sadness I feel when I survive them.

  5. Albert is amazing. Cat guardians who show such devotion to guardianship are very special. Albert has a wonderfully humane attitude to cats, and intuitive knowledge of their psychology, these come across strongly in his comments.

    I have only spent 12 nights away since I returned from sorting Mum’s estate out in October 2007. The 12 nights in 2016, were an emergency hospital admission, unavoidable as I was unconscious with a sudden serious illness. My partner is devoted to our cats and in theory we could go away separately, but we like being here with our cats. They are our family.

    None of these absences would have been possible without my partner, who is a rock of goodwill and love.

    Like Elisa, I did a lot of travelling in my younger years, I choose to be here.

    With one insulin dependent cat, our hours away are also limited, but we cope happily. We used a boarding cattery twice in 31 years, both times were awful for our cats. So never again. Cat sitters have been cat savvy friends, but it has not always been successful, so now, with Jet needing skilled handling, we don’t use cat sitters.

    Huge props to people who choose to devote their lives to the love and care of cats.

    • I am overwhelmingly humbled and honored by your gracious comments. Thank you very much and it’s obvious you have the same devotion. Good for us and our cats.

  6. Amazing Albert! I just calculated mine and I’m at 3,349 days now. I chose this life and am very happy with it. I traveled for years as a photographer until I’m basically burnt-out with driving. My health isn’t really good enough to endure long drives to the beach and I can’t tolerate crowds.

    • Thank you Elisa and good for you and yours’ too. It usually is a choice, because it isn’t exactly the easier thing to do. Even if you don’t leave home for some reason it’s still work and it takes an emotional and financial toll. I’m glad we’re getting a little recognition but I know we do it for them, not us.


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