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Do You Put a Cat in Charge Before You Leave the House?

Naming a feline house-captain is routine for me; here's how I determine which cat gets the title.

Angie Bailey  |  Apr 13th 2015


When my human daughter was about 12 years old, I left her in charge of her 10-year-old brother when I left the house to ran short errands. What does “in charge” mean? Well, in the case of those two, it probably meant she bossed him around, took ownership of the TV remote control, and raided the pantry. Now they’re much older and no longer need supervision when left alone. But I still feel the need to leave someone in a leadership role when I’m out and about, even if the one at the helm might sleep the entire time.

These days when I take off, I leave one of my three cats in charge. Right about now you’re either thinking, “What does that even mean?” or “Oh, yeah — I do that, too!”


Who’s in charge today?

Naming the feline house-captain has become a ritual of sorts. I walk around the house, identifying the location of each cat, and then point to one of them and say, “You’re in charge!” Then I leave, knowing the homestead is in good hands, um, paws. Well, “knowing” might be too strong a word — let’s go with “hoping.”

How do I decide who’s in charge? Believe it or not, a little bit of thought goes into my choice. Sometimes it’s a very little bit of thought, but the selection is never willy-nilly. Typically, I recall which of the kitties had demonstrated the most responsible behavior that day. If one of them had been acting particularly crazy, or had been caught counter cruising, they were out of the pool of potential head honchos. Then I have to decide which of the two remaining cats seemed to have had the best head on their shoulders that day. Yes, I think about these things.


Cosmo shakes his head at the tomfoolery.

Cosmo’s usually the one left in charge because he mostly keeps himself out of trouble. Sure, he aimlessly wanders around and stalks me most of the day, but he doesn’t rock the boat too often. I imagine when I leave him in charge, he sits around and stares at Saffy and Phoebe, waiting for one of them to cut loose so he can note the misbehavior. He really should have one of those orange safety-patrol sashes. Aww — cute! He’d eventually just walk away from the girls, separating himself from potential trouble.

Then again, he might also meditate on a photo of me, while counting the minutes until I return home. Yeah, that’s probably his go-to move.


Saffy: “I thought you were gone.”

If Saffy hasn’t been all over the kitchen counter or relentlessly jacking the other cats’ food, I give in and leave her in charge of the household. I’m pretty sure she’s the laziest one when it comes to holding down the fort. My best guess is she either snoozes the entire time or becomes an opportunist and explores any kitchen surface that’s normally off-limits. If she does spend her “in charge” time doing the latter, I’m certain she doesn’t allow Cosmo or Phoebe to join her. Being in charge means you can be the boss of everybody. Saffy likes that.


Phoebe: “I’ve got enough packing tape for everybody! Party!”

Phoebe? Well, she’s my little wild child. I can only imagine the shenanigans that happen while she’s leading the pack. I’m guessing wild catnip parties and all kinds of neighborhood cats whooping it up in every corner of my house. Saffy would go through all the guests’ belongings and pilfer anything edible. Cosmo would sit in the corner and shake his head, glad that he’s not the one who’s going to get in trouble. In fact, he’d probably think I’d reward him for his stellar behavior.  

When you leave your home, do you leave one of your cats “in charge”? Tell us in the comments! 

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About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (originated right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.