Your Cats’ Quirky Behaviors: Do You Tell Your Cat Sitter?


Sometimes we forget about our cats’ unique quirks. We’ve incorporated them into our lives. But what about when a stranger watches over your cats, or someone who doesn’t know your cats on a daily basis? Is that person going to understand what it means when your cat takes off in a tearing run for no reason at all?

It’s wise to give some thought to how you could alert a sitter to nuances about your cats. Here are some strange things that I’ve grown used to in my cats, which I make sure to point out to my cat sitter. Fortunately, I have an excellent cat sitter, who seems to understand (or at least take in stride) why I’m so anal about cat details.

1. Kieran will abdicate his food to the others, so make sure he gets enough

Do you have a cat who sits back while others dive into his food? I do. Your cat sitter may need to know this so she can feed that cat in a special place.

2. Zorro is a former feral, and even though he’s completely tame, he may be somewhat jumpy

Many of you probably read about my Ragdoll Zorro’s gradual transformation from matted outdoor feral cat who survived an awful winter to tame, flopping indoor attention-lover. He LOVES attention. However, he can be unpredictably jumpy. There’s no consistency to this, and it’s rare, but it might happen if a noise or movement surprises him — and a stranger adds a new element to the mix.

Smiling boy hugging a cat by

3. Zorro may really miss me, but brushing will make it all better

I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with this one. Zorro really had a hard time when I had to travel for a few days recently. He’s very attached. When I had to travel again, I worried about how he’d get through it. Then I remembered the one thing that Zorro will come running for and that takes his mind off everything else. I told the cat sitter to brush him if he seemed to need cheering up — and it worked. It didn’t require much — just a few strokes of the brush — and Zorro was happily flopping again.

4. Zorro loves to run in front of you when going down the stairs; be careful he doesn’t trip you

Some cats do this, and honestly, I don’t know how to train them out of it. So warn your cat sitter, if any stairs are involved, so that she doesn’t end up falling head over heels down the stairs because of your enthusiastic cat.

5. My cat often sounds crabby, but it’s just the way he talks

Rama has a crabby sounding meow, but after years of living with him, I have come to realize that it’s just the way his voice is. So I’ll tell the cat sitter this. If she needed to discern whether he really was crabby, for some reason, she’d need to look for other signs of it — body language, for example.

Animal lover on bed with cat by

6. Chester is a lover, but he’s wiggly and doesn’t want to be held, usually

Chester’s the kind of adorable fat-faced orange cat that you just want to pick up and snuggle. But he’s squiggly and strong. A savvy cat sitter who understands cats is going to know that not all cats want to be grabbed and cuddled, and that some cats need time. But not all people watching your cats may be cat savvy, so help the person out the best you can.

7. Norton LOVES to open doors and he’s good at it; make sure he doesn’t get stuck anywhere

Some cats have the mind of an engineer. Norton is one. He loves to figure out a problem, and you can almost see the wheels turning in his head. Make sure this kind of cat can’t get into trouble when you are gone, and point out possibilities to your cat sitter.

8. Zorro has a sensitive gut and will get sick if he gets in to the Fancy Feast

Always Zorro! But it’s true — Zorro has a lot of issues. Make sure your cat sitter knows if certain food is off-limits to certain cats.

Cute cat by

Here are some I’ve heard from other people. Any sound familiar?

  • My cat doesn’t like to be approached from behind, or be surprised. This is fairly self explanatory. Some cats are jumpier than others.
  • My cat doesn’t like to be touched in this spot. It might be their belly (common for many cats), but it might be a really strange and unpredictable place. I’ve never had a cat like this, but some cats hate having their tail touched, for example, or a particular spot on their head.
  • My cat is deathly afraid of this room. If there’s some place in your living space that has a certain effect on your cat, let the cat sitter know. Or if your cat goes to town on the toilet paper when he’s bored, have the sitter keep the bathroom door shut.

So, what would you tell your cat sitter? Are there strange nuances about your cats that your sitter should know about? Please share in the comments!

More by Catherine Holm:

About Catherine Holm: Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author ofThe Great Purr, the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.

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