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Q&A with Kathrin Burckhardt and Julie Barnes, Co-Founders of Cat in a Flat

I do love my cats, we have two, Rosie and Maddie and they are such a part of the family that we miss them terribly when we go away. I’m lucky enough to have a very committed Dad who comes and feeds the cats twice a day (by bike I might add, aged 81) and chats to them and cuddles them, but in the past I’ve had to use a cattery (terrible experience for both of us) or a kind neighbour. With that in mind I was intrigued to find out what the experts had to say about leaving our four legged friends when we go on holiday.

'Maddie' who has no regard for ladylike behaviour and is quite daft.

‘Maddie’ who has no regard for ladylike behaviour and is quite daft.

How long is it acceptable to leave 2 cats alone in a house providing they have cat litter and food?

This all depends on the owner and their cats. Are they outdoor or indoor cats? Have the cats been left alone previously and are they comfortable with a remote feeder?

Although every cat owner knows their own cats best and should make their own judgement call, we advise our Cat in a Flat community to have their kitties checked in on at least once a day. As even though you think your cats are independent and will be fine, things can go wrong. For example, they could’ve accidentally spilled their water bowl over, or maybe the feeder didn’t open or they managed to injure themselves in some way or another.

Do cats get emotional? Can they understand the concept of time the way we do?

Just like humans, cats do get very emotional, and all cat owners and cat sitters can easily identify when their fur baby is happy with them or not impressed.
We’ve recently written a few articles on how to read a cat’s body language, facial expressions and tail movements. These are all ways in how they share their emotions with us.
Cats are creatures of habit and feel most relaxed when their little routines are followed. Cuddle before breakfast is at 7am, playtime is 10am, oh and dinner time is 6pm, don’t be late or you’ll know all about it!

One of my cats is always glued to my side when I get back from holiday, suggesting she’s really noticed I’ve been gone, is this likely to be the case? Or am I being sentimental?

Of course your fur baby will miss you, although it’s true that some kitties are more needy than others.
In most cases we’ve had cat owners come home and be a little upset as they could see that their cat hardly missed them. From Cat in a Flat’s point of view this shows the sign of a great cat sitter.

Can you ever really trust a cattery?

There are some great catteries out there, just make sure you do your research first. Read the reviews and pay them a visit first.
When considering your different cat care options, you should think about your kitty’s personality, cats are very territorial and, in most cases, prefer the comforts of their own home. That’s of course why we think having a lovely cat sitter to pop in to feed and play with your kitty is the better option.

Is it ok for a neighbour to pop in and feed the cats or do they need more ‘cuddle’ time?

This depends on your neighbour. If they don’t really like cats then you do run the risk of them just popping in for 5 minutes and not really paying attention to your cat at all. Also, it does become a little awkward asking the favour if you go away often.
While you’re away your cat will miss you, so that’s why it’s important to have someone come in and spend some quality time with them. Through playing and cuddling your cat will feel less ‘abandoned’ and more relaxed upon your return. Another great aspect about having a cat sitter is they can send you daily photos and updates, which definitely helps you feel less guilty and puts your mind at ease while you’re away.

What brands of automatic feeders and litter trays do you recommend?

We prefer cats to be given fresh food daily. As well as monitoring their diet, feeding them is all part of the daily routine and connection you build with your kitty.
Automatic litter trays are ok, but please remember that cats are very good at hiding the fact that they’re unwell. So monitoring how many times they use the toilet on a daily basis is important.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathrin Burckhardt and Julie Barnes are Co-Founders of Cat in a Flat. Cat in a Flat is a trusted cat-sitting community created by cat lovers for cat lovers. Its mission is to help cats stay in the comfort of their own homes by connecting cat owners with trusted, insured, local, cat-loving sitters. https://catinaflat.com

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