Disasters when you’re away – how do cats handle it?

As many of you have seen or read, I have three cats.  They are all boys and they all have a very special space in my heart.  I adore my cats, as many of our followers adore theirs too.  But this is a story about my three boys who recently went through what I would think is the most stressful situation any cat that resides in a loving home could go through.  Their humans left them alone with a stranger and a disaster occurred!

First of all, if you’ve read any of my previous blogs they are mostly about how to take care of your cat, I often write about things that I feel get misunderstood or are just not known about our fur babies. But this blog is different.  It is a new year, with many new prospects for everyone, but our year didn’t start, or should I say end in such a happy way! Here’s what happened!

My husband and I travel a lot.  We enjoy little weekends away, and once a year we go away for about a month to tour a part of the world, whether locally or abroad. We don’t have any kids, but my cats are considered our kids.  The problem is, we cannot take them with us!  I hate this fact, but the only way around this is to make sure that they are taken care of in the best way possible.  As similar as possible to how they have it at home with us.  Fact is, anytime you disturb a cat’s routine, they don’t like it!  Anyone with a cat will know this.   Cats are stubborn creatures, and they like to have things just right.  My three boys are no different!  For the past two years I have taken them to a cattery close to where we stay, as they hate the car.  The less stress I can bring upon them during the dreaded “vacation”, the better! The problem with this, and just to note, the cattery I took them to is brilliant, but my boys would always come back a little thinner than I’d like, and just not themselves.  They come back with some sort of wound or irritation that needs extra medical care.  So this December, when we went to visit my parents in the Cape, I decided to try something different.  I researched pet sitters about a month leading up to our time away.  I knew I was leaving it last minute, but I had already booked them into the cattery, and they had been there in November when we went away to the Kruger National Park for a weekend, and Sancho, my middle boy, came home very thin.  And it was just for a weekend!  So I decided, this is not happening anymore.

So Pet sitters it was.  I found a company (I will upload their details on our Recommended section on Kattak) who, thank goodness, had capacity to look after my boys over December.  I was very happy with how they handled the admin leading up to our time away, and with no time I was meeting the young gentleman who was lucky enough to be chosen to look after my boys!  He seemed perfect for them as he was soft spoken, and just all round a nice guy! Don’t worry, he did nothing to my boys… let’s just clear that up!

The disaster I’m referring to was, on boxing day (as these sorts of things never happen at times that suit us), our geyser burst!  We were away from the 22ndof December and returned on the 30th… so you can imagine my stress when we got the news!  On a positive note, imagine if the cats were at the cattery, and no one was coming to our home twice a day?  We would not have known about our geyser until we got back which would have resulted in even a bigger disaster. 

So now you’re wondering, how are cats affected by this situation?  Well, I can tell you, with my three boys this could have been the worst thing that ever happened – their worst thing in the world – water – was everywhere!  When our pet sitter got to our house the morning of Boxing day, he called us immediately and said: “The cats are fine, your home is not!”.  Of course, this is not the kind of news you want to hear while you’re 500m up a mountain! But, we took it in our stride and decided what do we do next?  I called the pet sitter back and told him to urgently switch off the geyser, and we managed to get a friend out to our place, after planning keys with the pet sitter etc, for him to check the extent of our damages.  It was not good. 

So, that is the just of what happened, and without getting into too much detail of how we handled it from afar, I can tell you this, our pet sitter was our life saviour!  He managed to come through to our place a few times a day until we returned to mop up the overflow of water and just keep it under control.

But here’s the thing, my three boys have never been through so much stress, and finally when we got home, they wouldn’t even come near us for a good few hours, which is not like them!  With all the people in and out and missioning around the house, they were basically left to find their space to hide where they felt safe.

With me being away from them, I hated knowing they were going through all of this and I could not control their stress levels. Usually when something happens in our home, or if I’m anticipating something, I make sure that they are in a room that is far away from the stress, and they have all they need should it be longer than necessary.  But in this case, I was not here.  I didn’t expect the pet sitter to try to handle them too much as he too was stressful for the boys.  He was a stranger after all.  If you know my three boys, I have two very timid boys, and one just loves everyone, but don’t try to pick him up if he doesn’t know you.  But, it was what it was, and it is now, as it is!  When we got home, we obviously had to get plumbers in immediately to sort out the geyser, and here I was more relaxed knowing I could control the boy’s whereabouts.  I put them in my husband’s office, along with all their things, and that’s where they remained until the house was “liveable” for them again somewhat! 

Ending off I only have one thing to say, cat’s hate change, they hate anything that is not the norm.  They are stubborn little creatures who want everything in life to be as comfortable as possible.  Unfortunately for four days my boys had the complete opposite, from water pouring everywhere, to strangers coming in and out of the home, to loud banging when things were being repaired.  My boys have been through the worst stress over the past few weeks. 

So, here’s to a start of a new year that will be less change, less car rides, and less strangers for all cats.  As for us humans, may it be just the opposite, with lots of love from our kitties!

Wishing all our readers a prosperous 2019!!! 

With love,


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