Should I adopt a cat?

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flygirl26
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Should I adopt a cat?

Post by flygirl26 » Fri May 31, 2019 1:48 pm

Hello new friends!!

I am new here to the site and this is my first forum so I hope this is an okay section to ask these questions.

Kind of a back story but bear with me. My husband and I are frequent travelers, he’s a pilot and I’m a flight attendant and luckily we are both on reserve in our current city, meaning we are generally home unless we get called out onto a trip. Our trips consist of 4 days, 3 nights where we are away from home. We like to bid for the same schedules so if we both get called out at the same time, no one is home for up to 3 nights. In total, we generally have 11-12 days off a month each.

Growing up my mom had a himalayan cat who I absolutely adored; she was so sweet and would cuddle with me every morning and was a wonderful friend and companion. Always sweet tempered and sometimes a little grouchy, but I could not have asked for a more wonderful pet. My husband and agree that having a dog is out of the question due to our busy work schedules and they are high maintenance. However we have been thinking of a cat, specifically a Himalayan that might be a little bit easier to take care of but still offer love and companionship.

We plan on investing in a pet fountain to keep their water purified and an auto feeder with a timer for when we’re away. We could even get two liter boxes if need be. I know cats can manage on their own for a few days but I’m more worried about the emotional aspect of the cat. I’ve known cats in the past that would just love to have their owners out of the house forever but with Himalayan’s, I’ve read they’re very loving creatures and want a lot of attention.

When my husband and I are home we will give them the utmost love and attention, but what are the negative impacts it can have on Himalayan’s specifically to have parents that are frequent travelers? Is this something that is possible and both parties would be happy? Or will it just be an all around bad idea?

Thank you everyone in advance for your input!

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Lilith
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Re: Should I adopt a cat?

Post by Lilith » Fri May 31, 2019 2:08 pm

Hi and welcome.

Sorry to sound negative but personally I'd say, no, I don't think this idea would work unless you could employ a reliable pet sitter for the days you're away. Locally, in the UK where I live, one charges £8 for a daily visit. Food and water arrangements over 3-4 days could work if a dried food diet was possible, but I'd hate to leave a cat tray or trays for that time. I don't see why the cat couldn't adapt to a sympathetic sitter in your absence but I feel that to be left alone regularly for days could lead to emotional problems, to say nothing of fouling (on beds, soft furnishings, in anxiety/protest) especially if the cat had filled the trays.

A cat does like company. The traditional view is that a cat is self sufficient, but cats are loving, and they need love. You can't pick them up and put them down.

Also, there's the long-term aspect. A healthy young cat is a very different prospect to the same cat ten or fifteen years on, who may need regular meds, be incontinent, frail, smelly and generally needy - but still enjoy life and share a bond of love with you, although it may need round the clock geriatric care.

I wish I could offer you more positive advice. But do consider the pet sitter, if you can find a good one, or a friend or neighbour who can undertake to be absolutely reliable.

Hope other people are along with more advice and hope you find a satisfactory solution - all the best.

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lilynmitz
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Re: Should I adopt a cat?

Post by lilynmitz » Fri May 31, 2019 4:07 pm

I'm afraid I'm going to agree with Lilith. I look after a neighbour's cats when they go away for the odd week here and there during school holidays, and despite being in their own home and having garden access, they are depressed and anxious when the owners are away, despite me making a fuss of them, and both have shown stress related conditions during these periods. My cats are very insecure when we're away, and it takes them a while to settle down again when we get home. I used to have a cat sitter for a while, and now my cat-owning neighbours cover for me, but neither is ideal and the cats hate it and often see the sitters as intruders into their safe space rather than benefactors delivering food.

Cats are not as independent and self-contained as their reputation suggests (usually by non-cat people); they are much more social creatures than many would have us believe, and they don't like this level of isolation. Cats also find security in routine, and this can't be replicated by a cat sitter when you're away.

Pet sitters also can't pick up on the early subtle signs of ill health that an observant owner would, (I turned up one day to find my neighbour's cat having a fit, and it was only when I checked her bedding that I realised this had probably been going on for several days. Had their owners been there, she would have been taken to the vet much sooner.) In the event of urgent or repeated vet visits being required, particularly as they get older, you'll have a problem.

As Lilith says, there is also a risk of stress related behaviours such as soiling in the house and destructiveness, whatever breed you go for. And if you do allow outdoor access, unless you have a fully functioning microchip cat flap there's a risk of intruding cats causing problems, along with the risk of the cat going missing or getting injured on the road/cat fights etc which no one will be there to pick up on. I've had all of this with the neighbour's cats I care for. And this is just for the the odd week off two or three times a year.

I'm sorry, but I just don't think this is a good idea, as you're putting your own (understandable) yearning for a cat a long way ahead of the cat's interests, and that isn't the right reason for getting one. I have cats as I want to give them a good home where all their needs are met. You want cats to fulfill your desire for a cat around the house. There's a big difference. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not criticising you for wanting to do this, but I don't think it's kind to put your wishes before a cat's needs. I would suggest it's better to wait until your lifestyle is more settled.
Last edited by lilynmitz on Fri May 31, 2019 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kay
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Re: Should I adopt a cat?

Post by Kay » Fri May 31, 2019 4:25 pm

the only way I could see this working is if you found someone who would live-in whilst you were away

I had a friend who made just such an arrangement with a mature student, who welcomed the chance to get away from her flat share for a few days whenever she could to be able to study in peace

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Ruth B
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Re: Should I adopt a cat?

Post by Ruth B » Fri May 31, 2019 5:51 pm

I have to agree with the rest, the only way it would be close to being fair on the cat is if you could get a reliable cat sitter to come in several times a day. I would also suggest that you would be better with two cats not one so they would be company for each other when no one else was around.

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Re: Should I adopt a cat?

Post by Mollycat » Fri May 31, 2019 7:29 pm

Regardless of breed, I wouldn't entertain this idea. Quite apart from a cat or two being left regularly for half a week at a time, there are so many practical issues. Safety - accidents and illnesses happen, sometimes 3 days can be extremely serious. Outdoor access? Litter trays not touched for 3 days, smelly for you and distressing for cat. Food would have to be dry only for half the week. Any course of medication couldn't be completed, perhaps not such a concern when young but they do get older.

No, sorry, but I think this would be a selfish decision and not in the cat's best interests. If you love kitty cuddles how about volunteering at a local shelter or something? Sorry for not sugar-coating my response as others have done, I'm afraid I've got to an age where I open my mouth and apologise later if any offence was caused that wasn't intended.

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Re: Should I adopt a cat?

Post by fjm » Fri May 31, 2019 8:24 pm

I have to agree with all the others. What you are asking for is an animal that loves your company while you are around to give it, but will be equally happy regularly being left all alone when you are away - not really a viable scenario. I think either you need to rearrange your schedules so that one of you is nearly always home, meaning that you spend far less time together, o accept that your lifestyle is incompatible with having pets.

As Mollycat suggests, perhaps, rather than having an "own" cat, you could help out with socialising cats and kittens at a local rescue?

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