Cat care when we're not there
November 28, 2018 11:32 AM   Subscribe

This is a two-parter! 1. Do you have a Boston-area pet sitter recommendation? 2. How about suggestions for entertaining said cat when there are no humans around to throw things?

1. The sitter: we're looking for a gentle, trustworthy person who would like some money in exchange for feeding, watering, and petting this magnificent creature. The tough part: we have friends who sit for us most of the time, but we don't have anyone lined up yet for Christmas eve and morning. There might be other occasions in the future when we might want a sitter's services, so not just a one-time gig. I would really like to get someone through personal "this person cared for my cat and was wonderful" testimonials rather than relying on fliers.

About the gig: your standard feeding, brushing, etc. plus one nightly pill in a treat pocket. Bonus for chin rubs. She's very mellow. We're a ten minute walk from the T (red line) and there's on-street parking. We pay well.

2. Fun for the single cat: my partner and I adopted the Constable, our ten year old, indoor-only cat at the beginning of this year. I work a 9-5 gig. Mr. Lemonade makes his own hours and he's home a lot, but there are still long stretches where the Constable is on her own. I know she loves her naps, but worry that she's bored and lonely. Getting another cat to keep her company is not an option, but I'm sure we can come up with something!

The Constable loves to play, but rarely engages unless something is actively moving. That last part makes her the world's most well-behaved cat, so we're not complaining, but she doesn't really know how to make her own fun.

We've tried a wobbly toy with a treat inside, but she never touches it. She's not super food-motivated (that's another Ask, but suffice to say we've had the full vet work-up. She's healthy, just not a big eater.) Things she loves: chasing a cat dancer (a bunch of feathers dangling off a wand,) chasing toys we throw, stalking the laser pointer, and ecstatically mauling objects laced with catnip. I would like to get some kind of amusement that we could leave on all day that would spontaneously move around and give her something to bat or run after. Ideally this magical toy wouldn't cost hundreds of dollars and would be available somewhere other than Amazon.

I suspect the answer is a robotic cat toy, but there are a kajillion of them out there at all kinds of price points, and I trust personal recommendations over online reviews. Or maybe there's a brilliant diy idea I'm overlooking.

Many thanks for any and all suggestions!
posted by prewar lemonade to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have a cat very similar to yours, whose main attraction to playing is playing with his person. He's never shown a whole lot of interest in toys that run on their own. He does love new things brought into the apartment, though. New empty box - excitement for days! New pile of dirty sheets on the floor, hooray! The only exception to this that I have ever found is packing paper, the kind that comes in delivery boxes and is stiff enough that it crinkles and you can stand it up so it can build caves or tunnels to crawl around in. He adores this and will play in it for hours.

My suggestion would be to spoil him with lots of his favorite cat traps (empty boxes, your old shoes, whatever floats his kitty boat), so that he will have lots of new exciting things to sit in and sniff while you're gone. Bring them out just before you leave, and let him discover them.
posted by backwards compatible at 11:48 AM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would post on Nextdoor for recommendations (on my local site, people are very quick to respond re petsitters). But I also use Trusted Housesitters (as a petsitter), which I think is a good resource for longer trips. Someone will stay with your pet the whole time, versus short visits. There's a fee to be a member for a year but I think I can share a discount code. You don't pay the housesitter, as they're just looking for a free place to stay.
posted by pinochiette at 11:57 AM on November 28, 2018

How about a Roomba or other automatic floor-crawling vac? I saw one of these in a TV ad recently that has extending bristles that wave around to gather in the dust.
posted by JimN2TAW at 12:07 PM on November 28, 2018

I have a friend who does pet sitting; can you tell what part of the red line you're on (Cambridge/Somerville or south of the city?) I'll ask if she's around.
posted by gideonfrog at 12:24 PM on November 28, 2018

OMG for question #2, what you want is this 'concealed motion cat toy.' There's a reason it's the most popular cat toy on Amazon. My cat has learned to turn it on by herself, and plays with it literally dozens of times a day. She adores it. And my cat is like yours -- she's not food-motivated, likes lasers, loves cat dancers.

(Sorry it's on Amazon but I am sure you can find it other places too.)
posted by Susan PG at 12:39 PM on November 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ours were kinda meh about the Hot Pursuit toy Susan linked; they'd sit and watch it for a while then lose interest and drift away.

They did for a while enjoy ball-in-track toys for entertaining themselves: Crazy Circle, Turbo Scratcher; although these too fall out of use if we leave them out,
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:37 PM on November 28, 2018

(Sorry, my friend is booked up this Christmas.)
posted by gideonfrog at 3:01 PM on November 28, 2018

I'm ten minutes off the Davis end of the red and love kitties. If we're in the same area I'd be happy to come play with your fur ball.
posted by danapiper at 3:52 PM on November 28, 2018

If it helps potential sitters know if they can find us, we're in Cambridge, close to Porter and Harvard. Please feel free to MeMail us if you don't want to post someone's info publicly. Or if you'd like to volunteer. (Hmm, maybe I should have posted this to Projects...)

Loving all the suggestions so far, thank you!
posted by prewar lemonade at 5:40 PM on November 28, 2018

I will memail you my cat sitter’s info (we’re in Medford right by Tufts). We found her through a recommendation from our vet, but it then turned out she also cat sits for people my husband works with, and for a house down the street from me. She’s great, and extremely patient with the one of my two cats who requires multiple pills twice a day. Said cat is not always super cooperative about just eating the pill pockets.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 7:48 PM on November 28, 2018

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