Adventures in Kittysitting
March 20, 2006 6:50 AM   Subscribe

I've offered to take care of a friend's cat for a week; a previous meeting between her cat and mine was a staring contest with occasional hissing. What can I do to make this week go smoothly?

I know the conventional wisdom about introducing a new cat into a house (confining it to one room for awhile, etc.), but my apartment isn't particularly conducive to that. Both cats are about 8-10 months old; mine is an 11lb. neutered male, hers a 6lb., recently-spayed female. I took him to her place for a brief meeting last week, which wound up with him sitting inside his carrier or under the bed hissing at her when she came near. He lived in a shelter for about 2 months, so he has been exposed to other animals before, and seemed to get along with them.

I understand the hissing is pretty normal, and I don't think the two of them will actually fight (I work from home, so I'll be around to break up any scuffles anyway), but I was hoping the AskMe crowd might have some insight into making this week as pleasant as possible for both kitties. Thanks.
posted by uncleozzy to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
They're not going to become friends in just a week. You could try Feliway to calm them down, you could try keeping them in separate rooms (although that won't work too well in your apartment), you could just dump them together and keep a squirt gun handy. But seriously? If your friend lives close by, leave the cat at her place, ask for a spare key and visit once a day to clean the litter box and feed and pet the kitty. All of the animals will be much happier.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:02 AM on March 20, 2006

I believe the usual advice is just to let them meet with the new cat confined to a carrier for a while. That way they can see and smell each other without contact. There will be hissing and skulking around and evil-eyeballing of each other for several days at a minimum. Suggest you set up an extra food and water bowl for the second cat, not near the first cat's food. (She's eating my food! NOOOO!) Also a second litter box if possible.

Does the other cat have to come over? It would be easier from a cat point of view for you to just feed and water the other cat in her own home.
posted by jellicle at 7:05 AM on March 20, 2006

Response by poster: I figured "leave her at home and check on her" would be the verdict (and probably should have mentioned it above; it's definitely an option). I just felt a little bad leaving her alone all week, but you guys are probably right: from a cat-stress view, it'd probably be best.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:18 AM on March 20, 2006

For a week a cat won't mind being mostly by him or herself. You can arrange to be in the house for a while when you go by (bring a movie, or a book to read, or some work) if you're worried about the cat being isolated, but chances are the cat will say hi, eat and ignore you the rest of the time you're there unless she is a really social animal. If you'd really like to have them at your place, consider the bathroom as a location for one of the cats (the new one, preferably) and if that's where your cat's litter box is, you can move it to just outside the door and get a new box for visitor kitty.
posted by jessamyn at 7:28 AM on March 20, 2006

one word: CATNIP
posted by Gungho at 7:57 AM on March 20, 2006

I've had some success with butter on each other's noses. On the other hand, if it does work you have two greasy cats to deal with.
posted by tkolar at 9:45 AM on March 20, 2006

My cats do just fine with a cat-sitter dropping by one hour/day; I'd second Jessamyn's suggestion. If anything, moving the cat to your place will cause it considerably more angst.
posted by thomas j wise at 12:13 PM on March 20, 2006

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