Cat Sitting Issue

Updated on August 30, 2018
J.G. asks from Champaign, IL
17 answers

We are going away and I had arranged for in-home pet care for the cat, dog and fish. Our home was vacant for a significant amount of time, and greatly neglected, and it's in the woods. We have been slowly working to keep the mice out, but for every hole we fill, another hole seems to get created. Needless to say, the cat catches a mouse about once every 7-12 days.

Because of this we took him with us last month when we went away. It was a short 2 hours drive, and he did great. He has no problem adjusting to a new environment, as long as he has his dog and children.

We are going away to family camp in two weeks and it's a long 6 hour drive without stops. I just do not think this is tolerable for the cat. He meows the whole time he is in a car. He hates it.

So I have decided to board him, but my oldest -it's her cat- is very concerned about him being lonely and missing us. We can bring him with us (the dog is coming with us), but I can't figure out how to handle such a long drive. It's not like we can just take him on a short walk to pee, like with a dog.

I guess I'm looking for reassurance that boarding is the way to go here. I wish my parents would just take the animals (we did a short stay in their house while the floors got finished and the cat was as happy as could be). He also loved our holiday last month, so he is for sure not a creature of habit. He probably would love camp, but the drive seems too long to me.


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So What Happened?

would any of you like to come and clean a dead mouse out of a litter box?

I cannot find anyone willing to take care of a cat that will be leaving them ripped apart mice.

We will be in a cabin.

The fish tank is going to have an automatic feeder on it, and they will get a scrubbed out tank before we go.

Featured Answers


answers from San Francisco on

I would never board my cat, nor would I take her on a long drive. I have someone come once a day to feed and give fresh water, scoop the litter box and just spend some time with her. And deal with a dead mouse if it happens. I don't understand why you can't just do this? Even a local tween/teen could handle it.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I would hire someone come to the house once a day to feed and pet him (and throw away any dead mice). This is what most people do with a cat. He will be fine.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

So is the concern that the cat will catch a mouse or two while you're gone and you don't want a rotting mouse carcass in your house while you're away? If that's the issue, why not just plan on having your pet sitter take care of that? Seems like a fairly normal pet sitter duty. Even a pet sitting teen should be fine with kids used to fish the dead mice out of the pool all the time. I'd pay them if they got them out of the pool filter too because that's an extra degree of gross. Just offer a bonus for mouse disposal and let your cat stay at home where it will be comfortable.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I would get a pet sitter to come twice a day. One time in the morning to feed, water and clean littler box and second time to check on the house and play with the cat. If you do that the cat should be just fine.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

ETA: my girlfriend has a business of pet sitting. She gives cats insulin doses and other medications. She also cleans up after the dogs and cats - that's her job. yes. she find dead squirrels and chipmunks by the front door. She does her job and picks them up.


A six hour drive for ANYONE must have breaks - it is NOT healthy to sit for 6 hours. You'll need to stop for gas too - right? At least ONCE - so plan your route to allow for short stops or 2 decent (15 to 30 minutes)

I do know people who take their cats on walks with a leash and all. However, it's something they did from the time the cat was a kitten and it was used to it.

I don't understand why you don't have a personal animal sitter come and take care of the pets while you are away. Finding mice isn't a bad thing for a cat and if the sitter comes 3x a day? You should be golden.

How do you plan on containing the cat while you are camping? Keeping him in a crate the whole time? My concern would be that if NOT on a leash - my cat would roam and be considered prey by other animals. so I would choose to keep my cat at home.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

ETA: As a "cat person"? Yes, I would expect to find dead animals (presents) either by the door or someplace. Most pet sitters expect cats to leave presents.

Is your dog going with you too?

Your post is confusing.

I don't understand why you feel like you need to take this cat with you on vacation. If it's a "house cat"? It's NOT ready for the great outdoors! It would end up getting killed by something else. And I don't get why your cat catching mice every 7 to 12 days is a reason to take it CAMPING with you.

A six hour drive is a tad too much for ANYONE, let alone a cat.

Get an in-home pet sitter. Have them come in and take care of your dog, cat and fish. I would NOT board my animals. I would pay to have someone come in and keep them at home.

I hope that you don't drive six hours straight. I couldn't handle that. No child should have to sit in a car for six hours either. That's just beyond crazy.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My mom once sedated a cat for a long drive - could you check into that with your vet? She had to take the cat (it was a move).

We did a 5 hour drive with our cat once - it was awful. Was a creature of habit. Peed just as we arrived. Meowed entire way. Never again! But very fussy cat and was unhappy to be moved. Your cat sounds much more adaptable.


If it were me, I'd have someone come in and feed the cat.

As for the mouse - you might find one when you get home as a present. Ours growing up sometimes did that. We'd find one on the doorstep.

My teens pet sit. They get paid $10 a visit. I think one visit a day would be fine.

Reading through the other responses, now I get it - are you concerned that a pet sitter wouldn't want to deal with a dead mouse, or that it would be rotting when you get back? How long are you gone for? I think most people would be ok handling it. It's not that big a deal. If it's a teen, they can always call their parent if they aren't able to deal. (Mine would be able to). Mine deal with dead birds in windows, dead animals on our property etc. and they have been since young. I think it would be ok.

As for the driving 6 hours - I think people are misreading that - it's a 6 hours long drive if you drove it straight - but you'll be stopping for breaks I take it.

I think you're calling a cottage a camp - it's not that you are camping.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'm confused. you take the cat with you because he catches mice?

you say you arranged in-home pet care, but then you took your cat last time and plan to board him this time. what happened to the in-home?

i wish my cats were better about mousing.

i also don't understand why you don't take breaks on the drive. or are you saying that's just how long it takes if you don't stop?

cuz the dog will be pretty miserable otherwise.

boarding is stressful for cats. i'd definitely do in-home pet care. what are you going to do with the fish?

there's no way i'd take a cat on a 6 hour car ride. but we always get pet sitters to come here.

ETA i have a cat and know that means sometimes i clean up dead things. you have a cat and know that means sometimes you clean up dead things. your cat sitter, if you hire one that knows anything about cats at least, knows that cat sitting means sometimes you clean up dead things.

your reasoning makes no sense to me.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

No, don't board him. Have him stay home.
You either have someone come check on him or possibly leave lots of food and water in several places in the house. And I mean leave lots of food & water & 2 litter boxes.
Don't put him in camp.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

If you must take him. I've noticed mycat has a bathroom schedule. It's typically the morning. Very rarely has had a BM any other part of the day. My sister went across the country with her cat in a small motorhome. They just packed the litter box. I'd say boarding is the way to go. I'd also say taking kitty will be a pain and worrisome but it's definitely possible with a little creativity.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I’d not mention the mouse thing to any potential cat sitters. You have no idea if it will happen or not. If it does, so be it. Chances are, they will scoop it up and dispose of it without comment. Our cat sitter could care less if our cat catches a mouse. She just considers it part of country living.
If the cat catches mice, that’s a good thing. If your house will be empty, you want the cat there to keep the rodent population from coming back.
As for where the mice might be coming in, check your water heater overflow... put some mesh over the end of the overflow pipe so they can’t get in after they climb up it. (That’s where our mouse entry point was! No more mice since we blocked it!)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You said you have arranged for in home pet sitting. Then you talk about boarding and taking cat with you. Why aren't you going with your first plan?

You mention your daughter is against boarding. Is she also against in home pet care? How old is she? If she's a kid, why are you letting her make this decision?

I've had several cats and left them at home with a bag of food and a barely trickling water spigot and large bowl of water, when I traveled. They were fine. Cats are loners. My current cats hide out in the basement. So.....the argument that cat will miss you is not a reason to take him with you. It's likely the cat will miss you but he will be Ok. He will not be traumatized.

When I moved and was on the road 3 days, I took our cat in a rented small truck. He had access to both front and back. I took a litter box. I left him in the truck when I stopped for the night. He was happy.

I believe that pets, while part of the family, the people make decisions that are best for the family. I've taken a well behaved dog with me on short trips. He was anxious, needing much of my attention.

Will having the pets with you enhance your time away.or be more of a burden. Will they enjoy the time?

I would not board an animal. They will be confined in a cage most of the time. They are also exposed to germs and possibly be sick.

In my experience, the cat was better off staying home.

As to the mice, I always asked someone else to pick up bodies. Then a few years ago, I was the only one to do it. I put my hand in a small bag and picked it up like picking up dog poop and dropped it in the garbage can. Provide plastic bags. Hire someone who is willing to try it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would set out a bunch of mouse traps and leave the cat home with a sitter. If it is a neighbor kid, ask if her parents would be willing to check on the traps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

If boarding the cat is your best option, then go with that. You are making a choice that will work best for your family circumstances. Sure having someone come to my house works for me, but I have relatives who live close-by along with a few neighbors I trust. You may not have that available.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Leave the cat at home. Just Don’t mention the mouse issue before you go to pet sitter if it really is that big of a problem. Let it be a surprise.


answers from Boston on

Board him. He'll be fine. Or get someone to come in once a day to feed him and give him water.



answers from Amarillo on

Take a litter box with you for potty breaks as well as a little bowl for food and water. We did this with our cat when we did a good 6 hour drive to our daughter's house.

But boarding might be the trick.

Keep us posted.

the other S.

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