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Lonely cat?

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Morrisonker | 03:53 Wed 08th Jun 2005 | Animals & Nature
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Hi, I'm asking on behalf of my mum.  She has a cat which has always been kept indoors (not our choice, we re-homed her when she was 2 and never showed any desire to go out) and whenever my mum goes away on holiday and leaves the cat on her own she throws up a lot.  Either the neighbour or myself look after her, going round every other day at least and making sure she has plently fresh water and dry food, we only leave small amounts of wet food for her at a time.  We clean her litter box regularly too so I don't think that is a factor.  There is nothing that she doesn't normally have access to that could make her ill.

Is she just lonely?  Even when I go round to feed her she doesn't seem very interested in being petted or picked up so I can only think that she missing my mum.  Is this likely?

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Sounds likely, Morrisonker. Absence of Mum disrupts the cat's usual routine. But I don't think your Mum should avoid going away when she wishes to, just for the sake of the cat. I think of most adult cats & dogs as having about the equivalent maturity of a human 4-6 yr old. Some will sulk when the owner returns, some will be all over them. Like children, they haven't to be made the centre of the Universe in the household, to the extent that everyone changes what they want to do to suit them. Your Mum's cat has every physical need met when your Mum goes away, and will just have to get used to the lack of usual fuss for these (presumably brief) periods. Tough.
Hi Morrisonker, I agree with Clare. The cat is truly loved by your mum and from the tone of your question you care a lot for it too. I hope your mum doesn't feel guilty about having a break now and then because the cat is well cared for in her absence and I don't think there really is any more you can do.

Some people say cats have no feelings, but in my experience they do and they're all different, just like humans. If my tabby gets scared by something she will run out of the garden and up the field; if my black cat is scared by the same thing he will run inside to me or into my bedroom.

Don't worry too much about the cat. I know it's not nice, but she's not coming to any harm. She's just fretting when your mum is away and she'll have to get used to it.

If the cat is kept inside and is used to company, could there be a better solution than the situation at present.  For example, could you or the neighbour care for the cat in your own home or could you stay at your mum's while she is away?  I agree with the other posters that the current situation isn't going to do any harm but it might be better (for you or your mother's peace of mind if nothing else) to spend a bit more time in the house - perhaps head over for a couple of hours rather than just feed and dash.

Cats don't generally like unsolicited attention - mine will scarper if you try to pick him up or pet him but as soon as you sit down he'll be all over you and really likes to be made a fuss of - but on his terms!

When I go away and my neighbour looks after my moggy, she often spends time in my house (brings the ironing or watches tv, etc) which makes me feel that the cat has the chance to have some company if he desires.  It lets me enjoy my holiday without worrying and, as she likes cats but doesn't have one of her own, she enjoys playing with him.

Have you ever considered a cattery?  I never ever liked the idea of leaving my cats with strangers and avoided using them for years but I have due to not having family close and it was amazing!  The cats and sometimes a cat on its own loved going and on one occassion the cat sulked when it got home for about a week!

Think of it having a holiday of its own.  It would safe, have company and well cared for rather than not seeing anyone all day except at feeding time.  Before using a cattery for a long time i.e. week/fortnight I will let the cat go and stay a couple of days so they know they arent being abandoned!

Its worth a try because the cat is obviously getting stressed and its worrying both of you.

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That's great, thanks guys.  I would love to have Misty live with me while mum is away but I'm in student accomodation so I'm not allowed but I'll be out soon so I'll suggest that to her.  Cheers!

The only other theory I can add not related to diet etc are furballs. If the cat has long hair and is normally brushed but isn't for a few days there's more chance she'll pick up loose fur while washing, with the inevitable results. Of course anyone familiar with cats will instantly recognise a furball signature compared to any other offering, so you may already have discounted that problem.

But in the long run, any regular illness has to mean a trip to the vet. It's rarely anything major if it comes and goes, (from nearly 40 years of cat ownership).

Think the throwing up thing is probably not a problem and jst coincidence... Have to say that even if a cat is quite independent it will probably miss human company. You don't say how long your mum goes away for . 24 hours is fine but any longer and I agree with camille about goin to spend a bit of time with her- even independent cats - especially house cats- will feel a bit isolated if they have no company for a long time. Just my thoughts from experience. But yes - main thing - she is cared for and looked after as best she can be and is obviously loved! Good luck.

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