A friend of mine recently asked me if I was available to babysit her cat, Stevie, while she was away for the month. Being that I’ve already met Stevie and that they live close by, it seemed like the opportunity was meant to be.
I’ve personally never had to babysit a cat before, other than my mom’s cat, but who could say no to the opportunity to meet and spend time with a new cat.
In all my time with Stevie, while his owner was here, he has never come out to say hello to me. Stevie is very to himself and his owner said he doesn’t seem to like men, which is unfortunate for me.
Stevie is apparently very friendly with others and has been known to spend time napping out in the open, but upon me coming over I found him sleeping in a closet.
The following is going to be a record of my first week with Stevie:
DAY ONE WITH STEVIE
I came into the apartment and called out for Stevie, but he was nowhere to be found. So, I checked all the places that my friend said he may be hiding. After a brief search, I found sleeping in a milk crate in my friend’s closet.
At first, Stevie didn’t seem to mind me petting him, but it became evident shortly after that he wasn’t super fond of me touching him. Stevie tucked his tail between his legs and began acting submissive, letting out a small meow and then a quick growl. So, I stopped petting Stevie, but as I did that Stevie grabbed my arms and scratched me.
The scratches weren’t deep, though they did draw a little bit of blood. I let out an “Ow!” which startled Stevie as he jumped out of the milk crate and ran around the apartment meowing.
Stevie continued to meow and it progressively got louder and I was uncertain whether or not the meowing was a protest of my presence or if he was calling out to my friend to find her.
The following is a video of the meowing:
After this video was taken, I headed to Stevie’s treat basket to see if I could give him a little something, but Stevie bolted back up the stairs and into my friend’s bedroom. This is when I decided to leave Stevie alone, but suddenly Stevie was letting out howls again.
Following very far behind, I made my way up to the room beside the bedroom just to listen in. I didn’t want to upset Stevie anymore, but I wanted to see where he would head next and just let him know that I was around if he needed anything.
After about 5-minutes Stevie stopped crying and headed back to the closet where he stayed for the remainder of my visit. After about 30-minutes of Stevie being quiet, I headed into the bedroom where I sat next to the closet waiting to see if Stevie would come out to say hello, but no bueno, Stevie did not come out.
Before I left, I sat in the closet briefly with Stevie. I pet him for a bit to see if he was calmer with me, now that I had been in the apartment for a good chunk of time and it seemed like he would tolerate it this time. Whenever I wasn’t petting Stevie, he would stare at me, eyes wide open. I made sure to not directly give him eye contact, but instead looked down at my laptop, giving him some pettings every so often.
Before I left, I put some Greenies into the milk crate to see if he would eat them and make amends for upsetting him earlier, but he didn’t eat them right away. Instead, as soon as I started walking down the staircase you could hear Stevie crunching on them slowly. Each time I moved or a stair creaked, he would stop. Typical!
My time spent with Stevie today was 2-hours. No progress made yet, but still hopeful that we will bond over the next month.
DAY TWO WITH STEVIE
Today started off with cleaning Stevie’s litter box. I found it extremely interesting to clean another cat’s poop since I was so used to my cats’ small poops. Stevie, on the other hand, poops a lot and they are huge!
After cleaning Stevie’s litterbox and refilling his food and water bowls I made my way around the apartment to see if I could find him. but after a 25-minute search, I still couldn’t find Stevie.
I know how silly it is to think that someone could catnap Stevie, but my mind went nuts. I looked in all of the places my friend told me he would be hiding and couldn’t find him. Not in the closets, not on the shelves, not under the beds… nowhere! I immediately texted Stevie’s grandma asking if she had checked in on him yesterday night, but she hadn’t. No one had been in or out of the apartment, so where was he?
I continued searching retracing all of my steps and found Stevie tucked into the corner of a room behind a folding couch. He was so well hidden that all I could see was his tail at first. I put a couple of treats there for him, took some photos, but the shutter of my camera terrified him.
Stevie ran downstairs and began howling, similar to yesterday’s howls. I went downstairs and this time Stevie stopped altogether, tucked his tail between his legs and stood close by me.
I reached out my hand and began to pet him, he didn’t seem to mind until he saw my camera and bolted for the window (behind a curtain.) I left Stevie alone, sat on the couch close by him and every so often he would let out a meow.
He sat by the window quietly while I worked, and then I realized… why the heck haven’t I tried playing the cat music yet? So, I put it on and Stevie moved a bit closer to me (probably because it was a new sound.) About 2 songs in, I moved from the couch onto the floor and Stevie moved even closer to me, letting me pet him. Every so often his tail would swing out, but if I moved he would tuck it back under him.
When Stevie was calm enough and his breathing slowed down (about 4 songs in) I went to grab his hairbrush. As I went to grab it Stevie moved closer to my phone, which was playing the music. Unfortunately, as I got closer to Stevie he darted behind the TV staring directly at me. I kept the music playing to see if he would come back to sit next to me and the phone, but not today.
About 8 songs into the playlist Stevie completely got up and started staring out the window. He still had his tail by his side, but it wasn’t fully tucked in. Every so often it would wag. I let him do his own thing for the remainder of my visit while the music played. Well, that’s not completely true. In the last 10-minutes, I gave Stevie another brush and some scratches on his bum.
As any cat would, Stevie raised his bum in the air, but then started to fight it. Somewhat like an “I know I’m supposed to be enjoying this, but I can’t let you know that!” Stevie also began to quietly purr a bit, but anytime I moved too close to him with my ear he would stop. So I paused the music to see if I was going crazy, and… I was right! I got Stevie to purr very quietly. He then started pushing his nails into the carpet and started trying to flop onto his side, though again he began fighting it. The little guy doesn’t want to let up too easily!
So, I began packing up and as I was doing that Stevie hid behind the curtains. I said goodbye to him, checked that all the lights were off and made my way out.
That’s quite a bit of progress for today. I’m happy he’s letting me pet him openly and that I got to see him wag his tail a bit. Stevie is definitely flighty, but I’m certain we’re going to become friends very soon!
My total time with Stevie was 2.5 hours.
DAY THREE WITH STEVIE
Today wasn’t the best day for Stevie and I. The day started the same way as yesterday, cleaning his litterbox and changing out his food/water bowls.
As I made my way up the staircase I heard Stevie shuffling into my friend’s closet, letting out a deep meow. Poor guy is still not over the fact that his owner is gone, and I don’t blame him.
I still wanted to give it try and see if I could give him a pet since yesterday went fairly well, but as soon as I made my way to the closet Stevie darted somewhere in the apartment and I didn’t see him.
I went looking for Stevie for a shorter time today since I haven’t been feeling well. The search went on for about 15-minutes which is when I decided to give up and put some wet food out for him. I decided to leave the wet food out and head back home and would return later that evening to clear up the dishes and make sure that Stevie had eaten.
I went back about 3-hours later and found Stevie’s wet food dish completely empty. Again, I could hear Stevie from upstairs making little meep sounds, this time they weren’t as deep. So, I made my way to the top of the stairs, but this time around Stevie wasn’t in the closet. Instead, Stevie was sitting by the window meeping and as soon as he saw me he bolted downstairs to the other windows.
I don’t know if I consider that progress since Stevie is still running away from me, but at least he ran into an open space where I could clearly see him since this afternoon that wasn’t the case at all.
I sat by Stevie and pet him gently, he continued to meow out the window. The meows were different, again. This time they sounded extremely sad as if he was calling out to his owner and truthfully it made me sad. I continued to pet Stevie, his tail tucked between his legs, but this time it seemed like I couldn’t make him any happier.
I spent about 20-minutes petting him, but beyond that Stevie walked away and hid in the corner of the room. Still visible, but clearly not wanting attention from me. So, I decided to leave.
In total, I would say I spent a maximum of an hour in the apartment overall today. I’m hoping that I can have my energy up tomorrow so I can work in my friend’s apartment and potentially get Stevie out. I really want to make sure that he’s not too lonely because as mentioned he’s usually very social with his owner. Feeling disheartened today, but I’m still hopeful.
DAY FOUR WITH STEVIE
Let’s just say today was a day without Stevie and we don’t know whether or not he’s a ghost. I saw no signs of Stevie today, did a sweep of the house to ensure that there was no vomit or hairballs, but absolutely no Stevie.
I spent 2 hours total sitting in the lower part of the apartment, this time quietly working on the laptop to see if he would come out… but no such luck.
It seems like Stevie has found a hiding spot to sleep that I don’t know about. He’s not in the closet, behind doors, under the beds or in the cupboards.
I have to say, I’m sad we’re not becoming friends and that he still seems scared of me.
DAY FIVE WITH STEVIE
Today my partner joined me on my visit to take care of Stevie. I have been telling him about my trouble with getting Stevie to like me and while we knew that there was no way Stevie would immediately like him, I thought might as well introduce them.
Upon entering the apartment Stevie was nowhere to be found, so we snuck upstairs into my friend’s closet and there was Stevie meowing away. I started petting Stevie calmingly and introduced my partner.
Stevie allowed me to pick him up for about 30-seconds, and while I knew that it might not have been the best choice, he didn’t really fight me. You could tell that Stevie was a bit uncomfortable, but I placed him on the bed where he allowed both my partner and me to pet him. Stevie continued to tuck his tail by his side, but never tucked it under himself, which was good to see.
I would say we got to pet Stevie for about 10 minutes before he decided to plop himself by the window. We let him sit there for a bit, but as soon as we moved too fast he ran down the stairs and began meowing, by the window on the ground floor.
Both my partner and I made our way to the ground floor to sit on the couches and just chat, so Stevie knew that we were still around. We didn’t bother Stevie anymore until my friend’s boyfriend came over.
We didn’t realize that her partner was going to check up on Stevie today, but as soon as Stevie heard him come in Stevie went running to say hello. It was the most energy I had seen out of Stevie and it made me so happy that he was so chipper.
Immediately, Stevie started scenting all of the couches, my friend’s boyfriend and after a few minutes, Stevie even walked up to me and scented my hands and leg. It was a complete role reversal.
Stevie ran around for a bit, flopped over for belly rubs and was just soaking in all of the attention he could get. Although, that being said I didn’t partake in a lot of it because I wanted to make sure that he got all of his “daddy time.”
We sat there talking to Stevie’s daddy for a while as Stevie kept making his way back and forth scenting everything in the apartment, but made the decision to allow Stevie’s dad to feed him wet food today. That way Stevie could be monitored while he ate and didn’t feel too stressed.
This hang out did make me question… will Stevie remember that he felt comfortable enough to scent me today? Is this what Stevie needed so he could begin trusting me? Who knows! We’ll find out tomorrow!
Our time spent with Stevie was 1 hour and a half.
DAY SIX WITH STEVIE
By far today was the best day I’ve had with Stevie. I think having Stevie see that I got along with his dad made him realize that I was safe and not just trying to kidnap him. It wasn’t that Stevie was especially warm with me, it was more of the fact that Stevie didn’t run away from me.
Upon entering my friend’s apartment, again with my partner, Stevie was waiting for us at the top of the stairs on one of his favourite cat beds. I approached Stevie slowly, expecting him to dart away, but nothing. Stevie still had his tail tucked close by him, but again, he wasn’t hiding his tail under him.
I began petting Stevie and he closed his eyes for brief seconds, before giving me that “I’m watching you” death stare that cats give you when they’re upset. The petting lasted about 4-5 minutes before I picked Stevie up to put him in my lap. He didn’t fight, but you could tell he wasn’t so happy with my decision. So, I put Stevie onto the floor, where he walked right next to me and flopped over.
The next 15 to 20-minutes my partner and I freely pet Stevie all over, and to our surprise, Stevie let us pet his tummy!
Belly rubs seem to be one of his favourite things, though Stevie was still feeling submissive and had his tail covering his privates while he was rolled over. Stevie also let out a soft purr while I pet him. He got a bit louder as I scratched his bum, to which he flopped over and began kneading the carpet.
Every so often Stevie would stand back up, seeming to ask for more butt scratches. I told my partner how weird it was that he wanted so many butt scratches from us, but refused to raise his tail (having it tucked between his legs), but at that moment Stevie began lifting his tail exposing his… well… kitty bum!
Excited by this new development I told my partner that I didn’t want to leave just yet, but alas we had chores to do and we knew Stevie’s grandma would be checking on him later that day.
So we got ready to go, and Stevie watched us as we left.
I’m so excited to visit Stevie alone tomorrow, I wonder what developments we’ll have! I was with him for 45-minutes today.
DAY SEVEN WITH STEVIE
I’m a bit emotional with how well today went with Stevie. Upon entering my friend’s apartment Stevie was meowing, sitting in the bedroom on the lower floor. This was the first time Stevie was down here upon me entering.
Apparently Stevie didn’t used to be comfortable being on the ground floor because he wasn’t so fond of one of my friend’s roommates, but since he moved out Stevie has been spotted there more frequently. I don’t know if Stevie has a negative association with the ground floor and strangers, but either way… he was down here!
I will say, as soon as Stevie locked eyes with me he darted up the stairs and made his way into my friend’s closet, but this time he didn’t hide in the milk crate. Instead, he looked at me and meowed. So, I started petting him and he started purring. Great start!
I, truthfully, didn’t want to spend any time sitting in the closet today and while I know you’re not supposed to take a cat out of their hiding spot… I did. I picked Stevie up (he didn’t seem to fuss) and put him outside of my friend’s room. As I made my way to grab my camera (which I had placed in the bedroom by the closet) Stevie darted downstairs and began meowing. So, I followed.
Stevie was sitting by the window on the ground floor, quietly. Again, I wondered what would happen if I picked him up and put him on my lap and this ADORABLE cuddle session happened:
I got to cuddle Stevie for at least 30-minutes, NO JOKE! He rolled around my lap, purring away and wagging his tail. If he got too stimulated he would get off my lap, scent my bag and a few things around the room then walk back and sit in my lap. Finally!
I then got up to give Stevie some treats and while he wouldn’t accept them from my hand, he would eat them if I placed them on my jeans. I wanted to take some nice shots of him with my DSLR, but as soon as I pulled that out Stevie ran.
It seems like Stevie is still scared of my camera. I don’t know what he thinks it’s is, but I guess because of how big it is compared to my phone… it’s terrifying! So, I let Stevie run up the stairs, cleaned his litter box and then went to check on him.
Stevie wasn’t too far up the stairs. He was about midway through and when I got close to him, again he didn’t run. So, I began scratching his bum, and his head and almost instantaneously Stevie flopped on his side and began purring.
If he heard a sound from outside, Stevie would stop purring, put his ears back and you could tell he was about to dart. He didn’t though, instead he continued to roll around accepting my petting. I pet Stevie on the stairs for about 5-minutes before I decided to head back downstairs to see if he would come sit with me on the couch again.
I waited for about 30-minutes and worked on my laptop when I started hearing Stevie creep down the stairs. It was pretty funny because you could hear Stevie move down a step, wait for 15 to 30 seconds, then creep down another step. Stevie then creeped his head around the corner to say hello, his tail was raised up in the air, but as soon as I moved my leg he bolted up the stairs again. So, I thought I’d follow him again since he was probably looking for a bit of company.
Stevie was at the top of the stairs this time and this time he was pissed. He looked at me and hissed loudly. So I didn’t head any closer to him, then he looked at me flopped over and started purring. It was the oddest thing I’ve ever seen, but it makes sense since he’s only starting to get used to me.
Stevie then walked his bed, meowed once and began kneading it. So, instead of sitting right next to him I sat in the same hallway on the other side. Stevie continued to purr while sitting on the bed.
Lo, and behold within 5-minutes of me sitting on the floor Stevie stood up and began scenting my laptop. Then he began demanding pettings by pushing his face on my leg and flopping over. Achievement unlocked!
Now, whenever I was petting him he would headbutt me and be wagging his tail the whole time. If he had enough petting he would return to his bed, but he would always come back anytime I pat the ground next to me.
Stevie even cleaned himself and ate his wet food around me today, which was a huge accomplishment! I’m so, so, so happy!
I’ve officially fallen in love with Stevie and it was hard to leave him even after spending over 2 and a half hours with him.
It’s weird to write that as a heading for this post, but I don’t know another word to use… That does, however, conclude my first week with Stevie and I’m so happy things are looking up between us!
I’m curious how many of you have made it to the end of this post and what you think I should try with Stevie moving forward. I’m also curious what you suggest to do when meeting a new cat/babysitting a friend’s cat!
Gah! I’m so glad I have a new kitty friend, even though I wouldn’t call us best friends, the last day made me so hopeful! I really can’t wait to see what adventures Stevie and I get up to.
Hope you’ve enjoyed week 1’s journey. I’m going to start a log of week 2 as well!