The first time we left Moby, after he'd been living with us only about 5 months, we had no idea he's miss us much. Or not eat and pine. A friend from work had come every day to make sure he had food and a clean litter box. We expected this would be sufficient, since he seemed a pretty self-sufficient cat, not over inclined to affection. He never slept on us or sat on our laps. When we chose him at the shelter, we knew he was a gentle creature, but not about to suck up to us - "Just get me outta here, wouldja? "
We were shocked that he barely ate, and only when Jacq petted him, sat with him. She'd seen it before in dogs, but even she was surprized that Moby the cat needed such reassurance, followed her around wherever she walked. After that, we knew we needed to do more for him when we were not there more than overnight. When we got back, he started sleeping on us at night, intermittently, but with determination. We assume he decided he did like us, after all, and did not want to go back to that place with the dogs and rabbits and other catlike creatures. (That couldn't possibly be cats, because he was the only one.)
So, knowing we can get a vet tech as a cat sitter is quite the load off our minds. In Boston, there were choices, and we got very good help. Here, it's been more problematic.
So, what do we tell her? That he's gentle, but don't push him too far - out of respect. Where he hides (at the bottom of the bed, underneath, in the closet, the dryer. In deep distress - under the sofa.) That he likes clean litter boxes, but will use the tub as a third option. He likes his water dish topped all the way up, so he can see the surface. Doesn't mind the toothbrush at all, seems to rather like it. Where Da Bird is hidden in the closet (so he doesn't swallow string) as well as the other mice and toys to chase. Where the food is, we will set it all out on the counter, with can opener. Show her where the vacuum is, in case. But he tends to be subdued without us. He mopes. We hallucinate him in corners of the hotel where we stay. Flows both ways.
Strange kind of bond has formed, over the last six years. A wordless friendship, close, personal. Not parent/child, despite his dependence upon us. One English fails to have a word for, but a kind of love that is between species, generous, intimate, and inexplicable. We feel so blessed to have him in our lives.