What do I do with my cat if I go on vacation?
Are you planning a nice vacation? Good for you, but before you get packing you should spare a thought for kitty. What are you going to do with puss? It’s wise to make a decision as soon as possible – are you going somewhere you could take your fluffy friend or are you planning to enlist the help of a cat sitter?
Perhaps you are considering a cattery or maybe a helpful friend or family member has offered to pop in and check on puss at your home? Whatever you decide, make sure you don’t leave arrangements to the last minute – this will cause untold stress for yourself and for your cat.
So here are your options:
1. A Holiday Away from Home – The Cattery
If you are considering a cattery we suggest you do your homework, there are plenty of lovely establishments around, but you need to find a place that feels right for your kitty. It should be clean and safe, with friendly and professional staff who have the best interest of their feline guests at heart.
Think about what you feel is important for your cat, ask yourself what are the things he enjoys? Does he like an environment that’s quiet, and lots of places he can scamper away to for a bit of peace? Or maybe your cat is very playful and enjoys lots of interaction with people? You don’t want your cat feeling bored in your absence!
Ideally, you need to find a cattery that can cater for your pet’s unique needs, as we all know our pampered moggies are fond of being pandered to!
The best way to find a cattery is to ask around for recommendations, it’s always nice to hear that a friend or colleague’s cat has stayed at the place you are considering – you can then get an honest review about the cattery.
It’s also a good idea to pay the cattery a visit prior to booking your cat in, take a look around and see how the staff interact with the animals staying with them. Use this as an opportunity to talk to staff about your cat, and ask questions, such as what happens if my cat is taken ill? You need to feel confident that your pet is going to be well looked after and that there are procedures in place to deal with any problems that may arise.
Whilst you are there take a look at the area your cat will be staying in, will this set-up work for your pet? Is there plenty of space and will your kitty be comfortable enough? Staying at the cattery should be as pleasant an experience as possible for your cat.
2. Home Sweet Home – The Cat Sitter
Prefer your cat to be able to stay in the comfort of his own home? Then you might have to enlist the help of a cat sitter. This could be in the form of a helpful neighbor, friend or relative or you could enlist the help of a professional. Contrary to popular opinion cats are quite sociable creatures, they like attention and fuss (when they are in the mood) and can feel lonely when left for long periods.
If someone pops in a couple of times each day your pet will be able to enjoy a bit of social interaction and you can make sure your cat’s needs are being met. Your cat sitter can provide food and drink and clean out the litter tray (it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it)! They can also keep an eye on your beloved moggy and check that he is healthy and well.
Make sure you leave everything your cat sitter will need – enough food, kitty litter and a few toys should do the trick. If it makes you feel better leave a simple check list to make sure all areas are covered e.g. water topped up etc.
It’s also essential that you leave details of what to do if your pet is poorly in your absence – vet and pet insurance details should be left handy, alongside a contact number you can be reached on.
Finally, don’t forget to leave a key or the code for the key locker! The last thing you want is a frantic cat sitter on the outside and a meowing cat in distress on the inside – separated by a locked door and no means of opening it! Cue expensive locksmith or fraught journey home to sort it all out!
3. Staying with a Friend or Relative
You could ask a close friend or relative to care for your cat in their home, but this is a big responsibility and you have to consider how your cat will feel about the upheaval.
Cats are territorial creatures and enjoy the familiarity of routine, leaving your cat in new surroundings with someone they don’t know too well could be stressful for both your kind-hearted friend and your beloved pet!
4. Have Cat Will Travel!
Another option? Take your cat on holiday with you! Sounds a bit crazy? Not really, cats can travel, and might prefer to stay with you – their beloved owner. This is not for faint-hearted moggies! Travel is strictly for cats who are either very adventurous and enjoy being nosy, or for quiet felines who are so relaxed that chilling out is listed as their number one hobby!
If you are considering this you will need to make sure the place you are heading to is “cat friendly,” accommodation needs to be secure – you don’t want your puss to sneak out and get lost. If you are heading abroad you will need to think about a pet passport (this needs to be done as quickly as possible as it can be a lengthy process).
You also need to think about how you are going to get your cat from A to B, you will need some sort of carrier to transport kitty. This needs to be roomy enough to allow your cat to relax in relative comfort.
Some cats aren’t too keen on the idea of a carrier (who can blame them? Many owners use a carrier to transport their cat to the vets – no wonder that some sensitive felines are a bit put off)! The best way to get around this is to introduce a carrier into your pet’s life early on, put a few toys in it and a few treats, let your cat wonder in and out. Take them for a ride in the car (just to the local shops and back) and then increase the journey time so your puss gets used to it.
5. My Cat Is Independent – Shall I Just Leave Him at Home Alone?
One or two nights might be acceptable, providing you leave everything your cat needs – there are some pretty nifty automatic cat feeders now on the market – that will provide food for your cat at pre-set times. But other than a night or two it’s never a good idea to leave your cat to fend for himself.
Even if you leave ample litter trays, food and water, there’s no substitute for proper care and attention. A home alone cat could get up to all sorts of mischief, fall ill, get injured or knock over his water! If his litter tray gets overly full he might start finding alternative places to go to the toilet! Cat pee has a very powerful smell, and it’s the not the most welcoming pong to return to after your hols!