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Can’t Bring Your Cat on Holiday?

Christmas. Mid-term breaks. Summer holidays. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to spend some time away from your home and as a cat owner you’ll have to deal with the question: What do I do with my pet? What do I do if I’m just going for a few days, and what do I do if I’m gone for longer? Everyone has their own little way of going about this, and there are so many options out there that there’s bound to be something that suits you and your feline friend.

Cat Sitter

This is the best solution for the majority of cats. Cats are generally more confident and content in their own home, so if you have a neighbour, family member or friend who knows your cat, can be trusted to come and visit once or twice a day (or more) and knows how to spot problems, it’s best if you let them stay there.

It can be traumatic for a cat to lose their primary care-giver, especially if this is the first time it has happened, and particularly for a re-homed cat who has already experienced abandonment. They don’t know when (or even if) you’ll return – they can’t read a calendar. The best solution is to allow your cat to keep their territory and have a familiar and reliable hand to feed, stroke and clean up after them.

A friend whose cat-keeping standards are similar to your own will be the best candidate, so try to look for someone who has or has had a cat. Be sure to take care of the following before heading off:

  • Give your pet sitter your mobile number and/or another number they can use to reach you.
  • Let your vet know that you are going away and that X will be caring for your cat in your absence.
  • Leave the sitter with enough food to last the period, plus extra in case of emergencies/prolonged trips.
  • Make sure there is enough cat litter to clean the litter tray as much as you normally would for the duration of your trip.
  • If your cat is on medication, that the carer is confident to give the medication, and there is enough to cover the period; put the medication in a labelled box with the dosage etc. written clearly on top.
  • Leave the contact number for your vet.

If you’re comfortable with letting someone else live in your house for a few days, finding a live-in petsitter is a great way of making sure your cat is cared for and doesn’t get lonely.

Kitty Sleepover

A live-in pet sitter is a great way to go when you need to leave your cat alone for a couple of days. Taking your cat away from their home environment is rarely a good idea, especially if yours is an older feline or has health problems. If you have a spare room, you could ask the sitter to stay there so that your own bed isn’t disturbed. Encourage friendship by getting the sitter to come with treats on their first day.

An added bonus that comes with a live-in or visiting petsitter is that you can ask them to let you facetime your pet through their phone. It can also be helpful to put off changing your own bed linen until you get back, so the cat can still smell you while you’re away. Give the sitter a run down of your daily routines (like what time you feed the cat, etc.) so that they can keep your cat’s routine as close to normal as possible.

Animals are happy in their own domain. This is especially useful if your cat is exclusively an indoor cat. As an added bonus, a live-in pet sitter can double as a house sitter, so you can feel confident that nothing will happen to your home while you’re away.

Catteries

Staying at home will not always be an option for your cat. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to find a good cattery if you can’t leave them with a pet sitter. Some catteries fail to give cats all the care they need, so it’s important that you find a good, reputable one for your furry friend.

The best way to find a good cattery near you is usually to go with personal recommendations. If nobody you know has experience with catteries in your area, you could also ask your vet. If your cat really cannot remain in your home with a sitter, a good cattery with caring, reliable and professional staff, proper emergency planning and care protocols is the next best thing.

Think about your cat when selecting a cattery. Is there one thing they value above anything else? Are they fussy about cat litter? Do they love to climb or hide? Do they need lots of human interaction, or do they prefer to be left alone? Do they love TV or music? Are they easily startled? Do they have any medical or dietary requirements?

Once you’ve settled on a cattery, ask them lots of questions about emergency protocols and daily routines, and call in to visit more than once. Pay attention to the manner of the person talking to you, and don’t accept glib “standard” answers. Pose some hypothetical

situations (e.g. my cat hides in its box and doesn’t come out, or my cat isn’t eating, or my cat vomits) and listen carefully to the response.

Ask to speak to the cat carers if you’re looking at a large cattery, as the actual cat care might be done by someone other than the owner or receptionist. Make sure the cattery agrees in writing to get your cat any medical attention they require, and be sure they understand any medical needs they may have. Check that the cat pens are clean, as this is much more important than how flashy the reception area is. Try and think if your cat will find them comfortable.

Remember that cats don’t generally derive comfort from the presence of other cats and may even find it stressful, so pay attention to the ways in which the pens are separated. Think about the features your cat needs and if they are classed as “luxuries” that you need to pay extra for, give some thought to how important they are to your cat. Ask them to provide, in writing, information about which vet they will use in the event of an emergency and what kind of food your cat will be given.

You basically need to have the same level of information and signed agreements as you would if you were sending your child to stay somewhere. Remember that while most catteries are caring and trustworthy, these are businesses and money will often be their priority.

Call Your Cat

Take a lock of their hair with you so they are always close by. When you miss your cat, why not give them a shout on Facetime? If you’re in the market for some special tech, you could consider buying a pet camera like the Furbo, Pawbo+ or Petcube Bites. They’re bound to love seeing your face (even if it looks smaller and flatter than usual), and it’ll reassure you that they’re being properly looked after. Some of the gadgets available on the market today even have features like treat dispensers, two-way speakers and motion detectors.

Just try not to miss them too much! Let’s face it: Provided they’re being fed and pet, some cats probably won’t even notice you’re gone. It’s nothing personal.

situations (e.g. my cat hides in its box and doesn’t come out, or my cat isn’t eating, or my cat vomits) and listen carefully to the response.

Ask to speak to the cat carers if you’re looking at a large cattery, as the actual cat care might be done by someone other than the owner or receptionist. Make sure the cattery agrees in writing to get your cat any medical attention they require, and be sure they understand any medical needs they may have. Check that the cat pens are clean, as this is much more important than how flashy the reception area is. Try and think if your cat will find them comfortable.

Remember that cats don’t generally derive comfort from the presence of other cats and may even find it stressful, so pay attention to the ways in which the pens are separated. Think about the features your cat needs and if they are classed as “luxuries” that you need to pay extra for, give some thought to how important they are to your cat. Ask them to provide, in writing, information about which vet they will use in the event of an emergency and what kind of food your cat will be given.

You basically need to have the same level of information and signed agreements as you would if you were sending your child to stay somewhere. Remember that while most catteries are caring and trustworthy, these are businesses and money will often be their priority.

Call Your Cat

Take a lock of their hair with you so they are always close by. When you miss your cat, why not give them a shout on Facetime? If you’re in the market for some special tech, you could consider buying a pet camera like the Furbo, Pawbo+ or Petcube Bites. They’re bound to love seeing your face (even if it looks smaller and flatter than usual), and it’ll reassure you that they’re being properly looked after. Some of the gadgets available on the market today even have features like treat dispensers, two-way speakers and motion detectors.

Just try not to miss them too much! Let’s face it: Provided they’re being fed and pet, some cats probably won’t even notice you’re gone. It’s nothing personal.

 

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