Got a trip coming up? Going on vacation soon? You’re probably wonder what to do with your cat when you travel, it’s a dilemma that every pet owner faces. We love our pets but also love being able to travel. We also want to ensure that our pet is safe, happy, healthy, and waiting for us upon our return. Unfortunately, taking your cat with you when you’re on vacation isn’t always practical, so you have to accept that you’re going to be leaving your cat in someone else’s care whilst you’re away.
There’s a lot of things to think about, making plans for your cat is part of your vacation planning. Whilst you’re probably also planning places to stay, things to do, reading reviews on TripAdvisor and trawling through countless travel blogs, considering what to you with your cat when you travel is a major part of your planning to-do list.
In this article, you will learn:
- What your options are for leaving your cat when you’re away on vacation
- How long you can safely leave a cat on their own
- How to choose a trusted pet-sitting or house-sitter
- What to look for when choosing a cattery to temporarily house your cat when you’re away
- About the costs incurred when arranging temporary cat care
Things to Consider Before Your Trip
Whilst you’re considering your options what to do with your cat when you travel, there are a few things you should think about before you start making plans for your cat.
How Long is Your Trip?
How long are planning to be away for? If it’s just a few days, then your options for what to do with your cat are broader than if you’re going to be away for several weeks. For example, if you’ll be away for a few days then you could be considering leaving your cat at home with a friend or neighbor checking on them regularly. Or, if you’re going for longer then you’ll be thinking about cat-sitters or temporary housing options for your cat whilst you’re on vacation.
What is Your Cat’s Routine?
If your cat is an indoor cat, then this needs to be considered. Also, if your cat is free to come and go as s/he pleases via cat flap or open window then again, your options are different. You’ll also have home security to consider.
Levels of Stress for your Cat
If you’ll be leaving your cat for long periods of time, say, two weeks or longer, then think about the effect thing will have on your cat. Try your best to minimize the amount of stress your cat will have to go through. If you’re using a cat kennel or other form of temporary cat care then you’ll be moving your cat to a new environment, which can be stressful for your cat. Equally if you’re leaving your cat at home and hiring a reputable pet-sitter, then your cat has someone new to get used to.
Options for Leaving your Cat when you Travel
Here’s an overview of the main options you have for your cat when you’re planning a trip.
Leave Him/Her at Home
For shorter trips, you can leave your cat at home and let them stick to their regular routine. This minimizes the distress for your cat and is more convenient for you. By leaving your cat at home when you’re traveling, your cat can continue with their routine without any fuss, apart from missing their owner, of course!
The disadvantages of leaving your cat at home when you’re away is that you won’t be alerted if anything happens to them. Perhaps your cat is a hunter who brings in their prey and you don’t want to return to a mess. Or, your cat may be too nervous and fragile to be left at home alone.
Stock-up on Cat Supplies
Always make sure you have enough cat food and cat litter for the entire duration of your trip. Add these items to your vacation shopping list so you don’t forget!
Leave Keys with a Trusted Friend or Neighbor
If you have a trusted friend or neighbor who is a cat lover, owns cats themselves or is someone who you cat is familiar with, then ask them to check on your cat regularly whilst you’re away.
This is a big ask, you have to leave them keys to your home and instructions, as well as expect them to give up their time to check on your cat every day, or as often as you need them to.
Offer to pay for their time and kindness, or buy them a gift as a thank you, and always return the favor for them if they need help from you.
Hire a Pet-Sitter/House-Sitter
Pet-sitters and house-sitters are more common now, as more busy people are required to travel for work but have to leave their pets at home. Pet sitters will be experienced with caring for animals, they’ll usually have insurance and certifications in place to provide proper care for your pet.
The downside of this is that it’s an expensive service and you have to allow a total stranger access to your home. You may be comfortable with this if you already have hired services coming in and out of your house. Professional pet sitters are security-vetted by their employer and highly experienced with caring for cats. Always read the reviews and testimonials before hiring a pet-sitter.
Here are a few of the top house sitting and pet sitting services globally, you can also do a local Google search.
- Trusted House Sitters – Keeping pets happy at home, sitters stay for free & owners travel without worry
- Nomador – Travelers who save money on accommodation by helping pet-owners who want to go on holiday
- Worlrdwide House Sitters– Have your home looked after and pet(s) cared for while you enjoy your time away
Use Automatic Cat Feeders
If your cat has entrance/exit to your home via a secure cat-flap, then you can make use of automatic cat feeders which dispense up-to a weeks’ worth of dry cat food at regular timed intervals. They’re not suitable for wet food, which would go bad after it’s left the tin/pouch.
For water, you can get water fountains to ensure your cat has a fresh supply of water so it’s not sitting stagnant in a bowl. Cats also like watching and playing with running water, so it will keep your cats entertained!
Pet Trackers and Cameras
Cat trackers and/or cameras are a great way for extra peace of mind during your vacation. If you need to keep an eye on your cat whilst you’re away, then many pet owners will install cameras around their home. Opt for a motion-triggered camera that starts to record when it detects movement. With more and more smart home devices available now, many homeowners like the general safety and security of having cameras within their home whilst they’re on vacation too.
You can also make use of cat trackers, small GPS tags or devices containing similar technology which attach to your cat’s collar. Cat trackers are available with lots of different types of technology to locate your cat should s/he go missing.
Some cat trackers use GPS, some use Bluetooth, some have apps and subscription services so you can locate your cat from your phone from anywhere in the world!
Here are some common features of cat trackers:
- Real-time alerts and virtual fencing – get an alert sent to your phone if your cat leaves a pre-defined ‘safe zone’
- Voice call functions – send a voice message to your cat so s/he can hear a reassuring voice
- Precise location tracking – using GPS and mobile data, cat trackers can pinpoint your cat’s location, providing the tracker has a charged battery!
Arrange Boarding/Temporary Home for your Cat
If leaving your home is not an option or not practical for you, or if you’re going away for a long period of time then you may be considering temporary boarding for your cat.
Cat Boarding Houses
There are local business who will house cats whilst their owners travel. Like when choosing a pet-sitter, when you’re choosing a cat boarding house, make sure they’re experienced and qualified to care for cats. Go to visit the location before arranging to leave your cat there. Each cat should have their own individual housing and they should each receive individual care. Always read the reviews and testimonials from verified customers before choosing a cat boarding house.
Trusted friends or family member who can look after your cat in their own home is a great solution. However, you should ensure that their home is safe, that your cat can’t escape, get lost or have to share with other animals. This is a big favor that your friend/family member is doing for you, so make sure you repay them and buy them a gift along your travels!
What do you do with your cat(s) when you’re away traveling or on vacation? Leave a comment below to let us know your best tips!
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