If you have a cat, traveling might be a problem, no matter if you’re gone for just a couple of days or the whole summer. Not knowing what to do with your cat while on vacation may even become a reason for you to cancel your plans altogether. Thanksgiving is one of the most travelled holiday next to Christmas and New Years. Holidays come around every year. So what to do with cat while on vacation?
In this article, you are going to learn about what to do with your cat while on vacation. You’ll also learn how long you can leave your cat alone and whether it is okay to take your cat with you.
Luckily, there are many options for leaving a cat while on vacation. Which to choose depends on several things. Does your cat have separation anxiety? Are they an indoor or an outdoor cat? Have they successfully adapted to new surroundings before? Does your cat become stressed in your absence? Is there a good place for your cat to stay? Do you have more than one pet? Do you have other pets and do they get along with each other or not? Does your cat or cats require medication, have dietary needs, or other have pet care needs?
Table of contents
- Leaving your cat at home with a cat sitter
- Is it ok to leave a cat alone for a week?
- Should you choose a friend or a professional pet sitter?
- Can I leave my cat with a friend or a relative during vacation?
- What is a pet hotel?
- Should I take my cat with me?
Leaving your cat at home with a cat sitter
One of the most common and, in our opinion, the most reasonable option is to leave your cat at home and have someone like a pet sitter come to visit daily. This is especially true if you have indoor cats.
The advantages of having your cat stay at home with a pet sitter during your vacation are numerous. Your cat’s stress levels will be reduced if they are able to stay at home. You won’t have to worry about how and when to take your cat to another place. Your cat’s litter box is the same one they are used to and is where they are used to using it. Their toys, food, water, and other items are exactly where they are used to them being. Finally, the pet sitter taking care of your cat may also be willing to look after the house, watering plants and feeding your fish, for example.
Having a pet sitter take care of your cat or cats while on vacation may be more cost effective than a boarding facility. When you add up the cost of boarding cats, administering medicine, food, etc. cat boarding facilities may be as much or more than a pet sitter. This is more likely when you have multiple cats and other pets.
Is it ok to leave a cat alone for a week?
Many of our pet parents patients ask us how long it’s okay to leave their cat alone at home. Most sources say that overnight is the maximum reasonable time to leave a cat unattended. We recommend that you find a cat sitter to take care of your cat if you are going leave them at home for longer than 24 hours. For a cat, fasting for more than a single day might reduce their weight but may also have a serious impact on their overall health.
In other words, you need to find someone like a sitter who can come to your house at least once a day while you are away and twice a day is preferable. Sure, an automatic pet feeder might be able to dispense food appropriately to your cat, but you’ll still want someone to check if the feeder is working. They are mechanical devices that can fail or jam. There are plenty of other tasks to perform as well, such as refilling their water bowl, cleaning their litter box, and playing with, talking to, and simply loving your cat.
Remember that your cat has social needs. While some cats may act aloof, they still need your presence to feel safe. Other cats look to their owners for attention as they see them as part of their family. In some cases, having you or a sitter around for your cat to feel safe enough to eat or use their litter box is crucial. Your cat depends on you for support beyond food and water, especially if you have a kitten.
Should you choose a friend or a professional pet sitter?
There is no single answer. For your cat, it’s a game changer if the person is not a stranger. Your kitty will be less wary of the sitter if they know them. On the other hand, a professional pet sitter knows the job inside out and is highly likely to have some understanding of feline behavior. Introducing your pets, especially older cats to your pet sitter will go a long way to reduce their anxiety.
Whoever you choose, make sure the pet sitter knows about all your cat’s needs and habits. For example, some cats will not eat if their bowl is half empty. Some refuse to go in the litter box if it has already been used. Some love to hear classical music in the morning and jazz after dinner. Knowing these tiny details may save a lot of trouble for everyone. We recommend making a guide to leave with your pet sitter. Include emergency contact information, your vets name and number, and most importantly, any medical needs your pets have. For example, we had a patient that had 3 pets, one whom was diabetic that needed insulin shots twice a day. They found a pet sitter that took wonderful care of them.
The absence of an owner is a common cause of stress in cats . Make sure the cat sitter pays close attention to your cat’s water intake, food consumption, and litter box usage. We recently took care of our friends cat during their vacation and the cat refused to eat at all for the first few days. This was extremely worrying. We managed to solve the problem by serving fresh food. Turns out their cat only loved nice smelling dry food. In different cases, other solutions might be needed. This is why having someone who knows about cats is an advantage.
Can I leave my cat with a friend or relative during vacation?
Is your cat okay with moving to another place? Then leaving a cat with a family member may be the right solution.
The advantages of leaving your cat with a friend or family member is that your cat will get constant supervision and, of course, more attention. This works well if they are already cat owners. But this may backfire if their cat doesn’t get along with your cat. The challenge you may find is that it’s not easy to find someone who is willing to accommodate cats, especially if you have more than one. In certain cases, your cat may experience greater stress than they would if they were left alone at home.
To lower potential stress levels, you could send your cat to its temporary home a few days prior to your departure and check how things are going. Then, if something is not right you still have some time to figure out a Plan B. If your friend has other pets, it is crucial to know if they can get along with your cat. This approach may be a good solution if everything works out.
Remember, don’t push pet sitting on people so that they can’t refuse. If they say something like ‘umm’ okay, I’ll try but you owe me! You should reconsider. First, you are risking ruining your friendship with them and second (and more importantly), they might not care for your cat in the best way. Find someone who loves pets and is happy to do it.
What is a pet hotel?
While we normally think of pet hotels or a boarding kennel as more of a dog thing, more and more pet hotels are accommodating cats successfully during their owners absence.
Of course, a pet hotel will be a totally unknown place for your cat unless you travel regularly. Some cat breeds do not cope very well with unknown places, people, and situations. Pet boarding can be a good thing if your cat is introduced to the facility, the staff, and the environment. This will let you and your cat learn about their cat care skills and the facility.
On the other hand, pet hotels make a big effort to create a calm and cat-friendly environment . Besides, pet hotel personnel are professionals at least, they should be. They can give constant, competent care to your cat. They will definitely notice if your cat is not eating their food or has any health problems. They won’t let anything bad happen to your cat during their stay at the boarding facility. It’s their job and they know what to look out for.
Should I take my cat with me?
The final option is to take your cat with you. But, to be honest, it’s not a very feasible option in most cases.
Actually, it is okay to take a cat away with you in special circumstances such as the following:
1) If your cat has been used to traveling since kittenhood.
2) If you are staying in the same location for most of your vacation.
3) If the destination will provide a welcoming environment for your cat. Of course you will have to check if your accommodation allow pets in the first place.
As you can see from the above, not knowing what to do with your cat shouldn’t be a reason for canceling your vacation. There are enough options for accommodating your cat during your absence and, if everything else fails, you might even be able to take your cat with you.
We ourselves are very lucky that most of our relatives love pets and are happy to look after our three cats and our dogs. We find that the best solution for us is to have someone come to the house frequently. Whereas in the past, when we only had one cat, the most convenient solution was to send her over to our relatives’ places. You have options: the choice is yours. The best advice is to find the most stress free environment for your cat (or cats), one that doesn’t increase their anxiety or yours. They will be happy and so will you. And a happy pet is what we are all after.