It’s the conundrum of cat owners the world over – you’ve booked a trip away and now you need to decide on your holiday cat care. Obviously you’ve got 3 main choices:
- Take them with you. Yeah, but that’s not really an option is it? How many hotels do you know that let you bring your cat? This is how many I know of……ZERO
- Send them on holidays to a cattery or to your vet’s
- Get a professional cat sitter to visit your home, or if you have willing and able family or friends rope them in to do it for free.
Your decision is going to be based on many things including:
- How long you’re going for?
- Have you got anyone who you can rely on to look after your furry friend?
- Is there room in your holiday budget to pay for care for The Cat?
- How does your Favourite Feline handle strangers?
- How do they feel about travelling in a car and that dreaded cage?
- What time of the day are you leaving and expect to return?
Most cats dislike any interruption to their routine, even though it appears their routine involves a lot of sleeping, and surely that can be done anywhere right? Yes, but your cat likes the same feeding time, in the same spot, from the same bowl, with the same food. They also like the same smells that are at home, the same familiar noises and of course all Their Stuff is at home. Because of this whenever Mr Pet Parent and I go anywhere we try to arrange to leave Pussa & Soph in situ and convince one of our family members to either stay at our place, or visit every day. We even had my 18 year-old nephew look after them for a few days over Christmas. Our optimism at him taking on this responsibility was well founded given that he neither locked himself out, nor let Pussa or Soph escape through the front door. The only evidence of his visit was a Chupa Chup left in the pantry and bottle of beer in the fridge. However, if you haven’t got family of this ilk or understanding friends, then there are bound to be some reputable cat sitting services in your local area. Try to make sure that they come with a recommendation from someone you know who has used them before. You are of course letting them into your house as well as leaving the well-being of your furry friends in their hands so they need to be trustworthy. Most of these service providers will let you nominate whether you want daily or twice-daily visits, and will often do a few other bits and pieces for you – collect mail, water the plants, bring the bins in etc. Whoever is doing the caring, make sure they have your vet’s contact details, understand the feeding regime, how you want the litter attended to and of course how to contact you in case of emergency.
Getting your cats taken care of at home has the added advantage of not having to take and collect them from the cattery. This can be problematic if you need to depart early or are returning late, especially if it’s on a weekend or public holiday. Many catteries will have set opening hours and this often means you have to add an extra night or two to their stay to work around those times. However, when you’ve got no other options or you need someone to administer medication for example, then a cattery or your vet is going to be your best bet. Do make sure that you visit the facility before you book anything. You want to make sure it’s clean, see the size of the enclosure, understand what your cat can bring with them, what the protocols are if they get sick etc. The boarding facility should be very strict on only letting animals stay who are up to date with their vaccinations to avoid the spread of anything nasty.
Ultimately, you know your cat best and what they can deal with and what makes them freak. Still, circumstances are sometimes such that you need to go for your second best option. Rest assured though that most cats will usually settle down in a new environment after a day or so.
If you’re one of the thousands of people who will be heading off on holidays at Easter, enjoy the break, eat an obscene amount of chocolate and bring your cat back a treat too.