Summer holidays are just around the corner, and hopefully you are one of the families lucky enough to be going away for a weekend, a week or maybe even longer. But what about your pets? Have you given any thought as to who will look after your cat? Are you torn betwen Friends, cat sitters and Kennels?
To help you out, we are looking at the options available. Carry on reading to get all the information you need on cat sitters and kennels so that you can make the best choice come holiday time.
What Do I Do With My Cat When I Go On Holiday?
If you have never been away from your cat before for an extended period, you might not be aware of the care options available. In fact, you might even be thinking that it would be okay to leave it alone because it is so independent. We are going to start off by saying, don’t! Cats need someone to feed them, make sure they have water, and clean their litter boxes.
In some instances, a cat may have a medical issue and needs to be given medication daily. At the same time, another one could become stressed left on its own, and develop separation anxiety. And then there are those unexpected accidents that can leave your cat seriously injured, or worse.
Cat Sitters and Kennels – Which One is Best For Your Cat?
Depending on your cat’s personality, you can choose a cat sitting service or a boarding facility. In our experience, cat sitters are the best option, but we understand that this isn’t always possible. But whichever one you decide on, you will need to do some homework beforehand, and prepare well in advance.
First prize would be to have a reputable cat sitter or friend move in to take care of your pet while you are away. This is because cats are territorial, and they like their home comforts and routine. Having all their favourite things around them, as well as familiar sights, sounds and smells will stop them getting too stressed at the idea of you not being there. If this isn’t possible, then arrange for a cat sitter to pop in twice a day, preferably at the same times. Ideally, they should feed your cat, fill up water bowls and clean the litter box, and also spend time playing with it.
Whether you ask a friend or use a cat sitting service, there are a few things you need to do before you leave for your holiday.
Follow our 7 easy steps and keep it close by in case you need to refer back to it.
1. Make lists
Leave lists with all the necessary instructions for your cat sitter. These should include a feeding schedule, how to clean out the litter box, as well as your kitty’s favourite treats and toys. Make a note of medicines your cat needs, and what should be done in the case of an emergency.
It is also essential to leave your vet’s contact details, as well as your mobile number. Last but not least, leave the name and number of a family member or friend who can be contacted if necessary.
2. Notify your vet
Notify your vet that you will be away and give them the contact details of the person looking after your cat. You should advise them that during the time you are on holiday, this person will be acting on your behalf.
3. Stock up on cat food and other supplies
Before your trip, stock up on cat food, cat litter, treats and any other supplies. Also, if your cat is on any medication, make sure you have enough for the time you are away. Label everything clearly, with any special instructions and let the cat sitter know where everything is.
4. Leave something of you behind
As silly as this sounds, it’s definitely a good idea to leave a few items of clothing or towels that have your scent on them. Cats have an excellent sense of smell and will feel more settled and less stressed if they don’t feel forgotten or abandoned. Take a few items and seal them in separate plastic bags. Ask the cat sitter to place one item a day in your kitty’s favourite spot.
5. Give your cat a call
Okay, if you thought leaving scented items for your cat was strange, you are probably going to think this idea is hilarious. While you are away, give your cat a call. You could even do a Skype or Zoom call if you prefer. Cats recognise their owner’s voice and will feel reassured hearing yours.
6. Make sure there are things for your cat to do
If the cat sitting service is only popping in twice a day, make sure your cat has plenty of things to do when it is on its own. Scratching posts with balls, tunnels and hammocks will provide your cat with mental and physical stimulation. You can also leave toys, however, check that they are pet-friendly and can’t cause any injuries.
Something else you can do is put one of the many cat-friendly compilations on the TV for your cat to watch. There are loads to choose from, and your cat will be entertained for hours at a time. Just make sure it isn’t too scary or upsetting for your kitten.
7. Arrange a meet a greet
Having someone familiar look after your cat will make the time apart easier. Of course, if you are using a cat sitter try and arrange a time beforehand where they can meet your cat. Knowing that your pet is with a person, they feel comfortable with will help you (and your cat) enjoy the time apart.
Boarding Kennels – What You Need to Know
If you are unable to get a friend or sitter to look after your cat while you are on holiday, you could use a boarding kennel. Keep in mind, though that not all kennels are the same. While some offer an excellent service, others are not so great. Ask your vet or friends for referrals, and check reputable websites for boarding kennels in your area. Before making a final decision, it is crucial to visit a few to make absolutely sure.
When choosing a boarding kennel for your cat, there are a few things you need to do.
1. Check your cat’s accommodation
It is essential that your cat’s accommodation is spacious, and provides plenty of stimulation. Make sure there are things your cat can climb, as well as hiding spots. There should also be enough room for a bed and toys. As far as the feeding area goes, check that there is enough space between food and water bowls and the litter box. These should never be next to each other.
2. Meet the team
If possible, ask if you can meet the team at the boarding kennel. If you are unable to do this, then you need to find out as much as possible. For example, there should always be enough staff members on hand to interact with the animals. Nighttime staff are essential to monitor the cats, and there should also be a vet on call in case of an emergency.
3. Be prepared to provide information
A reputable boarding facility will ask you a couple of questions too. This should be without any prompting from your side.
- Vaccination status – A well-run kennel will ask you for an up-to-date record of your cat’s vaccinations. This is to keep your pet safe and prevent the spreading of disease. An extremely well-run boarding facility will not accept a pet without this.
- Relevant information – Kennels should ask you for information about your pet. This includes its name, age, any health conditions, special dietary requirements, and any particular likes or dislikes. You will also be asked to provide your pet’s most recent medical history.
- Contact details for next of ‘kitten’ – It is not unusual for kennels to ask for your vet’s contact information, as well as the details of a close friend or family member that can act on your behalf should the need arise. You could also be asked to sign a consent form allowing the kennel to call in the services of a vet while your pet is in their care.
Did you find this article helpful? Feel free to share it with friends. As always we would love to hear from you – what do you do with your cat when you go on holiday?