The silly season is upon us and for a lot of cat owners, this might mean leaving your feline friend behind while travelling during the holidays. But who is going to take care of your cat while you are away? There are several options and what will be best for your cat will completely depend on their personality.
Take them - Why should the humans have all of the fun! Some cats have been trained from an early age to travel with their owner. A lot of these cats are leash trained and have confident and outgoing personalities. In the main, most cats don’t deal well with change and will find travelling highly stressful. So unless your cat is trained to travel you should not take them along. But if they are trained and social, why not let them join in the family fun!
In-Home care – You can hire a cat sitter or ask a friend to come and check on your cat every day, preferably twice a day. Ideally, this person will not just come in to feed your cat and clean out the litter tray, but will also have some time to play with your cat and provide them with some quality time they will be missing from you. Leaving your cat at home will leave them in a safe environment that they are familiar with and your smell will linger around the house, which will provide comfort to your cat. Instead of asking friends to visit your cat on a daily basis, you could ask them to be a live-in sitter while you are away. This will guarantee your cat will get all the attention they require. Because of all the changes, it is advisable to keep your cat indoors while you are away.
Before you go away you should make a checklist with important information for the cat sitter. This should include basic information such as the location of food and litter, how often and how much to feed your cat, whether they are allowed outside, whether they like to be petted and how often the litter tray needs to be cleaned and where to dispose of the litter. These things might seem straight-forward to you, but will be very handy to know if you are not familiar with the lay-out of the house and the character of the cat. You should also include important information such as whether your cat requires medication, contact details for your vet and of course your emergency contact details.
Leaving your cat at home alone for an extended period is never an option. Even if you have provided enough food and water for the planned period, unexpected things can happen that could delay your return home, for example acts of nature or a medical problem, or your cat could have a medical emergency while you are away. Cats need fresh water, food and their litter boxes scooped at least once a day and they need daily social interactions. Cats are not OK alone for extended periods.
Boarding – Although in most cases it is ideal to have someone look after your cat at home, this is not always possible. In that case, boarding is a great alternative. You will need to think ahead because space at catteries is limited and in high demand for the holiday season. You will need to book in advance if you want to secure a spot. Most catteries will require your cat to be up-to-date with vaccinations and flea treatment and some will also require your cat to be desexed and microchipped. Remember to ask about their requirements when you are making a booking.
Family care – If your cat gets stressed by the presence of other cats (this can particularly be a problem at a cattery) and they can’t be looked after at home, you might be able to have them stay with a friend or family member. Bring their water and food bowls, litter tray, scratching post, bed and toys to make them feel more at home. It might also be useful to take a few items of your clothing that carry your scent. Because your cat will be in an unfamiliar environment they should be kept indoors at all times to prevent them running away and getting lost.
No matter which option of care you choose, make sure that your cat is microchipped, and your contact details are up to date on the microchip register, so that you can be contacted if your cat accidentally becomes lost while you are on holiday.
Visit www.petaddress.com.au to find out where your cat’s microchip is registered.