As some of the COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted and borders start opening up again, many of us are yearning for a little vacation after this challenging time. However, as a cat owner, when planning your holiday, it is very important that you also consider the vacation arrangements for your feline friend.
Cats love their routine and their own environment. This becomes a challenge when it is time for a vacation. Humans love to get away from the routine of normal life, but for cats it can be the direct opposite, causing them considerable upset changing their familiar routine.
To offer your cat the most relaxing time possible there are several things you should consider.
Here are FOUR PAWS' suggestions for the purr-fect feline vacation:
Let your cat stay at home:
- Your cat will always be happiest in their own environment. So the best solution is for your cat is to stay at home when you travel. In this scenario, you ideally need a trustworthy person (family member, friend or neighbour) to ‘cat sit’ at your home.
- The alternative, if you can’t get anyone to move in, is finding a cat sitter who will visit your pet at least twice a day to feed them, clean the litter box and provide your cat with some company.
Take your cat to a friend's place:
- If your cat cannot stay at your home when you travel, you could take them to stay with a trustworthy friend or relative, ensuring that the cat stays in the person’s house or apartment for the duration of the vacation.
Find a professional cat hotel/cattery:
- If you cannot ask anyone to move in or take care of your cat, there are some great paid-for holiday accommodation options for cats. You need to do a bit of research to find a good cattery, that has trained personnel and can accommodate your cat well.
- A good professional pet hotel/cattery offers specially designed rooms/enclosures, good quality food and daily interaction with trained personnel (sounds like they’ll have a more luxurious holiday than you!) This is a particularly good option if your cat needs special medication.
Take your cat along:
- If you’re not travelling far for your vacation, you may be able to take your cat with you as well. Meaning your cat can carry on being taken care of by you. However, this scenario needs to be very carefully considered. Your holiday accommodation must be happy to allow pets. And the trip might be very stressful for your pet.
- Flights should be only be considered as a very last resort. Travel on a plane is very stressful for your pet and should only be considered if you plan to stay abroad for an extended amount of time.
Whichever solution you choose, please remember that your cat is very sensitive to stress. If you do choose to take your cat out of their home environment - whether to a friend, pet hotel or with you on vacation, you need to pack comprehensively for your cat.
- Cat carrier or crate
- Food and water bowl
- Cat bed
- Litter box and litter
- Scratching post
- First aid kit
It is also advisable that you microchip your cat (if your cat is not already microchipped) and ensure that your home details are up to date on the microchip database in case our cat should become lost.
You also need to consider that if your cat is stressed how this might affect you - cats can express fear through urinating, scratching furniture, hiding or even aggressive behaviour. Be prepared if this should happen and realise that this may be due to the stress they are feeling being away from their home and regular routine.