While we wish we could take our feline companions with us when we go out of town, it isn't always possible. In this blog, our Lafayette vets share some ideas for places where you can leave your cat while you are on vacation.
Where Can I Leave My Cat While On Vacation?
Sometimes it can be hard to decide where to leave your cat when you are away. Do you leave them at home by themselves or board them at a kennel? While most cats are fine being left alone for one night, kittens under four months old and some specific cat breeds are like dogs and need companionship.
Leaving Your Kitty Alone
As we said above most cats will be fine if left alone for one night and might not even notice your absence, if provided with enough food, freshwater, and toys. However, young cats under four months old and breeds such as sphynx, Scottish folds, and rag dogs, do best with human company. Kittens younger than four months shouldn't be left on their own for more than four hours.
We don't recommend leaving your cat alone longer than 24 hours because cats are social creatures that need their owner's attention to feel safe and comfortable. They rely on you to make sure all of their care requirements are being met.
At-Home With a Cat Sitter
A good option for when you have to leave your cat at home is to have a cat sitter come in every day to clean the litter box, make sure your furry friend has food and water, and provide them with some quality one-on-one playtime and cuddles.
This option provides your cat with less stress because they are in their own environment and get to use their own litter box, and everything is where they are used to it being. This is also a cost-effective choice, especially if you have more than one kitty.
You can either have a friend or family member that your cat knows come in and take care of them or have a professional come in and watch your four-legged companion.
Having someone your cat is already familiar and comfortable with can also help reduce their stress levels and make them feel more relaxed. On the other hand, a professional sitter knows everything about properly taking care of a cat and can make sure every need is being provided for.
When having a pet sitter take care of your pet make sure they know all about your cat's habits, behaviors, and needs because every kitty is different. Be sure to tell the sitter what time of day your cat eats, the specific amount of food they require, your kitty's energy level, if they have to be given medications at specific times, etc. We recommend providing your sitter with a guide to caring for your kitten so they know exactly how to meet all of your pet's needs.
Leaving Your Cat a Friend's or Relative's
If your cat is comfortable going to another place you might want to consider leaving them at a friend's or relative's home.
The benefit of this option is that your furry friend will have constant supervision and be provided with more attention. But, if they already have a cat that your kitty doesn't get along with or if your feline friend doesn't like the person they are staying with, this can backfire and increase your pet's stress even more than if they were left by themselves.
If you would like to leave your pet at someone's house we recommend dropping them off for a few days before you leave as a trial stay so you can make sure your kitty gets along alright. If this doesn't work out you will still have time to find another option for your furry companion.
Also make sure the person you are leaving your cat with is able to meet all of your kitty's needs and is willing and eager to perform the task, if not, you may want to find another option.
A Boarding Facility (Kennels)
Boarding and kennels aren't just for dogs, lots of boarding facilities also welcome cats. This is also probably the best option for your pet when you are on vacation.
Boarding facilities should be run by professionals who will make sure your cat is always, fed, watered, supervised, and get's quality one-on-one time. You will also need to call them well in advance to book your cat's stay to ensure they have availability and space for your four-legged companion.
While many cats can have separation anxiety and might be stressed out by being left alone with strangers in an unknown environment, there are steps you can take to lessen their fears such as bringing along their favorite toys, blankets, bed, or even a piece of your clothing. You can also do a trial run to make sure your kitty gets along well at the facility, this also helps make them familiar with the setting.
You should also clearly communicate with the facility to make sure they clearly understand all of your cat's needs and that they offer all of the boarding services you and your cat require.
It's important that you are comfortable with the kennel you have selected - ensure the place you are choosing is clean, well run, and quiet. See if the facility you are selecting is cat friendly with a separate boarding area for cats and dogs and that your kitty's kennel is large enough so the litter box is kept in a separate area from their food and bed. You may also want to see if it has features such as a window for your cat to watch outside, climate-controlled kennels and if they offer quality one-on-one time with the staff.
Take the time to view the place your kitty will be staying in from their perspective, to make sure your cat will be comfortable and well cared for in your absence.
At St. Francis Veterinary Hospital our boarding facility is cat friendly, and our professional and qualified veterinary team will ensure all of your cat's needs are being met, we will answer any questions you may have and offer trial stays to make sure we are the perfect fit for your pet.
The Benefits of Leaving Your Cat at Kennel
Here are the benefits of leaving your cat at a high-quality, professional boarding facility while you are on vacation:
- Your cat will be surprised their entire stay
- Their feeding schedule will be the same as it is at home
- Your kitty's kennel will be cleaned daily
- The staff will notice if your cat is not eating or if they are sick
- Good kennels offer calming and relaxing environments for cats
- The staff can make sure your cat's medications are administered properly and on time
- You can call them to see how your kitty is doing
At the end of the day it is your decision where you leave your cat while you are on vacation, take the time to weigh your options and make sure you are choosing the best possible option for you and your feline companion.