Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Going on Vacation? Don't Forget to Plan for Your Cat

Many aspects of vacation require a lot of planning, and preparing your cats for your departure is no exception. While you enjoy the summer with traveling, it is important to consider how your furry friends will be spending your time off.

Though a lot of people enjoy the freshness and the change in routine that a vacation offers, cats do not typically like either of these things. Cats usually have a schedule they like to stick to, and, because they are territorial animals, they tend to prefer their own home more than anyplace else.

For these reasons, the best option for what to do about your cat while your away is to leave them at home with someone who can watch them. They won’t mind being left out of the travails of travel, though they might miss you, so having someone visit will give them some needed companionship. A neighbor, a friend, a family member, or a pet sitter should come by daily (or a little more often) to make sure your cats are properly fed and taken care of.

This person should be someone you trust. You will be giving them the keys to your house as well as responsibility over your cats. Before you commit to them, you should see how they behave with your cats and make sure they can get along. You might want to consider setting up automatic feeders and water so the cats will always have food, but someone still needs to come by to make sure no cat is sick and to keep them company.

Of course, this may not always be an option. If your cat can’t stay at home, you will probably have to board your cat at a kennel. Many cats do not like this as much because they will be in an unfamiliar place and won’t be able to move around. Before you chose a kennel, you should definitely visit to see how your cat would be treated there.

Check to see how large the cages are, how much space cats have from other cats, and how much attention and care the cats receive there. If it is too crowded, too loud, too foul smelling, or especially if cats are too close to dogs and can hear their barking, this will probably be a very stressful situation for your cat. Do not put your cat in a kennel you are not satisfied with. Usually, there are many options in an area. Be sure that your cat will be treated humanely in a place that tries to minimize stress.

If, on the other hand, you decide to take your cat on vacation with you, you should first talk to your vet and make sure your cat is prepared for a ride in a car or a plane. This is usually stressful for cats to go through, so you should again do your best to minimize their anxiety. Try to keep to their schedule as best as you can on the road by having specific feeding times and regular pit stops to give her a chance for fresh air, new water, and a clean litter box.

For their safety, cats should probably be kept in carriers, but give them a chance to exercise before and after the trip. Plan ahead with hotels and airlines to make sure your choices are cat friendly. Book hotels that allow cats and look for flights with the least layovers (and, if possible, layovers in places that would not be freezing cold or unbearably hot). It is also a good idea to take precautions for the possibility of your cat becoming lost in an unfamiliar place. Cats do not always like collars, but a collar or some kind of identification could be helpful if your cat becomes separated from you. Microchipping is another way to help make sure people can bring your cat back to you if she goes missing.

Whatever you do for your cats as you travel, make sure their vaccines are up to date. Kennels often require proof of vaccination before admitting cats. If your cat is traveling with you, you want to make sure she is healthy and ready for the trip. You should probably also bring your cat’s health records along with you, in case you need to visit a veterinarian on the way. If someone is watching your cat, give them the number of the vet and the phone you will have with you.

It may be some work to get your cat ready, but that’s the best way to be sure both you and your cat will have the best vacation you can.

1 comment:

Kelsey Higgins said...

I used to watch my sister's cat whenever she and her husband went on vacation, however, now that I have moved, I am no longer available for the job. In a few weeks, my sister and her husband will be leaving for the first time since I have moved and are nervous about leaving their cat. It is definitely an animal that likes being at its own house! However, I think they have found a great kennel that their cat will feel comfortable with! I guess we will find out soon how well it adapts to a new place!