As a cat, I understand that humans like to live a varied life. They like to try new things and they like to go on vacation, but that doesn't always apply to our feline species, with the exception, perhaps, of Felix who owns the garden next door; he goes on holiday with his human family every year. It took a little while for him to get used to travelling, but his family made plans to make sure that he travelled safely and comfortably every time:
- They made sure he had the best cat carrier,
- They researched the best tips to keep a cat calm while travelling,
- They made sure the journey was not too long for Felix,
- and he's even travelled on a train!
However, we cats are home-loving creatures and we usually prefer to stay in our familiar space and routine. That means you have to really take our feelings into consideration if you are going to go on vacation; we don't like change, and not having our humans around for a period of time can make us stressed!
I thought you might like a few tips on how to support your cat while you go on holiday.
Allow us to adjust slowly
I am very perceptive and notice the little things that change around me; but my humans help me adjust by making changes gradually, when they are going on holiday, they bring out their holiday cases a few days before they are about to leave. This helps me get used to the case and I can explore it in my own time and leave my scent on it, which makes me feel less anxious.
There's a very nice lady that always looks after me when my folks are away. They call her Cassie the cat sitter. She is my human mummy's friend, and she's always popping in for a coffee so I have become used to seeing her in the house; now I am quite happy for her to come and look after me when my family goes on vacation. I wouldn't like a complete stranger to come into the house to look after me, it takes me a while to get used to visitors. So, if your cat doesn't yet know your cat sitter, make sure they meet a few times before you go away, to help them bond, it will help your cat, believe me!
Keep to a routine
My human mummy has given Cassie a lot of instructions on how to look after me! Cassie now knows:
- When I like to have my food, and my treats, of course! She's even told her that I like to drink running water, though I will drink out of a bowl if it's the right size and doesn't mess with my whiskers
- My favourite toys and the time of day I like to play
- How often the litter needs to be changed in my litter tray
- And, importantly, not to move things around!
Ensure the house is cat safe
I learned my lesson last week when I got stuck in a cupboard! I suppose I was being a bit nosy and went into the laundry cupboard to check it out, unfortunately, my human mummy was passing by and closed the door! I was fine for a while and got very cosy on top of the clean sheets, but all the family panicked when I didn't come in for my evening food; it was only when I started to get hungry that I started meowing and they heard me. Moral of the story: make sure all cupboards and doors are firmly closed or propped open so that your cat does not get accidentally trapped while you are away.
- Double-check that the cat flap is working properly, so that your cat doesn't get stuck inside, or outside!
- Remove or tie up any stray wires or cords so that your cat cannot get tangled up in them.
- Remove any small items, such as elastic bands, drawing pins, or paper clips that your cat might find interesting, these can be dangerous if your cat swallows them.
- Remember to check that your houseplants are cat-safe - cats are inquisitive, particularly if they get bored, and might decide to explore somewhere they should not go.
- Assume that all human medications are unsafe for your cat and lock them in a cupboard.
Check your cat's health
It's always wise to check your cat for any signs of illness or injury in the days before you go on vacation, my human mummy also double checks that my microchip is up to date and working OK, just in case I wander off somewhere and get lost.
Cassie knows about my medication, and she also has the contact details of the vet in case of emergencies.
It's the everyday things that make the difference! My humans have read "How long can I leave my cat alone?" so know that I like my creature comforts:
- Firstly, and very importantly, my human uses FELIWAY. FELIWAY Help! provides calming feline pheromones over a 7-day period and is a great option to support cats during temporary stressful situations, such as you going away on vacation. Simply plug in 2 days before you are going away in the room where your cat will spend most of their time. If you are going to be away for longer periods, FELIWAY Optimum enhanced serenity and reassurance to your cat for up to 30 days.
- Secondly, remember to take into account what the weather will be like when you are away. If it's warm, cats need to have access to shady spots to keep cool, and if it's cold, we need to have the heating on and cosy places where we can curl up.
- Thirdly, my human mummy always makes sure there is enough food and litter available for the time she is away, so that Cassie doesn't need to worry about getting extra supplies. She has also explained how to dispose of dirty litter and how to clean the litter tray, cats are very fussy about their toileting!
- Lastly, she also asks Cassie to turn on the radio for a while every day. I am quite partial to a little music - it helps me relax so that I don't miss my family as much.
Other ways to support your cat when going on holidays
Fortunately, Cassie is always available to look after me when my humans go away, but if this is not possible for you and your kitty, you can consider a cattery.
Felix next door has stayed in the local one, but his owners always check it out to make sure that it has everything he needs, that it is licensed and has safety measures in place. He is also able to take his home comforts with him, like his favourite blanket, his scratching post and his favourite toys.
I believe our local cattery also makes sure that he doesn't meet other cats; sharing space in the cattery is not for him and wouldn't want to share his new 'space' in the cattery!
Cassie always keeps in touch with my family when they are away and sends them lots of pictures of me posing in various places. I would love to see some of your favourite kitty holiday photos, whether they are at home or if you take them on vacation with you! Be sure to share them with us on Facebook and Instagram!