Three Options for Caring for Your Cat While You're Out Of Town
Cats are pretty self-sufficient creatures, but that doesn't mean you can leave your kitten alone while you go out of town. Even an overnight trip can be traumatic for a young kitten or a cat that is very closely bonded to you. You wouldn't leave a five-year-old child alone to fend for herself for days, leaving a couple of boxes of cookies out so she doesn't go hungry, so why would you leave your cat alone?
As a responsible cat owner, you have three choices for being sure your cat stays healthy while you're away from home:
A trusted friend or family member - If you ask a neighbor or friend to take care of your cat, you need to know that he or she will be responsible and come to visit your cat at least twice a day, feed him, and empty the litter box. If you don't feel absolutely sure that this individual will remember to do what you asked him or her to do, don't put your cat's life in their hands.
Boarding - Some vets offer boarding services, and a variety of other cat boarding facilities are also available. If your cat is very ill or needs daily medication, vet boarding may be a good choice. If you board your cat at a cattery, the facility will require proof that his vaccinations are up to date. Cats that are shy or easily traumatized may not handle boarding well.
A pet sitter - A pet sitter comes to your home, feeds your cat and administers any necessary medications, cleans the litter box, and spends time each day visiting with your cat. Because cats generally prefer not to travel, many people find a pet sitter a good option. Be sure to find out if the pet sitter is comfortable with cats (some are better with dogs or other animals) and if your cat is comfortable with the pet sitter. Pet sitting services can vary in price and quality, so be sure to check a potential sitter's references before entrusting your cat's care - and your property - to him or her.
Related Advice from Other Cat Owners
Boarding at Pet Suites
Do you have a Pet Suites near you? I had to board my cats for a few days and it was a really nice facility! The cat room was so quiet and there was no dog noise at all. I was able to relax knowing my cats were in great hands while they were there.
The facility does require certain shots, however. The cages were a pretty good size and you pay full price for one cat and half for the other. You also pay extra for special play time or other services like grooming. And they were always great about giving updates when I called to see how my pets were doing. I made sure to leave a blanket from home and some of their toys too.
~Ellie C., owner of Domestic Shorthair
Don't Settle For the First Place When Boarding
I spent a long time looking at different places online and visited two in person before making a decision. The first place smelled really bad, was tiny, and the lady that ran it was out running errands more than she was there so I thought I'd better keep looking. Look for a place that strives for a flea-free environment and requires cats to be up to date on their shots. Ask how long the cats will be allowed out and make sure you get a straight answer.
~Carrie A., owner of Bengal
Looking For a Boarding Facility? Ask a Vet!
Vets can be a good place for recommendations, and they can point out ones to stay away from. Our vet mentioned one specifically where they had had people bring their pets in after being boarded, because they were worried about injuries their cats had. They were minor injuries, but they were still injuries, and I was very relieved to find out it was no good before going there.
~Lissa N., owner of Domestic Shorthair