Leaving Home in Bad Weather? Here Are Tips for Your Cat-Sitter


I love to travel, but I hate leaving my cats behind. I try to think of everything possible to prepare pet sitters or friends who are watching my babies, especially during periods of bad weather. Winter cat-sitting brings a whole new set of considerations. I’ve lived in snow country for a long time, and if I have to be gone for a few days in the winter, I want to be sure my cats are well cared for.

Here are some cat-related things to think about if you travel during winter:

1. Can your sitter get to your house?

A lot of this depends on where you live. If you’re in a city, for example, it may be easier for the sitter to get to your place. If you live in a house and not necessarily close to services, make sure the sitter is easily going to be able to get into your house and take care of your kitties on a regular basis. Will your driveway be plowed and will the sitter be able to get in, should your residence get dumped on with snow? What about ice? Are the roads well taken care of where you live?

The ideal situation might be to have your friend or sitter live in your place with your cats. If you have a very adaptable cat and a super friend or pet sitter, your cat might also be able to stay at their place. (Obviously, that comes with pros and cons of its own — other cats, place sensitivity and the stress of a new environment, etc.)

Make sure you’ve thought through every possibility so that your cat-watching friend or professional can get into your place and take care of your cats.

2. Are you stocked with cat food and cat supplies?

This is a given, in good or bad weather. You certainly don’t want to be worrying about whether your cat watcher is going to be able to get food and supplies for the kitties, should the weather turn bad. Take care of this before a bad-weather event, so that you and the sitter don’t have to worry.

3. Are your utilities working?

My kitties have always been indoor cats, but I’ve learned that cats can do well in pretty cold temps if they have shelter. But that doesn’t mean I want them to be cold. Also, if the heat were to go out in my place and I was gone, it could lead to bigger problems like frozen pipes. Even the electricity going out could cause issues. Try to think through things so that your kitties are comfortable — for example, if the heat should go out, make sure you’ve left out warm places for them to snuggle, like blankets and sleeping bags.

4. Do you have a plan for going to the vet?

In the event that your sitter has take your pets to the vet in bad weather, make sure you’ve planned ahead. Is the route difficult? Does the sitter have transportation? Are the roads taken care of? Can you sitter handle it? Also, does your veterinarian know you will be gone and have you made arrangement for payment, should your sitter need to take your cat in?

We had a situation last year where weather made us resort to a plan B regarding veterinary care. A snowstorm was on the way, and my favorite vet was an hour away on treacherous, fairly remote roads. Karma (kitty) was terminally ill and very close to the point where we would have to help her pass over. Because of the storm, which was starting, we took her into a closer vet a day or two earlier than I might have otherwise. The last thing I wanted was the stress of driving through a snowstorm on top of the emotional stress of saying goodbye to my kitty.

Do you make extra plans for your kitties when you’re traveling in winter weather? Tell us in the comments!

More by Catherine Holm:

About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of The Great Purr (cat fantasy novel out June 1), the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.

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