There will come a time in your stint as a cat owner when you’ll need to go away for a weekend or sneak off for a weeks-long vacation for a mental reset. While we all need time away from home occasionally, the problem for cat owners is what we’re to do with our beloved family pets while we’re gone.
If you’re faced with an upcoming trip and aren’t entirely sure what you’re going to do with your cats, we can help. Read on to find three great places you can leave your kitties while you’re away, as well as tips on preparing your kitty for time spent home alone.
The 3 Places You Can Leave Your Cat While You’re on Vacation
1. Your House
Now, hear us out. We do not recommend leaving your cats alone 24/7/365 while you’re away on extended vacations. That’s just plain irresponsible and dangerous.
But, if you’re going somewhere for a night or two and think your kitties can be independent, it’s okay to just leave them at home, provided you have automatic feeders and a way to check on them, such as pet cameras. Depending on how many cats you have, you may also want to set out an extra litter box to ensure they stay as clean as possible during your time away.
However, you can also leave your pets at home alone if you’re leaving for a week or two (or more) if you invest in a pet sitter. These highly dedicated professionals can visit your home once or twice daily to check on your pets, feed them, and change their litter box.
Alternatively, you can pay for a live-in sitter who will stay at your home the entire time you’re gone. The benefit of the latter is that your cats will have someone to interact with them for the whole duration of your trip. Of course, you should expect to pay more for a live-in sitter, but it will be worth your while, especially if you have anxious cats that don’t do well alone.
Leaving your cats at home while you’re away is a great option for older cats that may be set in their ways and not okay with the upheaval of moving to a new place while you’re gone. It might also be the best option for cats that are easily stressed out or those with anxiety.
2. A Friend’s House
If your cats are pretty easygoing, you can take them to a family member or friend’s house while on vacation. We do not recommend this option if your kitty has anxiety, as the stress of a new environment can be awful for anxious pets.
3. A Boarding Facility
Boarding facilities are professionally run businesses where your cat will be supervised for much of the day and provided with one-on-one time.
Boarding facilities aren’t just for cats, however. Kitties that are easily stressed or anxious probably won’t appreciate being kept in the same facility as dogs. Even if the two species are kept separate, your cats can pick up on the scent and sounds of the other animals, which may cause stress and acting out behaviors.
We highly recommend touring any potential boarding facilities before leaving your kitty there. A tour allows you to get a feel for the staff and how the business is run. It’ll also allow you to ask questions and ensure the operators fully understand your cat’s needs.
How to Prepare Your Cat to Be Left Alone
If you decide to leave your cats to their own devices while you’re away on your weekend getaway, there are some things you should do before going to ensure their safety.
Tidy Your Home
Leaving your home tidy will not only ensure your pets are safe while you’re gone, but nothing beats coming home to a clean house. Cats can get into all sorts of trouble if things are left out, so make sure there’s nothing on the floor they can eat (e.g., hair ties). Empty the garbage cans and do a thorough vacuuming job to ensure your mischievous babies can’t get themselves into any trouble.
Move Your Plants
Your houseplants may be like your second babies, so do them a favor and move them far out of your cat’s reach. While your kitty may not show interest in your plants while you’re around, boredom from being left alone may make their curiosity get the best of them. Unfortunately, many types of plants are toxic to cats, so failure to place them somewhere your kitties can’t get at them may mean you’ll be facing huge veterinary bills when you return.
Leave Out Extra Water
Your automatic feeders will take care of your pet’s food needs while you’re gone, but it is essential that you set out extra water for them, too. Pumps can fail in electric fountains, and cats can tip over bowls, so setting out extras will ensure your kitty will have a backup water supply in case something happens to their primary water source.
Leave Your Scent
If your cats are particularly bonded to you, leave out a blanket or article of clothing with your scent so they can smell you while you’re away. This can help alleviate any stress or anxiety they may have in your absence.
Choosing where to leave your cat while you’re away on vacation will depend entirely on how long you’re going away for and your kitty’s personality. Some cats are typically self-sufficient and can last short, weekend-long stints alone without getting into trouble.
However, if you’re leaving for longer than that, you may wish to explore other options, such as calling on your friends for help, hiring a pet sitter, or hiring a boarding facility.
Learn how to live a better life with your cat on Catster:
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- 5 Ways Cats Are Easier to Live With and Care for Than Dogs
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Featured Image credit: Monika Wisniewska, Shutterstock