We usually think of our cats as solitary creatures that enjoy their time alone but the reality is that they generally prefer to socialize. This can leave them feeling lonely when you need to leave them for an extended period of time. Here, our Picayune vets offer recommendations for where to leave your cat when you go on vacation and the benefits of each option.
Where can I leave my cat while on vacation?
Going on vacation is exciting but it can also be stressful as it means figuring out what to do with your cat while you are away. Should you ask a friend or family member to stay with them? What about calling a boarding facility? While most cats can be left alone for one night, kittens under four months old and certain cat breeds, like dogs, require companionship.
Leaving Your Cat at Home While on Vacation
As previously stated, most cats will be fine if left alone for one night and may not even notice your absence if given adequate food, fresh water, and toys. Young cats under four months old, as well as breeds like sphynx, Scottish folds, and rag dogs, do best with human company. Kittens under four months old should not be left alone for more than four hours.
Your cat should never be left alone for more than 24 hours as they will require basic care and affection during this time and depriving them for extended periods of time can have a detrimental effect.
Using a Pet Sitter While Leaving Your Cat at Home
A good option for when you have to leave your cat at home is to have a cat sitter come in every day to clean the litter box, make sure your furry friend has food and water, and provide them with some quality one-on-one playtime and cuddles.
This option provides your cat with less stress because they are in their environment and get to use their litter box, and everything is where they are used to it being. This is usually the simplest and most cost-effective option.
You can either have a friend or family member that your cat knows come in and take care of them or have a professional come in and watch your four-legged companion.
Having someone your cat is already familiar and comfortable with can also help reduce their stress levels and make them feel more relaxed. On the other hand, a professional sitter knows everything about properly taking care of a cat and can make sure every need is being provided for.
When hiring a pet sitter, make sure they are well-versed in your cat's habits, behaviors, and needs, as each kitty is unique. Tell the sitter what time of day your cat eats, how much food they need, your kitty's energy level if medications must be given at specific times, and so on. We recommend giving your sitter a kitten care guide so they know exactly how to meet all of your pet's needs.
Bringing Your Cat to Stay at a Friend or Family Member's House
If you have a cat that is comfortable with staying at other places, you may want to consider sending them to your friend or family member's house.
The advantage of this option is that your pet will be constantly monitored and given more attention. However, if they already have a cat with whom your kitty does not get along, or if your feline friend does not like the person with whom they are staying, this can backfire and increase your pet's stress even more than if they were left alone.
If you would like to leave your pet at someone's house we recommend dropping them off for a few days before you leave as a trial stay so you can make sure your kitty gets along alright. If this doesn't work out you will still have time to find another option for your furry companion.
You should be sure that the person you choose loves cats and is happy to help, if not, you may want to find another option.
Leaving Your Cat in the Care of a Boarding Facility
Boarding and kennels aren't just for dogs, lots of boarding facilities also welcome cats. This is also probably the best option for your pet when you are on vacation.
By leaving your cat with the trained staff at a boarding facility, you can ensure that they get the care and attention that they need while you are away. Be sure to call them in advance to ensure that they have the space and resources for your feline friend.
While many cats can have separation anxiety and might be stressed out by being left alone with strangers in an unknown environment, there are steps you can take to lessen their fears such as bringing along their favorite toys, blankets, bed, or even a piece of your clothing. Bringing your cat to the boarding facility for a short visit can help them to become acquainted with the space and the staff before they have their long stay.
You should also clearly communicate with the facility to make sure they clearly understand all of your cat's needs and that they offer all of the boarding services you and your cat require.
Make sure that you are happy with the facilities, their appearance and how they are run. Is it calm and quiet? Check to see if the facility you're considering is cat-friendly, with a separate boarding area for cats and dogs, and that your kitty's kennel is large enough to keep the litter box separate from their food and bed. You should also check to see if it has features like a window for your cat to look out, climate-controlled kennels, and quality one-on-one time with the staff.
Take the time to view the place your kitty will be staying in from their perspective, to make sure your cat will be comfortable and well cared for in your absence.
At Picayune Veterinary Clinic our boarding facility is cat-friendly, and our professional and qualified veterinary team will ensure all of your cat's needs are being met, we will answer any questions you may have and offer trial stays to make sure we are the perfect fit for your pet.
The Benefits of Boarding Your Cat
There are a number of benefits when leaving your cat at a boarding facility including:
- Your cat will be supervised their entire stay
- Their feeding schedule will be the same as it is at home
- Your kitty's kennel will be cleaned daily
- The staff will notice if your cat is not eating or if they are sick
- Good kennels offer calming and relaxing environments for cats
- The staff can make sure your cat's medications are administered properly and on time
- You can call them to see how your kitty is doing
At the end of the day, it is your choice where you will leave your cat while on vacation; take the time to weigh your options and ensure you are selecting the best option for you and your feline companion.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.