Holiday Options For Cats

It’s the summer holidays!  Many of us will be travelling away for a holiday at some point over the summer but this becomes more of a challenge when you have pets.  What should you do with your cat when you go away?

Put them in a Cattery

Kitten in catteryCatteries will generally provide an indoor cabin for your cat to sleep in, attached to an outdoor run with space to run around and play.  They are a secure environment for your cat to stay while you are on holiday.  There should be a gap of at least 2 foot or solid partition between the pens to reduce the risk of airborne infections spreading.  Your cat will need to be up to date on their vaccinations before going into the cattery, otherwise the cattery may refuse to take them or put them into an isolation unit at an extra cost.

Some catteries will provide pens for multiple cats from the same household, however it is important to ensure your cats really get on well together before keeping them together in a more confined space than they are used to.

Two cats on top of each other

It is a good idea to take as many of your cat’s own things (e.g. bed, scratching post, litter tray, toys) as possible to help them to settle in.  Check what food the cattery gives the cats and if it is possible to take your own, to avoid stomach upsets and food refusal.

Find out how much interaction the cattery staff have with the cats and make sure that you are happy with the level.

When dropping off and collecting your cat, please be aware that some catteries have strict opening hours and may charge for an extra night if you are unable to arrive at these times.

If your cat is on medication, many catteries will be able to administer this, but do check beforehand.

Top tips for choosing a cattery
  • Visit the cattery before booking to check that you are happy with the facilities offered
  • Check that the cattery is council licensed (a legal requirement)
  • Look at the condition of other cats in the cattery
  • Check whether the cattery staff are able to give medication if needed
  • Check whether the cattery is near any dog kennels (cats which are not used to dogs may find the noise very stressful)
  • Check that you can bring your cat’s personal items and food
  • Check out reviews and testimonials of the cattery

Get a Professional Cat-sitter

Longhaired tabby cat groomingHaving a professional cat-sitter coming to your home can reduce the stress of having to change your cat’s environment.  Your cat can continue their routine much as normal, with someone to check up on them, feed them, play with them and empty their litter tray.  The cat sitter will also provide some security for your home by collecting post and turning lights on or off.

Depending on your requirements, you may be able to find a permanent house-sitter who will stay in your home and provide almost 24/7 care for your cat, or someone who will pop in once or twice a day (usually for around 30 minutes).

If your cat is on medication, many catteries will be able to administer this, but do check beforehand.

Top tips for choosing a cat sitter
  • Find people who have used them before and check that they were happy
  • Ensure that the cat sitter is suitably insured
  • Check whether the cat sitter is able to give medication if needed
  • Meet the cat sitter before booking them, expect them to ask lots of questions about your cat and their requirements
  • Find out what experience and qualifications they have to look after cats

Ask a neighbour

Tortoiseshell cat eatingMany people will simply ask a neighbour or friend to pop in to feed their cats.  This can work very well and is obviously a lot cheaper than the other options.  However, it is important to consider the disadvantages.

  • What would happen if something went wrong (i.e. your cat got injured/went missing or your friend did not notice they were unwell) – would your relationship suffer?
  • Would your friend be willing to take your cat to the vet if needed and give any treatment required?

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Important things to do before going away

  • Long haired grey tabby catBook any cattery or cat sitter well in advance.  Good ones will often get booked up many months before at peak times.
  • Ensure your cat is up to date with their vaccinations and, if not, book them in to the vets at least 2 months before you go away.
  • Make sure you have sufficient medication for any long-term conditions for your cat while you are away.
  • Ensure whoever is looking after your cat has your emergency contact details – and make sure that these are working at all times!  Leave instructions as to what to do if there was an emergency with your cat and you were not able to be contacted immediately.
  • Check that your cat’s microchip details are up to date.

Travelling with your cat

This is not a suitable option for many cats as most will find it too stressful.  However, a few may enjoy it.  We will cover this topic in a future article.

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