What are the options of care for my cat when I go on holidays?
There are several options for your cat when you go on holiday. Each option has it's pros and cons and needs to be weighed up carefully. There are many factors involved, including the length of time you are going away, cost, your cat's personality and your own comfort level. Listed below are several options cat owners can investigate.
Pros: You will have a professional to watch your cat while you are away. There are some wonderful boarding catteries available. Some of which start out fairly basic, others are the equivalent of a feline 5-star hotel. Many boarding catteries have an enclosed outdoor play area so your cat can enjoy the sunshine in the safety of an enclosure. As boarding catteries usually have other pets in their care, time in an outdoor play area is usually limited so each of their guests can enjoy time outside.
You will have somebody keeping a watch over your cat's health and well-being. As well as providing the basic requirements such as feeding many boarding catteries will spend time playing, grooming and petting your cat.
Cons: Some cats don't take well to being taken outside of the comfort of their home, and will become stressed. The majority of cats will settle in quickly, but some will find it an upsetting experience.
Your cat will have to be up to date on his vaccinations prior to arrival, and if fleas or parasites are found on the cat, most boarding cattery owners will treat your cat, but at your expense. If you are going away for an extended period of time or have several cats this can be quite expensive.
Friend or family member staying at your house:
- Your cat will be able to stay in the comfort and familiar surroundings of his own home.
- It will have human companionship.
This is a cheap option. You will have somebody to check your mail, water the plants etc., keep the house secure.
Cons: Finding a family member or friend to stay over may be difficult.
Pet Sitter visiting daily:
- Your cat will be able to stay in the comfort of his own home and familiar surroundings. It will have some human companionship.
- A pet sitter is usually happy to bring your mail inside, turn lights on and off to give the appearance that somebody is home.
- It is often cheaper than a boarding cattery.
Cons: Your cat won't have as much companionship as it would in a boarding cattery and becoming lonely. There is a risk of it becoming unwell between visits.
Pros: The pros are the same as with having a friend or family member staying at your house.
- You will probably have to pay for this service.
- Not everybody is comfortable having a stranger in their home.
Pros: You get to take your cat on holiday with you. Your cat is with familiar people. You don't have to pay somebody to mind your cat.
- Finding a hotel which will allow you to bring your cat with you.
- Not practical if you have a lot of cats.
- Not all cats adapt well to being taken out of the home environment.
Boarding at the veterinary practice:
Pros: Your cat is being cared for by experienced medical staff and should it become sick, they will be able to treat it immediately.
Cons: This may not be the case with all vets, but the ones I've seen have only offered fairly limited sized cages, so it may be okay for a very short time, but I personally wouldn't board my cats in a confined space for any longer than a day or so. Boarding catteries tend to be more geared up for longer stays and have larger enclosures for cats.
How to find a pet sitter/boarding cattery etc
Word of mouth is always the best bet. Your veterinarian may be able to recommend somebody suitable. Friends and relatives who have pets may also know of somewhere/somebody who can care for your cat. The vet nurse at our local veterinarian's office used to do pet sitting. It was always reassuring knowing that she was caring for the animals as she had the medical knowledge to spot a problem in the cats and would be able to take them immediately to the vet in our absence.