There’s so much to remember when we’re planning our holidays; passports, visas, tickets, packing, shopping… And as we run out of time, our fur babies run the risk of being just a note on the to-do list… Rather than have your holiday begin like a feline Home Alone, here are some easy steps to follow to ensure that your feline friend is happy and safe in your absence.
1. Think about what environment would make your cat feel most comfortable while you’re away. As kitties are very territorial, in most cases, asking someone to pop round and feed your cat in the comforts of their own home is the best solution, rather than taking your cat to the strange environment of a cattery. With someone popping over to you home there is no stress for kitty and no guilt for you.
2. If you do decide to use a cattery then make sure you visit first and meet the carers to get a clear understanding of what the daily routine will be for your cat, what interaction and enrichment they will have and how safe and healthy they will be. Many cats find a cattery stressful, so be really sure you are comfortable with the environment and the people – or you could find yourself worrying during your holiday.
If you decide to leave your cat at home, it’s important to find someone who is reliable and trustworthy to pop in a feed them. If you don’t have a friend or neighbour you can ask, you could try a reputable company such as Cat in a Flat. All you need to do is enter your postcode and they’ll match you to insured cat sitters and house sitters in your area. You can then read through their profiles and reviews, and contact your favourites, no strings attached. Finding a professional sitter means you don’t have to call in favours, and you can be clear about what’s expected of the sitter.
3. Once you’ve found a cat sitter you like, invite them around for a cuppa. This is a great way to get to know them and see how they interact with your cat. A good cat sitter should want to know every little detail, from what your cat is allowed to eat, to his favourite hiding place and where he doesn’t like to be tickled. Kitties are creatures of habit and happiest when their daily routine is followed.
4. Before leaving on your trip, make sure you have everything ready and prepared for your cat minder. For ease, we find this checklist very useful:
Lock windows and doors and adjust the thermostat to a desired temperature suitable for your kitty.
Make sure your cat sitter has the correct code for your alarm and your kitty won’t set it off by mistake.
Put everything your cat sitter needs in one place, this includes their food, cat litter and cleaning products.
Make sure your cat sitter knows who to contact in case of an emergency. Do they know who your vet is and where to find the cat carrier?
Make sure you’ve left very clear instructions to avoid misunderstandings.
Double check your cats are wearing their ID collars and that their microchip information is up to date.
Let your neighbours know you’ll be away. And, if possible, leave a spare key with them in case of an unforeseen circumstance.
Leave some old clothes like an unwashed jumper near your kitty’s favourite sleeping spot, so they can snuggle up and not miss you too much.
Consider getting a few new cat safe toys to keep boredom at bay.
If your cat is nervous, install a feline pheromone diffuser to create a calming environment.
If you’ve hired a house sitter provide them with fresh bedding, a towel and the wifi password.
Lastly, don’t forget to clear your fridge and empty the bin!
It does take a bit of extra effort to get ready for your cat sitter. But, if done correctly, everything should run smoothly and you can sit back and relax and enjoy seeing the daily photos of your kitty having just as much fun as you.
On the other hand, if you’re struggling to decide where to go on holiday, you could sign up to become a house sitter yourself. Who knows, you may then be asked to cat sit for someone in another city. Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to explore a new city, cuddle a kitty and get paid to do it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathrin Burckhardt and Julie Barnes are Co-Founders of Cat in a Flat. Cat in a Flat is a trusted cat-sitting community created by cat lovers for cat lovers. Its mission is to help cats stay in the comfort of their own homes by connecting cat owners with trusted, insured, local, cat-loving sitters. https://catinaflat.com