A vacation is meant to be relaxing and a way to destress. But, if you’re a cat parent, it could have the opposite effect on you.
You are constantly worried about the safety of your pet, even though the odds are that your cat is taking a nice long nap without you bothering them.
But, why leave it to chance? Here are some tips to help you prepare to leave your cat home alone.
Board Them, or Leave Them with a Friend?
A pet parent is never fully satisfied until they know their baby is completely safe. Even then, there’s some anxiety around leaving a cat home.
To ensure that you can enjoy your vacation, consider boarding them in a facility where there will be 24/7 care. Visit the facility before you drop your cat off to ensure you like the attendants, because unless both you and your cat are comfortable with the people there, you will be worried about the well-being of your cat for the duration of your trip.
If boarding is not an option for you, then consider leaving your cat at a friend’s place. You will be at so much more ease knowing that your cat is staying with someone you know and trust.
Have a Trusty Aid Drop-In Occasionally
The cost of boarding can run high. So, the best alternative is to have someone check on your pet occasionally.
Ideally, they’d come over twice a day, especially during meal times. This person can be a trusted friend or a neighbor you’d lend your house keys to. You can also hire a pet sitter who will come to your place to look after your cats.
You need to make sure the caretaker has all of the information that they need. They should know your vet’s contact information, any medical information about your cat, and the time of day that they eat.
Automate As Much As You Can
As a pet parent, you have access to all types of fancy gadgets these days. Put them to use when you’re vacationing.
• Automatic Feeder
The last thing you want while on vacation is for your pet to be hungry at home. An automatic feeder will solve this issue for you.
Even if your pet sitter bails on you, an automatic feeder will not. You can set up timings for the feeder to dispense food. Some feeders can be controlled with a mobile app, but this may rely on proximity to the feeder.
If you’re trying out a new product, make sure you’ve used it for at least a week leading up to the trip. You want to ensure it functions properly and that your cat will not starve in your absence.
• Water Fountain
A water dish is not reliable when there’s no one around to fill it. Water evaporates when left out, and your cat could get dehydrated.
A water fountain will eliminate this issue. Some tanks need to be refilled depending on what type it is. Leave instructions if necessary, so you can make sure that the caretaker knows what to do.
• Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Cleaning litter is one of the downfalls of owning cats. When you’re on vacation, the nicest thing you can do for the cat sitter is to set up an automatic litter box.
This way, the cat-sitter does not have to deal with anything they don’t want to touch.
But, if you’re not able to get your hands on a self-cleaning litter box, clean the box right before you head out.
For any automatic gadget, make sure the caretaker knows how it works. You don’t want them to accidentally deactivate the machine. Leave the instruction manual if needed.
• Stock Up On Supplies
Leaving your house for a vacation without enough cat food is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you stock up on the essentials so your cat-sitter isn’t left to figure it all out.
Gather all of the food, treats, medicine, and litter, and leave them all in one place. This way, the caretaker does not have to sift through your whole house to find what they need.
Since your cat might get bored being at home alone, buy them a couple of new toys to keep them engaged.
Set Up a Home Monitoring System
Every cat parent needs an indoor monitoring system. There is no better way to keep an eye on your cat while you’re away.
Most home monitoring systems are activated by movement. So, set up cameras in places your cat frequents, like their litter box or near their food bowl.
A home monitoring system will also allow you to monitor whether or not the cat sitter is doing their job. You can check if they’ve come over the stipulated number of times, and if they took good care of your cat.
Make sure you let the caretaker know that you’ve set up a camera system, especially if they will be living in your house for the duration of your vacation. Otherwise, it could be a serious infringement of privacy.
Prep Your House
This step is even more important for pet parents than packing travel bags. The house needs to be safe for your cat to live in without you there to protect them. If you’re leaving them without constant monitoring, then you need to make sure the cat can’t get into anything dangerous. Here are steps you can take to ensure that:
• Close Doors Of Rooms They Shouldn’t Have Access To
A home office? Your cat doesn’t need to go there. Cut off access to any room the cat doesn’t frequent. This way, it’s easier to keep track of your cat on the monitoring system.
• Unplug Unnecessary Electricals
Dangling wires to cats are like new toys. Unfortunately, wires aren’t a safe play toy, even when owners are around.
So, to keep your cat safe, unplug all the unnecessary electricals, like the microwave or TV, and put the wires away.
• Turn On The AC
Your cat obviously cannot fiddle with the thermostat, so make sure there is proper ventilation for them.
Ideally, the room should have fresh air in it. But, if that isn’t an option, set the temperature to something they are comfortable with. They shouldn’t overheat, nor get too cold. Find the perfect mid-point for them.
• Prop Doors Open With A Heavy Object
Your cats do need access to some rooms in the house. For example, their litter box is probably in a different place than their food dishes.
If this is the case, the room needs to be propped open with something heavy. The cat shouldn’t be able to accidentally trap themselves in the room. So, make sure the object you use cannot be tampered with by the cat.
• Leave One or two Items of Unwashed Clothing
Cats miss their owners. So much so that falling asleep can be difficult for them. If your cat is very clingy, remember to leave an unwashed shirt or two of yours so that they can still have your scent.
Remember to leave something you don’t mind getting ruined. Your cat may scratch at the clothes and destroy them.
While you want to do everything possible to keep your feline friend safe and content while you’re away, don’t neglect your own health and safety. Before any international trip, take the time to research and invest in travel medical insurance or travel insurance. If you were to get sick or injured abroad, you would want to be able to receive the best treatment possible, with minimal damage to your wallet in the process. An international insurance plan can help you with this, and much more. By protecting your own health, you can ensure your ability to get back home to your favorite friend, safe and sound.
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