Posted: 08 Aug 2011 08:32 PM PDT
Vacations always present cat owners with this dilemma. Do you put the cat in the cattery or do you leave it at home with someone coming in to feed, water and check? It's a tough call and you may spend chunks of your vacation worrying about the decision you've made.
A rule of thumb is that cats become strongly attached to place – hence those stories of cats traveling long distances to go to a former home after their owners move. For this reason, leaving your cat at home can be the most stress-free solution.
The down side of this option is that, contrary to the myths about cats being independent, they do become very attached to people. Cats that aren't happy at home may go next door or migrate to somewhere that they can get the attention they want. You could get home to find your cat has moved out!
For your peace of mind, a good cattery will ensure that your cat is where he/she should be when you get back. Your beloved pet is guaranteed to get daily feeding and watering and there's no chance of it wandering away, trying to get home or getting run over.
Most cats hate travel and may seem distressed at being caged. In reality they will settle and simply snooze the time away till you return. If they look miserable, it's often you projecting your own guilt at abandoning them in a strange place.
Take toys, blankets and things that smell of home to help them relax. There'll be new smells and activities at the cat kennel to keep them interested in life, even if they'd rather be curled up on your bed. If you have more than one cat, they can be kept together, where they'll at least have each other for familiar company.
If you decide to leave your cat at home, you will have to take into account the possibility that they may get lonely and wander. One solution is to keep them locked in, with a litter box, with someone coming in daily to feed them. While this can work, it's not ideal for more than a few days. A live-in cat-sitter who will play with them and be there for more than a few minutes a day may be the best. Top tip – get references if you don't know them already.
Never, ever go away simply leaving supplies of water and food without someone to check on your cat. The water could be tipped over. There could be other problems or accidents. Cats need supervision!
For reliable care, a cat kennel is the answer. If you can set up that level of supervision at home, go for that option. If not, leave it to the experts.
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