What to Do with Your Cat When You Travel

Consider Bringing Your Cat Along, Boarding, or Hiring a Pet Sitter

As fun as it is to plan a vacation, cat-owners know all too well the accompanying anxiety of travel. Figuring out what to do with your pet can be tricky, especially when it’s the first time you’ve had to do so.

Since every cat is unique, there is no universally correct way to handle this situation. Each option comes with pros and cons to weigh against your particular needs.

Bring Your Cat Along

It’s rarely possible to bring your cat on vacation, but should your trip allow for it, this may be your best bet. Keeping your cat with you means you won’t have to wonder how they are coping. Since many hotels are pet-friendly, bringing your cat along is generally the most cost-effective approach.

If your cat stresses easily during travel, the journey will be a headache for both of you. You’ll end up spending more time worrying about your pet than if you had left them at home. Road trips are less hassle than air travel, but be wary of this if your cat suffers from motion sickness.

Use a Boarding Facility

Boarding is a traditional option, though the experience tends to overwhelm sensitive cats.

Visit any potential boarding facility beforehand. Check out reviews online and inquire about their standards of care. Call your vet and ask if they have any recommendations or warnings. There are reputable, feline-friendly boarding facilities, though they can be pricey and difficult to find.

Vet offices occasionally offer boarding services. It may feel reassuring that your cat is under expert care, but the disadvantage is the chaotic environment. Most pets don’t exactly relish even visiting the vet, let alone staying there for a lengthy period.

Hire a Pet Sitter

Pet-sitting is a rapidly growing profession for good reason. A pet sitter enables your cat to stay in the home environment with a somewhat regular routine. You might even persuade a familiar friend or family member to be the sitter. If hiring a professional, use the same precaution as you would when selecting a boarding facility.

Consider your ideal pet-sitting arrangement. Many sitters drop in once or twice a day, while others will stay in your home. The needs of your cat and the specifications of your budget will clarify what package is best for you. For cats requiring special or extended care, a drop-in sitter probably won’t work.

Before leaving, make sure the pet sitter knows the following:

  • Your cat’s diet and feeding schedule.
  • Medications or health concerns.
  • Favorite toys, treats, and sleeping spots.
  • Contact information for you, your vet, and a friend/family member to reach out to in case of emergency.

Whatever route you decide on, take comfort in knowing that cats are adaptable creatures. While they appreciate a stable routine, they can usually roll with short-term changes. If you already know your cat is prone to severe separation anxiety, have a discussion with your vet about anti-anxiety medication and other options prior to leaving.

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