Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Going on holiday? What happens to your cat?

As we approach the summer months, you'll no doubt be starting to think about booking your summer holiday. But while you’re jetting off into the sunset, what happens to your beloved pet?

Tabby cat in suitcase
Photo by zeevveez via flickr / Creative Commons
Cats Protection would not recommend anyone taking their cat on holiday with them, as it can become very stressed by travelling and disorientated in a new environment without the familiar smells of their home territory.

So really that leaves two options: arrange for a trusted cat sitter to look after your cat, or book a stay in a cattery for your pet for the duration of your holiday.

Booking a cat sitter

A pet sitter is a service in which someone will call in regularly to feed your cat and spend some time with it. A trusted friend, neighbour or family member is ideal.

Alternatively, some pet sitter services will arrange for someone to live in your house while you’re away.

Checking into a cattery

If you book your cat to stay in a boarding cattery while you’re on holiday, make sure you organise it well in advance and that your cat’s vaccinations are up to date.

There are plenty of catteries to choose from and it can be overwhelming to find a suitable one. We always recommend inspecting a cattery prior to making a decision.

When you visit, check:

  • The cattery is licensed by the local authority – you can ask to see the licence
  • There are double doors or a ‘safety corridor’ which prevent any cat that has got out of his pen from escaping 
  • Cats from different households are not housed together and cannot come into direct contact
  • Each unit is insulated, easily cleanable and has some form of heating
  • Pens gave gaps between them so that cats cannot go nose-to-nose
  • The pens, litter trays and food or water bowls are clean and tidy and there isn’t an unpleasant smell 
  • The cattery insists that all cats are up to date with their vaccinations
  • The cattery is happy and comfortable to administer any ongoing medication if your cat requires it 

For more information read the Foreign travel and cats page on our website and our Moving house cat care essential guide.

Continuity can be helpful when taking your cat to a cattery, so ask the cattery about taking familiar food, cat litter and something that smells familiar from home; and ensure it has somewhere to hide in its pen.

18 comments:

  1. We are lucky as my brother and his wife come and cat sit for us. We live in Devon and they just treat it as an extra holiday. It's so much easier for us going away as we know that our 2 babies are being well looked after in the comfort of their own home. Maybe other people have friends or relatives they could have to stay when they go away too.

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  2. That sounds ideal: friends, family or trusted neighbours are a very good option.

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  3. Our neighbour across the road pops in to look after ours and we do the same for her.

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  4. We too are also very thankful, as the Mum-in-law pops in on not only the cat, but the two guineas & rabbits :-).

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  5. We employ the services of two Vet Nurses who have set up a company to come in and look after your cats, medicate if necessary and clean litter trays. We've used them 3 times now as well as on adhoc occasions when we've popped to London for a Theatre show. Two of our cats need meds - one insulin dependent diabetic and one has thyroid medication. The girls are brilliant, wouldn't leave our 3 cats with anyone else, they are wholly reliable, trustworthy and our cats' welfare is at the heart of everything they do.

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  6. My brother comes to stay to look after my three cats, the dog, the fish and the snake. so I know they are all in safe hands.

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  7. I'm unsure what to do. We have lovely neighbours that will look after our cats, but we have recently had to be very watchful of when they go outside because of a neighbours very aggressive dog that he "walks" by letting it run about the street in front of the house (the council and police appear unwilling to do anything about this). The alternative is a cattery, but one of our cats is very timid and I worry about how we would cope being away from home. Any advice will be welcomed!

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    1. Do ask around and get advice from friends and family about well-established catteries. When you speak to the cattery, talk to them about your timid cat - they should be well experienced with shy and nervous cats as well as more confident ones. Also taking some items which have a familiar smell should help to de-stress your cat.

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    2. My lovely boy is a rescue (CP) cat and would be very upset with a cattery. Fortunately I have a fab friend/neighbour who thinks my cat is the bees knees and the whole family loves looking after him - they say he is more dog!!So he is happy. My previous cat was elderly and unwell so I paid for a pet sitter to visit twice a day - I was really lucky as she is a registered veterinary nurse as well. Guess I am spoilt.

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    3. A cautionary tale: I have just lost my 7 year old Exotic Shorthair to pulmonary edema and a failing heart. He was always very timid and in his 7 years of life we never put him in a cattery until this Easter. I know he had a heart mumur Scale 2 when he was at the vets for a booster vaccination a year or so ago but I now believe he was so terribly stressed by the unfamiliar surroundings, even though he had his own basket litter box, toys and shared the pen with our other cat and they were the best of friends, that the load on his poor heart was too much and I unwittingly hastened his demise. I feel extremely guilty and I have vowed that my cats will stay at home in the future and IF we go anywhere we will employ a cat sitter recommended by our veterinary practice.

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  8. my niece moves in and cares for mine so I know she is well looked after and loved.

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  9. Many years ago I used a cattery. Never again. One of my cats came back very traumatised. Now we have found a wonderful cat sitting service. I trust the lady to do what I ask. She is totally dedicated to all the pets. I feel very happy to leave my cat in her care.

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  10. We once used a very expensive and apparently reputable live-in cat-sitting service for 2 weeks. We came home an hour earlier than due, discovered that she'd let someone sleep in our bed, had turned off the central heating (it was snowing!) and left a pan unwashed for so long it was mouldy. Worst, the cat had lost weight and had mats in her fur. I will never again use anyone who hasn't come with a personal recommendation from someone I trust!

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    1. Sorry to hear you received such a poor service. When choosing a cattery, make sure you do lots of research first and a personal recommendation is best.

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  11. Our cat is rescued and although we have used catteries for our previous cats I just don't want to send him in case he thinks he's been abandoned again. We have a local lady who looks after him if we go away for a night or two but we haven't been on a longer holiday and left him

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    1. We're in same boat although hopefully a friend can usually assist. Be interesting to hear Cat Protection's view of using catteries for previously rescued cats though.

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  12. Great post! Been reading a lot caring for my cat when i travel. Thanks for the info here!

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  13. I am taking a short break (3 nights) in August when family members are coming to stay and can look after my cat. He came to live here three years ago when his first guardian moved too far away to take him. She had good neighbours who fed him when she was away, so he's never been in a cattery in his life and I don't want to send him to one now. He's twelve and set in his ways.

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