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10 Tips for Keeping your Cat Happy and Safe while you are on Vacation

Going on holidays and planning to leave your cat at home?

Here are 10 tips to make the best time for your cat while you are away



While most cats can handle short periods of time on their own (when you’re at work or on a day trip), automatic feeders and cat water fountains can be helpful for some hours or even for a couple of days, but unfortunately things like the litter-box cannot be cleaned on their own and someone has to at least come by after 24 hours.

The litter-box situation, in addition to access to fresh food and water, is why we do not recommend leaving cats alone for more than 24 hours.


If you are leaving for 2 days or longer, we definitely recommend hiring a trustful cat sitter who will make sure your kitty will have fresh food, water, a clean litter-box and of course spend quality time with your cat to either play, cuddle or just being there so your furry friend does not feel so lonely the whole time while it is missing you.




“ Time spent with cats is never wasted”

- Sigmund Freud







Nevertheless, before your cat sitter starts the cat sitting period, there are many things you should take into consideration and prepare before this period. Making sure you got everything sorted out and well prepared will ensure a better, happier and safer time for your cat while you are away.




10 Tips for Keeping your Cat Happy and Safe while you are Away on Vacation



1. Decide what Type of Care is Best for your Cat


Making this decision should be focused on your cat's needs and what will be better, more comfortable and less stressful for your furry friend.


There are many options like cat sitting and cat hotels or catteries.


Even within cat sitting, there are many options to choose from.

For example at Pets Ahoi we offer Drop-in Visits Service (1 hour per day visit), Day Care Service (3 hour per day visit) and House-sitting Service which is when your cat sitter is always by your cat's side and has overnight stays at your home. We offer tailored services according to your cat's needs and wishes. Because we know every cat is different.


We are happy to share some reasons why we believe cat sitting is the best option for your furry child.


Advantages of choosing a Cat Sitter

  • 1-1 connection and trust between your cat and the cat sitter

  • Personalised pet care tailored to your cat's needs

  • Routine can remain steady to decrease any possible stress for your cat

  • Cats can stay in their comfort zone or home environment

  • Avoid extra stress or possible fights from being around other cats

  • Being around your odour and smell, your cat can be more relaxed knowing that you will come back and not feel in danger of feeling abandoned or being left behind




2. Introduce your Cat Sitter to your Cat Early Enough


For your own peace of mind, it is recommended to start searching for a cat sitter around 3-4 weeks in advance or even earlier. Finding the right cat sitter can be time consuming. Maybe the first one you meet is not the best match for your kitty.

At Pets Ahoi we offer a free Meet & Greet which is a short appointment where you can meet the cat sitter prior to your booking to see if he or she is a good match. This meeting is important to see if there is chemistry between the sitter and your cat and also an opportunity to ask all the questions you have to see if you are all a good match.




3. Cat Health Care Check


Make sure your cat is up-to-date on vaccinations, medication and tick-or-flea treatment. We recommend to take your cat for a check-up before traveling in case your cat has not gone for a check-up in the last 6 months.

Consider also investing in cat insurance, it can save you a lot of stress and money in case of emergency situations.

Make sure to leave your cat ID and veterinary contact to your cat sitter. Also show where the travel carriage is located in your home before you leave on vacations. This is key in case something happens and the cat sitter needs take your cat to the vet.




4. Keep a Steady Routine


Maintaining the same or similar routine for your cat is very important. A cat's routine is normally not interrupted during cat sitting. In a pet hotel routines are always interrupted and pets usually adapt to the carers' new schedules. It is very important to keep a cat's routine consistent and steady. Cats can develop a lot of stress when their routines are completely changed.


Make sure to instruct your cat sitter on your cat's feeding times and playtime to increase the possibility that the cat sitter can keep the steady times consistent so your cat can feel more relaxed. Cats love routine!



5. Catify your Home (Do's and Dont's)


Catifying your home or preparing your home as a Cat Safe Space is the most important aspect to focus on this list.


This is because your cat can behave in a certain way while you are there most of the time. But if it becomes anxious while you are away, it can probably start behaving in different ways you might not know of. Therefore, it is important to keep the space safe from any risks.


The following Do's and Dont's List is recommended in order to decrease any risks, accidents, bad experiences or inconveniences that your cat could experience. This list is crucial to ensure your cat a safe stay while you are away.


Do's

Leave enough wet and dry cat food for your cat sitter to feed your furry friend during the pet sitting period.


Leave enough sand in case of the need of refilling the litter-box with extra sand.


Check the Cat Flap: If your cat goes outside, double-check that the cat flap is working properly, so that your cat doesn’t get stuck inside, or outside!


Have a Lion King Spot: Make sure your cat has a place where it has control and complete view from above. Not having this place will just make your cat end up under the bed or sofa and even more stressed and scared to come out, especially when the pet sitter comes over.


Create Scent Spots: Leave kitty blankets all over the house where they already left their scent on. These are all safety spots that will make your cat more comfy about territoriality and their scent even if a new person comes in. They will feel more confident because their scent all around will relax them and make them feel more ownership of the home.


Remove and disconnect any unnecessary wires or cords so that your cat cannot get tangled up in them. Cats tend to play with them or even chew.


Leave the window curtains open so your cats can have some sunshine and also entertainment of watching people pass by and birds fly by as well. Do not leave your cat completely under closed blinders at home. It will only make them feel trapped and depressed.


Make sure to leave all blinder strips up where cats cannot reach them.


Clean Water Fountain: If your cat has a water fountain, make sure to change the filter right before you leave so the water is fresh and does not get moldy.


Always keep a Brush at home. If your cat goes outside, please have a brush for the cat sitter to use. Using a brush to block off some pollen from toxic flowers or plants like lilies can save your cats life.



Dont's

Do not leave your windows on Kipp (halfway open for German windows). Cats can try to jump out and in the attempt can end up choking themselves. We do not want that! All windows closed are a must! You can instruct the sitter to open them when coming over for some fresh air and ventilation, but in general they should be closed.


Do not leave all plants reachable for your cat. Remember to check that your houseplants are cat-safe – cats are curious, particularly if they get bored, and might decide to explore somewhere they should not go. Do not leave all of your house-plants reachable for your cat. Many cats tend to nibble or even chew and eat plants when stressed, especially cats with PICA (chewing problems). The only plants that can be accessed by your cat should be cat-friendly plants. Make sure to research which are toxic for cats. Most common toxic plants for cats are: aloe vera, lillies, daisies, dragon plant, rododendrum, oleander and the list goes on.

Make sure to move all toxic plants into a room where your cat cannot go into.


Do not leave all bathroom and kitchen products accessible. Do not leave cleaning products, perfumes, essential oils, cosmetics or human medications on reach to your cats. Hide them from your cats inside cupboards that they cannot open themselves. Some cats can chew plastic or objects when stressed, or just sniff them will be enough to make a toxic reaction and cause them to get sick.


Do not leave food items or products accessible. Cats might try to chew the plastic and eat what is inside. Make sure to put them in cupboards or in your fridge.


Do not leave small items behind, such as elastic bands, drawing pins, plastic pieces or paper clips that your cat might find interesting – these can be dangerous if your cat swallows them.


Do not leave any paper or shopping bags with chords around where they can get tangled up in them and choke.


Do not leave tables with tablecloths on or things that can break at their reach. If your cat likes to tip things over, do not leave any breakable items on site and also no tablecloths on tables where things can break!


Do not leave your cat with access to all rooms. It is very important to close some doors of where your cat can be in danger or have access to things that can be toxic for them. As a general rule, we recommend them to stay in their safe perimeter or commute area where they have their litter-box around, their eating and drinking stations and access to windows for outside views. Other than that it is safer to let your kitty stay in the area where you made sure you inspected that is cat safe only.




6. Entertainment Mojos


Purchasing a new toy is a great idea to do in advance. Make sure to introduce the new toy to your cat some days before you are gone to make sure the cat likes it and associates the toy with you as well. A new toy will ensure some new fun activity to be entertained while you are gone.


Another source of entertainment is to leave the window curtains open for them to watch the outside world of people passing by or birds flying by. This will keep them entertained as well and will give them some sunny energy for the day.


Was your cat used to hearing your music all day? Feel free to tell your cat sitter to play some music while he/she is at your place so your cat can get familiar with the music sounds and get comfortable with the cat sitter.




7. Spoil them with a few Treats


Getting a few (not too many) of their favourite treats is a great way for the cat sitter to bond with your cat while you are gone. Your cat will start to like and feel more comfortable with the cat sitter if they bond through snacks. Of course make sure it is not an every day thing, but your cats would surely love it! This is the time when you can spoil them a bit while they are missing you!




8. Leave Detailed Instructions to your Cat Sitter


It is a great idea to leave detailed pet care instructions written on a note before you go. As much as the key exchange meeting is great to refresh some instructions discussed during the Meet & Greet, it is always good to document instructions to avoid confusions or miscommunications. That way the cat sitter will have all the instructions crystal clear and will have no chance for errors.


Leaving the detailed instructions along with the Cat ID and vet information at the same spot in the house is a perfect Combo for the cat sitter to keep.


Some key instructions should be:

  • Food and treats location

  • Feeding times and water change

  • Food portions

  • Litter-box clean

  • Playtime and favourite toys

  • Medication (optional)

  • Location of Cat ID and Vet infos

  • House-rules

  • House routines (example open windows to ventilate space when arriving and close again before leaving, leave certain lights on or off, etc).

  • Water indoor plants

  • Collecting post

  • Taking trash outside

  • More



9. Discuss Daily Updates


Daily updates is key to enjoy your vacations with ease and to know your furry friend is having a good time while left in the best hands.


Make sure to ask your desired frequency of updates.

At Pets Ahoi some pet parents want daily updates, others every two days, but we always encourage our pet sitters to do daily updates as a regular routine to inform the pet parents how their pets are doing for their own peace of mind.




10. Leave Something Behind


Your Voice: A tip we recommend cat parents doing while away form their cat(s) is sending a voice message dedicated to your cat(s) through your pet sitter is a cute and funny way for your cat to hear your voice and to associate that you are somehow there with your furry friend.


I do it all the time with my cat Hugo while on vacation and I have seen his reaction through videos on how he finds my voice comforting. This is optional but it is a way of showing your kitty that you are thinking of them and that your presence is somehow there.


Your Scent: Besides sending messages to your cat so it can hear your familiar voice and feel more comfy, a very crucial and important tip is to leave something with your odour or smell around the space where your cat usually spends most of its time.

Leave your bedroom blanket for example in the living room. This is an object that smells like you and believe us when we say your cat will find it very comforting and relaxing. Anything that smells like you will make them feel safe, happy and that you are somehow present.


Cats are smell sensitive animals and having your odour around will make them feel comfortable and happy.



Congratulations! You have read all the best tips and check-list preparations we recommend you doing so your cat can have a happy, safe and joyful time while it is missing you! Make sure you apply all of them if you are planning to travel for vacations anytime soon. We all do our best to give our cat(s) the best life they deserve!




Photo Credits: Ira Efremova, Eduard Delputte, José Alejandro Cuffia

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