With vaccine rollouts proceeding across the UK and the world, people are beginning to think about their summer holidays. And if you are one of the many people who acquired a lockdown cat, then you need to take account of what you’re going to do to take care of it while you’re away.
Taking your cat with you isn’t an option the overwhelming majority of the time – and even when it is an option, it may not be a good option, as removing a cat from the home it’s adopted as its territory can be stressful and upsetting.
Today we’re taking a look at some of the issues around leaving your cat with a sitter, so you can make the best decisions and enjoy your holiday knowing your cat is getting the best care.
Picking a Sitter
If you need someone to come and stay in your house with your cat full time while you’re away, then the best answer might be a friend or family member: someone you trust with your keys, cat and house plants. Unfortunately, them merely being willing isn’t all the qualification they need. Prior experience with cats (or at least pets of some kind) is very important. If it eats something that disagrees with it, your sitter can’t just complain “cat keeps being sick”, they sitter need to have some idea of what to do! An inexperienced sitter could end up trying to get a cat to the vet when it doesn’t need it (expensive for you and stressful for the cat) or fail to notice the signs of something seriously wrong and not get them help when they need it!
If you’re going away for a shorter time, and just need to make sure your cat is fed, asking a neighbour to look in before and after work is a good solution – as long you have a good relationship with your neighbour, and provide a suitably grateful gift upon your return.
If you’re drawing a blank with friends, family and neighbours, then professional cat sitters are available – online registers can help you find someone local and reliable who’ll take good care of your pet, but this can be an expensive option.
Make sure you do a shop before you depart, and leave plenty of the everyday supplies your sitter will need to care for your pet – from food to litter. A sudden change in brand can cause difficulties for your cat. Quickly changing cat food can cause an upset stomach, for example, so ensuring you have enough to last your trip is essential. Note down the brand you use for the sitter just in case – and of course if you need to, you could schedule a delivery part way through your trip!
If you can, get your sitter round for an introductory visit before you leave. This will help your cat get to feel comfortable with them, and give them the chance to learn the important routines and ask any questions.
Finally, compile a sheet with useful information, from the brand of cat food you use, to contact details for your vet and anything else pertinent so your sitter can care for your cat, and you can enjoy your holiday with equal confidence.