Who Will Care For Your Cat When You Go Away?
Some possible solutions for your traveling dilemma
We all know travel won’t be happening for a while, so let’s take this as an opportunity to decide what’s the best plan for kitty when the time does come.
I haven’t traveled very much in my life. But when travel did present itself, here are a few of the options I tried.
1. Don’t go!
Yep! Don’t go. The dilemma of who would care for my cat if I was away was one of the reasons I barely traveled (and limited funds).
There was no one to look after my cat despite the begging and bribing of family members who live elsewhere.
Once or twice, my siblings took pity on me and stopped by every other day. But not in recent years.
Don’t go is the best solution for your cat. No change in her routine, no thank you! That’s the cat speaking.
2. Cat stays home with a family member
When I did travel while still living with my folks, this was the default.
But when I moved out to live on my own, it was a game-changer.
After all, someone’s gotta take one for the team and stay home with kitty. Who will it be?
3. Cat stays home alone
We’ve watched the movie. Not a great idea.
But it’s doable if someone, either a trusted neighbor or friend or cat sitter, comes by daily or once in 2 days to feed kitty, top up fresh water, and clean the litter box.
Worst case scenario for short trips: get an auto feeder for the duration you’re away and leave cups of water around. Use extra litter boxes. Keep bedroom door locked to avoid possible angry marking, just in case.
4. The Cat Hotel
This is a mixed bag because most cats don’t like a change in routine, much less location (think: vet visit).
Depending on your cat’s temperament, she may loathe it (my cat Kit did) or actually enjoy it (says no cat I know).
Plus it is very expensive for long trips that are usually the ones that warrant this. For short trips, you can try my suggestions in (3).
Here’s the big BUT.
Many cat hotels may not be as awesome as their photos promote them to be, even with the daily photos and videos, and the live cam. A lot of the spaces are tiny!
I’ve read awful stories of neglect, accidental poisoning, and inter-pet homicide.
Lesser issues include catching cat flu or fleas from other residents who were not screened properly.
Even if nothing like that happens, many cats can become stressed and traumatized in the new environment without you there to comfort them, and they may think they have been abandoned, which is an awful feeling for both parties when you are looking forward to a nice guilt-free trip.
I am sure there are great cat hotels out there but most do not allow prior visits and with good reason — if your cat was there, you wouldn’t want a string of people visiting too — but without prior visits, it is hard to ascertain if it would be a good fit for your cat.
You would be counting on other people’s testimonies based on their experience and what they perceive to be their pet’s experience, which may be very different from yours and your pet’s given that every family is different.
Unless you’ve already had a great experience with a cat hotel and your kitty loves new experiences (Kit is laughing in the background now), maybe reconsider and see what other options you have.
5. Take your Cat along
If it is possible and if it is plausible and if your cat won’t freak out, escape, and disappear forever, this would be a dream.
I’ve always dreamed of traveling with my cat, like some do, exploring the world with their humans.
The possibility of this depends on the kind of trip you’re going on.
Nearby journeys within the country by car, camper, or boat, perhaps. Planes and international travel will prove much more challenging.
Given how every single cat I’ve ever put into a car has yowled as if I had just stolen all her catnip, I am personally hesitant.
The truth is, some cats love it but most don’t. All of my cats didn’t. Either way, it’s a pretty stressful experience. Yes, for the cat too.
Regardless of what you decide what to do when travel finally opens again, when you do go on a trip without your cat, try to enjoy yourself and not worry. Your cat will be okay.