For cat lovers, going on holiday can be somewhat of a chore, because they need to feel secure that their cats are being looked after. There are a number of options to consider, each of which has its pros and cons. Here are some ways to ensure that your cats are taken care of while you are away.
Rely on friends/family
If you have someone that knows your cats and that you trust, it is worth asking them if they can come by once, preferably twice, a day to ensure that your cats have everything they need. This can certainly be the cheapest option and, if you are confident that they will look after your cats to high enough standards, may well be the best option. Talk to them about the amount of food your cats require and any other needs – for example, litter tray, water and grooming. Write everything down as well, just to ensure that nothing has been misunderstood, and make sure that you have left everything they require. And always leave the contact details for your vet in case of any problems.
The problem comes if your cats become ill and need medical attention. If your friends/family are familiar with your cat, and perhaps have cats themselves, they should be able to tell when anything is wrong. However, this might not happen straight away, particularly if your cats are timid around people they don’t know that well. You will need to judge whether you can trust the person with your cat’s health. There is also the risk that your cats will escape, bewildered by the sudden change of owner; a plan to keep them inside even if they usually go out would be a good solution there.
Hire a cat-sitter
Most areas have cat-sitting services, whereby you give a key to someone who will come by your house once or twice a day to feed them. This, of course, requires a fee, although it can be a lot cheaper than leavig your cats in a kennel. Such services usually employ staff who are very competent at handling cats and will know what to do if they are any health issues. There is also the added advantage that they can bring in mail, open/shut curtains, turn lights on/off to look as though someone is occupying the house.
The disadvantage to hiring a cat-sitter is that you are basically leaving your home open to someone you don’t know very well. You will need to do some checks beforehand, of course – a testimony from someone who has already used their services would be useful and you should always have a face to face meeting with the person who will be coming to your home. Nevertheless, you are still giving a stranger the key to your house. You will also need to discuss arrangements such as wiping up cat vomit – you may think it is part of the job, but the cat-sitter may not!
Leave cats in a boarding kennel
The final option is leaving your cats in a kennel. This is likely to be the most expensive option, but it could also leave you with the most peace of mind. If you are new to the area, then the best place to start would be asking for a recommendation from your vets – some vets even have kennels themselves. You should always visit the kennel in advance to check over the living quarters and ask questions of the owners. Check out the cats already there – do they seem happy and contented? Are there any strange smells, or signs of neglect? If you are not happy, then go with your gut instinct and find somewhere else.
If you have pets with health issues, you must certainly mention these to the kennel owners. If they are competent, they should be able to care for your pets and give them medication/injections as and when necessary. This is certainly likely to be the best option for your cats – and you can leave your vet’s contact details with the owners so that they can call if there are any problems.
It will be hard to relax if you are not sure that you have adequate care for your cats. Do your homework and check out all the options before coming to a final decision.