Finding Vacation Care for your Cat

Vacation is a time to relax… but we pet owners can only unwind if we know our furry friends are being well cared for back home! Vacation pet care is very important and something to think about well in advance of booking a holiday.

There are a variety of options available to make sure your cat also has a good time while you’re away. You can hire a live-in pet sitter or a caregiver who visits once or twice a day, or you can bring your cat to a boarding kennel. Your cat’s temperament and individual needs (both medical and emotional), as well as your own comfort level, will play a role in deciding what type of pet care is best.

General Tips

Regardless of what kind of pet care you decide on, there are some things every cat owner should be aware of.

Plan Ahead!

Popular vacation times such as Christmas and Easter are very busy. Book well in advance to ensure you get your preferred cat sitter.

Be Prepared For An Emergency

Help prepare your cat sitter and your veterinary clinic in case an emergency arises and you are unreachable. Provide an emergency contact who knows your cat and is comfortable making decisions about vet care. Some veterinary clinics will allow you to complete a pre-authorized form for treatment if your cat needs immediate care in your absence.

Information For Your Pet Sitter

Your pet sitter should have access to important information about your cat and your home that they might need. Consider writing a small guide for them that includes:

  • A list of your pet’s food and medications
  • Your contact information
  • Contact information of your primary vet clinic and the nearest emergency vet clinic
  • Contact information for a friend or neighbour with a spare key to the house
  • Emergency contacts for household repair like plumbers or electricians

Choosing a Provider

Every cat is an individual and has their own personality and needs. Whether you’re a first-time cat owner or your favourite pet sitter just moved, it can be hard to know where to start when looking for someone new to look after your furry family!

Word of Mouth

A good first step is to ask friends who regularly use a sitter or staff at your cat’s veterinary clinic. A provider who comes highly recommended by people you know is a great starting point! Whether it’s a pet sitter or a boarding facility, a pet care provider shouldn’t hesitate to provide solid references.

Once you have someone in mind, make sure to interview them before you proceed! Having a pet sitter over to your home will allow you to see how they interact with your pet(s) and how the pet(s) reacts to them. If you are using a boarding kennel, visit the kennel to make sure you are comfortable with the facility before booking.

A Little Experience Goes a Long Way

Although you may have friends or family who offer to look after your cat, it’s usually a better idea to use an experienced cat sitter or boarding kennel.

While letting friends or family help may be more economical, letting someone without much cat experience look after your cat could have dire results: MEOW receives many calls about lost cats each year from well-intentioned but inexperienced cat sitters who have accidentally lost a cat they were looking after. Someone who doesn’t know cat care and behaviour may also miss signs of illness or injury that require a trip to the vet.

While You’re Away

It can be tough to leave our pets behind when we leave town! Don’t hesitate to ask your pet sitter or boarding kennel how things are going and how your cat is doing. However, if you’ve chosen a good fit for your cat, hopefully you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your holiday knowing you’ve left them in great hands.