What To Do With Your Cat While You’re Out Of Town

Dark-grey cat is looking at the rain through the windowCats are a low-maintenance pet that requires only a minor amount of responsibilities. The furry creatures can make do on their own for long hours and won’t fault you for it once you finally come home. Many cat owners wonder how long a cat could be by himself, and how to handle going out of town. Depending on the length of your trip, you may need to enlist in some services to make sure that your kitty is well-fed and getting the attention that they crave while you’re away.

How long can I leave my cat by his/herself?

Generally speaking, you don’t want to leave your cat alone any longer than you have to. A cat can be fine for about a day, or 24 hours, but any longer than that can get tricky. Even if you leave a “food mountain” and a water bowl out to sustain your cat, leaving them at home alone for extended periods of time is sketchy. In the time that you’re gone, any sort of disaster could arise, from your cat hurting his/herself or something in your home, to a flood or fire.

You’ll notice that once you’ve returned from a trip, your cat may be acting extra affectionate or energetic. This is because they were quite bored while you were away, and may have gone a little nuts being at home alone so much. Cats are social creatures, despite their sassy and aloof behavior. Since you want the best for kitty, you’ll want to arrange something to help your cat out while you’re away.

What are my options for care while I’m away?

Luckily, available cat care is in abundance almost anywhere that you may live.

Kennel or boarding facility: This is probably the least-ideal away-care option for cat owners, but is still worth mentioning. A kennel offers the security of regular care, assuming that the facility is up to appropriate standards. In a boarding facility, it can be anything from as basic as a row of kennels to a high-tech kitty condo. Before committing to taking your cat to a kennel, you’ll want to check out the facilities yourself.

When you do check the kennel out, pay attention to how clean, safe, and reasonable it seems. You’ll want it to smell good, have a quieter environment, have large enough cages or rooms for the animals, and a welcoming staff. Ask about their veterinarian policies and if they have an on-call doc. Ask about the general schedule for the cats, like when they’re fed and if they get playtime. Boarding services can be as different as day and night so make sure to have a keen eye when observing the facilities.

Home sitting service: This is our favorite option. A house-sitter is a professional caretaker and can help put your cat and yourself at ease while you’re away. You can find accredited pet sitting services online or through your veterinarian. These services typically screen their sitters to make sure that they are safe, responsible, and will take good care of your pets. If you decide to do a home sitter, you will likely meet with the company and/or sitter to address your needs and make sure that it is a good fit. Make sure that you alert the sitter to your cat’s current feeding schedule so that they can keep it regular. Let them know if your cat will be needing affection and playtime as well.

Child Hand Stroking Head Of White Cat.Friend or neighbor: If you have an animal-loving friend or neighbor, you could talk with them about taking care of your pet while you’re away. It will be especially easy if it is someone in your neighborhood or on your block that already has a cat. This way, they can just keep up with your cat at the same time as they keep up with theirs. Their care can be a low-hassle, low-cost alternative to hiring outside help. Some cat owners establish a relationship with neighboring cat owners so that they will each take care of eachother’s cats while they’re away.

No matter which form of care you select for your pet, you’ll want to make sure to have open communication with your sitter or kennel. It is reasonable to ask for daily updates or photos. You will need to trust the person or people who are watching your cat, so make sure that you’ve selected the best care possible.

What do I need to do to prepare my cat?

There are a few things that you’ll need to do in order to make sure that your time away from home goes as smoothly as possible. You should write out a general guide for your pet sitter or the kennel so that they have a heads-up as to your cat’s diet, temperament, and regular schedule. You should include:

What type of food and how often: You’ll want to have enough food for your cat to last while you’re away, plus maybe some extra. If you feed your cat two times per day, make sure that they know this. Where is the food located?

How much food: How many ounces of food do you give your cat to maintain their weight? Do you give them a specific amount of ounces, or do you just eyeball the amount?

How much play: Is your cat used to having playtime every day? A good kennel will make time to play with your cat, and your home sitter should be able to take a few minutes to exercise your cat.

General temperament: Is your cat a shy guy, or an outgoing furball? Does your cat beg for human affection, or do they tend to stick to their own side of the house? If they have behavioral issues or fear, you will want to make note of all of these things.

Litter situation: How often do you change your cat’s litter box? How many times will the caretaker need to change the box at your home? Where is the litter located?

Animal medication with containerVeterinarian information: You’ll want to make sure that the kennel knows who your regular veterinarian is, especially if your cat has a health condition. You’ll want your house sitter to have an easily accessible list of your veterinarian, their address, their phone number, and their hours.

Medications: If your cat is receiving any medications, you’ll need to explain in detail about how the caretaker should administer it. If your cat has a serious medical condition, you may want to ask your veterinarian for recommendations for caretaking services that specialize in sick animals.

You can also cat-proof your home by making sure that no household toxins are accessible and that nothing dangerous could be knocked over while you’re away. Leave the blinds up enough for kitty to view the outside world for entertainment. You may also want to leave a light on a timer or ask the sitter to leave a light on during the day in a darker area. Make sure that the house is temperate for your cat so that they don’t become overheated or too cold.

You may also want to consider leaving the radio or television on while you’re away. The sound of human voices is soothing to a cat and could help from them becoming stir-crazy. Make sure that there’s no way that they could accidentally get trapped in a room in your home and that all doors are closed to rooms that they shouldn’t be in. A final word of advice would be to enlist a trusted neighbor to hold onto a spare key to your home just in case an accident or emergency happens with your house sitter.

Leaving your furbaby is no fun for any pet owner, but you’ll feel better about it if you do all that you can to ensure your cat’s well-being. There are tons of cat lovers out there that are ready and willing to be enlisted to take care of your cat while you’re away. Just be prepared, responsible, and enjoy yourself while you’re away!