When the cat stays at home, it often means a whole lot of head-scratching for cat owners. What are we going to do about the resident mog, when we take off for a well-deserved break? Above all at this time of year, with the summer half term holidays coming up, this is frequently a burning issue.
Leave your cat at home or take it with you?
One possible option is to put your pet into a cattery. Here you need to be sure that the premises are suitably furnished for cats, and that the people running it can handle individual requirements – special diets, food allergies, not being able to get on with other cats and so on. Cleanliness and good ventilation are of course a must.
Private persons will also sometimes foster cats. Here again, the cat’s feelings are the crucial factor. Is your cat used to a peaceful environment without children, will it be completely overwhelmed on being lodged with a large family? And the same applies in reverse, of course!
The cat stays on familiar territory
The best solution for the cat (and the cat owner) is, and will always be, to find a reliable person who can look after the cat at home, in its familiar surroundings. But these visits should not just be restricted to feeding. This means that you need to discuss the preferences and peculiarities of the cat with your cat sitter before you go away. If you can’t recruit someone suitable from your circle of friends and acquaintances, you can also find pet sitters via the internet, by placing an ad or through the local animal shelter. In such a case, of course, in the interest of peace of mind it is essential to insist on references.
Along with regular meals, replenishment of the water bowl and a demonstration of affection in the form of play and stroking sessions, it is also extremely important that the cat’s litter tray be kept meticulously clean! Otherwise it can well happen that in the absence of their companion persons cats suddenly look for somewhere else to do their business!
Cat’s Best makes it easy to maintain the highest standards of hygiene in the cat’s toilet. A basic litter tray full will last for 4 to 6 weeks – so soiling that arises can be carefully removed with the scoop provided on a daily basis (and you can get rid of it, incidentally, on the compost heap or even down the toilet, as Cat’s Best consists 100% of pure plant fibre).
Travelling with the cat
If the cat is being carried from A to B in a cat carrier, it is important that it have enough space in the box to sit up and turn around, and that it be given time to get used to the container. The cat carrier must be waterproof, easy to clean and easy and safe to stow away. Your pet must have a sufficient supply of air, and must on no account be able to get out of the box.
If cats have not got used to travelling by car when they are very young, it is best to leave them at home. But even when cats are experienced travellers, there are things you need to be aware of. During the trip they must be kept in a safely secured container. The cat should never be left in the car without supervision for a prolonged period, as the temperature inside a car is subject to fluctuation, and excessive heat can have fatal consequences. Draughts from an open window when driving are another thing that cats find hard to tolerate. Four hours before and during the journey, no food should be given – if the trip takes less than five hours, do not give the cat any water either. Unless you have the required papers for your pet (vaccination certificates etc.), you will not be allowed to cross most borders.
Travel by rail
Cats can travel by train for free – though again they have to be kept in a secure carrier, which should not be any bigger than a travel bag, and must stay either on your lap or under the seat. Rail journeys are subject to the same principles – no food during the trip or for four hours before. When travelling abroad, check with the rail companies before you travel.
When planning your journey, you need to inform the airline that you are taking a cat with you. Different airlines have different regulations. If you are allowed to take a cat on board, it must remain in a suitable and absolutely secure carrying box under the seat. When taking off and landing you can give the cat a paste – this encourages salivation, forcing your pet to swallow, which will alleviate the pressure on the ears which otherwise can be very unpleasant for them.
All kinds of travel are subject to the proviso that basically they mean stress for your domestic moggy, and should really be avoided if at all possible! There are homoeopathic remedies which are supposed to have a tranquillising effect. Chemical tranquillisers should certainly be avoided at all costs, as you cannot know in advance how your pet is going to react.