Traveling is a great way to relax and unwind for us humans. However, it can be stressful trying to decide whether to bring our four-legged friends along for the fun. In this post, we'll outline dos and don'ts to help guide your decision.
A fundamental factor affecting a feline's contentment is the sanctity of their environment. When introduced to a new environment, your cat may end up feeling confused or stressed due to the absence of familiar references for reassurance. It can take several days for a cat to rebuild confidence and feel at home in a new environment. Therefore, the most important factor to consider is the length of time you intend to travel.
If you're considering a shorter trip, upheaving your cat's normal routine and transporting them to a new environment could be too stressful for them.
On the other hand, if you intend to be in the same place for a longer time, particularly if it's somewhere you take your cat repeatedly, such as a vacation home, this will allow your feline companion more time to adjust, resulting in less stress.
It can be helpful to limit their access to one room for the first day. In the meanwhile, put pheromone diffusers in any other rooms. Synthetic chemicals in the diffusers mimic a variety of naturally occurring pheromones that provide a sense of tranquility for cats. Bringing familiar items from home, such as their food bowl and toys, will also help your cat feel more comfortable.
However, the best option is to not travel with your cat. Instead, leave them at home, where they feel safe in the company of familiar surroundings.
If you're going on a short vacation, ask a friend or relative (preferably one known by the cat) to visit a few times a day to give your cat fresh food and water, empty the litter box, and provide a dose of companionship to your cat while you're away. If no one is available, you may consider hiring a professional cat sitter.
A last resort, which is still less stressful to a cat than traveling, is to board them with your vet or a pet hotel. It's advisable to visit the facility for an inspection before making a decision. You will want to avoid mixed facilities that house both cats and dogs, or at the very least, select one where the dogs cannot be heard in the cat section, as the barking can cause stress for cats.
A cat will be most comfortable in a large, private space that doesn't require them to interact with other cats. Remember to ensure that your cat's vaccinations and anti-flea treatments are up-to-date, as this is required by any reputable boarding facility. Many cat-boarding facilities also allow you to bring your cat's personal belongings to make them feel more comfortable in their home away from home.
What arrangements do you make for your cat when you go on vacation? Tell us below in the comments.