Going away for a trip or holiday isn’t always the smoothest experience when you have a pet. Whether you have a cat or a dog, going away and leaving them alone can be pretty worrisome. Cats can tolerate a little more time alone than dogs, but they still need plenty of stimulation. Cats need things to do even when left at home for the daytime. So if you need to travel, and taking your cat with you isn’t an option, then you need to think of what you can do with your cat. A cat hotel is a good idea, but there are also a number of alternatives out there.
A cat hotel can be a range of different things, from a traditional boarding cattery to a luxury hotel for them to relax in! However, there are a number of alternatives available if leaving them alone in one of these places isn’t a good fit. You can use a pet sitter inside of the home, out of home boarding, or even just have a friend check up on them while you’re away and take care of them. Each of these solutions can help a different type of cat. It depends on things like if your cat is an outdoor or indoor cat, their specific needs, and what solution is actually accessible to you.
Cat Hotels and the Alternatives
When you have to leave your cat alone for an extended period, you have quite a few options. These are the main ones and what type of cat they work for:
- Cat Hotels – Cat hotels are fancier versions of catteries. They often include the type of amenities you’d expect in a hotel for a person! These options can be a bit on the expensive side though.
- Boarding Catteries – Boarding catteries are like kennels for dogs, they’re large places that house a lot of cats. This can work for a cat that is easy going, since they’ll still receive the care that they need. If your cat can be a bit fragile though or particularly dislikes other cats, this solution might not fit.
- In-home Boarding – In-Home Boarding is a good compromise where your cat can go and live in another home for the duration of your trip. There are many people that offer this service. It can work for a cat that needs to stay in a fairly normal environment. Equally though, some cats might not like having to be around entirely new people.
- In-Home Visits – Since cats can be okay at home for longer than a dog, they can have a few options for staying at home. Someone can visit your home intermittently, and check up on them.
- Cat Sitter – A Cat sitter can spend the duration of your trip at home with your cat. This has the advantages of keeping your cat in their normal environment. The downside is that it can be expensive. Plus you have someone living in your house for the duration too!
- Friends or Family – Another option is to leave your cat with friends and family. This suits a cat that doesn’t have any special needs. If there is someone that can do it you should definitely consider this option as your cat will be supervised by someone you know well and the cat will not feel lonely.
What to Think About When Choosing Where to Leave Your Cat
Those are all of the options for where you can leave your cat when you go away. However, there are some specific things you need to think about. These are the factors to keep in mind when you’re choosing which of the options is right for you. Each won’t apply to every cat owner, but it is important to weigh everything up:
Indoor or Outdoor Cat?
This is an important factor when you’re comparing where you can take your cat. An outdoor cat might do better with occasional visits, being let in and out of the house and fed. If a cat spends a lot of time outside on their own, a friend or family member checking in on them doesn’t really have to do a lot and that is an easy option for care. Although, if this isn’t possible then sending them to another home for in-home boarding might not be appropriate. Cats have a habit of trying to go back to familiar territory when moved, which could cause headaches if they stay at another house.
Trust and Research
Wherever it is that you’re leaving your cat, this is probably the most important factor. You need to do your research and ensure you’re leaving your cat in a safe situation. For cat hotels and catteries, you will need to ensure that they have the proper certifications. You should also look at reviews from third party services to make sure that previous customers have had a good experience.
When looking at in-home boarders and cat sitters, the research is just as important. Again, looking at reviews is going to be very helpful. Professionals, though, should also give the necessary qualifications to show they really know how to handle pets in an emergency. If you’re deciding to trust someone entirely with your pet for an extended period, there is going to be quite a lot of research.
How Much Attention Does Your Cat Need?
Both indoor and outdoor cats can be thought of as more solitary creatures than dogs, but many really need human interaction and attention to thrive. When considering what cat hotel or alternative to use, you need to think about this. If your cat really relies on human company then it might be best to have someone just occasionally check up on them. In the absence of human attention, this could leave them bored and lonely. A boarding cattery might not be great for similar reasons. However, boarding them in-house or with a cat sitter would work in this kind of situation. If your cat is a little happier with more time to themselves, then your options are a lot more open.
Health Concerns and Special Needs
Things are going to be more complicated if your cat has health concerns or some special needs. What you need to look for will depend on your cat’s exact circumstances. Although, there are some key things to look out for. In terms of a cattery or a cat hotel, you can speak to them about their experience and training. Make sure that they know what your cat’s needs are, and that they can meet them. For a trained professional, they should be able to tell you what they can do for cats who have needs like yours. Look at previous customer reviews too, this can help you see if they’ve taken concerns like yours seriously in the past.
For more informal settings like cat-sitters, you’ll need to discuss the needs with them beforehand. Make sure that they know exactly what your cat’s needs are, and what they will have to do to accommodate them. If you feel like the person is going to ignore these needs, then you might be better off finding somebody else.
If you’re still struggling to figure out which of the options is right for you and your cat, visiting can probably clear things up. For catteries and cat hotels, a visit will show you how your cat is going to be spending their time while you’re gone. This can go a long way towards helping you make your mind up.
Preparing Your Cat for a Stay at a Cat Hotel or Alternative
Once you’ve decided the best option, then you’ll need to prepare them for their time away. The exact things to prep are going to vary depending on where they’re going. However, these are some general recommendations:
- Prepare their Supplies – If you’re having someone come to your home to look after your cat, all you need to do here is make sure you’re fully stocked and everything is easy to find. If they’re going somewhere else, you can consider weighing out their cat food to bring with you. Keeping to the same food can help keep the same routine and make things easier for your pet. This can especially be helpful if your cat is likely to be anxious. If they have any other specialist supplies like medicine this will need preparing too.
- Tag, ID, and Identification – Make sure your cat’s information is all up to date on their ID tag and microchip, so if anything goes wrong it is simple for them to be returned to you. This might seem like overkill, and it probably won’t come up! It can help you feel confident that you’re prepared for the worst though.
- Special Needs – Make sure that any special instructions you need to give your cat’s carer are clearly laid out. It can be helpful to physically write it down so you can hand it over to them, then they have something easy to refer to whenever they need it.
Leaving Your Cat in Safe Hands
Once all of this is prepared, your cat is going to be completely ready to go! All you need to do is actually take them to wherever it is that you’re headed, and say goodbye to your cat for a few days! There is quite a bit of research involved in choosing a cat hotel or a cat hotel alternative. However, if you do it right you can be happy and secure in the knowledge that your cat is going to be happy while you’re away.