There’s something bothering me about my upcoming trips, and for once it’s not whether I’ll be able to get everything into my case (although, that is also a secondary worry, damn I shouldn’t have reminded myself).
It’s something that, since moving into our flat late last year, I’ve never had to consider. And that’s how will my cats cope without me while I’m away?!
First up, here are my boys
This is Ralph (top), and Jim (bottom). They’re pretty much the loves of my life, and I’m not afraid to admit it.
And this is why I’m freaking out
I’m well aware that I’m a crazy cat person. For instance, I know that cats are resilient, adaptable creatures and can even find food and drink from anywhere if they really have to (side note: it won’t be that bad for my boys, thankfully). But I’m also very aware that this is the first time my cats will have been left ‘on their own’ without me or a family member looking after them, and it’s freaking me out just a little bit.
In the past, whenever I’ve gone away the cats had my mum, which suited them fine because they were totally adoring of her and her bed and her cheese addiction. And after my mum passed away, the cats had my nan and our neighbours, and at least their familiar surroundings: mum’s bed, my bed, the sofa bed…actually every bed, and half the other surfaces in the house. They’re not at all fussy.
Both cats have done amazingly well adapting to their new home in London, all things considering. Jim’s even got a little frenemy who he tries to attack through the window, and I’m looking at my pet camera right now (I’m currently on the train to Essex while writing this) and can see Ralph all snuggled up on the huge armchair which he’s claimed as his own. They know where their food is, they know where the Dreamies are kept, and they even have their own spots on our bed at nighttime.
But the idea of leaving them freaks me out entirely. And yeah, I know. I’m ONE OF THOSE people. But when your cats are practically your only family, you do become more than a little attached. So yeah, I know this is a travel blog and usually they’re supposed to be helpful, and I’m aware I’m COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY RANTING like a mad woman, but hey…
As far as I’m aware, there are 5 ways to keep your cats looked after while you’re away on holiday:
1. Take them to a cattery.
Pros: Your cats are constantly looked after. Regular food, too!
Cons: Unfamiliar surroundings, cooped up, and it can be stressful.
2. Have a neighbour feed them.
Pros: Cats get to stay in their familiar environment, and they’re looked after by someone they know. Plus it’s free. Ish.
Cons: You can feel a bit of a pain asking your neighbours, especially if you go away frequently. Also, not much use if you’ve just moved and don’t know your neighbours…
3. Have a cat sitter come round to feed them.
Pros: Cats get to stay in their familiar environment.
Cons: Might only get 1 visit a day, plus it can be expensive.
4. Have someone stay round constantly.
Pros: Cats have constant attention.
5. Take your cat with you.
Pros: Your cat gets an adventure and you don’t have to worry about them missing you!
Cons: It takes a very very very specific type of cat to be ok with being carted around. Plus not to mention the costs involved and the fact they may have to endure a stay in quarantine (depending on which country you go to).
Number 5 would obviously be my preference but there is absolutely no way in hell my cats would be ok with travelling abroad… They can’t even be picked up and carried down the hallway without having a screaming fit! So that leaves me with one of the 4 other options. And while I know cats are generally fine in catteries, I don’t think I could deal with taking them to a strange environment and leaving them cooped up for a few days… The feeling of guilt I’d have as I walked away would be enough for me to cancel the holiday straight away! Luckily none of the trips we’ve got planned so far are that long (think 4 days is the maximum so far) so we won’t be apart for too long. But still, my brain is going into overtime worrying about them and it’s almost ruining the excitement of our fab holidays.
I know that there will be people out there who say, “Well, you shouldn’t have a cat then, should you?”, but travelling and having a home-base aren’t two mutual exclusive things. I know of many bloggers who have cats (and dogs!), and I know that not everyone in the world avoids going on holiday for the sake of their pets. And who knows, my cats are probably desperate for me to go away so they can do typical cat things like putting their butts on my pillow or climb up those curtains they’ve been eyeing up.
For now though, I’d love to know just how everyone else looks after their cats while they’re away? Do you do one of the 5 things above, or have you found another way?