Cat Sitting: Options for Vacationing Pet Parents

By Jessica De Rubeis March 10, 2019

Are you going on vacation? Do you have a cat at home that will need looking after while you’re away? Whether you’re embarking on a weekend cruise to the Caribbean or a week-long road trip along Route 66, there are numerous ways to ensure your furry friend is taken care of during your time away. With the help of these cat sitting options and top tips, you can ensure that kitty’s staycation is just as awesome as your vacation! 

1. Utilize Friends And Family

Do you have family or friends that live nearby? Are they always happy to give your furry feline lots of attention when they come over for a visit? If so, ask if they are willing to watch your furbaby while you’re away. This is one of the most common ways in which people obtain care for their pets while they travel. 

Your cat gets to remain at home, and friends/family drop by for visits each day. The familiar surroundings help ease any anxiety your cat may feel about being alone, and the familiar face will help reassure and comfort them – not to mention feed them! To see if this might be an option for you and your furbaby, ask your friend/family member how often they are willing to come over. Let them know that their cat sitting duties will include making sure kitty has plenty of food, fresh water, a clean litter box, and play time.

What if your friends or family are a bit farther away? Check if they are willing to keep kitty at their place! While it may take your cat a bit of time to adjust to the new environment, you can have peace of mind knowing they are receiving all the care they need – plus an excess of love and attention. Make sure kitty’s caretaker has the telephone number of your veterinarian and the number of the animal poison control hotline just in case.

Overall, friends and family are great resources when it comes to watching your pets while you’re away. You can expect plenty of updates and pictures of kitty’s staycation which should quell any anxiety you have about leaving your feline companion behind. The best part? You can pay your friends and family in gift cards, food, or your Netflix password!  

2. Have Kitty Boarded In A Kennel

If the friends and family option isn’t feasible for you, consider having kitty stay in a kennel. Boarding facilities often house both cats and dogs, though they are kept in separate areas. Depending on the facilities, there can be quite a range of accommodations. Some kennels feature the small cages often seen at pet stores to house adoptable cats. In these situations, your cat may be alone in one of these kennels or they may share with another cat. 

Another option is to have kitty boarded at your veterinarian’s office. Plenty of vets now offer boarding services, however the accommodations are likely less luxurious than some other options. On the plus side, the caretaking staff would have access to kitty’s medical records and a veterinarian on-call in case of emergency. More than any other cat sitting option, this can provide pet parents a sense of security regarding kitty’s health and wellbeing. 

Other facilities have more lavish accommodations that are sometimes referred to as “cat hotels.” These hotels differ from place to place, but many of them include cat furniture, plush bedding, window views, and sometimes even music!  There are additional options available for families who will be boarding multiple cats within the same family.  Depending on the hotel, there are spaces with luxuries for your cat to enjoy and areas for your cat to spend time alone.   Search for “cat hotels near me” on the internet to see the accommodations these hotels offer in your area.

If this is your first time boarding your cat, be sure to ask about new client specials. If you’re boarding multiple cats, ask about discounted rates for subsequent cats if they are roomed together.

3. Hire A Professional Cat Sitter

If leaving your cat at home sounds like the better option for you, then consider hiring a professional cat sitter!  Websites such as Rover, Care, Fetch Pet Care, House Carers, and many more offer you an option of hiring a cat sitter. Some will allow drop-in visits that are half an hour and can be scheduled in advance or requested on demand.  During these visits, the cat sitter will provide your cat with food and fresh water. They will also clean the litter box and give your furbaby plenty of love and attention. Some even perform other chores such as watering houseplants!

The cat sitter will pamper your feline with plenty of playtime and take care of all the basic chores performed during a drop-in visit. This option can ensure that your cat has plenty of care and companionship during their staycation – and your house is watched as well! 

4. Leave Kitty To Go Solo

If your trip is only a quick weekend getaway, then leaving kitty home alone is another option.  If you choose to let your cat go solo on their staycation, there are some steps you should take to ensure they remain happy and comfortable during your absence.

First, make sure you leave enough food for the time you’re gone, plus a bit extra just in case. Have plenty of fresh water available for them at all times. The night before you leave, empty out their litter box and refill it with fresh litter. If you are using clumping litter, feel free to scoop out their box right before you leave as well.

Since kitty will be without supervision for an extended period of time, make sure any potential hazards in the house are dealt with before you depart. Cleaning supplies should be put away, human medications should be stored safely out of kitty’s reach, and any foods that may be toxic to your cat – like chocolate, grapes, and gum - should not be left out.

If this care option sounds like the best fit for your situation, please create a backup plan just in case you are unable to return as soon as you planned. Would a friend or family member be willing to come visit if your flight is delayed? Could a neighbor check in and make sure kitty has everything they need if your trip is extended by a day or two? Whatever your back-up plan is, just make sure you have an extra key to give to whoever agrees to help.

Some Suggestions (In Case of Emergency):

Errors or missing information could make it more difficult for you to reconnect with your pet if they get lost for any reason. If you are going to leave your cat in the care of someone else or fear that your cat might get lost, think about micro-chipping or updating your pet’s microchip information before you leave. To better understand micro chipping your pet, the American Veterinary Medical Association has a comprehensive FAQ that can answer all of your questions.

The American Animal Hospital Association recommends pet parents fill out a Pet Care Emergency Authorization form. This generic template enables you, the pet parent, to designate someone to make medical decisions for your pet in the event that you cannot be reached. More than likely, this form will not prove necessary, but it’s best to be prepared – especially if you are traveling to a place where telecommunication service may be unreliable.

With plenty of available cat sitting options to choose from, finding the right one for your situation is easy. If your feline friend just doesn’t fit in with your vacation plans, fear not! Once you find the right cat sitting option for you and your cat, you can enjoy your time off without feeling bad about leaving your furbaby behind. Chances are they are going to have just as good a time as you are. Don’t worry; go and enjoy your vacation!

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