Tips for Spending Your First Holiday Away from Your Cat
Depending on your plans for the holidays, you may find that this year is one where you’ll be without your beloved pet as you travel a good distance away from your home. Having a caregiver take care of your cat while you’re gone may be the last thing that you wanted to do. It may be impossible to trust another person with your baby, but you have to. The place where you’re going doesn’t allow pets or too many factors that would scare your cat, and potentially ruin your trip.
If you can’t bring your pet with you this year for one reason or another, there are some things you can do to ease the stress this situation has on you and your pet. Here are some suggestions that can help the two of you adjust to a short separation:
- Start introducing your cat to his or her caregiver as soon as you can. If this person is already familiar, great! It will take your pet less time to get used to them. See how your pet behaves around your family member, friend or neighbor. Does he or she run and hide? Or, are headbutts a normal gesture from your cat with this person? If your cat has taken a shine to his or her caregiver, you won’t have a thing to worry about beyond this step. It’ll be a beautiful new friendship in the making!
- Create a list of emergency contact numbers in the event something happens while you’re away. Include your veterinarian’s phone number, the number for Animal Poison Control, and several family members or friends in the immediate area that could try reaching you if the caregiver isn’t able to get a message through to you. Keep this list in a visible location such as on your fridge or written on a giant dry erase board. The pet sitter will be able to reference it quickly if needed. This is one of those ‘just in case’ steps that will give you peace of mind away from your cat.
- Make sure your cat has everything they need to be safe and comfortable. This means that you have their litter box emptied out and fresh with new litter, their bed is readily available to them, they have the toys they love most nearby to play with, you’ve left enough food and medication for them to be given by the caregiver, and that they feel safe, despite the fact that you’re gone. Cats are very independent creatures by nature, but they do need to be checked on and given attention. Ask that your pet sitter stay for at least an hour or two each day to pet and play with your cat.
Give your cat the comfort he or she needs to thrive while you’re away. You can easily do so by preparing your home and caregiver for the task at hand. By slowly introducing your pet to his or her new ‘friend,’ you eliminate the likelihood that they’ll get scared of the stranger in the house and quickly grow used to them.
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