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Vacation Time: What Should We Do With Our CH Cats?

June 22, 2012

As summer kicks into full gear, more and more folks are going on vacation. For most, that means packing up, locking the door and forgetting all of their cares. But it may not be as easy for that for some CH cat pet parents.

Photo courtesy _hillary

Depending on your cat’s level of CH, it can be a big deal to try to find a pet sitter who is willing and has the time to work with your cat’s needs. For some, it may be easier to simply bring your CH cat along on your trip — depending on where you’re going of course.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re struggling with deciding who can and should take care of your pets while you’re on vacation:

First consider your CH cat’s needs. How severe is her CH? On a daily basis, what are her needs? Certainly she’ll need fresh food and water, but does she need to be aided or watched while eating? The litter box should be cleaned daily (at least), but does she need help while going to the bathroom? Does she make messes daily outside of the pan? Would she need a bath afterward?

Also consider your cat’s daily routine. When does she eat and use the litter box throughout the day? This may help your cat sitter determine the best time to come over. Also keep some notes on her habits: Does she eat breakfast right away or let it sit out for a few hours? Can she use the litter box just fine, or has she been having messes lately?

Knowing these things is essential so you can pass them along to your cat sitter. You certainly don’t want them thinking your cat is on a hunger strike when it’s simply her routine to not eat until noon. And you’ll want to give your cat sitter a heads-up if they should expect to find your cat caked in poop and litter one day.

And we all know it doesn’t end there. But listing these things out are necessary so your requests and your cat’s needs are clear when finding someone to take care of her while you’re gone.

But who should you ask?

Photo courtesy spilltojill

First consider close family and friends. They’re likely most familiar with your CH cat and her needs, and will be able to understand your situation. They’re also (hopefully!) the most trustworthy.

But remember, asking anyone to take care of your cat, especially a special needs cat, is a big responsibility, and some of those closest to you may not be willing to take it on. Don’t be offended. Instead, try to be patient and willing to address any concerns they may have.

If a friend or family member doesn’t work out, ask friends if they can recommend a pet sitter. You may even want to ask at your local vet’s office if they can recommend a pet sitter or if one of the folks at the vet’s office pet sits on the side.

While you’ll likely be somewhat familiar with this person, you’ll definitely want to make sure you and your cat are comfortable with them before you hit the road. Invite the potential cat sitter over one day, explain your situation and your cat’s needs, and ask her several questions. Go through your cat’s routine, and find out if the cat sitter has any experience, questions, or issues with it. If you think you’re a good fit, congratulations! If not, explain your concerns and continue your hunt.

One of the most stressful aspects of asking someone to come over and take care of your CH cat is that your cat may have lots of needs that the cat sitter will have to help with. Again, this can range from helping her eat to using the litter box. The trouble is that these aren’t only intimate acts, but they may also occur at random times when the cat sitter is not around.

Photo courtesy MowT

If this is the case, consider this: Find out if your cat sitter would consider your cat spending the time at their place. Again, this is a big thing to ask, and you may only be comfortable with your pet staying at a friend or family member’s home. Yes, this can be stressful for your cat, but it may mean that your cat may have more reliable care and feel less lonely. (Don’t forget, you may want to have your cat confined to one “safe” room while at your cat sitter’s home for health and safety reasons.)

Another option would be for you to invite your cat sitter to stay at your place while you’re gone. Consider people with some free time this summer (trustworthy high school or college students may be an option), and try to make the situation as accommodating as possible.

Remember, no matter who you ask, it’s a big request for you to make and a big responsibility for someone else to take on. If you can, compensate your cat sitter generously. If that’s not an option, find another way that you can express your gratitude.

In the end, this can be a stressful experience, so try to be as patient and kind as possible, and hopefully you’ll be able to come up with a situation and cat sitter that you’ll be able to rely on for years.

What do you do when you go on vacation? Please share in the comments!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Janice permalink
    June 22, 2012 8:51 am

    I am lucky to have two pet sitters that are very good with Jewel. It is always my biggest concern leaving her, and although she may hide under the bed to start with, she does eventually come out….especially for her food. Love the picture, reminds me of Greece and the cats that lounge on the decks.

  2. Catherine Paciotti permalink
    June 22, 2012 9:30 am

    When I went on a vacation for 5 days last November, I thought I had a pet sitter, but he was only willing to stop by and feed Dotty and quickly clean out the litterbox, not really spend any time with her, and I began to worry quite a lot about leaving her alone in the house. I called a number of places about boarding her, but they were very expensive. Finally, I called my vet, who, it turned out, boarded pets for a very reasonable rate! I felt like she was with people who really cared about her, and while she was in a cage the entire time, she got a lot of good attention, and was safe and well-cared for.

    • June 22, 2012 9:45 am

      Wow, what a story! I’m sorry that your petsitter wasn’t committed to taking good care of her, but I’m glad to hear that your vet does! Hopefully others find out the same!

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