Can’t imagine leaving your cat behind while you go on holiday? With just a little planning, you can bring all members of your family along on your next getaway, including your beloved cat.
Do you feel that your cat is a genuine part of the family? Chances are your kitty feels the same way. It is unsettling for animals to be left behind when you go away on holiday. Not so long ago, you had little choice but to place your beloved feline in a cattery while you were away. While these are still valid choices, they are costly and simply not suitable for some owners or their pets.
Fortunately, more and more destinations are willing to accommodate people holidaying with their pets. So with just a little extra planning, you can enjoy taking your kitty on your next trip away.
Best mode of transport for a trip with your cats
Train, plane or automobile? Whether you are taking a driving holiday, taking the train or flying to your destination, you will need the right restraints to keep your cat safe.
Driving is, in most cases, the least stressful option for your cat. For driving, a safety harness or a barricade across the backseat is important. Also make sure there is good ventilation. If you have a cage, be sure that it is an ample size and don’t forget about shade.
Travel by plane
For those taking to the skies, check with your airline as they will have strict rules about cat carriers and even cat breeds. Most airlines have detailed rules available on their website, some airlines allow you to take your cat with you in the cabin and others will require your cat to travel in the hold. Excess baggage fees may also apply so do your homework in advance. You will also need an authorized crate or carrier to fly on a plane. These can be purchased online or at stores like PetSmart.
Travel by train
Trains generally also require that you keep your cat in a carrier, although the rules and dimensions tend to be less strict than those for airlines. Another advantage of taking your cat on holidays by rail is that the journey tends to be a lot less stressful for them. The ride is usually a lot less noisy, and cats can be sensitive to turbulence as well as the takeoff and landing of the plane.
Your cat will need toilet stops and breaks
Breaks for your cat when driving
Make sure you allow extra travel time for toilet and exercise breaks when planning your drive. Head off on your road trip with a water bowl, treats and food for your cat. Keep plenty of bottled water on hand in case tap water isn’t available. It’s nicest, and safest, to take rest stops at a park or playground so you and your cat can have a walk around.
Breaks are more complicated when travelling via plane or train
For train trips and flights it is much more difficult to allow your cat toilet stops and breaks. And if they’re not great travellers (most cats) when you take them for a break at a busy train station or airport they will refuse to eat or use the litter tray anyway!
For longer trips a good idea is to break the journey up into two or three days by staying overnight somewhere in the middle to give the cats a break. If you don’t have the space for a full litter tray in your luggage you can buy a collapsible version that you can fold away nicely in a bag.
Be very careful on hot days
Cats easily suffer heat stress, so never leave your pet in the car unattended. Also consider buying shade screens for the windows if the cat will be travelling in the back of your car.
You’ll need to find suitable accommodation
The internet is your best friend when it comes to finding pet friendly accommodation, and there are so many options these days! This can range from farm stays to pet-friendly B & B’s, camping and caravan parks.
Check the house rules
Before you book, it is important to check the in-house rules. Do they allow animals matching your pet’s size? Do you need to bring your pet’s bedding? Are cats allowed inside or outside only? Is there a fenced area for them? It is best to pick accommodation which allows a close match with your cat’s usual routine.
Best of all, you are no longer stuck with the outskirts of town. Many hotels have pet-friendly policies and you can search for such features on any major travel websites such as Expedia, which has a specific search page for finding such destinations. So why not let kitty enjoy a bit of pampering while you are away?
Help your cat to settle in
Cats are very attached to their surroundings and hence moving around can be stressful. An important point to note is that your cat will be very curious and potentially anxious when they first arrive at your holiday accommodation. They will need to fully examine each and every room of the house to feel at home! For larger accommodations sometimes it helps to give your kitty access to one room at a time so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Outdoor areas should be off limits without supervision for at least the first week.
Prepare for any health emergencies
Although we hope it never happens, anyone can get sick on holidays. So before heading off, find out where the local vet or pet hospital is. This is particularly important if you are going camping or heading somewhere remote. Also don’t forget to pack any pet medication you may need and take enough for the whole time you are away.
Will you need a cat sitter while you’re away?
Once you are on your fabulous holiday, what do you do if you want to check out that fantastic new show or gourmet restaurant up the road? If you think you will want some time without the cat in tow, enquire about a cat sitter. Check with your accommodation first. Do they offer this service? If not, are there any reliable sitters in the area? Will they come to you or do you take your cat to them? Just look into this before you go ahead and book your accommodation so you will not be disappointed.
Yes you can enjoy your holiday, with the peace of mind that your cat is happily snuggled up nearby!
Although a little extra planning is needed, taking the cat with you on holidays is a rewarding experience for you and your pet. By choosing the right accommodation, taking the cat’s favorite toy, familiar bedding and paying attention to details for your cat’s health and safety while on the move, your holiday can be fun and stress free for everyone.