Tips & tricks

In collaboration with Cat Educator, Intersand®’s cat experts would like to offer a few tips and tricks for new “parents” of cats, cat lovers and anyone who’s considering a feline addition to the family.

Cat and vacation: what’s the best solution?

The moment to prepare the last details for the holidays has arrived. The family knows where and how long she will stay, but what about kitty? While it is common to look for a pension center to keep the family dog, how to make sure that our feline companion is comfortable during our absence?
Take him on a trip
As a general rule, cats are not happy to leave home and be driven around. While it is possible for some to tolerate these trips because they have been well trained for it or for individuals with a more adventurous personality, travel may cause them more stress than enjoyment. We must understand that our feline friends most likely do not feel this need to escape in the summer! On the contrary, reassured and comfortable in their routine and stable environment that is home, they will need time to adapt to a new place. So, if the trip is short, it’s not worth it to gradually integrate it into a new habitat.
Leave him at home
Leaving your cat at home is the best option if you want him to live well your absence provided that your stay is for a maximum of about two weeks. However, a person of confidence will have to be able to come to visit him frequently, every day consistently! It will also be necessary to provide a detailed list with the contact information of the resource persons (veterinarian, second person available to visit the cat if there is an impediment, etc.) as well as a description of the habits and procedures relating to care (quantity and type food, meal frequency, favorite toys, guidelines for litter cleaning, etc.) Although the cat is quite independent in nature, it should not be forgotten that it needs social interaction and entertainment on top of his primary needs. The sitter will have to not only change the water, offer food, clean the litter, but also play and interact with him according to the level of comfort of the cat. If he is stressed by the sitter, he should not in any case force a manipulation or a physical contact, but rather gain his confidence with game or food.
Choose the cat pension
If the stay lasts more than two weeks, it is then suggested to temporarily relocate the cat so that he can benefit from more surveillance, but especially more social interactions. So, staying with a loved one or feline pension service will be a better choice. Note that several veterinarians also offer pet pension service. In order to reduce stress, it will be recommended that the cat be isolated from other animals and be housed in a feline environment. The chosen location will have hiding places, reacheable heights, scratching posts, interactive stations for food, games, litters of adequate size, etc. In addition, the person in charge will have to be able to visit him often and to interact with him as if he were visited at home.

Note that for cats with medical conditions, it will first of all be necessary to validate with your veterinarian which options are available and choose a place where people will be able to follow up and administer the medication correctly, if necessary.
Will he get bored?
As the family will be away, it will be important for the cat to quickly estabish a routine in these new circumstances, whether at home or elsewhere. To help it, it may be interesting to tune the radio on to a spoken channel rather than a music channel. Since the human voice is a familiar sound and the shows are presented according to a fixed schedule, it may help the return to a certain routine as he knew with the members of the family. Moreover, offering him several activities will make sure that he will be busy in your absence. So all types of additions to the home or to the reception room are welcome: cat trees, access to windows, interactive bowls for food, “treasure hunt” with treats or food hidden throughout the house, olfactory and visual enrichment (moving lights, video of birds), etc.
Finally, it is difficult to prove that a cat will miss “his” humans according to the definition we make of emotional boredom, of melancholy. On the other hand, we can certainly admit that a cat left alone for several days without activities will be bored with inactivity.
The return to the normal routine
Contrary to popular belief, the cat will not ignore you on your return to make you “pay” for having him left alone! In fact, it will probably have established a new routine in your absence and will have to adapt again as soon as you arrive. It is possible that all these changes in such a short time stress him and that you observe changes in his behavior. If this is the case, do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian on your return to ensure the health of your furry companion!
Enjoy your vacation!