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Vacations and Cat Behavior Issues

Updated on July 3, 2013
Sometimes cats left home get bored or anxious.
Sometimes cats left home get bored or anxious. | Source

Going on vacation should be a relaxing and wonderful experience.

We all deserve a break.

But it can be less relaxing if you are worried about your cat and how he will react to your absence.

Cats are not great with change. They don’t enjoy it and often react badly to stress and changes in environment and structure.

But this doesn’t mean that you can never leave the house again in order to keep your cat happy and healthy.

There are ways you can help to ease the stress of your absence for your cat.

Leaving the Cat at Home

If you are leaving your cat at home for a short period of time or having a pet sitter come in to take care of them, here are some extra things you can do to make them less anxious about your absence.

  • Leave a Radio On

If you are leaving your cat at home, sometimes the simple act of leaving the radio on can help to comfort your cat. Hearing human voices and music may help to soothe their anxiety. You can pick a station that plays some music with DJ’s or pick a talk radio station.

Make sure that it is not very loud and is in a safe place where the cat won’t knock it down.

  • Leave a Part of You

Leave a sweater or shirt that you have worn out in one of your cat’s favorite sleeping spots. The familiarity of the smell will comfort her as she curls up and sleeps. If you can, leave one in several places in order to give her options.

I'm so bored.  I wonder when my owner will get back.
I'm so bored. I wonder when my owner will get back. | Source
  • Leave Some Window Viewing

The safest place for a cat is indoors. But every cat needs stimulation and something interesting to watch or do. If it is safe to do so, open a blind or shade just enough for your cat to be able to jump up on a window ledge and watch the world outside. This may ease some of the boredom that he or she is facing.

  • Have Someone Hang Out

If it is a friend coming to pet sit, encourage them to hang out at your house and watch TV or read. Just having someone around, even if your cat doesn’t come out of hiding, may comfort her. You might also consider a trusted house sitter that is good with cats or that your cat knows to stay during your trip. This gives your pet the human companionship he craves.

If You Are Boarding

Sometimes the best option for a cat is to be boarded. This is especially necessary if the cat needs daily medications, insulin shots or has other issues that make it hard for him to be alone for an extended period of time.

  • What To Take

Just like at home, if possible, send a sweater or shirt that you have worn for the cat to sleep on. This will give him some comfort and remind him that you will be returning to get him. Or send his favorite bed, toy or treats. Think about what will remind him of home and of you.

Did you really just leave me while you go have fun?
Did you really just leave me while you go have fun? | Source
  • Choosing a Boarding Facility

When choosing a boarding facility, think about your individual cat’s needs. If she has complicated medical needs, boarding her at your vet’s office might be the best option.

If he does not have medical needs or if they are not that complicated, you might consider trying to find an all cat boarding facility.

Even if your cat lives with or is used to dogs, the barking and stress of additional dogs can make the boarding experience tougher for your cat.

Some cat boarding facilities have exercise rooms and places where a cat can get out during the day. This would be the most ideal situation for your cat.

Once You Are Back From Vacation

Give your cat time to readjust to you and your surroundings. She may feel like pouting for a few days and hiding. It may take her some time to get back to her old routines of eating and sleeping. It is important to give her that time of adjustment.

She will be fine. Just remind her or how much your love her, give her extra treats, brush her and pet her. She will be delighted that you are back where you belong.

Consider Getting Another Cat as a Companion

One final thought to consider for the future is to adopt another cat or kitten to keep your cat company.

Cat's are very social creatures and often can adjust well to a new cat.

If you are considering adopting another cat, remember that it takes time for a new cat to adjust to a new home and other pets. But it can be well worth it.

What do you do with your cat when you go on vacation?

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