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Cat care whilst on holiday.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone - this is my first post on this forum and I would be very grateful for some advice. My wife and I have two one year old ginger toms - Max and Paddy. We are going to Florida for three weeks this summer and realistically have little choice but to put our boys in a cattery while we are away. What is worrying me is the possibilty that such a long time in confinement may harm them psycologically. Is this likely?
post #2 of 6
First of all. Welcome to TCS! You will find lots of helpful information here

Personally, if I had to be gone that long.. I wouldn't put my cat in a cattery. I just don't feel comfortable with my cat being there not knowing anyone. He originally came from a animal shelter- so I wouldn't want him feeling like I abondoned him.

I would ask my neighbor to take care of him for awhile. Since PHX really likes the neighbor and goes over there with me a couple times a week anyways Or maybe I would get a pet sitter to come over every day. Or I would bring him with me, if possible. But putting him in a cattery would be my last option. Let us know what you decide!!
post #3 of 6
Being a professional pet sitter, I'd recommend one of my colleagues! Just to be sure though, ask your vet who and what they recommend. They'll know the services in your area and the reputations of the various facilities. If you decide on a pet sitter visit Pet Sitter International's web site for tips on how to find a sitter and what questions you should ask.
post #4 of 6
Hi and welcome to TCS

I use a cattery regularly for my cats and it's definitely my preferred option when I go away for more than a few days. There are pros and cons of both catteries and cat sitters (either friends/relatives or professional sitter).

A sitter is good because cats are territorial and that way they can stay in their own home. You don't say whether your cats are indoor or indoor/outdoor but since you're in N Ireland I'm guessing they have some outdoor access? If you go away and leave them in the care of a sitter it's usually recommended that you keep them indoors for the duration as cats often go missing when someone other than their usual carer is in charge of them, and a sitter can't usually spend a long time trying to locate them and get them indoors to feed them etc. So their routine will be disrupted even if they are in their own home. My cats are indoor cats and if I had a sitter I'd worry about them getting out as I've only one front door. I'm used to them and know their habits but a stranger or friend would not. Also for me a sitter is a bad idea as Jaffa is very nervous and hides when strangers come around. So a sitter would struggle to get him fed (if food was just left out for him Mosi would eat it all) and would hardly see him at all so wouldn't pick up on him being unwell. Most sitters only visit once or twice a day for about half an hour so they are on their own a lot.

Advantages of a cattery to me are that I know they're safe (there are several doors between them and the outside so escape is very unlikely), I know there is someone keeping an eye on them throughout the day so that any problems can be picked up, and they get more attention than they'd get with a sitter. Mosi is young and lively and he got loads of play and fuss when he was in the cattery over xmas - much more than he'd have got from someone dropping by twice a day. The disadvantages of a cattery are that they're in a strange place rather than their own home which can be stressful. But Jaffa is a timid cat and although he's nervous and timid at first he does settle down and get used to the people and the routine.

I wouldn't worry about being gone for 3 weeks. Cats don't have the same perception of time as we do so they won't be aware that you're gone that long.

If you do go for a cattery make sure you check out several before you book and make sure they're clean, have sneeze barriers etc and that the staff are cat lovers and not just in it for the money. FAB have some guidelines on choosing a boarding cattery (just google FAB) and also have a list of FAB approved catteries, although I'm not sure whether that covers N Ireland or not.
post #5 of 6
I got a professional pet sitter, and we had a wonderful experience. You might do a trial run some weekend first.

Our first pet sitter was not so good. She apparently had an assistant taking care of my pets instead of herself. I never met the assistant, and she never received my EXTENSIVE instructions on hiw to care for my turtle tank. When I came home, there was only half the amount of water, the tank was filthy, and the filter was nearly overheated and broken (a $200 filter!). The turtle was not a happy camper.

Our new pet sitter is wonderful though, and I recommend her to everyone. Ask around, and get a PSI-certified one. When you talk with them, get some references. Ask about how they handle certain difficult situtations. What if your cats fight? What will they do? It happened to our second petsitter, who handled it marvelously. What if the air conditioner breaks and the house gets too hot for your pets? Basically, ask lots of questions.

We were really worried about a pet sitter as Puppy is "special" and Terabyte's tank is a new experience to a lot of people. The pet sitter very quickly figured out how to handle each of their quirks. She even left a daily note explaining what happened that day. That's how we knew she was good. For example, Puppy chews on the shoes of people he likes. We forgot to mention this to her. A few days in, it was in the daily notes "Puppy is chewing on my shoes right now as I'm writing. Oh, and Terabyte has removed all of her hoses from the sides of her tank, so I put them back on." We knew then that both animals were quite happy, and she was capable of taking care of the little daily things that occur.

Personally, I'd go with a pet sitter. If you find a good one, you'll be happy with the service and you won't worry about your pets.
post #6 of 6
Hi and welcome to TCS

When we go away more than just overnight we either have my best friend come in three times a day to feed, give fresh water, change litter and play with out cats.

If we're going to be gone for longer than say a week, my Niece comes and stays are our house to take care of our cats.

I don't know how easily upset your cats are, but for our cats taking them out of their home would just be to much stress on them.
Two of our four cats have the Feline Herpes Virus and stress of that kind would cause an outbreak, so they will always stay at home.
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