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HELP ~ Not sure where to post this question!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,

I have a question that I need help with and I don't know where to post. I am a first time cat owner (since early July). My husband and I are going on a vacation at the beginning of October and I am stressing out what to do with our new kitty, KitKat! I've read so many different things and heard so many different things from friends with cats. I've heard that boarding can be way too stressful for a cat. Is that true? My only other plan that I can come up with is to have various people that I know stop by to check on her. I don't know anyone who lives close by who could come daily, so I have to break up the week among different people so at least one person will be there each day that we are away. We don't want to hire a pet sitter - we just aren't the type of people to have strangers come into our house, even if they "checked out." Any help or advice would be welcome. OH here are some "helpful facts." KitKat has never been home alone over night yet in our house - she's home alone all day while we are at work and she does well. She was a stray who we rescued and LOVES to be outdoors. The vet thinks she is about 1-2 years old. We are trying to convert her to indoor-only, but we are having a hard time. We let her go outside after work each day for supervised outdoor time. She likes to patrol our yard for a few hours and then comes inside for the night. While we are gone, we do not want her to be let outside by any of our friends. So she will be indoors for about 9 days straight. Is she going to go psychotic on us since she won't be getting outdoors? I am so stressed out!
post #2 of 14
Hi there, don't be stressed, it will all work out.

Villy is an indoor/oudoor cat and she has had a petsitter and stayed in for 2 weeks before and she seemed ok, just pleased to go out when we got back. I think it's better that way, what if the pet sitter couldn't get your cat back in again?

Is your cat trained to walk on a leash? That way she could still have some outdoor time.

As for boarding vs petsitter, I'd try to keep her at home. Are all these people reliable that will be coming in? I've never put Villy in a cattery as I adopted her from a shelter, and I wouldn't want her to think she was being abandoned again. I have heard lots of different views about catteries too. I suppose some cats get on with them, some don't. If you do choose to board her, check out a few places, and see if you can talk to anyone who has left their cat there before.

I don't know if it's better to have the same person coming in each day, maybe someone else can answer that?
post #3 of 14
I know how you feel -- this is my biggest problem having a pet (what to do when we go on vacation).

My cat is only 6 mos old and there is no way I'd leave him home alone in the house now. I am home all day so I think he'd be incrediably lonely. So... I took him to my mother's house when we went out of town for four days. He was kind of freaked out for the first day and after that he acted like he'd lived there his whole life. And they loved having a kitty around. Is there anyone in your family that would take your cat into their house while you are gone? This is ideal because the cat would be supervised and get attention everyday.

We are leaving again at Christmas for a week and I mentioned it to my mom (she was not as thrilled since we will be gone much longer then last time). I am hoping I can convince her to take my cat again.

I have a "kitty hotel" near me that I've already checked out. The lady who runs it loves cats. But... basically my cat would be in a closet sized room (with windows and perches). After having the run of a 2500 SF house for so long I really think he would be miserable. They do let each cat out a couple of times a day into a "common area" to play though.

My third option is to get another cat and plan on leaving him home in the house when we leave. That way he'd have company at least. I am undecided on this though.

I would love to hear what others do when they go on vacation.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
I don't have family members that can take KitKat in for the week and I thought she'd be happiest in our house, since it is most familiar to her and she just went through the stress of adapting to our house in the last few months. The three people who would be alternating and checking on her are all extremely reliable. My mom would be staying over for both weekends that we are gone (so she'll be there overnight with KitKat a few nights) and then my two very close friends would be alternating the other weekdays. They are both pet owners and I've known them both forever. It's not the people I'm most worried about - I guess I'm most worried about KitKat getting bored, getting lonely, going crazy not being able to get outside. She does have a leash, but she hates it since she's used to running around our yard on her own. I'm being firm with my mom and friends that she is not to go outside anyhow. I don't want her to be sad or mad at us for leaving. She seems to like her "routines" in the house and we are a big part of her routines. I feel like if we aren't there, we are going to throw off her systems she has in place. She goes to bed when we go to bed, she wakes us up in the morning, eats her food, then has a certain place she likes to lie down after breakfast - which is usually next to me. If we aren't there to take part in her routines, will she still be okay? I think I'm over-paranoid!
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by meow meow View Post
I know how you feel -- this is my biggest problem having a pet (what to do when we go on vacation).

My cat is only 6 mos old and there is no way I'd leave him home alone in the house now. I am home all day so I think he'd be incrediably lonely. So... I took him to my mother's house when we went out of town for four days. He was kind of freaked out for the first day and after that he acted like he'd lived there his whole life. And they loved having a kitty around. Is there anyone in your family that would take your cat into their house while you are gone? This is ideal because the cat would be supervised and get attention everyday.

We are leaving again at Christmas for a week and I mentioned it to my mom (she was not as thrilled since we will be gone much longer then last time). I am hoping I can convince her to take my cat again.

I have a "kitty hotel" near me that I've already checked out. The lady who runs it loves cats. But... basically my cat would be in a closet sized room (with windows and perches). After having the run of a 2500 SF house for so long I really think he would be miserable. They do let each cat out a couple of times a day into a "common area" to play though.

My third option is to get another cat and plan on leaving him home in the house when we leave. That way he'd have company at least. I am undecided on this though.

I would love to hear what others do when they go on vacation.

I would have to say that if you cannot get one or two people only to come out and check on her, the kitty hotel is the best option. As opposed to many boarding kennels, she will not be caged which is an important thing. She will have a room with windows and perches, more human contact probably that way. Plus you don't run the risk of her getting let outside by one of the people who come to your house. I think the hotel would be a very good option for her, just take some familar things like her blankets or pillow or something that smells like home, her toys, food and water bowl, treats, food and I think she will be fine.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
As I mentioned twice, I am not concerned about my cat getting outdoors while I am away. The three people who will be helping me are highly responsible and will not let her out. She does not try to get out on her own. They would have to physically put her outdoors - so this is not the issue on which I am seeking advice.

My reason for posting my message was to get helpful opinions about whether or not she would be okay staying by herself so much in my house. I do not have any cat/pet hotels anywhere near my home and my only two options are 1) she will stay at home with people checking on her, and 2) she would have to be boarded at her vet's office. I am trying to avoid boarding and I am trying to make sure she will be in my home where she is comfortable and familiar with her surroundings.

We've only had her for a little over 2 months, I've never owned a cat before, and I am trying to make sure that I am taking the right steps to ensure her mental happiness while I am away for a week.
post #7 of 14
Since the time for your vacation is quickly coming, getting another cat now probably would be too stressful. However, you might consider boarding at a "cat hotel" for this trip, and later, introduce another cat, and then go with your first plan as your cats will have time to adjust to each other and will be company for each other. I know that some people will scream that I say this, but you can actually leave enough food, water & extra litter boxes so that your friends can check on the cats every other day or so; just make sure that you have neighbors to call an "emergency contact" nearby in case of natural disaster,etc.
Also, make sure that you provide a way for your friends to enter your house without your cat being nearby, waiting for a chance to dash out. You might even try putting some sort of discouragement near the front door now, to see how effective it is. My grandson has an "Emperor Zurg" toy with a motion-activated sensor that causes Zurg to growl out a warning - the cats really hate that voice; we put it in the doorway of my mom's kitchen, and that put a stop to the cats wanting to go in there.
No matter how you work this out, in the end, your cat will adjust. Cats are flexible, and I cringe when I hear too many people tell me that they'd love to have a cat, but because of vacations, the cat would be alone in the daytime, etc. they don't get one - and that's one more cat left alone to languish in a small cage at some shelter, just as alone only bored, frustrated and lonely on top of it, with no hope
post #8 of 14
Why would it be a problem for different people to come every day? I think that would be fine. (Sorry if I missed the answer to that.)
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks Jenny82. I also didn't understand why it would be a problem for different people to come everyday. That is the least of my worries. I've been wanting advice on how my being away will actually affect my cat. She has "routines" that she has developed in her 2 months of living with us and I'm afraid that our being away will disturb her routines - I'm worried, frankly, that she is going to tear apart the house since she will be cooped-up indoors for 9 days (so far, she has been EXTREMELY well-behaved in the house).

I am not worried about her getting out and a lot of the responses to me are focussing on her getting outside.

While everyone has been very helpful, I guess I am just looking for specific advice about what to expect when I leave my cat alone for the first time. She's gotten used to a lot of pampering in the last few months!
post #10 of 14
You're welcome. Well, there isn't much you can do about her routines being disturbed, but I think she will adapt. The first time I had to leave my cats alone overnight for a few nights I was pretty worried, but they were fine! I would suggest maybe leaving a t.v. or radio on so that it isn't too quiet and she can hear voices. Also ask if your friends/family who you have coming over can spend some time playing with her.

Another thing that might keep her from getting too stressed is a Feliway plug-in (which you can find at any pet store). You can put this in the room where she spends the most time, and it emits some kind of hormone to calm her down. I tried this a few months ago when we got our second cat and it helped the make the introductions easier.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks! That is good advice. I will make sure to leave on a radio and I'll make sure my friends and mom play with her. I also had a Feliway plug-in when she first moved in, but maybe I should replace that with a new refill before we leave. Maybe that will help too.
post #12 of 14
Since cats aren't the highly social animals that dogs are, and are rather more territorial, I always leave my kitties in the home when we vacation, with someone to come in twice a day and "open the cans" and scoop the boxes. Now, we work every day, so I'm not really all that sure that my cats have that much of a routine. But I can say that on Saturday & Sunday they aren't terribly prone to hunt us up to spend time with them, except when it's time to eat, LOL. So MY answer would be - keep mealtime the same, keep a playtime in there for some fun, and the person who comes in to feed and play may get an invisible cat, or a cat who wants some interaction. But see, it's up the the CAT to choose, rather than be put into someone else's space and forced to interact with other cats. Just my 2 cents.
post #13 of 14
I've been in your place and tried both ways, and after a few 'surprises' with people I thought were reliable, etc., I would definitely board her. She'll be ok, cats are resilient, and you'll be able to relax a lot more knowing she's being fed properly, has company, and someone's watching her health. We've come home to find that adults have just forgotten (or been busy), teens have not realized the cat was sick (or been too afraid to tell us), one did let the cat out and it was almost a disaster, etc. etc. Unless there's one dedicated (paid?) person there every day who knows and loves cats (who knows what she could get into unexpectedly) you're better off with boarding.
post #14 of 14
All four of mine are indoor/outdoor, and stay at home with usually 3 or less relatives coming to check on them, clean the litterbox, fresh water, food, etc. They usually come in through the basement door, so if one cat decides to make a run for it, she doesn't get far . One (Bird) has to be by herself (she's old- can't take the chasing of the younger ones when they get wound up after being in the house for a week, namely, Meggie ), and she stays shut in the kitchen/diningroom/sunroom, and the others have run of the house. Sometimes I come home and somebody has tried to climb the curtains , but other than that , no problems!

This is my routine:
I put plastic coat hangers on all the doors, so nobody can shut themselves in a room away from litterbox and food and water (or you can just make sure they are propped open),
I don't leave her any toys with strings she could get tangled in, same for miniblind cords, etc., and make sure there that the bowl for her water isn't something she can tip over or knock off.
Also make sure she has extra food and water out, in case there is an emergency and she doesn't get seen one day.
I also toss a few jingle balls, milk rings and fuzzy mice out right before I leave.

Can't think of anything else- I think my cats would be more stressed to be boarded, than to be taken care of by a different person every day. BTW, we have been doing it this way for 13 yrs, and they have been fine .
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