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We are currently planning a vacation to Florida that centers around my grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration. Since we will be in Florida anyway, we decided to also spend a few days at Disney with the kids before heading down the coast to meet the family, so a one-week vacation quickly turned into two.
Being cat parents, this means that we can’t forget about planning for the care for our two cats, Orion and Pete. We haven’t gone away for this long before and I am learning that vacation planning is almost doubled when you have pets. However, if you know what to expect and give yourself plenty of time, it will be a breeze.
Don’t leave the care of your cat to the last minute. Decide whether you would like to use a cat boarding facility, have a pet sitter come to your home, or if you will be leaving your cat with a friend. Once you’ve made the decision, arrange for your cat’s care as soon as possible. Especially during busy vacation times, cat boarding facilities and pet sitters may be fully booked if you wait too long.
Choosing a cat boarding facility
If you decide to use a cat boarding facility or kitty hotel, the internet is a great place to start. Many websites have a list of the services they offer, pricing, and photo galleries. A few even have videos. When starting our search we used the internet to create a short list of three facilities we liked best, then we arranged a visit.
A visit to the facility gives you an idea of whether the staff is attentive, if the size of the enclosures and exercise areas are adequate, and if the facility is clean. Cats are members of the family and you want to be sure they will be in the best hands while you are on vacation.
Food and feeding instructions
When boarding your cats, be sure to bring enough food for their entire stay and then some, just in case. A simple plastic cereal container makes a great container for transporting dry food.
Be sure to include detailed feeding instructions for your cat. Remember, you want your cat to feel as close to home as possible. Using their regular food in the amount that they eat at home will help keep them on schedule and may provide them some comfort while you are away.
Be sure that your cat’s vaccinations will be up-to-date at the time of their stay and provide copies of their records for your kitty’s caregiver. If your cat is overdue for some or all of their shots, make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
If you are boarding your cat you will have paperwork to fill out that includes the name of your veterinarian and an emergency contact. If you are leaving your cats at home with a pet sitter or a friend, be sure to give them this information along with your cat’s supplies.
Toys and familiar items
While the family is away, familiar items from home may help ease some stress in your cats. Along with their food, we like to bring their favorite blankets and toys so they have some familiar comforts during their stay away from home.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you are boarding your kitties, you will need to have them in a cat carrier. When choosing a carrier, be sure to purchase one that is big enough for your cat to lay down or turn around if they need to. Riding in the car isn’t usually a cat’s favorite activity so give them enough space so they can (try to) relax.
Clean litter box
After returning home your cat may be stressed. To help alleviate some of that stress, I like to make sure my cats have a clean litter box to come home to. After dropping my cats off at the cat hotel, I clean our litter box completely. This includes washing the box and filling it with fresh litter.
Since we use reusable shopping bags, we don’t have a stockpile of plastic bags to use for cleaning out the litter box. Instead, we use the Litter Genie® Pail. It fits almost anywhere and is an effortless way to help control litter odors for up to 14 days. When the bag is full, simply cut-and-tie the bag and put it in the trash. Refills can last up to two months (with one cat) so it’s economical, too.
While shopping at Target for some necessities for our vacation I found myself in the Pet Care aisle, as I often do. What can I say? My cats are spoiled. This was when I decided to pick up the Litter Genie® Cat Litter Disposal System. As it turns out, it has been well worth the $14.99 that I paid for it.