Don't Leave Your Cat Home Alone

CatChannel behavior expert, Marilyn Krieger, CCBC, gives advice on keeping your cat happy and healthy when you're on vacation.

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Q: I recently got a Bengal kitten; he’ll be 4 months old next week. He has adjusted very well to our home and our family. My question is: What do we do when we go on vacation? Should we have someone he knows stay at the house with him? Do we take him with us? Or just leave him alone? I don’t want to traumatize him because he has done so well, but we’ll be planning a vacation soon, and I need to be prepared. 

A: I don’t recommend leaving a cat alone without anyone to care for him when going on vacation. Cats need to have daily feedings and fresh water, and they need their cat boxes cleaned every day. They also need to interact with their vacation caregiver on at least a daily basis.

A few cats enjoy the travel experience, but most do not. Most cats do best when left at home, in their own environment, with a pet sitter, family member or friend visiting once or twice a day. The person who comes in to take care of your cat while you are on vacation should spend time with him, grooming him, playing and giving him lots of love and attention. The vacation pet caregiver can never be you, but he or she can help keep a cat healthy and happy while you are away.

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Reader Comments

Sophia    Sellersville, PA

6/17/2009 3:17:00 PM

I would like to go into the cat sitting business eventually. I agree that time should be spent grooming and petting the kitty so he doesn't get as sad and lonely. I know that I couldn't replace the owner, but I would try my best to make my kitty client happy for a few days. Thanks for this great article. I appreciate your work.

meredith    marlborough, MA

12/27/2008 9:50:13 PM

great tip. thnx

Grace    Brooklyn Center, MN

12/27/2008 7:49:16 PM

As a professional pet sitter myself, I whole-heartedly agree! Cats aren't always as social as dogs but they do need to have some daily human interaction in addition to fresh food and water and a clean litter box. Pet sitters also help to make sure things in the home are alright too - if the battery in a smoke detector is beeping or an alarm clock is buzzing, they can tend to those things and if there is a water leak or heating issue it would be beneficial to find the problem within a day rather than returning from vacation to find an even larger problem. All pets need affection and attention when their "parents" are away and professional pet sitters are the perfect vacation pet caregiver. Thanks for the article and for promoting healthy pets and pet sitting!

Moni    Boise, ID

12/27/2008 4:48:49 PM

Good info but I always worry a sitter will accidentally let her out.

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