Taking Your Cat On Holiday

Taking your cat on holiday
Taking your cat on holiday
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When you take your cat on holiday, it is your cat’s holiday. As a cat does not want a holiday, there is no point in taking your cat on holiday. What I am saying is that when you take your cat on your holiday, you have to give over so much of the holiday to your cat’s welfare that the holiday is substantially one that is for your cat.

The Downsides – Notting Hill Gate, London to Kilfenora, Ireland

It can be tricky to take a cat on holiday. I have done it twice, taking brother and sister cats to Ireland, on one occasion. From Notting Hill Gate, London, we drove to the ferry in Wales, and then, once we arrived in Ireland, we drove to the cottage; a long drive. We smuggled the cats onto the ferry, which was distinctly tricky. I was younger and more adventurous then! Because there was so much driving the cats got used to it, and settled down nicely after about 4 hours ;). The girl cat spent a lot of her time on the car’s dashboard. However, there was the initial worry about how the cats will settle down but we should give the domestic cat credit for being very adaptable.

This is the trip:

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However, one’s behavior is constantly modified by the presence of the cats. There is always a big question mark about cat welfare hovering over you. When you arrive at a rented home, which incidentally must accept cats, you have to be really concerned about them. Strange places do strange things to cats. They hide and then explore and wander into places or onto places that you were unaware of. You can lose sight of them and lose control over them. It is fun, but the experience can be unnerving.

The problems for a cat going on holiday with their owner revolve around two main issues:

  1. Cats like routine and familiar places and;
  2. Cats don’t like traveling.

Both are in conflict with going on holiday.

The Upsides

Yes, cats like routine but if you are going to a holiday environment that is much more cat friendly and exciting than where you live, it can be a fantastic experience for a cat. Of course, this supports my argument that the holiday becomes a cat’s holiday and not a human holiday, but who cares?

For example, if a cat has little chance to climb trees and frolic around on grass it can be very stimulating for a cat to experience it. The problem is that he or she has to go back to a less interesting environment on his return.

Taking your cat on holiday or leaving him behind
Taking your cat on holiday or leaving him behind. Photo by dryfish

Boarding Catteries

Most people don’t take on the burden (is that a fair word?) of taking their cat on holiday. It probably does not enter their head. Boarding catteries can be difficult places for a cat. Nearly all cats cope well in boarding catteries but some get stressed, which may bring on health problems while you are away, plus there may, exceptionally, be some transmission of infections to your cat. In the UK, your cat will also need a routine vaccination to get into a boarding cattery.

6 thoughts on “Taking Your Cat On Holiday”

  1. I would much rather have a trusted friend come by once or twice a day than any other way to care for a cat in my absence. Laura took Midnight on a trip to visit family and she meowed almost all night long for 3 nights and would only drink KMR milk and wouldn’t touch her food the first few days. NOT worth it.

  2. We would never take our cats on holiday, but as Marc says for cats living somewhere like the countryside, every day is a holiday.
    We live on the edge of a housing estate and have a large garden with trees along outside the fence and an embankment opposite with trees and scrub and grass and lots of mice. Our 2 boyz have lived here for 11 years now since they were kittens, so they know and love their home ground well.
    Apart from most cats hating travelling I’d be worried to let our cats out somewhere strange incase they got lost.
    Yet I have a friend who always used to take her cat to stay in a caravan at the seaside and she said she never wandered far away.
    Still I wouldn’t risk it if it was me, nor put ours in a cattery.
    But as it happens neither of us like going away from home nowadays for more than a day, we can relax in our garden for free and enjoy time with our cats and put the money we’d have paid for a holiday to better use.

  3. We used to take our cats to my girlfriend’s parents country/weekend/holiday house in the middle of the countryside in Slovenia where it is at the end of a tiny road. Absolute paradise for cats. They loved it there. Lilly climbed her first trees there and spent all night outside with Pepi our tabby boy. Lilly confronted her first cow – I got that on video, very funny, the cow was equally as curious about the tiny black kitten/young cat aproaching so close. The journey was always about 1 hour and 20mins – Pepi always meowed all the way and Lilly was a trooper. We got them a big colapsible dog carrier they both fit in with tons of room so they coud be together and have space to lie around in it and it was big so they could stand up and look around – not like a little enclosed cat carrier and safer than running around the car. They loved it out there. I loved it so much too – I loved to go with them on their adventures and I had all my bikes that I work on and restore in the barn 30meters from the house and Lilly loved to hang around whilst I was working outside and go off on little missions and come back and check what I was up to. This for them and me was paradise. I think there is possibly nothing that makes me happier than to be somewhere beautiful and quiet and safe for the cats to run around freely and meet the other cats from nearby farms and chickens etc etc. I never wanted to leave and niether did they. I used to always go for a walk with Lilly in the evening – she liked to go further and further when I was with her and we’d go look plants and trees and things on the ground. After enough experiences like this it became clear to me wht I need to do with my life to some extent. I read about Walter and Jo and Marvin Bigfoot – all these cats who enjoy the outdoors and are lucky enough to be in a relatively safe place and I remember what a pleasure this freedom is – and I know it’s my goal to live like this somewhere we are all safe and I don’t need to lock my cats up. This place I went to in Slovenia is incredibly safe because the tiny road is so small you couldn’t go faster than about 10mph on it and there were no cars except ours and the nearest neighbours going on it. Perfect place.

    Yes, going on 4 or 3 or 5 day long weekends to this place was very much about the cats – certainly for me. It would be a quarter of the fun without them and not great to leave them behind anyway. They were so happy there and only Pepi really meowed in the car a lot but he was very used to it as well and loved to be out there. This is something I enjoyed so much and I made lots of photos and videos of the cats learning their way around outside. I always made sure they knew where everything was and could always get in and out at any time of day or night. It’s wonderful to see them happy and curious and busy – it’s what I wish for the future for me and my cats. A place that means we won’t feel we need to ‘go on holiday’ somewhere to get some space and nature. If you drive for 10 or 15 mins from Zurich there is forest and farmland and beautiful landscape and lakes too. I want to move to a house that is at the end of its own tiny road where I have no close by neighbours but where I can drive to work in 15 or 20 mins. London is such a huge sprawl of a city you need at least an hour to get to the proper countryside from the centre. I can’t wait for the day I live somewhere that for my cats is like everyday is a holiday 🙂

    • Wow, London is big! If I drive for an hour from the center of Milwaukee I’ll have been in the country for quite a long time. I’d love to take Monty with me to different parks I go to. Especially this little one in Greendale, which has a sign that says, “No dogs.” Perfect. And it doesn’t say anything about cats. There is a pond and ducks. Monty would love it. But he’s never had even one flea. What if we go on our little trip and he picks up fleas? Silly, I guess, but that’s what’s kept me from taking him to see the duck pond.

      • Ya from the center of London it’s an awfully long way until you can see fields and you don’t ever see real forest in England – that’s why I left England in my early 20s. From the center of London it can take you about an hour to get near the edge for sure, maybe more even.

        I don’t blame you for keeping Monty away from fleas and unknown places. Probably for the best.

      • Somehow I think you are sensible. I am very surprised Monty has never had a flea. Why is that? It must be warm or hot in the summer where you are in which case fleas should be about. London is big. If you cross it west to east it’ll probably take 90 mins in a car if the traffic is moving OK.


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