The most vulnerable time for a domestic cat is when their owner is away on holiday

This is a little note about the vulnerability of domestic cats when their owner goes away on holiday. A cat detective, Said Beid, in Italy who is currently searching for a chinchilla Persian who lives with a social media influencer, Nima Benati, said that he is busiest when cat owners go away on holiday and leave their cat with relatives, family or friends. That’s when the cat is vulnerable because they are plunged into a different world, a strange world and their instinct is to get away. This drive makes them vulnerable.

Nema Benati and here Chinchilla Persian, Bartolo, who was lost while Nema was on holiday and Bartolo was with family
Nema Benati and here Chinchilla Persian, Bartolo, who was lost while Nema was on holiday and Bartolo was with family. Image: Social media.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

If and when they do escape the confinements of the home, they might get lost or they are injured by road traffic or in certain countries there are large predators capable of attacking and killing a domestic cat outside. It is this sudden change in the environment of the domestic cat which makes them vulnerable.

Domestic cats are creatures of habit. They like things to remain the same, even the furniture to remain in the same position. They like the routines and habits of their human caregiver as it all leads to certainties and it’s reassuring for a domestic cat in the human world

So, what do you do when you go on holiday if you live with a domestic cat? It’s a difficult one because boarding catteries are safer but they are very stressful for a cat. Once again, they are plunged into unfamiliar surroundings, living in a cage. It’s going to be unpleasant for them and a lot of cat owners don’t want to put their cat through that. The cost is an issue too. People like to avoid these expenses if they can. Cats can be expensive to look after.

Some people just leave their cat in their home with some food and let them look after themselves while they go off for a week which is almost certainly negligent and an abuse of a domestic cat. It would likely be in breach of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in the UK.

Although, if your cat companion is very much an outdoor cat and is familiar with living outdoors but comes inside from time to time then leaving them to fend for themselves with the support of a good neighbour you know well can work. Clearly it depends upon the lifestyle of the cat and their relationship with their owner.

The best solution is the most expensive solution which is going to put people off. It is to employ a cat sitter and the best sort of cat sitter is going to be one that the cat knows well and who lives in the home while the owner is away. Therefore, the owner has to know the cat sitter well also. This takes a bit of setting up which will put people off.

The success of a cat sitter depends upon the nature of the person doing the cat sitting and whether they really love cats and are highly reliable and can be trusted. I don’t think you can get to that situation without some trial and error which carries risk.

Even under that scenario, a cat is going to be stressed because they will miss their owner if there is a good connection between owner and cat. They will probably suffer from varying degrees of separation anxiety which will need to be tackled. There are some things people can do to make it easier for their cat when they employ a cat sitter.

  • Leave items of clothing which have the scent of their owner on them in their cat’s bedding as a reassurance to their cat. That idea has been challenged by the way. Please click this to read about it.
  • Leave everything in the home as normal before leaving for holiday to create that much needed familiarity. Don’t make unnecessary changes.
  • Select a cat sitter who knows all about cats and they should visit the home so they can meet up with your cat or cats beforehand. I think that is important. I think the selection process for a cat sitter is an important step in terms of ensuring that things go well.
  • The cat sitter should play with your cat a lot because play is a great distraction to stress. And when a person plays with a cat, they become familiar with each other very quickly. And the cat can then relate to that person as a friendly “animal”. This should be a major requirement.

It may be the case that you have a good friend who you know well and your cat knows well who can stay in your home for the duration. That is going to be a lot cheaper and even better than a professional cat sitter but this friend has got to be completely reliable. The risks for the cat are heightened and there is a big responsibility for the cat sitter. I think the responsibility of the job has to be stressed when discussing the task with the friend if this is a first time.

It takes a second for things to go badly wrong. And if a cat escapes under these circumstances, it’ll wreck your holiday if the cat sitter tells you.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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