Why it is easier to take a dog on holiday than a cat!

Cat is more attached to their physical surroundings than their human companion.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

There is more than one reason why it is easier to take a dog on holiday than a cat but there is one major reason: cats form strong attachments to the place where they live as they link it to a food source. Most domestic dogs in contrast become attached first and foremost to their owner. The next type of attachment might be to another dog. Lastly the dog becomes attached to their physical surroundings. This frees them up emotionally to travel with their owner on holiday.

The other reasons are more obvious: the dog is connected to their owner as a group-living animal is to the group’s leader. They’ll follow without question.

Cats on the other hand are also connected to their owner but it is a looser connection in my view unless the person raised their cat as a kitten and they are imprinted on their cat as the genuine mother. Nearly all domestic cats regard their owner as a surrogate mom (as a provider) but it not the same sort of relationship that exists between dog and owner or when raised by their owner.

When owners move and their cat returns to their former home, which can happen, the cat is prioritising their physical surroundings above their connection with their human caregiver.

Feral cat colonies form up because there is a food source. In Japan I have seen a large number of feral cats congregating around fishing boats at a harbour. They were being fed fish by the fisherman which by the way is not great for their health in the long term. But it is a food source.

Domestic cats are attached to their owner’s homes for a range of reasons but the association between it and a food source is a powerful motivator to stay.

I feel pretty sure that if a cat owner stopped feeding their cat, they’d disappear to another home not far away or try and hunt for survival.

You know, it is said by some that when cat owners move home, they should leave their cat behind to be cared for by the purchaser of their home. This has happened in the past.

And the strength of the connection between cat and home is highlighted by the many stories of cats returning to their old home when their owner has moved to another provided the distance is manageable. Although I can remember the story of one cat who traversed the entirety of Australia, north to south, to get home after their owner moved. It is the believed to be the longest distance a domestic cat has travelled to return home. An amazing sense of direction and ability to locate places too. In these instances, the cat placed being in his home range as more important than being with their owner.

I’d like to take my cat on holiday and there are some hotels that accept owners and their cats. But I don’t think it can work. The cat will want to be in his/her home range for the reasons stated. The owner will be concerned throughout the holiday which undermines enjoyment. For me is it a failure of a concept because the cat will be agitated as they’ve been pulled from their home.

Home ranges

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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