Holiday cat comfort during a season of merriment that perhaps includes visiting some family and friends can be difficult and you want your cat to be safe. You may pack your bags and run off to a warm beach, hit the ski slopes or spend a few days at grandma's house.
For your cats, however, the holidays often mean being plucked from familiar surroundings and whisked off in the loathed cat carrier or exiled to a kennel. But, with a bit of planning, owners can give their cat the holiday cat comfort gift it really wants...the security of its familiar, comfortable "home sweet home" and the joy of that elusive holiday cat comfort...and don't forget that there are Pet Sitters.
Most cats don't relish being away from familiar surroundings, so many families find that leaving their cats at home is the least stressful alternative for the animal. If you're going to be gone only one or two days, your cat may be able to stay home alone. Leave a fresh litter box and plenty of extra food and water. If you're going to be gone more than a couple of days or if you don't feel comfortable leaving your pet alone overnight, you can either enlist the help of a reliable family member or friend or hire a professional pet sitter.
But no matter how short or long a time you're planning to be away, be sure to fully cat-proof your animal's living quarters. Our furry little friends can get into mischief because they may investigate nooks and crannies that were never interesting before and eat items they normally wouldn't eat during the normal day to day cat care and cat safety routines.
Cat-proofing and hazard-proofing your home during the holidays for your home-alone cat provides holiday cat comfort and cat safety. Most holiday-specific hazards are Christmas tree ornaments and decorations that can be ingested.
Swallowed tinsel or garland can cause a dangerous intestinal obstruction, and glass fragments from a smashed ornament can cause cuts and possibly lead to infection. Close off the room containing your Christmas tree, be-ribboned presents, or other potentially hazardous decorations.
If "sealing off" decorations in your absence isn't practical, consider postponing some of your holiday decorations until after you return. Before leaving your cat on its own in your home...at any time of the year...you should take commonsense safety precautions.
Store cleaning products, paints, and other potentially hazardous household chemicals in a cabinet with a latched door. Also, to protect both your cat and your household artistic items, move any lightweight vases or expensive porcelain pieces safely away from shelf edges. Holiday cat comfort includes your comfort.
Limiting yourself to a short-stay getaway is a good idea if you've never left your cat home alone while you traveled. Most cats do well when left home alone...they do best in their own territory where they feel secure. Nevertheless, an owner's prolonged absence can sometimes prompt uncharacteristic behavior, for example, some cats may eat less than usual while others may overeat.
If your cat is in good health and normally eats dry food, you may be able to leave your pet unattended for 2 - 3 days (maximum). Leave more food and water than you think the cat will need. If your cat normally eats canned food, find a cat sitter rather than changing your feline companion's diet to dry food for the duration of your trip.
A sudden dietary change can cause digestive upset or a dangerous hunger strike. If a cat stops eating or eats less than usual, it can develop hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver)...a life-threatening ailment.
Clean your cat's litter box just before you leave and if you have multiple cats you might choose to add an additional litter box. Provide an ample supply of clean litter so your cat is less likely to boycott its litter box as a way of expressing its displeasure with your absence or the state of its sanitary facilities.
Leave a key to your home with a trusted neighbor or friend. If your return is unexpectedly delayed, you will need someone who can look in on your feline companion and refresh its food and water supplies. After returning from your brief trip, determine whether your cat has eaten a normal amount of food in your absence.
If you have only one cat, the amount it has eaten will be immediately apparent. But if you have more than one cat, look for signs such as lethargy or vomiting, which could indicate that the cat may not have eaten enough.
If you suspect your cat went on a hunger strike while you were away, get an immediate veterinary checkup. And when you travel in the future, board your problem eater at a place where its food consumption can be monitored so that holiday cat comfort can be maintained.