There are several compelling reasons that pet parents should take into consideration when deciding whether or not their kitty requires a cat sitter when they are away.
We all need a vacation now and then, and in many cases, it is not practical nor pleasurable to bring along our pets. While the majority of dogs require attention of some sort, even if their caretakers are gone just overnight, our feline friends are somewhat more independent.
Cats are less likely than dogs to scarf their food, they can use the litterbox unaided, and most cats aren’t as hungry for attention as their canine counterparts.
A Question of Food
Merely leaving out additional measures of food for your cat may be acceptable in an emergency, but it is not recommended.
Some cats, when faced with an unlimited amount of food, will attempt to eat as much of it as they can, causing them to overindulge at the beginning of the trip and end up hungry towards the end of your absence. Exposed cat food is also at risk for going stale, causing the food to be unappetizing at best and causing gastrointestinal distress at its worst.
Automated feeders, like this one, can help to mitigate these issues but have the potential to malfunction, become jammed, or even to be tipped over by the clever and enterprising feline.
Enlisting a pet sitter, whether that be a friend or family member or a hired caregiver such as Space Coast Pet Services, ensures that your cat gets the right amount of fresh, delicious food while you are away.
Pet parents, much like parents of human children, need to consider their kitty’s age when deciding how long to leave their cat at home alone. A kitten who is under the age of four months should really be checked on every two to four hours as they can still be a little clumsy, and most kittens this age have not yet developed a great deal of common sense.
As your kitten begins gaining a bit more coordination and good judgment, between four and six months old, they can be left alone for more extended periods, around five to eight hours at a time. Frequent check-ins at these ages also help to socialize your cat and help it to become familiar with interacting with people regularly.
Healthy adult cats with no separation anxiety can often be left home alone for up to one or two nights at a time as long as they are provided with appropriate food and possibly an extra litter box. As your cat ages, illnesses and injuries can occur more frequently and can rapidly become severe.
Senior cats, between the ages of 11-14, should be checked on at least once a day, and geriatric cats, at 15 years of age or older, should be checked on multiple times each day.
Length of Your Trip
One of the prime considerations is how long you will be unavailable to check on your cat. Are you simply going on an overnight trip, or will you be gone for several days? In certain circumstances and with the proper equipment, healthy adult cats can successfully be left home alone for up to two or maybe three days, but any length of time beyond that is a huge gamble.
Even automatic feeders and self-cleaning litter boxes in the house cannot replace the presence of an actual human being.
A cat sitter can check on your cat’s physical health, watching for symptoms of illness, and ensuring that they do not have any unexpected injuries. They can also provide emotional support to your cat, assuring your feline furbaby that they are not alone so that they don’t become anxious or depressed by your absence.
While some cats are entirely comfortable existing in solitude for an extended period of time, others become anxious or depressed when left alone for too long. Canine companions are more likely to have separation anxiety than most cats; however, cats are more likely to hide the condition until their human companions have been gone for more than a typical workday.
Some pet parents interact with their felines through a camera with a speaker or treat dispenser to help alleviate their cat’s loneliness. Still, if you are allowing a cat that has never been left alone for more than 12-24 hours to stay home alone while you travel, you should definitely arrange for a visit designed to not only check on your cat’s physical needs but also to address their social needs.
Special Needs to Consider
Cats with special needs are more likely to require a cat sitter than cats without extra needs and may be better served by having caregivers who are trained in Pet First Aid and CPR, such as our team here at Space Coast Pet Services.
We can help by ensuring that your feline friend gets any medications that they need, keeping them neat and clean if they encounter digestive issues related to their conditions, and getting them to and from necessary appointments via our Pet Taxi service.
Although most cats are more comfortable in their own homes, some circumstances may require round-the-clock care. Pet parents who have cats with these types of conditions seek out either pet sitting that is conducted at the pet sitters home, pet sitters that are willing to stay overnight, or they may need to be boarded with their vet for their own safety.
When leaving on vacation, the last thing most pet parents want to do is spend their time worrying about the welfare of their feline friends.
Be sure that you take your cat’s personality, age, and individual needs into account when you are deciding how to keep your cat safe and secure while you are gone, as well as considering the length of time that you will absent from the home.
Even healthy, independent animals should have some human interaction daily. Senior cats, very young cats, and injured, ill, or exceptionally social or bonded cats should have even more attention – at least one or two visits per day.
If you are unsure about whether or not your cat needs a licensed and bonded pet sitter, contact Space Coast Pet Services, and we will steer you in the right direction. We visit a minimum of one time per day and will love on your kitty when you need a helping hand.
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, in 2016 she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, bonded, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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