To us, vacations are something fun, but that is not something for fun especially for cats. This cute animal cannot deal with any change, including environmental changes and routine. When you want to play together with your cats by inviting them to go somewhere for holiday, their stress will come out. Not only that, but they also will show you the behavior problems and anxiety. For example, they may show their behavior problems when you do not around them because you are on vacation when they are being transported, as well.
On the other hands, some cats do not have any problems with traveling. They are fine. They can stay in the hotels. They don’t mind to get boarded in the kennel. But, mostly, this creature can live better in their home with their pet sitter. So, what can you do if your cats have a problem during traveling? What can you do to help reduce their stress?
The Changes In The Cat’s Environment
Cats love their routine. It means if they feel something is changing, of course, they will get stressed easily. When you are going on a vacation, there will be a lot of things change for your cats such as the different feeding time, the less attention, the new environment, and the new place.
In fact, your cats need five days to two weeks so they can adjust and then accept the new routine, even longer than that period. If it happens to your cats, it is important to consider the length of the period for them to accept the change of situation. Some simple changes are like when your cats meet the new cats at home, new people, and how long they need to adjust to their new home. From these situations, you can even try to understand how inflexible cats are.
A pet sitter was a stranger that can add stress to their life. Right after they become used to their new routine with their new pet sitter, and when you go back from vacation and then change their daily routine. In this condition, it is possible if they do not smell familiar to you just because they have not been able to leave their “markings” to your cheek when you were on vacation. Therefore, it is possible if they then hide, show unexpected behaviors or become defensive.
Urinating Outside Of The Litter
The most common behavior problems in cats are when they do a change in their household, for example, the urination outside their litter box. They can act aggressively or fearful when they have new pet sitters or new environments like the boarding facilities. When their emotions are rising, they will urinate outside of their box because it is the way they tell you that they are scared, stress, and anxious. Besides, cats love to smell themselves. When they urinate, this act makes them calm down since they are spreading their scent onto any items they feel they are the owner. Nevertheless, urine can be challenging to remove from some items like carpeting, furniture, and mattress. Therefore, it is frustrating problem especially to clean the urine up.
Another thing that cats can do is scratching things when they are upset or stressed. Doing this is their natural behavior and it is helpful to maintain their claw and to make their territory. Nevertheless, this behavior will always happen, and even increased during their stressful times.
Often the new things can scare your cats. If it happens, they will hide. Hiding from the new pet sitter, hiding from the boarding facility and hiding from you after they didn’t see you for a while.
A stressed or scared cat will lash out defensively or aggressively. It depends on their stress level to deal with the new situation or environment. They can do lunging, hissing, swatting, and biting as the signs of their stress and fear.
How To Decrease Stress In Cats When You Are On Vacation
If you go on vacation and your cats stay at home, it is good to ask the pet sitter to see the cats as many times as possible during your absence. The pet sitter should bring favorite treats to your cats and then play with them with their favorite toys. This is good to start something positive and leave a good impression. It is okay if your cats want to run off. Do not force them to meet and greet.
In addition, you can go on your vacation for at least 1 week in advance to help your cat gets used to it. What you should do is toss in toys and treats to create a positive association for your cats when they see your luggage.
The next thing to do is to write down your routine every day and ask your pet sitter to follow the daily routine such as playtime, meals, grooming, lap-sitting interaction, and other things. Doing this way can reduce the stress for your cats. If you feel that probably the daily routine will change when you are on vacation, it is good to implement these changes before your departure so that your cats have started the transition.
It is good to leave any scented item at home. For example, you can place your t-shirt you have worn but not washed it yet for your cats. Place that t-shirt in their bed so that your cats are still comfortable. Eventually, you can leave recorded message or voice while you are gone. Nevertheless, test it first to make sure that no cats are sad or upset with the recorded voice.
Before leaving your cats, make sure that each member of the family that your cats love to choose the pair of socks from the wardrobe. After that, rub the socks all over your cats and then seal each of the pairs in a different plastic bag. When you are coming home from your vacation, you can slip on the cat-scented sock that means your cats identify you that you are family. If you are ready to leave your cat, make sure that you bring some of their favorite items or things that smell like you along with them.