Long gone are the days where you have to put your cat in a cattery when you go away for the weekend. Today there are so many accommodation options in the UK that allow you to bring your cats, from AirBnBs, to cat friendly hotels, traditional B&Bs or even campsites.
We’ve put together a list of considerations for when you are planning to take your cat away, including how to manage the car journey and tips and tricks on how to make the experience as comfortable as possible for your cat, when you arrive at your destination.Taking my cat on a car journey
Some cats are incredibly nervous or unhappy in a car, however if you get them used to travelling from when you first get them, the car can become a familiar place and not at all a scary prospect for them. We’d recommend taking your cat out in the car for a short trip to start with e.g. 5-10 mins and increasing it from there. The key is to make sure they don’t associate the car with going to vets or somewhere they don’t like!
Once your cat is used to travelling in the car, you can take them on longer journeys. To ensure your cat is comfortable, you may want to consider the following points when planning your journey:
- Does your cat have enough space in the car? Ensure their carrier is big enough and comfortable. You can get carriers that expand with different compartments. These are great for longer car journeys.
- Is your cat's carrier secure and as a result, do they feel grounded and safe? It’s likely that your cat will want to grip onto something when you are turning corners in the car, so ensure your carrier has a suitable surface. Also ensure that it is secure in the car and safe to comply with Rule 57 of the Highway Code. If you do not you may face a fine or invalidate your insurance.
- Did your cat go to the loo before you left the house and have they eaten? Just like humans, your cat may need to go to the loo while travelling. If you have a long journey, stop to see if they need to use the litter tray. Either way, you may want to check they went to the loo relatively recently before you leave.
- Is the temperature of the car ok for your? Ensure your car temperature is ‘just right’ for your cat. The air con or heating may unknowingly be pointing at them so be aware!
Signs that your cat may not be comfortable in a car. If this happens, stop and safely comfort your cat.
- Being vocal
- Sweaty or wet paws
It’s worth noting that some cats just do not like travelling. If your cat is like this, it may be better to leave them at home with a cat sitter or someone familiar.
Arriving at your accommodation
When you arrive at your accommodation, try to make the place as comfortable as possible for your cat before letting them out of their carrier. Remember a new living room for us may be small, but for cats it is huge and the smells alone will be hugely stimulating for them. A few tips and tricks to get the space ready before letting your cat roam:
- Have their litter tray out and filled - show them this straight away when they come out of the carrier (you can even place them in it in case they need to go to the loo straight away)
- Let them in one room only to start with so they feel secure
- Make sure the room has somewhere for them to hide in case they are nervous e.g. under a sofa, behind a tv console, on a chair under a dining table
- Have their food and water our in case they are hungry or thirsty after the journey
- Don’t move around too much, be present and calm so they realise the space is safe (resist the temptation to run around and unpack everything!)
When your cat is used to the space and seems calm or curious, investigating their surroundings, open up some more rooms slowly. Remember to check the house is secure and there aren’t any nooks or holes they can get into!
Be consistent with feeding patterns at home. This means giving them the same food, in similar surroundings at the same times. The same bowls could also make them feel more comfortable. Tippaws dry food comes in 1.5kg bags so are a perfect size to take away on holiday.
Treats also help distract them and make them feel happy in the new space.
Make sure you take a litter tray that your cat is used to - either the one you use at home or a travel one they are already familiar with. Always use the same litter that you do at home. If your bag of litter is too big to take in your car, decant it into a smaller container or bag.
Tippaws bags of litter (launching in mid-April) are 6L and only weigh 3kg so are perfect for taking on holiday.
Don’t forget your litter scoop and some compostable bin liners to dispose of clumps and faeces! These are easily forgotten and it won’t be fun doing the daily litter tray scooping without them! You also can’t assume that the rental property water systems will accept flushing clumps of litter, so we advise disposing of these in the bin when you are on holiday.
Toys & beds
Make sure you take your cat’s favourite toys with you when you go away as well as any favourite beds, blankets or even cardboard boxes! All of these things will make your cat feel more comfortable when they are in the new surrounding.
And don’t forget to play with your cat when you are away! They still need mental and physical stimulation.
On your first night, leave your bedroom door open and show your cat where you will be in case they wake up confused about where they are during the night.
Make sure they know where their litter tray, food and water is.
Check the house rules on where your cat is allowed before booking. You may want to confirm cats are allowed in the bedrooms if your cat is on the nervous or needy side, or used to sleeping with you.
Clip your cats nails before you go away to reduce the chance that they will try to scratch the rental property's furniture or carpets. Take a scratch post with you too.
Outdoor space and gardens
If you are comfortable with your cat going outside while you’re on holiday, check that the garden is safe and enclosed before you let them out. Also consider getting an AirTag or similar and attaching this to their collar. The great thing about these is you can get them to play a noise in case you can’t see your cat and they’re exploring under a bush!
Interacting with other animals
Check with your rental agent or owner whether there are other pets around, especially if your cat is nervous around dogs. Even if your cat isn't nervous around other animals, you don’t know how other animals will react to your cat so it’s always good to check.
In conclusion, planning is everything when it comes to taking your cat away. You want to ensure they are as comfortable as possible at every point of the journey and you want to create as much familiarity as possible at your destination. You want them to feel like they are in a home away from home! If you have any other tips or questions, leave them below, we’d love to hear them.
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