Having a pet is a wonderful thing year around, except probably the time when you want to pack up those bags and head down somewhere warm.
What do you do with your Siberian kitty when the time comes for you to take those 2 weeks off? Do you take them with you? Do you leave them behind? Do you find them a shelter or send them to your mom?
In this article, I will talk about the options you have to provide care for your Siberian kitty while you are on vacation, pros, and cons of different approaches and what you can generally expect. You don’t have to feel like you can’t go on a vacation because you have a cat. But you do have to do some planning to make sure both you and your kitty are as comfortable as possible while you are sunbathing at the beach.
So what do you do with your Siberian cat when you go on holidays? Here are some options.
FIND A CAT SITTER FOR YOUR SIBERIAN CAT
A pet sitter (a cat sitter in this case) is a person who will come to your house once or twice a day and take care of your Siberian. They will clean their litter box, give your kitty food and change their water, and, very importantly, provide your cat with some play time.
Having a pet sitter is one of the simplest options, but not necessarily the cheapest one, although it depends on who you can find to be your pet sitter. It can be a hired pet sitter who you can find online through various websites, such as petsitter.com or even craigslist. They can also be your mom, your friend or a neighbour. A hired pet sitter can cost anywhere from 10-15$ per day and more depending on where you live and how many times you would like the pet sitter to visit your cat. Here are some tips on how to find a good hired pet sitter for your Siberian.
1 Very important! Try to find a pet sitter on a dedicated website, such as petsitter.com or pawshake.com. They usually have a screening process when accepting pet sitters to advertise on their pages, so you get some level of security. It is safer and better than hiring someone from craigslist, Kijiji or similar websites (or Facebook!).
2 Also very important! Check their references. Even if you do hire a pet sitter from a dedicated website, still check their background. Make sure they are a legitimate and honest person since they are going to be entering your house! It’s a good sign if they have a good number of reviews and happy past customers.
Just do your homework and don’t let a stranger in your house until you are more or less confident that they are safe and legitimate. If you are hiring someone local that has a website, also look at their reviews and how professional and legitimate their website looks. See if they have a Facebook page with reviews from other customers.
3 Make sure your pet sitter has insurance against any accident that can potentially occur in your house so that it doesn’t become your liability (Hopefully nothing bad will ever happen to them of course!). It’s also a great thing if your pet sitter is bonded – that protects you from theft.
4 When hiring a pet sitter, always meet and interview them before leaving for your vacation. Have them in your house, let them meet your Siberian and let your kitty meet them. See if the two get along. Also see how you feel about that person. Meeting someone face to face can often tell us a lot in terms of how much we can trust them. You will feel much better about letting them in your home and leaving your kitten with them once you have met them.
5 Tell your sitter everything that can be important for them to know about your Siberian. Their habits, their favourite things to do, their favourite toys and foods, how often their litter needs to be refilled, etc. Don’t assume the pet sitter would know anything. All pets are different.
If your kitty has allergies or any other health conditions, your sitter has to know about it. Let your pet sitter know if your Siberian likes to sneak out of the house whenever anyone opens the door. Let them know if your kitty is always trying to pry a kitchen cupboard open to get into yummy stuff or constantly is underfoot and often trips people up. (That would just help the sitter avoid an accident.)
6 Make it comfortable and nice for the sitter. This person will come to your house every day and take care of your lovely Siberian. Make it as nice for them as possible. Be flexible on the schedule if possible (as long as it’s reasonable). Show your sitter the house. Let them know what parts of the house they can use and whether they can use snacks/have drinks. The more comfortable your pet sitter feels around your house, the better the vibes will be when they take care of your kitty.
If you choose to ask a friend or a relative to be your kitty’s pet sitter, make sure they are happy to do it and that you can provide something in return. Maybe pet sit their kitten for them when they go for a vacation? If it’s your friend or your neighbor, you might consider still paying them a small fee for their effort. That will just make the job more appealing to them and you can be sure they do visit your cat every day or even twice a day as you agreed. Your mom might agree to do it for free 🙂
SEND YOUR SIBERIAN CAT FOR A SLEEPOVER/CAMP
Normally, pet sitters come to your house to watch your cat once or twice a day for an hour or two depending on what you agree upon.
But you can also have your kitty live with your pet sitter in their home for a couple weeks. That works especially well if it’s a family member (hi mom!) that can host your cat for a couple of weeks and they don’t have their own cats.
Cats are pretty territorial, so it might be problematic for someone who already has a cat to host another cat unless both cats are fairly docile. If your friend or a relative doesn’t have other animals, it could be very possible for them to keep your Siberian in their house for a few weeks.
Note that it will very likely be a bit (or a lot) more stressful for your cat to go into someone else’s home for a while than staying in their familiar surroundings. On the other side, if you have an outgoing kitty, they might be lonely without you in your home even if they are visited a couple times a day. Siberian cats, in particular, are very people-oriented and might get lonely and sad if they don’t see their people for a long time. So there’s definitely something to think about in both cases, but really both options are very doable.
SEND YOUR SIBERIAN CAT TO A CATTERY
My least favorite option. In this case, you take your Siberian to a cattery where they get a little room of their own, a litter box, some toys, food and water, and a certain amount of play time/interaction with staff.
Why is it my least favorite option? We like to travel and I have done a lot of research on catteries, cat hotels, and whatever else those businesses call themselves. I am not entirely opposed to them and I am not saying they are always horrible. But most (really all) catteries that I have researched seem to not be the ideal solution. They offer really small, tiny rooms for each cat. They aren’t even rooms really, but sections of rooms behind wire gates where your cat gets a little perch and a few feet of walking area. It’s just a really really tiny space to leave your cat for any amount of time longer than half a day.
Even when the “cat hotel” advertises their rooms as elite or premium, they are still usually very tiny. I could not imagine leaving a cat in one for a week or two! Especially a Siberian cat. For one, Siberian cats are not small cats. They are fairly large and need space. They are also very active and don’t like being huddled in a tiny space. I know my cat would not like that place at all.
Another reason I don’t like the idea of a cattery is that there are usually lots of other cats around in a very small area. Siberian cats are extremely territorial and normally pretty hostile to other cats they don’t know. In catteries, even though cats don’t have direct access to each other, they still hear and smell each other, and often even see each other as they are often only separated by a wire fence.
This is a very stressful situation for any cat, especially if they have to stay like this for a long time. I wouldn’t want my cat to be stressed for two weeks while I am sunbathing at the beach somewhere. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your own research and try and find really good catteries around where you live. You might find some awesome businesses to host your cat while you are on vacation. But generally, this wouldn’t be my favorite option.
So that’s that about caring for your Siberian cat while you are away on holidays. What has your experience been with boarding your Siberian kitty anywhere while you are away? Share in the comments 😉