The Fourth of July weekend is rapidly approaching!! It is the time for BBQ's featuring
"All-American" favorites such as chargrilled hamburgers and hotdogs, corn-on-the-cob oozing butter from every scrumptious kernel, camping, parades, fireworks and sparklers!! Most cats and dogs are terrified of the sound of fireworks, and sparklers can cause severe burns to cats, dogs and their humans should a renegade ember ignite clothing or fur. Plan to keep everyone far enough away and safe from the evening light show.
It is hard to imagine that once the Fourth Of July approaches summer is already half over, yep, half over (at least as far as the back-to-school ads are concerned).
Many people leave town for a few days to enjoy some fun and sun. Can't take your cat along for the fesitivities? Please don't forget to provide for him in your absence.
Cats are more self-sufficient than dogs and tend to do well on their own (for no more than 3 nights) providing his needs are taken into consideration.
1) Provide plenty of food and water: there are many wonderful automatic feeders on the market (most tend to be 48 hr feeders) that will dispense food automatically either when a timer is set or when the cat taps a pad or lever to dispense the food. There are also commercial "water coolers" that are great for cats that can be filled in advance with plenty of water so he doesn't have to crack open a cold one from the fridge. I would test the dispensers thoroughly before you leave to be sure they are functioning properly. To give you double peace of mind I would still put out small bowls of kibble and water around the house in the event the dispensers don't function properly while you are gone. To give your cat some entertainment you can even hide treats around the house for him to find in your absence (under pillows, in his bed, on windowsills, etc.) This will provide some fun and put his hunting skills to good use.
Still have an answering machine? Experts say that calling home and leaving a message for your cat can offer him comfort, the sound of your voice will reassure him. I used to do this with my Angel Bobo, and have to admit it upset me more because I thought Bobo would be more distressed hearing me and not being able to find me. What do you think? I think another good idea which I have implemented is to leave a radio playing soothing music on or leave your TV on. The voices in the background will offer companionship and comfort for a lonely kitty.
3) Clean the litter box before you leave- Providing a second or third (depending on the number of cats you have) might be a good idea if you have a cat that is fastidious about using a clean litter box. Your cat may be angry with you for leaving and you do not want a dirty litter box to be an excuse for him marking his territory all over your home.
4) Leave windows closed or open just a tiny bit
Never leave your windows wide open in your absence. If you do not have air conditioning leave the windows just slightly open. The sight of a scurrying squirrel or other animal can excite your cat and he can possibly push the screen out while you are gone. Screen falls out, your cat is gone.
5) Think about the temperature in your home- Not using air conditioning when it is warm may be great for you when you are there with the windows open, for your cat, not so much. If you have air turn it on (your cat's comfort is more important than pinching pennies) or leave a fan running in a place that your cat cannot be harmed by the rotating blades.
6) Leave some toys out-But, put away any toys (such as toys that dangle by a string) that require supervision. You don't want your kitty accidentally in danger caused by a toy while you are away.
Your cat should do fine if the above tips are implemented. I have instituted all of them when I had a household that just had a cat and no dog, and frankly I am much more comfortable with having a trusted friend or family member stop in at least once a day to check on my beloved baby. Be sure they are a bona fide cat lover, someone that truly cares about cats and will actually play with your cat, talk to him, soothe him and care about his well being while you are away, not just someone looking to earn a few extra bucks.
If you are having someone check on your cat be sure to:
Provide the phone number of where you will be along with your cell phone number.
Provide the name, address and phone number of your vet and the clinic you prefer your cat being taken to in (gasp) the event of an unexpected emergency. If you don't have one already, purchase The Petter Planner, this is a great resource to leave out for your pet sitter!
Call your caretaker at least once a day (not 4 and 5 times a day like I tend to do because I am a neurotic kitty mama) to see how things are going and to answer any questions they may have.
Have a list of your cat's favorite hiding spots- spare your caretaker the stress of having to search in a frenzied state for a kitty who they think is missing but is in fact snoozing serenely on the towels in your linen closet.
Now that all of the important things have been done to provide safety and comfort for your cat while you are gone, if you haven't already, GET PACKING and pussyfoot on out of here and have a HAPPY AND SAFE FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND!!!!!!