Friday, May 28, 2010

Leaving Town For The Fourth Of July Weekend? Don't Forget To Plan For Your Cat

****This post originally ran in a slightly different version  for Memorial  Day Weekend. The information contained in this blog is  important enough to be republished again and again. For those of you who missed this important blog it is my pleasure to present it to you again, with a few modifications. Enjoy!!!

The Fourth of July weekend is upon us!! 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 (see right).  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.

2) Call home and let your cat hear your voice
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 have done this and have to admit it upset me more because I thought my cat would be more distressed hearing me but 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 your windows are just opened slightly, or worse yet not at all. 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. Your cat is not just an animal, he is family and should be treated and cared for as such.

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  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.
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!!!!!!


  1. Great post, and some good advice for the holiday weekend b/c so many people do take their pets along. Nicelyh written post!


  2. Jaime thank you! It is actually me, (Caren)....not signed in to blogger but got notification of your post. Thanks so much it means a lot to me coming from some one with blogs and a website that are PERFECTION!!

  3. Hi Caren, thanks for stopping by our blog. I haven't had any cats in my life at all but all my immediate neighbours have cats, some of them have 4 to 5 cats at home. The kitties do come over to visit us often or sometimes they peep over the fence and check what we're doing in the garden too. Thanks for sharing the info on what we should do to our pets while we leave them at home for holidays and I find I can apply them to my doggies too. Your blog is so lovely and I'm glad to know about you too.

  4. Priscilla thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog! Since you do not have cats that makes it extra nice!
    Yes many of the suggestions I mentioned can be put in place for dogs too! For me since I have a dog and a cat I would always have someone come in and stay with them if we are gone for an extended period of time.
    You know how much I LOVE your "Sheltie Beauties" site, it is amazing and I am thrilled that I found it!
    Please pass on my link to your cat loving neighbors and any other cat lovers that you may know.
    Have a wonderful day!

  5. I going on vacation and I don't have anyone to check on my cat. I will leave her plenty of water and food and toys. Also, I will clean the litter box before I leave. I will be gone for 3 and a half days. Will this be o.k.? I know some people with cats, but I don't want to leave her with them. I can't cancel the trip because it's to late. I normally work all day and come home after 6p.m. She's normally fine when my daughter and I go places early on the Saturdays and come home late that night. We love her and I just want to make sure what I'm doing is o.k. I will be calling home so that she can hear our voices and I will leave the radio or the television on. Just concerned because this is the first time we will be gone for this long!

  6. Hi Anonymous...I have to be honest with you. I think 3 and a half days is too long to leave a cat by itself. I would never leave mine for more than 48 hrs (2 days)

    Where are you located?

    You have nobody who can come in and change the litter box and give her fresh food and water (once a day or at least once while you are gone?)

    Leaving a cat for 3 and a half days is totally different than going to work and coming home at night.

    Do you have air conditioning?
    You can get a referral for someone to come in from your vet.
    Heck if you are in the Michigan area I will stop by!