• By Sandy Robins

    If you’re planning to travel, it’s important to make special arrangements for your cat. Fortunately there are numerous options.

    Cat Sitter

    Cats are homebodies and prefer to stay in their environment. But you can’t leave them alone for more than a day without supervision because accidents can happen such as food and water bowls being tipped over or ants invading the food source making it inedible. Also, someone could break in and leave a window or door open allowing your cat to escape.

    If you have a reliable neighbor, consider setting up a reciprocal arrangement to look after each other’s cats. Never rely on young children or teenagers for this task!

    There are many resources for professional cat-sitters. These people are trained, licensed and insured. It’s important to specify whether you want someone to check-in daily or a live-in person. Learn more about this option at www.petsit.com

    Going to Grandma

    If you have relatives who are willing to look after your cat in their home, take your cat to visit on several occasions beforehand. Also leave a litter box and an old scratching post behind so that when the actual “staycation” happens, she will instantly feel at home. Request signs on all exterior doors as an extra reminder that there’s a fury visitor in residence. Apart from food, treats and any medications, also pack a bed and a favorite comfort toy.

    Cat Hotels

    Pet hotels that cater exclusively for cats also offer accommodation for multiple cat families. Select a place that offers tiered condo-style accommodation so that there’s plenty of space. Many have TV sets or fish tanks for “entertainment” and possibly a recreational area where feline guests can play individually under strict supervision. Some state-of-the art facilities also have video-cams so that you can check-in on your fur kid from your destination.

    Taking your Cat on Vacation

    There are lots of pet-friendly hotels nationwide www.TripsWithPets.com that will put out the welcome mat for your feline traveling companion. Be sure to check in advance whether they supply litter boxes, beds and food bowls.

    If your cat is leash trained it’s easier to stop for potty breaks on a road trip. Leave the harness on throughout the trip so all you have to do is clip on the leash. www.catchannel.com

    If you are traveling by plane, be sure to make a reservation in advance as airlines limit the number of pets on board each flight. Always fly the most direct route and ensure that any transferring airlines are also pet-friendly. Cats are only allowed in-cabin on local flights. Make sure your carrier meets your airline’s standard requirements. Check the airline’s website for such information.

    Travel Checklist

    There are lots of fabulous traveling accessories that make it easy to pack for cats such as disposable litter boxes for use in the car and at the destination, disposable food bowls and spill-proof water dishes.

    It’s a good idea to have two carriers – one exclusively for trips to the vet and another for fun excursions. Be sure to leave it out in advance of the trip for plenty of feline exploration. Line it with a puppy pee pad to take care of accidents en route.

    Even if you cat is microchipped, make sure she is wearing a collar and ID tags with up to date information.

    Cat hotels, as well as ordinary hotels and airlines may require vaccination certificates and other documentation. If you are traveling to numerous states or internationally, it’s a good idea to let a pet travel professional to take care of the paper work and arrangements. www.puppytravel.com

    And don’t forget to pack a camera so that you can record the trip and upload the pictures on to your feline’s social networking page on Catster.

    Safe Travels.

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    Sandy Robins with a feline friend

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    Cats are homebodies