How to prepare your cats for a holiday!

As you all know by now if you're on my instagram, like, ever... I have two cats and they're way too clever for their own good. Lily, the older cat is teaching Leo bad habits and so I have had to come up with some strategies to combat this when it comes to holiday time. Anyone with cats can tell you, if cats know something is up, they'll hide and it's impossible to catch them! 

So here's a few handy tips that might help you have a less stressful holiday prep: 

Tip 1: Close. The. Bedroom. Door.

I cannot stress this one enough. The hardest place to try and fish a cat out of - ha - is under the bed! I do this about 10 minutes before we leave for the cattery. Reward them with a toy to keep them occupied, this works better with Leo than my lazy older cat Lily, but it's worth a shot. Once they're not able to hide in any impossible places, you can pack their food and bedding. Then it's a tag-team effort (with Lily at least) where I essentially have to grab her at the first opportunity I see then my partner will open up the carrier for me. It sounds awful, but it's much less stressful than me trying to force her out of her safe space under the bed! 

SamiWrites: How to prepare your cats for a holiday!
Tip Two: Find the best cattery you can! 

If you have to put your cats into boarding, like I have to, then really do your research and shop around. It took me a good few years to find somewhere that both I and the cats were happy with. Yes, the state your cats are returned to you in is the deciding factor on how they coped in that particular cattery. Just because they have space doesn't mean you should immediately book them in. Go and visit. See the other cats and check whether they are happy. Do a background check. To me, it's no different than leaving your child somewhere, but perhaps I'm weird like that. If you're local to Brighton and the surrounding area I have a recommendation, so drop me a message and I'll be happy to tell you about it! 

SamiWrites: How to prepare your cats for a holiday!
Tuxedo-cat, Lily!
Tip 3: Pack home comforts

Again, I have found this to be really important. Cats have amazing noses, so pack some t-shirts or bedding that they always sleep on. This has really helped Lily as she is far too bonded to me and used to be incredibly territorial. Over the years, she has learned to 'swear' less and does not lash out anymore as she has her 'room' which smells of home and then another part which her cattery carer is permitted to enter as it is not 'hers'. This has been a huge breakthrough in the amount of stress she experiences and we have worked closely via email to remedy any situations that arise, which has only happened once in years. The home comforts also provide reassurance that they haven't been abandoned, which was a major concern with our more recent rescue cat, Leo but he has coped very well. 

Tip 4: Zylkene

I swear by this stuff. It's like magic. I only give it to Lily as she's such a neurotic little fluff, but the effect is astounding. It's drug free, and you can get it either from your vet or online, which is generally cheaper. I start giving it to her about 4 weeks before we're due to leave so it has time to really settle into her system. You can also use Valerian spray and Feliway, which has less of an effect on Lily but your can is probably going to respond differently to all sorts! 

Tip 5: Don't stress.

Cats are very perceptive and learn to read your body language. If you're anxious about the flight, or boarding them, as I used to be, then they will pick up on it and start instinctively migrating to their safe places or just be more prepared to dive to it as soon as anything changes. Leave packing until they're safely boarded if at all possible. We board Lily and Leo the night before so there's plenty of time to get the cleaning and packing done without the fear of stressing them out. It makes the experience a lot nicer for everyone! 

Do you have any helpful tips? Leave them in the comments! 

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