As a cat adventure owner, I’m sure many of you have had the dreams of taking your cat on vacations or mini ventures away from home. However, cats naturally like habit, and they could be nervous about staying overnight in an unfamiliar place. So, what are some of the things you could do to accustom them to a new environment when you are away from home?
Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to take my cat, Archer, on two extended adventures in Tobermory, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec in Canada, where the locations were over 5 hours away from our home. As a result, we had a splendid time exploring during the day and resting at night in an unfamiliar place.
I hope my experience and tips will help you to make your vacation with your cat more comfortable and peaceful.
Tip #1: Find cat-friendly accommodations
The most important thing about travelling with a cat is the find an accommodation that is cat-friendly. As cat adventuring may be a new idea to many, it would be worth some time doing research online about the lodges you’d hope to stay at.
Often times, the hotels/airbnb will charge a small fee if you plan to bring a pet. Nevertheless, make sure you look up online to read comments of visitors for any alarming information that is not cat-friendly.
If the accommodation specifies pets are not allowed, do not attempt to smuggle your cat inside, as this may be dangerous to your cat and other guests.
While planning our extended weekend to Tobermory, I had no luck in finding proper accommodations that were cat-friendly as most locations did not allow pets on premise. But I didn’t let this discourage me! As I browsed through the options online, I found this small inn which was very close to the area that we would like to stay. Courageously, I reached out to the owner, and asked whether they would accept my cat, Archer, to stay even though the posting indicated no pets are allowed. I reassured the owner that Archer is well-behaved and accustomed to travelling. To my surprise, I received a positive response from the owner agreeing to let Archer stay at her lodge. If I hadn’t taken the chance to ask for permission, I would never have found the perfect stay that is both convenient and cat-friendly!
Tip #2: Inspect room for hazards
Before you allow your cat to enter the new environment, go inside the room first for a quick premise check. Look for any materials or items underneath furniture that could be hazardous or hiding spots for cats. For example, small pieces of plastics, extended cords or wires, large holes on the wall, or toxic plants.
Remove or place away any items that are either harmful to your cat or could be damaged by your cat, and avoid clutter in the room which makes hiding easy for your cat.
In addition, ensure the windows and doors are firmly closed in the room to avoid your cat escaping.
Tip #3: Let your cat explore the room
Since it would be your cat’s first time visiting the new environment, keep their harness and leash on in the beginning, and let them explore the room with supervision.
Most cats would either be intrigued or scared of the new place, and may react differently. Observe your cat’s body language, and slowly introduce them to the new room.
If you cat wants to investigate the room right away, follow him/her closely behind to determine whether there are any additional hazards that are dangerous to your cat. Ensure you have the leash tightly in your hands to quickly react to any anxious reactions if your cat is spooked by anything.
Tip #4: Bring the essentials
Remember to always bring the essential items for your cat when going on an extended trip.
Bed/Cushion/Favourite Blanket to help them accustom to the scent in the new place
Litter Box that is preferable top entry as cats attract litter, and will have pieces of litter on the ground. Alternatively, you could bring a dust pan to clean up the litter at the end of the stay
Food and Water Bowls for feeding
Food for meal times
Scratching Pad/Post to avoid scratches of furniture
Food Puzzle/Toy to entertain your cat throughout the night (you’ll thank me for this!)
Harness & Leash for safety and security
Clothing for the weather
Be aware of where you position the litter box, food and water bowls in the room as cats do not prefer their food/water bowls and waste to be close in proximity of each other.
Tip #5: Prepare to entertain
Keep in mind that cats are nocturnal animals, and will be active and energetic at night. Bring some interactive toys to keep your cat entertained during your stay.
Some great options are a fun food puzzle, cat wands, or even have an iPad to play “cat TV” at night. Make sure you do not bring any small toys that could easily get lost in the room.
The funny story with Archer in Tobermory and Montreal is that he gets overly excited at night, and always wanting to play. I had a difficult time sleeping because he was jumping up and down the bed trying to get my attention; while I didn’t have any toys to play with him. I have definitely learned this the hard way, and will make sure we always bring toys for him whenever we visit other places!
It is always exciting to take our adventure cats on extended trips; however, do keep in mind that they prefer a certain routine and schedule when it comes to food and sleep. Therefore, try to provide them with regular meal times and scheduled play or sleep time.
In addition, in pet-friendly accommodations, you could notify the concierge or owner that you are leaving your cat for the day. So they would be tentative to anything unexpected that could happen to your cat, such as, if they attempt to escape the room.
If your cat has severe anxiety in the new environment, some calming products, like calming spray or wipes, could help them to stay composed. Consult your veterinarian for the best option for your cat.
Finally, remember that you will find out what best suits your cat as you take them on more adventures away from home. The key is to have fun, enjoy your time, and explore the new environment together!