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deni's avatar

What should I do with my cat while I'm away for three weeks?

Asked by deni (22649points) November 2nd, 2010

in december im flying back to pittsburgh for three weeks. my boyfriend is also going home as is my best friend. most of my other friends out here are not from Colorado so they wont be around during the holidays either. So, I could pay 150 bucks to fly him home with me and back, but honestly he is so needy and he tends to freak out often and I’m worried flying would really be bad for his mental health. Physical too maybe. Also that is expensive.

At the same time I know a pet sitter or a pet boarding company place would be even more expensive, right? And like I said he is REALLY needy. Meaning he meows and meows if he hasn’t been petted in a few hours, he always wants food, and he is prone to seriously awful freak outs. He has accidents fairly frequently for no reason and sometimes vomits out of the clear blue, also for no reason. (Believe me I’m looking into these problems as well, but last vet visit a month ago everything was fine)....anyhow, what should I do?

I’ve also had a friend tell me that she drugs her cat and takes it in her carry-on so she doesn’t have to pay. But wouldn’t they see it in the x-ray machine?

Anyhow, I don’t know what to do.

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20 Answers

crisw's avatar

Whatever you do, don’t drug the cat and put it in your carryon!

Pet-sitting for a cat isn’t too expensive. Is there a neighbor you could hire to come in once or twice a day?

perg's avatar

With your cat’s issues, sounds like flying him home with you is the best option, despite the cost. If you’re a responsible pet owner, sometimes you have to suck it up and pay for what they need.

Maybe your vet can prescribe a mild tranquilizer to keep him calm on the flight.

jaytkay's avatar

I’ve seen people use a pet carrier, it IS their carry-on, they don’t hide the animal. I would check with the airline first.

crisw's avatar

@perg

I actually think it’s better to keep the cat at home. Travel is very stressful for most cats; they are homebodies!

@jaytkay

Unfortunately, many if not most airlines don’t allow pets in the cabin, and they do charge you extra for the privilege!

YARNLADY's avatar

Our vet charges $12 a day to board cats. They are kept in a cage most of the day, except for an hour playtime indoors during the daily cleaning. A home visit would cost around $20 a day.

Blondesjon's avatar

I ran into the same kind of situation last summer. I got some great help here.

Supacase's avatar

Is there a teenager nearby who could come by a couple of times a day to take care of and play with the cat? Maybe a neighbor would take your cat into their home for a couple of hundred – still cheaper than boarding for 3 weeks.

You might be able to find a pet sitter who will take your cat into their home for the time you are gone. I have a friend who does this through an agency – you would probably have to check around to find this.

deni's avatar

I don’t want to fly him, but I also feel bad pawning him off on someone else (a pet sitter) because he needs so much attention and if he doesn’t get it he poops or pukes and meows constantly, aka he can be a lot to handle.

@Blondesjon i love the first response on that thread LOL I LOVE CATS

i suppose i will look into prices and see what i come up with. like i said, my closest neighbor friend will be in new mexico for christmas so she isn’t an option….i don’t know. at least i have some time to plan. i’m not leaving til december 15.

Kardamom's avatar

Talk to several of the local vets in your town. They likely will have a list of experienced pet sitters that can come and stay in your home with your kitty. I do that for a few close friends on a regular basis. Another friend does it as a side job. I usually get 10 bucks per day (that’s pretty cheap). And ask every neighbor you know if they know someone who pet sits in YOUR house. Even if your close friends will all be gone, there’s bound to be someone who would be willing to watch your kitty and stay at your house. Just make sure you have a long detailed list of what you expect them to do (like be there for a certain amount of time each day, making sure the litter is cleaned out immediately, making sure the food bowl is clean after each meal, making sure the door is never left open, whatever it is that you want)
If it was me, I would even make laminated signs (at the copy store) to hang on each door knob to remind the sitter not to let the cat out, or to keep the door closed. And make sure you leave a list of phone numbers for where you can be reached, your vet’s phone number and let the vet know that if your friend has to take the cat in, give them some sort of dollar amount that you will be willing to spend for treament (sometimes you can leave your credit card info with the vet with the explanation that you are to be called before treatment is performed, unless it’s an emergency, just have everything in writing ahead of time.)

If you go with a friend or a friend of a friend who doesn’t want you to pay them, just tell them to eat whatever they want in the house and then get them a nice gift certificate for Trader Joe’s or Netflix or something like that when you get back.

I would not recommend drugging your cat or transporting him. If it were me, my last resort would be to stay home and have done that.

desertr0se's avatar

I leave my cats alone all the time. Cats do fine when left alone. Lock him in the garage or a room of the home. Leave lots of water, food and 3 sand boxes (one for each week). He will be fine.

crisw's avatar

@desertr0se

I can’t condone leaving a cat alone for three weeks! if anything were to happen, you’d come home to a dead cat… someone really needs to check on him once a day or so to make sure he is OK.

desertr0se's avatar

In a safe environment, what’s going to happen? You could take them to a kennel and come home to a dead cat too. I make sure the environment is safe and there is nothing that is going to “happen”.

Kardamom's avatar

@desertr0se may not have read the whole description at the top about this particular cat needing a lot of attention and care. I would never leave a cat like this alone. It would be cruel. And sometimes cats don’t do well in kennels. We had to leave our cat in the kennel at his regular vet’s office for about 4 days because of a family emergency. He didn’t do well and went off his food. He’s diabetic and has to have insulin shots twice a day. While he was in the kennel, they had to up the dosage because his stress levels were so high. Just the sound and scent of the other animals made him very anxious. Although he’s perfectly docile and content when he’s at home with us.

I don’t doubt that @desertr0se cats did just fine while left alone with food and water and a bunch of cat litter boxes (I hope), but other cats (and virtually all dogs) need a lot of individualized care. This kitty really needs someone to stay with him in his own home.

I am actually at the home of a friend right now, cat-sitting : )

desertr0se's avatar

No, if you have a sick cat, that’s a whole different story. My cats are healthy. I’ve had animals get sick at a kennel so I stopped taking them in there. I have no germs at home to make them sick.

deni's avatar

@Kardamom omg! poor kitty! at the same time what you said did make me laugh a little bit, i admit. which i feel bad about. but i thought our cat was high maintenance! with the no teeth and all and the pulverized food issue.

anyhow, i see a lot of people saying they’ve found pet sitters for 10 dollars a night or kennels or whatever, but that makes it even more expensive than flying him home with me. do you think the stress of the flight, but then the being with me for the 3 weeks i’m home would be MORE or LESS than the stress of being away from both of us and in a strange place or home alone for 3 weeks?

crisw's avatar

@desertr0se

“In a safe environment, what’s going to happen?”

Foe examples:
The water gets tipped over.
The cat gets a UTI or other infection (it happens).
The cat tips something over or gets caught in something.

Having someone check on the cat once a day is a small price to pay to ensure the cat is safe.

Kardamom's avatar

I’m still thinking that you might be able to find someone to do it for free. For one of my friends who only goes out of town occasionally, I do it for free. The other guy that pays me 10 bucks a day is also a friend who goes away a lot and it started as a convenience for both of us. It was closer to where I used to work. I actually think his cat loves me more than he loves him, but I spoil his cat silly too.

Did you ask any of the local vets yet? Did you ask your friends to ask their friends? Maybe if you let them stay at your place and throw in a pizza or two, one of them might like a little vacation. Just make sure that they’re 100 percent in it to take care of your cat (make a list of what you expect them to do). If it was my cat, even if he didn’t need to take meds, I could never leave him alone or in the kennel for 3 weeks or put him on a plane. I would just have to stay home. But that’s a personal decision that I would make, I wouldn’t expect anyone else to do that.

If you can find someone reliable to watch your kitty for 10 bucks a day for 3 weeks, that’s only $210. That’s the price of a one day stay in some hotels. See if there’s anywhere you can cut back on the money you will spend on your trip (food, entertainment, presents, rental car etc.) then ask (beg) to borrow some money from your S/O, siblings, parents or even friends to pay for the sitter. That way you can go and you’ll be comfortable knowing that the kitty is being taken care of.

desertr0se's avatar

I have tip over proof water pans and I put several of them out at once. Not everyone has the luxury of taking their pets to the kennel or even trusting someone enough to let them into their home while they are away. Cats do very well on their own. Always have, always will.

deni's avatar

Help. I still don’t know what to do. I’m considering more taking him on the airplane. But I read on the Southwest website that the animal can’t be loud and making noise and disrupting passengers who are trying to sleep or whatever. And I know that would be a problem. Hence why in my initial post I referenced tranquilizing the animal in some way. I’m searching the internet elsewhere and not finding much.

YARNLADY's avatar

Call the airlines and ask them, and talk to his vet. Carry on cat carriers allow you to pet your cat.

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