I have a cat. We adopted her two years ago through an association (we did not want a kitten, so she was already 2 years old when we brought her home. The cutest cat EVER!) and she was soon part of the family.
We had had various pets before (a hamster, two gerbils) but it was easy to leave them with someone during the holidays as they stayed in their cage. However, with Nala (it’s my cat’s name) it is not quite that simple. Can we leave her at somebody’s place like that? Of course not. It is a lot more difficult to take care of a cat than a hamster (even more a cat like ours, who considers she is a princess and needs two litters because otherwise it is not good enough for her majesty!)
The solution we found… is to take our cat with us when we travel within France! We usually travel by car and Nala is really calm and patient so that was never an issue. She doesn’t like it so much but she never really complains about it. She generally is a bit reluctant to enter in her carrier but once she is inside she doesn’t move anymore. We feel bad for her when the travels are very long (sometimes around 10 hours!) but she is the sweetest cat ever!
Usually we buy disposable under-sheets (is that the English word for it? It’s a sort of diaper but not really a diaper, you know? The kind of stuffs you use when you change a baby on a couch or something like that) and put it in the carrier to avoid accidents. We give her one of her toys so she feels safer (though she won’t play with it during the ride, we believe that it makes her comfortable) and often talk to her. During the ride, she wears a heirness and we have a leash, as when we stop we let her out in the car (never outside of the car, it is too risky).
Nala in her carrier
On D-day we give her some dry food early in the morning (at least two hours before departure time) but once we are in the car she doesn’t eat anymore until we arrive. At the beginning we tried to give her some food but she refused. When the weather is really hot we encourage her to drink a lot but she doesn’t want either… We offer her some water regularly though.
So that’s it for the actual ride. I suppose it is the easiest part of the holidays because cats usually hate to change their routine and adapt to new places. The first time we took Nala to our summer house, she litterally did all the clean up. It is a very old house and there is a lot of dust under the furniture. She wanted to hide all the time and when we came back home we had to give her a bath. Yes, really. And give a bath to a cat? It’s torture, for her and for us. My father and I ended up with big scars on our arms.
Nala discovers our summer house
So this first time Nala was very anxious and it took a little bit of time until she felt at ease. Because the house is big and open to the exterior (we live in a flat) we reduced her space to two rooms: mine and my parents’. That way it was easier for us to keep an eye on her. At the beginning, it was tough. She showed us how upset she was by peeing on the floor ALL THE TIME. It was terrible, even more as it is an old wooden floor. But she did feel better later and the problems started to disappear. In fact, she even wanted to extent her territory and it was a bit hard to keep her in the rooms. It was no option to let her out, because we did not want to have her walking around in the garden. As I said, it is a very old house, and therefore some mice run around. Nala was delighted and it helped to keep her entertained. As she could not go out or run around as freely as usual, we played with her more and my family (cousins, uncles, aunts… even grand-parents) loved to pay her a visit.
Nala waiting for the mouse
We came back there last summer and she was very much at ease. She had access to the corridor and everyone is so happy to have her there! My cousins love her. However, one problem remains: she eats every spider she can find and it make her sick. It seems she doesn’t get it.
We also took her at various other places. When you book for an accomodation in a residence there are always conditions to respect. We, for example, had to vaccinate Nala for certain stuffs, and it was important to bring her papers. We also had to be more careful when we opened the windows. Also, you have to bring more luggage, because the cat needs food and litter. Those are things you have to think about. When we went to the Alps, it was a bit tough to have everything in the car because winter clothes are bigger. Also, Nala always wanted to leave our accomodation and visit our one-week neighbours.
Now, Nala is used to travel. I mean, she doesn’t enjoy the rides, but she adapts more quickly to new places and seems very much at ease. I would say that she even likes it because she can sleep on our beds (it is stricly forbidden at home!) and ask for food at 4AM in the morning.
Holidays are nice, aren’t they?
This summer however, we are going to Canada, so Nala won’t come with us. We found another solution, but it is not yet sure so I will wait a bit before I blog about it.
I know some people fear that because usually owners don’t bring their cat with them during Holidays it is impossible. Believe me, it is possible. Everything depends on your cat, its character and where you are going. It will indeed come with some constraints, but it is bearable.
Once again, thank you for reading!
Photos are mine, please don’t use without my consent,