One of the worst parts about adoption companion animals is having to leave them if you go on a trip. Sometimes you can travel with a dog or cat in tow, but for us, we go by airplane often and it's safer not to bring them.
I worry a lot, but less when I have a capable person in charge. I am so lucky to have found some great people who love animals and I can be actually enjoy my trip. A few not-so-good things have happened while we were on trips and it really helps having the right person to help.
Since I'm about to leave all three of my critters and Chris is coming with me, I thought I would write up a little bit about how we cope with departing our loved ones.
We found an amazing place that takes dogs kennel-free. They have rooms to stay in and a large open field to play in. This was very important to us because Sienna does NOT do well in kennels. In the past we had friends care for her but because of her likelyhood of being desctructive, and two trips where things went wrong, we feel better paying someone to care for her. She has special needs.
Now she is really used to where she goes and loves it. When we get there, she barely looks back to say goodbye!
|Sienna at her home away from home|
This trip will be Ellie's first time there. She doesnt' have the same issues with space as Sienna, and she might not mind a kennel because she loves to be in tight closed spaces at home (under the bed, desk, etc). But she needs her activity and will love the field. We hope since Sienna is there, she will adjust well.
When Zuki was not able to walk well, the vet took him for a medical boarding while Chris was away and I was unable to carry him. He had a lot of special needs and this was the best place for him. I trusted the other caretaker, but with other dogs there Zuki was at risk of being trampled a bit and it was just too much to for one person to do.
Before each trip, we fill out a card with any information that's changed and how much they get fed and any medications. We pack their food and Sienna's jacket. They already have the information on our vet and medical files.
We have always tried to find someone who can watch our cat who is local or a neighbor. It is ideal to have a neighbor who also had a cat (or two) and then we can swap cat care with them. Since we live in a pet-friendly triplex, we have been able to find someone to do this here and there.
When leaving the cat (or cats in the past), we always make sure to check to see if the house is safe. In the summer, we have to think about keeping the house cool enough but also secure so they can't escape. Secure plastic bags and cords cats could chew.
We also leave directions, even if we have gone over it with them. The directions include:
- Food amounts and how often and what to feed
- Water bowl location
- Litter box instructions
- Cats favorite toys or ways to interact with them
- Numbers for the vet, emergency numbers, and our numbers
I don't suggest just an automatic feeder for anything longer than two days. Something could go wrong with it or your cat could be hurt. The water bowl could dip, etc. Someone needs to come by, even if briefly to see that all is ok.
My worry for this trip is that it's Foucault's first time all alone since now his cat sister Heather died. He doesn't care for other people as much as us, so he usually hides from cat sitters. I hope he gets a little braver and comes out a bit to play.
Hope this information was helpful. Do you have anything to add? Information on other critters that might have different needs, like mice or birds?