Will your cat be lonely while your family is on vacation? That’s what a reader wanted to know, so I turned to my daughter, Fear Free Certified trainer Mikkel Becker, for an answer. Here’s what she had to say.
Q: Since my husband retired, our 12-year-old Maine coon has become super attached to him! She is in his lap every chance she gets, and if we go out in the evening, she is always waiting for us in the window. We are going away on vacation soon. We have a person coming in daily to take care of the litter box, food and water, but I am worried about how our cat will handle being without my husband. How can we make it easier for her?
A: It’s great that your cat has developed such a strong bond with your husband, but I can see why you might be worried about going on vacation. Here are some tips to help her feel more comfortable and less lonely.
Make sure she meets the pet sitter at least a couple of times before you leave. Cats like to take their time when getting to know strangers.
Unless your cat approaches the sitter on her own, the sitter should face away from her but toss treats in her direction. If your cat has a favorite toy, the sitter could also offer to play with it, again while not looking directly at the cat. Have the sitter prepare and set down the cat’s food while you’re there, too. Your cat will see that the sitter has nice “cat manners” and will associate him or her with good things — treats, toys and dinner.
Have your husband leave a T-shirt that he’s worn for your cat to snuggle with. Access to his odor will help her feel comfortable during his absence. A diffuser that releases a feline pheromone, such as Feliway, can also help to create a calm atmosphere for your cat while you’re gone.
Read more, including everything you need to know about walking your dog, in Pet Connection, the weekly nationally syndicated pet feature I co-write with Kim Campbell Thornton and my daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker.