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Old 04-03-2014, 04:53 AM
 
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I am hoping some of you have experience traveling with a cat or leaving them for an extended period of time.

I am trying to decide whether to leave my cat with a sitter visiting once per day for a month, or bringing my cat on a 10 hour plane ride with me while I travel to a different country. When you factor in transportation to and from the airport it will all be about 15 hours. Both seem like highly stressful situations.
He has been in his crate for an extended period (15 hour drive) but he doesn't like it very much at all. So if he flies on the plane with me I know it will be bad, but after we get there he will be with me (although in a new environment) the rest of the time.

He does not do well with strangers. It takes him weeks to even come out if someone new is living with me. If I leave him with a pet sitter visiting he will basically have 0 social interaction and no play time unless he plays with his toys on his own which he does rarely. He is active and very social with me, but only with me. So I worry about how well he will do psychologically if he is left alone for basically 4 weeks. Right now there are only 2 other people that he is comfortable around and neither of them are able to watch him. I know he gets a little crazy if I am gone. I've left him with one of the people he is comfortable with for a week before and they said he was acting really weird the entire time.
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Old 04-03-2014, 04:57 AM
bUU
 
Location: Georgia
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Leave the cat in its home. Absolutely.

I would try to get the sitter to play with the cat ... ours spends twenty minutes in our home each day, and we've, at times, paid her 70% more to make two visits, to make sure that the cats have enough stimulation over an extended vacation.

I'm not sure when your month away is, but if it is more than a couple of months away, you might want to consider trying adopting another cat. We have littermates, which is ideal, but even when we had two cats that hated each other, they still were companions for each other when we were gone on vacations.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:25 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
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I have to disagree with bUU. I have shipped animals on planes myself several times as cargo. It's not as hard on them as a lot of people think, although it is stressful, of course. And if you can bring him on the plane with you under the seat, it will be even easier on him. I believe it would be much harder for your cat to be basically left alone for so long without you. When an animal is shipped by air, it usually takes them about two days to recover from the experience. They are a little quiet and nervous afterwards and may not eat very well. Then they perk up and are fine. Also, your cat will most likely be stressed the most going, but on the return, he will be at home again, and has already been shipped once, so it's not unfamiliar anymore, so he will recover faster than on the first trip. Good luck!
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:32 AM
bUU
 
Location: Georgia
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I'm not sure you caught this nuance in the OP: The OP is going "abroad".
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
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Two things concern me about taking a cat on such a trip:

The main one is, change of environment (as in the living space) is EXTREMELY disruptive to most cats. For one month, he'll just barely be getting used to the new place when you up and take him back. And if you won't be in the same place for the whole month, it will be even more disruptive.

The other one, which perhaps you have already checked, is requirements for bringing a cat into whatever other country. Some countries have quarantines or other requirements that would make it pointless to bring a cat for a month stay.

The travel itself despite the length is not as much of a factor as the above, IMO, but not without consideration. Because it was mentioned, I'd say familiarity with being in carrier and shipped or taken on a plane does not make subsequent occurrences of same any easier on cat. The memory and association of something can stick as being bad, quite possibly forever.

I think if you were going abroad for a longer period of months staying in the same place, bringing you cat along would likely make a little more sense. For one month, I'd stick with the sitter. It's a long time to go with just a sitter, it is true, very little interaction through the day. You could consider boarding. Although that is also a change of environment which is disruptive, for some cats it might be better to have more attention in a small space that becomes familiar a bit more quickly. I would see either of those as a better option than taking cat with you for just a month.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:44 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bUU View Post
I'm not sure you caught this nuance in the OP: The OP is going "abroad".
I did indeed. I suspect I am still more familiar with shipping animals than you are. I have done it about 20 times, including overseas. It is really not as bad as you might think. What happens is this: The airline, often United's Petsafe program, checks in the pet. They measure the weight and dimensions of the crate, looks at the veterinary certificate, and checks the shot record and makes sure the kennel is securely closed using zip ties on all openings. They make sure the owner provides ice water and food for the pet, and a small litter box, or they do it themselves. The animals are not allowed to be sedated. Every animal I have checked in has been quiet in the kennel, but not all are at first.

After that, the owner can stay with the pet, calm them down, and the animal is taken to a room until the flight. They are kept in ventilated, air conditioned or heated cargo, or under the seat if they are a small pet. Her cat will probably be kept under the seat so she can monitor him at all times. Like I said, it is a stressful experience, but injury is very rare. Neither experience is ideal, but if you were a pet who doesn't understand what is going on, would you rather have a roughly 18 hour plane flight or at least 30 full days of being alone? There is no comparison, IMO, especially since she can't be sure the petsitter will be reliable. Of course it is her decision, and I know it is a difficult one either way.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Colorado
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I agonized over the decision of what to do with my cat while I was away for a week...and finally decided that leaving in his home, not taking him away on a long trip, was for the best. Despite the assurances of Scooby Snacks (and I believe you) I have heard a few horror stories about pets traveling by air, I'd be concerned about whatever weird laws/rules about the country you're going to (such as quarantine)... In your shoes I'd be looking at options to leave the cat back home somehow. As I see it, you can have a pet sitter come, or you can board. Either way you want someone that is absolutely reputable and reliable to provide essential care. Beyond that, if you went the pet sitter route...so you have a couple friends the cat is more familiar with, but neither can actually KEEP the cat or perform daily pet sitting. OK. Can they be asked to come by for an hour or two a few times? Once a week maybe? Can you trust them with a key to your home? Even if all they do is come and sit and watch a movie on your TV, the cat will know that someone it isn't scared of is present, and might take comfort in that. I'd ask. And if I could find a really good boarding place that specializes in cats, that really does it right (not just putting them in a little cage the whole time)...I would check that out, too.

I very seriously thought about taking my cat with me on my trip for a week, driving to another state. It was my opinion at first that I could only trust myself to provide him with the best care. But the more I pondered it, the more I realized that it will be worse to take him on a trip like that, more stressful, than being home without us. I will pay hundreds for a bonded, insured pet sitter with a good reputation to visit three times a day, but to me it's worth it. I spare no expense when it comes to my cat though.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:12 AM
 
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We went on a 6 week trip last summer and hired a local girl to drop by 2 times a day to deal with the 3 cats, when we came home the cats didnt even bother waking up to greet us home.
I'd say it would be in the cats best interest to leave it at home.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:20 AM
 
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Pet Sitter. With airport delays, it could turn into many more hours than anticipated. Cats do best in an environment they know & are familiar with.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:44 AM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,380 posts, read 28,836,653 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el_greco View Post
I am hoping some of you have experience traveling with a cat or leaving them for an extended period of time.

I am trying to decide whether to leave my cat with a sitter visiting once per day for a month, or bringing my cat on a 10 hour plane ride with me while I travel to a different country. When you factor in transportation to and from the airport it will all be about 15 hours. Both seem like highly stressful situations.
He has been in his crate for an extended period (15 hour drive) but he doesn't like it very much at all. So if he flies on the plane with me I know it will be bad, but after we get there he will be with me (although in a new environment) the rest of the time.

He does not do well with strangers. It takes him weeks to even come out if someone new is living with me. If I leave him with a pet sitter visiting he will basically have 0 social interaction and no play time unless he plays with his toys on his own which he does rarely. He is active and very social with me, but only with me. So I worry about how well he will do psychologically if he is left alone for basically 4 weeks. Right now there are only 2 other people that he is comfortable around and neither of them are able to watch him. I know he gets a little crazy if I am gone. I've left him with one of the people he is comfortable with for a week before and they said he was acting really weird the entire time.
Different countries have quarantine rules for animals coming into the country. Most likely the cat would have to be held and observed for weeks or months before entering so that doesn't even make any sense. The USA has a big problem with Rabies and other diseases and many countries do not want any animals coming in without making 100 percent sure they aren't going to bring anything in with them - especially rabies.

Have your cat boarded or have a pet sitter that you ABSOLUTELY TRUST WITH YOUR LIFE, to come and take care of him. Cats are not as attached to their people as they are to their environment, trust me when I say that as long as someone is feeding him and cleaning the litter box, he will do much better at home than sitting in a wire cage somewhere waiting for his quarantine to expire.

20yrsinBranson
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