Preparing Your Cat for a Long Separation
Leaving your cat to go on vacation (or extended work trip) can be quite worrisome, especially when there is a strong attachment. However there are ways to communicate, and reassure, that all is well.
Cats thrive on routine. That’s why on the weekends, you’ll wake at seven in the morning to those bright eyes staring intently back. Establishing a goodbye routine when you leave for work each morning can help not only with everyday separation, but with long-term separation.
When it’s time to leave for work, create a leaving ritual the cat can expect daily. Take your belongings to the door, give kitty a pet and announce that you are leaving. It’s important to use the same tone and words every time.
Cats are able to understand some of the things we say simply by recognizing a pattern. For example, if you consistently say “Bye, kitty. I’ll see you tonight.” The cat will begin to expect that you will come back in the evening.
The same can be done for long term goodbyes, except before you bid your feline farewell, it is important to give clues that your absence will be longer than an evening. Pulling out the suitcase a day early helps. Also, change your farewell to something different from your daily goodbye routine.
Other ways to help keep your kitty calm while you are away is to leave articles of clothing that contain your smell, hide treats in different areas of the house and leave plenty of toys to keep kitty occupied.
Beth Permenter, is the founder of PurrMentor Petcare and has been exclusively cat sitting in the Reston area for three years. To contact her, call 703-973-9436 or email [email protected]