Preparing Your Pet for Extended Leave

I have a beautiful, spoiled calico cat. I rescued her from the humane society 10 years ago. She has been with me through a lot of good and bad times in my life—divorce, writing and publishing all 11 of my books, moving four times and starting my business. To say the least, we are very close. She’s used to me always being around. As an entrepreneur, I’m lucky to have more flexible working hours than most. So the thought of leaving her for four months was really difficult. The longest I was ever away from her was 10 days when I visited friends in Hawaii. She was not happy with that. So this multi-monthly journey was daunting to deal with. I know other fur baby parents will understand. These are some of the things I did to make the transition hopefully easier on her.

I wanted her to stay with someone she was familiar with. I asked my dad to take her in. She has been there with me multiple times prior on the weekends for short getaways. My dad has a house on the beach and his backyard is the Intracoastal. She loved running around in his backyard because it is composed of sand. To her that means one big litter box to dig in and geckos to chase. She loves the outdoors. However, my father has feral cats that run around outside in his neighborhood. Being calico, Callie has an attitude and she has fought with these cats in the past, so I wanted to make sure she was safe. I looked on Amazon and bought her a big outdoor cat condo. The reviews were great and it looked like fun to me! The 6 foot by 8 foot long wire enclosure has 6 platforms for her to jump on and look out. It’s all enclosed with wire like a chicken coop almost.  If cats came around, they wouldn’t be able to claw through it. Our awesome handyman Daryl installed it and made a cat tunnel that went from the living room out to the cat condo. She can come and go as she pleases. Spoiled, yes, I know! Honestly, I’m jealous it looks so cool lol. I figured if I could make her as happy as possible she wouldn’t be as pissed off at me once I returned.

It’s an hour drive to my dad’s house and Callie has never done well with car rides. She always gets sick. Vomiting and diarrhea in her carrier usually within the first 10 minutes followed by the worst howling ever. To avoid that scenario and me getting nauseous with her, the only solution is to knock her out. Since I can’t just give her shots of bourbon, I’d have to have the vet help me out.

The vet gave me two meds—one that would calm her down for about 6-7 hours and the other anti-nausea. I gave it to her in the morning before I left so she would be groggy as I was packing up her stuff. I don’t know about your animals, but mine knows something is up when I start packing, so she hides in the places I cannot get to her. Once she was groggy, I quietly packed up her stuff. Then I worked in the office for an hour so she wouldn’t be suspicious. When I got back, she woke up and came out from hiding and I snatched her up and put her in her crate before she knew what was going on. And honestly that was the best car ride ever with her. She barely howled the entire ride.

Once I arrived at my dad’s house and let her out to sniff around, I had no idea how hard it would be to say goodbye. When I gave her the last hug and she rubbed her ahead against my chin and just gave me that look, I burst into tears. This was honestly the most difficult part of leaving for four months. But off on my adventure I had to go.

Checking in with my dad after I left, she seemed depressed for about 2-3 days. She didn’t really eat much and was hiding for a while. She didn’t even go into her awesome condo. About 5 days in, she started eating more and going into her condo at night time. Then, during the day, the new neighbor cat has been coming over and she is making friends!

Cat condo from Amazon. Click on the picture if you want to get one!

The one thing I wish I would have done is installed a streaming camera so I can check in on her. My dad isn’t super techy and could have no idea how to do Facetime or Skype. Thinking in retrospect, that’s the one thing I would have set up. But all in all, I think she is going to be a happy cat while I am away.

The Nomad Publisher

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