The key word: anticipate!
Unless you regularly go to the same place and have a well-run routine, you must foresee your holiday with your cat. If you go abroad, you have to start preparing for your departure two or three months before. This time will allow you to take care of some administrative obligations, starting with your cat’s vaccines.
To travel in the European Union, your pet must be identified with a tattoo or microchip. It’s even essential that your pet has been issued a passport! To travel abroad, your cat will need, in addition to identification and passport, to be up to date with rabies vaccinations. However, you will need to research your destination country to know if your cat will require any more vaccines in order to be able to travel there.
Do not hesitate to talk to your veterinarian well in advance, to be sure to have enough time to take care of any issues!
As well as the vaccines, it will also be necessary to consider the needs of your cat once there. If you travel to a hot or cold country, your cat will also need adapted equipment, or even medication in some cases. A wet washcloth will be ideal for cooling your cat in the summer, and a soft blanket will be helpful for warm naps in winter.
During the trip, your cat will have to spend some time in the transport basket. Try to get the cat used to it so that he does not associate it only with travelling for holidays or going to the vets; at the risk of you cat quickly loathing it! To make it comfortable, leave the crate with the door open around your home, and leave some treats and toys in it from time to time, in order to dissolve any negative feelings. Also make sure the crate is big enough for the cat and meets the airline’s criteria if you plan to travel by plane.
To make the trip more pleasant for your cat (and yourself), don’t hesitate to add pads or towels at the bottom of the transport basket in anticipation of any possible urination and defecation.
Carry enough food with you for all your cat's meals during the holidays: there is no point in unsettling him by changing his diet!
Let your cat discover his new environment smoothly
Like you, when your cat arrives somewhere new, he will have to make his mark. Your cat therefore will need to set new benchmarks and a lot of gentleness!
So, if your cat is used to being in an apartment, it’s not useful to let your cat out as soon as you arrive at the holiday home. Leave your cat in the transport case an hour or two after your arrival, letting both you and your cat settle down! Then you can open the door of the cage, give your cat a treat and plenty of hugs, and let him discover the place quietly. Avoid allowing him out on the first day and keep an eye on him at first to check that everything is going well.
Maintain your cat’s normal habits as much as possible, leaving a bowl of water and biscuits available (checking that he’s aware they’re there) as well as toys and other everyday activities. Then, if your cat is used to going out, you can let him discover the garden provided that there are no threatening animals in the area or nearby road.
Don’t forget that your cat is an animal of habit, and any change in your daily routine can cause stress - and it’s absolutely out of the question to associate holidays with stress! To facilitate your cat's trop, but also so that he feels comfortable as soon as he arrives in the new environment, it is possible to use soothing substances (mixtures of essential oils for example) that your veterinarian will advise for you.
Going on holiday with your cat is a special moment for experienced owners. This allows you to enjoy the presence of your cat in a different setting! However, in some cases, it may be simpler and even better for your cat to leave him at home with someone you trust, who will be able to feed and play with him while you’re away. It depends on you, the length of your holiday, and your cat.