Many people are concerned about what to do with their raw fed cats when they go on holiday. Some say that they don’t want to switch to raw because then it would be too complicated when they go on holiday, or that they would not be able to go away on a weekend trip and let the cats alone anymore.
Feeding raw while on vacation may seem complicated but, with a bit of organization, it can be as simple as feeding industrial cat food. I know that each and every situation is different, but I will share in this article my personal experience of going on holiday when your cat is raw fed. I will share my experiences of when I went on holiday and let the cats home, and of when I went on holiday with Néline.
Going on holiday without your cat
Someone takes care of your cat at your place
Last year we went on holiday abroad for 3 weeks without Néline (we only had her then). My father came to our place and lived there for 3 weeks while taking care of Néline. I prepared all the daily rations for Néline in advance, frozen in one plastic bag for each day. My father just had to thaw one bag every day and split it for the 3 meals Néline has every day.
I like having someone I trust coming to live at my place when we go away for a long time so that Néline is the least disrupted and not too much alone. I know that it’s not always possible to have someone you trust coming to keep your cats: that’s why I will present some alternatives we tried in the past.
Example of raw food preparation before an holiday
Someone comes to visit your cat at your place
This is something we did, for example, during the Christmas holidays, as all our friends went back home to their families and so were not available to keep our cats.
We hired a pet sitter that came two times a day to feed the cats. We prepared in advance a bag for each daily ration and for each cat. The pet sitter had to thaw two bags every day (one per each cat) and then split the bag into two meals (we usually feed Néline and Praline three times a day, but for this short period we planned to feed them only two times a day, with the same daily quantity of food).
This option was quite simple for us, as I had no difficulties to find a pet sitter who was okay with giving raw food to the cats. We tried it in two different circumstances, with two different pet sitters and everything went well both times.
If you want to do that, be sure to explain well everything to your pet sitter.
This option, when compared to having someone coming to live at your place, is more disrupting for the cats, as they go from having 3 meals to 2 meals a day, and they are alone for most of the day. This is something that I would personally not have done when Néline was alone. However, as Néline and Praline were together during the day, they kept each other busy. The two times we did this everything went well, but the cats were very happy to see us when we came back. They didn’t have any problem with having two meals instead of the usual 3 meals.
On another occasion, a friend of mine could come only one time a day to feed the cats for a couple of days and it still went well. However, having someone visiting only once per day is not something I would do for more than a few days.
Preparing raw meals at my parents’ place
Letting your cat at someone else’s place
This is something we did several times when we had only Néline and none of our friends could come to our place. We would bring Néline to our friend’s place so that Néline would not be alone most of the day. This is something that worked very well with Néline, as she likes to have someone to keep her company and she is not bothered when she is in a new place. Before bringing Néline to our friend’s place I prepared and froze a bag for each daily ration of raw food. My friend would then just thaw one bag each day and split it in 3 meals for Néline. When we brought Néline at her place, we would bring the frozen raw food in a thermal bag and put it in the freezer of her fridge. This wasn’t much more complicated than bringing the rest of the toys and the litter box. From my friend’s point of view, this wasn’t any more complicated than if they had to feed Néline with wet food cans or kibbles.
Preparing raw meals at my parents’ place
Going on holiday with your cat
Finally, one last thing we tried was to go on holiday with Néline. This proved to be a bit more complicated than the other options, but still totally feasible. For Christmas of 2018, I had no one to keep Néline and I didn’t want to have a pet sitter coming two times a day as Néline would have been alone for most of the day. As she is comfortable traveling and staying at new places, I went back to my parent’s place for two weeks with her. As we traveled by plane, I could not take frozen rations of her food with me. So, when I arrived at our destination, I shopped at the supermarket for everything needed for a simplified version of her diet for the two weeks of holidays. The diet was simplified as I didn’t have the time to get and look for all the usual elements. But it was still ok as it was only for two weeks and Néline was then already an adult cat. This wouldn’t be ok for a kitten or a cat with special dietary needs. For those two weeks, she had quail, beef, and beef liver. The ration was missing a second organ type, oily fish, supplements and overall it was lacking in diversity. However, you should always have at least some raw meaty bones and some meat, as they are essential for the stools to be well-formed.
I prepared the rations for the two weeks on my first day, then I froze it and I just had to feed Néline normally for two weeks. It didn’t bother Néline at all.
Other options and conclusions
Something that I often hear is a concern about weekends: “Yeah, but what do I do for when I want to go away on a weekend trip? I could just let some kibbles and the cat would be fine for the couple days I’m gone.”. This is a nonissue for me, as I consider that you should never let your cat alone for more than 24 hours. So, if I go on a weekend trip I would ask a friend or hire a pet-sitter to come at least once per day to feed and take care of the cats.
If you usually let your cat in a boarding facility, don’t hesitate to ask if they have a freezer and if it’s possible for them to feed your cat raw!
To summarize, if you prepare and freeze the rations for your cat in advance, it doesn’t require a lot of effort for someone that doesn’t know about raw feeding to feed your cat while you’re away. There are many options to go on holiday with or without your cat, and I’m sure you can find one that works for you and your cats. It’s also important to remember that if you travel with your adult cat, it’s ok if your cat has a slightly unbalanced diet for a few days.