Going away? Prep your pets and litter boxes

27 Jun, 2020

Going away? Prep your pets and litter boxes

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As every pet owner knows a planned trip for you and your family means you also need to plan for your pets. Whether you look for pet and housesitters to move and look after everything with a site like ours or you find a kennels or cattery you need to ensure certain steps are taken and managed while you are away. Managing their pet care and their litter boxes means healthy and happy pets while you are away and on your return.

Whether that means visiting a cat daily to feed and water and clean cat litter boxes, or having housesitters in to care for all your animals.

Secure Your Pets Before You Travel With These Simple Steps

cat in a suitcase
Cats will pop into your suitcase entertaining you when you pack

Photo by Bertan Özer

Having a pet is such a wonderful experience. However, one of the most difficult things can be leaving our pets behind when we go travelling. It is really important to make sure that your pets are safe and secure before your travel so that they can have a happy and healthy time while you are away. Different pets require different things to look after themselves, so it is vital that you consider your pet’s needs before you go travelling.

In this article, we will explain the simple steps you need to take to secure your pets before you travel.

Make Sure Your Pets Have Access To Food And Water

This is the most important thing that you need to make sure of when you go traveling. If you have a dog or a cat and you are planning to go away for an extended period of time then you will need to get someone to come round to your home to feed your pet.

Many people have tried just leaving their cat or dog enough food to last them for a week but what usually happens is that they just eat it all on the first day, vomit and poop all over the house and then go hungry for a week. 

What kind of cat sitter will mind your cat?

cat with cat sitter
An ideal petsitter will send you regular updates, will care for your cat and clean the litter boxes

Photo by Chris Abney

You could ask a neighbour or a friend or family member who lives close by to come round once a day to give your pet food and fresh water. They can check that it’s OK and keep in touch to let you know all is well. Better still, find a housesitter to care for them in their home. There are other pets that less frequent feeding.

Turtles for example only need to be fed every other day. There are some really great feeders now or fish, turtles and other aquatic animals that work on a timer so all you have to do is fill them up before you leave and set the timer to release food whenever your pets need it.

cat litter boxes
Always ensure cat litter boxes are cleaned regularly

Image by Cartoon Constipation

Provide Your Pets A Clean Environment

Whilst you are away travelling you are not going to be able to clean your pets litter boxes or your house. So you will need to find a way to keep their environment clean, clean their cat litter boxes regularly until you come back. This is where housesitters can be a great help.

Other pets have litter boxes too

If you have fish or turtles, then make sure that you clean their tank out just before you leave. In addition, install a powerful filter to keep the water clean while you are away. When you return you can clean it out again.

Likewise, if you have a hamster, rabbit or guinea pig, clean out their house and litter boxes the day before you travel. Guinea Pig HQ shares that in this way, you can clean it out again on your return. Your pet will remain healthy and happy.

Manage your cat litter boxes

If you are leaving a dog or cat behind while you travel, then it is going to be more difficult to keep the environment clean. Cats are easier to manage than dogs because you can leave them a litter box to use.  Housesitters caring for dogs should be given instructions to pick up the poop from the garden to keep it safe and clean.

There are some great easy to use cat litter boxes that are self-cleaning, so that whilst you are away, your cat can do its business but won’t stink out your house. Make sure to litter train your cat and then keep the litter boxes clean. Then you won’t come home to a horrible mess that you will have to clean up.

It’s so important that your cat feels comfortable using their litter box. Early training is important. So introduce it at least a few days before you go travelling so that you know it will use it.

illustration of litter box and cleaning kit
Cleaning the litter box is core to a cat sitting assignment

Image available through Pixabay Content License

Find Cat sitters

If you have cats you need to find cat sitters to care for your feline friend in their own home. It means they are more relaxed and their routine doesn’t need to change. If you use a housesitting and petsitting network like Housesitmatch.com the petsitting is for free!

Find the best cat sitter – One knowledgeable about cats

An experienced cat sitter should know how cats are different from other animals and can recognize when things with cats are okay and when something might be wrong. But before advertising for a cat sitter near me consider your cat personalities and their needs.

This knowledge usually comes from working with and watching cats for a long time. They need to understand cat behaviour as much as the importance of cleaning the cat litter boxes regularly.

tips for cat sitting
You might need a special cat sitter to care for your senior or junior felines, one who knows how to care for them

Photo by Lamia Walker

A person who knows much about cats can pick up on things like this. If I had to pick between two friends to care for my cats, I would choose the one who knows and cares the most about cats.

They have a good reputation and reviews

Review their references when you can hire a good expert cat sitter. Find out what professional groups they belong to. Are they part of an organization? Are they friends? Insured? Are their clients happy with them? See what you might find out! 

find the best catsitter
Join a housesitting and petsitting platform to find the best cat sitter for you and your pets

Photo by Lamia Walker

A final word on how to find the best cat sitter

Lastly, if you ask a friend for help, think about what you can do for them in return! Offer to view their pets when they leave or bring them a gift from your travels. Finding a good cat sitter is worth a lot. What are your thoughts on cat sitters, whether they are professionals or not? What should a cat sitter have? Do they know how important the key cat minding routines are? Feeding, grooming, cleaning cat litter boxes?

Before you recruit your next local catsitters, think about all your options. As a petowner you have many costs to cope with and decisions to make. There may be some alternatives that are more affordable and work better for you and your cats.


Join Housesitmatch.com a professional service that offers access to help you find free checked live in petsitters and housesitters, for a moderate annual fee. These petsitters will help you keep pets at home safely and happy in their daily routine, with feeding, grooming and cleaning of litter boxes.


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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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