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does anyone else feel badly about leaving their pets when they travel...

does anyone else feel badly about leaving their pets when they travel...

Feb 20th, 2004, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 166
ah,after the last trip my cat Bisquit starting peeing in every corner of the living room.After spending much money just couldnt get her to stop. Had to give her away. This trip we are boarding the collie but have one cat at home. Now I am thinking this may be too much for Oreo,the cat.He may wonder where everyone,and Dodger have gone,even though we do have house sitters and my daughter will still be here. Worried about him though..
kmoncrief is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 07:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 412

I can relate to your dilemma. Every summer my wife and I travel to Europe, and we're troubled by the prospect of leaving our pets behind for two-plus weeks. Fortunately, we're able to have someone house-sit our cat, while our dog stays with a friend. The same person who looks after our dog is not only an ideal companion - a real "dog person" - but takes care of her five days a week while we're away at work (hence the term "Doggy Day Care").

Traveling without one's pets is never easy, but there are some practical and helpful ways of making the most of the situation, ways that cause the least amount of upset for the pets involved.

Happy travels.
DavidD is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 07:31 AM
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IMHO the kindest policy (speaking as a pet owner of eons who travels frequently) is have an arrangement with a professional that leaves the pet, cat or dog or bird or whatever, in his or her own home!!!! Cost is not paramount, but kindness and safety and comfort are. Pets are family, and keeping them in familiar surroundings in the kindest strategy. Finding someone who will live in or come in is always preferred, and many vets have advised this to us over the years.
Feb 20th, 2004, 07:38 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 350
I'm not sure who I will miss most - the pets or the kid. I haven't been away from my daughter for very long since she was born (she is 2), but I can at least talk to her on the phone. I hate to leave the animals, and they are all alone all day, just someone in once a day to feed and play with them for a little while.
HeatherH is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 07:41 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 373
I love my dog to pieces, but I must admit I don't feel bad about leaving her when I travel. We have a wonderful pet sitter who stays in our home and, frankly, after a day or two I think the dog just thinks she has a new human. Of course, she remembers us when we return, but I don't think she cares a bit that we are gone as long as she has someone to feed her and keep her company.
pdxgirl is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 07:59 AM
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After making the serious mistake of boarding a cat with a vet who owned a kennel while I was in the USSR, it's been strictly an in-home deal. The poor cat contracted major stuff, and eventually I had to put her down. Sad day, she paid for my mistake.
Feb 20th, 2004, 08:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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When our dog was young and healthy, we were OK leaving him with a housesitter for a month while we goofed off in Europe. Alas, as he got older we didn't feel very good about leaving him and went back to domestic car travel and camping trips for a few years where we could take him with us - it was a good compromise and we're glad we did it. Free to roam again, we're traveling fools while we're still young and there is no dog in our immediate future. That's what works for us, if you're feeling badly leaving your cats, take them on a road trip.
39Steps is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 141
Oh boy I am going to cry right this minute. I had been suppressing the guilt of leaving our dog

She is a rather large dog, so no one in the family can watch her. We don't live near enough to any friends to hire a house sitter. So we take her to the best kennel we can find, the same place our vet works.

She is aggressive to other dogs, so they keep her in "solitary". We always joke that she has to go to doggy jail. Especially since she is so well behaved after we bring her back home.

The older she gets, though, the more it breaks my heart to leave her. She usually sleeps on our bed at night. Except for the fact that her years as a delinquint stray made her distruct other dogs, she is a big giant sweetie pie. And I am ABANDONING her to see some stupid statues and drink wine.


I am never going to travel again.
ndf321 is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 08:20 AM
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Whoops - that typo is supposed to be "distrust" other dogs, not "destruct" other dogs.
ndf321 is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 08:55 AM
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This is one of the things we love best about living in Europe--being able to take our English cocker spaniel almost everywhere with us. She has traveled in her crate in the car with us all over Europe--Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and France (she went with us to Paris for Valentine's Day week-end and the people at the Sofitel Le Parc gave all of us a warm welcome). Alas, we are moving to the UK soon which isn't quite so pet friendly, so we'll have to find some good pet sitters. We definitely plan to go the in-home pet sitter route. English cockers, as a breed, are somewhat more prone to separation anxiety than many other breeds. So we'll need to find a good, responsible, kind-hearted pet sitter.
BTilke is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 09:00 AM
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I don't feel like a total freak now that I know so many other people feel the same way. Our cats sleep on our bed every night and are pretty much glued to us when they are awake, too. They are afraid of everyone else, though. Our nephew "house/cat sits" when we go away, and he likes cats but they don't interact with him at all. I always think about cancelling our trips but in the end we do end up going.
orangetravelcat is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 10:05 AM
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Missing his dog is my husband's biggest problem when traveling overseas or in the Caribbean.

My husband travels to nearby states for business very often and almost always takes the pupster with him. Damian loves traveling in the van and has a string of Holiday Inns that treat him like the Priority Club guest that he is -- dog biscuits at check-in, carrots from the bar, etc.

So when we leave him at home, my husband's guilt is overwhelming.

When the pup absolutely can't go, my son stays at our house and even though Damian really likes Bob, he still leaves us little brown protest lumps. Since we check e-mail everyday, my son also lets us know what other evil revenges are going on in our absence (like the time Damian decided that he was a wolf, parked at the top of the stairs, and wouldn't let anyone come up.)

Cherski is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 10:05 AM
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We use a cat/house sitter who adores our cats and plays with them more than we do. (She once played with our little Juliet for 2 hours straight!) The problem is, WE MISS THEM! We have always been "cat people," but the two we have now are so wonderfully endearing that we can hardly bear to leave them, especially for long trips of 3 or 4 weeks. We know we are seriously disturbed, and I am just glad there are others like us, as this thread proves. Thanks for the support, orangetravelcat.
Marilyn is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 10:29 AM
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We have pet ferrets and have had for several years. We love them to death. Despite the horrible reputation they have in some quarters, they are much like other animals. They return what they are given and ours are given a lot of love. They are 2lb bundles of fur and joy and play.

Anyway, I always feel guilty leaving them. They are clearly attached to us. In fact, the last time we left, one of them literally starved herself until we came back. She was half her normal weight upon our return after a 10 day absence and when you only start out at 1.5lbs, that is quite a significant amount to lose. After a few days, she started eating again and now is as fat and sassy as ever. We are planning a trip to Ireland in November and I don't know what I'm going to do with her....

Several years ago, however, I had a business trip that took me to a city I had lived in previously. As I was mixing business with pleasure and as my husband was joining me for the initial weekend, we actually took the ferrets with us. We have often had them in hotel rooms (when the hotel permitted pets) and we figure they are happy to explore new places and be with us rather than alone. Upon arrival in our room, I let Oliver out of the cage to explore a bit while I unpacked. He promptly sniffed the perimeter and then ducked under the couch. Several minutes later, I turned to my husband and asked if he had seen Oliver. After searching around, we finally pulled the couch away from the wall and discovered a hole in the baseboard that led into the heating/cooling system. Clearly, Oliver had managed to squeeze thru and was having an adventure in the walls.

We were a little reluctant to announce to the front desk (at this pretty chi-chi business hotel) that a ferret was loose in their ventilation system. We also managed to convince ourselves that he was likely just trapped within the individual unit of our room (given the construction of the building, it didn't look like he could get from room to room)so we waited patiently for him to re-emerge.

Several hours later, I couldn't take it any longer. Off I went to the front desk where I sheepishly explained that I had lost my ferret in the wall. The clerk behind the desk didn't say a word but turned and entered the office behind. Through the wall I could hear peals of laughter which were beautiful to my ears since I figured this was going to turn out okay.

When he came out, he looked at me without a smile or a smirk and said: "Madame, we have him."

Apparently he had not only managed to leave our room but had traveled through the wall to a room several doors down where he emerged, much to the fright of the occupant who was sitting there watching TV. Oliver, seeing a human, thought this was fun and approached her for some play. The poor thing was totally freaked out and called the front desk who dispatched housekeeping. Thankfully, the person who arrived took one look at Oliver and recognized him as a pet (rather than a rat--Oliver was a white ferret). They took him to housekeeping where he had been hanging out for quite a while and apparently had made friends with all the staff who loved him.

We were so happy to get him back. He spent the rest of the night in the bathtub, from which he couldn't escape, and spent the rest of the weekend at a friend's house.

We now thoroughly check every hotel room for small holes and escape routes prior to letting the little ones out for a little explore.
SUSAN is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 10:45 AM
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Fascinating to find out there are so many of us who pay more than lip service to the notion pets are family. And apparently most either take them along or have a come-in or live-in service. Are crates and cages in strange kennels on their way out, hopefully?
Feb 20th, 2004, 10:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Oh Susan, what a great story! I have always wanted to have a ferret, although the current cats are certainly an obstacle. Do you take them on an airplane with you, or only on driving trips? How are they in the car or do you keep them in a carrier?
Marilyn is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 10:57 AM
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I love reading about other guilt-ridden pet owners, it makes me feel slightly less neurotic.
When I was a dog owner I actually felt less guilty. I left him home and had walkers come over, but my guilt burden wasn't too bad.
Now I'm a cat owner, and I feel terrible, especially since I have a 9-day trip coming up. She's staying home and someone will come once a day to feed, clean up,and play, but still she'll be alone 23.5 hours a day.
Oh no, I'm making myself feel worse. I suppose parents have to deal with babysitting guilt too.
elaine is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 11:20 AM
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Ferrets are wonderful, loving animals, and I highly recommend them. We fostered a kitten for while once and the ferrets seemed pretty okay with it. We would like to get a dog but are reluctant to do so with the elderly ferrets we currently have (they have first dibs, as it were.) We are going to hold off until they pass on rather than disrupt their lives with a puppy or kitten. Instead we'll get a menagerie when the time is right so they can all grow up together.

As for travel, we've never taken them on a plane. I know people who have but I just can't get over the idea of them being in the cargo area. I can't imagine it being pleasant and when we air travel domestically, we aren't often gone very long or one of us is at home. But, we often take them in the car for long trips to family and friends. We drove several times between NY and MN with the ferrets with us.

By and large, they are great in the car. Ferrets sleep at least 18 hours a day so if there is nothing else to do, they will curl up and sleep. During one period of my life I was commuting 8 hours between where my husband lived and where I worked and Oliver went with me both ways. He learned to look forward to dinner when he would try to steal french fries from the bag. Fiona learned how to pull the straw out of a plastic top and dig at it til she came to the coke--which she didn't drink but seemed fascinated with the carbonation.

As I get older, I recognize that they (and we) are probably safer in a carrier. They can get underfoot which could be disastrous. But we do occasionally pick them up and cuddle them for some time. And we pull over and let them romp a bit at rest areas to relieve the boredom of travel. By and large, they seem okay with it and are definitely happier to be with us than left at home alone. When we can?t take them with us, we have tried boarding them at the shelter from which they were adopted where I know they will receive perfectly competent care or having people come in to care for them which is less disruptive. I prefer to have someone come in but fear they don?t get enough interaction?so many friends and/or pet sitters don?t really know that much about ferrets or what they need that I leave a lengthy note explaining behavior patterns and ?what to do if...?. They are no less work than a dog (except you can train them to use a litter box) but I can?t imagine life without them now.

SUSAN is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 12:27 PM
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Susan, thanks for all the ferret info. They sound amazingly like cats -- sleeping 18 hours a day and using a litter box! Our little female cat has been seen rolling at the feet of the local deer just begging to play, so I'm sure she would just love a ferret to play with, but I'm afraid the ferret might not appreciate the attention. And our large male is a scrapper by nature, who seems not to know his own strength. So no ferrets for now.
Marilyn is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 12:40 PM
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Travelcat:..I dont know about cats, but our vet told us that dogs have no concept of time (well, at least not the same concept as humans), that is to say they know you are gone, but 1 hour or 1 week is the same to them. You could ask your vet about cats. But, yes, even knowing this information, it is hard to leave them...that is just my guilt.

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