So you have chosen your destination where you will spend your well earned holiday, booked flights, checked vaccinations required, checked passports are in date, sorted out itineraries, booked time off work, so what else? Oh yes, better book the dog into kennels, the cat into the cattery, bit of an afterthought but just something else to do ready for the off but why? Why do we just automatically think kennels or catteries are our only option?

I’ve come to realise over the years that our animals who are part of our family as we all say, are sensitive little characters and just don’t know why we are sending them off.

The more I thought about it the more it seemed they must be so confused having their breakfast then being suddenly bundled into the basket, taken for a car ride which most cats detest and then dumped into a cattery or a kennel smelling of everything strange with lots of noise and unknown neighbours, some with sticky up bushy unfriendly tails, others showing gleaming sets of teeth but all adding to the background cacophony which must be quite terrifying.

Our animals are sensitive and must wonder what they have done wrong, where their family has gone and because we can’t explain to them what’s happening, they don’t understand. Of course, if we leave our animals in the same place every year they do get used to it but do they enjoy it any better?

I started to use a lovely lady to house sit my previous cat because I just hated the whole leaving her; where my cat just looked at me accusingly, and then after collecting her, to have two days where she just ignored me, so I thought I would give a house sitter a try.

What a difference! My cat was happy, relaxed and didn’t ignore me when I came home plus the lovely lady I used had left the house clean and tidy and even popped a pint of milk in the fridge which was so thoughtful.

I used a sitter again for my last cat who had extra needs as she had diabetes and needed her insulin at specific times so needed someone to administer the insulin, let her out and spend some time with her.

This cat got extremely stressed when I went away and if I was away longer than four days, would start to throw up and shed fur but once I had her sitter come in, because she hadn’t had the horrible whole shove in the basket, white paw ride to the cattery, she didn’t get stressed but was calm and happy.

Next time you go away, think about leaving your four legged member of the family at home secure and happy and find someone who will either stay in your home or do daily visits; it really is worth your and your animal’s peace of mind and you will receive daily updates on your pet which is a bonus.

Contributed by Julie Fairbank, one of our House Sitters