A recent survey – carried out by CEVA Animal Health, manufacturer of the leading pet behaviour products Feliway for cats and D.A.P. for dogs – has found that nearly half a million UK cat and dog owners never go on holiday for fear of upsetting their pet’s routine.
The research revealed that half of pet owners who do take holidays experience guilt as a result of leaving their animal at a kennel or cattery, with nearly two-thirds (62%) considering the experience to be just as stressful or even more stressful for them than for their pet.
Cat behaviour counsellor Vicky Halls said: “We plan holidays in order to relax, yet they are actually a common cause of stress for all concerned – particularly for the pet cat. Even a stay at the best cattery can be unsettling, as their patterns of feeding, play and social interaction will be disrupted. They also have to adapt to a different environment and its new smells, noises and other animals. Of course, cats may experience similar issues if staying with a neighbour.”
63% of respondents claim to have noticed a change in their pet when they’ve returned from holiday, with many animals becoming unsettled and showing signs of confusion or nervousness without their owners around.
According to the survey, going on holiday is one of the most stressful events that a pet can experience, although there are measures that people can take to relieve some of their animal’s stress.
Juliet Penaliggon, small animal business unit manager at CEVA Animal Health, said: “Many people become anxious at the thought of leaving their pet in someone else’s care while they are away. For some, this means they feel unable to go on holiday at all, even for a weekend, but there are excellent kennels and catteries available.
“It’s advisable that owners research the facilities in their area and they shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions when they visit the kennels or catteries. Once pets are there, some familiar items and the use of pheromone products D.A.P. and Feliway can help the animal to settle in.