How to Feed Outdoor Cats While on Vacation

feeding outdoor cats on vacation

One thing that can quickly kill the excitement of taking a vacation is trying to figure out what to do regarding making sure your outdoor cats are fed and taken care of while you’re away. You could just leave enough food for your cats until you get back, but what if they eat all the food in a day or two? You need to figure out how to feed outdoor cats while on vacation reliably.

The best way to feed outdoor cats while on vacation is to invest in an automated cat feeder. Indoor cats on the other hand will explore nearby areas in search of food once their supply runs out. Automatic cat feeders are a great way to keep your cats fed and prevent them from wandering around.

If you need help on how to deal with a cat while you’re going on vacation, you’re in the right place. This article will give you some tips on what to do with your beloved cat (whether it’s an indoor or outdoor cat) and how to provide them food even while you’re away.

What to Do With a Cat While on Vacation

Cats are usually viewed as independent animals, requiring less attention than dogs. And with this in mind, most cat owners think they can just leave their cat as they please, as long as there is food and water around.

That’s just not the case because cats can also feel depressed and stressed when they’re away from their humans. They also feel the separation anxiety. But if going away for a while is necessary, there are several options on how to deal with your cat.

Leaving an Indoor Cat

If you have an indoor cat, it’s always a good idea to keep them indoors as they are not used to the environment outside. But you just can’t leave them alone on their own, especially if you’re going away for more than a couple of days.

Hiring a cat sitter or pet sitting services will be the best option. If you can’t get a trusted family member to take on the task, there are cat sitting companies that will gladly take the responsibility. You can find several apps via an online search that will connect you to the right people. 

Another option is to send your cat to nearby cat boarding facilities. They may be on the pricier side, but if you find a good boarding facility, you can rest assured that your cat will be in good hands while you’re away.

When choosing board facilities for cats, make sure you do your research and check out reviews from customers. 

Leaving an Outdoor Cat

Outdoor cats, on the other hand, usually fare well on their own. Outdoor cats could mean owned, spayed/neutered cats who love and are used to going out for hours in a day, or feral cats that you just want to feed.

In the case of an owned outdoor cat, a lot of cat owners advise against keeping them out for as long as you’re gone. If you’re away for business or pleasure, say, for just two days, then leaving the cat out with food and water will be acceptable.

It’s a different story if you’ll be gone out for a week or a couple of weeks, because the cat is exposed to different kinds of dangers: cars, predators, wildlife, or even poison left on the neighboring yard. You need to give them as much protection as you can and you can do this by having them microchipped.

You can talk to your veterinarian about installing a microchip on your pet. More importantly, do not have your pet declawed. If you know within yourself that you will have regular vacations, do not have your cat’s claws removed. They can be valuable tools for defending themselves should they be left on their own more often.

As for feral cats, they’ve been used to living on their own with less human contact so they should be fine. Still, if you want to continue looking out for them, leave them food and water.

For both outdoor cats and feral/stray cats, it’s best to leave automated feeders (we will discuss more about this later). It’s also a good idea to provide shelter and hiding places for them near your house. 

Another important note when dealing with an outdoor cat while on vacation is to make sure they are spayed or neutered. Prior to thinking about looking after feral cats, you should arrange with the local veterinarian to have them fixed.

This way, you are not contributing to the growing population of stray and abandoned cats.

Leaving a Cat Home Alone While on Vacation

If you’re having anxiety about leaving a cat while on vacation, know that you’re not the only one. Your cat might just be as anxious as you are, which is why leaving them alone is generally not recommended.

This method may be your last resort and you should only think about leaving your cat home alone if you’re gone not for long or if you’ve exhausted other options.

Still, there are owners who do leave their cats without any issues. This applies to owners who have cats that are very adaptable. Different cats have different personalities. Some cats can get along well with a new sitter, while others don’t do very well with socializing with other people.

If you know that your cat has a good temperament and you’re confident that they can handle things on their own, then leaving them alone might be acceptable. If you go this route, make sure you prepare your house so it can be as cat-friendly as possible. 

And as for feeding, this is where automated cat feeders come in very handy. In the next section, we’ll talk about the different cat feeder options you can get and their features.

How to Feed a Cat While on Vacation

You don’t have to give up vacation just because you’re a cat owner! There are several products in the market that can help you with making sure your cat is fed while you’re away. In this case, the main things you will need are:

  • Automatic Food Dispenser
  • Water Bowls and Water Dispensers

Automatic Food Dispenser for Cats

Investing in an excellent quality food dispenser food for cats is a great lifesaver. For one, there is no need to wake up early in the morning to your cat scratching and rubbing on your face, begging for food. 

Automated dispensers can schedule feedings at the right time, so your cat can be fed the same day every day as part of their routine. This also means your cat can stay fed even if you’re not around. You can even program the dispenser to give out food in several portions throughout the day.

One product we can recommend is PETLIBRO Automatic Pet Feeder, which has been a blessing to many cat owners. It dispenses dry food at the right portion, at the right time. Not only that, it also has a voice recorder that allows you to record a 10-second voice clip. This way, your cat doesn’t feel so lonely once it hears your voice.

What most cat owners love about PETLIBRO is that it’s a lot cheaper than the other brands out there, offering the same excellent functions and attractive design.

Of course, if you can shell out more, you might want to invest in the Wi-Fi type dispensers, which allows you to control feedings through your smartphone. This way, you can give out feedings as many times as you want throughout the day. 

One product we can recommend for this is PETKIT Automatic Cat Feeder, a Wi-Fi enabled pet feeder that allows you to control the feedings from your phone. So while you’re sipping piña coladas on the beach, you can just turn to the mobile app and feed your cat.

Water Bowls and Water Dispensers

Water is essential for pets. You may fill bowls of water to leave for your cats. If you do this, choose a sturdy water bowl with a heavy bottom to prevent tipping, if your cat decides to play around. 

You may need something like Van Ness Heavyweight Jumbo Crock Dish, which can hold 16-ounces of water. The great thing about this is that it doesn’t tip over and customers are happy there aren’t any spills with this huge bowl.

When using bowls, make sure you place as many as possible. It doesn’t hurt to have extra bowls of water anywhere in your house. You can put them in the kitchen or in the bathroom. But if you want the convenience, there’s always the pricier option of automatic water dispensers.

The beauty of water dispensers is that you don’t have to worry about having water sit out and evaporate. Most water dispensers are automatic, sensing when the bowl has run out of water. PetSafe Healthy Pet Gravity Water Station is a great recommendation loved by many cat owners. The largest water capacity is available at 320 ounce, which will be great when you’re out on vacation. 

If you want a fancier water dispenser, go for a smart one, like Wonder Creature’s 2.4L stainless steel cat water fountain. It has a quiet pump and a LED indicator if water inside the reservoir is running low. The great thing about a fountain compared to one in bowls is that it offers circulating water, keeping it fresh for your cat.

How to Feed My Cat Wet Food While Away

Meanwhile, most cat feeders only dispense dry food or kibbles. But some cats are used to wet food; others need it because they’re on a special diet.

So, how do you feed your cat wet food while on vacation? Not to worry as there are food dispensers made for wet pet food.

Just like the C500 Automatic Cat Feeder by Cat Mate, which can dispense both dry and wet food. It comes with a digital timer to time the feedings. It can hold 5 servings maintained fresh by the ice packs.

The downside is that it’s not recommended to have this when you’re on vacation. Instead, it’s great if you’re away for several hours, like you’re at work.

Ideally, you may need a sitter to feed the cat as well. For instance, your sitter can come by in the morning to give the feeding, while the afternoon portion is programmed by the automatic dispenser.

Conclusion: How to Feed Outdoor Cats While on Vacation

Leaving a cat home alone so you could go on a vacation should not be your first option. Ultimately, getting a pet sitter is the best way to make sure your cat is well-fed and looked after while you’re gone.

But if pet sitting or boarding facilities are not an option, you can leave your cats at home. Make sure you invest in good quality water and food dispensers so you can be at peace that they have what they need to sustain them.