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Everyone needs a break now and then and with summer just around the corner, there are soon to be plenty of opportunities to make the most of the warmer weather. Unfortunately, if you’re a pet owner, going on vacation comes with the extra stress and cost of keeping your four-legged friends safe while you’re away.
While pups can struggle with solitude—it might be better to bring your dog on vacation with you—cats are pretty independent creatures. In fact, they’re so independent that it’s perfectly safe to leave your cat alone for a couple of days with a bit of preparation. We recommend hiring a professional cat sitter or calling on a reliable friend if you’re going to be away for longer than 48 hours. But, if you’re planning a quick weekend getaway there are several ways to make sure your favorite feline wants for nothing while you're relaxing on the beach. We’ve gathered together 12 products that will keep your cat fed, watered, entertained, and safe while you’re away from home.
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1. An automatic feeder for scheduled meals
A reliable automatic feeder ensures that cats get well-portioned amounts of their favorite food, even when owners aren't around. Granted, you could just load up a bowl for a couple of days worth of food, but if your cat is anything like mine, that food will be annihilated in minutes. So if your cat needs some help with portion control, an automatic feeder can space out mealtimes and, more importantly, keep up their daily feeding routine. There are a couple of options for automatic feeders, depending on your budget and requirements. The WOpet SmartFeeder, our favorite automatic pet feeder, connects to the WiFi, allows for up to six remotely scheduled feedings per day, and tells your pet its feeding time with a pre-recorded message of your voice. So even if you’re away, you can ensure they get that 4 p.m. snack.
The WOpet is an excellent option if your cat only eats dry food; however, if wet meals are part of its diet, consider the Cat Mate C500. The C500 has all the features needed for felines and friends on a wet food diet. Ice packs can be fitted under three separate compartments, holding up to 11.5 ounces of wet or dry food each.
The machine is easy to put together or take apart and clean (with a dishwasher-safe lid and bowl). It's also straightforward to use thanks to a battery-charged digital timer, intuitive dials, the ability to make a voice recording for your pet, and an LCD display that showcases all programmed feeds.
2. A water fountain to keep kitty hydrated
Cats need plenty of water throughout the day to keep hydrated—this is especially true if they are on a dry food diet—so it’s essential to make sure they have plenty of fresh water available while you’re away. It’s a good idea to have as many water sources available for your cat while you're away (and no, the toilet bowl doesn't count!). Regular water bowls are fine, but a good quality water fountain will entice your four-legged friend and encourage them to drink more water.
This Veken Pet Fountain has almost 60,000 reviews and a five-star rating on Amazon. The fountain is quiet and features three different water spouts and a triple filtration system.
3. A splurge-worthy automatic litter box
There’s no getting around it; if you’re leaving your kitty unattended for a few days, you’re going to have to deal with a stinky litter box when you get home. If the thought of shifting through two days of cat leavings fills you with dread, we recommend this self-cleaning litter box from Litter-Robot. At just under $700, It’s not cheap, but when we tested it, we fell in love with it and felt it was well worth the investment.
Instead of scoping clumps of used litter out of the litter pan like other machines, the Litter Robot has a sensor that indicates when your cat is inside the globe. Once the cat is done and scuttles off, the Litter-Robot waits seven minutes before rotating its globe after use. The clean litter falls through a sieve into a compartment, then any clumps and solid waste fall into the machine's base. The globe then rotates back, and the clean litter is replaced. It also has a carbon filter in the waste drawer to reduce odor.
4. This simple toy to keep them entertained for hours
Even the haughtiest of felines enjoy a bit of playtime. Having a few toys that don't require human supervision can give any cat left alone a fair bit of entertainment. The Cat Dancer is little more than a length of steel wire with adhesive on one end and a piece of cardboard on the other. It can be attached to any wall or floor and will provide hours of entertainment for your kitty.
5. A bowl of cat grass to aid in digestion
Despite being committed carnivores, cats love a bit of green grass now and then. Not to be confused with regular old lawn, cat grass is a mixture of greens grown from wheat, barley, oat, and rye seeds. It contains folic acid, which helps keep a cat’s digestive system running smoothly. Try this suitable-themed cat grass planter to keep your kitty healthy while you’re away. It grows organic and cat-friendly plants so that cats can chew their little hearts out. The grass takes a few days to sprout, so set it up ahead of time.
6. A smart pet camera so you can keep an eye on them
Leaving your favorite feline alone for any length of time can be an anxious experience especially if it's your first time away. If you’re worried about what's going on with your pet while away, install this pet camera for some peace of mind. Our experts found that the Petcube Cam is our favorite affordable pet camera out of all the pet cameras we tested. We love its affordable price tag, compact design, an array of great features like excellent sound quality, compatibility with Alexa, and incredible video quality.
7. A smart cat flap for determined outdoor cats
It’s generally safer to keep a cat indoors while away, but if your pet demands outdoor time, a smart cat flap is a safe and secure way to give them free rein in the garden. This PetSafe microchip cat door will give your kitty the freedom to go in and out of the house as they please while at the same time keeping out any unwanted neighborhood cats looking for a free meal. The flap can be paired with your cat's microchip ID and will only open when it’s nearby. It can also work in tandem with a separate collar if your cat doesn't have a microchip.
8. This touch-activated floppy fish cat toy
This catnip-filled moving fish is another popular toy that will keep your cat involved in independent play. It’s touch-activated, so it will only begin flipping around once your cat pounces—no need to worry about finding an off switch. Plus, it’s USB-rechargeable!
Many reviewers say the fish is surprisingly large, impressively lifelike, and durable enough to survive a high-energy play session.
9. A cat tree to keep them from clawing the couch
Consider this top-rated cat tree and condo to give your cat a place to relax and draw attention away from your extremely scratchable furniture. It isn't cheap—but it's an excellent option for pet owners who want to treat their cats to something enriching and novel. Cats are natural climbers, and this tower offers six feet of climbing space that thousands of reviewers say their cats love. It comes in several different colors, ranging from an eye-catching leopard print to solid colors like navy and cream—so there's something to match any living space. Cats love to keep an eye on the outdoors, so if possible, try and place it near a window so your kitty can survey the garden while you’re away.
10. This incredibly popular scratcher
If you lack the space for a dedicated cat tree but still need something for your four-legged friend to sink its claws into, try this top-rated cat scratcher. One of our managing editors had plenty of good things to say about this infinity-shaped cat scratcher—in fact, she loved it so much that she bought two of them. It’s the perfect gift for any cat who loves scratching and napping (so basically, all of them). It’s sturdy, it’s attractive enough to blend in with home decor, and it’s long-lasting.
11. Door stoppers to prevent accidental lock-ins
If you’re leaving your cat alone for a few days, it’s worth making sure that all the doors in the house stay open. Anything from drafts to gravity or even an inquisitive cat can result in doors closing accidentally. Take it from me, the last thing you want is a slamming door preventing your cat from accessing its food, water, or litter tray while you're away. These foam rubber door stoppers are perfect for keeping all the doors open and your cat safe from accident lockdowns.
12. Pet stain remover for inevitable accidents
Accidents happen, and there’s no better way to kill that post-getaway buzz than coming home to a cat pee stain on your carpet. Prepare for the worst with this top-rated and pet-safe stain and odor-eliminating spray. One spritz of this stain and odor eliminator helps ensure that carpets and upholstery are left in their original glory.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: 12 essential cat products for when you're away from home