Sunday 1 August 2021

Britons are more open to the idea of taking their cats on staycation holidays thanks to Covid-19

This pain in the bum pandemic has impacted human life dramatically. Most of it is negative for obvious reasons but for some it has been positive and, in that category, I think we have to add domestic cats and indeed domestic dogs. The huge surge in employees working at home is clearly very beneficial to cats. Both cat guardians and their pets have become closer. It has helped to cement the relationship. Home working for some will be permanent. It is said that in the UK staff will like a diet of 3:2 which means three days in the office and to at home. It is a Covid-based revolution in working patterns. I expect other countries to be undergoing this sort of revolution as well.

Britons are more open to the idea of taking their cat on staycation holidays thanks to Covid-19
Britons are more open to the idea of taking their cat on staycation holidays thanks to Covid-19. Photo: Pixabay.

With the cessation, pretty well, of travel abroad out of the UK, many cat owners have decided to take their cat companion with them on holiday within the UK. A 2,000-pet owner poll conducted by Direct Line Motor Insurance tells us that the reluctance to take cats in cars on staycation holidays has evaporated. 20 million people in the UK said that the holiday habits have changed this year because of the pandemic. Normally 20% of Britain's would not drive on a UK holiday and 14% would not normally take their pet on the UK holiday, but this year they will.

The poll indicated that 3.6 million cat owners plan to take their cat on a road trip over the next months. Each trip will be on average about 98 miles so in total cats will be travelling 348 million miles on staycation holidays in the UK.

This trend is being driven by young cat owners. It is people in the age bracket 18-34 who are keener to take their cat on holiday. Those over 55 are much less likely to pick up the challenge. It can be a bit of a challenge at least emotionally because of the potential dangers for a cat. It does take some organisation.

I've done it myself successfully, thankfully. I bought a very large cat carrier (actually a dog carrier) which is more like a mini-enclosure (cheap on Amazon). It just about went inside the back of my car with the rear seats folded down. This allowed him plenty of space to walk around within the car but being secure at the same time. His food and sleeping quarters were inside the enclosure. He could look out the window and enjoy himself and be stimulated. He remained in it throughout the journey which took all day. He appeared to enjoy himself. I encountered no real issues.

On another occasion I took my cats to Ireland on a holiday. There were no problems even on the ferry. Cats are adaptable although initially they may be nervous about getting into a car, they do settle down. Obviously, supervision is required at the destination because cats will be staying in a strange place, perhaps a holiday cottage, which may motivate them to do something silly. You don't want to lose your cat on holiday! I suspect, though, that these holidays work out pretty well and above all else they give a cat a change of scene and plenty of mental stimulation.

Perhaps one of the big weaknesses of modern cat ownership is that domestic cats don't get enough in the way of challenges and mental stimulation. A staycation holiday might be a good opportunity to pull that cat stroller out of the attic and use it again. I have decided that cat strollers do have a place in the life of a cat guardian. They can be useful because once again they allow a cat to see new places in safety. They allow a cat to join their owner on walking trips in safety.

I suspect that young people in the age bracket of 18-34 have been motivated to take their cats on staycation holidays because of quite large number of stories and Internet videos of adventurous cat owners taking the cat on trekking and hiking holidays which look wonderful. You have to harness train your cat but that is doable with patience. The survey indicated that 33% of owners in that age brackets are taking their cats a holiday. This is a distinct change in the human-to-cat relationship which is for the better by and large.

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