Cats and Travel: The Adventures of a Travelling Cat Owner

Even though travel is not always easy when you have cats at home and thus need to arrange a cat sitter while you are away, I couldn’t live without them. Although having cats or other pets means you will likely need to solve some practical issues when you want to travel, the rewards are always greater.

Cats and travel

If I have to name two different things I love I would probably mention travel and cats.

Travel doesn’t come as much of a surprise as after all I’m editing this travel website!

As much as I love dogs, I do however prefer cats when it comes to pet animals and I got two of them at home.

Besides having a personal preference for cats, I find them also much easier to combine with a travelling lifestyle.

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My cats Pixie (left) and Molly (right). ©Paliparan
The two sweeties napping on my couch. ©Paliparan

Planning a trip: Cats first

When I want to embark on a trip, I know that I need to arrange a cat sitter first before I can travel.

Although some people leave their cats at friends or family or even at an animal pension, this is something which I wouldn’t recommend at all.

Cats are animals deeply attached to their own environment and taking them out of it and placing them in strange surroundings can cause a lot of stress.

That’s why I prefer to leave my cats at home and arrange for friends to come over to cat sit – and I’m lucky that I have some good friends who take excellent care of my cats while I’m away.

With dogs that of course wouldn’t be possible as they require to be walked multiple times a day, meaning that you either need to find suitable lodging or take your dog with you.

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Sweet Pixie resting on my legs and demanding some attention. ©Paliparan
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Molly keeping an eye out around the house. ©Paliparan

Cats abroad

Although I used to embark on longer trips in my backpacking days – being away regularly for a month, or even three months during my longest-ever trip – it’s definitely something of the past for me.

At most, I travel for 10 days in a row on a trip nowadays, although even such trips are rare.

Instead, I prefer to do multiple shorter trips throughout the year, staying away for a long weekend or perhaps a week at most.

Of course, the main reason behind this change in travel pattern are my cats.

Whenever I’m away from home, I just miss them a lot and I know they also miss my company.

Even though some destinations such as Dubrovnik, Kotor, Istanbul or anywhere in Greece are full of sweet cats and I always stop to pet any feline friend I encounter, they don’t make up for my own pets.

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Cats in the streets of Dubrovnik. ©Paliparan
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Greek island cats. ©Paliparan
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Cats on the Cycladic island of Sifnos in Greece. ©Paliparan
Old man and some community cats on the island of Naxos. ©Paliparan

Rescuing stray cats

When it comes to cats, I have a preference for street cats above special breeds, even though they can be beautiful.

In my opinion, it’s much better if you take in an abandoned cat from the streets or an animal shelter than to buy one from a pet shop or breeder.

Pixie was rescued from the streets in Bucharest before I decided to take her in, while I found Molly myself as a tiny abandoned kitten on a rainy street in the middle of nowhere in Moldova.

On a recent tip to the wonderful Danube Delta in Romania, I encountered another abandoned kitten by chance.

The kitten, which came running from an abandoned yard, was clearly malnourished and devoured the food and water I quickly bought at the village shop.

After inquiring with some neighbours who lived around the abandoned yard, it turned out that a local fisherman found the kitten all alone in the nature at the other side of the river.

The fisherman decided to bring over the kitten across the river to the village, but abandoned it next to the road hoping that it would be fed enough by the local people passing by.

As the kitten was so adorable, I couldn’t bring myself to just abandoning it again to an uncertain future without a mother and anyone taking care after it.

Being relatively close to my home city of Bucharest, I knew I had to take care after it and perhaps try to adopt it myself.

In case the kitten wouldn’t get along with my two cats, I could always try to find another warm home, knowing the kitten would have all the love and care it requires.

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Having found the abandoned kitten, the poor sweetheart didn’t want to let go of me. ©Paliparan
Fortunately, the kitten was allowed to stay at my accommodation in the Danube Delta until my departure. ©Paliparan
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Taking the kitten with me on the ferry from Crișan to Tulcea. ©Paliparan
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Yours truly with the kitten in the train from Tulcea to Bucharest. ©Paliparan

New cat at home

Although it was a bit of a challenge to bring the kitten with me from the Danube Delta to Bucharest – a long journey involving a ferry and two trains – it all went well.

The kitten is now at my home for exactly a week to mixed reactions of my cats.

Molly has mostly embraced the newcomer while Pixie still needs to get used to the new situation of a third cat at home.

By my own estimates, the kitten is around five-weeks-old given the fact that it already has some teeth but still has those big blue kitten eyes (which will change to their permanent colour 6 to 7 weeks after birth).

As the kitten is an absolute sweetheart and has adapted well to life around the house, it has certainly found a new home with me.

All that’s left to do now is to give the kitten a beautiful name!

Introducing the kitten to Molly and Pixie. ©Paliparan
The little kitten in my house. ©Paliparan
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Belly rubs for the tiny kitten! ©Paliparan
The kitten sleeping next to Molly. ©Paliparan
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The tiny kitten loves to sleep on my chest. ©Paliparan
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Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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