• Women at Home
    and Women
    at Work

    Have you ever wondered what goes through someone’s mind when they are asked the dreaded cocktail hour..

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  • A Just World?

    I was raped. It was no urban legend. No deranged stranger jumped out of a dark alley to attack me on my way home from bible study...

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  • Wellness and You

    Work gets in the way, family gets in the way, volunteer commitments get in the way, and occasionally the television and sofa get in the way too...

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Panty Raid

It has recently come to my attention that some women coordinate their bras and panties. And they don't just match colours, they buy the sets together...

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Florence Booth House, Toronto

Located in the downtown core, Florence Booth House was opened in 2000 with the intent of being a temporary shelter for that winter. In February of this year, we celebrated our 7th anniversary, proving the need is still very real...

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Champagne with Potato Chips?

You really can drink wine with just about anything, according to a new web site devoted to food and wine pairings. Zinfandel with your Tex-Mex? Not a problem. A little Chardonnay with your fried chicken take-out? Delicious. Pinot Noir and wild boar? Why not, says Natalie MacLean...

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News & Events

Eating Between the Lines: Health and Literacy (Connections for Canadians)

42% of Canadians struggle with basic reading and writing. The International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) (1995;2003) shows strong links among literacy skills, employment and poverty, and thus health...

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Think Before You Go Pink

The Breast Cancer Action (BCA) group wants consumers to think about how much money is actually going to the “cure” before purchasing something with a little pink ribbon on it...

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Do you Fancy Cat Sitting

My ideal holiday involves sun, by a pool, a never-ending supply of chilled diet coke, and a sky-high pile of novels to read while the stresses of home and school evaporate...

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Do You Fancy Cat Sitting While I'm Away?

My ideal holiday involves sun, by a pool, a never-ending supply of chilled diet coke, and a sky-high pile of novels to read while the stresses of home and school evaporate. However, holidays are not always just about the individual, they are about the family. That appears to be a straightforward problem; yet, is it uncomplicated when your family are the furry non-travelling variety? Is it all right to put your beloved pets in a cattery or kennel while you relax and enjoy time away? When you take an animal on, as a responsible owner, you cannot just pretend these issues do not exist. You have to consider what is best for your family member.

I feel it is important to identify that I am not one of these crazy English types that love their animals more than themselves, but there is a real issue here about putting members of your family into cages when you have a responsibility towards them. It does not matter how expensive the kennels or catteries are or how much attention and food they receive whilst there, pets still find being away from home stressful. As a conscientious pet owner, one has to at least consider the issues at stake here for our speechless furry friends before we book our great holiday abroad.

My beautiful cats have been part of my family for over eight months and I admit here that I spoil them to the point that strangers do ask me how old my daughters are before I have to correct them and say, often while red and a little embarrassed that “the girls” are in fact my cats. We adopted them from the RSPCA after they had been neglected by their previous owner because she had too many and could not look after them all. After they had been taken from their original home, they were placed in foster care for over 8 weeks where they were kept in a room in several different houses. When we finally met them, the foster family, although kind, said the cats were traumatised by the fact they were not allowed out and they could hear angry barking dogs. It took at least 5 months before all three cats felt comfortable and happy in my house. To say I am protective is an understatement.

Still -- I need to have a holiday. My job is energetic and exhausting and the school holidays are all about me recharging my batteries so I will be ready to give my students the best in the next term. However, should this be at my cats' expense?

I have visited many catteries asking about the treatment of their visiting cats and although they are never been badly treated, I cannot help but think this form of babysitting is cruel. The cages always have food and bedding and plenty of room, but the cats are sitting there woefully or itching and crying for attention. It appears they do not get petted and talked to (the care my pets are used to receiving every day), and they are not allowed out to run, which is unnatural for both cats and dogs.

These conditions can lead to a traumatic animal when you return, taking away your holiday enjoyment and replacing it will pet guilt. Also, once you get your furry friend or friends home, they can take time to readjust. From my experience, I know that cats moreso than dogs really sulk and refuse your olive branch or friendship.

I cannot claim to have the answers, only mere suggestions that will decrease the potential damage to your relationship with your furry friend so they will want to snuggle you back. Firstly, make friends with your neighbours or the people above and below your apartment. Treat them to a Christmas card, invite them round for a cup of tea or offer to cut their lawn. Form a relationship so you can ask them to feed and let your pet out while you are away. Alternatively, ask a member of your family to pet-sit. Everyone could use a little time away from time to time -- sell it to them that your house can be their peaceful sanctuary and then ask them to feed the mogs while they are there. It will seem like you are doing them the favour.

To conclude on my English pet loving ramble, I could never demand that the animals get put before your own sanity and relaxation, but they must be considered because you chose to adopt them and you would not put your children in the zoo! Consider other less traumatic ways of looking after your cat (or dog) so you can go on holiday -- at the end of the day, it is not right to put your family member in a cage while you party the week away.