Although cats and dogs are self-sufficient creatures that can be left alone for several hours, many pet lovers worry so much about the well-being of their cats and dogs they hesitate to embark on that voyage of a lifetime. If you have always wanted to take a cruise to the Bahamas, Tahiti or some other exotic island, relieve your anxiety about leaving your beloved pet at home with these tips:

1. Dogs requires licenses for identification purposes but it is not a mandate to license a cat. If you are leaving your cat at home while on your cruise, get an identification tag that has your phone number and name of the cat engraved on it. In addition to being incredibly smart, cats are professional escape artists that will find that one breach in your home, if it exists. Fortunately, you can obtain a cute ID tag at most pet stores like PetSmart, where an engraved pet ID tag will cost less than $10.

2. If you are leaving your cat or dog in the care of someone else, writing down detailed instructions for the proper care of your pet will not only make it easier for the caregiver, but also make you feel better about taking that cruise. Specifying how much food your pet needs, when to give treats, grooming instructions and how much TLC your pet is accustomed to. This takes the guesswork out of caring for your pet and will also relieve your anxiety. Remember you can always call your pet’s caretaker to make sure they are following your rules.

Cat looking at the window

3. Unlike dogs that need to be taken outside for exercise and potty purposes, cats can remain indoors by themselves for several days as long as they have access to fresh food and water. The best self cleaning litter box cleans the box every hour by automatically scooping kitty waste into a covered trap at one end of the box. Traps are filled with special, odor-destroying litter that makes using the box easier and more enjoyable for your cat.

4. Because animals have extraordinary olfactory abilities and are sensitive to their owner’s personal smell, leaving a shirt you have worn but not washed with your dog or cat will comfort him while you are away. You might want to let a radio play continuously in your home while you are gone, too.

5. Saying good-bye to your dog or cat can be an emotional experience if you have never spent any significant amount of time away from your companion. You will feel much better about taking that cruise if you spend the evening prior to taking your vacation interacting with your pet, telling him that you will only be gone for a few days and that you will bring him home a present or treat. Hug and kiss your pet all you want, and know that you will have your beloved pet to come home to after experiencing a fantastic cruise vacation.