I've never had this issue with my boys because we got them when I was 13 and now that I'm 26 and they live with me my mum comes round to feed and keep them company when I'm away and they know her.
I'd advise keeping him home, at least it's a familiar place and smells, he'll be grumpy when you get back but chances are he might not understand the difference between 3 days and 3 weeks.
How nice, you hv ur mom to come round to feed. None of my family members like cats and none my kitty is comfortable with. You mean cats can't differentiate between 3days and 3wks? that's new.
How long is your vacation going to be?
If it's going to be short, I'd go the boarding route. If it's going to be long (say a week or more), I'd advise looking into a pet sitter. Try to find a sitter who will interact with ET and spend time with him. Some sitters will only offer feeding and litterbox services, but others truly love animals and will be happy to spend time playing with them.
I have family members who were willing to look after my pets in the past, but on times that this was not feasible, I boarded my cat at my veterinarian's. She was displeased about the situation and was standoffish for a few days after she came home, but she wasn't permanently emotionally damaged by the experience.
Since ET is a bit more sensitive, he may not adapt so well. See if your boarding-place is willing to use Feliway diffusers - they work amazingly well and could help ET feel calmer in a strange environment!
Oh, planning a 5day trip. My kitty will ran away from everybody except me and husband, so doubt if he will ever get familiarised with pet sitter within a short period of time. I hv asked the pet sitter, her services includes playing but doubt if ET will come out when she is around, haha. Whenever my neighbour comes round for a chat, the mere sound of someone at the door, ET will ran off and hide.
Actually I wouldn't mind providing Feliway at boarding house if it works to help calm him down, I never thought of that. That's a good suggestion, thx. Oh, another thoughts, would Feliway help too if he is home alone? But I also have an air purifier to eliminate poo odor, would it interfere with Feliway?