While most cats do not greatly enjoy being boarded away from home at a cattery, many cat owners find that it is necessary at some stage in the life of their pets. Holidays, unexpected illnesses and various other life events may mean that you need to be away from home and unable to look after your cat for a time, and it you are unable to find someone to feed and care for your cat in your absence, boarding them in a professional cattery might be the way to go.
Choosing the right cattery for your cat can dictate how much your cat enjoys the experience, and how they will be cared for in your absence. It is important to pick out a cattery well in advance of the time that you will need it, and to shop around for somewhere that you feel comfortable with and that will take care of all your cat’s needs. Read on for our ten top tips on finding the right boarding cattery for your cat.
Even if you have no immediate plans to board your cat, it is a good idea to check out the catteries in your local area so that you always have a plan for if you need to board your cat unexpectedly. You may well need to book a long way in advance for peak times such as the summer holidays, but if you became ill suddenly or had a family emergency, it is always helpful to have a cattery in mind that you have already checked out.
Any good cattery will be more than happy to take the time to answer your questions, and should agree a time for you to go and look around without your having made a booking for your cat. Find out how much it costs to board your cat, what vaccinations are required of your cat and the other cats present, and what their protocols are if a cat should become ill or injured while in their care.
Some catteries also board dogs, and if this is the case, check that the dogs are kept in a separate area and cannot be heard from the cat section, to avoid unnecessarily stressing out your cat. Similarly, cats are territorial animals, and do not usually welcome living in close quarters with other cats, so check the layout of the facilities to ensure that your cat or cats will feel comfortable and not threatened by other cats.
Ask how often the enclosures are cleaned out, if feeding times are regular, and what your cat can expect from their day to day routine while boarding.
It is a good idea to take along your cat’s own bedding and even food bowls and toys for their stay, in order to make them feel more at home. However, some catteries will discourage this, as it can make care and keeping track of personal belongings challenging for the staff. Find out from the cattery if it is ok to take along your cat’s own things before you book them in.
The cost of feeding and providing cat litter for your cat is usually included within the cost of boarding, although if your cat requires a special diet, you will generally be expected to provide this. Find out if you can choose within reason what your cat is fed during their stay, and what cat litter is used for them, and if you can provide your own if you do not like the choices available.
If your cat requires the administration of medication or monitoring for any health conditions, are the staff knowledgeable and confident enough to manage this? Do you trust them to care for your cat’s needs adequately? Similarly, if your cat is very shy or prone to stress, can they monitor and manage this, and take steps to keep stress to a minimum?
While the plushest, most up to date facilities do not necessarily dictate the best standard of care, the cattery itself should appear clean and well maintained, with ample room in the enclosures and the bedding and bowls in good condition. If the whole place looks like it is run with cost rather than quality in mind, move on.
This should be a given, but it is important to double check anyway. The cattery that you are considering should be registered and licensed with the relevant local authorities, and be property insured to take care of your cat. Ask the cattery to tell you about this, and ask to see any relevant documents if they are not prominently displayed.
How you feel about the cattery and the general impression you get about the facilities and the staff themselves is just as important as all of the other factors combined. Even if everything looks good and the staff say all the right things, if you still feel uncomfortable and cannot put your finger on why, keep shopping around until you find a cattery that you can have confidence in.
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