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If you’re going away on holiday and are looking for a cattery to board your cat, there are a number of factors to consider. Even if you’ve had a personal recommendation, or really like the look of the cattery website, it’s always best to pay a visit yourself to make sure you are choosing the best place possible. What should you be looking for?
Your cat shouldn’t have to share its room, unless it’s with cats from the same household. The accommodation should be heated, spacious enough for your cat to exercise in and include a separate sleeping area. As many feline diseases are airborne, the individual areas should be separated by a ‘sneeze barrier’, either in the form of a physical barrier or enough space so that bacteria can’t pass between cats. A safety corridor which encloses each cat’s accommodation is also essential; to prevent your cat from escaping as someone enters or leaves the area.
Secure access to the outdoors
It’s important that your cat gets enough space to exercise, and although an indoor run is fine, a secure outdoor run is even better. Outdoor space will have the added benefit of natural light and ventilation, and if there’s an interesting view to keep your cat occupied (or birds or butterflies to chatter at), then even better.
A good boarding cattery will be happy to feed your cat its usual food (although you’ll have to bring this from home) and is necessary if your cat is a fussy eater, and absolutely essential if your cat is on a prescription or veterinary diet. The cattery shouldn’t wait for you to enquire about dietary requirements, this is a question that they should be asking you to ensure they give your cat the best possible care.
When inspecting a boarding cattery it should look clean and smell fresh. If you catch a whiff of stinky litter trays, then they’re probably not cleaning them out as regularly as they should. All cats that board at catteries should be fully up to date with their vaccinations, and a reputable cattery will ask to see your cat’s vaccination certificate on arrival. You should be concerned if they don’t ask, as this is a sure way of passing disease between cats living in close proximity. You should also be satisfied that if something happens and your cat becomes sick, they will receive proper vet care. A first-class cattery will ask for details of your vet and ask you to sign a veterinary consent form allowing them to authorise treatment in the best interests of your cat if required.
Other things to think about include whether the cattery will let you bring familiar toys or bedding in with your cat to help them feel more at home, and whether they also have dog kennels on the premises. A combined kennels and cattery isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if the kennels are too close to the cattery, the noise and smell of the dogs may distress your cats.
When you visit, make sure that you ask questions about anything that you’re not sure about, and if the cattery is reluctant to let you view behind the scenes, consider what they’ve got to hide – the important thing is to trust your gut. Your beloved pet will be staying here, so if something doesn’t seem quite right or you’re not 100% happy, then move on and find another cattery that you are comfortable with.
What other tips do you have for choosing the perfect cattery for your cat’s next holiday away from home?
Image: Karamellzucker via Flickr