You’ve booked the hotel and flights, ordered the Euros and checked Trip Advisor for the best restaurants in the resort – all that is left is to arrange is the boarding accommodation for your cat.
To help your holiday go without a hitch, here are a few handy tips to boarding your cat:
1. Book early
Much like human hotels, ‘moggy motels’ can very often get fully booked at peak times. There are naturally busy times: the summer holiday (July-Sept) is the most obvious, but may catteries get booked up over the Christmas period with families travelling length and breadth of the country to visit family and friends.
The graph below shows the volume of searches on Google for the term ‘cattery’ throughout 2015. You can see a natural peak around the Easter (April) and Whitsun (June) holiday periods and a large peak over the summer holiday months:
2. Get a medical
Your cat will need to be free of any infectious disease to be accepted at most catteries. Inoculations must be up-to-date and if you need additional injections then allow plenty of time for them to take effect (anywhere from two weeks). You must be confident that your cat is free from parasites and worms, so best to get a medical once-over done in plenty of time.
If your cat has a diagnosed condition, then get in touch with the cattery to explain the situation. Any well run cattery will be well versed with all major cat conditions and will be able to let you know if they are able to provide the right care. Cats with arthritis, for example, would need floor level sleeping areas, so raised ‘penthouse’ sleeping quarters would be a no-no.
If your cat needs medication or an allergen free diet, then you must contact the cattery in plenty of time to confirm they are able to accommodate your cat’s needs. Many catteries specifically mention their care program on their website. For example, Clearwood Cattery near Bath say:
“At Clearwood Boarding Cattery we are dedicated to providing 24/7 First Class Care. Food bowls are always kept topped up, rooms cleaned and litter trays emptied at least twice a day. We can take care of special diets and any medication or treatment that your cat may require. Background music or radio all day, plants, plenty of cuddles and activities will all help to ensure our VICs feel relaxed and comfortable and enjoy their stay with us.”
3. Check the opening hours
Catteries are not high street shops and don’t follow a standard opening time schedule. Boarding Catteries are very often a family run business based at the family home, and will usually have specific times that you can pick-up and drop-off. Very often the opening times are a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon, so don’t get caught-out by turning up assuming they are available to receive visitors. Most boarding catteries, however, are happy to arrange a time outside of normal hours with enough notice.
4. Monitor your cat?
Some boarding catteries have started to provide secure webcams in each pen which enables owners to keep an eye on their beloved pet. Some people find this a great comfort when leaving their cat with a stranger; others feel it may be over-cautious and a potential distraction to their holiday. Whichever side you’re on, these progressive ideas are often an good indicator that the cattery is being run by thoughtful and caring owners that understand the stress of leaving a pet in boarding.
If you do go for a techie option then make sure you test in out in plenty of time – you don’t want to be trying to set up a webcam app ‘via email’ and in another time-zone…
5. Pack a bag
You’ve packed your suitcase and cabin bag – now’s the time to pack for your cat’s stay.
A lot of catteries encourage owners to bring along their own toys and bedding which helps the cat to feel comfortable away from home – and could help to reduce stress.
If your cat is a ‘scratcher’ then why not take an extra post for them to get a work out on, for example?
If you do take bedding or blankets, then make sure it is clean and dry and in a decent state.