Every cat owner who has gone on vacation has been faced with the dilemma of what to do with their feline friend while away from home. Sometimes you luck out and are able to find a family member, friend or professional cat sitter who is able to take care of your feline. Other times neighbors and friends may be unavailable and you will need to explore another option: Cat boarding.
Putting your cat’s care in the hands of a stranger can be an uncomfortable thought. But it doesn’t have to be. Finding a kennel that will provide the care and attention your feline deserves will require a little homework as well as personal visits to each facility under consideration. One of your best sources to find a great kennels is referrals from friends or your veterinarian. Once youve been referred to a couple of kennels, take a tour.
When you are visiting the kennel be aware of all elements of the boarding facility. Here are some questions to keep in mind:
Do the grounds appear well-cared for and litter-free?
Is the building well-maintained?
When you enter the facility are you warmly greeted?
Is it clean? Does it smell clean?
Ask to see the cat boarding area. It should be in a separate area from the dog kennels. It should be well-lit and each cat should have his own enclosed area. Each cat should have adequate area that separates the food and water area from the litter box. Find out the type of cat food that the facility carries can you bring your own food?
Find out if there is any type of specific air ventilation system. At some boarding facilities there are vents within each area that circulate air every 15 minutes. This type of air circulation reduces odor and germs from the cat boarding area.
Aside from the essential physical requirements of the facility speak to the staff regarding their training and experience. Check to see if the boarding facility tracks how each cat is eating and eliminating. This is critically important as that is a baseline measure of the cats health. Do they have staff that can administer medication if needed? Ask if the facility has a protocol if your cat becomes ill. Oftentimes cats take a full day to acclimate to their surroundings, but a top-notch facility will know if your cat is just adjusting or if there is something more serious going on.
Once you are satisfied that the facility offers safe and clean surrounding and that the staff is knowledgeable, relax! While cats are particularly finicky, they also enjoy a change in scenery. Enjoy your vacation and let the professionals care for your beloved feline!
Tracy Mason, co-founder of PetSuites of America, is the author of this article on cat boarding and pet kennels. PetSuites is a pet boarding kennel specializing in pet grooming, daycare and more.