Are you thinking about boarding your cats while you go on vacation? Figuring out what to do for your feline friends when you head out of town can be stressful. We all want to make the right choice for our fur babies. There’s a lot to consider before you drop your best kitty pal off. Here are three things to research before you pack your cat up and take him or her to a kennel.
1. Is the Cat Boarding Near Me Safe?
Will Your Cat Be Protected From Other Animals?
Of course, your kitty’s health and safety should be your biggest priority. Make sure you check out any facility you plan to trust with your beloved cat – even if that kennel is at an actual veterinary office!
Does the kennel board dogs, too? We don’t even want to think about the worst case scenario if a dog gets loose in a mixed kennel, but their barking and smell can be super scary and stressful to your kitty.
Are cats sharing space with other cats? Dog attacks are terrifying, but cat fights are no joke, either. How many cats have you met that easily accept another cat into their space? When you introduce a new cat into your home, experts and experienced cat owners know that it’s best if you do it slooowly – often feeding them on different sides of the same door for several days before letting them officially meet.
In this article on PetMD, Dr. Susan C. Nelson, clinical professor at the Veterinary Health Center at Kansas State University explains “as predators, cats are territorial by nature … both male and female cats may defend their turf against a cat who is an interloper … there can be some noisy altercations and sometimes outright physical fights.” Dr. Cathy Lund, a veterinarian from Providence, Rhode Island, adds, “cats thrive on predictability and can be ‘control freaks,’ so when their routine or environment is disturbed, they can engage in what veterinarians call ‘defensive aggression’.” That sounds stressful at best and dangerous at worst. Will you be able to really unwind in your vacation paradise if you know that your kitty is in its version of vacation hell?
Will Your Cat Be Protected From Disease?
Does the kennel make sure that all its visitors are properly screened for diseases like rabies, feline distemper (FVRCP), and feline leukemia?
This is an absolute must! Make sure you are keeping your sweet kitty safe and healthy. Contagious diseases are nothing to brush off, especially if there is even a slight chance your cat will be interacting with other felines.
Even if your cat is in a space where he or she is not mixed with other cats, illness can spread through the air or through shared food and water bowls. WebMd reports that 80 – 90 percent of contagious upper respiratory problems stem from feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus, both of which are spread from sneezing, coughing, or sharing food and water bowls, and “are prevalent in shelters, catteries, and multi-cat households.”
How well does the kennel clean and sanitize its utensils? Has the kennel ever had a flea problem? Do the cats’ cages face each other? Is there space for each kitty’s food to be far enough away from its litter box? Is there a veterinarian on call in case something happens? Don’t be afraid to ask all the questions.
Don’t forget the Vet!
Speaking of screenings and vaccinations, when was the last time your kitty had theirs? If you haven’t been to the vet in the last six months, you’ll need to go before you kennel your cat. We know it gets hectic before you leave for vacation. There are lots of loose ends to tie up before you can take time off from work and your everyday life. If you plan to board your cat in a kennel, make sure to add a veterinarian appointment onto your pre-vacation to-do list, stat. If you don’t already have a great vet, this could be a good time to find one, but it could also just add more stress to both your and your cat’s life. Any place you’d want to leave your cat will require proof that it’s not going to be your kitty putting the whole kennel at risk.
2) How Much Does it Cost to Board a Cat? And How Much Are Cat Sitting Rates?
Vacations get pricey! Plane tickets, hotel rooms, rides to and from the airport, delicious meals, margarita money… it all adds up. Is money no object for you? If not, then you’re a lucky duck. Most of us need to be mindful about what we spend, especially when it involves taking time off work.
Then There Are The “Add-Ons”
Many kennels charge a flat rate for cat boarding, then have an à la carte menu of services. At The Best Little Cat House in Los Angeles, you can rent a VIP Suite for between $70 to $100 per night, but if you want your cat to get some human love, it’s going to cost you more. For another \$9, your sweet kitty can enjoy a game of laser tag, or a “fun playtime session with catnip infused bubbles.” It’s pretty common that “cuddle time” for your fur baby will cost you extra. At this rate, your cat care may end up costing more than your hotel stay.
Does your kitty need medications? That’s another add-on. Most kennels will charge individually for pills, liquid medications, topical medications, injections, and subcutaneous fluids.
Food is likely another add-on. You may be able to bring your own, but you’ll definitely be charged if the kennel is providing meals. This can be hard on a kitty’s tummy, too. Changing a cat’s diet abruptly can lead to digestive problems.
Oh, and if you’re traveling over a holiday or popular weekend, expect surge pricing. Peak rates may apply.
3. Will My Cat Have A Relaxing Vacation, Too?
Honestly, most will probably not enjoy going to the kennel. Refer back to Dr. Lund’s statement about cats liking predictability.
You’ve probably taken your cat on a car ride somewhere. How’d that go? Unless you have one of the very rare cats that actually likes the car, chances are good that your cat’s cries were pretty agonizing for you both. What about moving? Have you moved into a new apartment or house with your cat? How did that go? Did your cat find a safe hiding place and not come out for a few days? If so, you have a pretty normal cat.
Cats don’t like change. It’s stressful – even traumatizing – for them. You may love the adventure of exploring new places and traveling uncharted territory, but most cats do not. They also do miss you when you’re gone.
The Better Alternative to Cat Boarding: A Trusted Cat Sitter
Many kennels suggest bringing an item of clothing that smells like you with your cat so the scent will comfort them. Why not just leave them home? It seems obvious, right? Home is where they feel comfortable, safe, and happy. Home is their space. Pretty much everything smells like you at home! It’s cheaper, it’s safer, and your cat will be much happier! Services like Meowtel.com make finding your purrfect sitter a breeze. Every sitter has been vetted with background checks, and is bonded and insured when you book through the site. Verified badges, reviews, and qualifications are also listed on each sitter’s profile so you can find a great trusted cat sitter today and that’s one more thing you can check off your pre-vacation to-do list.