A good place to start is to make a list of catteries/cat boarding facilities or cat boarding hotels to visit. It may be helpful to ask fellow cat owners, neighbours, family, friends, pet businesses and local vets as they may be able to make a recommendation.
As good boarding facilities fill up quickly, it is advisable to book ahead especially during school holiday periods as this is usually the busiest time for most catteries/cat hotels.
Once you have made a list of catteries,make sure you pay them a visit well in advance to avoid missing out on your preferred booking dates.
Be prepared! Put together a list of questions that are important to you and make a time with the owner or staff member to visit and have a chat about the accommodation they offer.
Some questions to consider:
- Does the accommodation look and smell clean?
- Indoor/Outdoor? Consider whether your cat is used to being indoors or outdoors. Cats who are used to being indoors may find the different smells and noises of the outdoors too stressful and cats that are usually outside may feel trapped and too confined if they can’t access an external garden area.
- Is the accommodation area large enough for the cat to climb and play?
- Do guests have constant access to fresh, clean water?
- Does the cattery/cat hotel have access to an on-call Veterinarian?
- Is the internal environment well ventilated, air-conditioned, heated and well lit?
- All good catteries will require proof of current vaccination against cat flu to prevent cross-infection. If they do not ask for proof, they are not following the Code of Practice for all Boarding Facilities, best to find another cattery/cat hotel. http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/pets/domestic-animal-businesses/boarding-establishments/code-of-practice-for-the-operation-of-boarding-establishments
- Can you provide your own food for your cat? Some catteries may discourage this, but on the whole most catteries are happy to oblige but this usually doesn’t affect the cost per day.
- If the cattery/cat hotel provides accommodation with varying levels, ask to be shown all of these. If you choose the highest level of care for your cat, it is nice to be assured that all cats are being well cared for no matter what level of accommodation they are in.
- It is really important for you to feel comfortable with, and trust the staff you leave your cat with.
Now that you are happy with the cattery/cat hotel you have chosen, good preparation is the key to reduce stress for both you and your cat.
- Book in early as the best catteries/cat hotels are booked out well in advance, especially around school holiday times.
- Make sure your cat’s vaccination is current. F3 is the minimum catteries will accept for boarding and is required prior to check-in. If you do not provide proof, your cat may be refused boarding.
- To help reduce your cat’s stress, familiar smells like bedding or clothing they usually sleep on may be beneficial, but please don’t wash them just before boarding as the items will lose the “familiar” smell.
- Before taking your cat to the cattery/cat hotel, it is advisable 3 or 4 days beforehand to leave the carrier near their favourite place in the house and place some of their bedding inside to encourage them to sleep in there. The carrier will be able to be left in the accommodation you have chosen and your cat will be able to retreat to it if need be and be comfortable with the familiar smells. A favourite toy is also a good item to leave with your cat.
- Good catteries/cat hotels will have owners fill in a profile about your cat's personal likes and dislikes, if they enjoy belly rubs, lots of pats and cuddles or prefer being left alone. Fill in as much information as you can as this helps staff get to know your cat quicker and make for a more pleasurable experience for them.
- With cats that have special dietary needs, it is recommended that you provide enough food for the entire stay and that the cattery staff are happy to accommodate your request.
- If your cat requires any type of medication make sure you discuss this before booking to ensure that staff are qualified or capable of administering it and make sure you provide enough for the entire stay. Some catteries/cat hotels are happy to give medication orally but not injectable medication so discuss this before booking.
- Make sure your chosen cattery has your usual Veterinary name and contact details.
All set! Now you can relax and enjoy your holiday and so will your cat!