If you’re going on holiday and leaving your cat behind, finding somewhere for them to stay can feel like a nightmare, to say the least. Not only can it cause stress and guilt, but there’s the added pressure of knowing that cats can find it hard to adjust to new surroundings and can struggle to feel at home in a new environment.
That’s why so many cat owners are taking advantage of boarding catteries, where cats can be pampered and taken care of by a team of experienced and loving professionals.
If this is your cat’s first time boarding, it’s understandable that you might feel nervous. That’s why below we’ll go over how you can prepare for your cat’s first boarding experience and get the best outcome possible for everyone involved.
Schedule a visit
Before booking your cat for their stay, you should always schedule a visit to the potential cattery. You’ll want to make sure that the premises are well maintained and equipped, with attentive staff and a clean, safe environment for your cat to stay in while you’re gone.
Some things you’ll want to make sure they have are plenty of space, toys and scratching posts, secure enclosures and clean bedding and litter boxes.
Make sure your cat’s vaccinations are up to date
To ensure the health and safety of your cat and all the other cats, your cat will need to be up to date on their F3 vaccination. Your cat will be refused entry if you cannot provide proof of this, so make sure you bring along their vaccination certificate when you drop them off.
You’ll also need to make sure they do not need any flea or worm treatments, and that they’ve been spayed or neutered if they’re over 6 months old.
Do a trial run
Before leaving your cat alone in a new place for days on end, consider doing a trial run just for the day or overnight. This will give them a chance to get used to this new environment, and take in the new people, new cats, new caretakers and new food.
If they don’t do well during their first visit, don’t give up hope. Give yourself a bit of time between the trial run and when you leave on your holiday so that you can give it another go if needed. This will also allow the staff to familiarise themselves with your cat and get accustomed to their needs, helping them take the best care of them possible.
Consider synthetic pheromones
If your cat is particularly anxious, you might want to consider using synthetic pheromones before they arrive at the cattery. Brands such as Feliway are designed to encourage relaxation and calmness in cats through a spray or diffuser that you can use throughout your home.
Try using synthetic pheromones before you drop off your cat for boarding and discuss its continued use with the staff if your cat continues to show signs of distress.
Get your cat used to being in a crate
If your cat isn’t used to being in a traveling crate, now is the time to do so. Being in a crate for the first time can cause your cat severe stress and anxiety, which is not how you want them to arrive at their boarding stay.
Keep the crate in the living room or your cat’s favorite room in the house so that they don’t associate it with being alone or abandoned. You can also put their favorite blanket and toys in there to help them feel safe and comfortable, putting them in the best state of mind for their arrival at the cattery.
Make a list
Finally, make a list of everything that your cat will need during their stay to ensure that nothing gets forgotten or left behind. Whether it’s their medication, toys and blankets, grooming tools or special food or litter that they prefer, make sure to jot it all down.
Once you arrive, let the staff know everything that you’ve brought with you and what purpose they serve. They’ll be able to call or email you with updates after you leave so that you can relax on your holiday and know that your cat is safe, comfortable and happy.