There are good ones, great ones and terrible ones. If you choose to place your cat in a boarding facility, go there yourself and take a tour. For a cat, being placed in a cage, surrounded by unfamiliar animals, sounds, smells and sights, can cause the stress-o-meter to go over the top. Facilities that have condos with hiding places and elevated areas inside each cat’s area can make a big difference in how secure your cat feels. Keep in mind how sensitive your cat’s senses are and inspect the kennel from your cat’s point of view.
- How does it smell?
- How loud is the environment?
- Are cages facing each other? This can be very stressful.
- Is the cage/condo big enough so the food bowl isn’t right next to the litter box?
- What type of staff interaction is there?
- Do the cats get played with, petted and held?
- What is done to help reduce anxiety and fear?
- Is there a veterinarian on-call for emergencies?
- How is the facility monitored at night?
Some boarding facilities have great enrichment protocols and others are stark and depressing.
The Comforts of Home
Hiring a pet sitter or having a friend come over to care for your cat is a great way for you to have the security of knowing your cat remains the most comfortable in her own surroundings. It’s bad enough that from her point of view her family has run off and disappeared without warning but at least she hasn’t lost her territory. Just having that security can make a big difference in whether your cat freaks out during your absence or whether she takes it in stride with minimal stress. For some cats, being placed in a boarding kennel, no matter how well run, is terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, there are some state-of-the-art boarding facilities that look better than many of the hotel rooms I’ve stayed in, but typically for a cat, nothing beats the familiarity of home. So if it’s in the budget, consider hiring an experienced pet sitter or work out an arrangement with a trusted friend or neighbor.