Boarding your Cat when you Go Away

by Black Hawk Pet Care. Published 9 November 2020

Most cat owners will tell you they are certain their cat understood the phone call making arrangements to come to the cattery! Cats are extremely aware & sensitive to changes & it is important you do not take it for granted your cat will be where he or she normally is or where you want your cat to be when you are ready to take your cat to the cattery. There are a few simple things to remember to make sure there aren’t any last-minute hiccups.

But firstly, going back to the introduction on boarding tips, we can’t stress enough the importance of the settling in process for all pets to ensure they feel happy, safe & content while in care: even more so with cats. Cats need that extra bit of help, particularly with their first stay. Cats rarely just settle in; they need to feel they are in an environment they can relax in. It is not enough to think because someone operates a cattery they know how to care properly for cats in a cattery environment. This is when experience is really beneficial – a cattery owner should pay attention to each pet, understand how pets, individually, react & behave in a boarding environment. They notice the signs of discontent & do something about it to help each pet settle, relax & feel content & safe whilst boarding.

Always make sure you use a cat carrier to bring your cat in; a cat loose in the car can be dangerous & it is distressing for your cat.

It is much easier & safer for your cat to bring him or her before you start packing to go away; simply bringing the suitcase out & leaving it in the bedroom ready to pack is enough to let your cat know you are going away

  • Don’t bring the cat carrier out before you have your cat inside, in a secure room – the first sign of the cat carrier & most cats will go into hiding & they are very good at hiding!
  • Make sure your cat is inside the night before you plan to bring him or her in – they should not be allowed outside at all when you get up the next morning
  • It is also best for him or her to come to the cattery in the morning, particularly for the first visit, as it gives him or her the whole day to settle in & get to know everyone
  • Most cats travel better on an empty stomach; don’t feed your cat for at least 4 hours before you leave home
  • If your cat isn’t used to travelling in the car it can help him or her to be calm if you cover your cat’s carrier with a towel; cats are more inclined to relax/settle in a dark place
  • It is better to put a thick layer of newspaper in the pet carrier; some cats will go to the toilet when in a carrier. Newspaper is very absorbent whereas a towel or blanket becomes a sodden mess and very uncomfortable for your pet
  • Definitely bring your cat’s favourite blanket, cushion, basket or igloo bed; it will do absolutely no harm whatsoever to bring it & it will almost certainly help your cat to settle in
  • Once inside please leave your cat in his or her cat carrier; generally cats don’t like to be forced out of their carrier – have your goodbye hug at home before you leave
When you come home & pick up your cat, he or she will either be very vocal, wanting to tell you everything, or give you the brush off.

This is normal for cats: it is always on their terms – accept it & they will be back to their usual selves in no time at all. 

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