Life moves quickly, and last-minute vacations, business trips, and emergencies will pop up periodically. Holidays might make it difficult to find a pet sitter or travel with your cat, too.
And if you can’t take your cat with you and can’t find a cat-sitter on short notice, it’s good to have a reputable boarding facility on standby in case you need it.
Here are some tips for finding a good boarding facility that will care for your cat while you’re away.
Don’t Panic, It’s Not So Bad
In some cases, it’s easiest to have friends or family visit your home periodically to refill food and water, change the kitty litter, and let your cat roam on the catio if they’re the type to venture outdoors.
But if it’s not possible, don’t fret. Boarding doesn’t have to be rough. After all, you don’t have to coop kitty up in a travel carrier for too long like you would if they came with you on your travels. Plus they’ll get social interaction, exercise, and attention from trained personnel.
Of course, for every wonderful boarding environment, there’s another one that’s overcrowded, stressful, dirty, and staffed with untrained or unprofessional employees. So, how do you find the right one?
Get A Good Recommendation
A great place to start your boarding facility search is with a recommendation. Ask fellow pet parents, your groomer, or your vet for businesses they trust.
You can also do a quick search online for boarding facilities near you and check out some customer reviews. See what other people are saying and what kinds of services the business provides. This can be a good way to find a facility that fits within your budget, too.
It’s also a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints about a boarding facility you are considering.
Once you’ve narrowed down the candidates, your next task is the most important: a site visit.
What To Ask When You Arrive In Person
Visit the boarding facilities you’re considering in person before you bring your cat along. This will help you find out if it’s right for your cat and help you answer a lot of important questions.
Be sure to see all the places your cat may spend their time, including play areas, walk routes, and of course, kennel space.
Your essential checklist of questions to ask should include:
- Is the facility clean in both appearance and odor?
- Are the kennels well-lit and ventilated?
- Is the temperature controlled in hot or cold weather?
- Are the employees caring and professional?
- Is proof of current vaccinations required (rabies, feline distemper, etc.) to protect your cat and others?
- Does each cat have their own adequately sized indoor-outdoor run or an indoor run and a schedule for exercise? Will your cat’s stay include an individual run?
- Are outdoor exercise and play areas protected from the elements?
- Does the kennel area have bedding and raised areas so your cat can rest off the concrete?
- Are animals boarded separately according to species? (i.e. cats and dogs kept in separate areas)
- Are the kennels spacious enough for your cat?
- What is the feeding schedule, and are you allowed to supply your cat’s own food?
- What emergency veterinary services are available?
- Do they offer grooming, training, bathing, or medication administration?
- What are the fees and how are they determined?
If possible, have your cat spend the day there or even sleep over, especially before a long trip. This could be the best test of whether this kennel — or any kennel — is right for you and your kitty.
Has your cat ever stayed at a boarding facility? How did you find the right one? Let us know in the comments below!