Cat Sitting vs. Catteries?
What solution is best for my cat, what gives me peace of mind and what’s affordable?”
These are common questions that most cat owners face, often discussed in forums like mumsnet. A survey of 1,025 pet owners in 2013 found that a quarter of families cancel or shorten their holidays due to difficulties finding petcare for various reasons.
The PDSA, a large veterinary charity in the United Kingdom, says in their Cat Companionship Advice that ‘It’s best if a friend or neighbour can look after your cat in your home. If this isn’t possible, your cat should be boarded at a reputable cattery.’
Purina echoes this advice “Cats are home-loving and territorial creatures, and can get stressed in new environments away from familiar scents, sights and sounds. That’s why, where possible, it is best to find a way of caring for your cat within her own home when you go away.”
So where to start with your search for the best solution?
Look at the personality of your cat. Is she a shy, calm cat that does not seek human contact much other than for feeding times or is it a human contact seeking cat, is it an indoor cat that is happy with little space or is it an outdoor cat that is very territorial.
Some cats get very stressed if moved from the comfort of their home into a cattery. Others feel stressed when left alone in their own home. At the end of the day a lot of different factors will influence your decision.
The decision of whether cattery, cat sitting or boarding is more influenced by what you think works best for your cat than what your cat thinks. If it was up to the cat, no change would be the best, as they are very territorial and routine driven.
Leave me where I belong in the comfort of my home and you do your own things… just make sure I have got my favourite food, my clean toilet and my cuddles that you do best between 8–10 pm
Asking a friend or neighbour:
Unfortunately, only very few are lucky enough to have a cat loving neighbour or dedicated friend always available to replace you without giving you the feeling of guilt for unpaid favours.
When asking a neighbour or friend for the first time, please always make sure they are true cat lovers, we’ve heard lots of horror stories of cats being neglected just because the person looking after them does understand cats and just thinks they can fend for themselves — as you know this is not the case!
You could always take your cat to the local cattery, quite often run by your cat’s own veterinary surgery who know your cat’s health history and who are trained to care with medical qualification.
But many cats get very stressed in new environments, specially if they are very social and outdoor cats with a strong territorial connection or if they are old and fragile where any slight change can have fatal consequences. Also, if you have more than one cat, your bill quickly adds up.
Being locked up for 2 weeks while you soak up the sun, would your kitty forgive you? We know ours wouldn’t.
Using cat sitters:
So then there is the option of inviting a pet sitter to come to your own home once or twice a day. That way, your cats stay in their familiar surrounding with minimum change in daily routine.
You can use professional pet sitters. However, they often have super tight schedules, filling up their day, they also care for dogs and other animals too, which might unsettle your cat.
And that’s where Cat in a Flat comes in. Cat in a Flat is an online cat-loving, cat sitting community that connects cat owners with trusted cat sitters in their area.
Our cat sitters do not do this for a profession, but they do it because they are true cat lovers and can’t wait to spend time with your furry friends.
They understand that cats aren’t just pets — they’re part of the family, our confidantes, our BFFs (best furry friends)… they also understand the stresses of leaving your cat behind while going on holiday as most of them are cat owners themselves.
All our sitters go through a phone call interviewing and vetting process.
So why not have a look at our community, all you have to do is enter your postcode and our lovely sitters in your neighbourhood will appear in your search result. Select the sitter and price you like, have a read through their profile and if you like what you see invite them around for a cup of tea so you can get to know them before you make up your mind — no strings attached.
Self funded. Self motivated.
This community has been created by founders Kathrin and Julie, they both have cats of their own and always had trouble finding the perfect person to look after their kitties while away.
They said in a Timeout article:
We set about creating a network where true cat lovers would look after our cats, giving us peace of mind that they are being fed, played with and getting plenty of belly-rubbing/sock-chasing/window-staring/box-sitting while staying in the comforts of their own home.
So next time you are away, why not try and find a trusted cat sitter through catinflat.com.
What ever you decide, make sure you visit the cattery or meet the sitter first, before you leave your cat behind. Your gut feeling counts. If you are not happy or have any doubt, this will nag on you and you will not enjoy your stay-away.
Have a lovely holiday!