If you’re going on holiday and worried about leaving your cat in a cattery, don’t worry, you are not alone. Thousands of cat owners face the same dilemma every year. To help, Cat in a Flat has looked into the pros and cons of three great alternatives to cat boarding. Choose which solution suits you and Mr Whiskers best.

What is cat boarding?

Cat boarding facilities or catteries are businesses that offer accommodation for your cat while you are away. Cats are usually given a small enclosure of their own, where they will be fed and receive the care they need. Some catteries have a communal area for exercise and socialising with other cats too. The problem a lot of cats have when staying at catteries is that they are kept in close quarters. Cats are very territorial, so most find the boarding environment very stressful.

For this reason, cat owners should consider the option of a cattery very carefully before choosing it over an alternative.

Pros of catteries: 
  • Professional pet care
  • Constant supervision
Cons of catteries:
  • Can be expensive for multiple cats
  • Unknown environment for your kitty
  • Stress of transporting your cat and meeting drop-off and pick-up times
  • Your cat needs to be up to date on vaccinations
  • Your furry friend might have to share a space with other cats
  • The good ones book up quickly and far in advance
  • There might not be a good cattery nearby

Thankfully, if you don’t like the idea of your kitty being stuck in a small enclosure and surrounded by unfamiliar people, cats and smells, there are alternatives to cat boarding. Below, we explore three great options for a stress-free trip for you and a happy time at home for your cat.  

  1. Asking Friends or Neighbours
  2. Employ a Cat Sitter
  3. Employ a House Sitter

1. Asking friends, family or neighbours to care for your cat

Asking a friend, family member or neighbour to pop in and feed your cat is the most common alternative to cat boarding. Your cat can stay in the comfort of his or her own home, avoiding the stress of a cattery. It’s reassuring for owners too, for someone you trust to take care of feeding your cat, giving them fresh water and cleaning the litter box.

Pros of asking friends, family or neighbours:
  • You know your cat carer
  • Your cat carer lives nearby
  • It’s free
Cons of asking friends, family or neighbours:
  • Asking favours can often be awkward
  • They might not really like cats, and so not spend enough time with them
  • Your cat may feel lonely if they don’t get enough attention
  • Friends, family and neighbours aren’t insured
  • They may not always be available
  • You may not know your neighbours
  • Your friends and family may not live nearby
  • They might not have the experience to administer medication or injections if your cat needs them

2. Employing a cat sitter for short daily visits

Paying a reliable cat sitter to visit your home once or twice a day is an excellent alternative to cat boarding. Cat in a Flat asks it’s cat sitters to go the extra mile, so your kitty will receive the care and attention he or she deserves.

On top of providing food, water and a clean litter tray, sitters will also cuddle and play with your cat. Cat sitters will spend 30 to 40 minutes on each home visit, so your kitty has enough company. Cat carers will also send you daily updates and photographs so you can see how happy your fur baby is. It’s a tailored service too – you can request that your cat sitter collect the post and water the plants. If your cat needs extra attention, you can also search for a sitter experienced in administering medication, or even injections.

You can search our database of cat-loving sitters by location to find someone in your neighbourhood. Using a local cat sitter means that if you and your fur baby like them, that you can book them in for future visits.

A cat sitter can be a great alternative to cat boarding
A cat sitter can be a great alternative to cat boarding
Pros of a daily cat sitter:
  • Individually tailored cat sitting service
  • Your cat stays stress-free at home
  • Free meet and greet beforehand to make sure kitty and sitter like one another
  • Your cat is being cared for by a cat lover
  • Professional and paid for agreement
  • You receive daily updates on your fur baby
  • Your cat sitter is insured
  • You can see reviews and recommendations of each cat sitter
  • You’re charged per household, not per cat
  • The local cat sitter lives near you
Cons of a daily cat sitter:
  • It’s not free. But still cheaper than cat boarding
  • There may be no cat sitters in your area
  • Cat sitters can get fully booked over busy holiday periods

3. Employing a house and cat sitter for over-night stays

An over-night cat sitting service is where cat sitters stay at your home. As a result, your kitty gets even more attention than just a daily visit.

This is a fantastic option for kitties that need more attention, especially elderly cats, kittens, and cats that need medication. It’s also a good alternative to a cattery for kitties that are more needy or nervous than your average cat. Your home won’t be left empty for long periods of time with an over-night sitter, so it’s better for security too. While not for everyone, over-night cat care can be one of the best alternatives to cat boarding for a worry-free vacation.

Pros of an over-night cat sitter:
  • The same as hiring a cat sitter for daily visits (please see above)
  • Your home looks lived in and won’t be left empty for long periods of time
  • It’s better for cats that need more attention
  • Your cat won’t feel lonely
  • There’s no disruption to your cat’s routine
Cons of an over-night cat sitter:
  • The same as hiring a sitter for daily visits (please see above)
  • Not everyone likes a new person staying in their home

One final note: You can find many professional pet-minding services online these days. However, not all services approve their sitters, provide insurance or ask their carers to go the extra mile in caring for pets. Cat in a Flat’s trusted cat sitters provide a local, loving and tailored cat sitting experience like no other.

Whichever solution you choose, we hope you have a lovely, relaxing time away.

You deserve it!