Planning professional cat care for when you’re away from home can be full of difficult decisions. Two of the most popular methods are boarding your kitty and employing a cat sitter. But how can you choose? Cat in a Flat looks into the options to help you decide. 

What is cat boarding?

A cat boarding facility or cattery is a place you can take your kitty to stay while you’re away. Catteries usually comprise many separate rooms or enclosures for cats and sometimes a communal area. As well as catteries, there are boarding facilities that refer to themselves as cat hotels. These are usually fancier and more expensive catteries that host fewer cats and give them more space and attention than other facilities. However, there is no legal definition, so don’t assume someone using the term “cat hotel” will always have luxury boarding facilities. Cat owners should check out any boarding facility before booking in their kitty for a stay to make sure it feels safe, secure and caring.

Some people also offer boarding in their house. This is a less formal arrangement, where your cat will stay in the boarder’s home rather than their own enclosure.

As with any cat care option, there are advantages and disadvantages to leaving your cat at a cattery or boarding facility. Below, we have listed the most important factors to consider, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of booking a cat sitter. 

Cat boarding
Cat boarding is one of the options for professional cat care when you’re away

What are the advantages of using a cat boarding facility?

  • Regulations around cat boarding facilities can vary from place to place and country to country. However in most cases, catteries have laws and standards that they have to meet in order to protect kitty clients.
  • Because catteries are regulated and are usually run by experienced carers; they should know what to do in an emergency.  
  • Cat boarding facilities rely on good reviews so make sure you research which are the best options close to you. 

What are the disadvantages of boarding your cat?

Catteries and boarding facilities:

  • Catteries and boarding facilities get booked up months in advance so require careful planning. For short-notice cat care requirements, this means catteries are often unsuitable. 
  • Catteries and boarding facilities can be expensive.
  • Most boarding facilities require you to drop off your cat within a short time frame, adding extra complication and stress onto planning your trip. 
  • Cats are creatures of habit and don’t like being away from home. A change in environment – the unfamiliar sounds and smells – can be very stressful for your kitty.
  • Even luxurious boarding facilities have a lot of cats in close quarters. Kitties find being around other strange cats extremely stressful.

Boarding your cat at someone’s home:

  • Some cat boarders take on cats in their own homes, and this takes extra consideration. You would need to check that the house is safe, cat proof, has correctly sealed and monitored windows and doors. You should also check that the home is free from dangerous plants
  • Cats can behave erratically in unfamiliar environments and could toilet outside of a litter tray, scratch furniture or cause damage to a boarder’s property.
  • Some cat insurance doesn’t cover your pet for locations away from home. 
  • If your cat escapes, they will be in an unfamiliar place and won’t be able to find their way home. 

What is cat sitting?

Cat sitting is a paid-for service whereby a cat carer looks after your kitty in the comfort of their own home. You can book a cat sitter for the entire time you’re away to look in on Mr Whiskers. Cat sitting is a flexible service so you can ask your carer to visit your kitty once or twice a day, or even stay overnight in your home. Many pet sitters will also help with jobs around the house including picking up post or watering plants. A regular cat sitting service includes feeding your cat, changing their litter tray and should also include playing with and cuddling your furry friend. It means more attention and less disruption for your cat while you’re away and the peace of mind for you of a kitty-loving professional caring for your beloved pet. It’s a great alternative to a cattery.

Cat boarding is one of the options for professional cat care when you're away
Cat sitting is a stress free option for your and your cat

What are the advantages of hiring a cat sitter?

  • Cats are cared for in the comfort of their own home. Leaving your cat in the place they know and love means you’ll return to a relaxed and happy furry friend. 
  • Cat sitting means no worries about drop off and pick up times or getting Mr Whiskers into his cat carrier
  • Cat sitting is flexible. You can ask your sitter to help out around your house by collecting your post or watering your plants. 
  • Cat sitters expect you to brief them on your cat and home before you go away, so they know precisely how to care for your kitty. 
  • You can also book a sitter to stay overnight in your home for extra security. House sitters are a good option too if your kitty needs extra attention. 
  • Platforms such as Cat in a Flat have many sitters available in most areas. This means there are more options for last-minute bookings than at boarding facilities. 
  • Many people find regular visits to their home gives them peace of mind that everything is safe and secure.  
  • You can search cat sitters to find someone experienced in looking after infirm cats, or administering medicine if required. 
  • A more individual service also means you can expect daily updates on your cats. A daily photo and message is a lovely and reassuring treat for owners to look forward to each day. 
  • If you book a cat sitter through a platform such as Cat in a Flat they will be covered and vetted. Your furry friend will be in safe hands and covered if any emergencies arise. 
  • You can read reviews of sitters before booking to make sure other cat lovers had a good experience. 

What are the disadvantages of hiring a cat sitter?

  • Cat sitting is a paid-for service, so it is more expensive than asking a friend or family member to look after your pet. But it is usually a more affordable option than a boarding facility. 
  • Although there are usually more local cat sitters than boarding facilities, cat sitters can get booked up over busy holiday periods. 
  • There could be no cat sitters in your area, especially outside of towns and cities. 

Top tip: at the Covid-19 pandemic continues, you should arrange to introduce your cat nanny to your cat and home over a video call. And brief your sitter on the cleaning protocols you’d like to put in place. In this way, cat sitting allows for a relatively contact-free care option. See Cat in a Flat’s safety information to learn more. 

As we approach the holiday season, make sure to book your cat care early as demand can be high at this time of year. To learn more about how you should prepare for your cat’s care when going away, read Cat in a Flat’s blog here

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