Since cats are so self-sufficient, do they really need designated kennels? Read on to find out why cats benefit from specific care and how to pick a kennel.
Why do cats need kennels and boarding facilities?
This is a question I get asked pretty often since I started telling people about my business. Even now, customers stop in and ask. I have my own personal beliefs about why cats need safe and comfortable boarding facilities (read more about that here), but I’ve also compiled some other common reasons cats may benefit from boarding.
Many years ago, I left for a long weekend and had a friend stop by to feed my kitty, Guenivere. The friend told me that she would barely stay for 3 minutes. She stayed enough time to dump food in a bowl, open a can of wet food and refill the water. Needless to say, I never asked her to check on Gwen again.
However, because of the isolation and loneliness, I came home to her losing her voice. Yes, my sweet Guenivere had meowed so much that she was hoarse and could barely speak anymore. As my vet advised, not all cats are aloof loners. Some are attention seeking and need human interaction (when they decide they want it, of course). While cats may not need to be constantly stroked or cradled, some just need to know that a human is present and that is enough to reduce any anxiety for them. My vet had advised me that anything over 4 days is really pushing the limits for loneliness to set in.
Whether your cat is diabetic or on an antibiotic, the medicine needs to be administered on a regular basis in a safe environment. It is neither fun nor easy to give a cat medicine but for the cat’s health, it must be done. Some make it easier than others, like the cats who make it nearly impossible, but having someone trained to give them medicine is a huge plus of boarding facilities. Knowing who will be administering the medication is important for the cat’s stress level, which may already be high just by not being around their owner.
Medical attention can also mean post-surgery care. As with humans, postsurgical recovery can be important to avoid another surgery or health scare. I recently had a client tell me that his cat was a little Houdini after a procedure and removed the plastic cone and damaged his wound and stitches. This happened while he was at work all day and he thought that the cone would stop any risk of opening the wound. The little stinker had to go back to the vet to be re-stitched and received another round of antibiotics just in case.
Cat daycare is available for these situations. If you have a very busy schedule or multiple pets, even a short term stay can help get through the rough first days. Or maybe you have to travel and are unable to postpone your trip. Having the option of a trusted cat daycare can help get kitty on the road to recovery.
The human element
\Watching your fur baby is one of the greatest responsibilities that you may ask of someone. I’ll be the first to admit that I have asked neighbors and friends to stop by and feed and water my cat. Unfortunately, even the best neighbor in the world is likely to slack on care and attention during a quick drop-by.
Having someone in my house while I’m away is not comforting to me regardless of new technology that can be set up. It is still a stranger in your house with a key to it! Additionally, even the people who want to provide your cat with more attention can misstep. One time, my cat crawled under the bed and the cat-sitter friend insisted on trying to get her. Unfortunately, she ended up being bitten by my cat, as my cat felt her personal space was being interrupted. I appreciated her wanting to play with Maddie but provoking her to hide and then bite was uncalled for. At a kennel, staff are trained to respect the cat’s desire to calm down.
A recent guest at the cat spa had very specific feeding times for their cat that needed to be adhered to, first and foremost. Some cats can be left a bowl of food and will eat at their pleasure and come and go. Others may binge and eat all the food at once only to become sick and make a mess.
Your cat may be very adjusted to your routine at home, and having that routine disrupted while still in their home can be very confusing. Cats are intuitive creatures, and being at a boarding facility may help put them in the mindset of “I need to figure out how to adjust” rather than being stubborn.
While leaving your kitty at home or asking a friend to check is no cost, sometimes there can be a price you don’t know of that your cat will pay. Trips to the boarder are not often and quickly forgotten. Some upscale boarding facilities are now offering pick up and drop off for a small fee. After some mishaps and not so great experiences asking friends or needing medication handled, I have no question that boarding is the best choice. If we can travel and stay in a nice hotel, shouldn’t your cat enjoy a nice getaway to the spa as well? They may have so much fun that they may not want to leave!
While a kennel is the approach I prefer to take, you know your cat best. Take time to research and visit in person and interview us! There can be huge differences in kennels from drop off/pick up times to what type of kennel/room the cat will be in. Interview them as you are hiring them to work for you and take care of your baby. Sometimes spending more can guarantee peace of mind and a happier cat.
Rock the Cat Spa owner Cari Thompson is a life-long cat lover. When she's not running the luxury cat spa & hotel, she's playing with her cat, Daphne. She writes weekly blogs on cat behavior, health, and care. To learn more about her, check out the About Me page!