If you’re like the majority of cat owners, you worry about their well-being and pamper them to no end. You understand that they are by nature somewhat independent, but that they still rely on you for familiarity and comfort, as well as their basic needs. Just how independent and carefree are they, however? Do you think they’re going to be okay with being taken to a cattery while you head off on holidays?
These are some big questions which often leave cat owners confused and worried whether the cattery will be stressful for their pets. What do you need to think about to ensure a good experience for your pet as your holiday draws near?
Assessing Your Options
You may be badly in need of this holiday and it’s been a long time coming. It may be a week or more in some tropical location, while you regenerate your own batteries. For such a long period of time away, it’s not viable for you to simply leave the cat at home while a friendly neighbour pops in or out now and again. It can be difficult to find someone you can trust to house-sit for more than a day or two. This makes the cattery a practical option.
How is your cat going to feel about you leaving? Are they going to hate you forever, go off their food when you return, become antisocial or even make themselves ill? These are tough questions for any pet owner, of course. The good news is, you don’t need to worry.
The Survey Says…
Firstly, look at the results of a survey conducted by Newcastle University in England a few years back. The authors of the study addressed this very question, as to whether a short stay in a cattery would produce separation anxiety behaviour. The question was whether the cat would have a loss of confidence in the relationship with the owner due to their “enforced” stay in the cattery.
The study looked at the behaviour of the cats for one week before and one week after the period of stay in the commercial cattery. The bottom line was that all behavioural activities were judged to be “stable” when compared before and after the cats’ stay. It was concluded that no clinical symptoms of any separation anxiety were discovered in the cats and that they were able to re-establish their presence back at home quite easily.
Choosing the Right Place
You need to ensure that you find the appropriate cattery for your loved one by doing your own due diligence ahead of time. Always ask others, as word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to select a boarding cattery.
When you visit, see if other cats who are currently staying there look content and happy. Check to see how much time the staff will spend with each cat, if the cages are well cleaned and large enough. Ensure they have an on-call veterinarian just in case and that they have a clear policy in place to contact you or a nominated representative in any emergency.
To make sure that your cat is as stress-free as possible during their stay, make sure that you transport them in something that is familiar to them. Get a good cat carrier well in advance if you don’t already have one and put a few toys within. This will help them to feel more “at home.” Ensure that they are completely prepared with all necessary vaccinations and that they have any special food with them that may have been prescribed by your vet.
Getting Peace of Mind
Finally, don’t worry! You may well be more stressed than your pet, but you needn’t be, especially when you find a great facility for their stay. Go away on your holiday and make sure that you come back rejuvenated.