Choosing a Cattery
How to choose a good cattery for your cat
Things to consider when looking for a good cattery
Good catteries will book up quickly during peak times, so research well in advance of your planned holiday. Recommendation by someone that you trust is a good way of finding out about suitable catteries and visiting is always advised. Look for establishments that are licenced by the local council - anyone who boards cats or dogs as a business (in a domestic or commercial premises) must be licensed and insured.
The design of the cattery is important – the individual cat units can be alongside each other, but they need to be separated either by an impermeable barrier such as Perspex or by a wide gap, often referred to as a ‘sneeze barrier’. Cats should never be able to touch each other.
Avoid communal runs. This is where cats share a large space with other cats. The majority of cats don’t want to share space with a cat they don’t know and will find this very stressful. These and exercise areas where cats can exercise and then go back into their individual pens are potential ways to spread disease.
It may sound silly but ensure that the cat areas are secure. Your cat should be secure in their unit but the areas where cats are transferred from baskets to cage should also be secure. Cats have an innate ability to bolt and squeeze through the smallest of gaps when basket transfers are made.
The cattery should not smell and litter trays should be cleaned regularly. Uneaten wet food should be removed and food and water bowls kept clean. Look for the provision of some enrichment in the cage. Cats prefer high places and the addition of a shelf or similar in the sleeping area or run will be enjoyed by most cats. A warm cosy bed is a must!
Barking dogs close by can be very stressful for cats, so choose a cattery that has no close contact with the kennel area. Some catteries play music to cats to help to relax them and some have plug in Feliway or Pet Remedy diffusers which diffuse stress relieving vapours.
Staff should have an obvious affinity with cats and a clear understanding of their habits and needs. You should be asked for an up to date vaccination certificate as proof that inoculations are up to date, in order to protect both your cat and the other cats in the cattery.
A good cattery will ask you for details of your vet and ask you to sign a consent form allowing them to contact a vet and give treatment if it’s necessary. You should provide a contact number should there be an emergency.
To make your cat feel at home you may be able to leave some bedding or toys from home. Many catteries will try to feed the same food as they have at home if they can easily source it, however if you feed a special diet, you may have to provide this if you would like them to feed it. Some keep detailed records of how much has been eaten as well as toileting records. This is good practice and can provide an early warning of any issues.
Many catteries will administer medication if required and sometimes diabetic cats can be accommodated. This would need to be discussed in detail with the staff.