In the most ideal of circumstances, your cat would always be at home where they know everyone and everything. This isn't always possible, however, and so the next best thing is to ensure that they're comfortable when they need to be away from home, like when you're travelling for work or vacation.
Boarding facilities are excellent alternatives since they are built specifically for cats. There are steps you can take to ensure that your cat acclimatises better to your absence when they're in a cat boarding facility. Read on to learn more.
1. Ask for at-home care
If you're not away for long, talk to the facility about providing an at-home sitter which allows your cat to stay in the familiar home environment. This person doesn't have to stay the whole day indoors, but they will need to visit the home at least twice daily to put in fresh food and water and ensure their litter box is scooped. These visits should be made around the same times because cats are creatures of habit. Ask the sitter to take time doing activities your cat enjoys.
Leave a detailed list of instructions for the sitter: how your cat feeds, when they sleep, when they play, favourite toys, litter box maintenance etc. Be sure to mention any behavioural ticks/concerns and leave them your vet's number.
2. Carry small parts of you
If at-home care isn't feasible, help the cat to adjust to the new space by bringing along your things to the boarding facility. Put some towels or clothing with your scent in sealable plastic bags. The number should be according to the number of days you're away. The facility sitter will place one item every day in the cat's favourite sitting spot. Your scent will make it easier for them to relax in the new place.
Your cat also knows your voice. You can either phone in everyday to speak to the cat, or leave voice recordings to be replayed to them at intervals throughout the day.
3. Carry their things
You can help the cat adjust to a new space by bringing some of his/her favourite things to the facility. These include playing toys and sleeping blankets/cushions among others. Your cat may not be able to settle to sleep without their favourite blanket, or they may just love playing with a specific soft toy. If a cat becomes too anxious or stressed in a new place, they may refuse to eat and this could be dangerous for them.
In addition, ensure the facility has enough space for the cat to jump around at various levels – cats love to move vertically. Tall cat trees can offer long hours of entertainment for the cat, as can puzzle boxes with treats and tract and ball toys among others.
If you have a pet that you love with all of your heart, you will want to make sure that they are kept warm and well-fed while you are away from home. My name is Jan. My work for a large multi-national bank means that I often have to travel to other places for extended periods of time. I own a cat and a dog who are like children to me. When I was first told I would be sent away on business, my main concern was what would happen to my pets. Thankfully, I found a fantastic pet day care and boarding centre. The staff look after my pets like true professionals. I decided to start this blog so I could encourage others to put their pets into day care when they are away.