Like getting married or starting a new job, traveling can be a fun yet stressful time in life. One way to ease stress levels is to take the time to investigate and choose an appropriate boarding facility for your cats well in advance of your trip.
Finding a kennel, pet sitting service, or boarding service isn’t something to do last minute. Allow time to network with fellow cat owners. Ask them about their experiences with kennels, kennel services and pet boarding. Talk to friends, neighbors, local animal shelters and rescue groups, dog trainers (they often partner or are in touch with reliable pet sitters and pet boarding services), and area veterinarians for recommendations on where to board your cat.
Once you have several recommendations in place, pay each a visit. Your initial visit may be by appointment to ensure someone there has time to answer your questions, but don’t be shy about dropping in unannounced. This won’t be a problem at reputable kennels that understand a pet owner’s need to research the facility. (Note: Also see our list of 10 red flags to heed when touring a cat boarding facility.)
Options for pet boarding include cat-only kennels, traditional kennel services, and pet sitting services.
Being in a strange environment is enough of a stress for some cats without the added anxiety of unfamiliar dog smells and the sound of barking. Staff at cat-only kennels are typically trained and equipped to deal with the nuances and needs of felines ranging from kittens to senior cats.
A boarding or kennel service may be connected with a veterinary office, run as an outside business or may even be located at or in someone’s home. Wherever the location, standard issues to address include:
Remember to leave the kennel with emergency contact numbers for you and friends or family members who can reach you or are authorized to make decisions involving the care of your pet in your absence.
Another option is to allow your cat to remain at home and hire a cat sitting service. Pet sitters can either stay in your home or drop by for a certain number of hours each day. Bringing in a pet sitter is often the best option for a cat as it allows them to remain in their own environment. Be warned, however, that many people out there slap the title “Pet Sitter” on a business card with no real qualifications. You’ll want to do just as much due diligence if not more (you are giving this person access to your home) when interviewing potential candidates. In addition to the questions above, you’ll also want to find out:
You may visit the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) for additional information on locating and hiring cat sitters.
Photo: House of Sims