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Cat Daycare: How to Tell if It’s Right for You

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 2, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat boarding in a pet hotel

Cat Daycare: How to Tell if It’s Right for You

Some cats thrive on being alone all day while you’re at work, but others may get anxious or lonely alone. You can’t stay home 24/7, but you can give your cat an enjoyable experience in a cat daycare while you’re gone.

Cat daycare facilities offer amenities, medical care, and socialization for your cat while you’re gone for the day, but they’re not the right choice for every cat. Here’s how to tell if cat daycare is right for you.

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What Is Cat Daycare?

Cat hotels and boarding facilities often offer short-term care for people needing someone to watch their cat while at work. Like daycare for children, cat daycare is an option if you have long work hours and worry about your cat being left alone.

While the amenities vary with the facility, cat daycare often includes socialization and enrichment opportunities for your cat. They’re not simply left in a cage for the day.

woman working in animal shelter
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

Why Bring My Cat to a Cat Daycare?

There are many reasons you may want to leave your cat in a daycare facility instead of home. If you work long hours, daycare keeps your cat entertained and reduces the risk of stress or mischief.

Daycare may be necessary if your cat has special needs as well. For example, if your cat needs medication throughout the day, staying at a daycare ensures that they get it when they need it rather than when you get home.

Cat daycare doesn’t need to be an everyday experience, either. Some people rely on cat daycare if they have an upcoming stressful event, such as moving or bringing home a baby. This keeps the cat out of your way and limits the stress on the cat.

How to Tell If Cat Daycare Is Right for You and Your Cat

Not all cats require cat daycare. Some are happy at home on their own, and taking them to daycare could be more stressful than leaving them for a long workday.

Here’s how to tell if cat daycare is right for you and your cat:

  • Is your cat particularly clingy?
  • Do you routinely work more than 8 hours?
  • Are you preparing for a major life change, like a new baby or a big move?
  • Is your cat prone to mischief or destructive behavior if left alone?
  • Does your cat have special medical needs you can’t accommodate during the day?
  • Does your cat enjoy spending time with other cats or people?
feeding cat
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shuterstock

How to Choose a Daycare for Your Cat

If daycare is the right choice for you and your cat, it’s important to research your options and find the right facility.

1. Ask for Recommendations

Start by asking your vet for recommendations for local cat daycares. They know you and your cat, so they can advise you on the best facilities for your cat’s needs. You could also ask other trusted professionals, such as your groomer or other pet owners.

2. Evaluate Local Cat Daycares

Cat daycare can run the gamut from luxury facilities to special needs facilities. Make a list of all your local options and their pros and cons, then consider your cat’s needs. Does your cat have a special diet or medication? Will the staff need to provide on-site medical care? Are you allowed to bring your own food?

Make sure to read reviews and ask the staff about their amenities and services. It’s crucial to find a facility that provides the best experience for your individual cat.

a woman with laptop and notepad in the kitchen

3. Tour Your Top Choices

Once you have your list narrowed down to a few top contenders, schedule tours to see the accommodation and meet the staff. This is a good opportunity to see how the staff interacts with the cats and assess the setup and cleanliness of the facility. Make sure to look at the cages, feeding areas, play areas, and litter boxes.

4. Prepare Your Cat for the First Day

The goal of cat daycare is to help your kitty feel as comfortable at the daycare as they are at home. It may take time, but you can ease the transition by bringing some of your cat’s favorite treats and toys. Your cat may feel better if you bring a blanket or an item of clothing that smells like you for them to snuggle with.

You should also check the facility’s requirements and make sure your cat is up to date on vaccinations and flea and tick preventatives. Make sure any medications are refilled as well. You should provide the daycare with your contact information, your vet’s information, the medications, the dosage, and when your cat gets them. If you have any tricks to get your cat to take medications, make sure you provide that information to the staff.

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Cat daycare gives cats enrichment and fun while you’re away for the day. It’s not ideal for every cat, especially if they dislike change and prefer to be alone. If you think daycare is the right choice for your cat, make sure to do your research and prepare for the first day to minimize stress for both you and your cat.

Featured Image Credit: Bussakorn Ewesakul, Shutterstock

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