Are you going on vacation and need to board your cat? If so, you may be wondering what the best way to do it is. Boarding your cat can be a stressful experience for both you and your pet, but with these 10 tips, it can be a little bit easier. Read on to learn more!
No pet parent wants to board the family pet. It’s always a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these tips for boarding your cat the first time and make the process as smooth as possible for both you and your feline friend.
Tips for Boarding Your Cat For The First Time
#1 Choose The Right Boarding Facility
The best way to ensure your cat’s safety while you’re away is to choose a reputable boarding facility. Do your research, read reviews, and ask family and friends for recommendations. The place you choose should be clean, safe, and staffed with people who love animals.
Make sure the dogs and cats are housed in separate areas, and that the boarding facility offers 24-hour supervision. It’s also helpful if they have a veterinarian on staff so you don’t have to worry about your cat getting sick while you’re away.
#2 Schedule A Visit In Advance
Try visiting the boarding facility before your trip to get your cat used to being there. This will help reduce the stress of boarding and make it easier for your pet to adapt to their new surroundings.
Planning a visit in advance will help you determine if the facility is a good fit for your cat. You can also check out their kennels. Meet staff members and discuss any special needs your pet may have with them ahead of time.
If possible, make sure to visit the boarding facility on a day that’s not busy. You’ll get more one-on-one attention from the staff.
#3 Make Sure Your Cat Has Enough Space
The kennels should be spacious enough for your cat to be comfortable during their stay. Make sure the facility has kennels with multiple floors or separate rooms for cats who are shyer and don’t like being around other animals.
Look at the sleeping arrangements, too: do they provide blankets? Is there a place where your pet can hide if they get scared? The boarding facility should also have a litter box and plenty of food and water.
If your cat is used to having a lot of space, you may want to consider hiring a pet sitter instead of boarding them. Someone will come to your house and take care of your cat in their own environment.
#4 Plan A Short-Term Stay Before A Long Term Stay
Do a trial run and board your cat for a shorter period of time before leaving them for an extended stay. This will help them get used to the new surroundings and make the transition easier.
If you’re going on vacation, try boarding your cat for a few days first to see how they adjust. If everything goes well, you can leave them there for the duration of your trip. This will give you peace of mind, knowing that your pet is adjusting well to their new home away from home!
Additionally, some boarding facilities offer a 25% discount for new customers. This is a great way to test out a boarding facility before leaving your cat there for an extended period of time.
#5 Plan Ahead
There are over 23% of cat owners in the United States alone. Which means you’re not the only one who wants to board your cat. Be sure to plan in advance and make a reservation for your cat.
The busiest times for boarding facilities are during the summer months, so be sure to book well in advance if you’re planning on traveling during that time. You can also call the facility to check availability and get an idea of how busy they are.
Some boarding facilities offer online booking, which makes the process even easier.
Prices during peak season are usually higher, too. So be sure to check with your boarding facility about a price increase during peak times of the year and plan accordingly.
If you’re traveling for an extended period of time or if it’s a last-minute trip, consider hiring a pet sitter instead of boarding your cat at the facility. A pet sitter can come to your home and take care of your pet while you’re away.
#6 Provide Your Cat With Familiarities to Relieve Stress
Cats are creatures of habit, so you’ll want to make sure they’re able to stay in their routine while you’re away. Bring along any familiar items that will help your cat feel at home, such as a favorite blanket or toy.
Some facilities will allow you to bring your cat’s litterbox, especially, if your cat is picky (which most are).
Having a few of these comforts around can help reduce the stress of boarding and ease the transition into their new environment. You might also want to bring along your cat’s food and litter so they don’t have to get used to new brands while you’re away.
If your boarding facility offers webcam access, take advantage of it! This will allow you to keep an eye on your pet and make sure they’re adjusting well.
If your cat is used to a routine, try sticking to their normal schedule while they’re at the boarding facility. Ask the staff to feed them at specific times and give them a set amount of time for playtime each day.
The extra attention may cost more, but your cat will be much more comfortable and you’ll feel better knowing that they’re being taken care of.
#7 Bring Their Food to Avoid Diet Changes
Bring enough cat food for the duration of your cat’s stay, especially, if the boarding facility doesn’t carry the same food. This will help avoid any diet changes, which can lead to stomach upset.
If your cat is on a special diet, be sure to bring along enough food for the entire trip. You may also want to talk to the boarding facility about their feeding policies. Some facilities require that you bring your cat’s food with you, while others will provide it at an additional cost.
If your cat is on a prescription diet, be sure to bring along a copy of the prescription and any other relevant information. This will help the staff better care for your pet.
#8 Take Veterinary and Emergency Contact Information
Bring a copy of your cat’s medical records with you, including vaccination records. Many facilities require that pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations and may not board them if they’re not.
You’ll also want to provide contact information for your veterinarian and an emergency contact person in case the staff needs to reach someone.
If your cat has a medical condition or is on medication, be sure to talk with the boarding facility about their policies regarding administering medications and special care. Some facilities may require that you bring along the medications and supplies necessary for your cat’s care.
Be sure to also pack a copy of your pet insurance information in case of an emergency.
#9 Make Sure Your Cat Is Updated on Their Flea Medications
Your cat will be exposed to more fleas and ticks while at the boarding facility than they would be in your home.
This is because there are many other animals around, which makes it easier for them to pick up parasites from each other. The best method to protect your feline friend is to make sure they’re up-to-date on their flea and tick medications.
Talk to your veterinarian about the best type of medication for your cat and when it should be administered. Some medications need to be given a few days before boarding in order to be effective.
If your pet is going to be around other animals, you might also want to consider a flea shampoo, which will kill any bugs your cat has picked up.
If you have multiple cats at home, be sure to treat them for fleas as well so that they don’t bring the parasites back into your house after boarding.
In addition to medication and shampoos, be sure to check with the facility about their flea control policies. Some facilities may require that you use a specific type of medication or shampoo in order to board your pet.
You should also talk with the boarding facility about any other pets they have at the time and what kind of precautions they’re taking to prevent parasites from spreading between animals.
#10 Make A Packing List
Write or create a packing list on your phone to ensure, you don’t forget anything.
Include items like a litter box, food, and water bowls, toys, bedding, medications (if necessary), and any other supplies your cat might need while away from home.
Pack enough for the entire trip, plus a little extra in case of emergencies.
#11 Ask About Their Emergency Policies
It’s important to know what happens in the case of a fire, flood, or another emergency.
Ask the staff about their policies regarding evacuation and what happens to your cat if there’s a natural disaster or something else that might affect your pet’s safety.
You should also ask how often employees check on the animals and what type of supervision they provide during emergencies. If you have any concerns, be sure to discuss them with the staff before leaving your cat at their facility.
For example, if you’re worried about a fire breaking out in the middle of the night and no one being around to let your pet out. Ask what would happen in that situation.
You might also want to find out whether there are smoke detectors or sprinkler systems on the premises. And if so, how often they’re checked for functionality.
Boarding your cat doesn’t have to be stressful. The tips above will ensure both you and your cat have a good first-time experience. The better the experience for your feline friend, the easier it will be to leave them at the boarding facility in the future.
If you’re still feeling anxious, talk to the staff about your concerns and ask for their advice. They’ll likely be able to put your mind at ease and help make the process easier for both of you.
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