Cat ownership in Australia is continually on the rise and for good reason.These small mammals who chose to live with us humans some 10,000 years ago,can bring so much joy to our lives. Therefore, as responsible pet owners weneed to know what care options are available in our absence.
**There may be times when the family goes away on holiday, needs to vacatetheir home for renovations, or is otherwise unable to have the cat at home andduring these times you may be looking for the best care option for your felinefriend. Boarding catteries provide a safe and comfortable alternative for yourkitty, let’s have a close look at what they provide.
**What Options Are Available?
While the idea of travelling with your favourite feline friend may soundgreat, unless your cat is trained and comfortable in new environments, itcould cause them and yourself more stress than joy.
Alternatively, having a friend or house-sitter pop in may not be sufficient.Cats are extremely stoic and even the smallest changes in behaviour canindicate something that needs further investigation.
If you want the best for your pet, then a professional boarding cattery is thebest alternative in your absence. All members of the Australian Pet CareAssociation abide by our Codes of Practice, and employ personnel who aretrained in observing and handling any problems which might arise in yourabsence.
We have had numerous reports from families wishing they had used a boardingfacility or cattery, rather than asking a friend, neighbour or family memberto stop in once or twice a day to feed their cat. This is mainly due to thefact that any health or behavioural issues are picked up earlier with trainedprofessionals, and it is natural for friends and family to feel guilty if theymiss something that results in serious medical concerns.
What to look for in a Professional Boarding Cattery
Get acquainted with the people who will be caring for your cat. Think aboutthe following list:
- Find out if toys and bedding are welcome
- Find out about the diet that the cattery provides. If there is a special diet that you would like your cat to adhere to, most catteries will allow you to provide such food and will ensure that your cat is fed only what you request.
- Discuss safety features of the cattery as boarding cats requires good security to prevent escapes.
- Discuss openly with the Cattery staff any qualms you may have about boarding your cat. The cattery will appreciate your frankness and your interest.
- Ask about the staff qualifications, policies and procedures in place for the care of your cat. Good facilities will keep a record of your pet’s health while in case.
- Confirm who the treating vets are, and what is the process in place for vet visits. If your cat does require veterinary aid while he is in the cattery, you should be aware that you are financially responsible for such aid.
- Discuss before boarding any medication your cat might need, or any special care. Most catteries offer a certain amount of individual care (playing with, talking to, and petting your furry feline) so talk to them about what is included and what else can be arranged.
- Make certain that you understand the rate structure for all services and hours of operation. The fee for boarding includes not only the care of your cat but also the peace of mind that comes from knowing he is safe and with someone that you can trust.
Facts To Consider
Keep in mind that cats react very differently in a strange environment. Catsare instinctively solitary animals, therefore when confronted with strangesurroundings, a cat’s normal response is to withdraw physically and mentallyinto a protected, solitary state.
For this reason, cats prefer the ‘protected’ feeling they get from being cagedwhile in the cattery. It is therefore important that the cats do have a safespace where they can retreat and rest in their rooms until they feelcomfortable in the new environment.
For cats who are regularly boarded, you may find they accept their boardingcattery like a home away from home. These cats do enjoy the added humaninteractions and cat-safe playtimes some catteries offer. You know your catthe best and the staff should be able to provide you feedback on the best wayto ensure your cat is the most comfortable while away from you.
Why Should you choose a Pet Resort?
**** There are many factors to consider when deciding on the best option foryour family pet. Choosing a Pet resort over other alternatives has manybenefits! It is important to note that if you are looking at alternatives to aPet Resort, such as a Pet Sitter, Pet Nanny, In Home Pet Boarding, or BackyardBoarding, many of the things below are not a requirement of people acting inthis capacity.
- Pet Resorts / Boarding Facilities are run by industry professionals, who employ qualified staff to care for your pet.
- They have strict policies regarding vaccinations, meaning that your pet is best protected whilst they are away from home
- Pet Resorts / Boarding Facilities are licensed with their local Council and must adhere to standards such as maximum pet numbers, proper waste management and noise management procedures
- They have strict hygiene and cleaning procedures
- Pet Resorts / Boarding Facilities will provide the maximum amount of human interaction possible while your pet is away. Unlike other alternatives where a person may attend to your home and pet for 30-60 minutes per day, the great thing about a Pet Resort is that they staff are there all day long, and your pet will get plenty of interaction!
- They have secure fencing and properties, to ensure that all animals are contained and unauthorised people are prevented from entering
- Professional businesses such as Pet Resort / Boarding Facilities are registered businesses that are required to hold public lability insurance as a minimum, which offers protection for the pet and the pet owner.
- Whilst many of the alternative options are services run by one person, either in their own home or visiting the pet owners home, licensed boarding facilities such as Pet Resorts and Boarding Facilities have staff on hand at all times to care for the pets.
- Pet Resorts and Boarding Facilities have formal agreements that they enter into with the pet owner, so that the client clearly understands what is expected and agreed by both parties.
Fortunately, within the last several years there have been significantadvances in immunisation programs for cats. In past years, there were a numberof contagious airborne viruses, which caused serious respiratory problems incats.
These viruses could not be controlled except by complete isolation of all catsfrom each other. Now, however, thanks to advances made by the veterinarypharmaceutical companies, there are effective vaccines available to preventsuch diseases. Most catteries have strict policies regarding the immunisationprograms for these diseases.
You should be aware of the cattery policy and discuss it with yourveterinarian prior to boarding your cat. Also ensure that your cat is notexposed to any contagious cat diseases prior to boarding. Catteries have theright to refuse your pet if they are showing signs of illness on arrival, inorder to protect the other pets in their care.
Stress Is A Factor
Any animal in strange surroundings suffers from a degree of stress. This meansthat his normal immune process is affected, as well as his eating anddigestive habits. Your cattery will do everything possible to minimise theeffects of stress on your cat, and for this reason it is a good practice forthem to allow your cat to adjust to the cattery environment at his own rate.However, you can help to minimise the effects of stress by trying to make theboarding experience as pleasant as possible for your cat.
Crate familiarisation is a valuable tool for any cat owner. Teaching your catthat the crate is a good, safe place for them, helps immeasurably over thelife of your cat! Too often we hear that the owner has gotten the crate outand the cat has disappeared. Conversely, regular cattery visitors see theircrate and are happy to jump in as it has been associated with food or otherrewards.
Remember that the more often your cat boards, the more adjusted they will beto the cattery environment, and the easier the boarding process will becomefor them. Therefore, several short periods of boarding prior to a lengthyvacation will probably do more to help your cat adjust to boarding than willanything else.
Welcoming Your Cat Home
After you pick your cat up from the cattery, be sure to keep them secure inthe house. Ideally your cat will be exclusively indoors or only have access toa cat-safe outdoor area to ensure the highest level of safety for kitty andthe environment around them.
Just as they had to adjust to the cattery, they will need time to adjust tobeing home again. Allow them to find that ‘at home’ feeling and adjust to hisnormal routines like meal times, bedtimes, and toilet location before lettingthem out of the house.
Summary of Points:
- Being prepared to board your pet cat is a proactive measure, because you never know when you will urgently need professional care for your pets.
- Spend time choosing a pet boarding facility that you trust, and that you know will provide the care that your pet needs.
- Cats take time to adjust to change, and they may act differently in the boarding environment to what they are like at home with you.
- Regularly boarding your furry feline will help them get acquainted with being away from home, and will mean that they are likely to settle in faster and enjoy their holiday!
For more information, contact the Australian Pet Care Association anytime byemailing us at [email protected]
Further Factsheets can be found by visiting us athttps://www.australianpetcareassociation.com.au/factsheets/
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