When you think of boarding your cat, how does it make you feel? Many owners go through a lot of emotional anxiety leaving their pets behind.
The one decision causing the most anxiety is, how do i choose a good boarding facility?
That is a important decision but that is just the start. Don't forget you have to pack your cats bags as well. Let's get started on what questions to ask and what to pack for your cat.
Choosing a boarding facility...
What facility is right for you? Reviews and online pictures are a great start but should never be a deciding factor.
Pick at least three facilities you would like to check out if possible. That's right you are going to pay your choices a visit. This is what you should ask and look for when visiting.
Do you give tours?
Some facilities do give tours and some do not because of insurance reasons.
Will my cat have 24 hour care?
This question is extremely important. Some facilities consider a camera to be 24 hour care. This is not acceptable. So you must ask, Is there someone here overnight, such as a associate? I know this may sound like a very extreme and precise question. But let me explain, if you do not specify you are referring to a actual human they can say yes even if it is only by camera from a remote location.
A camera can not see if your cat is having issues inside of its room. Please keep this in mind when deciding if this is a deciding factor for you.
Do you let the cats out to play and for how long? How many times a day?
You want to make sure your cat is not going to be stuck in a room for most of its stay. Even though they do sleep a lot they still need to move around and get some play time.
Do you have camera's online? Or post pictures on social media?
This isn't a common practice yet but it is gaining momentum in the boarding industry. This feature allows owners to access cameras online so they may see playtime's or even nap times 24 hours a day.
A lot of facilities do have social medias and post pictures everyday of the pets. This is something you may want to ask about so you can follow the social site.
Do you offer in house food? If so what kind?
Most places offer complimentary meals with your cats stay but you want to make sure you agree with the food. If not you should be able to bring food from home. I suggest this to not interrupt your cats diet.
What litter do you use?
You may be asking yourself, What really? If you know your cat is picky about its litter. This is the question you want to ask because you may need to bring your own litter. You don't want your cat going on bathroom strike. Also if your cat has dust allergies this is a question you must ask.
My cat can be unruly, how do you handle this?
Some cats can act out very badly when boarding. It is important to bring this up if you know your cat can become violent. You want to make sure they can accommodate for unruly cats. It's common for a cat to go on the defensive in a new place. But you want to make sure and look for how the staff reacts when you bring this up.
Do you board cats with health issues?
This is the mother of all questions. You must let boarding facilities know if your cat has a health problem or if they were recently hospitalized or taken to a vet. I have seen many pet parents not be completely honest over the years and this has resulted in unfortunate circumstances. If you are worried that your cat will be denied boarding, you need to start your search sooner and not at the last minute.
So now that you have your basic questions, the next order of business is the cleanliness and staff attitudes. It's always good to have a second person with you because you may not notice something that they do. Cleanliness is always important, look at every square inch your eyes can cover. Even the air vents. The facility can be top notch but if the staff has horrible non caring attitudes, its not looking good.
You're already stressed about leaving your cat behind and you want to make sure you are not taking it out on the staff. Be inquisitive but not rude.
Packing Your Cats Bags...
Did you decide to bring your own food or use the facilities food. I always suggest owners bring their own foods or you may be getting that phone call about your cat not eating. Always make sure you bring enough food. Accidents do happen, such as a cat kicking litter into its food bowl or spilling it all over.
️ Bedding and Toys
If you know your cat has a favorite bed or toy be sure to pack that for them. It will help ease the stress of sleeping in a new place. A simple old t shirt can lift your cats spirit while you are away.
Do you need to pack your litter because you know your cat will not use what the facility provides. Remember does your cat have dust allergies.
Drop Off, Pick Up and Home
Drop Off Day...
A day of goodbyes can be overwhelming, make sure you double check everything you need for drop off and that the facility has the correct phone numbers in case of a emergency. Taking extra time to prepare will make saying goodbye a lot easier for both of you.
Pick Up Day...
A day of anticipation. You can not wait to see your fluffy. But don't get ahead of your self yet, always ask to settle the bill and discuss your pets stay first. Do not let them bring out your cat before you have these conversations. A lot of owners miss key details when facilities do this and unfortunately sometimes they do this on purpose. You need to know all services were provided and you have the right to know about your cats feeding chart, elimination charts and health charts. This way you can ask questions with out being distracted.
Home Sweet Home...
I always suggest to look your cat over when you get home. This typically can not be done anywhere else without causing stress. If you find any issues call the facility as soon as possible.
Keep in mind your cat may sleep a lot for the first few days. Also your cats feeding schedule has changed so if you fed on a timed schedule before you will have to start from scratch. Stay patient with your cat and soon order will restore itself.
In conclusion you want to know while your having fun or taking care of family your cat is having the time of its life. Always ask about special packages or treats they may offer for a stay like kitty non dairy ice cream or even kitty snack kongs. Take advantage of maybe a grooming or brushing package.
If you are purchasing a lot of services always ask for a discount.
Do your homework so you will not have to worry and always remember your cat is a phone call away.
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