Being Aware of Your Cats Behaviour After A Cattery Stay

So, you’ve gone away for a lovely family holiday and unfortunately, were unable to take you cat along for the trip. This is a scenario that most pet owners must face several times in their life. As we are quite protective of our domestic animals and see them as much a part of the family as our spouses or partners and children, it is never easy making the decision to go somewhere for a week or longer without them.

When you do have to though, unless you have friends or family that live close by or that don’t mind housesitting and cat sitting while you are away, you must use a cattery.

Now, although there is a lot of stigma attached to catteries, it’s very often unfair. There are several catteries out there that are not the best place to leave your cats while you holiday, but to say all catteries are bad would be a sweeping generalisation.

Caution When Choosing the Best Cattery for Your Cat

Therefore, the recommendation is, if you must use the services of a cattery, make sure you shop around before booking your cat a place to stay. Although this might take a lot longer than you imagined, the peace of mind you will have when you are flying off to that far flung corner of the world or on the train or in the car and heading to Skegness will make it all worth it.

Why its Important To be Careful

Why do you need to be so cautious with choosing the right cattery for your cat? Cats are infamous for being territorial and although they are very independent, they do not like being taken out of their comfort zone. Their comfort zone is their local, central territory. Sure, they may travel outside their marked territory when they are exploring or hunting, but they are always able to return to it. When you put your cat into a cattery, you are taking them away from their territory and putting them somewhere strange and unfamiliar and it can cause them stress.

When Your Cat Comes Home

If you manage to find a good cattery and it seems as if your cat will have a nice time there, you still need to prepare yourself for some unsettled behaviour when they come back home. Even if you have had daily updates of how your cat has been getting on and they’ve had a nice time at the cattery, it will still take its toll on them.

Don’t Be Alarmed If They Acted Differently for a While

when you bring your cat home, you may notice that he or she is not quite acting normally. this is fine, but you should monitor it carefully. Remember that they’ve been in a strange new environment, probably took a while to adjust to it (if they ever did) and now must re-familiarise themselves with their home territory. It may be that they are not interested in eating or socialising and keep themselves hidden away or look very guarded.

Get Back into a Routine

The best thing you can do, regardless of how your cat reacts, is to get back to a normal routine as quickly as possible. Rather than changing your behaviour or overcompensating because they are acting differently, keep things as normal as possible. As independent as they are, as we noted earlier, they are also creatures of habit and will benefit from structure. Most importantly, they just need time to be left alone. You cat need to explore his home territory and settle on his terms.

Obviously, you should keep a close eye on your cat. Look out for any tell-tale signs that all is not well, but do it subtly and don’t go overboard if it takes them a while to act themselves again. There are no hard and fast rules for this or a specific number of days you should expect your cat to return to his or her old happy-go-lucky, independent and fierce create self.

However, if it is taking more than a week or two, and you are concerned, you should speak to your vet and maybe even take your cat in to be examined. In most cases though, cats go to catteries and come back as healthy and well-adjusted as they left. So, when you take your cat home from their cattery stay, keep in mind the advice above and your cat will be fine.

How Do Cats Cope With A Cattery?

When you first own a cat, there’s one aspect of life with a cat you may not have considered, but probably should have – going away without him or her. Although cats, like any other domestic animals, become parts of our family, there’s a few things they can’t do with you and that includes going on holiday.

Unless you book cat-friendly accommodation and are going somewhere domestically, you’ll have to find a solution that means your cat isn’t left home alone. There are two main options to choose from in this situation – find a cat sitter or take your cat to a cattery.

Cat Sitter vs Cattery – Which is Best?

As cats are incredibly territorial and like being in their own territory, if it’s entirely possible, having a cat sitter come to your house either daily to deal with your cat or to stay at your house while you’re away is best. Your cat doesn’t have to be disrupted from his or her normal routine, is in familiar surroundings and doesn’t need to feel stressed about being cooped-up in close vicinity to other cats.

However, if you don’t have reliable friends or relatives who live close, and don’t want to entrust your home and feline friend to a stranger, the only other option you have is to book your cat into a cattery.

Shop Around Different Catteries

It’s not ideal, but if you look with care and allow yourself enough time to shop around, you should be able to find a reputable cattery. As you probably know, there’s a lot of catteries out there that are not worth the time of day. Your cat may find it a struggle to get on well at a cattery regardless of how good a cattery it is or not. Finding a good one that understands the complexities of a cat’s psyche when it’s been taken away from its home territory is crucial though.

Cats and Stress

Cats can suffer terrible amounts of stress at catteries and although we are not suggesting you forgo that holiday or trip, you must think about the consequences and outcomes of whatever decision you make. Though, there are catteries out there that go the extra mile to alleviate the stress cats boarding with them might feel being temporary displaced from their home territory.

Things to Look For in a Cattery

There are some crucial things you should look for in a cattery therefore, when choosing the one that’s best for your cat. If your cat is even less sociable than the average feline, look for a place that offers each cat living there a separate and private living quarter for each cat. It may be that you need to pay extra money to keep your cat in its own room that gives them privacy and reduces the level of stress the feel because they can’t see that other cats are so close to them.

Will Your Cat Be Stimulated?

Cats obviously need stimulation and even if you are not akin to playing with yours regularly, he or she probably interacts with you and other members of your family/household daily. Ideally you should look for a cattery that has an adequate number of workers for the number of cats they board at any one time.

Is it Clean and Well-Maintained?

Look beyond the reception area. Although it’s good if it is a clean and well-organised place, the important parts of the cattery you want to inspect thoroughly is where the cats stay. Visit the cattery several times before deciding if it’s right for your cat. This means you can establish whether they are on the ball with cleaning and maintaining it.

Ask Questions

You also need to remember that the point of contact you have with a cattery may be the manager and they may not actually oversee the day to day care of the cats boarding there. Particularly if it’s a big cattery. If that’s the case, make sure you get some time to ask the actual carers who will be looking after your cat.

As well as asking the normal stock questions, ask them how they’d deal with situations involving your cat, like if he or she wasn’t settling easily, wasn’t eating or drinking and other similar things. If they give you satisfactory answers and have contingency plans in place, you will feel a lot more confident about leaving your furry friend there.

A; catteries are different, so don’t be put off checking your cat into one. Follow the advice above and you may still be able to enjoy that holiday without worrying about your cat too much.

How Much Space Does A Cat Need in a Cattery?

We love our cats, don’t we? We love them like they were another human member of our family and treat them as such. That is, until we go away. Even though we’d love to take the whole family, pets included, on holiday – this is often, impossible or just impractical. What are the options then for ensuring your cat is well looked after?

Always Try to Find a Sitter

Obviously, if possible, and this is true of dogs and cats alike, if you can find someone to come over and stay at your home to look after your pets, this is ideal. That way, they don’t have to be moved to a strange environment away from their home territory. It may mean you have to sweeten the deal for the relative, neighbour or friend that helps, but when it means you can go off and enjoy a nice break from it all with full confidence that your cat will be looked after, it’s worth it.

Why Cats Find Catteries Difficult

We know that this is not always a suitable option for everyone though, and that is why you may have to contemplate boarding your cat at a cattery. While dogs tend to fair better in kennels, cats can be tricky. They are very independent cats and if they are fed and watered, they can pretty much fend for themselves.

However, they are also very territorial and like things to be just how they always are. So, it’s understandable when you remove them from their home territory – their empire, that they may get stressed.

Choose a Cattery Carefully – Shop Around

Therefore, you need to be careful with the cattery you choose for your cat. One of the most important aspects you need to factor into your decision though is how much space your cat will have in their temporary home. This is something that concerns many cat owners and if like them, you are looking for a suitable answer, you’ve come to the right place.

So, how much space should a cat have in a cattery? Depending on where the cattery is, it will very much depend on the rules and regulations laid out by the local council.

Living Space and Exercise Space

Cats are normally kept in pens that are often referred to as chalets, when they are boarding in catteries. You will find that some catteries have more space than others. Always look for the place that offers the most space. As a rule of thumb though, the living space your cat will be staying in should provide your cat with roughly 0.85 sq. metres for sleeping and around 1.7 sq. metres for exercise.

These numbers are estimates and generally what are expected by most British councils for catteries in their jurisdictions. Although catteries are heavily monitored, you should still make sure that your cat will have the adequate amount of space, because if they don’t you could be coming home from that relaxing holiday to a very stressed cat.

When visiting prospective catteries, ask to look at the different sizes of pens that they offer. Some offer more luxurious living areas for boarding animals, at a premium Although it may cost a little more, it is worth considering whether your cat would benefit from having more space to him or herself.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

You may feel as if you are being rude, if you ask too many questions. However, any self-respecting and reputable cattery owner expects customers to ask a lot of questions. And they shouldn’t and normally won’t be guarded or reluctant to answer them. Remember, as well as making sure that your cat will be looked after well, checking all these things beforehand will save you worry and stress when you are on your holiday and supposed to be enjoying yourself.

It’s true that catteries, as we noted at the outset, are not the most ideal solution when you are going on holiday. Cats like their home comforts and their home territory and can get very easily stressed when they are relocated, even if it’s only temporary. However, if you follow the advice above, visit several different catteries before settling on one and make sure they will provide adequate, clean, safe and well-maintained space for your cat, you need not worry too much. It won’t stop you worrying completely. We understand that, cats are like children you didn’t give birth to.