Whether you're going on holiday, travelling for work or moving home, finding someone to take care of your cat can seem like a challenge. Friends and neighbours might be able to look after a pet for a while, but if you're planning a longer journey or if your pet has special needs, you'll probably want to find someplace to board him or her. Cat boarding facilities -- called "catteries" or sometimes "cat hotels" -- are experienced at providing the care your pet needs.
Before booking your pet into a cattery, take a look at the facilities. Different animals prefer different environments, but most cats are happiest in individual accommodation. They should be sheltered, but with plenty of room to move around and play when they want to. Some boarding businesses also house dogs, so make sure that they're kept far away if dogs make your animal nervous.
When visiting or speaking to a cattery, find out exactly which services are included in your bill -- and don't be afraid to ask. The better the cattery, the more transparent and up-front they'll be about their services. You should also pay attention to the questions they ask you: a responsible cat hotel will want to know about your pet's vaccinations and medical history. This lets you know that all the other animals staying there have undergone similar checks.
Medication and special needs animals
Cat hotel staff often have experience giving animals medication or even administering shots, but this can vary. If your cat needs medication or has other special needs, talk to the staff to find out if they can meet these needs. Some businesses are used to taking care of diabetic cats, for instance, while others might not offer this level of care. Older or infirm cats may struggle to get around in 'penthouse' style catteries, where some animals need to climb ramps to get to their sleeping spaces, so make sure the facilities are right for your pet.
Cat boarding businesses often accommodate surprisingly few animals at once, meaning that they can fill up quickly, especially during peak travel times. If you're able to plan your journey in advance, don't leave booking your cat's place until the last minute. If you might have to travel at short notice but still need to find a temporary home for your cat, make sure you have contact details for several local boarding catteries.