What to consider when choosing a kennel or cattery and how to prepare?
First and foremost – is boarding the best option for your pet?
The stress and the unknown factor is considerable for both you and your furry friend. Especially if your cat or dog suffers from anxiety or is not good with new situations or people, asking a friend or family member to look after them, or hiring a pet sitter that comes to their home might be a more suitable option for them.
As with every other issue that requires a great amount of trust on your end, it’s best to go by recommendation. Do you know anyone that has used a kennel or cattery before for their pet? Ask them about their experience!
Is your pet up to date with their vaccinations?
If not, you will need to plan ahead, as you are going to need reminder boosters and a couple of / few weeks even after them before your cat or dog is ready to be admitted to a boarding facility.
You will need to personally inspect the facility so that you can fully assess what kind of conditions the kennel or cattery provides.
- Ask if you can look at the place’s license and insurance documents, and ask them to explain what the insurance covers.
- Look out for odours and cleanliness.
- Make sure that each pet is separated from each other (except for the ones that come from the same household), their living spaces are safe, secure, dry and warm (not too hot in the summer of course). Best if they also have an outdoor (but similarly separated) area to enjoy.
- Talk to the people that would be admitting and looking after your animal. Take note of how interested they are in their individual likes, dislikes, possible medical conditions, grooming and feeding regimes, etc. Ask about how often they check on animals, if they keep records of input and output (if you catch my drift) and in general, how they interact with them.
- And remember, ‘vibes’ are important. If you don’t get a good feeling for any reason, listen to your gut and look at other places too.
Tell the boarding facility about your pet’s needs and quirks, as well as their medical conditions and necessities.
Make sure the staff are compliant with administering any medication your pet needs (if there is any he/she takes). Ideally provide them with the contact details of your veterinarian, should your animal need any medical attention while you are away.
Leave things with your pet that provide them with comfort
Toys, blankets, an item with your scent on it – they can all be something that brings joy to your animal while you are away. You know your pet more than anybody. In case they get scared, lonely or homesick, it will be comforting for them to have something around that reminds them of home.
Try to choose something nearby, especially if travelling stresses you pet out.
And finally, run a trial, if you can!
Try the facility for a couple of days – a weekend, to see how you all get on. Then you will be able to make a more informed decision before you leave the four legged member of your family there for a longer period of time.