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5 Tips for Boarding a Cat for the First Time

It's not uncommon for cat owners to try to leave their cats at home with food and water when going away on a trip. But when you leave a cat alone, even with a daily visit from a pet sitter, there are dozens of things that could go wrong. You could return home to a cat that is seriously ill or has damaged your home.

Boarding a cat is best way to know it's being taken care of in the right way. This gives you the peace of mind to focus on your travels instead of worrying about your pet back at home. If your cat's first-time boarding is coming up soon, here are five tips to make sure your pet has a good stay while you are away.

1. Start With a Test Run

It is important not to wait to take your cat in to the boarding facility at the last minute. The best way to introduce your cat to a new environment like a cattery is to take them in for an overnight stay first.

Your cat will likely show signs of stress when returning even if the facility was a good fit. An overnight stay or two in the weeks leading up to your trip helps the cat get used to the idea of spending time in unfamiliar territory before they are there for a week or longer.

2. Check the Facilities

You always need to inspect the boarding facility that is housing your cat, even if you've been there before. Make sure that the cats are kept in separate cages at all times, unlike dogs that can be allowed to interact. The area your cat will stay is in must be clean, both in the cage and in the general area.

The litter boxes should look like they have been cleaned on the day that you come in. Boarding facilities do have an odor thanks to the sheer number of animals in one place, but the smell should not be unpleasant or strong.

3. Separate Pets

Your cats might seem inseparable at home, but it is not advisable to put them into the same cage for boarding. Even the most well-behaved cats can get stressed from being trapped in close quarters together for too long. This could lead to fights and injuries. The next time you plan a trip, make multiple boarding reservations if you have more than one cat so they can have the space they need.

4. Bring Your Own Supplies

When you switch your cat's food or litter, the change is likely to create problems with the cat's behavior. Behavioral changes are even more likely when you are boarding your cat due to the unfamiliar environment. Bring enough of their usual food and litter to last the extent of your trip. You will be ensuring that your cat will eat regularly and use the litter box properly while you are away.

5. Prepare for Readjustment

When you bring your cat back home from boarding, it is common for them to act differently as they reestablish their territory in your home. The cat's behavior may be erratic and skittish for a while as they realize they are back on familiar ground.

This process may take a week or two, but your cat should be back to their old selves eventually. If they continue acting out of place, you should see a vet to eliminate any chances of an illness or injury causing the behavior.

We here at Longview Boarding & Grooming Ltd. know your cat's needs. Contact us to arrange a visit or to learn more tips about boarding a cat.