What to Look for in a Cat Boarding Facility

Kelly Roper
Cat in a travel bag
Boarding may be a better alternative to traveling.

A top rate, professional cat boarding facility can become your cat's home-away-from-home while you travel. Such facilities cater to feline tastes and temperaments, and finding one is easy. Learn what to look for.

Where to Find Cat Boarding Facilities

  • Best Friends Pet Care has facilities in most states.
  • Cat Pages provides links and information on where to find boarding and other related goods and services in many areas of the United States, Canada and England.

Why Board Your Cat?

If you need to travel for work or pleasure, it may be easier on your cat to leave her in the capable hands of a cat boarding facility. it's true that cats may like to wander on their own, but most do not enjoy being stuffed in a small carrier for hours on end, only to wind up in unfamiliar territory. If you happen to be traveling by car, the scenario gets repeated at every stop, and this can leave Kitty feeling frazzled and grumpy.

Kennels that specialize in cat boarding are uniquely prepared to offer your pet the exact care it needs, and you can enjoy your trip knowing your beloved feline is in the hands of true "cat people" who have an understanding and appreciation for feline personalities.

Typical Facilities and Amenities

If you've never visited a cat boarding kennel before, here is what you can generally expect to find.

Secure Cages and Condos

Cats are some of the greatest escape artists on the planet, so it's extremely important that their housing is secure. Most cat boarding establishments provide separate areas for rest and play, so each cat will have its own cage.

Individual cages run an average size of three feet square, and usually consist of a wire door front, and a smooth interior, which is usually made of plastic or lined with linoleum for easy cleaning. Cages are also equipped with water bowls and litter pans. This is where your cat will spend its sleeping and eating time.

Larger condos may also be used if you have multiple cats who enjoy spending time together. Being with familiar companions will help lessen any stress or anxiety your pets may feel during your absence.

Playrooms

Cats are also allowed some free play time. Nearly all modern cat facilities have large playrooms furnished with an assortment of toys, scratching posts, climbing areas, furniture and anything else you can think of to keep your cat stimulated and exercised during its stay.

Of course, play time also depends on how well your cat gets along with others, but there should always be staff members on hand to keep a watchful eye on the play, and offer plenty of affection if your cat seeks it.

Food

Food is included in the cost of your pet's stay, but if you don't approve of the brand being served, you will usually be allowed to supply your cat's regular diet. Just don't count on receiving a discount for providing it.

Boarding Costs

Of course, every facility has it's own list of charges, but fees average about $15.00 to $25.00 per day. Most boarding facilities will offer discounts for multiple pets, and/or extended stays. Additional fees may be incurred for grooming if requested.

Common Cat Boarding Policies

Boarding facilities all have certain policies in effect to protect the health and safety of all their furry guests. Here are some of the most common.

  • All vaccinations must be up to date, including rabies vaccinations. Most establishments require a seven to thirty day waiting period after vaccination to be sure immunity has been established.
  • Cats must be free of parasites before entering the facility. Since most boarding facilities also include a grooming shop, you may be able to have your pet treated before entry.
  • You must fully disclose any condition or illness your cat has. Some facilities will refuse to board cats with communicable conditions such as FIV (the feline equivalent of AIDS) and upper respiratory infections, but may be willing to care for pets with other afflictions.
  • You must supply any medication your pets needs, complete with dosage/directions, and your vet's full contact info.
  • Most facilities require a credit card number to hold your reservation, and also require advance notice of cancelation to avoid charges.
  • You may be asked to sign a liability release for the facility.

Tips for Finding the Right Facility

Finding a cat boarding kennel you are confident with can take a little preparation.

  • Ask other cat owners you know if they have a boarding kennel they can recommend.
  • Check your local phone directory for cat kennels in your area.
  • Make a surprise visit to one or more of these facilities to see just how clean, comfortable and well staffed they are.
  • Find out whether there is a veterinarian on staff, or if your cat will be taken to see your regular vet should the need arise.
  • Ask for customer references.
  • Check out any boarding facility with your Better Business Bureau.

Be Satisfied with Your Choice

Cat boarding kennels just might be the best alternative to traveling with your pet. Be sure to thoroughly check out any facility you're considering, and ask as many questions as you like until you are satisfied that you have found the right place to entrust with the care of your furry friend. If you also have dogs, you might like to visit LoveToKnow Dogs for info on Dog Boarding.

What to Look for in a Cat Boarding Facility