Vacations have become a necessity, instead of a luxury, in recent years. Many people are spending time overseas and exploring new places during holidays. While it is a joy to be able to travel the world, cat owners face the worrying prospect of having their cats taken care by someone else while they are away. There are more and more boarding facilities being set up as business owners recognise the demand for such services. However, before you put your beloved cat in the facility, here are 4 things to look out for.
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH ONLINE
With the Internet nowadays, it is a breeze to research on the various boarding facilities that are available. Look through their websites and view pictures of their facilities, if any. Search for any reviews or feedback of other owners who have used their facilities before. If none are available (if that doesn't concern you at all yet), you can easily request for feedback from the various groups in Facebook. Stay away from boarding facilities who have less than ideal feedback. Never ever think that it is only because of one unlucky cat or a nasty owner.
2. TOUR THE FACILITIES
Take some time to arrange for a tour of the facilities before you commit to placing your cat there. Communicate with the owner/staff at the facility. Are they genuine cat lovers? Do they have the best interests of the cats there? Can they be trusted? Have a closer look at the facility. Is it clean? Do they have protocols in place in case of emergencies? Pay close attention to the cats that are being boarded there. Are they healthy and happy? Anything that makes you uncomfortable should be considered carefully. Trust your guts.
3. INSIST ON SEPARATION FROM OTHER CATS
Some smaller boarding facilities allow resident cats to have a communal play time or a shared boarding area (usually cheaper and more attractive to those cash strapped owners). This is strictly a NO. Firstly, you do not know if the cats will get along. Cats are not dogs who will make friends readily. Especially if your cat is used to be alone, the presence of other cats may create huge and unnecessary stress for your cat. Secondly, you have no idea if the other cats have any illnesses that they can pass on to your cat. Insist on separation for your cat at all times. It is better to err on the side of caution.
4. BE PREPARED FOR YOUR CAT'S STAY
Be prepared for your cat's stay at the facility. In fact, be over prepared. Bring your cat's food and label with clear instructions on feeding schedules. Last thing you will want to do is to stress your cat further in a new environment by messing up their meal times. Bring along some of his favourite toys. Prepare a blanket that he uses at home so that he has a familiar scent to comfort him while he settles into the new environment. Bring your own towels if the facility will be giving your cat a bath during the stay. Leave your contact number and a close relative's contact number with the staff, just in case they are unable to reach you during an emergency.
With these tips, your cat will be able to enjoy a uneventful stay at the facility and you will be able to go on a holiday with a peace of mind. Happy holidays!
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