If you need to travel without your cat, your first option may be to find a neighbour or friend to sit the cat in your house. This is preferred because cats don't like change. However, sometimes you may have no option but to find a boarding facility to host your cat. The choice of boarding facility must be carefully weighed against the needs of your cat. If your cat isn't comfortable in their temporary home, they may refuse to eat or even fall sick. This article discusses a few points to help you find the right boarding facility.
1. Roomy quarters
Ideally, each cat's quarters should have adequate space for the litter box area, relaxation and sleeping area and the food area. If the facility also houses dogs, cats' quarters should be located far away from the dogs' quarters to minimise stress caused by noise from the dogs' barking. In addition, the quarters should not be too close to the main foot-traffic areas.
Remember that cats are very territorial, and so their quarters should be placed such that they cannot easily see other cats close to them. This can create aggression towards the staffers and other cats being housed there.
2. Entertainment features
The cat's kennel can be made even more comfortable with features like cosy bedding, toys, cardboard hiding boxes and resting boards. A view of the outside world, such as into a garden, can give them some entertainment. In addition, playing soft music within the room can give soothing white noise, which can reduce stress. The facility should play some light classical music or music specially designed for cats. Find out if they allow you to bring some of the cat's own things to make the place more homely.
3. Cleaning regimen
The cat's quarters and bedding should be cleaned every day and sprayed with pheromone spray. These sprays are good for keeping the cat calm while in their quarters. Social areas should be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly to prevent spread of illness.
Cats should only be released for socialization with other cats if your permission has been sought. You should leave instructions based on your cat's disposition and response to strangers/strange places. Cats from the same family can be socialized together; otherwise, cats will be individually allotted a time to spend in the common areas.
Bonus: how to prepare your cat for departure
If you're going away for an extended period of time, you can go to the cat boarding facility some time before your departure. Expect that the cat will not eat much in the acclimatisation period, and keep tabs on the progress of your cat. His/her feeding should be monitored closely, because if he/she doesn't eat for just 1-2 days they risk falling ill. Taking them early gives you time to make alternative arrangements in case your cat isn't comfortable at the boarding facility.