Guide to Boarding Catteries and Cat Sitting Services

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By Pet Expert Team
Updated: 6/20/20242-4 minutes
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Cats are known for their independent natures, which is just one of the qualities that makes them such great pets! Most cats will be perfectly happy being left alone during the day, but if you need to leave them for longer, you may need to look into boarding catteries or cat sitting services.

As cats snooze for around two thirds of their day (and even more in their senior years), they should be fine left to their own devices for shorter periods of time, as long as you give them plenty of love and quality playtime when they’re awake!

However, if you’re going to be away for longer than a day, you’ll need to make sure that your cat is properly cared for. If you can’t find a willing friend, try a cattery or use a cat sitting service.

Leaving Cats at Home

Cats are home-loving, territorial creatures, so it can be easiest to find a way for your cat to be looked after at home when you go away. They’re unlikely to feel stressed if they’re in their usual environment with its familiar scents, sights and sounds.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have a cat-friendly friend or neighbor who’s happy to pop in to feed them, clean their litter tray, provide fresh water and give them some TLC!

Professional Cat Sitting Services

The next best alternative to getting a friend or family member to look after your cat is to find a professional house sitter who’ll stay in your home while you’re away to care for your cat in their usual day-to-day environment. As well as keeping an eye on your cat, they will also water any houseplants and keep your home looking “lived-in” to deter burglars.

There are alternatives to house sitters. You may wish to try a professional pet sitter or cat sitting service, for example. Services vary per person or company, but you can usually expect a pet sitter or cat sitting service to come to your house at least twice a day to feed your cat, play with them and clean out their litter tray.

For peace of mind, you may decide to keep your cat indoors while you’re away. Not only will this mean they’re always there when the pet-sitter calls, but you’ll be more relaxed knowing that they’re not getting into any trouble in the big outdoors.

Agreeing Terms

Before you agree terms with a professional cat sitter, discuss the following questions to make sure they’re a good fit:

  • What experience does the person have with cats?
  • What insurance does the professional have in place? Ask to see their documents for peace of mind.
  • Do they have references? Contact them to get a recommendation.
  • Are they self-employed or do they work for a pet-care agency? If they work for an agency, what extra services does the agency provide (e.g. a replacement if your sitter falls ill).

Don’t be worried about asking too many questions - a professional cat sitter won’t mind at all. In fact, they’re more likely to see it as a sign of a good owner, and will be more than happy to chat about their professional services with a fellow cat lover. Remember, it’s not just your precious cat that you’re giving them responsibility for, you’re also handing over your house keys!

Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and your vet are good starting points, but do your own homework too. If for any reason you feel uncomfortable about the arrangement, follow your gut instinct and find another cat sitting service or cattery.

Whichever service or person you choose, give your pet sitter and your cat the opportunity to meet one another before you leave them in each other’s care.

Written Instructions

Once you’ve found your perfect cat carer, the next thing you need to do is give them a clear and comprehensive list of instructions about your cat and, if relevant, your home. You might find it helpful to meet with them in person to discuss your pet’s needs, and then leave them written instructions.

As well as your contact details, write down your cat’s feeding instructions, any special dietary or behavior requirements, their favorite games to play and any restrictions you have – for example, where they are and aren’t allowed in the house. If your cat is exclusively an indoor cat, make sure they know that!

They’ll also need to know what brand of cat litter you use and what food and treats you give, in case they run out while you are away.

Preparing for Emergencies

Of course, accidents and illness do happen, whether you’re there or not, so as well as learning the skills yourself, make sure your cat sitter or carer is qualified in feline first aid. It’s also a good idea to leave them a list of instructions about any current medical issues your cat may have and, if relevant, how and when to administer any medication.

Most importantly, make sure the cat sitter has all of your contact details, plus those of a back-up in case they can’t reach you. Leave your vet’s contact details too, as well as your cat’s microchip information (if relevant), plus any necessary veterinary and medical history.

Although it may seem a little morbid, speak to your cat sitter about what you’d like to happen if your cat was to suddenly fall ill or pass away in your absence. Even though it’s a hard subject to discuss, it means you both know what the process is for every worst-case scenario, which could avoid any unnecessary heartache later.


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