Kittens in cattery

Boarding cattery and alternatives

Trusting someone to look after your cat while you are away on holiday can be tough, so doing your research first can give you much needed peace of mind. 

Here are our top tips on what to look for when choosing the right holiday cover for your cat.

Information to give to your cat's temporary carer

  • Vet details
  • Knowledge of any pre-existing medical conditions
  • Who to call in an emergency
  • Any medication that your cat is on, instructions and dosage
  • Your cat's usual feeding routine
  • A note of your cat's microchip information in case they get lost (if your cat isn't microchipped, we strongly recommend you get them chipped so you can be easily reunited should they go missing. Cat microchipping will be mandatory in England from 10 June 2024.)
  • Any behaviour issues that they will need to be aware of

Family or friends 

Leaving your four-legged friend in the hands of a trusted member of the family or a friend can be ideal, as your cat will have already met them, which will make for an easier transition and give you peace of mind that they'll be in safe hands.

Unlike dogs, cats can find it incredibly stressful to move from place to place. So it's important that, if a family member or a friend looks after them, they do so in your house, where the cat lives, so they are less stressed.

Ideally, the person looking after them will either stay in your house the whole time, or they'll pop in at least twice a day to feed and care for your cat.

Pet sitter

Pet sitters are people who live in your home during the time you're away to look after your pet for a fee. It's a good alternative for pet owners who aren't fortunate enough to have friends and family who can help out.

Employing a pet sitter has the added benefit of keeping your cat in their own home so they will be comfortable in their familiar environment.

Cats find moving from place to place very stressful, so employing a pet sitter to look after your cat in your home will keep them happy in their routine.

How to find a good pet sitter

  • Meet potential sitters before you book to see how they get on with and interact with your cat
  • Make sure they are insured and DBS checked. Pet sitters don't need a licence to work, but reputable ones will be able to show you training and insurance certificates.
  • Ask around. Ask friends and neighbours who they use and would recommend. If you don't know any fellow cat owners living near you, check reviews online from independent review sites. You can also ask for existing client details to check on their experiences.

Boarding cattery

Boarding catteries are an option for your cat when you're away, however this will depend on whether your cat is comfortable with being in a cattery environment. Many cats find catteries stressful.

How to find a boarding cattery

  • Good places book up fast, so start your search in plenty of time
  • Get a personal recommendation if possible, and check the cattery is licensed by the local authority
  • Drop in without an appointment and ask to look around - you'll be able to tell a lot from an unannounced visit
  • Check the living area is warm, secure, clean and dry, with plenty of comfortable areas.
  • Individual cat pens should have toys, a scratching post, something to hide in or under, a shelf where the cat can rest, and a large litter tray
  • Cats who don't know each other should not be able to make nose, paw or eye contact - other cats staring at them can be stressful
  • A good cattery will ask lots of questions about your pet, including diet and preferred type of cat litter, to help keep to their routine
  • A good cattery will insist that cats are vaccinated against flu and other diseases
  • Ask about insurance cover and what the procedure is for contacting a vet and you in case of an emergency
  • Ensure the location is not prone to flooding
  • Find out how many staff there are per animal in the cattery
  • As an alternative, you could consider employing a pet sitter who stays in your house while you are away - cats are often most comfortable if they can stay in their own territory
— Page last updated 29/06/2023